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Lois and Clark
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Fred Hembeck

Lois and Clark
Uploaded October 12, 2000

It's funny - for an industry that is so universally (and often undeservedly) derided and dismissed, you would think that comic book writers would be a little more sensitive to the plight of the eccentric inventor. Toiling away in their basement workshops, already suffering from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, these dedicated amateur technologists and engineers spend countless hours trying to advance the frontier of human civilization, one gadget at a time. How do comic book publishers reward these efforts?

With the likes of Professor Potter.

Think about it - these people are struggling for their craft, and their passions are ridiculed at the hands of people who write and draw comic books for a living. Oh, the ignominy!

It's a sad truth of comic book lore that many, many writers over the years have used crackpot inventors to provide adversarial situations for heroes, without actually requiring an adversary. Kind of like red kryptonite, only with the personality of an absent-minded professor grafted on.

The 'Professor Potter' alluded to above is far from the only example in comic book annals. The late, lamented Carl Barks used the Gyro Gearloose character to great advantage as a source of crackpot lunacy in the immortal town of Duckberg, providing countless frustrations and/or help to Unca Scrooge and the original 'The Donald'. Otto Binder and C.C. Beck seemed to revel in the possibilities of these resourceful eccentrics (where do they get those wonderful toys, indeed!) in the pages of Captain Marvel. So, yes, it's a grand tradition, but still not a very complimentary one to MeccanoŽ-loving, Lincoln Log-hoarding basement tinkerers everywhere.

Maybe they should form a union or something.

- NP

The copyrights, trademarks and publication rights to Fred's cartoons belong to DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Fred Hembeck where appropriate. Proud Robot Productions graphics, site design, cartoon re-coloring and commentary copyrights belong to Neil Polowin and Proud Robot Productions.

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