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  1. #1
    pygophile and podophile Dr. Cheesesteak's Avatar
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    Default Batman (major?) retcon history?

    True question out of ignorance, but what retcons have been implemented to Batman? Are any of them major? Off the top of my head, I know his use of guns were retconned (I mean, does Golden/Silver Age really count anyway?). I believe when/how he met Gordon and also Gordon knowing his identity has been changed throughout history? Maybe his relationships w/ women? Are all of these sorta...inconsequential? Has he ever had anything retconned to the level of his parents not dying or what motivated him to become Batman, etc?
    Comics were definitely happier, breezier and more confident in their own strengths before Hollywood and the Internet turned the business of writing superhero stories into the production of low budget storyboards or, worse, into conformist, fruitless attempts to impress or entertain a small group of people who appear to hate comics and their creators. -- Grant Morrison, 2008

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cheesesteak View Post
    True question out of ignorance, but what retcons have been implemented to Batman? Are any of them major? Off the top of my head, I know his use of guns were retconned (I mean, does Golden/Silver Age really count anyway?). I believe when/how he met Gordon and also Gordon knowing his identity has been changed throughout history? Maybe his relationships w/ women? Are all of these sorta...inconsequential? Has he ever had anything retconned to the level of his parents not dying or what motivated him to become Batman, etc?
    Well Batman has evolved along with the DC Univers and with the multiple Batman events.

    1. Batman 1st appeared in 1939 in Detective Comics #27.
    2. Batman took on a apprentice in the name of Robin in Detective Comics #38.Dar
    3. Batman got his own title in 1940.
    4. Batman was reboot for the Silver Age in 1964 in Detective Comics #127 subtitled "Introducing a New Look Batman & Robin"
    5. Batman became darker and darker as the Bronze Age went on. The main changes are seen in Dennis O'Neil's run.
    6. Batman got again rebooted for the Modern age in 1986 with Batman: Year One by Frank Miller.


    During the Mordern age, Batman had many adventures that profoundly changed him:

    1. Batman: Year One - Modern orgins of Batman
    2. The Man Who Laughs - 1st modern encounter with the Joker
    3. The Long Halloween - Bruce Wayne's friend the Gotham City District Attorney, Harvey Dent gets disfigured
    4. Dark Victory - follow-up to The Long Halloween and Robin's first mission
    5. Robin: Year One - Batman takes one a kid who saugh his parents die in front of him as he also did.
    6. Batgirl: Year One - Comissioner Gordon's daughter joins the Batfamilly as Batgirl
    7. Birth of Demon / Son of the Demon - The Origin's of Ra's Al Ghul
    8. Nightwing: Year One - Tensions between Batman and Robin. Robin, Dick Grayson, becomes Nightwing.
    9. A Death In The Family - Batman takes on a new Robin, Jason Todd, but the Joker ends up by killing him
    10. A lonely place of living - Tim Drake discovers Bruce Wayne's secret. Batman finishes by taking him as the 3rd Robin.
    11. The Killing Joke - Joker is crazier than ever and mutilates Batgirl, she can no longer walk.
    12. Sword of Azrael - Batman finds a new allie as Azrael - first adventure with Barbara Gordon as Oracle.
    13. Vengence of Bane - Bane's origns
    14. Knightfall - Batman gets broken by Bane
    15. Knightquest - Azrael replaces Bruce Wayne
    16. KnightsEnd - Bruce is back
    17. Prodigual / Troika - Bruce Wayne patches things with Dick Grayson (Nightwing)
    18. No Man's Land - Gotham becomes a war zone
    19. New Gotham / Turning Point / Gotham Central - Batman and the GCPD have to deal with the aftermath of the No Man's Land. In the process James Godon gets shot and has to retire. Batman looses a great allie.
    20. Bruce Wayne Murderer / Fugitive - Batman is accused of being a murderer and the reason why Gotham is infected by all those vilains.
    21. Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood - The once vigilenty Huntress joins Batman in his fight against crime, making a new allie for the Batfamilly
    22. Hush - A old friend of Bruce is back in town, as well a new enemy named Hush. Also a new step in the Batman/Catwoman relationship.
    23. Under the Red Hood - Jason Todd is back
    24. The Resurection of Ra's Al Ghul - Ra's is also back
    25. JLA: Tower of Babel - Ra's Al Ghul manages to steal Batman's secret files. The JLA learns that Bruce has files of all of the league's members with methods on how to contain them if they became rogue.
    26. Batman & Son - Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Ra's announces to Bruce he got a son: Damyan.
    27. Final Crisis / Batman RIP - Batman is sent back in time by Darkseid
    28. Battle for the Cowl - who will replace Batman ?
    29. Batman & Robin - Dick Grayson & Damian Wayne patrol as Batman & Robin
    30. Batman in time / The Return of Bruce Wayne
    31. Batman Inc - Bruce is back and forms an international alliance
    32. Batman: Elegy - Batwoman's origins
    33. Flashpoint - Flash disrupts time and space, the DC Univers is now set on a new earth
    34. Court of Owls / Night of Owls - A secret organisation has been runing the city under Batman's nose since forever
    35. Batman: Zero Year - New origins of Batman
    36. I am Gotham / I am Suicide / I am Bane + The Fall and the Fallen / City of Bane - The Great return of Bane
    37. Rise of the Batmen - Batman puts in place a new team to patrol Gotham including The Signal / Batwoman / Clayface / Orphan
    38. Fall of the Batmen
    39. Rules of Engagement / The Wedding - Batman is going to marry Catwoman but it ends up by failling. Batman is then going to isolate himself.
    40. Dark Knight: Metal - Batman discovers a new dark multivers.

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    The biggest retcon was imo that Alfred did originally became his Butler until after Dick was allready Robin, while since COIE Alfred was already the families Butler when the Waynes died and basically raised him after the death of his parents (before he was raised by his Uncle Phillipp).

    The Waynes also changed of time from just being pretty wealthy to a Super Rich Family from Old Money.

    Apart from this the exact details of his origin and the origins of the other Batman characters get frequently changed up (with Alfred and Catwoman probably being the worst cases of this), and during the golden and silver age continuity was anyway pretty wonky, so there is not much of point of really keeping track on it.

  4. #4
    pygophile and podophile Dr. Cheesesteak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb681131 View Post
    During the Mordern age, Batman had many adventures that profoundly changed him:
    Hmm, lots of changes, but changes that add to his history and mythos for the most part, rather than alter or contradict existing history, yes? I did forget about Zero Year, since I didn't care for Snyder's Bat run, and I think just followed it from afar. Iirc, they added to Bruce's history, rather than change it or contradict any existing history (the big Riddler story, him being an Arkham patient as a kid, etc). I don't remember much else.

    Btw, great list. Will definitely copy it for reference, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aahz View Post
    The biggest retcon was imo that Alfred did originally became his Butler until after Dick was allready Robin, while since COIE Alfred was already the families Butler when the Waynes died and basically raised him after the death of his parents (before he was raised by his Uncle Phillipp).

    Apart from this the exact details of his origin and the origins of the other Batman characters get frequently changed up (with Alfred and Catwoman probably being the worst cases of this), and during the golden and silver age continuity was anyway pretty wonky, so there is not much of point of really keeping track on it.
    Yeah, maybe just me, but I think any changes made by COIE are alright. It's mostly post-COIE I'm curious about (w/ my little joke about the prior Ages of comics). But still valid point you make, nonetheless. If Uncle Phillip was written as his guardian for ~40 years, then written out, that's definitely worth noting. It's interesting how each generation of reader may view a superhero based on what has been published (across all media) during their lifetime w/o really experiencing the history.

    And yeah, that's the thing, I know little retcons are made here and there to his origin as Batman, his villains and supporting characters, etc. But I suppose they're usually just minor, nuanced changes like ages, the when/where of meeting someone, etc. Nothing really major?

    What got me thinking of this is just Doomsday Clock and how the Gothamverse is usually relatively safe from major alterations of its history. Of course, there could always be major changes to the contemporary status quo (Bruce having a son, Dick as Bats, new butler now?, etc. Maybe an interesting future change would be if the Prime-Earth Waynes got resurrected?), as well as some retcons/changes to other Gothamverse characters (Babs' history in a wheelchair, the nuanced changes mentioned already, etc). But the core of Bruce and his past seems to be pretty consistent since COIE?
    Comics were definitely happier, breezier and more confident in their own strengths before Hollywood and the Internet turned the business of writing superhero stories into the production of low budget storyboards or, worse, into conformist, fruitless attempts to impress or entertain a small group of people who appear to hate comics and their creators. -- Grant Morrison, 2008

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Do we count the larger Bat-Family or just Batman?
    There's Zero Year though that didn't last long

    The big ones are
    The Court of Owls have always been there since colonial times
    Gotham is a cursed town
    Batman created the Bat Tribe by going back in time
    The Waynes walked down an alley instead of Joe Chill jumping out of the alley
    Little Bruce after his parents died from being a Christian kid praying to little detective to depressed and suicidal

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    pygophile and podophile Dr. Cheesesteak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    There's Zero Year though that didn't last long
    Did Zero Year make retcons that were later retconned themselves? If so, then lol, guess other execs or writers didn't care for Zero Year either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    The big ones are
    The Court of Owls have always been there since colonial times
    Gotham is a cursed town
    Batman created the Bat Tribe by going back in time
    The Waynes walked down an alley instead of Joe Chill jumping out of the alley
    Little Bruce after his parents died from being a Christian kid praying to little detective to depressed and suicidal
    I think the Crime Alley change is the only true "retcon". The rest are just adding to the history of Batman/Gotham, right? Not necessarily changing anything. Unless they directly contradict other established aspects of Gotham. I guess it's just semantics anyway - change, retcon, whatevs! Neat changes nonetheless.
    Comics were definitely happier, breezier and more confident in their own strengths before Hollywood and the Internet turned the business of writing superhero stories into the production of low budget storyboards or, worse, into conformist, fruitless attempts to impress or entertain a small group of people who appear to hate comics and their creators. -- Grant Morrison, 2008

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    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cheesesteak View Post
    Did Zero Year make retcons that were later retconned themselves? If so, then lol, guess other execs or writers didn't care for Zero Year either.


    I think the Crime Alley change is the only true "retcon". The rest are just adding to the history of Batman/Gotham, right? Not necessarily changing anything. Unless they directly contradict other established aspects of Gotham. I guess it's just semantics anyway - change, retcon, whatevs! Neat changes nonetheless.
    They're bringing back Year One, both King and the new DC timeline. Zero Year still kinda exists because Duke Thomas originates in Zero Year, but only the Riddler and Duke part are confirmed. Since Duke remains 16 in present-day, Zero Year has been made a Riddler event that happens later in Batman's time, no longer an origin story.

    Oh, and Harvey Dent is a crimefighting friend in Year One. He was kinda sorta a crimefighting friend in Golden Age but after Robin and not that intimate. Then Snyder made him a childhood friend in the sanatorium that Bruce attended after his parents died.

    Tomasi made Harvey know Bruce is Batman but he never clarified when. I forget if Snyder continues from that thread or not, but I think it makes sense that Harvey knows.

    On Joe Chill there's the whole Lew Moxon thing... but Joe Chill's character changes depending on the concept they push. Is he just a regular mugger because of a poor economy? A maniac? A hitman? Is he dead or alive?
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 01-19-2020 at 07:52 PM.

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    Fantastic Member docmidnite's Avatar
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    During the Silver Age, Alfred was killed off and replaced with Aunt Harriet for a spell before he was eventually brought back by an evil mad scientist as a villain known as the Outsider. Then he somehow got better and then retconned from ever happening.

    Also during the Bronze Age, Bruce’s father wore a “Batman” costume for a Halloween party that was eventually retconned out of existence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cheesesteak View Post
    And yeah, that's the thing, I know little retcons are made here and there to his origin as Batman, his villains and supporting characters, etc. But I suppose they're usually just minor, nuanced changes like ages, the when/where of meeting someone, etc. Nothing really major?
    I can't really think of anything that really stuck on the long run, most of changes are made for a story or maybe a run and are never addressed again.

    And when it comes to who knows who's secret identity I think the writers them self have stopped keeping track of that years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cheesesteak View Post

    What got me thinking of this is just Doomsday Clock and how the Gothamverse is usually relatively safe from major alterations of its history. Of course, there could always be major changes to the contemporary status quo (Bruce having a son, Dick as Bats, new butler now?, etc. Maybe an interesting future change would be if the Prime-Earth Waynes got resurrected?), as well as some retcons/changes to other Gothamverse characters (Babs' history in a wheelchair, the nuanced changes mentioned already, etc). But the core of Bruce and his past seems to be pretty consistent since COIE?
    Yeah, the Batman mythos, for the most part, have stayed pretty consistent. In fact, its more or less possible to view Batman's history from 1939 to the present-day as virtually one unbroken line (with a few cosmetic changes here and there) - which is in fact what Grant Morrison did. The fact that is relatively easy to reconcile all the different iterations of Batman is IMO one of the reasons why the Batman fanbase is also relatively more united than the Superman fanbase (where you have constant debates about different versions of Superman).

    Over time, the major changes/additions to Batman continuity have been:

    -A significant expansion of the Wayne family legacy and their significance to Gotham history. Originally, Thomas Wayne was just a wealthy doctor who happened to be the victim of an unfortunate crime alongside his wife. But over time, this has shifted to the point where the Wayne family were basically Gotham royalty, Thomas and Martha Wayne were philantrophists on a mission to save Gotham, and the Wayne industrial empire is worth billions. The idea that Bruce's activities as Batman are in some way a continuation of the Wayne family legacy (an idea that Snyder pretty explicity leaned into in Zero Year) stems from that. On a related point, originally Wayne Manor was just a house Bruce purchased well after becoming Batman, but now its not only Bruce's childhood home, but also the ancestral home of the Wayne family.

    -Alfred's importance in Bruce's life is a major retcon that has resonated through all contemporary adaptations of the Batman mythos. Originally, Alfred was the son of the Wayne family's former butler, who, per his father's dying wish, entered Bruce's employ long after Bruce and Dick were well-established as Batman and Robin. Alfred, while he was a valuable ally to Bruce, was never as close to him as Dick was. But now, Alfred has not only been with the Wayne's since Bruce was a child (if not before his birth), but he practically raised Bruce and is basically a surrogate father to him. He's also Bruce's very first ally, and his closest confidant.

    -Gotham City has fundamentally changed in many ways. Originally, it was a standard fictional city, a faux-NYC with a fairly 'normal' crime rate. At some point in the 70's, and certainly after Miller's Year One it was re-characterized as this cesspool of crime and corruption that was virtually beyond hope. This has, to a large extent, changed the nature of Batman's mission as well. Originally, his parent's death was simply a crime, and he wanted to spend his life "warring against all criminals". While that is still technically true, in the current context, the Wayne murders have become a symptom of the rot that infests Gotham, and so Batman's mission (or rather obsession) is about warring against the darkness of Gotham - or at least keeping it at bay. Batman's not just a crime-fighter anymore, he's someone trying to save his city.

    These are the really big ones. There are tons of smaller, superficial changes. For instance, was Joe Chill a hitman or a mugger (and was the murderer Joe Chill at all?) Where did Bruce get trained to become Batman? At what age did Dick Grayson become Robin? How did Jim Gordon get allied to Batman? But the three I've mentioned above are the fundamental changes that have really reshaped the mythos over the last 30-40 years.

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    But some of the support characters had bigger changes.

    Jason Todd is the clearest case where the pre and post COIE version a completely different characters.

    Catwoman has several origin stories that don't really work together.

    Barbara went from beeing Gordons daughter to beeing his adopted nice and back, and from having an older Brother (Tony) who was a secret agent (and originally Gordons only child) to having an younger Brother (James Jr.) who wnet from beeing far younger then her to beeing almost her age.

    Lucius Fox also went from being just a financial expert, to a tech guy and the number, names and (relative) ages of children also changed over time.
    Last edited by Aahz; 01-21-2020 at 11:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aahz View Post
    But some of the support characters had bigger changes.

    Jason Todd is the clearest case where the pre and post COIE version a completely different characters.

    Catwoman has several origin stories that don't really work together.

    Barbara went from beeing Gordons daughter to beeing his adopted nice and back, and from having an older Brother (Tony) who was a secret agent (and originally Gordons only child) to having an younger Brother (James Jr.) who wnet from beeing far younger then her to beeing almost her age.

    Lucius Fox also went from being just a financial expert, to a tech guy and the number, names and (relative) ages of children also changed over time.
    Right. Batman's history has stayed relatively stable, but the supporting cast has been rebooted a few times.

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    There haven't been any major changes to the mythos in decades. Anything that has happened recently has not had any significant bearing on the larger mythos of the character.

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    pygophile and podophile Dr. Cheesesteak's Avatar
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    Thanks for all these responses, peeps. This has actually inspired me to read more old Batman stories!
    Comics were definitely happier, breezier and more confident in their own strengths before Hollywood and the Internet turned the business of writing superhero stories into the production of low budget storyboards or, worse, into conformist, fruitless attempts to impress or entertain a small group of people who appear to hate comics and their creators. -- Grant Morrison, 2008

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