Wednesday, June 10, 2015


DC Comics, by way of their most-recent crossover event (as of this writing, anyway; by the time you've finished reading this entry I'm sure they'll have had two more crossover events from start to finish) has declared that continuity and canon no longer rule the roost among their respective intellectual properties.

Of course, this liberation from precedence was announced by way of an in-continuity story which established the absence of continuity and marked the dissolution of canon ... as canon. The new continuity is no continuity, according to their continuity, and the only canon is a canon-shaped hole in their canon, according to recently-established canon. I ... This is utter nonsense, am I wrong? I can't be the crazy one here, right?

In any case - with every story they've ever published now officially part of the canon-less continuity and every universe now part of the continuous non-canon, that means absolutely everything DC ever published, intimated, hinted at or even edited out of existence is once again part of their active universe, and that includes ...

Writer/artist Rick Veitch was assigned the seemingly unenviable task of following Alan Moore's groundbreaking run on Swamp Thing, and yet managed to turn in a work which was - at the very least - comparable to Moore's while maintaining an utterly unique storyline, look, feel and vibrancy. Besides really diving into Moore's (and previous creator Martin Pasko's) Swamp Thing supporting cast, expanding the mythology established in the series preceding him, he also launched both wrenching and grotesque salvos against corporate pop culture in much the vein one becomes used to with Rick Veitch.

What put an end to Veitch's run was disagreement at the highest levels of Warner Bros. entertainment with Veitch's plan to have a then-time-travelling Swamp Thing not only make it all the way to the living days of Jesus Christ, but to have the long-running hero's plant-based body be the cross on which Jesus was crucified. I don't see what the drama was all about, that's exactly what I learned in Sunday School, according to my enormously faulty memory.

The crucifix-tastic conclusion was scrapped, but now it's canon again, even if it only existed in rough form. I genuinely expect to see Swamp Thing and Jesus Christ having buddy adventures from here on out, and if not I'm gonna need someone to explain why not.

Batman fans love to pull the "Batman hates guns" routine even though the Caped Crusader has used all kindsa guns throughout his 75+ year career, from the non-lethal variety to the Frank Miller variety (not to mention how pretty much every Batman movie has the Dark Knight Detective either machine-gunning stuff or just blowing up whole factories).

Well, unfortunately for them, Batman now uses guns again, and he legit uses them to shoot dudes full on in the motherfucking faces. Vampires, crooks, um ... everyone? Everyone. Batman can now shoot everyone and how're you going to stop him, he's non-canonical Batman, the baddest Batman of them all!

Way back in Superman vol.1 no.216 (May 1969), Superman starred in a story which recalled his heyday in World War II. Deciding that our boys "over there" needed his support, he bumrushed a draft board and got himself appointed as a medic in Vietnam, facing off against an American soldier turned a rampaging giant who'd been dubbed "King Cong" and been brainwashed into fighting for the enemy. The Viet Cong which Superman fought sure resembled the enemy battalions of World War II, although their tank regiments were piloted by Vietnamese soldiers dressed in rags and peaked hats. A Good Depiction, and more or less the last time Superman faced off against an aggressively offensive depiction of another ethnicity (I saw "more or less," but I'm not forgetting the nearly-purple Quracis of the late Eighties).

That was a pretty mellow excursion into Asia, however, considering that Superman's antics during the Forties involved a lot of buck-toothed, squint-eyed Japanese enemies, an express endorsement of American internment camps for citizens of Japanese descent and, for that matter, the famous cover represented above... now back in canon! Superman's gonna become your dad's brother's Facebook account, just wait for it!

He seems reasonable.

Everybody loves the original Captain Marvel, and his innocent, beaming, eyes-wide-open sensawunda adventures just perfect for a kid-friendly market. Well, except for the loads and loads of racism which defined his original run.

The long-running multi-issue story arc, Captain Marvel vs The Monster Society of Evil, for instance, was a ground-breaking series of adventures which predicted the serialized event comic something like four decades in advance of the formula's debut. It's also one of the most stereotype-packed stories in comics history. I had the reprint edition when I was in college and it was the first material I'd ever encountered that was racist against the Scottish. I didn't even know you could do that!

Chief among Captain Marvel's ethnic excesses, however, was Billy's personal assistant and howling caricature Steamboat, a Stepin Fetchit type who was pretty quick with a knife and burdened under a confusing patois. The best thing about it is, though, he's gotta be back, right? Uncle Dudley, the Lieutenants, Tawky Tawny - the next time the Marvel Family reunites, make sure to include room for Steamboat!

This one seems tricky. I mean, I understand that the canonical story which de-established canon also established that no multiverse-destroying events ever happened, but then again if there is no continuity and every story happened, then every story which destroyed the multiverse happened. Also, every story that undid the destruction of the Multiverse happened too. All the times the multiverse was destroyed and all the times the multiverse wasn't destroyed all happened in this new, exciting and inevitably reversible and completely meaningless Schrodinger's Continuity in which DC is now encased. That's ... complicated. And in canon! Hooray!

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