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In a particularly timely installment of “Stan’s Rants,” the legendary Stan Lee once again brings into question Superman’s flying ability — “The man has no visible means of propulsion!” — and points to Marvel’s Thor as a prime example of comic-book flight done right.
“When Thor wants to fly, we use a scientific principle. He has his hammer, he has a leather thong attached to his wrist,” Lee explains. “He swings the hammer around faster and faster ’til it’s going like a propeller, and then he lets go of it — well, the hammer goes flying off into space, but the thong is wrapped around Thor’s wrist, so he goes with it. So you have hammer propulsion.”
Take that, Angry Nerd.
This certainly isn’t the first time the “scientific-minded” Lee has expressed his problems with the Man of Steel. Just last year, in comments that will sound curiously familiar to anyone who skipped ahead to watch the video, Lee admitted he found Superman’s power of flight more than a little frustrating.
“You’ve seen Superman flying on the screen, haven’t you? What is his means of propulsion? What makes him fly?” he said. “He doesn’t have a jet engine, there’s nothing pushing him, he just sort of assumes a horizontal position, lies on the air and off he goes. When I wanted a character to fly, such as the Silver Surfer, I gave him a flying surfboard — perfectly scientific, perfectly understandable, and not the least bit as frustrating as wondering how Superman does it. So as you can see, science is really something I’m very much into and every factor of our stories is as scientifically accurate as I can make them.”
For those keeping track at home, hammer propulsion and cosmic-surfboard propulsion fall under “Perfectly Scientific”; whatever it is that pushes Superman through the air, however, does not.