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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default Propose an alternate origin for a non-A-list hero

    I was just thinking of characters I like, but don't really like their origin. Reason can be because it interferes with prior continuity. Or is built off and event later ret-conned. Or I just think it's weak.

    First pick: Traci Thirteen

    For me, it's a continuity one. I haven't read N52 Traci 13, but her brief appearances in the 2006 Blue Beetle were nice. Tried "Tales of the Unexpected," but they really ruined Dr. Thirteen. I really liked some of his old stuff with Marie and Phantom Stranger. I dislike his wife just disappearing. And the timing on Traci's age doesn't really work, either (yes, I know COIE happened in between). I don't like the entire set-up with Traci and what it makes Terrence out to be.

    In the old issues, Terrence wasn’t the blind idiot he would be later. The character was really diminished. I wish skeptic characters would actually get treated as people that follow the evidence and catch con-artists instead of blind fools who refuse to see magic, etc. Ironically, the first version of Phantom Stranger caught fake plots, but he had little in common with the later version.

    Also, Doctor Thirteen had a wife he loved dearly back in the old days. But, of course, she wasn’t Traci’s mom, as Traci wouldn’t be created for decades yet, and her mother only retroactively existed.

    Anyway, the idea that came into my head was that Traci was adopted. But more importantly, Phantom Stranger brought her to his friend Terrence to raise. I really did like the building of the friendship between Terrence and the Phantom Stranger in those old issues. This would be with the Phantom Stranger no one knows the real background for, definitely not Judas Iscariot.

    I thought of actually making her PS’s bio kid, but decided that might be too much.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    Dr Light:

    Her origin definitely needs an overhaul because any association with the villainous Dr Light is going to be problematic, whether she chooses to take on the name of a rapist or that they were married(?!? what were they thinking?) or whatever. Without changing too much, I'd have Hoshi and Arthur Light as competitive contemporaries in their scientific field. Their rivalry results in both of them getting powers through some experiment gone wrong, etc. But Hoshi, in keeping with the arrogance we first saw in her, recovers first and develops powers as Arthur is recovering and names herself "Dr Light" as a superhero name just to rub it in Arthur Light's face. He of course recovers and develops powers as well and so we have two Dr Lights, one good, one evil. Hoshi then at some point learns a similar lesson that she did in "Crisis" somehow along the way and loses that arrogance to become the Hoshi we're more familiar with.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    I'll just get this one out of the way for the Wonder Woman family fans; Donna Troy.



    Her history has become so muddied, its downright confusing where one origin begins and the other ends. The best solution? KISS. Or, "Keep It Simple, Stupid". Don't over complicate it. Have her be a girl that was shipwrecked onto Themyscira or something and became Diana's adopted sister.

    Kind of brings me to Diana herself. Having her be the daughter of Zeus of all the Gods, is not only cliche as hell (even the Percy Jackson series avoided that), but runs counter to about everything the Amazons are about. Her being of clay for her origin, is nice and simple. Not going to touch on the Gods the Amazons worship, that's a complete other mess.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    In the Spirit of American Independence Day:
    SKYROCKET!

    I also redesigned her Argo Harness since I thought the original had a few design flaws - leaving the top of her head exposed and the weird "underboob" aspect. She also needed some more more protection - it seemed like she was a fighter jet mid-boob to forehead, but an Olympic gymnast below that. In terms of her origin, I wasn't crazy about the fact that she just inherited the harness from her parents. So, I propose that she became disillusioned with warfare as a pilot having served in some questionable wars, which is why she moved over to flight instruction, but in the meantime her newfound appreciation for pacifism compelled her to create a non-lethal system for defense. Her parents were scientists and helped her crack the tech behind the Argo Harness, but they were more theoretical vs. Celia who knew the mechanical applications. Then the rest plays out as before - parents murdered by bad guys (maybe a section in the government?) in search of her tech, she gets away, becomes Skyrocket, etc. Maybe she breaks from the military, but DC needs a more prominent patriotic hero - one who doesn't believe in "ends justifies the means" and has a code against killing.

  5. #5
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    What the hey, I’ll give it a shot:

    Tim Drake - Robin, Red Robin

    I loathe The New 52 origin... but I think there was one major aspect that could have been carried over, and I do think some of the classic origin could be reconfigured. So this is an amalgamated version of the story.

    - Young Tim does go to the circus the night Dikc Grayson’s parents die, and does witness the trick that only Dick and a handful of others can do.

    - Howevere, in a change-up, Jack Drake bears witness to a crime perpetrated by the Penguin’s men, and testifies about it. The family is forced to go into Witness Protection at this time, using “Draper” as their last name.

    - Since Tim’s life was upended because of Penguin, he makes a hobby of trying to see if he can maybe someday help construct a case to get him arrested, and thus ends up eventually investing a lot of time and energy into criminal investigation resources and philosophies, and ends up constructing an anonymous detective identity online inspired by the Robin he’s starting to become a fan of while looking at Gotham related crime - red_bird89.

    -Tim is also enrolled in a basic self-defense class by his mother in case anything bad ever happens.

    - One day while chatting online with other amateur sleuths who he’s managed to ingratiate himself with (think the chat room Paul Dini had Batman, Riddler, and Detective Chimp on), it gets brought up how distinctive Robin’s acrobatic moves are, causing a eureka moment for Tim when he sees him do the Grayson trick... and then get really suspicious when he can’t track down any clips of Dick performing the move even though he *knows* it happened.

    - Tim now begins to hypothesize that Dick Grayson is Robin and Bruce Wayne is Batman - but has to acknowledge and theorize around all the digital safe-guards, alibis, and red herrings Batman has laid down to prevent regular cyber sleuthing. Still, Tim holds to his hypothesis, and receives semi-confirmation when Jason Todd is adopted by Bruce Wayne at the same time a second Robin appears and the first becomes Nightwing.

    - Tim intentionally manages to become an online ally of Jason Todd via the detective chat room; I kind of want some basic relationship formed here before Jason dies. Since Jason is trying to improve his own skills without Bruce’s help, he ends up in a friendly competition with Tim as his asset, eventually figuring out that red_bird89 knows he’s Robin, but doesn’t have confirmation who he is.

    - This comes to a head when Penguin’s men manage to find the “Drapers” and Tim desperately sends out a plea for help to Jason, who rolls up with Batman to rescue them. This leaves Tim with an impression of how Batman should operate, and furthers his personal fanboyism for Robin. It also leaves Jack Drake in critical condition, but he and his wife live.

    - Then Jason is killer. Tim realizes this early by deducing Robin’s death, which is never confirmed in the public media, when Jason stops logging on, Batman goes berserk on the crime lords, and Jason death is eventually announced.

    -Cue the general storyline of a Lonely Place of Dying, as Tim seeks to repay the Batfamily for their help.

    - Another attack by Penguin’s men eventually leads to Tim assuming his real last name as a ward of Bruce Wayne, since Penguin won’t touch him there, and his parents want him safe and loving a normal life. This causes both Tim’s “schizophrenic” home life, as he alternates between trying to maintain his relationship with his parents and fearing that contact will expose them, and a personal grudge against the Penguin.

    - After a very familiar career as Robin, Tim ends up confronting a resurrected Jason with more history between them, and becomes Red Robin in a Batman RIP-esque event, though here his ID is formed by taking cues from both Nightwing and Red Hood, combined with his own stubborn insistence that he’s still a Robin when Damian takes the mantle.
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  6. #6
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    I never liked the origin story that Gerry Conway gave Zatara (and indirectly Zatanna), making him some Italian descendent of Leonardo da Vinci, whose journals were written in a mirror text. So that explains how Zatara speaking backwards can do magic? Really?

    I have a whole long story worked out for Zatara which is too long to give here--but I'll give a few details. I have him growing up in a Jewish vaudeville family in the early 20th century in the Bronx--the Schwartz family, Zatara being Isaac Schwartz--or Zack. His father had a magic act, but one day the father stopped everything, after reading the Kabbalah. Before he died--the father passed on a key, which ended up with Zatara's adoped brother, Sol, the son of the father's Chinese assistant in his old act. This key opens a chest, wherein are secret tomes that reveal much knowledge to young Sol.

    Meanwhile, the teen-age Zack had been trying to get his own magic act going. Long story short, Zack and Sol team up to do a vaudeville magic act in New York and on the road. They have various iterations of the act. Sometimes Sol is a "mystic mage from the Orient," sometimes Zack is the lead in the act. And I have their stories like the Road movies of Hope and Crosby. So on the Road to Hollywood, they end up in silent films with Sol playing "I-Ching, the Oriental Mystic" in one-reelers, before he gets sacked because he makes too much trouble for the producers and they replace him with a white guy to play I-Ching. While they're out in Hollywood, Zack finds one of his older brothers (he has six), this one left home to go to war and is now also working in pictures, under the name John Sargent (aka Sargon).

    Eventually, Zack and Sol go on the Road to Paris and to Araby and along the way they develop the Zatara act. After that they go on the Road to Tibet, but many things happen and they get trapped in a mirror dimension. To get out, Zatara has to cut out his own tongue and Sol's--and sew on each other's tongue to get out of the mirror back into our world. But now they have to learn how to speak forwards, because they naturally speak backwards. Meantime, Sol has been transformed into a hulk, by some Tibetan magic curse, and his new name is Tong.

    So now Zack and Sol are Zatara and Tong and they concoct a biography for Zatara that involves Leonardo da Vinci. But this is just a bunch of malarkey to build up Zatara's reputation for the rubes. Which brings us to about where the moustache-less, brown-haired Zatara makes his first appearance in ACTION COMICS No.1 (June 1938).

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    What the hey, I’ll give it a shot:

    Tim Drake - Robin, Red Robin

    I loathe The New 52 origin... but I think there was one major aspect that could have been carried over, and I do think some of the classic origin could be reconfigured. So this is an amalgamated version of the story.

    - Young Tim does go to the circus the night Dikc Grayson’s parents die, and does witness the trick that only Dick and a handful of others can do.

    - Howevere, in a change-up, Jack Drake bears witness to a crime perpetrated by the Penguin’s men, and testifies about it. The family is forced to go into Witness Protection at this time, using “Draper” as their last name.

    - Since Tim’s life was upended because of Penguin, he makes a hobby of trying to see if he can maybe someday help construct a case to get him arrested, and thus ends up eventually investing a lot of time and energy into criminal investigation resources and philosophies, and ends up constructing an anonymous detective identity online inspired by the Robin he’s starting to become a fan of while looking at Gotham related crime - red_bird89.

    -Tim is also enrolled in a basic self-defense class by his mother in case anything bad ever happens.

    - One day while chatting online with other amateur sleuths who he’s managed to ingratiate himself with (think the chat room Paul Dini had Batman, Riddler, and Detective Chimp on), it gets brought up how distinctive Robin’s acrobatic moves are, causing a eureka moment for Tim when he sees him do the Grayson trick... and then get really suspicious when he can’t track down any clips of Dick performing the move even though he *knows* it happened.

    - Tim now begins to hypothesize that Dick Grayson is Robin and Bruce Wayne is Batman - but has to acknowledge and theorize around all the digital safe-guards, alibis, and red herrings Batman has laid down to prevent regular cyber sleuthing. Still, Tim holds to his hypothesis, and receives semi-confirmation when Jason Todd is adopted by Bruce Wayne at the same time a second Robin appears and the first becomes Nightwing.

    - Tim intentionally manages to become an online ally of Jason Todd via the detective chat room; I kind of want some basic relationship formed here before Jason dies. Since Jason is trying to improve his own skills without Bruce’s help, he ends up in a friendly competition with Tim as his asset, eventually figuring out that red_bird89 knows he’s Robin, but doesn’t have confirmation who he is.

    - This comes to a head when Penguin’s men manage to find the “Drapers” and Tim desperately sends out a plea for help to Jason, who rolls up with Batman to rescue them. This leaves Tim with an impression of how Batman should operate, and furthers his personal fanboyism for Robin. It also leaves Jack Drake in critical condition, but he and his wife live.

    - Then Jason is killer. Tim realizes this early by deducing Robin’s death, which is never confirmed in the public media, when Jason stops logging on, Batman goes berserk on the crime lords, and Jason death is eventually announced.

    -Cue the general storyline of a Lonely Place of Dying, as Tim seeks to repay the Batfamily for their help.

    - Another attack by Penguin’s men eventually leads to Tim assuming his real last name as a ward of Bruce Wayne, since Penguin won’t touch him there, and his parents want him safe and loving a normal life. This causes both Tim’s “schizophrenic” home life, as he alternates between trying to maintain his relationship with his parents and fearing that contact will expose them, and a personal grudge against the Penguin.

    - After a very familiar career as Robin, Tim ends up confronting a resurrected Jason with more history between them, and becomes Red Robin in a Batman RIP-esque event, though here his ID is formed by taking cues from both Nightwing and Red Hood, combined with his own stubborn insistence that he’s still a Robin when Damian takes the mantle.
    Just to point this out; Tim did get back his original origin during Rebirth after he got back from "Mr. Oz's" prison place.

  8. #8
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Anyone got any ideas for Bette Kane?

  9. #9
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    I'd establish that at one time in the recent past, for the general public, super-heroes took the place of American Gladiators and WWE wrestlers in our world. The line between actual crime fighting and just doing it for the show was blurred. The average citizen didn't know the difference between some heroes, who were for real, and others, who were putting on a show. The same goes for super-villains. Some villains really did want to break the law and others were just performance artists.

    So I'd take a bunch of these DC heroes and villains and put them in that group of people who were doing it for the fame and not really about fighting crime or committing crime. I'd say that Kathy Kane and Betty Kane both started out as doing it for the show and that's why Batman and Robin were annoyed with them (while also dealing with their own suppressed sexual desires toward these females).

    At some point, things got more intense when really big bads emerged on the scene and didn't distinguish between those doing it for the show and those who really were fighting crime. The fake super-heroes and super-villains had to get serious quick, or else get out of the game and find a place to hide. Some of them got killed or permanently injured, and the others appealed to the real heroes and villains for their help and protection.
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  10. #10
    Astonishing Member CRaymond's Avatar
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    Raven's A-List right? I mean she's been on TV for years. People recognize her cosplay.

  11. #11
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRaymond View Post
    Raven's A-List right? I mean she's been on TV for years. People recognize her cosplay.
    She's certainly more prominent than I was thinking of when I created this thread. But a lot of people call only the like top 10 recognizable heroes A-List (which makes sense), so mileage may vary. Go ahead - I mean, Tim and Donna have already been used.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 07-30-2019 at 10:09 AM.

  12. #12
    Uncanny King-Kamalu lemonpeace's Avatar
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    this is something I've been thinking about a lot, where are we drawing the line on A-List? because we have iconic characters who are more archetypal and have enjoyed long live status (like Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, Superman, etc) heroes who've only recently reached iconic status and their prominence are more contemporary (Martian Manhunter, Nightwing, Rorschach, John Stewart, etc.)

    like, Ironman hasn't held the same fundamental elemental force sorta reverence Superman and Batman have had for so many decades but it would be remiss to not consider him as iconic in the lexicon of popular culture right now, you know?

    so what's the qualifier for an A-list hero?
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  13. #13
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    so what's the qualifier for an A-list hero?
    There's no hard and fast rule. I'll admit I was thinking of more minor heroes that have been either less widely used (lately) or have variable backgrounds or backgrounds dependent on being created in a certain era or connected to a certain character that have been made inapplicable due to time-slide or retcons. Not those that have had their own successful (non-mini) title or featured prominently in big team books in the past 10 years or so. But there are some edge cases, and I wanted to allow this to be open to a wider group, so I went with "non A-list." I meant the sort that if you watched a new show an it changed up their origin, there would be few fans of the show (rather than of the character) who would care and even quite a few casual DC fans who wouldn't even know. I did want to allow for mid-tier or previously mid-tier heroes, too - the sort that might need reinvention/revitalization, as it were.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 07-30-2019 at 10:49 AM.

  14. #14
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    Nubia

    She is Philippus' daughter born via the same method as Diana (from clay). She and Diana are childhood friends but Philippus is lost in a war with demons from another world. She is brought back but notably has some trauma from her experiences and much of her story is dealing with that.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Anyone got any ideas for Bette Kane?
    Not really.

    The character has imo three big problems.
    The smallest one is that the whole Wayne/Kane Family is a mess because of all the retcons since the late 2000s.
    A bigger problem is the thing with Kathy being a Spyral Agent, which is imo also a mess, and that needs to be adressed somehow if Bettes time as her sidekick should still be canon.
    And the final issue is that she doesn't have much of a origin story or a motivation to become Bat-Girl. It basically boils iirc down to she was bored and had crush on Robin.

    But I think it would be nice to restore her status as the first Bat-Girl and Dicks first major love interest (even if Roberta the Girl Wonder was first ), would be back in canon, so that she doesn't come of as some wired groupie.

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