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Match to Flame 119

posted on April 18, 2020

We now arrive at the Superman convention in Cleveland for Superman’s 50th anniversary, where the final piece of the time-jump puzzle falls into place. In his foreword to the previous volume in this series, Roger Stern, Spider-Man scribe supreme, talks about a conversation we had there concerning the jump. Roger, however, modestly left out a key point in our discussion. At that juncture, as far as the time-jump was concerned, I knew the what and the why; I just didn’t know the how. Having seen the time-jump coming down the road for a couple of years, I’d already been doing quite a bit of thinking about it and writing for it on the side, but I was still looking for the explosive event that would trigger it. After having explained my dilemma to Roger, he laughed and then comic-booked it for me. Drawing on his experience as a comic book scribe, he laid it out for me by saying something along the lines of, “What? You just have a hand turning a page in the strip with a caption saying ‘That was then and this is now!’” It was a stunningly simple gambit—maybe even a little too simple—but Roger was smiling a confident smile (Why not? It wasn’t his strip I was about to gamble with!), and I began to consider that I may have just been handed the solution I was looking for on a silver platter (actually, it was a greasy hot dog wrapper, but let’s just go with silver platter). I did it as a single Sunday panel where we see a hand holding a senior yearbook and beyond it the school rock with 1992 A New Beginning . . . spray-painted on it. Simple and elegantly, with a nod to what had come before, it opened the door to the future.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 7