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Unfulfilled Aspirations

An article by
Elliot S! Maggin

Want to know about unfulfilled aspirations in comics?

For years I've been saying that if there's anything I don't feel I need to do again for the rest of my life it's write another comic book.  I mean there's just no internal imperative any more, after all.  What incentive is there for me to do a bang-up job on my 522nd comic book story?  Am I worried that if I screw up I won't get to write the 523rd? What I've done in comics -- as chaotic an overall vision and as internally inconsistent as these hundreds of stories are -- constitutes an oeuvre, I feel.  So I decided awhile back that what I do is books and movies, and not to pursue animation or comics or television or anything actively but books and movies.

But at the moment, because somebody called and asked and I didn't say no, I'm writing my first comic book story in about two or three years and it's fun.  It's a Generation X annual based loosely on the story in the Generation X novel Scott Lobdell and I did which is shipping to bookstores as I write this.  And it occurred to me that I can think of at least one comic book story I still would like to write.

I'd like to do the epic story of Krypto.  No joke.

It's always bothered me that in the old Superman continuity -- the version stretching back to 1939 that we all worked so hard to justify and build upon until 1986 when we all got fired and they stopped worrying about their heritage altogether -- stuff was always "drifting" to Earth.  Superman.  Six kinds of Kryptonite.  The Phantom Zone villains.  Mon-ElArgo CityKrypto.  Doesn't work.  It's not like Earth is actually the backwater spot that we thought it was years ago. Turns out Earth is actually about a third of the way up along a major spiral arm of a not terribly insignificant galaxy that is one of a major archipelago of galaxies.  But still, we're only a little planet after all.  Not likely everyone and everything from one point in vast space would likely end up in this other point in space.  But Krypto is another story.

This all started percolating in my head, as it happens, when my seventh-grader read a bunch of stuff by Jack London for English class this year and I read or reread a lot of it with him.  Dog stories are great, especially when you take the dogs seriously.  Why has Krypto as a character survived in all our imaginations for all these years?  It's because -- like White Fang -- Krypto fulfills a need in many of our individually rich fantasy theaters.  The story of his bonding with the baby Kal-El, his being lost in space, his adventures and will to survive even after he is lost and his homeworld is destroyed, his spectacular reunion as a grown dog with the boy Clark Kent ... this is the stuff of legend.  It's a great boy story and I suppose if I were of a mind actually to pursue this stuff I'd pitch it to Joey or somebody up at DC.  I won't -- just because I'm not doing that sort of thing these days.

But I'll tell you about it, just because you asked.  And I'll copyright this article, just in case.

And thanks for asking.

Copyright © 1997 by Elliot S! Maggin

STARWINDS HOWL by Elliot S! Maggin

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