Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Original Universe

Another of DC's promotional taglines was "DC - The Original Universe".

This one always bugged me because it was used quite some time after Crisis on Infinite Earths basically eliminated the 'Original Universe' of DC Comics.

I've always felt that DC Comics was either afraid of or terribly embarrased by it greatest asset; Its roughly 70 of years of comic book history. You get the feeling that their editors and writers are all sitting around at some reunion party, all cool, hip jet-setters, looking at old photos and saying, "Wow, can you believe we used to let Supergirl dress like that?" "Whose idea was it to have a villain called Crazy Quilt?" "Did I really have an issue with White Kryptonite that kills plants?"

Yes. You did. Don't ignore it like you would that nerdy girl who had a crush on you in high school. Don't pretend it didn't happen. And for the love of Pete, please don't create a company-wide crossover series to eliminate all those awesome, creative, gonzo ideas so you can retcon everything into the new, edgy DC. If I wanted a new, edgy DC I'd read Marvel. Or Krypto forbid, Wildstorm. -SHUDDER-

If you take a second look at that nerdy chick you'll more than likely realize she grew up to be pretty hot and you're going to kick yourself for ignoring her. Its amazing to me how short sighted professional creative people can be. Instead of destroying stuff or saying something didn't happen, just don't use it if you don't have any good ideas for what to do with it. I mean, did killing off the Question and making the character a latina, lesbian ex-cop really net you a lot more money than you were making with the classic Vic Sage version. Umm...my guess is no. So why do it? For the sake of doing it? Maybe because you don't have enough minority characters (an issue DC has always had that I will address in another post)? Than maybe make some new original ones.

My point is, only the concept of Hypertime really explained in well. In a nutshell, everything happened. Superman was Superboy in his teens and he wasn't. There are an infinite number of parallel Earths and there aren't. I want my dozen types of Kryptonite, the Inferior Five, the original Donna Troy origin and everything else someone at some point thought was cool enough to create and someone else thought to erase from continuity in favor of an idea that didn't last half as long in anyone's memory.

If you have what you think is a good idea, use it. If you can't think of what to do with an idea that already exists, leave it alone. Let the fans decide if you were right with their wallets.

Barking Alien


  1. Not to mention that when it started out, DC's characters weren't in a "universe".

    Sorry, Marvel zombie here...

  2. Actually they were...see, Marvel took place in the 'real world' of New York City while DC was already world building with ficitional cities like Metropolis and Gotham City in the 1930's.

    Also, the Justice Society of America, first created in 1940, collected together DC's earliest heroes into one book when many of them didn't already have their own titles. As a result, the JSA became, not only the first superhero team in comic book history but also the first indication of a publisher whose characters existed in a shared universe.

    For more information on the JSA:

    Also, check out these super cool observations from Zak S.

  3. I agree the Crisis was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing in that it was a really cool concept for its time. Curse, as it was method of cleaning house and erasing decades of comic history. But then again, as you said, they've brought so many back.

    I never did know much about Hypertime until your post, so I'll have to invest in learning more, thanks!

  4. Instead of destroying stuff or saying something didn't happen, just don't use it if you don't have any good ideas for what to do with it.

    Couldn't have said it better myself.