With the release of Superman
#709 last week, writer Chris Roberson delighted the Internet by placing the most famous entry in The Super Dictionary
, an educational children's book that used DC characters to illustrate word definitions, firmly into DC Universe continuity:
That's why today, we've dusted off our copies of the greatest dictionary ever to bring you Seven More Super Dictionary Entries That Need To Be In the Comics!
Released by Warner Educational Services in 1978, the Super Dictionary
intended to help kids build up their vocabularies through word definitions involving familiar DC Comics super-heroes, although it often featured some bizarre concepts and strange situations, such as explaining the number forty through cake thievery. While Lex Luthor stealing forty cakes is the best well-known, it's certainly not the only Super Dictionary
entry we'd like to see brought back to DC continuity.
Considering that it was a book made for very young children, the traditional hero-beats-up-villain that we're all used to seeing from the DC characters was probably considered a little too heavy on the violence and a little too light on educational value for The Super Dictionary
. You just don't see a whole lot of fights in this thing and as a result, they had to come up with a bunch of new stuff for the heroes to do.
The Atom, for instance, suddenly learned how to talk to bees.
And apparently, they have a chat every day, and somehow it does not always end with the bee saying "zzzzzz" and then stabbing the Atom with its stinger in order to protect its precious, precious source of nectar.
Or does it? It's not like the Atom has ever displayed this ability before or since, and it's just surreal enough that it seems like the kind of thing that could be brought on by sudden head trauma, Flintstones
But what are the odds of that
happening within the pages of the Super Dictionary
Ah. Well, that explains it. I just hope that he remembers that bees can't be reasoned with soon, because seriously?
(as many as five tens!
) are too many bees even when you're not
All right, look. I realize that there are some people
out there who consider Batman to be a jerk already, and you're entitled to that opinion, no matter how wrong it may in fact be. But regardless of how you feel about the way he's treated his sidekicks in the past, we can all agree that he has very rarely been seen literally rolling on the floor laughing
at Green Lantern's feeble attempts to come up with a plan.
"S-shut up, Batman! This is REALLY IMPORTANT, okay? Why are you lauuuughiiiing?!"
(Green Lantern starts to cry)
Really, though, doesn't this make perfect sense? I mean, you spend your entire life studying and training to be a one-man anti-crime strike force, and you're expected to sit around and listen to Maverick from Top Gun
because he found a magic wishing ring in a cereal box? Get real. It's amazing Batman even lets the rest of the Justice League finish their sentences.
It's not just Green Lantern, though. The Super Dictionary
's version of Batman is just straight up making fun of everybody
, all the time
. And unsurprisingly, it's Robin who catches the brunt of it, like the time Batman started critiquing his jokes:
Then there's the fun of tying Robin up, throwing him in a dark room, and then berating him for not escaping fast enough:
"Oh my God are you still
trying to get out of those ropes? It's almost dark
. I guess I'll have to eat all of Alfred's special birthday cake by myself
And of course, there's what essentially amounts to Batman's version of "Why you hittin' yourself?", but made even more hilarious by Robin's deadpan response:
My favorite, though, is the one where he just comes right out and says that he's way better than the Joker at inventing, because the Joker sucks:
Dude. No wonder that guy's always trying to kill you; you're talking smack about him while he's right there
I'll be honest, guys: I've never really seen the appeal of Hawkman. I mean, you'd think an ancient Egyptian alien prince who flies around on wings made of space metal beating things to death with a mace would be an easy sell, but for some reason, it's just never done anything for me.
If, however, there were stories about Hawkman and Hawkgirl barely containing their resentment for each other like a super-powered version of the Lockhorns?
As presented by the Super Dictionary
, Hawkman and Hawkgirl's relationship seems to have deteriorated over the years from reincarnated royalty destined to be together until the end of time to two people who are completely sick of each other, yet are destined to be together until the end of time
They can't even get through a simple chase scene without starting in on each other:
I have to say, I feel for Hawkman on this one. I mean, a man fights winged gorillas all day and comes home to find that not only is there no dinner ready, but he can't even sit down and enjoy a sandwich without some tiny dude popping out and talking about how he can talk to bees.
Look at that poor guy's face. That sandwich is the only thing getting him through the day. And now it's ruined
It sounds like clinical depression, Hawkman!
Ever since they reintroduced Krypto the Super-Dog to the DC Universe, it seems like they just haven't known what to do with him. How exactly does one reconcile a universe with both Superman's flying dog and
lurid, super-serious stories like Identity Crisis?
Fortunately, we now have the answer:
Yes, it's Krypto's previously unknown desire to hit it big in the music business, a strange tale that plays
out in two acts in the pages of the Super Dictionary
. Above, we have the first act, in wich Krypto's burning desire for the spotlight leads him to alienate his friends, forcing him to go it alone in the sordid world of showbiz.
Then, a few pages later, we return to find out what has become of Krypto after being chewed up by the Hollywood machine:
Eyes unfocused, his last friend disgusted by him, his own face caked in black tar heroin, Krypto has fallen far from his days as an up and coming young talent.
If there a second panel to this, I have no doubt that it would be Krypto telling Comet the Super-Horse "You don'... you don' talk to me like that. I'm a star. You... you're nobody. NOBODY!"
I don't have a joke for this one. I just think this guy needs to come back.
He has snakes for hands!
If you read through the Super Dictionary
from start to finish, you start to realize that unlike regular dictionaries, the writers of this one seem to be creating a narrative for certain characters, like the Atom's newfound interest in beekeeping. The greatest and strangest example, though, is Green Lantern's Weird, Sort of Creepy Obsession With Ducks
It starts out simple enough, with the purchase of a toy duck that will sing when he has people come over to his house:
That's a completely rational thing to do, right?
Eventually, however, the toy duck isn't enough to satisfy his obsession. Before long, he needs the real thing. And to get it, he'll fall into the dirty and depraved world of duck-stealing
I mean, just look at that panel. There are clearly people chasing Green Lantern as he runs away with a duck. That is not normal behavior for anyone involved
. And even worse, he's dragged Green Arrow down with him.
But even that
won't keep his urges in check for long, and he has to move up to the hard stuff. Something bigger. Something stronger
He's cruising the marshes for pure uncut Canadian goose.
And now you know why Batman was laughing so hard when Hal tried to tell him his plan. It's hard to take a guy seriously when Step One is "go get all the ducks."
You might think that having access to DC's library of characters would've been enough for the creators of the Super Dictionary
, but apparently that was not the case. In addition to the old standbys like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, they also created a brand new character
specifically to define words alongside the Justice League: El Dragon!
El Dragon (Spanish for "The Dragon") made his first appearance in this book, and as far as I know, he was never seen again in the pages of DC Comics. Clearly, this needs to change.
Admittedly, he doesn't seem like the best super-hero around. As you might expect from a guy whose entire existence is built around explaining what words mean to children, he seems a little more introspective than an action hero ought to be:
Well, El Dragon, I expect she'll be horribly gored
. Perhaps you should do something about that.
Even so, he does bring a new and exciting power to the table that I don't think we've ever seen in comics before: The ability to control elevators with his mind!
Fighting crime with the power of minor inconveniences! Those robbers will never get away from that daring second story heist now! Unless they use the stairs! Or the fire escape! But this elevator is on lockdown, courtesy of El Dragon!