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Subj: Several of those "other bits" that changed
Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 09:25:42 am CDT (Viewed 2 times)
Reply Subj: Re: What Retcons Took Place In The Batman Universe Post-Crisis?
Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 04:17:30 am CDT

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> I know that Post Zero Hour wiped out the Batman and Talia had sex from continuity, as well as Joe Chill. But what about Crisis? Did anything change after that?

Well, it depends. Crisis is a very grey area, especially for Batman, as not long after it happened, for example, no one remembered that there had ever been an Earth-2, so the likes of the E2 Huntress and Robin who had died after the main event in CoIE had now never existed and no one remembered them.

It seems safer to plot "Post-Crisis" Batman starting with "Year One" and the "Jason Todd Mk2 retcon", than Crisis itself.

> #1. Were Harvey Dent, Batman and Gordon all friends originally, or was that a retcon? Did Harvey and Bats know each other before he became Two-Face in the early days? Come to think of it, Two-Face has a pretty low body count. What issues has he killed people in?

He doesn't mass murder usually, though he's quite prepared to (since earlier schemes have included things like atom bombs in Washington and missiles designed to hit both coasts of the USA at the same time) but he will kill without a thought. "Face the Face" mentions something like that he killed two out three security guards and crippled the third for life because his coin landed good side up for him.

> #2. I heard that Killer Crocs origin was changed.

As Killer Croc's first appearance was as a cunning, intelligent, brutal, expensively dressed Mob boss who was pivotal to Jason Todd Mk1 becoming Robin, yes it had to change, it was essentially removed from history, along with anything to do with Jason Mk1, including Nocturna and the Night-Thief/Slayer.

> #3. The Batman origin seems to have stayed the same.

Aside from things like the Wayne fortune coming from armaments, the change of Leslie Thompkins from "kindly old lady who was the only person to comfort young Bruce the night his parents were killed" to "dedicated Suicide Slum doctor".

Year One also changed Jim Gordon a lot (no longer Barbara's father, borke up with his wife after an affair and so on...), changed Batman's debut (Bruce running around in cap and jacket was new) and other bits.

> > #3. The Batman origin seems to have stayed the same.
> Aside from things like the Wayne fortune coming from armaments, the change of Leslie Thompkins from "kindly old lady who was the only person to comfort young Bruce the night his parents were killed" to "dedicated Suicide Slum doctor".
> Year One also changed Jim Gordon a lot (no longer Barbara's father, borke up with his wife after an affair and so on...), changed Batman's debut (Bruce running around in cap and jacket was new) and other bits.

I'll list a few other changes I've noticed.

1. Hugo Strange

As near as I can tell, just about anything and everything that had ever been done with the villain Hugo Strange in Pre-COIE continuity has long since been erased from the Post-COIE continuity. A long time ago I wrote out a partial draft for a big post to explain the differences between Hugo's Pre-COIE Continuity and Post-COIE Continuity, but I never finished it up; never posted it on this board to enlighten people. Maybe I really ought to? \:\)

2. Doug Moench's first run

A long time ago I used to have (and probably still have, boxed up somewhere) an edition of the "DC Heroes" roleplaying game. I think it was from 1989 or 1990 -- I believe I bought it in 1991. The way I remember it, there was a note in it from one of the designers saying that a few years earlier he'd been hard at work, going through the full run of a writer who'd recently worked on the Batman titles for a few years, painstakingly converting new characters from that run into sets of statistics for "DC Heroes," when he suddenly got the word that the guy's full run was being erased by retcon from the Post-COIE universe, and he had to throw out a ton of notes. In context, he obviously meant the Doug Moench run of the mid-1980s, although for some reason he didn't specifically name names. (Doug Moench was the writer on both "Batman and Detective Comics" for about three and a half years, early 1983 to late 1986).

Moench's run included items Icon just mentioned -- Jason Todd as a reasonably sane lad who became the second Robin and basically had Dick Grayson's origin story all over again; Nocturna and Night-Thief as the other two sides of a love triangle involving Batman; but it also included a lot of other stuff. (Oddly enough, in the 1990s -- after Moench began his "second run" as a Batman writer -- I believe at least two villains he had created in his mid-80s run got dragged back onstage as if they had been in continuity all along, but I gather that the vast majority of Moench's "first run" is still "erased and forgotten" as far as anybody knows today!)

3. Batwoman and Bat-Girl

In the Silver Age, there was a lengthy period when Batwoman (Kathy Kane) and her niece Bat-Girl (Betty Kane) would often team up with Batman and Robin to go fight crime. I've read reprints of enough of those stories to gather that Kathy and Betty seemed to regard these events as light-hearted "double dating" with males they wanted to have as their regular boyfriends, although all indications are that no serious romantic entanglements ever developed. (For one thing, I don't think Batman and Robin ever so much as took off their masks to let the ladies know who they really were underneath.)

Then in the mid-60s those ladies both faded into comic book limbo for a long time. They were still in "continuity," but no longer active in Batman's core titles. In the 70s, Kathy got a few stories of her own, and then was killed off in 1979 when Denny O'Neil needed a fresh corpse for Batman to grieve over.

Post-COIE: There had never been any team of "Batwoman and Bat-Girl." However: Kathy Kane had been a friend of Bruce's who died as shown in 1979 (in a story collected in the TPB "Tales of the Demon"), but she'd never had a superhero career before she died. Her niece Betty Kane was retconned as "Bette Kane, aka Flamebird" who was a superhero wannabe who used to have a hopeless crush on Robin, but had never called herself "Bat-Girl."

I do not know why those changes were made.

I'm told that last year a Rebooted Post-Infinite Crisis character known as "Kathy Kane" and "Batwoman" made her "debut" in the pages of "52" (which I didn't bother reading, although I may pick it up in TPB someday). This version is a lesbian. I've seen some fans complaining that calling her a lesbian seemed to be all DC thought it could possibly need to do in order to give her interesting character development, but I don't know if that's a fair statement. Evidently all that Silver Age stuff about Batwoman as a seasoned crimefighter who used to work with Batman (and flirt with him) is still erased from continuity, however.

I don't know if this means the death of the original Kathy Kane in 1979 has been erased by retcon in order to make room for the new one, or what.

4. Catwoman

Her background fluctuated in the years following COIE. For years before the transition to Post-COIE continuity (around late 1986), she'd been mostly reformed, and sometimes dating Bruce Wayne. At first a story was written by Mike Barr to show her being brainwashed by Dr. Moon to go back to her "unrepentant bad girl roots" and forget she'd ever been in love with Batman, as I recall -- but later on (before Zero Hour) it was established that Selina and Bruce had never been an item, and after years of occasional confrontations with her, Modern Batman had never yet managed to capture her and had absolutely no idea what she looked like underneath her mask or waht her real name was! (That's changed since then -- I mean, he finally did find out her real name.)

I have previously explored the subject of the frequently-changing history of the Batman/Catwoman relationship in much greater detail in Timeline of the Various Batman/Catwoman Romances (2nd Draft)

5. Alfred Pennyworth

In the Pre-COIE era (around 1981), Gerry Conway established in a two-part story that Alfred Pennyworth had been a British officer assigned to work with the French Resistance during the last part of World War II. He had fallen madly in love with Mademoiselle Marie, a heroic young leader of a Resistance group (and she loved him, too), and they would have married if she hadn't mysteriously vanished -- believed dead -- just as the war was ending. It turned out, however, that she survived long enough, in a less-than-lucid condition, to carry a baby to term and give birth. Then she (apparently) died for real. Maybe. (It was weird. Incidentally, Mademoiselle Marie "already existed" in DC's Pre-COIE continuity as a character who, much like Sergeant Rock, was created in stories published in the Silver Age, but was retroactively set in the WWII era. Gerry Conway only invented her love affair with young Alfred Pennyworth and the resultant child, a grown woman called "Julia Remarque" in the modern era.)

In Doug Moench's run, he brought Julia back onstage and her getting romantically interested in Batman for awhile.

But then, post-COIE, somebody at DC apparently said, "Gee, if Julia's origin story requires her to be born shortly after WWII -- around early 1946? -- then she must be at least 40 by now. The horror! The horror! We'll just have to erase her from continuity!" So they did.

In addition, the Pre-COIE continuity about Alfred had stated, clearly and repeatedly, that he never even met Bruce Wayne until after Bruce had already become Batman and Dick Grayson was already his first Robin. Post-COIE, various writers (but not all of them!) have asserted that Alfred was already a young butler at Wayne Manor in the days when Bruce's parents were still alive, and took primary responsibility for raising him after the kid was orphaned.

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