RP: The Comic Book Physics Handwavium Principle


(From "Master Comics" number 62, 1945.)

11 Responses to RP: The Comic Book Physics Handwavium Principle

  1. Avatar spidercow2010 says:

    I love the Random Panel feature, but must take exception to the title. They’re clearly carefully selected and thus, by definition, not random at all. Perhaps a contest to come up with a new name? Cuz I got nothin’

  2. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    My thought on the name was that they when taken out of the context of the story, you’d see the panel and go “Wow, that is random.” Maybe the word “random” in that context is sort of out of common usage, but hey, I’m a victim of the Eighties.

  3. Avatar Gero says:

    Wouldn’t a bullet be hitting a lot harder than Grandpa there could ever swing a chair?

  4. Avatar kingmonkey says:

    So, let me get this straight: the gravity helmet can deflect/absorb lots of kinetic energy, but not less kinetic energy?

  5. Avatar nate says:

    on another note, isn’t the phrase “have a seat?” “Have a chair” just sounds awkward to me

  6. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    @kingmonkey and Gero: My thought exactly! A much, much higher kinetic energy delivered in a much, much smaller area is deflected while a lower-energy, higher-area blow is not. It’s Comic Book Physics!

    I have noticed, however, that in the Golden Age nothing was as deadly as a pistol handle. The mightiest heroes could be felled by being hit with one, where bullets or bazookas or tanks failed. Also, holding a pistol for the purposes of pistol-whipping someone in the back of the head renders you invisible and inaudible, as no hero is capable of detecting their presence.

    It’s Comic Book Physics, kids!

  7. Avatar John says:

    …and thus, the secret engineering principles of the Ninja Tank are revealed! The operators held their sidearms in the “pistol whip” setting!

  8. Avatar Syzyx says:

    Not to get too real-worldy but… That’s actually how physics works. Impact and penetration are entirely different things from a physics standpoint. To use a primitive example, a sword is an excellent penetration tool, but is lousy at impact. Thus, chainmail was developed to counter the sword. In turn, a mace is great at impact but lousy at penetration, which makes chainmail not worth a whole heck of a lot against such attacks.

    In the modern world bullets are fantastic penetrators, but have negligible impact (gross oversimplification, I know… dumdums and pancake rounds and all that other hoopla…) so soft-cloth armour was developed to stop ballistic penetration. This stuff stops bullets dead but is totally useless against some guy punching you.

    This long and pedantic diatribe was inflicted on you for the sole purpose of pointing out that Bulletman has a soft-cloth helmet.

  9. Avatar Bael says:

    In other words, ever fired a gun? The recoil you feel in your arm is the same force as the bullet carries. Or maybe force is the wrong word. My physics is seriously disused these days.
    And pistol handles have the same soporific qualities as wrestling title belts and karate-like chops to the back of the neck. Everyone knows that.

  10. Avatar Mr.Vampire says:

    Bullets drive their power from their velocity not their mass, their small size means they penetrate. Something with greater mass and much less velocity causes damage not from the penetration but from the effect of it’s weight on the boydy it connects with.
    It’s not just the outside blow that knocks you out.
    Technicaly speaking a helmet can defelct a bullets penetraton but provides no protection from a large mass causing the brain to impact the inside surface of the skull, which can result from mild headach to unconciousness to death.

  11. The real question I would ask is whether a guy being hit in the head with a chair would utter the words “Argh-h-h!”? And what do the extra “h”s do anyway? Does that represent exhaled hair after the impact?