With the second season premiere of 'Sirens' ("Superdick"), there was a lot of talk about comic book superheroes. Among the mentions:
- Lex Luthor
- Clark Kent
- The Flash
- The phone booth trope
On an emergency call, Johnny, Hank, and Brian found a woman tied to her bed with her boyfriend unconscious on the floor... dressed in a superhero costume. The EMTs wanted to know if she had been tied up by Lex Luthor and if her boyfriend had been struck by Kryptonite.
One of the failings of Toobworld's official version of the legend of Superman, "The Adventures Of Superman", was the lack of super villains from the comic books. Watching those old shows now, it's hard to believe it kept kids enthralled for so long when all he had as enemies were weaselly little gangsters and Joe Besser wannabes. Where was Brainiac? Mr. Mxzyptlyk? But most of all, where was Lex Luthor?
I've written about Superman of Toobworld's unseen super villains in the past, and character actor RG Armstrong has always been my first choice for playing Lex Luthor. He would have been a real "get" for the role back in the fifties and may have opened the doors to other better known actors requesting the chance to appear on the series in much the same way would happen a decade later with 'Batman'.
So I'm citing the Khan-Chekov Principle in that although we never got to see Lex Luthor in action in Earth Prime-Time (as opposed to the TV dimensions of Land O' Remakes, Comic Book Toobworld, and the West Wing Dimension), we can accept that he was out there in the Vast Wasteland and that the joke/question reference to him in this episode is an acknowledgement of his existence.
Kryptonite did show up in the original series; at least six episodes focused on the deadly meteorite remnants of Superman's homeworld. And although Superman is considered dead in Earth Prime-Time, actually killed by Kryptonite, the green glowing mineral is still out there, although basically harmless to Earthlings. (No fear for the Kandorians, who were transported by Superman - perhaps with help from the Doctor? - to their own new planet as seen in "The Little People", an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. As for Supergirl, I get this feeling the new CBS series about Supergirl will have to be in its own TV dimension or that of Comic Book Toobworld. And Power Girl? I think she could be in Earth Prime-Time - I think she SHOULD be in Toobworld! - but my thoughts on her are best not telecast.....)
As I said, Superman/Clark Kent is dead in Toobworld, but at one point the characters wonder where Superman changes "now" since there are really no telephone booths anymore with the advent of smart phones. (One suggestion was "Port-O-Potties".) But I think this would be a reference to the Superman depicted in the movies and whoever asked the question just hasn't seen any of them.....
Brian pointed out that the costume worn by "Super Jim" suggested Superman because of the red cape, but that there was a subtle nod to the Flash as well.
Barry Allen can be currently seen on the CW in a remake of 'The Flash' TV series, which means it belongs in the Land O' Remakes (but also in Comic Book Toobworld.) The original Flash was active in 1990 for a few years, but he has not been seen on our TV screens for over two decades. Oddly enough, the father of "Remake Barry", Henry Allen, looks EXACTLY like Barry Allen of Earth Prime-Time.
I was intrigued by a theory put forth by master "crossovarchivist" Thom Holbrook in which Henry Allen actually was the Barry Allen of the main Toobworld. As in the comic books, the TV Flash must have been able to manifest the power to vibrate himself (That sounds dirty - let's say "Phase himself") into another dimension. Why? Probably he was in pursuit of James Jesse, AKA The Trickster, who had found a way to go dimension-hopping himself and took a couple of hostages with him - Dr. Tina McGee from S.T.A.R. Labs and police officer Tony Nelson.
The Flash would have given chase, but the exertion through the dimensional veil proved to be too much. It sapped him of his powers forever and left all four of them stranded in that new Toobworld, forced to make new lives for themselves. (Barry didn't so much change his name to Henry, but more than likely "Barry" was a nickname and he reverted back to his true name.)
Dr. Tina McGee has shown up in the new series so far, with James Jesse and Tony Bellows soon to follow. And all of them are played by the original actors:
- Barry/Henry Allen - John Wesley Shipp
- Dr. Tina McGee - Amanda Pays
- James Jesse/The Trickster - Mark Hamill
- Tony Bellows - Vito D'Ambrosio
It's an intriguing theory and I may adopt it, giving credit to Thom, of course. But I think the other reason why we haven't seen the Flash in the main Toobworld for all of these years is that his powers burned out in his metabolism through constant use. As for the other characters, those are just their counterparts in the alternate dimension. It's a much simpler splainin and for Toobworld, citing Occam's Razor is the way to go.
During a conversation about dating superheroes, Hank said he would rather date Batman - rich and mysterious. (He gave a third reason, but my DVR recording kept cutting out during key lines for that one episode.)
Batman is an interesting superhero for Toobworld, in that theoretically there has been more than one since the early 1960s. The first one was millionaire Bruce Wayne of Gotham City who established a good working relationship with the Gotham City Police Department and was well regarded by the general public.
But an unforeseen problem arose at the height of his crime-fighting career when his true identity as Bruce Wayne was revealed to the world. The shadowy organization UNREEL stepped in, hoping to stem the damage by creating a TV show about Batman and Robin and even naming Wayne and his youthful ward Dick Grayson as the heroes. This way, anybody who tried to perpetuate the allegation that Bruce Wayne was Batman could be laughed off as confusing the TV show for real life. (For the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, an actor named Adam West was hired because of his uncanny resemblance to the millionaire superhero.)
But the ruse could only work for so long and eventually Bruce Wayne retired as Batman. However, the Dark Knight would not go quietly into that good night. Over the decades there may have been a succession of men who donned the cowl to become the Batman, perhaps even starting with Dick Grayson. And behind the scenes, Bruce Wayne continued to fund the campaign against evil with his fortune. Further assistance from UNREEL began again in 1989 with the first of a string of theatrically released movies about Batman.....
If the public wanted to continue to believe these Batmen were Bruce Wayne, perhaps it was for the best to protect the Batman's real identity. But here's the general rule of thumb for Toobworld Central - if Batman is referenced as Bruce Wayne, it is a call-back to the 1960s iteration of the hero. If only Batman is mentioned and epecially in the present tense, than it is a reference to the current hero, whomever he may be under that mask. And if Batman and Bruce Wayne are mentioned as being one and the same and still active, then that person is O'Bviously confused and blurring the line between fiction and "reality".
The girlfriend offered her suggestion for a superhero she would like to date - Aquaman. When it was pointed out that he is one of the lamest superheroes ever, she reminded them that he would never have to come up for air. Nudge nudge wink wink!
Of all the references so far in this episode, Aquaman is the only one who doesn't actually exist in the main Toobworld... yet. So far he's only a comic book character who was transformed into a feature film role played by Vincent Chase ('Entourage'). Over in the TV dimension of 'Smallville' & 'The West Wing', Aquaman did show up, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he has a doppelganger in Earth Prime-Time.
One day this may change. We'll see....