Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer
Fanzing Mailroom graphic by Jeremy Greene

by Chaim Mattis Keller

Subject: The Tin Age?

Re: Your comments in the last letter column

Wh-why not the Tin Age of comics? I mean, t-t-t-tin is ac-actually one of the t-t-t-tougher metals!

G-g-g-g-gold may be malleable, but one of us got s-smooshed and the other's st-st-still st-st-st-standing. You be the j-judge!



c/o Magnus Robotics

Whoa -- a letter about the letters page! How often do you see that?

From: n j (

Subject: Rant & Adam Strange Science Lessons

Congrats on the new issue, featuring one of my all-time favs.

That said, I've got to pass along a minor correction. In your rants, you wrote:

"Rann orbits Alpha Centauri, a planet only visible from the Southern Hemisphere. Adam Strange can only be struck by a Zeta Beam, or returned to Earth, from points below the Earth's equator."

While the science is correct (and agrees with some of the early Adam Strange appearances I've read), don't you mean to write, "Rann orbits Alpha Centauri, a *star* only visible from the Southern Hemisphere.

Yes, it's a minor gaff, and I'm not trying to be anal about it (not much anyway), but "Strange Adventures" was one of my earliest exposures to science. 'Course, it didn't hurt that editor Julie Schwartz started out as an agent for the likes of science fiction writer Alfred Bester. The man knew his science. It's no coincidence that DC's greatest silver age characters all have plausible "scientific" origins.

BTW-Does anyone else miss those "Flash Facts" that covered virtually any topic and always justified whatever wacky science application our heroes were using?

When you look at the science scores for today's students, it's really frightening. My own nephews seem to be learning more science from movies and TV than from school. After we watched Star Trek 6, it took me months to convice them that things don't float up into the air when you shut the gravity off. (" object at rest, stays at rest… wait, who's Newton?)

But back to the subject at hand, whether you're talking planet or star, the point of its location is still valid, rendering questionable any stories that have Adam beaming to or from cities in most of North America. (I can't remember whether Alpha Centauri is part of the Southern Cross or not, but if so, I've seen it from Maui. It was close to the horizon, and certainly wouldn't have been visible from as far north as, say, the southern tip of Texas.)

Then again, if Sardath's aim is that good, who's to say he's not making a bank shot off some convenient satellite? Sputnik went up in the early 50's, didn't it? By the late 60's, there should have been enough space junk in orbit for the Zeta beam bank shot to be plausible. Anyone know when Adam Strange made his first appearance? Or, more to the point, anyone know when his writers and editors started getting lazy, ignoring the basics about the character that made him so much fun to read in the first place.

Thanks for picking up on one of MY pet peeves, and letting ME rant for a few minutes as well.

This reply is from our Ed-in-Chief, who wrote the article in question…

I appreciate the correction, NJ. Obviously, I did mean a star; the typo occured when I changed the sentence to add Alpha Centauri, thus changing the structure of the sentence. I've already fixed it.

You and I (and I'm betting Chaim, our letters columnist and resident sci-fi expert) like our sci-fi to still include the sci. Even when we're reading about ships traveling from planet to planet, it's good to keep as much scientific fact as possible.

If I ever get my crack at an Elongated Man comic (and that's a big IF, if I don't find the time to send in more proposals), it's going to include the equivalent of "Flash Facts".

..and my two cents, as letters editor and resident sci-fi buff

Well, I like science in my sci-fi, but I must say there's some charm to the hokey conceptions of science in some of those early stories, including the Space Cabby ones I love so much. For example, there's a story in which the Spake Cabby's cab started growing in size. Why? He must have flown through "the center of the expanding universe!" So much for those editors' understanding of scientific concepts, eh?

But all that changed, I think, around the time of Sputnik (which was actually in 1957, not the early 50's. Suddenly, there was a renewed sense of urgency to America's space program. From that point through the 1960's and 70's, with the moon shot and the advent of the first space shuttle, science was a source of wonder. Star Trek and Star Wars spoke of hope for a better tomorrow, and people believed in it and ate it up. This is the kind of environment that brought the Legion of Super-Heroes to its original popularity.

And what do we have now? The Matrix and Battlefield Earth, Mad Max and Waterworld. Hex and The Legion of Super-Heroes of the 1990's. Suddenly, science is in the hands of the alarmists and fatalists and the energy that used to be part of chidren's scientific discovery process became replaced by some sort of dry recitation of facts.

"Flash facts" were a reflection of the interest that schoolchildren used to take in science. Realistic or fantastic, sci-fi is only going to reflect society's attitudes toward science.

As for Sardath banking a Zeta-beam off an Earth satellite…wouldn't the beam just transport the satellite if it weren't specially treated (like no Earth satellite would be)?


Subject: Re: invasion movie

Hi, I finally got the invasion movie downloaded useing the third option to a zip disk, it is awesome!! Thanks so much.

I'd like to invite you to check out my web-site JLA/Avengers Cross-Over Port at I would also like to be on your movie update list.

Can you please suggest to Mr Steven Conroy a JLA/Avengers thing, I know from the response I get from my site that I'm not the only one that would love to see a movie of this type on the subject.

One last thing is the Justice League art from last months Fanzing for sale?

Well, we can't use Fanzing as a platform for selling DC Comics art, but our contributors' e-mail addresses are available on the "Staff" page, if you'd like to negotiate with them directly…

From: Chris Herr (

Subject: Return of the Joker Director's cut

Hey There,

I'm sorry to bother you, but I have been looking over your site and found it a good source of information, so I figured perhaps you might be able to help me with a question.

I've been traveling around on work business, and m now settled back in Washington DC, and I've heard a bit of chat about the Return of the Joker movie, and how the video has been edited to loose it's edge. Well, I'm 29 years old, and I would love to get a copy of the original story.

From discussions, it would seem that some people have seen a full version of the movie. Is there a way I might be able to see the scenes (avi's or whatever) that were cut out or something, so when I purchse the video I'll be able to piece it together in my mind?

Thank you for your time, and help would be appreciated.

Chris Herr

Washington DC

Our esteemed editor, Michael Hutchison, replies:

There is a list of the exact cuts at (look under movies, and then Batman animated movie 3).

Warning: the cuts do cover some important plot points.

A guy is planning to get me a copy of the unedited version and I will be comparing them in Fanzing when I do.

And finally, some very, very old business…

From: Jeff Capell (

Subject: Superman movie article

I love your idea of having Bruce Campbell playing Superman. He would be leaps and bounds (pun intended) better than Nicholas Cage!!!!!

Jeff H. Capell

And that's all for this month's letters! Is that right, only five of them? Hmm…better recount those…hey! It's my completely unbiased opinion that there's one more in here… It's not 100% clear, but I think I can make out the intent of the writer…

From: An anonymous DC staffer

Subject: Star Hawkins story

"The Case of the Imperfect Impostor" was amazing! When do we get another one of those great Star Hawkins stories?

Never fear! More stories of that space-age shamus will be coming soon!

Okay, now that I've got what I want, I can stop searching for more letters. Until next month…

Letters Editor Chaim Mattis Keller, aka Legion-Reference-File Lad, is a computer programmer who lives in New York City with his wife and four children.

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Updated 7/27/2010