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          Oh, no! Can Tesseract save the plane?

A rare action comic for the ultimate geek

    Comic books had never become the big deal in Israel that they are in the States, but I was lucky to get my hands in my early teens on a stash of action comics from the fifties and sixties. That happy discovery gave me many hours of pleasure as I mastered the strange lives of Superman, Spiderman, the incredible Hulk, Flash, DareDevil, and so on; it also added to my education a layer of American language and popular culture that my school teachers hadn't quite planned on...
    These superheroes existed in a simpler universe than ours, one where the bad guys were totally evil (like super-villain Brainiac in the image at right, about to shrink Earth's big cities and put them in bottles) and the good guys were totally brave and valorous, dividing their time between saving the planet, preventing local mishaps, and conducting a docile life under meek secret identities (In this universe all it took was to put on a pair of glasses and a change of clothes and even your closest friends wouldn't recognize you; which was a problem where one's love life was concerned). Superman and Brainiac in a panel from a 1950's comic
    By the time I started College I'd dropped the comics, but some of their effect remained, for in my first year of Math I drew a comic strip called "Tesseract combats the Circle" that was a parody of the superhero genre, located entirely in the flat world of geometrical figures. The superhero was the  Tesseract, the four-dimensional hypercube, alter-ego of meek square ABCD; his nemesis was the unit circle, who is intent on devouring the fabric of the plane to become a sphere and rule the universe. As you can see below, the Square Avenger even suffered the unrequited love that seems de rigueur in his line of business...
Two panels from the Tesseract spoof comic
Click image to see entire comic
    I only ever drew one episode of this comic, mercifully perhaps, and it disappeared for many years until it popped up in a forgotten drawer. Looking back on it, it comes nowhere near the sophistication of XKCD, the ultimate geek comic, but then its focus was on parodying the superhero style, not on the math (hey, I was in first year, remember...)  Actually,it wasn't all that bad as a spoof, though you really had to be a comic fan to appreciate the allusions, and a geek to grasp the mathematics.
    Anyway, I decided to share it for the benefit of those of you who are comic-loving geeks, or geeky comic-lovers.

    So -- Click here to read the one and only issue of... (gasp!) Tesseract!


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