Saturday, October 06, 2007

Everything's better with SCHATZI!

Eventually, every comic book author falls back on the plot device of the retcon. Whether the authors are out of ideas or actually believing that they have something to add to the story the concept of changing a characters' back story is usually met with dread and derision.

And with good cause.

Sometimes the retcon works. DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths was a bold experiment in mass-retconning, but the company dropped the ball after the story was finished by not starting over their entire line from Year One. The Marvel Ultimate line (for the most part), Ma and Pa Kent still among the living, Bucky dying near the end of World War II, Swamp Thing realizing he isn't really Alec Holland, Deadpool visiting a young Peter Parker, Batman never having captured his parent's killer and Daredevil being a ninja are further examples of retconning that didn't harm the characters and actually enriched their stories.

There are other retcons that failed miserably. Heroes Reborn, the John Byrne Spider-Man, Captain Marvel plucked out of time and Gwen Stacy playing Happy Tomato Fun Time with Norman Osborne (who appears to have a post-autopsy healing factor).

One of the sub-categories of the retcon is the Slice of Time retcon. This is when a writer revisits an established story and reveals what really happened that the reader did not see the first time around. Sometimes the new tale fills in the gaps or re-arranges the old story to better dovetail a new one. Marv Wolfman once proposed that the Barry Allen Flash could have a series based on a Slice of Time retcon. Trapped in time, Barry would be able to appear for short periods knowing that every time he entered the real world he was getting closer to his inevitable death. Not a bad idea and it seems to be in practice in the Marvel Comics revival of Captain Marvel, who may have been plucked out of time to serve as a prison warden in the Civil War titles some years before his death by cancer. More rarely, as with the current Booster Gold title, a whole new story arc and even series branches out of untold tales.

But if I was writing a comic book I wouldn't use Booster Gold. I would use one criminally under-used character that has lots of potential.

That character would be SCHATZI, the plummeting puppy!

You can read the whole sad tale of Schatzi elsewhere. But in a nutshell his story is that he fell from the open cockpit of an airplane during World War One and splattered into the ground. But for me, Schatzi's tale does not end there. What happened to Schatzi in the interval between his fall and the sudden stop at the end is where the true story begins!

In my comic book, Schatzi tumbles from the cockpit of Enemy Ace's plane just as Bob Kahniger and Joe Kubert originally plotted, but instead of slamming into the countryside and triggering a psychotic episode in the Hammer of Hell, his fatal fall is interrupted when he just happens to intersect with a random time/space warp.

A now intelligent and articulate Schatzi (thanks to the mental-boosting effect of chronal radiation, it's DC, duh!) is pulled through random warps to emerge at critical crisis points in DC history to repair the time line wherever it is broken. Along the way he will make friends and enemies knowing that each fall into chronal space might be the final one that dumps him out over war torn Europe and a date with furry destiny.

Here are some examples of the kind of events Schatzi would be involved in.

Black Canary is a hot property right now, so Schatzi can team up with Dinah Lance in a classic Silver Age story.
Will Black Canary's greatest nemesis, the dreaded Sportsmaster, defeat her once and for all?

Then Schatzi could warp into deep space, where he assists a band of shanghaied, shirtless explorers against an evil corporate empire!

Once the people of the future are properly attired, it's off to the 1950s!

By interfering with Oogie's date with Judy, they never marry and have the child who was destined to destroy Superman once and for all. Good dog.

Then it's a quick stop in a dystopian future, where our favorite falling canine convinces Captain Marvel to save humanity from itself.

But what DC epic is not complete without revisiting the mega-event to to end all mega-events?

The only creature in the entire multi-verse the Anti-Monitor fears is Schatzi!

DC's rich and convoluted continuity offers endless possibilities for stories that reassure the reader the status quo is maintained at the end of each issue and therefore their collection of back issues will remain precious, over-valued and worth keeping! Excitement! Pathos! Mega-Crossovers! DC Direct action figures! I can taste the Geoff Johns-level money already.

Where and when will Schatzi show up next? Wherever he is needed!

8 comments:

  1. Every correction of the time stream alters where he buried his bone, however. Will he ever find it?

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  2. That's fantastically beautiful, both in concept and execution.

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  3. Thanks, but I owe it all to Schatzi, who adds beauty to all things, much Like Hayley does, but he has more fur.

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  4. Oh, you could have him team up with Laika, saving her from her orbiting death trap without the knowledge of the cosmonaut program.

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  5. Oh, that's freaking hilarious. Poor dog.

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