Origins March On
A superhero origin is retconned to fit with changing times.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-01-04 13:08:54 sponsor: DS9guy edited by: morenohijazo (last reply: 2013-11-08 00:41:15)

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Needs a Better Title. This trope is in effect when a superhero's origin has to be retconned due to changes in science, politics or anything else since they first debuted and Comic Book Time is in effect. For example, let's say there is a 20 something German superhero introduced in 1985 who previously had to cross the Berlin Wall in order to escape communism. Today, if he is still the same age, that back-story wouldn't work because he would have been a baby (if that) when the Berlin Wall fell.

By the way, Alternate Universe stories and adaptations in other mediums do not count. These are changes made in the mainstream universe of their companies.

Examples:
  • This is the idea behind Marvel Comics "Season One" graphic novels.
  • Kim Newman's short story "Coastal City" is about a comic book character almost, but not quite, realising that his backstory keeps changing on him. For instance, he's always a war veteran, but which war has changed with the times.
  • Iron Man had his origins in Vietnam and now it was in Afghanistan
  • The 1999 miniseries Spider-Man: Chapter One was an attempt to explicitly give Spider-Man an updated origin. (It was written by John Byrne, who had done the same for Superman in the Superman: The Man of Steel miniseries.) It was a flop, and is not considered canon.
  • The Fantastic Four, who gained their powers during a failed space flight, were originally said to be trying to beat the Dirty Commies to the moon. Later retellings of the origin, which became dated as of the real Moon landing in 1969, have said that the ship was intended to test an experimental warp drive instead. Presumably that one won't become dated anytime soon...
  • In a subtler example, the Martian Manhunter's origin as one member of a present-day, populous Martian race was quietly changed once it became evident in Reallife that no large lifeforms exist on Mars. Later tellings of his origin claim that the Martian Manhunter had been teleported to Earth through time as well as space, and that that the other Martians had died off prior to modern times.
  • As of the in-continuity (non-MAX) 2011 series of The Punisher, Frank Castle fought in one of the Iraq Wars rather than in the Vietnam War. His MAX counterpart remains an (aged) Vietnam veteran, however.
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