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Author: Jeffrey Harlan

Rise of the Public Domain Superheroes

Almost immediately after Superman first appeared in 1938’s Action Comics #1, other publishers took note of the character’s instant popularity, and rushed to produce similar characters of their own, giving rise to both the term “superhero” and to an entirely new genre of speculative fiction. Many of these publishers went out of business. Others failed to provide proper copyright notices, or to renew their copyrights, as required under the copyright laws in effect at the time. The laws have changed in the intervening decades, but those older works had already fallen into what is known as the public domain.

The Bloody Road to Star Trek’s Future

The future of the human race in Star Trek is a bright one. Humanity had struggled with war, disease, and hunger, but had “pretty much wiped ‘em out,” by the mid-twenty-second century, as Charles “Trip” Tucker bragged in the first episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. But, as the theme song to the series made clear, “it’s been a long road, getting from there to here.” The path to the bright future of Star Trek’s Earth was a dark and bloody one.

Minneapolis and the Bell Riots

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the unrest that has followed, many have taken to the Internet to compare recent events with the Bell Riots from Star Trek, and others have questioned whether the comparison is apt, or even appropriate.

In the two-part episode “Past Tense” from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s third season, a transporter accident sent Commander Sisko, Lieutenant Dax, and Doctor Bashir back in time to San Francisco in the year 2024. Sisko and Bashir were immediately taken into custody and placed into a Sanctuary District, while Dax was taken in by a wealthy media executive. The fact that Sisko was a black man, and Bashir middle eastern, whereas Dax was an apparently white woman (her spots notwithstanding, which were quickly dismissed as tattoos), was not lost on most viewers when discussing their treatment.

Let your geek flag fly on Geek Pride Day

Monday, May 25 marks the 14th annual Geek Pride Day, which was officially begun in Spain in 2006. Taking inspiration from geek pride festivals in the United States that dated back to the late 1990s, Geek Pride Day celebrations quickly spread worldwide. The day is also Towel Day, which honors the anniversary of the death of author Douglas Adams; the anniversary of the release of Star Wars in 1977; and in the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, it is the anniversary of the Glorious Revolution of the Twenty-Fifth of May.