The Road Ahead, if you read it when it first came out, felt bold and optimistic and you by extension, if you read it right, felt imbued with a sense of It Can Be Done. But back in 1995, the more radical tech visionaries and evangelists bit their tongues in a silent grudge—that perhaps The Road Ahead’s vision didn’t go far enough, that perhaps its vision of integrating tech into a fundamentally unchanged social system didn’t quite harness the real promise of computing.
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Were you around for this? I was, and it felt wrong. One of the few moments in my life I felt like a bystander.
It’s the early fall of 1999, and there’s a sense of the Millennium in the air. I’m reading comics, and right now, I’m distracted by how good the cover of last month’s Hellblazer was (issue #141, “The Crib,” for those of us keeping score), and how psychologically riveting Brit writer Warren Ellis has managed to make the lead character, John Constantine.
As early as its opening arc, Red Hood and the Outlaws has always read as a kind of meditation on the problematic nature of super-powers in the world. Think of Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort’s first sojourn into the world of this comicbook. It was a flooding in of hardened individuals in an even harder world, a world where the leads don’t necessarily want to live by might-makes-right but find that they themselves need to resort to exactly that to assert a greater moral authority.
It doesn’t take much to realize that the schooling system is broken. Sir Ken Robinson makes a very compelling argument in his 2011 talk at the Royal Society for the Arts. But for every education theorist who looks to the breakdown coming from dated systems attempting to engage a technologically-enhanced world, how many look to the Shakespearean option of the fault lying not so much in our systems, but in ourselves?
Be brave, indeed! Brace yourself. In the pages of Superman #29, writer Scott Lobdell gets into meat-from-bones kind of territory. “1,000 Degrees in the Shade” is host to a battle royale between two of the most powerful players in the DC Universe.
But that’s just the outer shell. Much like all of us, Superman #29 is much more beautiful on the inside.