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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default What comic book inventions should the characters produce for the mass market?

    We all know comics are full of amazing technology that heroes and villains just never seem to want to produce for the mass market. Sometimes to maintain a competitive advantage (I guess they think superheroing is more useful to the world than the tech). Sometimes there's a handwavey explanation that it's not quite ready for primetime (even though it seems to be in practical use). Somtimes they think it's too dangerous in the wrong hands. But mostly, I think some of these just need to be secret to keep the world "normal" and like our world.

    So which ones are some of the technologies that are known and understood and should be marketed, but aren't?\

    I'll start with Karen Beecher's solar panels. Per the '80s Who's Who, her antennae are solar collectors that emit eyebolts. I don't know if solar powers he wings, too. If so, this is absolutely incredible solar tech (even moreso for the 1980s). Phenomenally useful to the world. And it would quickly make her a billionaire. Why isn't it on the market? She has connection to Wayne Enterprises (and Queen Industries, depending on the era) via Dick and Roy, so the business links are there. And either be all over it, but especially Ollie. And, depending on when introduced, it's cheap enough she could afford to make it and could produce it without much special equipment when she was a teen.

    Now, I admit, it would undoubtedly cause economic and political instability. Some countries are very dependent on oil exports, and some of them aren't very stable, anyway. People would die. But so many could have so much improvement in quality of life. And the pollution/emissions going down could save so many lives. But I gotta admit, I really don't know if that explanation for her suit power (or any other) ever made it into the actual narrative part of the comics. But this is a fun one to play with to me - how it'd change the world. Especially with timeslides - you get to play with what happen if the tech was introduced in 1980 or 1990 or 2000 or 2010 or 2020, and it's different each time, as political and technological realities change.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 07-29-2021 at 06:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    It's too bad they so botched the Mother Boxes. As designed by Jack Kirby in 1970, a Mother Box was a handy device with thousands of uses, that you held in your hand--and sometimes held up to your head. Each Mother Box had its own Kirby symbols on it. The New Gods used their Mother Boxes to stay in touch with the Source.

    Had the publisher stuck with that design they could have licensed it to some communications company--back when their owner had a communications company--and put out a line of Mother BoxTM smart devices.
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  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    It's too bad they so botched the Mother Boxes. As designed by Jack Kirby in 1970, a Mother Box was a handy device with thousands of uses, that you held in your hand--and sometimes held up to your head. Each Mother Box had its own Kirby symbols on it. The New Gods used their Mother Boxes to stay in touch with the Source.

    Had the publisher stuck with that design they could have licensed it to some communications company--back when their owner had a communications company--and put out a line of Mother BoxTM smart devices.
    Now that would have awesome. And not much incentive for theft (they self-destructed with their users back then, didn't they? Or am I getting that mixed up with later?).

  4. #4
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    Hawkman's Nth metal could make international transport cheap and almost emissions free. You could fly cargo carriers the size of mountains over almost any distance.

    As originally conceived, Hourman's Miraclo could make even the weakest of patients able to survive surgery (provided you could get it done in an hour).

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    Hawkman's Nth metal could make international transport cheap and almost emissions free. You could fly cargo carriers the size of mountains over almost any distance.
    Is the more modern version available on Earth (or able to be synthesized)? The original version popped up in the golden age, and talk about changing the world! Actually, I don't know a how difficult it was to obtain/create. Only read a few stories of the old Hawks. Just thinking of WWII impact. And now thinking of whether there's an attempt to keep information about it secret in 1940, given the political feelings of the time. And there would be spies....did they ever actually do that story in the golden age, because it seems well-suited.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Is the more modern version available on Earth (or able to be synthesized)? The original version popped up in the golden age, and talk about changing the world! Actually, I don't know a how difficult it was to obtain/create. Only read a few stories of the old Hawks. Just thinking of WWII impact. And now thinking of whether there's an attempt to keep information about it secret in 1940, given the political feelings of the time. And there would be spies....did they ever actually do that story in the golden age, because it seems well-suited.
    The golden age stories are what I was mainly thinking of. Flash Comics #1 called Nth's Metal (or "Ninth Metal" as it was originally labeled) Carter Hall's "discovery," but left ambiguous whether that meant something he found on a dig, or something he invented. Hawkman did seem to have some supply of it, he brought along an extra blanket of the stuff in his first adventure, and he had enough to equip Hawkgirl. I can't recall reading anything about whether his supply was finite, or if he could make it as needed.

    You're right about the kind of game-changer that would have been in 1941. Imagine whole fleets of aerial battleships cruising over Axis territory, well above the operating ceiling of the Imperial Air Force or the Luftwaffe. Of course, it also would have made space exploration far easier. Getting to orbit takes a ton more energy than it does to actually go to the moon once you're in orbit.

  7. #7
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    I can never remember if it was the 1940s Hawkman that had Ninth Metal and the 1960s Hawkman that had Nth Metal, or if it was the other way around. It seems to me while an anti-gravity metal is useful, it needs to be controlled. Otherwise an object would keep rising and rising until it left the atmosphere completely and entered the cosmos. You would have to have some pro-gravity device to counter the effect--and you would have to have a propulsion device to get anywhere, since anti-gravity only makes you go up and up, not east, west, north or south.

    Just Nth/Ninth Metal alone could be used as a weapon--place it onto your enemy and your enemy disappears from the battlefield and dies in outer space. Whole cities could be uprooted and cast adrift in the void.

    I recall that Tick-Tock Tyler developed a Miraclo addiction and had to go cold turkey until he devised a formula that wasn't habit forming. But such a stimulant would probably be fatal for patients going under the knife.

    A great many rogues would be better off getting the patent on their inventions and making money legally rather than using them to rob banks.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I can never remember if it was the 1940s Hawkman that had Ninth Metal and the 1960s Hawkman that had Nth Metal, or if it was the other way around. It seems to me while an anti-gravity metal is useful, it needs to be controlled. Otherwise an object would keep rising and rising until it left the atmosphere completely and entered the cosmos. You would have to have some pro-gravity device to counter the effect--and you would have to have a propulsion device to get anywhere, since anti-gravity only makes you go up and up, not east, west, north or south.

    Just Nth/Ninth Metal alone could be used as a weapon--place it onto your enemy and your enemy disappears from the battlefield and dies in outer space. Whole cities could be uprooted and cast adrift in the void...
    Actually, if I not mistaken, both Nth and Ninth Metal are (or, at least, were) specific to the Golden Age Hawks. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

    The Silver-Bronze Age Hawks talked about anti-gravity belts, but didn't have a name for it beyond that. Not originally anyway. It was called Ninth Metal back in 1939, and it got shortened to Nth Metal at some point. I'm thinking both of those were for the Reincarnated Hawks rather than the Thanagarian Hawks. I'm also not sure when the Nth Metal term got attached to the Thanagarian Hawks, but it was firmly in place by the time the Hawkworld ongoing hit the stands.

    As to the control of Nth Metal's antigravity properties, apparently all the Hawks can fine tune it. Generally, it makes them hyper-buoyant, rather than fully weightless. Otherwise, like you said, the centrifugal force of earth's rotation would fling them into space. That said, the Silver-Bronze Age Hawks often turned up the juice on it for tricks like lifting cars and other feats.

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    You get batwings, and you get batwings ... batwings for everybody!!!

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