Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Long Winded, Confusing Compilation Of My Pre-Crisis Earth-1 And Earth-2 Theories

For the sake of discussing Earth-1 and Earth-2 doppelgangers, I'm going to refer to superheroes by their alter egos instead of their masks so we don't have none of this Jay is Barry crap unless the character in question doesn't have an alternate secret identity like Deadshot who as far as I know is always Floyd Lawton.

One of my complaints about Pre-Crisis Earth-2 comics is the notion that there are no doppelgangers of Silver Age heroes unless you count Kara Zor-L Power Girl as Kara Zor-El Supergirl (I don't, you're not the doppelganger of your sibling are you? Admit if one of your siblings of the same sex was skipped over you'd have gotten their name too). Even Helena Wayne is alive when Barbara Gordon remains unborn so Commissioner Gordon has to be childless so Bruce Wayne can breed. Weird rules. Of Course on Earth-1 we get doppelgangers of Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Oliver Queen, and in the first Earth-1 and Earth-2 crossover Johnny Thunder (as a criminal) and in issues of Brave And The Bold, Ted Grant and Eel O’Brian. Of course Bob Haney didn't care nor let Roy Thomas's stupid ghetto classifications ruin the flow of his stories nor should he have. Of course Roy Thomas the spoil sport had to go out of his way to explain that Zatara and Airwave (Larry Jordan) were Earth-2 refugees so much as to decide that Earth-1 Helen Jordan was Hal's relative and not Larry or maybe he was and he decided to marry his alternate bloodline and have a kid anyway. Sure Roy, whatever floats your boat. You're the same creep who decided Black Canary inhabited the body of her own daughter or her daughter has her mother's memories or whatever which makes all the details surrounding her grieving of Larry Lance creepy. What is it with Earth-2 Larry's and incestuous spouses?

Now imagine if Roy Thomas had tried to pull another constraint with Clark, Bruce, Dick, Diana, Ollie and Arthur and decide that they too were refugees from Earth-2. Imagine the many Bronze Age Batman stories that were invalidated if The Golden Age stories involving Hugo Strange or Deadshot were only canon on Earth-2. In fact many of the Golden Age stories of Batman aren't canon on Earth-2 as they are on Earth-1, like Catwoman's retirement and not marrying Batman which was status quo before Showcase #4 kickstartyed the Silver Age and status quo into the 60's when Catwoman showed up and didn't marry Batman as she some how did on Earth-2. Admit it, Earth-2 deviated from Batman canon more than Silver Age Earth-1 Batman did.

This suggests there was a secret Golden Age on Earth-1 the general public is unaware of other than in comics. Jay Garrick could have been a Flash on Earth-1 who had licensed comics about his fictional exploits. Unlike Earth-2 Jay, Golden Age Jay had no secret identity.

What I'm saying is that The Golden Age could have happened on Earth-1, but a memory wipe happened erasing the memories and evidence of Jay Garrick's existence except for some licensed comics. Alan Scott was forgotten, but Hal remembered the name Green Lantern and the oath (which originated with Alan) and made up a story about how he came up with the oath and then The Guardians and Corps took credit for both name and oath as early on in the comics. I think Hal was subconsciously thinking of Earth-1 Alan and The Guardians and the older generation of heroes like Bruce and Diana are covering up his existence for the general populace's safety and then meeting the Earth-2 counterparts make the lie more palatable and convenient. Though nobody asks the question if Bruce is Batman on Earth-1 and 2, where's Barry and Hal on Earth-2, where's Jay and Alan on Earth-1? It's a grand cosmic distraction. This also accounts for false memories and status quo changes like Superman's adoptive parents, false memories of Krypton that are inconsistent, Aquaman's inconsistent origins, etc. In fact I bet this whole conspiracy and possible mind wiping is why Earth-1 Johnny Thunder is a criminal. He doesn't remember who he once was and Diana who used to know him as he was, isn't talking.

One other observation before I get into the lost Silver Age of Earth-2. Variant covers, Barry Allen in Showcase #4 is reading Flash Comics #13.

The real life version of Flash Comics #13 looks like this:

Picture credits go to Silver Age Gold

Thanks to Pat Curley (profile link not available) who pointed this out.

One thing everyone excepts about Earth-2 is that Bruce and co. were born earlier while on Earth-1 they're born later. I don't buy that. How is that worse than my theory that they are all born in the same timeline, but Earth-2 vibrates in real time while Earth-1 operates in compressed time? Whenever I've presented this theory to anyone on any DC message board they flip out and call it a too complicated theory that breaks logic. Sorry, but the acceptance that Bruce Wayne can be born to Thomas and Martha in 1915 on one Earth but born thirty years later on another is less logical. It's not hard to think that on Earth-1 people age slowly while events, trends and changing administrations move by without a reflection. Neil Gaiman alluded to this idea in The Wake (Sandman) where Clark, Batman and Martian Manhunter are at Morpheu's funeral. It's a one off meta joke, sure, but a good writer can take a crazy idea or joke and use it. Here's the panel:

Whatever my headcanon for Earth-1's secret Golden Age, one thing is certain canonically on Pre-Crisis Earth-2 there's no Silver Age. Nope, this an Earth where history was different because The Golden Agers retired en masse and set no example for anyone to follow in their footsteps unless they were raised by them or inherited mutant powers through them, thus Infinity Inc. Something happened in the 50's and 60's on Earth-2 to make people generally selfish and look out for number one, which makes it all the ironic that the Reagan 80's is when the next generation comes in full force to fight crime. The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers on Earth-2 must have lacked the social activists we had in real life or on Earth-1. Perhaps the Communist witch hunts really reinforced the notion of Capitalist looking out for number one mentality, creating an Ayn Randian nightmare that makes corporate, yuppie, dynastic, bloodline legacies like Infinity Inc. the natural heroes. At least they're trying to step up when they're not using marriage proposals and secret identity outing for tabloid fodder. Blackmail or not, it was still crass.

As you know, I don't buy that Power Girl is Supergirl. I think she's an older sibling. Why? Because she was born before Clark and was put in a ship that was put in time suspension that kept her the same age while Clark grew up on Earth. If that sounds familiar that's because they've stolen that origin for Supergirl since the terrible Jeff Loeb reboot that has carried into the New52 and TV show to keep the two in line. In the Silver Age however, Supergirl was born after the destruction of Krypton on Argo when it was engulfed in a bubble, putting it on limited time before it too would be destroyed and she'd have to get rocketed to Earth. I actually prefer this origin and I think with better tweaks could work. Perhaps the Zor-El's were on colonization trip before the destruction and were off Krypton when it exploded. They call their new colony New Argo. This is not different than how Daxam was created. Perhaps New Argo runs out of supplies and they send an older Kara on a ship to Earth to get supplies to bring back to them, but she's too late. Anyway, my point is that Power Girl was born before the destruction of Krypton, Supergirl after. They're from different sperm and egg stock from the same parents. They're siblings. They share the same genetics, but not the same traits, much like siblings. That they're named Kara is because Earth-1 Zor-El and Alura didn't have a daughter earlier and would have named any first born daughter Kara. One more thing. El vs. L. How often do we see Egyptian and Greek words Latinized. Both translations are valid. Earth-1 just decided to standardize Kryptonian with visible vowels and Earth-2 never bothered.

Back to my next point. If you believe Roy Thomas, there's no Earth-2 Zatanna or Harold Jordan because their parents migrated to Earth-1 to have kids. Fine fair enough, it would have just been easier to say they were childless. Nobody complains about Earth-1 Bruce/Selina and Diana/Steve lacking children.

As for Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Ray Palmer and others. It'd have been nice to just once show their doppelgangers doing something ordinary in a one scene wonder kind of way. Oh Wait:

Original picture credit goes to postmodernbarney

Crew-cut Blond haired kid in a red shirt, geeking out about superheroes to a cop. That's gotta be kid Barry Allen on Earth-2. I know it's not confirmed, but I'll take what I can get. As for Hal and Ray, we just assume they're some where doing something unsuperheroic. It'd be odd to say they're unborn since their parents as civilians don't affect whether they need to exist or not. The only problem with Barry as a 60's child as that it invalidates the compressed timeline theory of Earth-1 and brings us back to the Born later theory every Pre-Crisis junkie clings to. My wild mass guessing for why Barry is still a child in the 60's on Earth-2 and not a grown up is that Earth-2 vibrates in linear time while Earth-1 time exists simultaneously. Barry could be experiencing the 50's and 60's as an adult and child at the same time as time doesn't truly exist. After all, if time marches on, but the characters don't on Earth-1, 1956 Showcase #4 Barry who's presumably 25-30 would have born in 1926-1931 (hey he's no younger than my grandma!). Dead Barry of Crisis On Infinite Earths #8 1985 aged between 30-35 would have been born between 1950-1955. A year before his comic debut, making him a child of the sixties! So there's a parrallel timeline where Barry is both an adult and child in the 60's. Admit it we saw the same thing unfolding with Wally as a teenager in both the 60's and 80's. Mindfuck. This doesn't disprove or prove the compressed timeline or born later theories, but they do enlighten both.

As for the other missing Silver age doppelgangers. Perhaps Earth-2 Hal lived and died in a test accident. Earth-2 Ray Palmer's studies in meteorite experiments got him blackballed in the scientific community and he lived out his days in quiet seclusion, disgraced. We'll never know. Personally I think Earth-1 Katar and Shayera are just mind-wiped Carter and Sheira, or Carter and Sheira were put in witness protection and their identities were taken by the Thanagarian couple or the Thanagarians are alien parasites who took over their bodies and lives and everyone bought the sudden information that they're aliens. I mean come on, same job and civilian identity. Ignore the stupid hair color changes. It's called hair dye. No story lines up with these theories, it's just my preference because there's way too many cosmic coincidences at play here. I don't buy the whole souls being born on different planets in different universes.

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