Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Super-Teacher from Krypton

Jor-El must have built it, it's got his color scheme

Or, as Robby Reed, creator of Dial B for BLOG, calls it, the Super-Teacher A-hole.

The "adjective-noun-noun" structure sounds like manga gone wrong. If this thing were called "Krypton Genesis Herodotron" it would probably have had its own comic. Would probably still have it.

I mean, is that one ugly robot or what? I guess Jor-El can be forgiven for creating the Edsel of DC robotics, given that he took the time to build it at all in the face of planetary armageddon. And he thoughtfully programmed it to teach the use of super-powers. Apparently, on a planet as advanced as Krypton, it isn't enough for those who "can't do" to teach: They build robots to enhance skills that nobody on the planet has, or can possibly acquire without leaving the planet. Interesting use of resources, given that they didn't have space travel.

You know, it's just possible that they made fun of Jor-El for reasons other than the planet-blowing-up thing.

This story typifies a popular theme in Superboy (and Superman) stories which we may call WWJD (What Would Jor-El Do?). In such stories, we discover that Jor-El apparently had sufficient time between bouts of being humiliated by the Science Council to anticipate every aspect of his son's life on Earth and leave messages for him--mostly encouraging, though not exclusively so. See also The Day Superman Became the Flash, in which it's revealed that Jor-El fastened a video tape to the outside (!) of Kal-El's rocket explaining "Why Earth?".

There's also a healthy dollop of LJSC (Let's Jerk Superboy's Chain), as Superboy's shaky adolescent self-confidence is undermined and his fear that he just isn't smart enough to manage his powers effectively is exploited for cheap entertainment. They returned to this well a year later with the introduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who (like Super-A-hole) arranged for Superboy to fail at tests, so they could call him "loser!" just to see how he'd react.

Read the original Super-Teacher and Legion stories.

EDIT: Super-Teacher returns, with appalling implications. Read Robby's summary, and the original story.

1 comment:

The Fortress Keeper said...

Super Teacher got on Supergirl's butt one time too. He didn't think women should have super powers, demonstrating what an advanced society Krypton was.