Pixel Scroll 1/25/20 You Can Pixel Anytime You Like, But You Can Never Scroll

(1) ALL KNOWLEDGE IS CONTAINED IN FANZINES. CBR.com’s Brian Cronin reveals a little-known origin story — “Comic Legends: The Surprising Possible Inspiration for Superman’s S Logo”.

COMIC LEGEND:

A rather familiar S shield was used as the sign-off to a classic 1930 science fiction fanzine

STATUS:

True

This is an interesting legend because I’m not trying to prove that something is a specific influence or anything like that, which I normally do in stuff like this (or, in the alternative, show that it WASN’T an influence). No, here, the POSSIBLE inspiration is so interesting in and of itself that I’m still going to feature it. It’s just THAT freaky.

… [Mort] Weisinger and the others (including [Julie] Schwartz) referred to themselves as “The Scienceers.”

In the third issue of The Planet (and yes, by the way, there’s a reasonable chance that the name of the fanzine, itself, was an inspiration for the Daily Planet, as well), they tried out a logo for “The Scienceers”.

(2) WILD (LIFE) IMAGINATION. “How Animals Behave When We Aren’t Looking By Artist Julien Tabet” – at deMilked.

Julien Tabet is a 21-year-old French artist who creates incredible photo manipulations of animals. He started creating his clever edits a little over a year ago and in this short time gathered a whopping 95k followers on Instagram.

(3) JEOPARDY! GOAT. [Item by David Goldfarb.] I went back and watched the first episode of the Jeopardy! “Greatest of All Time” tournament (yes, this is out of order: I blame Hulu’s UI) and there was a category “Greatest of All Time Travelers” in the preliminary round of the second game. All answers were successfully questioned. I’ll put the answers first, in case readers want to try themselves:

$200: In Stephen King’s “11/22/63”, Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent this event from ever happening.

$400: In this Audrey Niffenegger novel, Clare is married to Henry, who suffers from Chrono-Displacement Disorder.

$600: In chapter 16 of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, Hank meets this woman whose first name is the same as his surname.

$800: In this 1969 classic, Tralfamadorians abduct the protagonist who has unfortunately become “unstuck in time”.

$1000: “Kindred”, about an African-American woman transplanted back to a plantation in antebellum Maryland, is a novel by this author.

And here are the questions:

$200: What is the Kennedy assassination?

$400: What is “The Time Traveler’s Wife”?

$600: Who is Morgan Le Fey?

$800: What is “Slaughterhouse-5”?

$1000: Who is Octavia Butler?

Also, in the Double Jeopardy round of that game, this was the $800 answer in the category “Potpourri”:

When she said she was leaving “Star Trek”, MLK asked her to stay, saying, “Through you, we see ourselves and what can be”.

I assume that all File 770 readers will know, “Who is Nichelle Nichols?”

(3) A FAR, FAR BETTER THING. James Davis Nicoll starts “Five SF Works Involving Epic Space Journeys” starts by telling Tor.com readers  he’s running for DUFF – because he, too, wants to make an epic journey, get it?

… Of course, the tradition of sending people very far away for various laudable reasons is an old one. Unsurprisingly, this is reflected through the lens of science fiction. Various SF protagonists have been sent quite astonishing distances; sometimes they are even permitted to return home. Here are five examples.

(4) NOW ON SALE. Stephen Blackmoore, one of the game designers for Evil Hat’s game Fate of Cthulthu, wants to make something very clear:

Somebody asked why, then, try to monetize Lovecraft’s material at all? How dare someone ask a question like that! Jeeeze, dude, next thing you’ll be asking the Emperor where’s his clothes!

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 25, 1905 Margery Sharp. Her best remembered work is The Rescuers series which concerns a mouse by the name of Miss Bianca. They were later adapted in two Disney animated films, The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. I’m reasonably sure I’ve seen the first one a very long time ago. Her genre novel, The Stone of Chastity, is according to her website, based on English folklore. Other than the first volume of The Rescuer series, she’s not really available digitally though she is mostly in print in the dead tree format. (Died 1991.)
  • Born January 25, 1918 King Donovan. Jack Belicec in the original and by far the best version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Thirty years later, he’d be Lunartini Husband in Nothing Lasts Forever, a SF comedy film with a contentious history. His only other genre appearence was a one-off on Night Gallery. (Died 1987.)
  • Born January 25, 1920 Bruce Cassiday. Under two different pen names, Con Steffanson and Carson Bingham, he wrote three Flash Gordon novels (The Trap of Ming XII, The Witch Queen of Mongo and The War of the Cybernauts) and he also wrote several pieces of nonfiction worth noting, The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, with Dieter Wuckel, and Modern Mystery, Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers. The latter done in ‘93 is safely out of date and OOP as well. Checking the online digital publishing concerns shows nothing’s available by him. (Died 2005.)
  • Born January 25, 1931 Dean Jones. An actor in some of the sillier and most entertaining genre and genre adjacent films undertaken in the Sixties. He was Jim Douglas in The Love Bug, Steve Walker in Blackbeard’s Ghost and Peter Denwell in Mr. Superinvisible. May I count his later appearance in Agent Zeke Kelso in That Darn Cat! as a SJW cred? Around the the time of the film, he was a Dean Webster Carlson in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. His final role before he retired from acting was as Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge & Marley.  (Died 2015.)
  • Born January 25, 1943 Tobe Hooper. Responsible for the Texas Chainsaw Maasacare, which heco-wrote with Kim Henkel. That alone gets him Birthday honors. But he has also directed the Salem’s Lot series, also Poltergeist, Lifeforce and Invaders from Mars. And this is hardly a full listing. (Died 2017.)
  • Born January 25, 1950 Christopher Ryan, 70. He’s played two different aliens on Doctor Who. First in the Sixth Doctor story, “Mindwarp,” he was Kiv where he looked looked akin to Clayface from the animated Batman series. Second in the era of the Tenth Doctor (“The Sontarian Experiment”, “The Poison Sky”) and the Eleventh Doctor (“The Pandorica Opens”), he was the Sontarian General Staal Commander Stark.
  • Born January 25, 1958 Peter Watts, 62. Author of the most excellent Firefall series which I read and enjoyed immensely. I’ve not read the Rifters trilogy so would welcome opinions on it. And his Sunflower linked short stories sound intriguing. Queen of Air and Darkness he’s written lot!
  • Born January 25, 1963 Catherine Butler, 57. Has published a number of works of which his most important is Four British fantasists: place and culture in the children’s fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper. Anotherimportant work is Reading History in Children’s Books, with Hallie O’Donovan. Her website ishere.
  • Born January 25, 1973 Geoff Johns, 47. Where to begin? Though he’s done some work outside of DC, he is intrinsically linked to that company having working for them for twenty years. My favorite work by him in on Batman: Gotham Knights, Justice League of America #1–7 (2013) and 52 which I grant which was way overly ambitious but really fun. Oh and I’d be remiss not to notehis decade long run on the Green Lantern books.

(6) COMICS SECTION.

  • Tom Gauld predicts the Jack Reacher series will veer off in surprising new directions.

(7) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. Yahoo! Entertainment sets the table: “Star Trek’s George Takei Reacts to Donald Trump’s Space Force Logo: ‘We Are Expecting Some Royalties'”.

On Friday, Trump unveiled the new insignia for the United States Space Force — which was signed into effect in late December — and was met with a flurry of comparisons to the emblem worn by the members of Star Trek‘s fictional Starfleet organization.

“After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!” Trump tweeted alongside the Space Force’s new logo.

George Takei, who starred as Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series, was quick to respond. Amid accusations from other Trekkies that the emblem had copied the Starfleet logo, the actor responded to Trump in a tweet, “Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this…”

 “Is Trump’s Space Force Logo a Copycat of Starfleet’s From ‘Star Trek’? (Sure Looks Like It)”. The Wrap makes sure to magnify the uproar before eventually remembering where the Space Force logo really comes from.

…Compare and contrast: On the left side of the image above is the logo for Space Force (which, for those of you wondering, is part of the air force and not actually a separate branch of the military); and on the right is the emblem of Starfleet Command, the scientific and military space force for the United Federation of Planets.

…Now, in fairness, the new Space Force logo is actually based on the preexisting Air Force Space Command logo, which was established in 1982 and rendered obsolete by Space Force. Here’s what that looks like:

Okay, here, I’ve run the story – you all can stop sending me links to it.

(8) FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLETIN. WIRED reports “An AI Epidemiologist Sent the First Warnings of the Wuhan Virus”.

On January 9, the World Health Organization notified the public of a flu-like outbreak in China: a cluster of pneumonia cases had been reported in Wuhan, possibly from vendors’ exposure to live animals at the Huanan Seafood Market. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had gotten the word out a few days earlier, on January 6. But a Canadian health monitoring platform had beaten them both to the punch, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on December 31.

BlueDot uses an AI-driven algorithm that scours foreign-language news reports, animal and plant disease networks, and official proclamations to give its clients advance warning to avoid danger zones like Wuhan.

Speed matters during an outbreak, and tight-lipped Chinese officials do not have a good track record of sharing information about diseases, air pollution, or natural disasters. But public health officials at WHO and the CDC have to rely on these very same health officials for their own disease monitoring. So maybe an AI can get there faster…

(9) SIGN AWAY. “Facebook and YouTube moderators sign PTSD disclosure” – BBC has the details.

Content moderators are being asked to sign forms stating they understand the job could cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to reports.

The Financial Times and The Verge reported moderators for Facebook and YouTube, hired by the contractor Accenture, were sent the documents.

Moderators monitor objectionable materials and often view hundreds of disturbing images in a day’s work.

Accenture said the wellbeing of workers was a “top priority”.

In a statement the company added only new joiners were being asked to sign the forms, whereas existing employees were being sent the form as an update.

“We regularly update the information we give our people to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the work they do,” Accenture said in a statement.

(10) SPOT INSPECTION. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Tested Labs has begin a year-long series of tests of Boston Dynamics dog-like robot Spot. Former Mythbuster Adam Savage will be a tester and the on-camera host of the video series, available on their YouTube channel. Nerdist: “Adam Savage Tested Boston Dynamics’ ‘Spot’ Robot Dog”

Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, “Spot,” has been in the news ever since the robotics company debuted its ancestor, BigDog, a decade ago. Over the last ten years, we’ve seen Spot evolve from prototype into polished product, and now it’s finally time to see how the mechanical quadruped performs out in the real world. And what better way to do that than by having legendary myth-buster Adam Savage put the robo-pup through its paces?

Savage and the rest of the Tested YouTube channel crew recently announced they’ll be testing Spot over the next year, with an initial video (above) showing the team unboxing the robot dog and having it perform some initial tasks including walking, climbing, and crawling; feats, incidentally, that would make most other four-legged droids quake in their metallic foot cups.

(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Time Travel in Fiction Rundown” on YouTube, Minute Physics explains different theories of time travel, including in Ender’s Game and Harry Potter.

[Thanks to JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, N., Olav Rokne, Hampus Eckerman, Michael Toman, James Davis Nicoll, David Goldfarb, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chris S.]

35 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/25/20 You Can Pixel Anytime You Like, But You Can Never Scroll

  1. 4) Well, all that noise sent out to order the game which had escaped my notice until now.

  2. Poor Spot. Not cuddly at all, and probably doesn’t get treats for all that work. Just a daily ration of electricity. It’s just not fair.

  3. @10: I really think “Spot” should climb out of its crate itself — but climbing over that rock pile is seriously impressive.

    @OGH: two @3’s, and no place to shove the 2nd? oh well.

  4. 9: Oh, yes, just sign a form and that makes it all okay. If you feel the need to make people sign that disclosure form, your support for your staff is inadequate. (Sure, “Facebook is evil” is not exactly new, and brogrammer culture in general does not grasp the concept of mental health, but still!)

  5. The Hugo nomination reading continues! So far in 2020, I’ve finished Ada Hoffman’s The Outside and Deborah Hewitt’s The Nightjar. The Outside was great and will probably end up on my Hugo ballot, but I was pretty disappointed by The Nightjar. Reviews of both are up at my blog if anyone’s interested.

    Now it’s on to Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House and David Wellington’s The Last Astronaut. I’m pretty excited about both.

    …Trying to pick just five books for my Hugo ballot is going to be interesting, isn’t it?

  6. Of possible interest: The first new issue of Weird Tales in five years. (There’s a second issue scheduled for October. Will it manifest? Only time will tell.)

    Amazon has a Kindle version:

    https://www.amazon.com/Weird-Tales-363-Return-Magazine-ebook/dp/B07X59XMKG/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=weird+tales&qid=1580058357&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

    The physical version is currently listed as unavailable from Amazon, but Darrell Schweitzer is selling them directly on his eBay page.

  7. Somebody asked why, then, try to monetize Lovecraft’s material at all? How dare someone ask a question like that! Jeeeze, dude, next thing you’ll be asking the Emperor where’s his clothes!

    I’m missing the point of this. Cthulhu doesn’t belong to racists. It has been an RPG setting for 39 years. There’s no hypocrisy in adapting Lovecraft’s mythos and setting while deploring his racism.

  8. rcade: There’s no hypocrisy in adapting Lovecraft’s mythos and setting while deploring his racism.

    So what word do YOU use for somebody who dramatically and repeatedly announces how toxic the originator of the mythos of their new game is? Canny marketer?

  9. The mythos is fascinating and amazingly inventive, especially for the era, and has proven to be a fertile ground for further speculation and invention. On the other hand, embracing the racism of its original inventor would be abhorrent, and simply ignoring it isn’t a whole lot better (with all due respect to various writers I love). I don’t see a problem with adopting and adapting the mythos while pointedly rejecting the racist elements. In fact, I’m pretty happy to see it done!

    I can understand why some might want to reject the mythos wholecloth, but I think that’s a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I applaud the guy.

    (Disclaimer: I used to work for an RPG company that is strongly associated with the mythos.)

    Word(s) I’d use? Good person!

  10. Yeah. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to acknowledge that the bad parts of an oeuvre exist (especially when it’s widely known that they do exist), and advertise the fact (or hope) that a revival or derivative work avoids those bad parts (while keeping the good parts).

  11. I’m not familiar with previous Lovecraftian games (except for Hungry, Hungry Hippos). Do they promote Lovecraft’s racism or, in some way, excuse it?

  12. So what word do YOU use for somebody who dramatically and repeatedly announces how toxic the originator of the mythos of their new game is? Canny marketer?

    He’s gotten over 5,000 likes for a tweet about his new tabletop roleplaying game. I don’t think there are enough S.T. Joshis out there for this controversy to hurt sales of a new Cthulhu RPG, so it seems like canny marketing to me even if that wasn’t his intent.

    His publisher was tweeting about how the game condemns Lovecraft’s racism six days before he was, a stance the company noted has gotten 10 times the engagement of any other tweet it posted about the game.

    Personally, as a longtime RPG gamer I’d rather have a new Cthulhu game comment negatively on Lovecraft’s bigotry than ignore the subject entirely as if it doesn’t matter.

    Isn’t Stephen Blackmoore using his Cthulhu game launch to condemn H.P. Lovecraft similar to Jeanette Ng using her Campbell Award win to condemn John W. Campbell?

  13. I’m not familiar with previous Lovecraftian games (except for Hungry, Hungry Hippos). Do they promote Lovecraft’s racism or, in some way, excuse it?

    Call of Cthulhu (the original and by far most popular tabletop RPG devoted to Cthulhu) has mostly celebrated Lovecraft. Here’s an Amazon review that answers your question:

    In the sixth edition, there were a few pictures of Lovecraft in the book, and a short chapter of his life and work, that completely ignored his racist views, essentially a gushing memorial. But it was brief and shoved in the middle of the book.

    Since then, more and more people have become aware of how bad of person Lovecraft really was. While some organizations have wisely decided to stop idolizing this awful man and mediocre writer of pulp, Chaosium decided to double down on the idol worship. This racist mans face is now HUGE and on the inside cover (both front and back) and plastered all over the book. The new chapter on his life has been moved forward, closer to the beginning, with another huge picture of him preceding the chapter. The content is mostly the same as the previous edition’s gushing memorial, except now they added two sentences that basically hand-wave away his racism “Predisposed to hypochondria and a premature pose of old age, for much of his life he was committed to social and artistic views more suitable to centuries past than the one he lived in. Certainly, his racism is far out of touch with modern social attitudes.”

  14. Reply to rcade: Thank you for the info. I will note that (in skimming) the 57 other reviews, I didn’t find any that echoed those concerns, but that might be expected in a product review. I’m still curious as to whether racist attitudes are part of the game play (certain groups villainized, for example) or if the main concern is with the creator of the mythos and his celebration.

  15. Mike Glyer: So what word do YOU use for somebody who dramatically and repeatedly announces how toxic the originator of the mythos of their new game is? Canny marketer?

    Conscientious Creator, who wants all potential gameplayers to know that their feelings have been taken into consideration in trying to create a work which retains the best elements of the original while getting rid of, or clearly showing as bad, the toxic elements of the original.

    I’m not a fan of Lovecraft, but his mythos is everywhere, because it’s been that influential on creators. I can’t read my 150 SFF books each year without encountering at least a dozen which contain some elements inspired by it. I appreciate very much that creators have very pointedly chosen to leave the racist crap out of it.

  16. Re: Cthulhu. Engaging with earlier material and creators is kind of the point of playing in somebody else’s sandbox.

    Someone stating how they’re engaging with legacy material demonstrates a degree of thoughtfulness about history, the original material, and current reality. If someone creates a Mythos work without acknowledging foundational work by some dude named Lovecraft, I’m going to assume they’re a really bad plagiarist and will feel disinclined to pay attention to them. If someone talks about Lovecraft as “of his time,” I’m going to assume that a) they are ignorant about the subject, probably haven’t read any of the source material, and their work can be dismissed with an eye roll, or b) they’re pretty racist and their work should be dismissed with warnings, because while sometimes racists have a change of heart they can also become even more dangerous over time.

  17. I’m never going to get acclimated to the new normal of humorless social media, or these grindingly serious defenses of a game writer who ostentatiously tells everybody to fuck off and totally deserves to have his chain yanked.

  18. I don’t have a problem with someone talking about the racism inherent in the source material that inspired their work. There is, after all, quite a lot of racism inherent in Lovecraftian mythology, and I’ve read a number of thoughtful discussions about that and also about how the themes are nonetheless very meaningful to many people from marginalised backgrounds. That particular thread was kind of obnoxious and not particularly deep, though, but more on the “meh, eyeroll” level than anything… serious, I guess.

    That being said, it is a gaming industry thread (rather than an sf/f lit thread) and I can certainly understand someone being Really Very Annoyed with the alt-right gaming crowd and wanting to tell them to eff off. Different subculture, more nasty people, more harassment, etc…

  19. I’m never going to get acclimated to the new normal of humorless social media, or these grindingly serious defenses of a game writer who ostentatiously tells everybody to fuck off and totally deserves to have his chain yanked.

    There’s a disconnect here. The subject we’ve taken seriously is Lovecraft’s racism and how to deal with that legacy in modern works he directly inspired. Nobody is taking the “fuck off” comments seriously.

    It’s funny to see the Evil Hat crowd described as humorless. They’re currently playtesting a new game titled Thirsty Sword Lesbians.

  20. It’s funny to see the Evil Hat crowd described as humorless.

    I don’t think Mike is calling the Evil Hat crowd humorless. I could be wrong, but I think he’s calling the people here humorless for not finding his poking at them funny.

    I’ll admit, my response would have been something like:

    Somebody asked why, then, try to monetize Lovecraft’s material at all?

    Because the mythos is pretty cool, and HPL isn’t gonna get any of the money.

    How dare someone ask a question like that! Jeeeze, dude, next thing you’ll be asking the Emperor where’s his clothes!

    But this, I suppose, was the funny part. I don’t see the connection, myself — the Emperor with no clothes is an idiot being lied to by his advisors, and the idiot public goes along with the lie until an innercent child pipes up with the obvious truth. Evil Hat doesn’t seem to be lying to anyone or being lied to themselves — there’s no snow job here. They just want to make it clear that they think Cthulhu’s boss, but his creator was a racist. So they did.

    This isn’t a unique situation — people monetize the creations of racists fairly often, or promote and admire them in other ways. The founders of the United States wrote racism and sexism into the constitution. The early Nancy Drew novels are racist, as were early Tintin comics and Roald Dahl and the German Labor Front, which created the Volkswagen. People who see good things in the ongoing existence of the US or want to sell Nancy Drew stories or Tintin or Dahl works or Volkswagen either remove the racism or acknowledge it as unpleasant, but move on with hopefully non-racist uses of the material.

    So what word do YOU use for somebody who dramatically and repeatedly announces how toxic the originator of the mythos of their new game is? Canny marketer?

    It seems to have been pretty canny marketing.

    I would have put their original notice, in the books, in the category of those advisories people sometimes put at the beginning of collections of classic cartoons or comics that have racist crap in them but are important as history or entertainment for other reasons. The rest seems to have been response to the pushback from the “How dare you call a racist like Lovecraft a racist, he can’t be because we like his work” crowd.

    Frankly, I think it’s that crowd — the people who vigorously deny the truth because they prefer a comforting illusion — that feels more like the Emperor and his sartorial shortcomings.

    But hey, not all jokes work, and even jokes that do don’t work for everyone, and the batting average around here is pretty high anyway.

    Still, I don’t see anything wrong with saying, “Just so you know, yeah, we know the guy was a racist, and we don’t want anyone to think we’re buying into that, but Cthulhu’s cool and here’s a cool game.”

  21. Kurt Busiek: You completely understand what the joke was supposed to be, and I am ready to concede that it was a dud.

  22. (coming in a little late…) wrt marketing by telling the truth about Lovecraft: ISTM that a number of writers — Ruff, Lavalle, and Emrys come immediately to mind — have been mining that vein very effectively; why should it not be effective for a gaming company? The Gamergaters may have caused more trouble (or at least gotten more public notice) than the Puppies, but ISTM they’re far from a majority; slagging them (not “everybody”) off could encourage interest from a majority.

  23. (1) I thought it was generally accepted that ‘The Daily Planet’ was more based on ‘The Toronto Daily Star’, as Joe Shuster had been a newsboy for the Toronto Star before he and his family moved to Cleveland and met up with Jerry Siegel.

    (The Toronto Star, unsurprisingly, has brought this up on a few occasions.)

  24. They’re currently playtesting a new game titled Thirsty Sword Lesbians.

    I may have to reconsider my opinions on the general lack of appeal of computer games…

    (Seriously, I’ve never really gotten the appeal. But I may be tempted.)

  25. I thought it was generally accepted that ‘The Daily Planet’ was more based on ‘The Toronto Daily Star’, as Joe Shuster had been a newsboy for the Toronto Star before he and his family moved to Cleveland and met up with Jerry Siegel.

    No, the Daily Star was (possibly) based on the Daily Star, but it had to be changed.

    In ACTION COMICS 1, Clark Kent works for the Daily Star, though in #2 he works for the Cleveland Evening News, so that may have been a reference that they meant to change but didn’t. It was pretty clear that the early Superman stories took place in Cleveland, until over time the city got bigger and more New York-like, and was eventually named as Metropolis in ACTION COMICS 16.

    The name “Daily Star” gets dropped in ACTION 23, and replaced with “Daily Planet” — this was done because there was by then a syndicated newspaper strip, and while the strip was popular, the syndicate got pushback from clients about the newspaper’s name. Because, it turns out, there are a lot of newspapers called the Star, and if the syndicate was trying to sell the Superman strip in a town or city that had one of them, then the competing newspapers didn’t want to run a strip that advertised their competition. So the name was changed to “Daily Planet” to give Superman’s place of employment an unusual name, unlikely to be used by actual real-world newspapers, and thus unlikely to cause syndication problems.

    It’s often said that Metropolis was based on Toronto, because of a couple of buildings Shuster drew that resembled Toronto buildings, but that was during a period that the stories were pretty clearly set in Cleveland, and there were buildings in Cleveland that looked like that too. So it’s hard to say. Shuster said there was an influence, after the fact, but he was talking to Toronto journalists and the time and wanted them to publicize him, so whether he was telling the truth or not, it’s again hard to say.

    So whether the Daily Star was named for the Toronto Star, or as a reference to Superman’s science fiction origins, we don’t really know. Daily Planet, though, was a change to make the strip easier to sell in markets that had a newspaper named the Star.

  26. @Heather Rose Jones: Thirsty Sword Lesbians appears to be a tabletop game, not a computer game.

    The Kung-Fu CB Pixels on Wheels Versus the Motorcycle Aztec Wrestling Scrolls (too obscure?)

  27. @Kurt Busiek:
    I’d known that the Star->Planet name change was for the syndicated newspaper strip (Star being a very common newspaper name). But your points about ‘he was talking to Toronto journalists’ is well-taken.

    Most things don’t really have just one source of inspiration anyway.

    Canada does have a tendency to try and claim anybody we can as being ‘one of ours’… all the more so because living right next to the U.S., it can be hard to be heard sometimes. And enough things go back and forth across the border it can be hard to separate them.

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