Nerd Race

March 16, 2008 at 3:09 am | Posted in OhMidge Advice | Leave a comment

OhMidge, could SuperMan outrun The Flash?

-Comic Book Fan, Florida



Dear Comic Book Fan,

The Flash VS Superman question presents an interesting dilemma, although realistically the answer is that Flash is the fastest. Technically speaking, the Flash can break the speed of light, and when he does so develops an aura to keep a sonic-boom from occurring. Superman is usually portrayed as being limited to the speed of sound, but even if Superman could develop light speed, he would not be able to suppress the environmental impact. Over the years and rebooting of both characters, their strengths and weaknesses have ebbed and flowed according to sales and trends in popular culture. They have raced in the comics at least six times, beginning in 1967, but every outcome has either been a tie, or the Flash has won by a small margin. There is a reprint of those issues, which can be found here:

Of more interest is how this question makes me consider the value of esoteric information in our internet savvy age. Prior to the internet, this type of trivia was characteristically limited to a specific type of person, a sort of archivist who had usually spent much of his (or occasionally her) life questioning such matters and then researching them by either seeking out the individual comic books, or discussing them in depth with peers. As a result it created a rarity for this type of information to those who either “did the footwork,” or “had the connections.” Ironically, the type of people who compiled this esoteric information often conceived themselves as feeling empowered through this limitation. The access they had achieved, led to a type of super-power, which kept them above “mere mortal” status, even if they never had real girlfriends or social lives. Of course all of this eventually led to the image of the clichéd power-tripping nerd as portrayed by the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons.

So the real question is, where does it end? What happens once this type of information is widely available. Most people I know have just dug themselves in deeper, finding even more obscure pockets of esoterica to shield themselves within- areas which only the “chosen few” will bother to Google. Now the club is not limited to “who knows the answer“ so much as “who bothers to ask the question?” The real question in the end is, Who Watches the Watchmen?


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