People who say that comics are a waste of time ought to read this post, because I will prove that you can learn stuff through comic books, stuff that is useful, so long as by "useful" you mean stuff that you will use exactly three times in your life, and one of those times will be when watching the animated movie Hercules.
The stuff I learned from comic books is this: I learned what a syzygy is.
A syzygy occurs, as I have known for a long time now, when all the planets line up in a row, something that occurs only rarely -- every 6.9 x 1018 years, if you mean that the planets will all be in a straight line out from the sun, but not on the same plane. If you want the planets to all be in a line and on the same plane as each other, that'll only occur every 8.6 x 1046 years, or every
Having posted that, I will now expect someone to begin a syzygy countdown clock. We might as well start it today, but make sure to mark off 14 billion years, because that's how long the universe has been around, according to Paul Simon.
As an aside -- there is, so far as I can tell, no syzygy clock yet, according to this authoritative listing of all the clocks on the Internet.
It's a good thing a syzygy happens only rarely, given that on the day that a syzygy occurs, that day marks the day that Hades is going to free the Titans from their cage and there will be a battle of the gods which will only be won by the good gods if Hercules fights on their side.
I know that from the second of three times I've used syzygy in conversation, the second time being when we watched Hercules with the older kids, and reached the point of the movie where Hades talks with the Fates and they spell out that plan, at which point I said to the kids "That's a syzygy," and the kids ignored me.
The other two times I used syzygy in conversation were first, in 8th grade science class, when I asked Mr. Magestro if we'd be studying syzygys in that class at all. He didn't know what it was, and so I had to explain (but didn't tell where I'd learned the word), and, second, a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned to one of the secretaries at work that I'd be better off waiting for a syzygy than the copy machine, given how long it was taking for it to finish a job, and then had to explain to her what a syzygy was.
Which is just proof, to me, that you can learn something from comics -- and if everyone had read Dreadstar, like I did, as a kid, then everyone would have known what a syzygy was because everyone would have known who "Syzygy Darklock" was and everyone would also have gone to look up syzygy to see what that meant.
And, by now you know that Syzygy Darklock is the 4th Best Comic Book Character I'm Pretty Sure Only I Remember, so let's get to it:
Character: Syzygy Darklock.
What was the deal with Syzygy Darklock? He was, as I recall, a sorceror who roamed around with Dreadstar and had adventures in space, fighting some kind of alien fleet or something. That's all I remember without going and checking any sources -- that and that Syzygy had only half a face, and that he was very powerful.
Because my memories exist but are hazy, I've gone to the trouble of actually researching it a bit, by googling "Syzygy Darklock." That's how I found out Syzygy has a Twitter page, on which he wrote this:
Estoy conjurando un hechizo para abrir un portal dimensional... pero claro, señor Twitter, eso a usted y a sus seguidores poco les importará.
I translated that using Babel Fish, and it works out, in English, to this:
I can't believe that anyone uses this stupid service. If what you have to say can be said in 140 characters or less, why say it? And if what you have to say can also be said by Ashton Kutcher, shouldn't you be slapped?
So that was unhelpful. Luckily, there's another page that has actual information and doesn't make people sound moronic just by saying it's name, and that page says that Syzygy used an "amulet of white light" to get to the part of reality where the gods store their power, and he then died but through magic and cybernetics was restored to life, fulfilling a plan that had his brother dying so that Syzygy could save the galaxy through accumulating more power than anyone else in the galaxy.
I bet, though, that he rarely uses that power. I've noticed before, wizards with awesome amounts of power almost never use it. Someone (me) should write a book that has a character who has awesome amounts of power and uses it. But nobody, including me, ever does that. Wizards with tons of power in books never use their powers to just decimate everyone. I'm looking at you, Gandalf.
Why I Remember Him: I thought it was because of his wrecked face and because the word syzygy is a fun word, but now that I think of it, maybe I remember him for more mystical reasons. I mean, I first used the word in 8th grade science class -- but then forgot it again until watching Hercules, which was about ... a battle between the gods, and Syzygy Darklock got his power from the gods and he's supposed to save the universe...
So what I'm guessing now is that I remember Syzygy Darklock because the stuff about the Gods and Hercules and him is all true, and I'm about to be swept up in an adventure to save the galaxy, just like that guy in The Last Starfighter, a movie I never saw, but which I read the book of back when 90% of my reading was novelizations of movies I'd never seen. I hope I'm home in time for dinner.
Is there any point to this, at all? Not really.
But syzygy is fun to say.
And also, I'm right about the powers. Here's Syzygy Darklock, "Most Powerful Guy In The Universe" being a wuss about using those powers: