Saturday, September 21, 2013

That is not MY Batman! It is all Retcon!


(shortened form of RETroactive CONtinuity; first made popular in the comic book world)
1. (original meaning) Adding information to the back story of a fictional character or world, without invalidating that which had gone before.

2. (more common usage) Adding or altering information regarding the back story of a fictional character or world, regardless of whether the change contradicts what was said before.
1. Although they had previously been shown to have two other sets of parents, the retcon of making Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch the children of Magneto only altered the meaning of past events, not what had happened. 
courtesy of the urban dictionary 

Rereading Moon Knight for this week's podcast, caused me to reflect on how much character's change during their publication through the retcon.  One of the charms of comic books is that as a medium of fiction they are super long term storytelling.  More so than prose book series, film, and television, with few rivals, other than maybe James Bond films, Doctor Who, the Simpsons, and Sherlock Holmes.  
A character like Batman has been in existence since 1940 and every writer, artist, editor, fan base, and adaptation to other media has altered aspects of the character.  Batman has been depicted as brooding dark creature of the night to whack y fun dad and international playboy.  His sidekicks of Robin have come and gone, Batman's costume as changed dozens of times as well. Yet the basic template of damaged man who has money and determination but no super powers seeks justice but refuses to kill in doing so all while using a bat motif

Moon Knight in, who in my opinion is an erstraz Batman, has also evolved in his much shorter history.  In the 1970's 80's Marc Spector was a mercenary turned millionaire playboy who served as the avatar for an Ancient Egyptian god of the Moon and Vengeance  Konshu.  Doug Meonch and Chuck Dixon portrayed him as a gritty avenger of the night and the book had a exploitative horror theme.  Moon Knight crossed over with Werewolf By Night and fought the Committee a shadow organization and madmen like the Bushman and Midnight Man.

Copper Age to Chromium Age Moon Knight (1988-2005) brought him into the greater Marvel Universe having him join the West Coast Avengers and cross paths with the X-Men and Spider-Man often.   he became less brooding and was a team player fighting much more mainstream super heroic battles. 

Charlie Huston, David Finch to Bendis in Modern Age relaunch of Moon Knight, 2006-Today,  brought Moonie back to the dark underbelly of the Marvel U.  The real dark underbelly   Marc Spector is depicted as being flat out insane and Konshu may or may not really speak to him and give him strength.  Instead it is left very ambiguous of Konshu has any influence and Spector may be hallucinating his God.  Moonie also seems to have had a complete break with his identity, he sometimes thinks he is Marc Spector, or Ted Grant, or Jake Lockley.  Bendis pushed the multiple personalities even further with Moon Knight also imagining he becomes or is guided by Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine.  To make things a bit more confusing all Moon Knight history seems in play now nothing is retconned.......maybe..........

Urban Dictionary

Complete History of Retcons and Reboots in DC Comics

Retcon Sampler

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