Okay, this is kind of nerdy and silly, but apparently this dumb habit of mine is shared by enough other people that there’s actually a name for it now.
Mark Evanier had the BEST name for it, I think– he called it “Krypto-revisionism.” But that never really caught on. I gather that the current name for this phenomenon is “head-canon.”
But ever since me and my tiny posse of teenage nerds were arguing about James Bond or Star Trek or Batman or whatever in the English Center back in high school, our usual shorthand expression for this was ‘counting.’ That is to say, this one counts, that one doesn’t.
Because, as all long-time fans of comics– really, any long-term series fiction– are aware, sometimes, well, there are those things that we are all agreed never to speak of again. Like when the Blackhawks decided to put on super-suits.
Or when Hawkman was accidentally rebooted when he was supposed to be retconned.
Or the Mopee.
Or…well, you probably have a list of shame all your own.
This is different than Brian’s feature Abandoned an’ Forsaked. This is the stuff that we just collectively decided didn’t happen. Never mind the official version. Let them sort out their own mess. And usually the official version catches up.
For example, Denny O’Neil once thought that it would be a nifty idea, during the Zero Hour crossover or thereabouts, that the killer of Batman’s parents was never identified. That it wasn’t Joe Chill. So he decreed this to be the case. As editor, you’d think that would be sufficient.
Nope. Bullshit. Not so. Too many of us knew, knew in our bones, that it was Joe Chill that murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Nobody bought into the ‘unknown killer’ idea. Including writers that followed, and then the Batman Begins movie made a big deal about Joe Chill and the whole idea of the killer being unknown just kind of went away. I think there was some sort of handwave over it during Infinite Crisis but we all had made up our minds on the matter by then. It was head-canon long before it was canon.
I don’t think it was ever officially ‘abandoned an’ forsaked,’ it just faded from our collective consciousness.
Although head-canon goes beyond just what counts and what doesn’t. It also makes connections that are never officially explicit.
Here’s an easy one. Most of us that were fans of Secret Agent, back in the day, are morally certain that it was in fact John Drake that was kidnapped and taken to The Village in The Prisoner.
In fact, this was so taken for granted that David McDaniel actually came out and said so in his licensed novel about The Prisoner, though he was the only writer connected with the show on any level to make the connection explicit. None of the other licensed novelists dared to go there.
Not as many of us are as sure of this, though I absolutely am, that the last episode of The Prisoner— “Fall Out” — was largely a hallucination Drake experienced as part of the drug-fueled interrogation the Village handlers inflicted on him, as postulated in the DC comics mini-series by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith.
I’m also completely certain that Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Time Tunnel took place in the same fictional universe…
…though I don’t think Land of the Giants or Lost in Space are included there. City Beneath the Sea is, though… and the President depicted in that film? That is totally an older Harriman Nelson sporting that ‘stache.
How do I know these things? I just do. It’s how my brain is wired. Same way I know that wasn’t the real Jim Phelps in the first Mission: Impossible movie with Tom Cruise, or that Star Trek Nemesis doesn’t count. Some things are just imprinted. Nerd-ROM.
The funny thing is, they’re different for everyone. Almost every fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The X-Files or Star Wars is adamant that only certain things count– but you’ll never get any two of us to agree on what that is.
(In our household, just FYI, Buffy ended at season five, The X-Files ran three and a half seasons and the first movie, and the only Star Wars out there is the original three movies– the first of which is called Star Wars, not “A New Hope.” And yes, we’re curmudgeons.)
I’ll bet you’ve got a list of your own. Feel free to sound off about a few of your continuity facts that you are morally certain of down below in the comments, and I’ll see you here next week.
Maintenance Note: Honestly, I never expected this many comments. For whatever reason, some of them are getting hung up in the queue; I am trying to keep an eye on this, so if your comment doesn’t go up right away, please be patient with us– don’t panic and post it three more times. It’ll get there.
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