Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Golden Age Of Technobabble

A lot of people complain about "technobabble" in their science-fiction entertainments. 

[Of course, you never see such complaints about the concepts like warp drive, transporters, time travel--you know, the stuff you need to actually make the series work. It's only other technobabble that draws ire, for some reason. Go figure]

But let me tell you, technobabble haters--you owe Star Trek et al an apology. Because when it came to technobabble, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the Golden Age.

Take for example, the adventures of...

Yes, his real name is Perisphere. No, it's not a nickname. No, I have no idea why his parents named him after the big round golf ball-looking structures at the 1939 NY World's Fair (which Roy Thomas used as the secret HQ of the All-Star Squadron). That's just how people will be named in the future!!

I did mention this was the future, right? We're in the distant future of 2000(!), and Perisphere Payne is a Flash Gordon type, keeping the spaceways safe for regular folks like you and me.

In this story, Perisphere is heading up a mission to find a lost scientist (and his hot blonde daughter), who had been exploring the worlds of Polaris!

Well, the first world they come across is filled with...

Obviously, the skill of leaving enough room for the word balloons hadn't been invented yet...

And yes, Perisphere, you should have brought more than two guns. Fortunately, the guns you have are:

But sadly...


In fact, there are radioactive isotopes of sodium, although only one has a half-life of more than a few hours. On the bright side, they've now got guns full of neon!!

Fortunately, the cavalry arrives...

They find the professor, but learn that his daughter has just been captured by the green devils!!

So Perisphere takes off on a solo rescue mission (why? Shhh!). And sure enough, he finds her!

That's OK--he's loaded and ready to roll:

Somehow, I think it won't.

And you've got to hand it to Perisphere Payne--he's just plain stupid:

So a) you're armed with an atomic disintegrator, and you get beaten by a guy with a rock (which shows that your macho act surely didn't teach them "respect"); and b) two pages after complaining about not bringing enough only bring one gun.

And then, in another great moment in Golden Age Science:

An "oxygen-sucking rock"? With tentacles?!?!

Once again, Perisphere gets bailed out by the fleet:

And then we proceed to the greatest miracle of GOLDEN AGE SCIENCE:

"Disintergrated (sic) oxygen sucking rock is the strongest radioactive substance I ever saw!" SCIENCE!!! Take that, "red matter"!!! Maybe they should oxygen sucking rock in their guns instead of sodium!


To hell with the natives, eh?

Unfortunately, they don't all turn into Hulks.

Perisphere Payne isn't one for long denouements. The next (and last) panel:

After you figure the correct order to read those word balloons in, you can see that all that radiation just lead to a whirlwind romance!! Yay!!

So remember, next time you rail about technobabble, we could be living in the Golden Age--a.k.a. the Golden Age Of Making Shit Up!!

From Science Comics #6 (1940)

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