Half a century after Fredric Wertham’s anticomic crusade (“In the News,” July/ August), there is still a bias against comicbook heroes and their creators. Several months ago, I requested the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to name two craters on the planet Mercury for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman. The IAU is composed of professional astronomers in 66 countries, and its nomenclature is the only that NASA recognizes.
Each planet has its own rules: Mercury for artists, composers, and writers; Venus for famous women (it’s the only planet named for a goddess); Mars for scientists and writers who have studied the Red Planet or added to its lore. The person has to have been deceased for three years. When, earlier, I requested Orson Welles for Mars, for his famous 1938 radio broadcast about Martians attacking earth, the IAU named a crater for him in two months, because he “put Mars and Martians into so many people’s brains”— the IAU’s words. I had problems with Siegel and Shuster, however.
The IAU refused, because it does not “name craters after comic book heroes or their creators.” I can find no such clause in the lAU’s rules (available on the Internet at www.iau.org). I think that anyone who creates perhaps the most popular character in American literature should be permanently recognized.