Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Franklin Richards, MANEATER!

One of the common elements of the superhero costume is the chest symbol. For Superman the shield on his costume is the family crest of the Kryptonian House of El and just happens to resemble the letter 'S' in the English language on Earth. Spider-Man has an arachnid crouching in the center of a giant web. The crest of the Green Lantern Corps is, of course, the image of a lamp that brings light to the cosmos, dispelling darkness.

Other chest symbols are not so obvious in their meaning. As much as I hate to relate it, Power Girl recently opined that she has a peek-a-boo window over her cleavage because she is seeking something meaningful and unique with which to fill the space. The recently-but-probably-not-forever deceased Gravity sported a symbol that resembled a sphere with lines of force being pulled to the center. It also used negative space to form an 'X' symbol, which could serve to suggest affiliation with both the Marvel Next imprint and the X-Men franchise.

Then there is little Franklin Richards, son of Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four. Franklin is an Omega-class mutant super-tyke with god-like powers that every writer seems hesitant to firmly define for worry of destroying forever a Marvel legacy character. Today he is Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius, but in the 1980's Franklin was known as Tattletale and was affiliated with the Power Pack, a group of children given powers by a Magic Space Horse in order to save the Earth from destruction. The Power Pack series was pretty good, if a bit toyetic, and it was on my pull-list. There were a few memorable arcs, a good cross-over with Wolverine with the youngest member of the group and the kids were even involved and traumatized by the events in the Mutant Massacre. In that era Franklin was not presently the ultra-powerful demi-god he could become on occasion. Back then he had the "limited" power to dream of future events and being a good boy, he was compelled to take action to prevent disasters and help people.

Franklin became involved with Power Pack after his precognitive dreams urged him to assist the gang in several adventures. Eventually he became a semi-regular member and the spaceship, Friday, on loan to the kids by the Magic Space Horse gave Franklin his very own costume.
While not as cute and clever as the sweatshirt with the "4 1/2" symbol Franklin usually wore as his own version of the FF union suit, the Power Pack costume was functional as well as a bit more mature. It suited the underlying structure of the series that while it was about children, many adult themes ran through the title.

Superficially, the symbol of Franklin's costume was a stylized eye shining a probing beam out into and illuminating the future, an apt representation of his precognitive ability. Or that, as many claim, an eye of a peeping Franklin looking through a keyhole, into adulthood and possibly into his parents' bedroom. But the symbol also had another meaning, more in line with that of dream symbolism.

So just in case any comic book readers and never understood the real origin of the chest symbol on Franklin Richard's costume, here is the explanation.

Carl Gustav Jung
By Frank McLynn

In the dream Jung was in a meadow near Laufen castle and discovered an underground passageway. He descended and in a subterranean chamber found a kind of altar or king's throne on which stood what he thought at first was a tree trunk, some twelve to fifteen feet high and about two feet thick. The object was made of skin and naked flesh, with a rounded head and a single eye on the very top of the head. Later he would recognize the object as a ritual phallus. He was awoken by his mother's voice, as it were from outside, crying out, "That is the maneater!"
That's right. Little Franklin Richards had a giant penis on his costume.

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5 comments:

  1. I thought it was supposed to be a keyhole with someone sneaking a peak through it.

    An eye shooting out a beam? I never saw that until now ...

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  2. Really? That's weird, dude.

    I kid.

    Sometimes a banana is just a banana.

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  3. Keyhole. Totally. Althogh, props on doling out a disturbing mental image...

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  4. No wonder she's trying to cover it up.

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