‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Fifteenth, in Which Worlds Will Die and Heads Will Hurt


‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover.

K. Patrick Glover is the writer of the webcomic The Invisible Skein, which is illustrated by Amanda Hayes.

‘Four Color Memories’ is a column about the comics of our youth, full of nostalgia for the days when heroes were heroes and villains were villains, before the Avengers were DARK and before the Lanterns were BLACK.

To see a directory of previous installments of the column, please click here!

Installment the Fifteenth

In Which Worlds Will Die and Heads Will Hurt

And so we arrive at our Crisis.

If you haven’t read last week’s column (and, really, the one before that) then you might want to take a few minutes and go back. Otherwise, this might not make a lot of sense. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

All caught up? Good, let’s move forward.

Crisis On Infinite Earths, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez arrived in 1985. It was both a gorgeous and ambitious book. Featuring virtually every character in the DC Multiverse in a grand, cosmic crossover, it also functions as a broom, sweeping up the muddled continuity of the past 50 years.

This book had destruction on a level that Roland Emmerich could only dream of. World after world and universe after universe are destroyed, eventually leaving us with just one universe. But we can’t wipe out all of those other cool characters, so many of the multiple Earths are merged.

Suddenly the Justice Society and the Justice League exist on the same world. So do the Freedom Fighters and the Captain Marvel Family and the old Charlton heroes. To simplify things (and man, I think somebody needs a refresher course on the definition of the word simplify) history is rewritten to remove inconsistencies.

The Big Three (Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman) are removed from Justice Society history. The Earth 2 versions of the characters no longer existed and the Earth 1 versions were declared the real deal, starting the characters’ history with the Justice League days.

No, wait, that would be too easy.

Batman’s history starts with the Justice League days. Superman and Wonder Woman, on the other hand, begin anew after Crisis. As if they never existed. Just, oops, let’s start again. An interesting decision to say the least.

So let’s look at how this works out for a few characters. Wonder Girl still exists over in the Teen Titans book, except now she’s not really connected to Wonder Woman because Wonder Woman doesn’t exist yet. Superboy never existed, because in his new origin Clark Kent doesn’t put on the cape until he’s an adult. Since the whole history of the Legion of Super-Heroes is tied into Superboy’s history, that pretty much calls everything about them into question.

The Huntress is supposed to be the daughter of Earth 2’s Batman, but now Earth 2 Batman never existed. Yet here she is. Same story with Power Girl, who is supposed to be the cousin of Earth 2’s Superman.

I don’t even want to get started on Hawkman because it just makes my head hurt.

Now, remember folks, Marv Wolfman is a wonderful and talented writer. ‘Crisis’ is a fantastic read, in and of itself, and that’s really the important thing. And I’m sure that the vast majority of the cluster fuck aspect of this comes from the inevitable editorial edicts and corporate decisions that have to get handed down from on high when you’re playing with that many valuable properties.

But for something that attempts to simplify continuity, Crisis manages to be the starting point for a universe that is so complicated that even the creators couldn’t keep track of the who, what, where and whys.

Which of course led to various and sundry attempts to clarify individual character histories, attempts that would often get contradicted or replaced by other versions later on.

All of which eventually led to a series of other Crises, from Infinite to Final, which finally took us back to a multiverse with various versions of Earth, just not the same ones we started with.

It is, at this point, entirely plausible that the editorial decisions at DC are being made by a monkey with a dartboard.

K. Patrick Glover

Ancillary matters -

Don’t forget that my webcomic The Invisible Skein, launched on Dec 14th at http://www.theinvisibleskein.com.

I can be found regularly at my blog, http://kpatrickglover.wordpress.com or on the Twitter thing at http://www.twitter.com/kpatrickglover

Related posts:

  1. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Fourteenth, In Which a Crisis is Brewing
  2. ‘Four Color Memories’ By K. Patrick Glover - Installment The Fourth, In Which Worlds Collide
  3. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Twelfth, In Which We Say Hello to Another Universe
  4. ‘Four Color Memories’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Seventh, In Which We Speak With Gerry Conway
  5. ‘Four Color Memories’ By K. Patrick Glover - Installment The Fifth, In Which We Meet The Three Kings

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