greenygal: (Flash)
After writing my previous entry on weirdness in FLASH, I started thinking a little harder about one of the items on the list, namely Barry's childhood comics hero turning out to be a real person, and, you know, this comes out to be even weirder than I thought....

So, okay, back in 1956, DC decided to completely revamp four discontinued 1940s superheroes: Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Atom. Same names, but completely different characters. Atom didn't even have the same powers. This led to the beginning of comics' Silver Age, the revitalization of superheroes, and all manner of other good things. Fine. But what did it mean for the original heroes?

Well, that was handled in FLASH. As far as the new Flash, Barry Allen, and his comrades were concerned, the previous Flash and his comrades were just old comic book characters. Of course, several years later it would be revealed that they all actually existed on a parallel earth, but that's not my concern for the moment. What I'm thinking right now is that for thirty years, the DC universe had four superheroes running around--well-known, respected members of the Justice League, every one--who were named after comic book characters.

Oh, sure, in three out of four cases it was just coincidence. (Yes, Barry did it on purpose. He's been a fanboy from day one.) But the DC public doesn't know that. They just know about the names. (Okay, those of them who've read comics know about the names, but I think the media would pick that up--sooner rather than later, probably--and spread the word to those who didn't.)

I find this idea incredibly funny. Did Hawkman get accused of being a comics geek? Did people want to know if Green Lantern was going to move to Gotham City like his apparent idol? Was there public concern over people with such immense power (okay, the Atom doesn't have immense power, but...) having such a shaky grasp of reality that they patterned themselves after fictional people? Or were they initially suspected of being publicity stunts for whatever company it was that published these comics? And hey, legal issues--I bet those names were trademarked. Had the trademarks lapsed, or did Green Lantern have to go to court and explain that he was a member of an interstellar police force that had been calling themselves that for thousands of years before comics were even invented, honestly? Maybe they settled out of court.

Wait, wait, it gets better. Wonder Woman, along with several other characters, had been in continuous publication since the 1940s. So she was a contemporary of the new characters, but she was also established as having appeared in the old comics. (Yeah, I know, it makes my head hurt too.) And since she was still being published, she hadn't undergone an everything-but-the-name is different revamp. Which means that if those comics were at all like the ones we know, they featured both her distinctive origin and costume and the names of her secret identity and supporting cast. Poor Diana would've come to Man's World and everybody would've assumed she was a delusional fangirl, at least until she started deflecting bullets and tossing cars and whatever, at which point it would become clear that she was at least a very powerful delusional fangirl and that it was best to humor her. Fortunately Steve Trevor was evidently a very serious-minded child and never got into comic books (or at least never read that weird one about the woman with the lasso), because otherwise he would have suffered metafictional breakdown before Diana's origin was halfway through...

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greenygal

January 2015

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