Saturday, January 14, 2006

DC Comics and the REAL "One Year Later"

Check out DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger's humiliating smackdown of a reply to the continuity-related query of reader John Beach originally published in Adventure Comics #264.

From Adventure Comics #264 (September 1959)

I see the early beginnings of creator-contempt for fanboys having it's origins in the response to this letter.

Then exactly one year later in issue #276 of the same title, Mort has apparently recognized the almost inevitable evolution to the style of comic story-telling and (rightly or wrongly) caves to the expectations and demands of the readership. In his response he reverses his stance of a non-coherent DCU in his acknowledgement of the differences in the versions of Atlantis depicted in both the Aquaman and Superman stories. Quite the about-face. Unlike previously, Mort doesn't let in even a hint of condescension show in this reply. Perhaps he realized insulting your target consumer base is a poor business practice.

From Adventure Comics #276 (September 1960)

While Marvel is remembered today for its small community of heroes and detailed continuity of the 1960's & 1970's, at this point in comics history it was DC that had a far more extensive and built-in history of it's characters. The proto-Marvel of the late-1950's was mainly producing anthology titles that contained stand-alone or one-shot stories. DC needed to apply only a small amount of tweaking to create a shared reality while Marvel almost unintentionally 'grew' a universe from the ground up.

If only we had known what the future would bring...


  1. That is eye-opening! Thanks!

    I'd always wondered how that evolved...

  2. Is there any documentation that Mort actually answered the letters that were printed? From everything I've read about him he seemed too self important to lower himself to something he could fob off to a secretary or some other subordinate.

  3. Each time a comics professional tells a fanboy to get a real life, God kills a kitty.

  4. Mort was the editor of the Superman group, so he's the one repsonsible for the content of the replies. Even if a Assistant Editor wrote it, the Senior Editor still has to sign it off.

  5. exactly why i think CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS was a bad move, creative-wise. imagine the variety of stories DC could've come up with, if they just dropped bothering with strict continuity and just carried on making stories free of continuity hassle!

    and sales-wise, i think it would've been a great idea, too: entry-level comics all-around, SUPERBOY & KRYPTO stuff for the newer kids, LOIS LANE for the journalism-espionage adventure girls, SUPERMAN for the more traditional readers, etc etc etc, and maybe keeping them all finite, or with at least a maximum of 12-issues each storyline.

    i thought that that was what MARVEL was supposed to do with EPIC and the ULTIMATE line, but it seems to me they just fell into the same quagmire that the comics they were supposed to replace fell into.

    oh well.

  6. Damn, I hate it when writers can't be bothered to consult the backstory material on a character. Clearly whoever was scripting Mort in 1960 should not have been trusted.

    Unless...they were setting up a multi-story arc and Mort's out-of-character reply was a clue that he'd been replaced by a doppelganger. Oh sure, that's what must have been going on. You just have to be patient and eventually it all makes sense.

    Mort had a twin brother, you know. I don't recall whether he was evil or not. I think there's a .gov database where you can check that, though.


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