The NULL Solution = Episode 98

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The NULL Solution = Episode 98

…“Harmonia sounds like it could be a utopia, as in Valhalla or Camelot. Are you suggesting that literature is the key?” The Classics was not Roy Crippen’s favorite class in school…

HORIZONS MURAL by Robert McCall

Gus McKinney cannot keep quiet.

He, his two closest friends and a supercomputer named Watson III have been pouring over the Martian riddle, the mathematical conundrum wrapped in a quiz, for months and months on end.

“I am sick and tired of racking my brain over this thing. Theodor Geisel must be behind this!”

“The Chinese think we are the culprits and you are guessing Dr. Seuss’ ghost? How about you Fitch, what’s your theory?” Roy posits.

“I believe it is simpler than just bad math, but that’s as far I’ve gotten. The overriding issue is who is behind it and why. Does the word/term “harmonia” ring a bell to either of you?”

“Why do you ask Fitch?”

“I have programmed Watson III to solve the riddle every single day at Midnight.”

“It hasn’t solved it though, so what’s your point?”

“Well, seven times in 7 different languages, the term “harmonia” has been Watson’s final conclusion.”

“There is ammonia present in Mars’ refreshed atmosphere; we’ve known that for years.”

“Not a-m-m-o–n-i-a, Gus. Yes, you can’t have life without it, but Watson’s English spelling is h-a-r-m-o-n-i-a. I needed a universal translator for most of his other answers.”

“Harmonia sounds like it could be a utopia, as in Valhalla or Camelot. Are you suggesting that literature is the key?” The Classics was not Roy’s favorite in school. He got a weak C in the class.

“Utopia is more of a concept than a place, Dad. Maybe that is the key that lets us down to the surface. How about I give it a whirl?”

“A whirl to you means another ride in SEx. You know that certain people are attempting to monitor when and where you go off to in that thing? You cannot treat it like it’s the family car.”

“We just went over it with a fine tooth comb last week, right Fitch?”

“The SOL drive is as amazing as ever Gus!”

Roy is aware that they absolutely lucked out with the speed-of-light upgrade, thanks to Celeste M. and her covert friends. “A night flight couldn’t do any harm I suppose. It has been a while since we knocked on Mars’ door. Make sure you get some sleep before then.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 98


page 99

Sequel to THE RETURN TRIP Coming to WIF

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Sequel to THE RETURN TRIP

Coming to WIF

Beginning on or about September 20th.


The Sci Fi – Family Saga of the Space Family McKinney continues, as the connection between Eridanus and Earth is inescapable…

… BUT nothing is as easy as it seems.

Sampson, Celeste, Deke, Gus & Deimostra McKinney are spread out across the Milky Way, at the mercy of superior alien races and an omnipotent higher power Earth has named Lorgan.

In the middle of the 21st Century, the planet Mars has been restored to its former glory – with even greater enhancements as it becomes the unofficial/official headquarters for Universal harmony…

… BUT before intergalactic harmony can be achieved, a puzzling riddle must be solved AND everyone has a crack at it.

Ultimately, the solution comes from an unlikeliest of sources.

The future of the Space Family McKinney, and their planned reunion, is at stake.

Day by day – 250+ Episodes w/art, music, graphics and more

The McKinneys have become a daily part of hundreds of readers here at WIF. THE NULL SOLUTION picks up where THE RETURN TRIP leaves off.

I want to personally thank you being a part of my fiction.

If you good wholesome Science Fiction, you have come to the right place.


Sequel to THE RETURN TRIP

Coming to WIF

Sequel to THE RETURN TRIP Coming to WIF

Leave a comment

Sequel to THE RETURN TRIP

Coming to WIF

Beginning on or about September 20th.


The Sci Fi – Family Saga of the Space Family McKinney continues, as the connection between Eridanus and Earth is inescapable…

… BUT nothing is as easy as it seems.

Sampson, Celeste, Deke, Gus & Deimostra McKinney are spread out across the Milky Way, at the mercy of superior alien races and an omnipotent higher power Earth has named Lorgan.

In the middle of the 21st Century, the planet Mars has been restored to its former glory – with even greater enhancements as it becomes the unofficial/official headquarters for Universal harmony…

… BUT before intergalactic harmony can be achieved, a puzzling riddle must be solved AND everyone has a crack at it.

Ultimately, the solution comes from an unlikeliest of sources.

The future of the Space Family McKinney, and their planned reunion, is at stake.

Day by day – 250+ Episodes w/art, music, graphics and more

The McKinneys have become a daily part of hundreds of readers here at WIF. THE NULL SOLUTION picks up where THE RETURN TRIP leaves off.

I want to personally thank you being a part of my fiction.

If you good wholesome Science Fiction, you have come to the right place.


Sequel to THE RETURN TRIP

 

Coming to WIF

From Boring to The Bomb – WIF Grammar

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 https://custom-writing.org/assignment-writing-services#boring-words 

emilgram.jack@yahoo.com

t@Jack__Milgram

fJack.Milgram


From Boring to The Bomb

– WIF Grammar


 

The Future – As Read in Fiction

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Books That Predicted

the Future

With Eerie Accuracy

When authors write about the future, they have to predict what technology and life might be like decades down the road. While the books are often written as a metaphor for their contemporary society, some authors have made amazingly accurate predictions about what modern life has actually become.

 These are all fiction books that, somehow, managed to predict the future. 

10. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? By Horace McCoy

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is a relentlessly bleak book that was published in 1935. It’s about a young man named Robert who moves to Los Angeles to get into the film industry. When Robert tries to get work as an extra on a movie, he meets Gloria, a young woman who wants to be an actress. After failing to get jobs, they decide to join a dance marathon. The problem is that these marathons are death marches that can go on for weeks. The only breaks that the contestants get are 10 minute time-outs after an hour and fifty minutes of dancing. The couple that lasts the longest gets $1,000, and all the contestants are fed.

Throughout the contest, new gimmicks are added to liven up the marathon. Like at the end of the night, there’s a speed walk and the couple that comes in last is eliminated. Another twist that is added to the marathon is two contestants get married, and are saved from elimination. Other times, celebrities show up at the marathon for cameos.

Published in the mid-1930s, They Shoot Horses was written as a metaphor of the plight of people during the Great Depression. However, today it can be seen as a frightfully accurate precursor to reality TV shows.

In reality shows, people voluntarily do things that are physically and mentally grueling and/or humiliating, all for money and their 15 minutes of fame. Reality shows are also known for using gimmicks to make the show more exciting. Finally, celebrities of varying degrees of fame are known to pop up on all types of reality shows, from Big Brother toMasterChef.

The question is, is a grueling dance marathon any more dehumanizing than making someone eat something likehorse rectum or blended rats, like some contestants on Fear Factor had to do?

9. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Infinite Jest is a long and unwieldy book; the story is nearly a thousand pages and there are over 100 pages of footnotes. It’s believed that the book takes place around 2009, in an alternate timeline where the years aren’t numbered. Instead, they are sponsored by companies. For example, there is the Year of the Whopper and the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment.

Due to the scope of the book, the plot is impossible to summarize in a few sentences, but it’s mostly set at a tennis academy and a halfway house for addicts. Both are in Boston, which is part of the Organization of North American Nations, or O.N.A.N. In this reality, the United States forced Canada and Mexico to join America as one big super state.

There are several groups of characters in the book and some of those people are looking for a lost film called “Entertainment.” The film is supposedly so entertaining that if someone starts to watch it, they can’t stop. They will do nothing else but watch the film. This includes stopping eating and drinking, and eventually, they will die while watching it.

In many ways, Wallace’s novel predicted contemporary life fairly accurately. Most notably, he predicted the way people would consume media and their obsession with entertainment. In the book, people watch teleputers, which are combinations of televisions, phones, and computers. People can get movies and TV shows off the InterLace to watch whenever they want, and then they listen to their teleputers with white ear plugs.

Of course, all of those inventions are now commonplace, albeit not exactly the way that Wallace envisioned it. Teleputers sound a lot like smart phones, Wallace just didn’t predict that they would be mobile and fit in the palm of your hand, while the InterLace is a lot like Netflix. However, Wallace thought that a system like the Interlace would be the death of TV advertising. Finally, the earplugs are, of course, Apple’s earbuds.

Wallace also wrote about video phones, which had been predicted by many other writers before him, but Wallace had an interesting insight. In Infinite Jest, videophones were just a fad because people don’t like seeing themselves on the screen. In real life, there are many reasons people don’t use video chat as frequently as texting. One reason is that people don’t like seeing pictures of themselves.

Finally, Wallace predicted the rise of Donald Trump. In his book, the President is the loudest and brashest right wing sensationalist of the mid-1990s – Rush Limbaugh

8. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood’s End, by famed sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke, is about an invasion of Earth by a group of aliens called the Overlords. The Overlords aren’t violent, but they hide themselves from human eyes. Through a spokesperson at the United Nations, they say that they will reveal themselves to humankind in 50 years. 

During those 50 years, the Overlords improve life on Earth in many ways – ignorance, poverty, hunger, and disease are all things of the past. Of course, the Overlords also help advance human technology. One of those technologies was a type of virtual reality that is like a movie, but it is so realistic that you can’t tell the difference between the movie and real life. “The program,” as Clarke called it, would appeal to all the senses and would allow the person to be someone completely different from themselves, or even a plant. Why someone would want to be a plant is beyond us, but that isn’t the only head scratching prediction Clarke made.

He also predicted that in the early 2000s, people might watch TV for three hours a day. The only way someone would be able to watch all the programming would be to never sleep, as opposed to it being impossible.

So while Clarke didn’t foresee cable TV or YouTube, he did correctly predict video games and virtual reality. This is pretty impressive considering that when the book was published in 1953, televisions in homes were just becoming common.

7. The Plot Against America by Phillip Roth

In Phillip Roth’s 2004 book, The Plot Against America, a well-known celebrity gets into politics and starts to spew conspiracy theories about minorities. Finding his niche, the celebrity, with no political experience, panders to racists and anti-Semites. Surprisingly, he wins the nomination of the Republican Party and then goes on to win the presidency. As president, he aligns himself with a notorious and brutal world leader and this creates global tension and conflict. He also begins to persecute the minorities that he villainized in his campaign.

The Plot Against America takes place in an alternate timeline and it starts in 1940. The celebrity who is running for president is Charles Lindbergh, who uses a platform rife with anti-Semitism to become president. After he’s elected, the world leader that Lindbergh associates himself with is Adolf Hitler.

Of course, the parallels in Roth’s book to real life should be obvious to anyone who wasn’t living under a rock in 2016. But if you were in a coma or something, let us fill you in. Celebrity real estate mogul Donald Trump ran for the Republican ticket with no political experience. His platform included racist conspiracy theories and he spoutedoffensive rhetoric about minorities. He found popularity among white nationalists and people who were anti-immigration and then shamelessly pandered to them. Amazingly, he not only won the Republican nomination, but he went on to win the presidency.

So far, as president, Trump has alienated several of America’s allies, but talks glowingly about Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government has a horrendous record of human rights violations, which includes state-sponsored human trafficking.

The final similarity between President Trump and President Lindbergh is that after Trump became President, he started to persecute those he villainized in his campaign,specifically Muslims and undocumented immigrants.

6. Neuromancer by William Gibson

William Gibson’s 1984 novel, Neuromancer, not only gave birth to the cyberpunk genre, but it also predicted cyberspace and the internet.

The book follows Case, a former computer hacker and drug addict. Before the book starts, Case was fired from his job and his central nervous system was poisoned, so he couldn’t “jack in” to cyberspace, which is called “the matrix.” Millions of people can jack into the matrix, which is a 3D virtual world that appeals to all the senses. One day, Case meets a mysterious employer who says he will help Case get back into the matrix, but in exchange, Case has to complete an incredibly difficult hack.

In 1984, there was an internet, but only a handful of universities used it. Gibson foresaw that it would eventually connect millions of computers. Of course, the internet isn’t as immersive as the matrix Gibson predicted (yet) but he did predict the rise of technological addiction and people’s need to be online.

5. Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s debut novel, Player Piano, was published in 1952, and it takes place in the near future, 10 years after the Third World War. Since people were needed to fight the war, factories were designed to be more autonomous. Also, the stock market is controlled by a computer that tells the factories how many products the world needs. Unfortunately, this automation leads to massive unemployment. Only managers and engineers, who have doctorates, are employed and everyone else can either join the Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps, where they do meaningless work like fill potholes, or they can join the army. However, being in the army has kind of lost its meaning as well, because there is nothing to fight for. Essentially, Player Piano is about how automation could make life purposeless for many people.

Of course, we are a long way from the world of Player Piano, but Vonnegut did correctly predict the rise of automation in society, and that it would cause people to lose their jobs. Many people have blamed these job losses on China, or immigrants, but that isn’t exactly the case. Since 2000, America has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs, but American manufacturing output has increased during that time; meaning the jobs are being lost to computers and robots, not to other countries or people.

We’re seeing automation take over jobs more and more every day. Just a few examples include with self-checkout lanes at the grocery store or McDonald’s automated menus. In the future, more jobs are expected to be lost to automation. Drones are already being tested for deliveries by companies like Amazon. Notably, by 2020, self-driving cars are expected to be the norm and this will eliminate all driving jobs. It is expected to get so bad that, over the next 20 years in a country like Canada, four out of 10 jobs will be lost to automation.

So what do you want to do? Join the army or the Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps?

4. Earth by David Brin

David Brin is best known for writing the book The Postman, which was made into one of Kevin Costner’s worst movies (and that is saying something). In 1989, Brin published the novel Earth, which takes place in the year 2038. While the novel does have a plot, the book is more or less Brin’s predictions about the future. If you’re curious what the plot is, it’s that an artificial black hole has fallen into the Earth’s core. Scientists have a year to fix it, or the Earth may be destroyed.

The book has a large cast of characters and through these characters, Brin explores what life might be like in the future. Currently, there is a website that keeps track of his predictions, and there are 14 predictions confirmed to have come true and another eight that are likely.

Some of the predictions that Brin did get right are global warming, rising sea levels, and the breaking of the levees on the Mississippi River. Another natural disaster that is postulated in the book that came true was the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.

In 1990, people knew about the internet, but Brin accurately predicted the World Wide Web that was invented by Tim Berners-Lee a year after the book was published. On the “net,” as Brin calls it, there are pages full of hyperlinks. Brin also thought that the net would be used by major news outlets and citizen reporters, along with everyday people who wanted to express themselves. Finally, he also foresaw spam and Trojan horse viruses.

At the time of this list, Brin still has about 21 years to be proven right on the rest of his predictions. So far, only one prediction from his book has been disproven. In Earth, the characters haven’t discovered any Earth-like planets and they didn’t think they would be found any time soon. In reality, we have found several Earth-like planets that are in habitable zones around their star. The first was Kepler-186f; its discovery was announced by NASA in 2014.

3. The World Set Free by H.G. Wells

In The World Set Free, H.G. Wells predicted atomic bombs, even going as far to use the term “atomic bomb” in his book. His bombs are uranium-based and they are about the size of an orange. The explosion is caused by the splitting of atoms and after the explosion, there is corrosive radiation left over. What is so impressive about this is that Wells wrote the book in 1913, 32 years before the first nuclear bomb was tested.

The World Set Free also has an interesting role in the technology it predicted – it helpedinspire its invention.

In 1932, English scientists had successfully split an atom through artificial means and the experiment didn’t show any evidence that splitting an atom would cause a huge release of energy. Later that year, Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard read The World Set Free and thought that Wells was correct. Splitting an atom would probably release a lot of energy; the question was how to split the atom. A year later, he had a eureka moment. Szilard said, “It suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by neutrons and which would emit two neutrons when it absorbed one neutron, such an element, if assembled in sufficiently large mass, could sustain a nuclear chain reaction.”

Szilard patented the idea in 1933, but he was disturbed by The World Set Free. He didn’t want the patent to become public because it might fall into the wrong hands. Something else that worried him was the rise of Nazism. So in 1939, he drafted the letter that was sent by Albert Einstein to Franklin Roosevelt, saying that Germany was stockpiling uranium. This letter, in turn, gave birth to the Manhattan Project. Szilard and some British scientists worked with the Americans, and this eventually led to the first nuclear bombs. Two of those bombs were dropped on Japan in August 1945 at the tail end of World War II.

Wells died in 1946, after having seen the weapon that he warned against used on civilians in a war.

2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Yeah, you knew this one was coming.

Published in 1935, Brave New World takes place in the year 632 A.F., which is actually 2540 A.D. (A.F. stands for After Ford, as in the industrialist Henry Ford). In the future, babies are born in labs, meaning the family unit is dead. When they are children, they are told in whispers while they sleep to buy things and to love consumer products. When they are older, the state demands that they be sexually promiscuous, and women wear their birth control on their belts. No one has any real worries about life because mood enhancing drugs are widely available and its usage is encouraged.

Of course, contemporary society isn’t quite to the point of Brave New World, but in all fairness to its author, Aldous Huxley, we still have over 520 years to go. However, he did accurately depict several aspects of contemporary culture, including our consumerist-heavy society. He also predicted antidepressants and their prevalence in modern society.

What’s interesting about Brave New World‘s relationship to contemporary society, is that in 1985, writer and media critic Neil Postman published the non-fiction book Amusing Ourselves to Death. In the book, Postman accurately predicts the rise of a candidate like Donald Trump and the prevalence of fake news in society. In the introduction of the book, Postman explains that he got the idea in 1984, when he was participating in a panel on parallels between George Orwell’s 1984 and real life in 1984.

What Postman realized is that modern life is becoming more like Brave New World than1984. Postman wrote:

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that therewould be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.”

Essentially, what Postman says Huxley was warning us against is the dangers of beingoppressed by our own amusement; meaning we use endless streams of entertainment to distract ourselves and fail to engage with real life.

1. Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

Stand on Zanzibar is probably the least well known book on the list, but it is the most accurate prediction of what life would be like in the future. 

The book, which was written in 1968, follows a large cast of characters, but many chapters are backstory and information about the world of 2010. According to the website The Millions, there are at least 17 amazingly accurate predictions that Brunner makes about 2010 in Stand on Zanzibar.

In the book, a major problem in society is that individuals are committing random acts of violence, often at schools. Terrorists also threaten American interests and attack American buildings. Between 1960 and 2010, Brunner predicted that prices would increase six fold because of inflation; it actually increased sevenfold. America’s biggest rival is China, and not the Soviet Union. It’s also a different dynamic because instead of warfare or a weapons race, the competition is seen in economics, trade, and technology. 

As for the rest of the world, the countries of Europe have formed into one union. Britain is part of it, but they tend to side with the United States, while the other European countries are critical of American actions. Africa is behind the rest of the world, while Israel’s existence is still a source of tension in the Middle East.

When it comes to the lives of everyday people, marriage still happens but young people prefer to have short-term relationships instead of committing to someone long-term. Society is also much more liberal. Homosexuality and bisexuality is accepted. Black people are in a better position in society, but racial tension is still prevalent.

When it comes to technology, Brin predicted that cars would run on electric fuel cells. Honda and General Motors are the two biggest manufacturers. And even though General Motors is a Detroit based company, Detroit is a rundown ghost town, but they have a unique techno music scene, which really did emerge in the 1990s.

TV channels are played all over the world thanks to satellites and the TV system allows people to watch shows on their own schedule. Inflight entertainment on planes is in the back of the seats and they feature videos and news. Also, in the book the characters can phone each other on video screens, but instead of a picture of themselves, they use avatars, which can look like the caller or someone completely different. There are also laser printers, which print documents.

Pharmaceuticals are used to help sexual performance, and they are advertised. Due to a societal and political backlash, tobacco has been marginalized and marijuana has become decriminalized. Finally, the President of the United States is President Obomi, which is an amazing fluke or actual evidence that Brunner somehow saw or experienced 2010.

In all, Stand on Zanzibar is a pretty remarkable vision of the future. Unfortunately, the author, John Brunner, did not get to see many of his predictions come true – he died in 1995 at the age of 60.


The Future

– As Read in Fiction

Marvel/DC Comic Mashups – WIF Graphic Novels

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Marvel-DC Mashups

from contributor 

What would happen if you took elements of two famous comic book characters, one from Marvel and one from DC, and mixed them together? Would the two powers complement each other and make the hero better? Or would having two powers be a hindrance to the character? Well, we wondered the same thing, so we had several artists develop mashup characters using characters from the two dominant comic book universes, the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe. Now we want to know which ones you like the best; please vote up for your favorites and down for ones you don’t like. Also, in the comments below, please feel free to share any ideas you have for Marvel-DC mashups that we don’t have on the list.

1. Captain Bat

 The mashup of two characters that both have an unbeatable, indomitable will is a nice character trait. But think about this, Batman uses the bat to instill fear and the Captain America uses the American flag for inspiration. Together they inspire fear like no one else.
Illustrated by Doubleleaf.

2. FlasHulk

 The Flash & The Hulk may not come to mind as good combination superhero, but super-speed and super-strength actually make him…um, Superman….if he couldn’t fly and was green and had anger management issues. Sounds like a good guy to have at parties, “Flash smash fast!”
Illustrated by Doubleleaf.

3. Wonder Phoenix

 The mashup of two powerful super-heroines, Wonder Woman and Phoenix (Jean Grey) is a natural combo of two heroes with great hair. An Amazon combined with the Phoenix Force would be a hot date unless you are blue-haired, asparagus-looking aliens.
Illustrated by Rick Marin.

 4. Iron Robin

Even I’m not sure how I came up with Iron Man and Robin as a good mashup. Maybe I was going for a mashup that really makes no sense. They are such opposites. Metal armor vs. tights. Solo hero vs. sidekick. Cool name vs. bird name. Playboy vs. just a boy. I better stop, Robin might be reading this and the differences are quite depressing from his point of view.
Illustrated by Felle.

 5. Captain Crawler

 Blending Nightcrawler’s distinctive features with the wholesome good looks of DC’s Captain Marvel (Shazam) gives us a dashing guy in a hoodie who can teleport and stand toe-to-toe with Superman. Does he remind anyone of Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin’s Creed? Yeah, me too.
Illustrated by Doubleleaf.

 6. CyThing

 Two loveable, but sometimes brooding characters who would rather have the body they were born with rather than the body fate gave them. The Thing and Cyborg are more alike than either probably realized, so better to mash them up into CyThing! The Thing would be even more badass with a cannon for an arm, yes?
Illustrated by Rick Marin.

 7. Thor Hawk

Two guys that swing a deadly, blunt instrument, a hammer for Thor and a mace for Hawkman. Seems like a good mashup of beings from other worlds who came to defend earth or Midgard.
Illustrated by Kelly Ishikawa.

 8. Green Wolverine

(Green Claw?)

 Mashing up a blood thirsty killer turned hero and a hero who went insane probably isn’t a good combination for mental stability, but you know he will keep it interesting at the JLA or X-Mansion. You must admit that having claws made out of green energy is pretty cool.
Illustrated by Doubleleaf.

 9. Aquadevil

 Daredevil, the Man Without Fear combined with Aquaman, the King of the Seven Seas is a typical fish out of water story mashup. Doesn’t ol’ hornhead need buildings to bound from? Well, at least he has something to throw, and this “billy club” has dangerous barbs. They both share a sonar capability for navigating dark waters.
Illustrated by Doubleleaf.

 10. Amazing Super-Spider

Red and blue superhero costumes never looked better than when worn by Spider-man and Superman. Mashing up Marvel and DC founding superheroes, who seem to be just a bit more of a hero than anyone else, just feels right. And who didn’t want to see Spider-man in a cape with webbing and Superman shooting webs, even though the webs are redundant when he can fly?
Illustrated by Rick Marin.

Marvel-DC Comic Mashups

WIF Graphic Novels-001

– WIF Graphic Novels