Silver Age ‘Superman’ comics often featured various backup features, including those starring ‘Superboy’, Superman himself as a teenager in Smallville, ‘Supergirl’ and the comedic ‘Tales From Bizarro World’. Another feature that captivated the imaginations of kids of the fifties and sixties was ‘World of Krypton’, which fleshed out the planet from which Kal-El originated. The cities looked like something out of ‘The Jetsons’ with futuristic computers and robots that could do pretty much anything, as well as fantastic devices like moving sidewalks and jet-packs. There were also fantastical locales like something out of ‘Flash Gordon’ with exotic and often dangerous creatures.
One thing that was rarely touched on, however, was religion… understandable considering the conservative time period, but as readers of the Silver Age comics know, Krypton did have a god called Rao.
As a way to allow Superman to say something like “Good God!” or as in the image above “God only knows…” the writers simply subbed in “Rao.” “Rao only knows why he hasn’t done that already.”
Well, Rao won’t just be an exclamation on SyFy’s new ‘Krypton, a series set years before the planet’s destruction and focuses on Seyg-El, the grandfather of Kal-El (played Cameron Cuffe) and his Romeo & Juliet love story with Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell).
Showrunner Cameron Welsh explains the nature of Roa on ‘Krypton’:
“The world of [Krypton’s capital city] Kandor in our show is a theocracy, and the religious guild is very powerful. The political landscape is turbulent; there’s a very rigid class divide, and there’s the rank-less district, and there’s the gilded area — that’s the science guild, the religious guild, the House of Zod or the House of El. There’s a class divide and a big part of that class divide is religion. And Raoism is the dominant religion.”
So even with an enlightened culture like Krypton, religion still seems to divide people… possibly leading to the destruction of the planet.
Welsh also added some insight about the leading character, Seyg-Lee:
“[He’s] not going to start out at like Kal-El or Jor-El. He’s not a classic hero in that sense. He comes from the streets. He’s a lot more rough and tumble. He’s got to learn. The show is his journey, really, into growing into one of those heroes that we associate more with that symbol.”
‘Krypton’ seemed like a strange choice for a series when it was first announced, but as things come together, it seems as though there is more depth to this story.
What do you think so far? Does Syfy’s ‘Krypton’ sounds intriguing to you?