Final Crisis (Interview with Grant Morrison)
It sounds pretty bad, folks. Death, more death, perverse evil, and, um, more death. Just another cheerful day at the DC offices. I think as a fan, being the ‘textual poachers’ the intelligentsia named us will work. Don't leave, join the Resistance! ;)
How to survive the upcoming Final Crisis at DC if it’s a hard reboot and kills off/declares characters never existed? Or twists them so much we can no longer recognize them, as they intimate will be done to Batman, for instance?
If this was a series (sort of Elseworlds) unto itself, I’d say, who cares, but Morrison is pretty adamant that it’s going to change the mainstream DCU for the next decade.
Well, a Crisis happened to me in 1986, so let me share my experiences and thoughts with you:
I was a lifelong comics fan, who because of time issues had to stop buying for a few years. I walk into a comics shop after Crisis On Infinite Earths and what do I find out? The Golden, Silver and Bronze Age heroes never existed! One of my absolute favorites, Supergirl, gave her life in Crisis on Infinite Earths, but hey, she never existed! And they did that to a lot of other characters, too.
Superman and Batman? More like enemies than friends now.
Wonder Woman? Steve Trevor is years her senior instead of romantic interest and even her origin story was changed.
Supergirl became some kind of protoplasmic Lex Luthor doll or whatever until they brought Kara back as some highly annoying teen with a homicidal father. Fun!
So basically they killed off or pretended my favorite characters never existed, they took the friendship I loved between two of my favorite heroes and trashed it, and they changed my favorite Amazon and Kryptonian cousin around so much I was devastated! And that was just three things!
I would have greatly preferred that the universes be allowed to exist, but simply say that the new Modern Era universe was the mainstream one now, or even seal off the other universes with some kind of comics trickery. J It was the beloved characters never existing that got me. I could have even taken them being killed off, but at least they’d have been remembered!
People who know my DCU writing know I write with pre-Modern Era characterizations to a certain extent (my Batgirl and Supergirl are the originals, for example), though I’ve dabbled in Modern Era stories. What I chose to do was take what I liked from canon, current and past, and create my own DCU, which has been pretty well-received, I’m happy to say. J I’m not into dark and surly for the sake of dark and surly, or stupidity disguised as ‘conflict’. A lot of the changes were certainly for the better, but a lot were certainly for the worse. The rise in violence and sadism would make Fredric Wertham smile through his comics-hating teeth.
Think of it this way: fandoms that are still going strong, such as ST: TOS, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Wild West West (a small fandom but vibrant, I can say as I’m involved in it) haven’t had canon in over forty years! Sure, there were some lame movies (and only Star Trek had good ones mixed in with the bad, the other two shows had lame ones) but pretty much, the fans’ canon is over forty years old, and the fandoms are thriving not just in zines, but on the Internet as well.
Look at the fans of the two Star Wars trilogies: they’ve created hundreds of stories and artworks based on three movies apiece. Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan slash is thriving with a pair from one movie that were together for perhaps one-third of it!
What do Modern Era DC fans have? Twenty-two years of canon! That’s a lot of canon to work with, folks!
We as fans take from canon as our starting point, but those of use who create our own stories or artwork are essentially creating our own universes, anyway. Slash fans do, as gay relationships are very rare in canon. We are reclaiming the texts as our own, and since we don’t make money off them, we’re left alone (and, yes, I know about the upcoming Copyright Bill and LJ and all that, but for the sake of argument, I’m saying that fandom will continue as is).
If you don’t like the new DC canon, use the older ones and keep writing and drawing. DC can do anything they want with canon, since it their characters.
As fans, we can take that canon, or any canon which in my eyes is legitimate whether Golden, Silver, Bronze, or Modern, and keep creating using the characters we love. Are you going to forget your characters if DC kills them off or winks them out of existence? Of course not! It’s up to us the fans to keep them alive and in our fic, or at least have their passing acknowledged. Take the basic core of the characters and run with ‘em! And you can ignore Final Crisis just like you can ignore any Crisis, if you so choose.
Think of it this way: modern comics started in 1938 with the debut of Superman. By the early ‘50s, a lot of comics and heroes had gone by the wayside, and in 1956, DC did a reboot of sorts by creating the new Flash (Barry Allen) and creating the Earth-One/Earth-Two scenarios. For 20 years, we enjoyed the Silver and Bronze Ages, then the COIE hit in 1986 and produced the Modern Era. Now, 22 years later, another reboot is rumored. I would guess they will always reboot canon every 20 years or so. Right now their flagship characters, Superman and Batman, could be grandfathers (if Dick paired up with Roy, Lian would be Bruce’s granddaughter, right? J), and Ollie already is with Lian as his granddaughter. Somehow a youth-worshipping society isn’t into heroes who are old enough to be grandparents, which of course is ageism but that’s the world we live in!
So you’ve got lots of canon to work with. The new canon will most likely be good in some ways, awful in others, and will take a while to sort out. See what happens. Try it out. I did before I left, and back then, there were no Internet options, my friends. Fandom was more geared toward TV shows and movies, and comics fandom was mainly discussing what went on in the books. Comics fandom as we know it today didn’t exist, or at least I wasn’t aware of it. The only option for me was to walk away. And when I found a viable on-line fandom, I created a niche for myself and happily filled it.
We have a thriving, viable on-line fandom with loads of creativity. Are we going to let a reboot (if it happens) destroy our love for the characters and drive us away? That would be like letting the fundies or Congress succeed in destroying fandom in general without a fight!
Canon? We don’t need no stinkin’ canon! J
Or, at least, we’ve got plenty of them from which to choose.