Tagged: Science Says You’re Wrong

Dennis O’Neil: Marvel, DC, and Higgs

superman_vs_spider_manOkay now, try to stay with me because we’re going pretty deep…

Those of you who were among the Faithful last week remember that we touched, very, very lightly, on a feature that the great comic book editor Julius Schwartz ran in a science fiction title published in the 50s. The comic book was titled Strange Adventures and Julie called the feature “Science Says You’re Wrong If You Believe That…” The format was: somewhere south of the ellipse was a brief, illustrated bit of information about some science-related topic. (Science Says You’re Wrong If You Believe That…I’m qualified to write about science?)

The point of the preceding paragraph was to establish bona fides. See, science belongs in this column because it’s been here before. Isn’t that logical? And easy?

Now we come to the crux of our elucidation: Have you noticed, any of you at all, that despite the elapse of more than a half century and a pretty steady exchange of creative personnel, and a colossal evolution of subject matter, narrative and visual techniques, printing technology, distribution means, business practices, societal respectability and maybe other stuff that I’m forgetting, that the Big Two comics publishers, Marvel and DC, have maintained distinct identities? There are Marvel comics and DC comics and, I might argue, if you caught me in a contentious mood, that True Fans can tell the difference even if there are no visual cues. (Such a cue might be the words Marvel Comics on the cover. Yeah, that might be all a real sharp tack might need.) Even if you don’t agree, pretend that you do while we forge ahead.

Said forging now suggests that I share with you a scrap of information from the essential Wikipedia,, available with a quick Google. “In theosophy and anthrosophy, the Akashic records…are a compendium of thoughts, events, and emotions believed by Theosophists to be encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the astral plane…

Okay, one more bit of info and then the payoff.

The bit: Physicists have confirmed the existence of what they call “the Higgs field,” which is an energy field that is everywhere in the universe. (It’s what gives particles mass, but never mind that.)

Now, as promised, the payoff, in the form of some questions: What if the Akashic records and the Higgs field are identical? And what if things like the establishment of editorial identities make an impression on the records/field that persisted forever? So wouldn’t whatever invokes those identities automatically take on the characteristics of the original, even if said characteristics are completely indetectable? Which certainly explains why Marvel Comics and DC Comics are still distinct from one another, doesn’t it?

Well, I’m glad we got that settled. Science might not agree – might say we’re wrong – but science says you’re wrong if you believe that we’ve got to believe science when we don’t agree with it. Or not.


Dennis O’Neil: Science Says You’re Wrong If You Believe…


Now I know that some of you are huge – huge! – science fans while others… well, you might prefer to get your science from old Julius Schwartz comic books. (Remember those old filler features that Julie ran? “Science Says You’re Wrong If You Believe…) You guys – you Juliers – can consider your class dismissed until next week. You others?

Let us consider Pluto. No, not the Roman god of the underworld, or Disney’s canine, and certainly not Popeye’s archenemy – that was Bluto-with-a-B. We mean the planet. Pluto-the-planet has been much in the news this past week because we put a spacecraft within about 7000 miles of the planet’s surface which, in astronomical terms, is the back yard, and it sent back a lot of data and will continue downloading information for months. So, at the end of the process, we’ll know a lot about Pluto and maybe have some of the Big Questions answered, stuff like why/how are planets and solar systems formed and what the heck are we doing here, anyway.

Oh, and you fussers out there – I know that poor Pluto is no longer considered a full-blown planet. A few years back the people whose job it is to do things like decide on the classification of astral bodies, folks like Neil deGrasse Tyson, decided Pluto was too small to qualify as a planet and so they renamed it a dwarf planet and dwarf-schmarf, say I. The naming business is all arbitrary anyway. The universe doesn’t classify. We do. As human activities go, this one is pretty harmless and if you want to use the “dwarf” label, be my guest. But I’ll stick to calling that orb at the edge of our solar system a plain old “planet,” thank you very much.

Did I mention that I’m fond of (planet) Pluto? A decade ago I made it a character – well, an object, really – in a novel. I’m not sure why. I guess I thought my plot needed something at the far reaches of the solar system and Pluto, 4.67 billion-with-a-B miles away, certainly qualifies.

I got all the information I needed about it from a book I can recommend Don’t Know Much About The Universe, by Kenneth C. Davis. It’ll also tell you about the other planets and the sun and like that. Readable and informative.

Why bother to do this (very minor) bit of research? Maybe it’s my journalism background or maybe I just need a good laxative, but I think we writers, even we fiction writers, have an obligation to society not to spread misinformation. That’s the politicians’ job. If you’re equipping your hero with a Whoseatronic Ray Blaster, you can make it be or do whatever you like. You’ve just made it up, after all. But if you use something that’s real, be accurate. There’s already enough bad info out there.

And by the way…Science Says You’re Wrong If You Believe That Pluto Is that damn dog.