I'm always saying that I have given up on discussing things on messageboards because you really can't change people's minds. You try to get a good discussion going about an interesting topic and before you know it there are hurt egos involved and at the end when there are no arguments left they always say that they are tired and that's that. It's like fighting against windmills. We all know that. I know that. But from time to time I still participate in this discussions and in the end I remember why I started my blog in the first place. Now before going deeper into the subject I want to state for the record that the fact that I have erased the link to Rocknrollnerdguy has nothing to do with the discussion we had.
Fact is that a few weeks ago I noticed that there were new posts on the blog but that the link to my blog had vanished. I wrote a few comments about the posts and also inquired why the link to my blog wasn't there anymore. Nothing more. To this day I haven't gotten an answer to numerous inquiries and since the agreement was to have a mutual link exchange I had no other option than to take consequences. Which means that there is now more link space available. So if there are blogs out there who want to get linked just send me an e - mail.
Now it all began with a review or comment on Rocknrollnerdguy about the german tv station RTL II's new " Heroes Wednesday " which shows HEROES then SMALLVILLE then the new FLASH GORDON series.
In my opinion HEROES and SMALLVILLE are two of the best shows ever on tv. Okay, FLASH GORDON sucks.....big time. But that some comicfan can't enjoy HEROES ? That's a bit hard to swallow especially keeping in mind how hard it was to get a tv series to take the concept of superheroes seriously. Just look at the episode of CHARMED where the Haliwell sisters get superpowers. And SMALLVILLE is even worse than MUTANT X ? Now that's something that's even harder to believe. Especially considering that MUTANT X might be the worst series that was ever shown on tv right behind such stuff like Renegade.
Now most times I just say that we agree to disagree and leave it at that. But one of the main arguments why SMALLVILLE is so bad was that the producers of the show had to twist and bend the continuity of the Superman mythology for the series. Which for me was not acceptable as an argument since there is no such thing as a fixed continuity that stands for all time. With constant retcons and final crisisis and brand new days the continuity keeps evolving, changing and adapting. Like the " red queen rule " in nature forces each species to evolve constantly or become extinct in comics the continuity is retconned continuously. I have read Superman comics for more than 30 years now and the Superman of this day and age is neither the Superman of my youth nor the Superman of my twenties or thirties. With things like MAN OF STEEL, ZERO HOUR, BIRTHRIGHT or INFINITE CRISIS it seems the whole DC universe is in constant flux.
For some the fact that Clark and Lex lived in the same town and were friends in the beginning is something that happened so long ago that it is not part of the " real " continuity. Well, there are also people out there for whom all the retcons John Byrne did are not true. For them Lex Luthor has to be the mad scientist and not the kingpin - like business magnate who holds Metropolis in an iron grip. For them the whole idea of Superman's parents being alive is not right because for a very long time it has been part of Superman's great tragedy that even with his great powers he couldn't save them. I was what defined much of his character and by negating that many felt that John Byrne had messed up Superman.
Not everyone has access to all forms of entertainment. I guess when the tv series THE ADVENTURES OF LOIS AND CLARK aired many viewers who had seen Superman last in his movies were surprised that Superman's parents were still alive. By the time it was already part of the new " real " continuity that they did not die before Clark came to Metropolis but for some people that was something new. But the writers of the tv series adapted that because they saw the potential it had. They changed a lot of things in the tv show like that Lex Luthor had hair and a butler instead of two hot personal assistants. But they stayed true to the spirit of the Superman mythos and they did a great job of transporting Superman's powers to the screen like Clark flashing down to China for snacks and such things. It was exciting.
And don't think that the movies of Richard Donner didn't change things. Their version of Krypton was radically different from the comic version and it was LATER adapted by John Byrne and found his way into Superman lore. Many things comic readers take for granted had their origins outside of the comics like Kryptonite which was invented for the radio show or the original Batgirl that was invented for the tv show.
So SMALLVILLE is not the first show to add a sexy female character to the cast as part of their viewer service. Hell, the BATMAN cartoon came up with the concept of Harley Quinn who is now an integral part of the Batcontinuity. That's the great thing about continuity. There is no such thing as a right continuity or a wrong continuity. Every continuity counts and every continuity is important. The only thing there is is a common consensus about what forms part of the official continuity. And even that is constantly changing. RETURN OF THE DARK KNIGHT started as a story in continuity was later on declared to be an ELSEWORLDS story and has finally worked it's way into actual continuity. And the same is true for KILLING JOKE. Considered an imaginary story it has become one of the foundations of DC continuity due to the fact that it has been referenced so much by comic writers and that it's the cornerstone of Barbara Gordon's transformation from Batgirl to Oracle.
The wheels of comic continuity are always turning throwing things like KINGDOM COME in and out of continuity and back again with each new retcon. And not all retcons have to be bad.
Like John Byrne's revamp of the Superman franchise. At the time he got a lot of flack for getting rid of things like Kandor, the Phantom Zone, Krypto, Supergirl and for depowering Superman and resurrecting his parents. For a lot of reader's this was a sacrilege. To most readers today it's just the way things are because they never knew any different. But when the books came out the stories weren't embraced by all.
For me this was a new and exciting version of something I knew and I was eager to find out more. Because for me the story has always been the most important thing. Like in the case of IDENTITY CRISIS. I hate that Sue Dibny got raped and murdered and that the story completely destroyed the best League of all times - the Giffen / DeMatteis league. But it is a damn good story.
You can argue all sides of it but the fact that we hate the death of Sue Dibny or Robin's father shows how good the story is. Because it affects us. It touches us which is the sign of good storytelling. If a story is written badly then people can die and you just don't care. But if the story is told really good the death of a secondary character can affect you deeply even if it was some obscure third stringer you never much cared for to begin with. I mean how many fans did Blue Beetle or Sue Dibny really have before the series started ?
Superman's history has been changing constantly from being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound to flying to pushing planets out of orbit to the lower power level he's at right now. And he's not the only one. Iron Man's origin changed from the Korean War, to Vietnam, to the Gulf War to Afghanistan. All in an attempt to keep his backstory consistent. Which can be really tough if you want to establish that the Fantastic Four are still between twenty and thirty but the Beatles attended Sue and Reed's wedding. It's tough keeping superheroes new and fresh.
Which brings us back to the tv series SMALLVILLE. Yes, everything is different in the show. But otherwise why should someone like me watch it ? If I already knew everything that was going to happen wouldn't it be better to just read the old comics ? I like to be surprised. I like it when they tempt me with names or people who I think I know but who turn out to be somebody else. And I just love the small comic book trivia that's sprinkled all over the show and how something like a lost Oreo cookie can tell more to the comic afficionados than a whole episode of dialogue.
Not all viewers know all the backstory about Superman. There are even some viewers who had no idea that the show is about Superman.
Change is not always bad. In Smallville the almost forgotten character of Chloe Sullivan was resurrected which brought the hottest babe ever to the show : Allison Mack.
And of course the version of Lois Lane Erica Durance plays is totally different from the comics at first sight. She's blond, she doesn't want to become a reporter and she's not your father's Lois. But there are also things that are like in the comic book : her father was a general and she uses her body to get the inside scoop. The scene with the strip club could be right out of one of John Byrne's issues of MAN OF STEEL.
Who doesn't remember the scene in which her cousin Lucy Lane ask Lois if they won't recognise her to which Lois replies : " Don't worry. Nobody's going to be looking at my face. " after which she shows up in a sexy get up ? And don't forget the hot Teri Hatcher who also played Lois.
Yes, the fact that the tv show SMALLVILLE has some really good looking cast members is part of the fact why I enjoy the show. I won't lie. And it doesn't hurt that they have a real Supergirl on the show and not the anorexic nightmare of the comic relaunch.
But there are other cool things like their versions of Aquaman, Flash, Green Arrow or Martian Manhunter. Yes, they are different than their comic book versions but is that such a bad thing ? Especially if you keep in mind that the comic book version of Aquaman pretty much sucks ? I know that Hollywood and the tv networks always think they have to change things but sometimes that leads to good things and as long as I'm entertained I'm not going to compare everything to it's source material. The Harry Potter movies are really popular and there are millions out there who have no idea how much they omitted from the book version. Which tells you that you should read the book version. Know the original first and THEN decide what's more important : to slavishly reflect everything that was in the original version or to tell a good story ?
There are going to be generations out there for whom the SMALLVILLE version of the Superman continuity is going to be the authentic one and who will be very surprised the first time they see the Superman movies on tv or the Adventures of Lois and Clark. And for them those will be the retcons.
There are others for whom the things that were established in John Byrne's MAN OF STEEL series is the only true continuity. Which by the way are always complaining when the Silver Age continuity ( which by the way is more closely to a real continuity ) keeps working it's way into the comic books. It seems that the right to the only " real " continuity is something every comic reader proclaims to posess. And which of course he denies to all other readers. I'm no different. It really makes me cringe that over the years Batgirl is constantly becoming smaller, younger and less selfconfident. How's that for women's liberation in comics ? And it gives me physical pain to se Batman with rat - ears, without the yellow circle around the Batsymbol but most of all with his new tooltime futility belt. But that's a topic for my next post when I will go on a totally different rant.
For now I say : keep reading comics. Read what you like, watch what you like and pick the continuity you like. Because really continuity is more like a supermarket where you pick and choose what you like and not a package deal. You decide which stories count in your own world and which are the WHAT IF stories. And enjoy comics. In the end they are all just imaginary stories.
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