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Monday, October 13, 2003

The loner scientist in his lab. Cosmic rays and genetic mutations. Wall-crawling, underwater breathing, flying like a bird.

From Aquaman to the X-Men, science is a staple of comic books.

But could any of that superhero stuff really happen?

BAM! ker-POW! whooosh! Darned if there aren't people who study this for a living.

At least two professors lecture regularly on the subject - one through the lens of physics, the other biology. And this month, two authors further explore the plausibility of pulp heroics in a new paperback, The Science of Superheroes (John Wiley, $15.95).

"Holy test tubes, Batman!" Robin might say. "We're going legit!"

Not so fast, Boy Wonder.


Y'know, I think most of us have always been perfectly content growing up the idea that comic book science was almost complete bullshit (although I can't have been the only kid who hit puberty utterly convinced that he was going to develop those mutant powers any day now), but it's still interesting to see what actual science there is behind the sheer folly of Stan Lee & company.


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