Hello, once again! Alex Jaffe here, better known in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion. My personal mission: to take on any question you have about the DC Universe—no matter how strange, granular, or obscure—and satisfy your curiosity. As a faithful steward of the truth, I offer my time in this monthly column to address these inquiries. If you’d like to submit one of your own, you can stop by my office at any time in the DC Community to make your inquiries, which I’ll address to the best of my ability. Let’s get some answers!
Encyclopedia Extraterrestria, Vol. 3: N-O
Thanagarians, Kryptonians, Kherubims, oh my. How many aliens have come, gone, or stayed on Earth?
Our ongoing investigation of alien visitors to Earth in the DC Universe has passed its alphabetical halfway point, and we’ll be continuing this endeavor until either we get all the way to Z or my editor gets tired of it. (Editor note: Oh, we’re close. But let’s see what you come up with this installment. -Tired Out Tim) You can see previous editions for the many exceptions of races which will not be included in this list. Here are some more space guys for you, Jeff!
N'cronians: Lovecraftian-faced, tentacle-limbed humanoid race. One N'cronian, Grullug Garkush, opposes the Legion of Super-Heroes 1,000 years in the future as a member of the Dark Circle.
Naltorians: Humanoid beings from the planet Naltor known for their precognitive abilities, and practice of magic. The Naltorian Dream Girl comes to Earth as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, 1,000 years in the future.
Nekromians: An orange-skinned humanoid race once ravaged by Eclipso. The Nekromian princess Norka, empowered by a cosmic battle axe, comes to Earth in search of a weapon which could be used to expel Eclipso from their possessed host.
Neonians: A humanoid race with flight and super strength under the power of a yellow sun. The hero Mister Might was sent to Earth by his father, the crackpot scientist Dumb-Ell, when he believed the planet Neon would soon explode. (It didn't, though.) On Earth, Mister Might fathered Awkwardman of the Inferior Five.
Neptunians: Let's cut to the chase here—although not all of them have visited Earth, you'll find, if you look hard enough, that every planet in the solar system was occupied by a sentient race at some point in the DC Universe, typically in a Golden Age Wonder Woman comic. Though not depicted with any sort of consistency, the humanoid people of Neptune have come to invade Earth on a couple of occasions. Once, as Hawkman discovered, they were very tall, white-skinned, and attacked enemies with heat vision. At another time, as opposed by Wonder Woman, they were a humanoid but entirely male species which reproduced using a saline solution, with advanced technology and a culture of war and slavery. Still other depictions of Neptunians, such as those encountered by Tommy Tomorrow, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Jackson Hyde, are vastly different, but those Neptunians have never come to Earth. It's possible that many intelligent races of Neptunians inhabit the planet, as we'll eventually learn in some deep-dive series set on Neptune written by Tom King or something.
New Gods: The powerful race of beings from Fourth World, which arose from the death of the Old Gods. A few, such as Big Barda and Mister Miracle, reside on Earth.
Noc'sagians: A ball-shaped race of big heads with relatively tiny limbs, and a cultural fixation on spheres. Galius Zed of the Green Lantern Corps and Zilius Zox of the Red Lantern Corps have both visited Earth on Corps business.
Ny'L'Uylians: An ancient, heavy-browed, thick-skinned race from Krypton equivalent to our own Neanderthals. The last living Ny'L'Uylian came to Earth as an incarnation of Kryptonite Man.
Oans: See last month’s “Maltusians.”
Okaarans: A porcine warrior people from the planet Okaara in the Vega system, with a strong tradition of martial combat. The Warlords of Okaara trained Starfire and Blackfire in combat and participated in the Dominators' invasion of Earth.
Orandans: A technologically primitive race of humanoids, some of whom have the power to cast illusions. Some Orandans, including Legionnaire Sensor Girl, visit Earth by the 30th century.
Orazans: Green-skinned humanoids resembling something between a caterpillar and a crocodile. Two Orazans, Zinnac and Yoof, travel to Earth to grant a few humans superpowers as part of a science experiment.
Ovacronians: Gray, rocky-skinned warrior race who pride themselves in unarmed combat. Two Ovacronians, Hannu and Horku, have visited Earth as Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps members, respectively.
Dial “C” for “Career”
Eric Newsom asks:
Did any of the "creators" of Dial H For Hero characters in the ’80s run go on to have a career as a comics professional?
Excellent question, Eric! Back in the ‘80s, “Dial H for Heroes” ran as a feature through Adventure Comics and The New Adventures of Superboy where dialers Chris King and Vicky Grant used the mystical “H” Dial to assume the identity of a new superhero in every story. But one special feature was that every hero, villain and even sometimes the civilian fashion and home furniture were all based on ideas and designs submitted by YOU, the reader! Every submission was granted its due credit with a full name, city and age of the reader who gave DC their idea. With these proactive fans demonstrating such an interest and imagination in comic book character creation, it’s worth investigating to see if any of these readers would follow up on their passions.
And, after looking through each of these issues, I’m quite happy to say that many of them did! Whether it was in independent comics or with our competitors, many of these “Dial H” fans went on to produce incredible work in the industry themselves. And some of them even landed right here at DC!
For example, take 15-year-old Stephen de Stefano, who submitted quite a few “Dial H” characters to the feature as it ran—including Adventure Comics #479’s “Captain Electron” and Adventure #483’s “Zeep” and “Thumbelina.” Just a few years later, young Stephen, still a teenager, would contribute to House of Mystery and get a feature in New Talent Showcase. De Stefano went on to co-create DC’s ‘Mazing Man with Bob Rozakis, as well as a spiritual successor to the “Dial H” concept itself—1988’s Hero Hotline. Today, Stephen de Stefano works as a character designer and storyboard artist in cartoons from Looney Tunes to Samurai Jack.
Another contributor to Adventure #479 was 17-year-old Steve Mattson, creator of the villain “Flying Buttress.” Mattson also created the Vicky Grant alter ego “Miss Hourglass” in New Adventures of Superboy #29. By age 30, Mattson had joined the Darkstars team as a colorist on issues #17-20.
Prolific comic book inker Jeff Albrecht also made his debut as a “Dial H” fan, contributing some of the civilian fashion designs for Adventure Comics #487 at age 23. Albrecht has gone on to ink hundreds of comics, including Krypto the Superdog and Justice League Task Force, and still occasionally inks Scooby-Doo today!
The New Adventures of Superboy #42 would be the debut of Chris Lewis’s “Molecular Man,” as well as Ben Dunn’s “Electric Lad.” Lewis would produce a number of indie comics in the following decades, but also got one credit at DC as the cover inker for Action Comics #667. Dunn, too, would amass a prolific bibliography in independent comics, but also contributed the art to “Lantern Sentai,” a story in 2005’s satirical Bizarro World collection.
There’s one more “Dial H” fan particularly worth noting here. At 46, one of the series’ oldest contributors was the designer of the villain “Silver Fog” in Adventure Comics #479—sci-fi horror icon Harlan Ellison, writer of such haunting classics as the short story “I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream” and the original Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.” The Silver Fog wouldn’t be his only contribution to the DC Universe, though. Decades earlier, Ellison wrote a never-produced “lost” episode of the 1960’s Batman TV series which would have been the show’s debut for the villain Two-Face. (The story was eventually produced in 2014 as a comic by Len Wein, Joe Prado and José Luis García-López.) Ellison was even involved in a few comic scripts for DC himself, including 1968’s Detective Comics #380, “Marital-Bliss Miss”; 1971’s Batman #237, “Night of the Reaper”; 1986’s Detective Comics #567, “The Night of Thanks but No Thanks”; the black-and-white backup feature to 2001’s Batman: Gotham Knights #13, “Funny Money”; and the 2004 Silver Age tribute special DC Comics Presents: Justice League of America.
Okay, we’ve got a little more space for some quick answers here…
A Merry Mishpacha
Is Sy Borgman’s sister, Mirielle, an established DC character or does she only exist in the Harley Quinn show?
The mutant Mirielle was specifically created for the Harley Quinn animated series, but old Sy does have other comic-exclusive relations: a brother, Murray Borgman, and Murray’s daughter, Hannah, who rolled with Ms. Quinzel’s own “Gang of Harleys” on Coney Island as “Hanuquinn.”
Clutching One’s Pearls
In most recent versions of the Waynes’ murder, Martha’s pearl necklace features heavily. The necklace breaks, the pearls go everywhere. When did that visual motif start?
We’ve been watching the Waynes get murdered in Crime Alley since 1939, but the iconic imagery of the scattering pearls was born in 1986 as part of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and expounded upon further in his Batman: Year One the following year.
None whatsoever, and that’s despite the Legion appearing in a few issues of Impulse. But if I had to hazard a guess, I would say that both were independently named after the Morlocks, the mutant underground race of future-dwellers in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.
That’s all the space we have for this month. But I’ll be back with brand new mysteries to uncover in May’s edition of this column. Until then, I do hope you’ll keep turning up to ASK…THE QUESTION.
Got something that's keeping you up nights? If you have a question about the DC Universe that you'd love to get answered, you can head on over to the DC Community and ask it here.
Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.