REVIEW: Silver Age Superfreaks

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Sun Apr 8 07:47:40 PDT 2007

On Apr 8, 5:58 am, "Martin Phipps" <martinphip... at> wrote:
>> My theory is that if you're reading a story and you recognize
> something as a joke then it takes away your suspension of disbelief
> and it ends up not even being funny.  That being said, the idea of
> defeating Mr. Uoykcuf by making him say his name backwards can only be
> interpretted as a joke.

I forgot that one and, yes, that was amusing.
> > the stories that shift
> > the focus from detectives to superheroes don't seem to
> > have the same sparkle.
> [...]
> > when you're working
> > exclusively with "normal" people, even in the genre,
> > it requires more of a writer to keep it interesting.
> So either way I'm screwed: if the focus shifts from the detectives to
> the heroes then the series is no longer unique and likewise if the
> focus shifts the other way.  I've noticed that myself.

Actually, that's not what I said.
> > I think the stories that stay true to Martin's premise
> > are, therefore, inherently more interesting than those
> > that don't.  
> > Silver Age Superfreaks does not stay true to this
> > premise.  The focus is split pretty evenly between the
> > heroes and the detectives.
> Now I'm confused.  If the focus shifts to much to the heroes I'm
> screwed; if it shifts too much to the detectives I'm screwed;

You're not screwed, Martin.  I just said that it's harder to write
good stories about the detectives than the heroes; when you write a
good story about the detectives and how they interact with their
world, it's _that_ much more impressive and rewarding for the reader.

> Rather I just felt like writing stories with Night Man and the
> Exterminator but I had already killed both of them off and, as you


> > I was not only disappointed to see that the promise of
> > the premise was not delivered on, but that the promise
> > of the title was squandered as well: there wasn't
> > really much that was Silver Agey about Silver Age
> > Superfreaks.
> I was actually originally going to call it "Golden Age Superfreaks"
> because Colonel Wonder is reminiscent of the Golden Age Captain Marvel
> and Batman's Robin was similarly introduced back in the early 40s (if
> not earlier) but a Punisher "parody" doesn't seem particularly golden
> age.

No, that'd be Bronze Age. :-P

> The Justice League and the Avengers both date back to the Silver
> Age, however.  I'm not sure why you wouldn't have described Silver Age
> Superfreaks as "Silver Agey".  I realize that it wasn't the sixties
> but rather (in my mind) the early nineties but you almost must be
> aware of the fact that the current Marvel and DC heroes who date back
> to the silver or golden age can't actually be in their sixties or
> eighties now and that those golden and silver age stories have all
> been retconned into having taken place back in the eighties and
> nineties anyway.  (Modern flashbacks to Spiderman's early career would
> not have sixties references, for example.)

Let's see-- to answer this properly, one must define the Silver Age of
Comics: giant typewriters, talking apes, clearly-defined good and evil
with no in-between, themed crimes (cf. The Joker's Biggest Boners),
strange situations that make sense in the end (cf. Superman wearing
different hats after exposure to red Kryptonite, not because it makes
him wear hats, but because he is using hats to hide the fact that a
third eye has grown in the back of his head).  Superhero teams-- and
their formation-- are not inherently Silver Agey.

The Silver Age is not so much those elements or even their sum (as
you'll find few of those in, for example, the Marvel Comics of the
period) but rather a feeling, a vibe, that I can't quite put into
words.  Something special and magical and a little crazy.  If you have
to ask, you'll never understand.

> > Still, it has its moments.  I did enjoy the formation
> > of the Extreme Force Six, even if I wasn't
> > particularly interested in how it was formed in the
> > first place.  I thought it was funny how Extreme,
> > Martin's Superman analogue, kept saying the very idea
> > of him serving on such a team was ridiculous.
> There is the incredulity of Archer and Extreme being on the same team
> what with Extreme being godlike and Archer being, well, an archer.

I know; I got that part; that's why I said it was funny.

> I wasn't aware of me overusing colons and semicolons: it's something I
> might want to watch out for the in the future.

See, here, you'd want to use a semicolon instead of a colon.  What you
have are two independent but related causes that can be linked by the
magic of the semicolon.  A colon is better used to reveal a surprise
or to clarify: to explain in greater detail.  Generally, the second
part of the sentence should be shorter than the first, otherwise you
null its impact.

Maybe it's just the improper use that makes the overuse obvious.

> Martin


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