Sputnikfest 2014


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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Last week marked Superman’s 75th birthday. 
(we should all look that good at 75 years old)  April 18, 1938 was the date Action Comics No. 1, the first appearance of Superman, was published.  Superman’s origin story has been told and retold – we probably all know at least the basics.  Sent off in a spaceship by his father, Jor-El, from his dying home planet of Krypton – he landed in Smallville, Kansas, where he was raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent. 
In 2003 DC comics published an alternate universe Superman story with a Sputnik/Cold War tie-in.  In the three-issue “Elseworlds” storyline titled “Red Son” Superman’s ship lands – not in Kansas – but in the Ukraine.  He is raised on a collective farm and instead of fighting for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” – he champions the common worker and fights for “Stalin, Socialism and the Warsaw Pact.”
In this timeline, Lex Luthor is working for the United States government and in a plot to obtain Superman’s DNA he engineers the premature re-entry from orbit of Sputnik 2. 
The Russian satellite plummets toward Metropolis and, as Lex Luthor has planned, Superman arrives to save the day – and in the process leaves a bit of his DNA on a fragment of the satellite which Lex is able to recover.  Using this DNA Lex creates an “anti-Superman” named “Bizarro” to do battle with Superman.  What happens next …  well, I’ll let you seek out the comics and read the story if you are interested. 
At any rate, never fear – Superman didn’t grow up in the Soviet Union; his ship did land near Ma and Pa Kent’s farm in Kansas right here in the good old U. S. of A. 

And a Russian satellite did crash into a street in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1962.  (We don’t think Lex Luthor had anything to do with it.)  Celebrate the anniversary of that event with us in Manitowoc this September 7.  Planet Terry

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