Superhero comic books focus on the big: the boistrous, the loud, the bombastic. But don't forget to focus past the action to check out the background details: the elements that aren't integral to the plot but which are delightful little bits of stage dressing. In other words: keep your eyes peeled for the little cool things.
Hey, everybody...let's go back to the nineties! Hey, come back! Stop running away! We're not really going back to the 1990s! No, see, it's okay...we're just' gonna look at comic books from the nineties.
Hey, where you goin'? C'mon back everybody!
Okay, now that we've settled that, let's look at 1992's New Titans Annual #8. How nineties is it? It's so nineties that everybody has a mullet!Nightwing has a mullet!
It's so nineties that Beast BoyChangeling has a mullet!
It's so 1990s that Starfire has a mullet!
Anyway, my point...and I do have one...is that this issue has a pretty neat Little Cool Thing. Part of the "Eclipso: The Darkness Within" crossover event of '92, the issue's climactic goodie versus baddie battle takes place in a museum's Egyptian wing. (Not guest-starring Hawkman, for once!) One of the pages is bordered with a full frame of hieroglyphics. Presumably, if Eclipso can decipher these, he can take over the world, extinguish humanity, and shut down all the Panera Bread cafés. What a dastardly plan!
Did ya spot the Little Cool Thing? Of course ya did! (Because I know my readers are smart and brilliant and eagle-eyed and not susceptible to off-the-hand buttering up.) So, you saw the LCT...but can you decipher
That's not Egyptian...that's Interlac, the universal language of the DC Universe's galactic beings, the one-millennium-forward future of The Legion of Super-Heroes, and some of the more remote villages of Markovia, home of the tourist slogan Visit Markovia, the poor man's Latveria!
Long-time Legionnaires could probably read this in their sleep, but off-hand the only Interlac letter I usually recognize is "E," mainly because Element Lad used to wear it on his uniform, thus following the twentieth century custom of wearing your first initial somewhere on your costume (see: Superman, Aquaman, Captain America, Coil-Man, Fluid-Man, Multi-Man...) but also of having really, really great perms.
...that is, when he wasn't busy dressing like one of Darkseid's minions...
Believe me: Element Lad has had lots of rotten costumes. But let's poke through his closet another day. So to speak.
To decipher the Interlac hieroglyphs, just pull out your handy Interlac translation chart, clipped from the back of LSH #311!
Or, look for the archaic "inter-Net" on your McCauley Omnicom and dial up the charmingly primitive Wikipedia to find a fuller Interlac guide, including numbers and capital letters!
Capital letters?!? At last, people other than k.d. lang can join the Legion!
Carefully translating the Interlac, we can find that it reads, as far as we can see of the letters:
Here, let me put it into a more familiar state so you can perhaps fill in the letters:
Which of course means the earth is under threat from the menace of British actor Bill Nighy! Bwah!
No, no, I kids the Bill Nighy. The actual translation is likely THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH, which is fitting for an Eclipso story, and also because there's only a few pages left in New Titans Annual #8. Only a few lines left in this post, too, which is long enough to show you another cool thing from NTA #8: the moment when Nightwing mistakenly thought the comic book was in 3D!
That's all, except for a final comment. Always remember...