Saturday, July 23, 2005

Adam Strange Cliches

DC introduced Adam Strange in Showcase #17, (Nov-Dec 1958). He was an archaeologist, who, in an attempt to escape bloodthirsty natives, jumped a 20-foot chasm and suddenly found himself trasported across millions of light years of space to Rann, an alien world remarkably populated by humans, including the lovely Alanna and her scientist father Sardath.

It turned out that Adam had been picked up by chance by the zeta beam, a ray that Sardath had been sending towards Earth periodically. He arrived on Rann just in time to save it from some disaster or other, and after a few weeks the zeta beam would wear off, sending him back to earth. Fortunately, he always seemed to know the locations where the next few zeta beams would hit.

Although the series was excellent, I'm going to focus today on the ways it was a little cliched. For example, in every episode it was required that Adam deal with some problem catching the zeta beam:

And inevitably it seemed that whenever Adam arrived, some crisis would hit Rann either just before or shortly after:

Indeed it was this latter cliche that led to one of the major problems with the series. More on that in a later post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

was it the overuse of the zetta beam as a way to immediate drama to the story arc that bothered you or was it just that you can't think like a 12 year old boy.

I admit it was a bit creeky of a story structure, but as a child I enjoyed it. Here was a guy who was just a regular joe, could be anybody but when chance struck he became a superhero. It was wonderful. Anybody could be a superhero.

I'm still waiting on my zetta beam.