Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Physics of Superheroes

Thanks to Matthew for pointing this one out.

Newsarama has an interview with James Kakalios, author of "The Physics of Superheroes", whose book tries to semi-plausibly explain the physics of what goes on inside a comic book, from Flash's aura to the Hulk's strength and beyond. The interviewer asks if Kakalios has been in contact with current creators, to help them out. He mentions one exchange with Gail Simone on "The All-New Atom" and this exchange with Mark Waid on the Legion:

When Mark Waid wrote that Supergirl suddenly shows up in the year 3000 and people are trying to figure out how she got there and even she’s not sure how she time traveled. I said, “I know how this happened.” But I waited until the next issue and then I saw that it was going to be presented as a big mystery. I sent them an email saying “This is the mechanism by which she probably did it.” He wrote back saying, “That’s much better than what I was thinking of. I got to see if I can change this now.” So that’s fun. But so far in the storyline he hasn’t explained how she’s shown up in the future. So I’m waiting to see whether my mechanism pops up or not.

The apparent explanation that we've seen is that a zeta-beam transports across space, so a messed-up zeta-beam transports across time. Or is that just a red herring in 52?

1 comment:

Matthew E said...

Coincidentally I took 'The Physics of Superheroes' out from the library last weekend and started reading it yesterday. It's not actually about using physics to explain superheroes so much as it's about using superheroes to teach physics. Kakalios's premise is that superhero comics actually portray physics accurately a surprising amount of the time, and he uses those examples in a university course he teaches. The book is an extension of the course. It's a good read so far: Kakalios knows his stuff when it comes to comics (it should go without saying that he knows physics) and he's pretty funny.