Comic Book Retcons That Were Ignored

Actually, that depowering started with Elliot S! Maggin. Who rocked. And it’s mostly gone now. I mean, Superman was stuffing a rocket powered Pluto into a black hole back in Worlds at War, basically. That’s juggling planets enough for me.

Doom Patrol: I hear rumors it’ll be waved off as ‘oh, that was a TV show.’

Byrne breaks other people’s toys. Superboy alone, for example, is directly responsible for shockwaves in the DC universe that lasted until… hm. This January, with the final reboot of LSH. Directly responsible for Zero Hour and End of an Era, as I see it.

Byrne is, however, a great damn writer when the toy is his to break. She-Hulk (Even if Dan Shott has problems now… the character wouldn’t be B list without Byrne, she’d be Z), Generations, Captain America vs Batman…

I loathe him. I do. For so many reasons. But I can see why they hire him.

This one wasn’t ignored. It made it’s way into the Official Handbook.

I don’t know if this is strictly Byrne or not, but I like the fact that Supe’s powers no longer disappear immediately when he’s under a red star, but rather fade away as he uses up his stored energy.

I also believe they’ve continued to accept as continuity the story of him killing the pocket dimension Kryptonian criminals.

Before it can be forgotten, someone would have to be reading it in the first place. Judging by the sales figures, that’s not the case.

John Byrne (him again?) tried to retcon the Hulk’s origin in an annual named Hulk:Chapter One where Igor was not a Commie spy but a Skrull. This was re-retconned by Peter David in one panel of Captain Marvel when Rick Jones picked up that issue in Marlo’s comic shop and laughed, “Skrulls??? Bwahahaha! Where do they come up with this stuff?”

So while not exactly “ignored” per the OP, it was turned into a work of fiction in the MU.

Byrne: Lockjaw isn’t a dog, he’s a mainstream Inhuman who just looks like a dog, like Stallior looks like a horse. This has been undone twice, once by Peter David (apparently, Gorgon and Karnak were playing a joke on Quicksilver and the Thing) and by Paul Jenkins (who posted that Lockjaw is a dog, but a very interesting dog).

Another Inhumans retcon: A nicely-drawn series from a few years ago gave a rationale for the Inhumans’ history (The Kree seeded humans with genetic traits that resembled existing alien races, resulting in the Inhumans) and a consequence of their discovering this (All the Inhumans except for the Royal Family elected to stay in space with the Kree), as well as a tie-in with Star-Lord continuity. All of this was discarded with their next appearance.

New Gods: Apparently, no Fourth World stories by anyone but Kirby are binding. J. Marc deMatteis wrote an interesting story that claimed the Forever People are normal humans who were abducted/adopted by New Gods. No subsequent use of the characters has acknowledged this or referred to it in any way. Byrne and Simonson both claimed that Orion isn’t really Darkseid’s son; again, no one has acknowledged it.

Doctor Light’s Secret Origin story (that he stole his costume and weapons from a prior, heroic, unsuccessful Dr. Light who still haunts him as a ghost) is one of my all-time favorite uses of the character, but it’s pretty irrelevant now.

I’m pretty sure that John Byrne’s report cards used to read “Does not play well with others.”

Byrne is, however, a great damn writer when the toy is his to break. She-Hulk (Even if Dan Shott has problems now… the character wouldn’t be B list without Byrne, she’d be Z), Generations, Captain America vs Batman…

True, true.

I’m pretty sure that John Byrne’s report cards used to read “Does not play well with others.”

True, true.

I remember reading a Neil Gaiman interview where he objected to some other hack writer’s use of Death as just an agent of Death, or more like Death’s little helper. He said, she is the big D, and will be there when the last of everything expires, then leave herself after she turns off the lights.

That’s exactly what Gaiman did in Books of Magic. He had Timothy Hunter visit her at the precise moment of the end of time, where she said something like “I’m just here to turn off the lights.” Then the universe folded in on itself.

This is my favorite dumbass thing from comics ever. I know I’ve dragged this one out in a bunch of different threads, and I kind of miss it. IIRC, though, it’s not that his glasses exude it, it’s that Supe’s own super-hypnosis was always slightly active and that his glasses (the lenses of which were made from two conveniently rounded fragments of super-window from his Kryptonian baby-rocket) magnified it.

I remember issues of both Hulk and Avengers in which the team acknowledges the Hulk’s founding member status. One in particular was in one of the many “Banner’s brain starts controlling Hulk’s body” storylines when Hulk got a presidential pardon and every super-hero in the country turned out for the party.

Another forgotten retcon off the top of my head is the “Northstar doesn’t have AIDS, he’s a half-elf who’s allergic to the Earth” bit.

Not a retcon, just a dangling plot thread. The Parkers think the baby died. They don’t know that Norman Osborne pulled a switcheroo, his SECOND involving the clan (though I’ll admit that doing it with a baby is a LOT easier than doing it with an elderly person that one victim has known for his entire life).


[li]The Zatanna series where Zatanna decides that speaking backwards is degrading to womyn and becomes a magic-femyle-empowered bad-grrrl who uses a staff to cast spells. That Zatanna appeared in one or two Suicide Squad appearances and was promptly ignored after.[/li][/QUOTE]

Based on your description of how hideous this series was, I bought it when I found it in a dollar box. The horror. The horror. It’s isn’t so bad it’s good. It isn’t so inept as to be amusing. It’s pretentious, agenda driven crap written and drawn by people who know nothing about Zatanna.

This was also mentioned in the Earth X trilogy. Besides the characters not acting like themselves, it included more crappy retcons than I can remember (or want to). One of these was that Doom understood Namor’s problem and used it to manipulate him.

Boo! Hiss! Me am so happy!

I’ve heard the same. I hope they do do that - particularly if they say it was part of the licence Cliff sold to Jost in Arcudi’s run.

I just read the issue where Byrne did this a month or two age, and it was actually really affecting. Sort of impractical in the long term and totally inconsistent with the previous 20 years of the character’s history, but within that issue it worked.


While I’d like that to happen (a lot), how would that fit in with that stupid JLA storyline with the vampires where they were introduced?

Here’s an oldie, one that is irrelevant now due to the events of the “Crisis”, but -
during her unfortunately dismal run in the early 1960s, Wonder Woman was revealed to have had adventures as a little girl (a la “Superboy”, but even younger) using the codename of, ahem, “Wonder Tot.” Then she became “Wonder Girl” for a time before becoming “Wonder Woman”. During at least one story, a time warp enabled Wonder Woman to team up with her both of her younger selves (imagine the amount of therapy she’d have needed after that escapade!) Later, when the “Teen Titans” were formed, Donna Troy - an entirely new Wonder Girl who was completely unrelated (by blood anyway, she was adopted by the Amazons) to Wonder Woman - appeared on the scene. Wonder Tot and the original Wonder Girl were never spoken of again, thankfully. Of course, all of this was completely erased, as was Wonder Woman’s entire history up to that point, by the “Crisis.”

For that matter, I don’t think the de-powered, Emma Peel-like Wonder Woman ever was shown regaining her powers. AFAIK, one month she wore a white costume and was a normal human; the next month she had Amazonian strength, speed, bracelets, lasso & invisible plane - no explanation whatsoever. Although I could be wrong - can anyone confirm this?

There was an explaination but it came (IIRC) several issues later. She reappeared in her costume, then about 4-5 (?) issues later, it turned out that Paradise Island had returned from whatever Brigadoon-esqe dimension it had gone to, and she got her powers back…then she was made to go through 12 tasks run by Justice Leaguers to make sure she was still competent.

THEN, when Steve Englehart continued his Avengers Mantis/Celestial Madonna series in JLofA 138-150 (Best. JLofAs. EVER±although Marvel coulda sued), Englehart (ever the feminist) had Wondy blow her gasket (correctly) at how patronizing the whole concept was.

Keep in mind, I haven’t read most of these since they were out (the JLofAs excluded: I regularly reread them) so some of the details may be off a bit.

Also, I’ve heard the “It was all a TV show” thing for the Byrne Doom Patrol too–he’s apparently pretty pissed. Also, one of DC’s editors was pretty blunt that the only reason that the series is still going is that Byrne got a contract guaranteeing him until issue 18(?), regardless of sales.

Along with the aforementioned Dr. Light’s origin, his pre-Crisis origin was equally fubar–it had him inventing a teleport gate that took him to Thanagar and he swiped tech from Thanagar long before Hawkman ever chased Byth here. Ooops.


Would that better titles got contracts like that…

And Fortress Lad was left with only one thought… Never give up. Never give up.

Secret Origins had a TON of retcons that only existed for one or two issues, didn’t it? Great series, though.

Art Vandelay, Architect wrote:

For years, I have spoken to and read posts by DC fans who have been fairly snotty about how much more mature and intelligent DC comics are as compared to Marvel. I didn’t set a lot of store by this snobbery, but eventually I did look into some DC comics, and found that for the most part they have a long history of being goofy as all get-out. I mean, comics are all silly, of course, and early ones are especially laughable. Daredevil gets his powers because a radioactive truck part hits him in the head? The Fantastic Four rush into space to beat the commies in the space race? At one point, Spider-Man’s spider sense could pick up radio signals, and Dr. Doom could get messages to Spider-Man by hooking wires up to a random spider. But compared to the abysmal stupidity of DC comics at the same time, key-riminy. And what I discovered wasn’t even the worst of it. If you haven’t seen Superman is a Dick, you really should check it out. I have never seen anything from Marvel as obscenely stupid as Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane.