A quick joke in the latest episode of Krypton made reference to a superhero at DC Comics' main "marvel-ous" competitor. The throw-away line was based around the shared surname of Krypton's space-traveling scientist Adam Strange and Sorcerer Supreme Stephen Strange, a.k.a. Doctor Strange.
Despite having the same unlikely last name, the two Stranges are worlds apart and not just because they're part of different comic book universes. Stephen Strange is a master of the mystic arts and one of the most powerful magicians in the Marvel Comics Universe. By contrast, Adam Strange was created in tribute to classic science-fiction heroes such as Flash Gordon and John Carter - ordinary men who became heroes after being transported to another world. What made Adam Strange unique was his status as a scientist, rather than a soldier or a star athlete, and the fact that his adventures were based around his using his wits rather than raw force to save the day.
CBR first reported on the Easter Egg, which appeared in the episode "The World Of Rao". The episode saw Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) attempting to find a cure for a parasitic probe created by the malevolent being known as Brainiac. This led to Strange seeking the advice of Van-El (Ian McElhinney), who spoke to Strange through a projector from his prison in The Phantom Zone. Van-El opened the conversation by addressing Adam as "Mr. Strange".
“Please, Mr. Strange was my dad,” Adam replies, “and, also, what he called the kid in gym class who licked feet. Call me Doctor... nope, better make that Adam.”
There is a bit of irony in this joke as well as a sly reference to the more famous Doctor Strange. While the comic book version of Adam Strange possesses a doctorate in archaeology and is an engineering genius after years of work with alien technology, Krypton's version of Adam Strange is a college drop-out who freely admits to not knowing the first thing about archaeology. This has led many to speculate that this Adam Strange might be someone else claiming to be Adam Strange, with the time-traveling goofball Booster Gold being the prime suspect.
This Doctor Strange joke on Krypton is not at all unusual for the world of comics. Marvel and DC Comics have given each other many friendly nods over the years, with Dick Grayson using the alias Peter Parker while posing as a photographer in Teen Titans and Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson being spotted in the background at a gallery opening for artist Kyle Rayner in Green Lantern.
The current season of The Flash TV show on The CW has also made a number of references to Marvel Comics, with Felicity Smoak comparing Caitlin Snow's transformation into her Killer Frost persona whenever she's stressed out to The Incredible Hulk. Similarly, Barry Allen said his Spider-Sense was tingling following an interview with the suspicious college professor Clifford DeVoe, who would later be revealed as the season's big bad - criminal mastermind The Thinker.
Krypton continues Wednesday, April 18 with "House of Zod" on Syfy.