It's really a rather obvious connection to make when you
think about it. The clue is in the names - JOHNNY FUTURE and
The MAN Of TOMORROW! So - what's the 'missing link'
between the two awesome appellations? SUPERMAN! Here's
how it happened in the fevered depths of my imagination.
has been observing our Earth through a space-time warp for many
months. It seems the best choice of planets to which he can send his
infant son - if and when he perfects the hyper-drive of the spaceship
he's working on. He's already built a prototype, but needs to test it
before he can risk using it as a space ark for little KAL-EL.
he rockets to our planet with the intention of confirming that it
would be a suitable environment for his young son. He crash-lands
in the African jungle, but although uninjured, a small radiation leak
from the ship's hyper-drive power unit transforms him into a hulking
brute of incredible strength and limited intellect, who comes to be
known as The MISSING LINK. Exposed once more to leaking
radiation from a nuclear power plant, he returns to normal,
but with no recollection of who he is.
If you've been following the Johnny Future strips I've been
featuring here from time to time (or read them in FANTASTIC
back in the '60s), then you already know the rest. However, what
you didn't know (until now) is that, after his 'career' as a superhero
on Earth for many months, Jor-El's memory returns and he makes
his way back to the jungle to repair his ship and return to Krypton
mere seconds after he left. (Due to that ol' space-time warp,
remember?) The rest, as they say, is history.
However, there's more. Writer JERRY SIEGEL originally
envisioned Superman being rocketed to Earth, not from Krypton,
but from a doomed Earth far in the future. Similarly, in my version
of events, Earth is Krypton (having evolved over thousands of years
and - due to an ever-expanding universe - now occupying a different
place in the heavens than it used to). The globe has been renamed
and our once bright yellow sun has succumbed to the second law
of thermodynamics (entropy) and is now a fiery red, affecting
the gravitational pull of the planet.
So - Earth's first 'superman' is actually Superman's father.
Johnny Future sired The Man of Tomorrow!
Anyway, that's how it happened in my little world. Bear it
in mind as you read the latest instalment of this fondly-recalled
strip illustrated by the astounding LUIS BERMEJO - it may
make you view the character just a little bit differently.