Everything You Thought You Knew Was Wrong

WARNING: While I wouldn’t consider anything that follows much of a Batman spoiler, if you’re the sort of person who says things like, “Aw, maaan! I didn’t know that Lost happened on an island! Uh, spoiler alert!” this is your chance to bail whilst your panties are still unbunched. Don’t say I never did anything nice for you.



"I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate." GASP

How much of a retcon are you willing to countenance?

I was thinking about this over the weekend as I read Pick of the Week Batman #10, a book which I’ll be showing to my daughter the next time her brother swipes one of her Barbies, saying, “Darlin’, it could be a lot worse. A lot worse.”

The book isn’t technically a retcon, of course. No matter what we think we know or how familiar something seems, the New 52 have the luxury of taking an eighty-year-old story and making up its continuity on the spot. If they say Snapper Carr is the albino offspring of Somali pirates, you have to sit there and take it like a prizefighter. Nothing is written in stone anymore. Hell, nothing is written at all.

Still, there are these universal truths we think we know about our favorite characters, and every so often a writer is granted permission to walk up and shake them like a snow globe. If Scott Snyder weren’t Scott Snyder, and he pulled the hooey and applesauce we see in this week’s Batman, they would have had to hire a crew of street sweepers to gather up all the marbles people would’ve lost. As it is, we trust him– he got us this far, after all– but our fingers are still hovering nervously over the “Eject” button.

(SPOILER ALERT: Life is almost never what you wanted it to be, but the curveballs pay off big time.)

Which stories do we hold as inviolate? Mostly the origin stories, I’d imagine. If Superman were to discover that his biological parents were actually futurists from Huber Heights, Ohio, I doubt the franchise would survive. But what if Jean Grey wasn’t the first Earthling to wield the Phoenix Force? What if the death of Bucky, which traumatized Captain America for the rest of his unnatural life did not, in the strictest sense, happen at all? What if Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben was not killed by a random crook but rather by Thomas Hayden Church, causing him to do a jazzy dance with emo hair?

How much do you have to bend before your favorite character isn’t your character anymore?

Before Batman #10 came out, there was a rumor going ’round that it was going to show that Bruce’s parents weren’t murdered at random, but rather as part of a grand conspiracy. (Snyder still has time to do this, incidentally. AAAnyway!) If that turned out to be the new origin story, would you feel for Bruce any less? Would his struggle be any less important or “impactful” to you?

(Note: I hate the “word” “impactful,” but goddamn if I can think of anything that applies better right now.)

SPOILER: Uncle Ben, in the end, fails to live. As do we all.

Personally, I’m not sure anything is out of bounds anymore. I would’ve said the death of Bucky Barnes was an inviolate moment in the life of Captain America before Ed Brubaker showed me how it didn’t have to be. Now I read every issue of Winter Soldier and count the days until the next one arrives. I would’ve said, “Ugh, Christ, let’s all pretend the Spider-Clones never happened,” but as it turns out Scarlet Spider is one of my favorite books on the market. (Damn your wily pencils, Ryan Stegman!) Nothing could have sounded more gross to me than the revelation that Barbara Gordon was fit as a fiddle again, but Batgirl is one of my favorite books this year so far. I’m not even getting started on Spider-Men, a book that would have given me a seizure in my twenties.

“It’s not what a thing is about, but how it is about it,” is a sentence I always attribute to Roger Ebert but have no idea whether he actually said it or not. If he didn’t say it, let’s pretend it’s all mine. The idea behind that barely attributed quote is that the genre and story take a backseat to how the storyteller tells it. What the story is doesn’t matter; how the story is told is all that matters. Scott Snyder could tell me that Bruce Wayne’s grandfather killed Dick Grayson’s parents to clear a mob debt, as long as he told it in a way that resonated with me. And even if it fundamentally changed who the character was, it wouldn’t affect who the character is.

But that’s just me spouting off. Where do you come down on all this? Which classic story would drive you from comics if they changed it? “With great power comes great naked lady action”? Let the world know where you stand.


Jim Mroczkowski ain’t no artiste or nuthin’. He don’t, like, draw three panels of guys talkin‘ every day. Art? Words ain’t Art! Hyuk hyuk!


  1. I think the batman retcon iS good actually. The deaTh of Joe Chill really destroyed the catharsis of Bruce being Batmn. This new idea gives it back. If in the end Bruce doesn’t defeat the Court of Owls, it gives him the “enemy is still out there” reason to be the Bat again. All my opinion of course

  2. I like Elseworlds more than Retconns. Who’s to say whatever is established in the New 52 won’t be written off as a 1 or 2 year “ooopsie” and then we’ll be back to status quo. Anyway – I don’t read any DC.

  3. I tend to bristle at the “it’s not what the story is about” quote because, honestly, if we believed that, then 80%+ of the books discussed on this site would not be about some dude with a traumatic past putting on fetishwear and going out after dark to beat up bad guys. Sure, there are variations on the theme, but I find, “We don’t care what stories are about, it’s just a complete coincidence that clusters of stories with similar character types and overarching themes tend to grow up around and be devoured by the same audience.” Truthfully, if we don’t actually want to be reading this stuff then the alternative is that we are horrifically lazy and uncurious human beings, so I prefer to think there is some preference going on there. Sorry if that’s too much of a tangent, I just want to vent whenever I hear that quote!

    Re: the Batman retcon — I’m ‘reading that book in trade’ (meaning I’ll probably get to it someday), but I have enjoyed Snyder’s writing on other titles, so I’m giving him benefit of the doubt (even if this sounds AN AWFUL LOT like the reveal about Commissioner Gordon’s family a couple years ago.) As far as other possible retcons — I first started reading X-Men comics around the time that the ‘X-Men: Deadly Genesis’ miniseries came out. This revealed that there was ANOTHER, PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN team of X-Men, and Professor Xavier LIED about their existence. I read this right on top of that Joss Whedon arc about how the Danger Room was actually run by an intelligent alien that Professor X was keeping prisoner. At the time I thought, “OH MY GOD, these 2 stories change everything we know about the X-Men, writers will have to be dealing with these for YEARS to come.” Check in on the present day — Darwin from that ‘lost team’ was a thing for a while and then he disappeared and then he was in a movie in which he died despite his power being ‘indestructibility.’ The animate Danger room sometimes shows up as a sexy robot lady. Otherwise, as far as I know, neither of these stories have ever been referenced, whereas at least 2 or 3 other secrets about the true origins of the X-Men have been advertised in storylines. I couldn’t tell you what those were because I realized it doesn’t matter. At all.

    • I first started reading X-Men at around the same time and read both those reveals almost simultaneously as well. My first thought was “Man, what’s up with the X-writers wanting to make Prof. X look like a lying dick?”

  4. Things that must be:
    Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, etc. can’t kill anyone.
    Hulk strongest one there is.

  5. I think the only retcon I wouldn’t except is supporting characters being secretly evil. Like if Alfred has been secretly working with Ra’s al-Ghul since Bruce first started training and guiding him in a direction Ra’s wanted. Now, I’m not saying that story couldn’t be done and that it wouldn’t kick ass… BUT… come on… it’s Alfred. That would devastate me as much as Bruce.

    • Or if Woozy Winks has been a secret terrible criminal this whole time despite Plastic Man knowing. Does anyone else remember that backup in Countdown to Mystery? No. Just me? Okay then.

  6. Anyone else notice a parallel between Bruce’s brother being a murderer who was in a mental institution and the family guy episode where something similar happened? anyone

  7. It’s much more about the personalities of the characters and the intrinsic natures of them than about any plot point being changed.

    To me, for example Batman is about a man tormented by a random crime that took his family and his lifelong mission to combat it by becoming the most perfect crime fighter ever. Superman is about an alien growing up on Earth and because of this always feeling somewhat distinct from humans. He crusades for the values that his small-town family raised him with and believes in truth, justice and the American Way. Captain America is a man that grew up during the Depression and World War II and he will forever be out of time and maintain that 1940’s American idealism.

    Specific stories can’t change those core attributes unless those origins were changed. Even Elseworlds usually retain the basic principles. I’m thinking Gotham by Gaslight or Red Son where it was really just the settings that changed.

  8. I don’t mind having the snow globe shaken as long as you eventually stop to see where things fall. As Thursday said, I’d probably turned off if Batman started killing people, but (Batman and Robin SPOILER) Damian killed someone and I loved that story. I didn’t/don’t mind the introduction of secret children and long lost parents/siblings/childhood friends. I may be in the minority but really shaking things up is my favorite thing in comics. Superman Red Son is my favorite Superman story ever. I got started on comics in the ’90s with Peter David’s Spider-Man 2099. Today I look forward to Miles Morales each month. I wish Marvel would do a more consistent “What If….?” line. I feel Spider-Men (I have not read it) would have worked much better as “What If Peter Parker met Miles Morales?”. The way its being presented now I really am not attracted to the idea. Miles is a very new character that hasn’t been fully developed yet, and they are chucking him into the mainline universe. I don’t know it just feels like they’re desperately trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. But I’ll check it out once it becomes a trade.

    Good article.

  9. The idea that Bruce’s parents were assassinated rather than gunned down in a random act of violence would disappoint me enough that I’d drop the book. It wouldn’t break my heart or anything, but it would remove this tragic existential aspect to the character that I find very significant. It would be like finding out Moby Dick bit off Ahab’s leg because his sock was full of shrimp or something, rather than just BECAUSE.

    Look at it this way:

    Can Batman avenge his parents death by defeating the Court of Owls? Yeah, totally.

    Can Batman avenge his parents death by defeating all of human iniquity? Hell, no. That’s the tragic aspect I find appealing.

    Take that away and Snyder and company will lose me as a reader.

    • But perhaps the motives of the assassination would keep you on. What if the motives were a response to Bruce’s parents trying to “do good,” and that tied it in to Bruce’s later crusade against iniquity? I think it could be executed in a way where it could still be satisfying.

    • It makes Batman a LOT less relatable I think if his parents were killed as part of some conspiracy. The reason the thing works is because random violence can happen to anyone, even millionaires / billionaires. Being targeted by a vast ancient conspiracy is #billionaireproblems .

    • I agree that it lessens the strength of Batman’s origin if his parents’ murder isn’t a random, unsolvable act of violence.

      I don’t agree that Ahab wearing shrimp socks lessens the Moby Dick – Ahab connection. A)Shrimp socks are funny; B)Moby Dick is a whale, not some kind of sea assassin.

    • Agreed. All around.

  10. For me, if they did something to Uncle Ben’s death to cheapen it, make it not peter’s fault, or if they brought him back I think i would shut the door on Amazing Spider-Man

    Of note to no one but me: I have never not read Amazing Spider-Man aside from when I quit comics for 4 years after the clone saga. Also of note, I liked the clone saga, what got me to leave was the story arc “the drawing of the five” that spanned all the Spidey books and brought Norman back too soon after his big reveal at the end of the clone saga. It was all weird magic and Norman was written more like harry than himself. I can’t remember any details from the actual book except images of people chanting magic incantations. Also I’m fairly certain Norman was arrested and taken into custody laughing like a maniac and STILL IN COSTUME!!!

  11. I still remember getting actually and meaningfully upset when I thought the X-books were being cancelled permanently in favor of the Age of Apocalypse. I know that wasn’t really a retcon, but I was 12 and we didn’t have the Internet so I thought that everything I loved about the X-Men was going to cease to exist, and it bummed me the f%$& out.

    But now, at age 30, I feel like I can handle anything as long as the execution is good. I don’t care much for the Gargantuan Tapestry of Continuity these days and I’m definitely not concerned about the holes in that tapestry nor the threads that don’t entirely match. If a creative team delivers an amazing new blue thread, that’s great. If it’s the same color as the other blue threads that someone wove in years ago — hey, that’s awesome. If it’s a different shade of blue or completely clashes with a another color of thread. That’s cool, I still remember what the tapestry looked like before that thread was there.

    And I’m not totally trashing on continuity. I’m glad I have a working knowledge of Marvel and DC history in my head, and it’s still cool to know that a lot of this stuff connects to other stuff, but it’s an aspect of comics I don’t put a lot of thought into each Wednesday.

    • I really like your thread metaphor. Well said!

    • Yeah I agree with all of this. I really don’t get too wrapped up in continuity and honestly I feel like the term retcon is thrown around far too often. The minute something new is revealed about an established character certain people are waving the torches and screaming retcon! Retcon! If something new and “earth shattering” is introduced and it works and fans like it, then it stay; if not, you know the company will simply re-retcon it away in a couple of months or years. I mean its hard to even know what is a retcon these days. Was Steve Rogers coming back to life a retcon of his death or was it planned all along? Is something like Blackest Night a massive retcon of dead characters, like Aquaman, or simply the continuing evolution of a character and a universe? I mean a show like Lost had a difficult enough time sticking with its own continuity (there are several moments in that show I would consider retcons rather than reveals) for a mere 7 years. Imagine how difficult it is to keep a character interesting and revalent over seven DECADES without the occasional retcon. The bottom line, if retcons bother you I don’t know how you could ever read mainstream comics.

  12. I agree with the Ebert (?) quote. It’s interesting that Ron’s “fuck it, I’m out!” moment on Grifter was when Grifter was given powers, essentially the type of retcon that, for him, made Grifter no longer be Grifter. (disclaimer: I stopped reading Grifter after Edmondson left and never read anything with Grifter in it before the reboot). What wasn’t commented on in the user review or on the podcast was how it was executed. Did it work in the context of the previous 9 issues? Because, frankly, who “Grifter” was before the reboot doesn’t matter in this universe. Perhaps it’ll work when the rest of the story is told.

    I don’t mean to be singling Ron out here, because we’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another. And I think it’s natural since many of us have such strong ties to these characters and the stories that have been told with them. I personally love Sinestro as a Green Lantern, even though I would have thought it ridiculous back in the days of the Sinestro Corps War. Hell, how many of us hated Damian when he was first introduced but now just love seeing Morrison write him? Who would have guessed Stephanie Brown would be such a great Batgirl back when she was stumbling around as Spoiler?

    Perhaps we are people who don’t like change. But, at the same time, we are people who like stories (hell, we love good stories). So I think if it’s done well, and if the readers are willing to stick through it instead of jumping ship at the first retcon, we might be open to anything.

    • On this same line of reasoning, I think that’s why Superman has sucked recently. He’s supposed to be this guy that is an alien while also retaining his idealistic outlook of human beings. Instead he’s made into space Jesus or an emo-super douche.

    • Personally I think Superman sucks because he is quite literally a god. I haven’t read/watched a ton of Superman but his stories often seem to go 1) You have kryptonite and manage to weaken and embarrass the Man of Steel before he ultimately defeats you, or 2) You don’t have kryptonite and he defeats you right away. Boring… The only other option seems to be pitting him against other Kryptonians who are as strong as him. I guess I just basically find him to be a boring character.

    • I actually liked the twist to Grifter. But then again I don’t give much of a shit about that character, and I am definitely not attached to his history.

  13. Morrison already teased the “The Wayne murders were part of a consperocy” angle, and Snyder doing the same just feels too similar (as has his whole storyline).
    “If that turned out to be the new origin story, would you feel for Bruce any less?” – Yes. In my opinion it would change a lot of what makes Batman’s mission “work”. Having the murder of Bruces parents be caused by a singular, purposeful, orchestration of their enemies changes everything. Now instead of one man lashing out against “crime” he is lashing out against “a specific person or group”.

    • But Bruce has spent decades thinking it was a random crime and building his personality and mission on that premise, so would this really change things for Bruce or for you as a reader?

  14. Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

    If it chips away at the motivation for a character.

    Like when Superman killed Zod & Co, Superman was already established so that was just his character evolving.

    But when Peter Parker’s parents were spies or whatever, his status as a normal teenager who has this amazing thing happen to him is now gone. Same goes for the Smallville (and Silver Age) version(s) of Superman. You can’t really say he came from a small town if he’s met dozens of aliens and super-powered teenagers and fire-breathing football coaches.

  15. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Between 1956 and 1987, Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murder wasn’t random. Joe Chill was hired by a guy named Lew Moxon in an act of revenge against Thomas Wayne’s having been a key witness in a trial that sent Moxon to jail. It actually was a conspiracy that killed the Waynes for over 30 years. All that was wiped away after the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Batman: Year One.

    But perhaps I’ve overplayed my hand. Keep an eye open for future DC Histories, folks!

    • Boom. Well done sir

    • I actually had no idea it was supposed to have been random until I read this post! I figured Joe must have been part of one of the various conspiracies over the years in Gotham (and isn’t that strongly implied, at least, in the Nolan movies?)

  16. “How much do you have to bend before your favorite character isn’t your character anymore?”

    For me, the best example is One More Day. Peter Parker making the most selfish choice possible, agreeing to a deal with the devil flew in the face of everything the character stood for, IMO. There are those who will say it was technically Mary Jane who made the deal. But Peter needed to agree.

    To me, it was a change in the fundamental core of the character; a selfishness and willingness to compromise rather than sacrifice that utterly and completely changed the character. And despite all the priase for the books that have come out since, I have refused to read them on that grounds.

    Oh, and OMIT? Where the wedding doesn’t happen because a fat man falls on Spidey? That just seemed like getting the finger to me. Apparently, all Kingpin needed to do to beat Spider-Man was faint and collapse on him. Just terrible.

  17. I just want to know how old these bat-men are!
    Bruce- 34?
    Dick- 21?
    Tim- 16?
    Damian- 9???

  18. My take: All we really know is who Lincoln March believes himself to be, and that Martha was pregnant after Bruce. Since Lincoln March looks like he may have gone insane, everything beyond that is wiggle room for future issues.

  19. On the how much do you have to bend?” question…they’d really have to change the character a lot for very transparent (read polybagged press conference type of stuff) reasons for me to walk away. Really just mess with it too much to the point where they’ve created a bad parody of what i know and love. That is of course only really applicable for Big 2 legacy characters. If its creator owned, then you have less legacy and it’d be more of the journey for the character.

    I don’t really get sucked in to continuity..i follow creators and story arcs mostly, so i don’t have that “obligation” to stick through arcs or era’s of characterizations that i don’t care for.

    As far as Lincoln March. I think Snyder is messing with batman’s head (and ours) i’m almost expecting a weird twist on this with the actual truth revealing itself down the line.

  20. I also think there’s a difference between evolving a character forward and cramming stuff into his past.

    • It can start to get very difficult to evolve forward with a never changing past that stretches back, in Batman’s case, over seventy years. Sometimes it can be useful, if not necessary, to make changes to a character’s past. I don’t mind it if there is a reason for, but if it just feels like a writer being lazy then it bothers me.

  21. Great piece, Jim.

    I may have a weird line on this. Of course, everybody probably has their own weird line. But I’ll try to explain mine.

    I had a similar conversation with Paul when talking about the new Spider-man movie. I said that no matter what, Uncle Ben still has to die. Paul countered that he could see something different happening.

    For me, I guess, the core that has to stay is the the event that defines the character, but not the circumstances around it.

    So, it doesn’t matter to me if Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed by Joe Chill, the Joker, or even the Court of Owls. His parents died as part of a criminal act. Bruce was shaped by that act. Even if he kills/stops Joe Chill or whoever, it doesn’t mean that his mission is over — he’s already the basketcase who wants to eliminate all crime, to save all potential future orphans.

    Spider-man needs a tragedy to learn that “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.” It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a random mugger or The Sandman who does it. And I suppose it could be Aunt May that gets it. But he’s got to learn that lesson.

    Kal-El’s world could still be alive somewhere. But he has to be raised as human by the salt-of-the-earth Kents, or you get a different character (eg, Red Son).

    So, I wouldn’t undo those bits, but anything surrounding it, I think you can shape as you want.

    That said, I do think there are only so many retcons you can stuff into a characters origin before it starts to dilute the characters. I don’t think the Batman story does that at this point; I think Snyder’s been careful to make it an element that works without diluting the core of the character. Which is no small trick — though to Jim’s point, it does help that there’s so much “unwritten” in the new continuity.

    • Perfectly said.

    • Agreed.

      When it comes to Batman, his mission will never end as long as there is Evil in the world. He is not trying to stop the guy who killed his parents…that will not bring them back. He is trying to prevent similar events from happening to others, sparing others the pain and anguish he went through as a child.

  22. I think its all in the execution. This is related to judging a book based on a premise as well. You’re only limited by your own imagination, but who’s to say a writer can’t come along that figures out a way to keep Bruce’s parents alive and still make him a compelling Batman. Doubtful, sure, but you never know. Execution.

  23. I don’t think it has that big of an effect. Whether Bruce’s parents were gunned down by a random criminal or as part of a conspiracy, he was born to become Batman and fight crime. A great book called Batman: The Ultimate Evil by Andrew Vachess came out in the 90’s. In it Batman learns that it may have been his mother who was targeted that fateful evening because of her work against pedophiles and child abusers. It is a very good story that I recommend for any Batman fans. The fact that the story suggests a different motive behind the death of Bruce’s parents did not effect my enjoyment of the book in the slightest.

    • I don’t think it ruins Batman if his parent’s death aren’t part of a big conspiracy but I enjoy it better as a random criminal act. If it’s a random criminal act, it means Bruce was brought down from his aristocratic place in the world by the type of crime “normal people” are victims of. It gives his mission as Batman a little more meaning. If it’s part of a conspiracy, it prevents Bruce from experiencing a common crime and keeps him aloof.

      Again, that wouldn’t ruin the whole thing for me but the random crime angle has more dramatic weight and plays better into his mission, which is to make things better for the people of Gotham because unlike others in his station in life, he was shaped by the type of crime that hurts them.

  24. I’m sure it’s been repeated already but:

    If Batman’s crusade was based on a conspiracy he wouldn’t be that interesting. Because a random criminal made him turn into Batman, he has the mindset to get rid of ALL crime. If it was a supervillain or a ‘Court of Owls’ like group that got rid of Thomas and Martha then he’s just another superhero to me. It’s like Spider-Man has to become a hero because of Uncle Ben. Cause he inadvertently caused his death he has the drive to become a better person.

    The only superhero I could see to change the origin dramatically is the Hulk. You can still have Banner get hit with gamma radiation but the actual reasoning behind it can change. It is pretty dated in this day in age that he got it because of a nuclear bomb test. Does America even do that anymore?

    • But its still about what HE thinks happened. If he spent the past 20 or 30 years basing his mission and mindset on his parents being killed by a random criminal then his mission should remain intact through him finding out it was a conspiracy. After how much we all know about Batman and Bruce Wayne do people really think a revelation like this would invalidate his mission in Bruce’s mind? Hell no.

    • It wouldn’t change things in his mind but it would change the theme of Batman’s story from an aristocrat coming down to our level to an aristocrat fighting other aristocrats. Unlike other children of privilege, Bruce has experienced the tragedy of street crime. A web of conspiracies blunts that theme.

      People talk about not being able to related to Superman all the time but I think Batman’s weakness is if he’s presented as a man of privilege trying to hold down normal people. It would be an easy mistake to make and several creators have crossed the line on it (Brother Eye anyone?).

    • But Bruce has spent every year since his parent’s death fighting the common criminal and the super villain alike for the good of regular people. Just because he now finds out the Court of Owls is responsible dones’t undo those years of work or the impetus behind them.

      People seem to be acting like this reveal somehow undoes what Bruce thought was the truth for all those years and it doesn’t. He still believed his parents were killed in a random act of violence for all his life. Bruce has been on a mission to stop all crime because his parents were stolen from him by a criminal. The inherent goodness of the mission has been proven time and time again during his life. I just don’t see how this changes any of that. Besides, Batman has fought groups similar to the Court before; The Black Glove, Talia’s army of assassins; and each time after he defeats them he goes back to protecting the people of Gotham. Why would this time be so different?

    • @USPUNX: What reveal? It hasn’t been revealed that the Court killed his parents.

    • Yeah re-reading my comment I worded that wrong. I was replying to what @djtrudeau said about aristocrats fighting aristocrats. I should have said potential reveal since so far Lincoln said the court wasn’t responsible. I should have proof read my post closer.

    • I guess my aristocrats versus aristocrats thing is a bit off from what I was trying to communicate. I think it makes the themes in Batman resonate deeper if he’s a victim of common crime instead of a big conspiracy. It connects him better to the common man he’s sticking up for. It doesn’t change him as a character or the motivation to do what he does. It’s all thematic.

      It’s also a preference on my part. I think they’re steering clear of the conspiracy thing, as Lincoln/Thomas said. If it was a conspiracy, it doesn’t ruin the character for me. I just prefer it the other way.

  25. I have a hard time with equating a snapper carr retcon to being punched by a prizefighter. I know it’s a joke, but I can’t agree with the sentiment behind it (and your retcon sounds much more interesting than the jazz-hands original). I’m all for taking art seriously, I’m all against taking art too seriously. Meaning that, aside from my favorite people, nothing means more to me more than my favorite art. But my consumption of art has been much funner since I realized that the corollary was not true: there are many many things that make me much much angrier than my least favorite works of art. I’m all for taking as much joy out of pretend as possible. Getting angry about pretend just doesn’t seem worth it. I don’t mean to condescend, I get that these characters have meant so so much to us for decades, but to paraphrase stephen king- our favorite stories aren’t ruined, they’re still on our shelves.

  26. Generally speaking when I drop a book it isn’t because of a change to the character’s origin, but rather because I have lost interest in the story being told or dislike the work of the creators involved. After reading comics for over twenty years, I’ve come to accept that every couple of years or so superheroes find out everything they knew was a lie and nothing will be the same.

    • Bingo. As a comic book fan, if you haven’t learned to just roll with the punches yet… Well, you will. Or I don’t think you’re destined to be a comic book fan for long.

    • Yep, count me into this one. During the Clone Saga, we still thought big changes were permanent, so getting rid of Peter Parker was enough for me to drop all Spider-man titles – my number one title since I was a kid – period. When Marvel did a 180 and brought Parker back, I returned.

      Ironically, I have no problem with Miles taking over Ultimate Spiderman. I compare the Ultimate Universe to the old DC “Earth 2s, 3s, Cs,” etc. Spider-men, IMO, is comparable to the classic “Flash of Two Worlds” where the Silver Age Flash met the Golden Age Flash.

      These days, all these “no one is dead” and “it’ll all go back in a year” issues have made me, who once was an ultimate believer in continuity, care less about the publishers are trying to say really happens.

  27. I’m pretty sure that “With great power comes great naked lady action” is an unwritten rule of Spidey’s life. I mean, look at his romantic history: MJ, Gwen, Black Cat…