Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Fast Talk: Plant Intelligence
Plant Intelligence: After last week's jibes concerning thinking computers, this outlandish lesson in hellish horticulture seemed a natural follow-up. As an entry in the regular Fast Talk feature, this Golden Age splash page requires little annotation. "The Plant That Challenged the World," by Gardner Fox and E. E. Hibbard, opens by playing a bit fast and loose with its scientific associations, informing readers that "immortal scientists such as Charles Darwin have long maintained that plants possess thinking brains with which they solve problems as real to them as our problems are to us. The Venus Flytrap... The Sarracenia... The Darlingtonia..." At the very least, the narrative's phraseology is misleading, and the outrageously escalating argument is deceptively constructed, but you can't deny the intrigue inherent to the premise! "It was the sternest test of his crime-clouting career when the Flash--the fastest man alive--attempted to stunt the growth of 'The Plant That Challenged the World!'" Pity the poor soul who regarded any issue of Comic Cavalcade as a scientific textbook. There must have been more than a few misguided youngsters who grew up eager to pursue a career in the frenzied and danger-filled field of botany, only to meet crushing disappointment in some humdrum hothouse.
Issue: Comic Cavalcade #5 (Winter 1943)