In the recent Joker/Daffy Duck comic (Side Note: The latest batch of DC/WB crossovers are neither especially good or especially bad), there's a scene in which the Joker kills the patrons of a comedy club and has his gang take their stuff (Another Side Note: Who in the Blue Hell would go to a comedy club in Gotham City? That's just asking for trouble!), and this scene inspired in me a sudden realization.

Now, I'll say up front that I'm sure I'm not the first person to have this realization (or the tenth, or the hundredth, or the thousandth...), it's just something that I never really thought about all that much before.

Anyway, the great realization was this:  

There's no (expletive gerund omitted) way that someone wouldn't have killed the Joker by now.  Victim's grieving relative, vigilante, fed-up cop, "accident in the cells", a villain who's sick of the Joker's crap - someone would have wasted him by now.   I can no longer sustain my suspension of disbelief as regards this character.

 

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Yeah, for all the talk about how it was a huuuuuge mistake tying Ben and Reed to WW II, I've never lain awake at night worrying how to make sense of that in the current MCU.

I do feel a little bothered that Stan, Steve and Jack in sliding-scale time would have had to make their rep writing stories of the First Line or the Blue Marvel rather than the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. Dr. Strange would have been possible as he's been retconned back that far.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I simply classify those as "topical references" and move on. For example, instead of The Ed Sullivan Show, Spider-Man probably appeared on America's Got Talent. But I don't need to see those revisions. Back in the '80s, the editor of Marvel Tales tried to "update" such topical references. For example, Aunt May once mentioned The Beverly Hillbillies, which was changed to The Dukes of Hazard (which wouldn't have even been on the air yet, depending on one's interpretation of "Marvel-Time"; the editor simply picked a show that was on at the time the reprint was published). 

In The Marvels, Kurt Busiek & Yildiray Cinar have added a war, the Sincong War, to the Marvel timeline, set "seventeen years ago." (Or if it's already existed, are at least exploring it more.) It's a fictional war in a fictional southeast Asian country, that has some parallels to the Vietnam war, but doesn't replace it. Reed and Ben are involved, and we see Daredevil performing as part of a USO tour. It's now the war Flash Thompson enlisted during. 

That was in the History of the Marvel Universe, too.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

In The Marvels, Kurt Busiek & Yildiray Cinar have added a war, the Sincong War, to the Marvel timeline, set "seventeen years ago." (Or if it's already existed, are at least exploring it more.) It's a fictional war in a fictional southeast Asian country, that has some parallels to the Vietnam war, but doesn't replace it. Reed and Ben are involved, and we see Daredevil performing as part of a USO tour. It's now the war Flash Thompson enlisted during. 

I think a lot of the continuity issues could have been handled without making up the war. Reed and Ben serving in WW II was necessary back in the day (what kind of hero didn't serve in the Big One?) but neither of them is defined primarily as ex-military. The Mandarin wasn't tied to the Vietnam war so he doesn't need it.

The Punisher would be a big stumbling block but I'm depressingly confident there will be more wars he could be a veteran of no matter how far the sliding scale keeps going

I'm a long-time devotee of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series of police procedural novels, which span 1956 to 2005. McBain uses a sliding time scale, too; several of the lead characters in the series are ex-military, either the Army or the Navy.

McBain was very specific about their World War II service in the earlier books and more circumspect in the later ones. For example, references to the one who was in the Navy mentions he served in the Pacific without being detailed about what he was doing there.  

I like how the JSA was handled in the Geoff Johns era. He found every excuse in the book for characters to have extended lifespans, but those where no excuse could be found simply died of old age. This allowed some originals to stick around (Doctor Fate, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Spectre, Wildcat), and happily, it was the ones who were both most powerful and most interesting. Many of the lame "punchy" characters evaporated (Atom, Black Canary I, Dr. Mid-Nite I, Hourman I, Sandman I, etc.) and were usually replaced by legacy characters with actual super-powers (Atom-Smasher, Black Canary II, android Hourman, etc.).

I considered this an improvement over the previous scenarios. Like the one that had them fighting Valkyries forever. Or the one where half the team was killed off-handedly by the villain in "Zero Hour."  Or the one which had them all enjoying extended lifespans due to being exposed to chronal energy in some previous adventure (which wasn't too bad, actually, except for the age-old problem of too many Punchy Guys). The JSA period had the best of old and new.

Of course, my favorite scenario is the one where they were on Earth-Two where time passes more slowly! Man, that was so simple and satisfying. But no, DC said it was "too complicated" and mucked it all up with Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I do NOT like the current scenario, where I remember someone (Dr. Manhattan?) telling Batman and Superman that their lifespans were unnaturally long, which they would not notice, because they were the Batman and Superman of Earth-0, or New Earth, or whatever they're calling it. Wait, so I'm to believe that Batman really did start his career in 1939? That changes everything about him!

Anyway, I'd have applied the Geoff Johns solution at Marvel, had I been in charge. Which is to say, the FF have a long life-span because of cosmic rays. Spider-Man has a long lifespan thanks to his radioactive blood, and his supporting cast ages slower due to being slightly irradiated by Peter's presence. Other characters with excuses to do so age slower ... but everybody else ages out.

Then forget about the aging thing and write some good stories about the characters as they are.

E. Nelson Bridwell once said he had an explanation for why key characters hadn't aged even though the world had moved on. I wish he'd expounded on it.

My trouble with your Spidey and FF explanations is that it's hard (at least for me) to buy the miracle extending to supporting characters (I know, in comics it's not unreasonable it just doesn't work for me). One thing about Roy Thomas' magical JSA life-extension is that he brought most of the supporting cast (Joan, Catwoman, Lois) into the primary effect (good yarn too).

I rather liked Len Strazewski's take on them in his 1992 series as significantly older but still tough as nails. But apparently few other people did. I agree the legacy heroes aspect was part of the Johns run's appeal, though a lot of clearing the decks happened before him (Al Pratt and Charles McNider were gone before that JSA run, IIRC)

Captain Comics said:

I like how the JSA was handled in the Geoff Johns era. He found every excuse in the book for characters to have extended lifespans, but those where no excuse could be found simply died of old age. This allowed some originals to stick around (Doctor Fate, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Spectre, Wildcat), and happily, it was the ones who were both most powerful and most interesting. Many of the lame "punchy" characters evaporated (Atom, Black Canary I, Dr. Mid-Nite I, Hourman I, Sandman I, etc.) and were usually replaced by legacy characters with actual super-powers (Atom-Smasher, Black Canary II, android Hourman, etc.).

I considered this an improvement over the previous scenarios. Like the one that had them fighting Valkyries forever. Or the one where half the team was killed off-handedly by the villain in "Zero Hour."  Or the one which had them all enjoying extended lifespans due to being exposed to chronal energy in some previous adventure (which wasn't too bad, actually, except for the age-old problem of too many Punchy Guys). The JSA period had the best of old and new.

Of course, my favorite scenario is the one where they were on Earth-Two where time passes more slowly! Man, that was so simple and satisfying. But no, DC said it was "too complicated" and mucked it all up with Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I do NOT like the current scenario, where I remember someone (Dr. Manhattan?) telling Batman and Superman that their lifespans were unnaturally long, which they would not notice, because they were the Batman and Superman of Earth-0, or New Earth, or whatever they're calling it. Wait, so I'm to believe that Batman really did start his career in 1939? That changes everything about him!

Anyway, I'd have applied the Geoff Johns solution at Marvel, had I been in charge. Which is to say, the FF have a long life-span because of cosmic rays. Spider-Man has a long lifespan thanks to his radioactive blood, and his supporting cast ages slower due to being slightly irradiated by Peter's presence. Other characters with excuses to do so age slower ... but everybody else ages out.

Then forget about the aging thing and write some good stories about the characters as they are.

...and Superman, who was born on February 29, ages so slowly because he has a birthday only once every four years.

I rather liked John Byrne's Generations series of "Elseworlds" mini-series in which Superman and Batman aged in real time since their respective introductions in 1938 and '39. And Marvel is just wrapping up an out-of-continuity mini-series in which the FF age in real time after having done one previously about Spider-Man. 

The true reason behind the Justice Society and their friends aged very slowly:

"Say, you guys! Wouldn't it be neat to never grow old!"

I could totally see Johnny doing that. 

Philip Portelli said:

The true reason behind the Justice Society and their friends aged very slowly:

"Say, you guys! Wouldn't it be neat to never grow old!"

I'm not a big Byrne fan but he really nailed the tonal shifts through all those decades.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

...and Superman, who was born on February 29, ages so slowly because he has a birthday only once every four years.

I rather liked John Byrne's Generations series of "Elseworlds" mini-series in which Superman and Batman aged in real time since their respective introductions in 1938 and '39. And Marvel is just wrapping up an out-of-continuity mini-series in which the FF age in real time after having done one previously about Spider-Man. 

I don't know if this is necessarily the right thread for this, but has there ever been an attempt to portray Night Girl as a vampire? Given her powers only work in the dark that would kind of make sense and perhaps an interesting story--ideally non-canon. 

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