FROM CHRISTIAN BALE to Stephen Amell, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment know a little something about finding stars. But for a new Superman story, it was a well-known astrophysicist who launched the mission to locate one.
“When I gave the story to my editor, Wil Moss, [he] suggested that maybe we could contact Neil DeGrasse Tyson, since he's deeply interested in getting science out to the public,” writer Sholly Fisch tells Comic Riffs on Monday.
“Having worked in that area myself for many years,” continues Fisch, a veteran in the field of educational media, “I thought it was a great idea.”
So DC Comics reached out to the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. The response turned out to be even better than they’d hoped.
“Originally, we just planned to ask him for help in making the science realistic, but when we spoke to him on the phone, he also asked if we'd like him to find a real-life star that could be Krypton's,” Fisch tells ‘Riffs, referring to the Man of Steel’s home planet. “Since we're not fools, Wil and I immediately said, ‘Sure!’
“And the rest is soon to be history.”
The arc, titled “Star Light, Star Bright,” is the backup story for Action Comics No. 14 (landing Wednesday).
“The idea for the story came first,” Fisch tells us of “Star Light,” drawn by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. “The lead story ... involves Superman having an adventure on Mars, so I thought it would be good for the backup story to tie into space, too.
“I got to thinking about the distance between Earth and Krypton, and the fact that light from Krypton would still be reaching Earth long after the planet itself was gone, and that led to the story.”
“Now fans will be able to look up at the night’s sky and say, ‘That’s where Superman was born,’ “ Dan DiDio, the DC Entertainment co-publisher, said in a statement.
Tyson decided on a “Krypton-like system,” in the constellation Corvus, 27.1 light-years from Earth.
To find that red dwarf star, called LHS 2520, in the night skies, DC provided these coordinates:
Right Ascension: 12 hours 10 minutes 5.77 seconds
Declination: -15 degrees 4 minutes 17.9 seconds
Proper Motion: 0.76 arcseconds per year, along 172.94 degrees from due north.
“As a native of Metropolis, I was delighted to help Superman, who has done so much for my city over all these years,” Tyson said in the statement. “And it’s clear that if he weren’t a superhero, he would have made quite an astrophysicist.”