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By Jamil of JCC Comic

Comics that started as kid's fun stuff have come a long way. Today, comics are part of the prominent mass culture, leading the way for Hollywood big budget movies and TV shows. The big Comics Conventions of today have world premieres of big movies, games and shows. This was not always like this. Comics were and still are pulp literature which is mostly very ordinary. Some shine through. Some become classics. And a few, become iconic.

There is no way around this fact, love Superman or not, Action #1 changed the world of Comics in 1938. No, let me rephrase that. Action #1 changed the world. I love the comedy and fun Comics of Disney's Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Beetle Bailey, Bugs Bunny and all. But I am glad that Superman came to start the superhero genre. Faster than a speeding bullet, mote powerful than a locomotive, able to jump over tall buildings who does not love that fantasy? And Superman was all that. Fighting the social corruption and standing up for the weak the first few issues of Action Comics established an icon that has crossed the boundaries of culture over the world.

Here is a fun fact that some may not know. Superman was created by two teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Jerry lived in Cleveland, USA and Joe was from Canada. The childhood buddies teamed up and first created a bald superman, who looked much like Lex Luthor, who was bent on dominating the world. Thank God their final product was what we see today. Superman was the mild mannered Clark Kent in social life. And in his double life, he was the man of steel, fighting for truth, justice and the American way!

Superman led the way for other superheroes. Bob Kane produced another Icon in Comics the Batman in the same year. Soon to follow would be greats such as Shazam (Captain Marvel), Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and hosts of other superheroes. Marvel (then Atlas Publishing) had their super-hit with Captain America. By the 40s Superman was selling in millions. He was so popular that the US Navy ruled that Superman comics should be included in the supplies to the Marines.

Superman was an orphan from outer space. When the planet Krypton was destroyed Superman's parents sent him to outer space to survive. He landed here on earth, where the Kents found and raised him as their son. The last survivor of an extinct race developed super human powers under our yellow sun. Superman did not let these facts bother him. In fact his attitude to life is simple, some may misinterpret them as being dull. But he carries the high ideologies with him with ease.

Here's to you Superman. May you be forever there to give us hope and shelter from any misery that we perceive. Up, up and away!!

The piece selected for this week had the 'fantasy' element as well as a subtle idea to ponder. Next week we have 'Zeppelin' as our topic. All submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com by Sunday noon. Word limit: 350-500 words. Good luck.

The Land of the Glass Flowers

By Umama Akhtar Turna

Aren squinted as the sunlight hit his eyes. He shifted on the saddle of his horse, trying to make himself comfortable. He had been travelling for weeks and comfort was the last thing that accompanied him. He pulled the reins of until the horse galloped at its fastest, blowing off puffs of dirt with every beat of the hooves.

The horse was white as snow and moved as fast as a desert gale. Snowsand, he called it. As the sun drooped past mid-sky, the landscape turned soft and he felt more life around him. Birds floated on their gracious wings. Patches of grass could be seen here and there. I'm getting close, he thought.

Aren opened his mind as wide as he could. He felt thousands of lives buzzing in the surroundings; little birds, preying hawks, hundreds of insects. But there was no sign of any human. He felt the shrubs and grass and tiny flowers hidden by them. But not the ones I'm looking for.

His stomach churned with hunger, but there was no time to stop. Aren was tired to his last bone and often the thought of going back came to him. But he could not afford to do so. He had travelled hundreds of leagues in the past few days and he wouldn't let it go in vain.

With a jerk, Snowsand hammered away his thoughts. Aren looked up, seeking any danger. He was stunned to his core by the sight that lay ahead.

Flowers, big and small. Of all colours he could imagine and more. All still as mountains even in the rushing wind. He drew Snowsand to a trot and opened his mind again. That can't be! The flowers were humming with life, in the cradles of leaves and stalks, all hard as glass.

Close enough now, he hopped off his horse. He had heard of the Flowers of Glass since childhood, yet never truly believed in them until that moment. He walked up to a flower. It was a pale purple. The sunlight caught at the corners of its glass petals, giving them a golden, surreal glow. It looked terrifyingly beautiful. With a shaky hand, he touched a petal. Like a current of shock, a force crept into him, bringing a sense of enchanted happiness, rendering him free of all sores and pains. He felt free, redeemed.

Aren paced back to his horse and climbed up on the saddle. After one last glance, he drove Snowsand ahead and rode on amidst the garden of glass and beyond, towards the mountains that reached the sky.

He was amazed by the wonders of earth, although he had seen very little. He would see more, he knew. He did not know when his journey would end if it ever did. He did not care. There is no time to look back.

I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.



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