Monday, January 24, 2011


I must be extra bored today. I started thinking about various superhero scenarios. It started with this cartoon.
Borrowed without permission from
It changed to a question about what would happen if a duck were bit by a radioactive spider. Then wondering about Superman and radioactive spiders. Namely, what if Clark Kent went on a school trip to a nuclear energy experimentation lab instead of Peter Parker. A radioactive spider bites Superman and he gets the proportional strength of a spider. Would Superman even notice? Or would it be like radiation poisoning for him? Sure, he's still got the strength of Spiderman, but that's a lot less than he had. Would he even notice he can climb walls since he can already fly? Could the spider even bite him? The man is already bulletproof. Think those tiny little pincers would do any good? The spider might just die with a toothache.

We know Superman gets his power from Earth's yellow sun. What kind of screwed up power is that? Presumably any Kryptonian could do the same thing. How would something like that evolve? Their orbit goes around a red sun. This feature wouldn't do them much good. It has no evolutionary advantage. Does it have a good origin story?

Maybe 15,000 years ago the scientist Bruce-El was conducting an experiment on gamma bombs. But he had to get some kid off the bombing range and was exposed to the blast. Instead of turning into an angry green monster he developed flight and super strength in the presence of a yellow sun. Since there was no yellow sun he simply lived. Seems like that would be the end of that field of research if the bomb couldn't kill one person. Over the next several millenia his powers were bred through the general population.

Same thing with radioactive Krypo-arachnids or lightning hitting chemicals in the police lab or experimental super soldier serums. 

If their sun is red now, the Kryptonian sun must have once been yellow. But as the sun aged and turned red their powers failed. I'd imagine that's when their Renaissance period started. Why build a plow or domesticate cattle when you can till a field with your bare hands in about a minute?

Maybe the power has nothing to do with the yellow sun. Kryptonite is deadly to him. Kryptonite is bits of his home planet. Maybe the important thing is that he's no longer on a planet made of Kryptonite.

Did other life on Krypton have these dormant powers? Unless it was part of an accident or experiment mentioned earlier the powers must have evolved. Would Krypton have winged creatures if they can fly without? Or are the powers exclusive to only mammals or only primates? It still seems like there wouldn't be many birds. There they are chugging along with their wings when a cat knocks it out of the air before the bird hears the sonic boom.

A large part of Superman's invulnerability is an extremely dense cellular structure. So if/when Superman dies would he decay? Would bugs and germs and whatnot be able to penetrate his body to break it down? Or would the Kryptonian bacteria in his digestive tract be able to consume him? Do the Kryptonian bacteria have powers since they've never seen the yellow sun? If Superman dies would the bacteria in his GI tract will break him down and move on to digest the rest of the planet's surface?

If you watch the original Superman movie you'll hear Jor-El talk about how the fortress is the collected knowledge from all the known worlds. The logical conclusion is that Kryptonians knew about and have visited lots of other worlds. A dozen at least. Not only this, but they know them well enough to presume to have their collected knowledge on crystal wafers. This assumes regular interstellar travel, maybe commerce, possibly colonies, or at least people setting up shops and housekeeping on these other worlds. So when Krypton goes poof there has to be some Kryptonians not stuck on the homeworld. There's other works in the DC comics universe that tell of the dome city that survived the explosion and yielded Supergirl, but there has to be more than just that.

One flaw in my thinking is that the Kryptonians could have just been watching the other planets like they watch Earth before sending Kal-El here. All research has been by probes so there's not even researcher hiding behind the moon of some distant planet. Or, if instead of the planet exploding, the sun exploded like "Superman Returns" says then the blast of radiation sterilized the planets in the closer star systems and the distance of Earth from the blast is part of why Kal-El had to come here.

But would all those nearby planets have red suns as well? I guess so. If they were part of a galactic cluster or nebula then all the stars would be about the same age. 

And what would a duck do with the proportional strength of a spider?

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