Friday, March 09, 2012


When Jimmy Olsen is kidnapped by the Clan of the Firey Cross (or as it may be, the Yellow Mask) Clerk Kent gives his description to the police chief, and distinctly describes him as brown-haired.

Do you say:

a: Clark Kent made a mistake. The Historical Jimmy is a red-head.

b: The red haired Jimmy is a different person from the dark haired Jimmy: there are two Jimmies, just like there are two Ronnies. Radio Jimmy is dark-haired, but Comic Book Jimmy is red-haired.

c: How interesting: when he was very young, Jimmy must have been embarrassed about his colouring and used hair dye (when that would have been a very unfashionable thing for a boy to do in the 1940s.) Perhaps his friendship with Superman caused him to accept himself as he was. Or maybe hair colouring just became too expensive during the war. That could make a really interesting piece of fan-fict, come to think of it...

d: I wonder what specific cosmological force resulted in the Jimmy Olsen of Earth-R having different colouring to the Jimmy Olsen of Earth-2?


Some people got very cross with Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows because it closed the setting down and off. Some of these people had written stories in which Harry married Hermione. J.K Rowling revealed that in real life he didn't, and this matters a great deal to them. 

I overheard someone who had just seen the abomination remarking "I am well pissed off with J.J Abrams, because I have two shelves of Star Trek DVDs, and now they didn't really happen."

Whatever "really" means. In real life, neither Harry Potter nor Captain Kirk exist. Nor Santa Claus, nor Hamlet. I have serious doubts about Nick Clegg. 

Some people say that they have tried to read Jane Austen, but felt that it was spoiled because someone had removed all the zombies. Actually, disregard that: they probably only say it to annoy me. But go back and try to read  The Final Problem on the assumption that Holmes really died and is really not coming back, which is clearly what Arthur Conan Doyle intended when he wrote it.

That's the problem with worrying about what authors intended, isn't it? If an author writes his story meaning one thing, and then goes home and changes his mind, does the story change, even though it stays exactly the same? Did Obi-Wan "really" lie to Luke Skywalker because George Lucas says he did, even though, when he made Star Wars, he clearly intended him to be telling the truth? Obviously, Obi-Wan didn't "really" do anything at all, because there is no such person. 

Try to excavate Bob Howard's pulp hero from the corporate Conan that L Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter and Frank Frazetta and Arnold Schwazenegger and above all Roy Thomas created out of his corpse. Reading the stories in publication order, rather than as a spurious biography helps somewhat. Imagining that you are reading them in a magazine helps a bit more. Consciously picturing Conan as not looking like Frank Frazetta's pictures helps a lot. (He was Saddam Hussien's favourite artist, don't you know?) Saying "Bob" helps, a bit, actually. But it can't really been done. The bad fantasy epic has overwritten the very good collection of yarns and tall tales. The terrible movies are the dominant flavour in the soup. Conan has that haircut. He just does. The lake of story has been well and truly pissed in.

Books and movies influence books and movies which come after them. But they also influence books and movies which come before them. Jackson's King Kong and J.J Abrams abomination will affect every single viewing of King Kong and Star Trek for as long as people continue to buy DVDs of old TV shows and very old movies, which. They aren't just parodies: they are acts of psychic vandalism.

Whatever you may have heard, all stories are NOT true.