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Comic Dictionary – Paternalistic Continuity

Paternalistic continuity is what you call it when a writer/editor gets protective (or paternalistic) of the continuity of a particular character, and goes out of his/her way to control the history of said character.

The first notable example of this that I can think of is when John Byrne decided that Dr. Doom (“his” character, as Byrne was writing Fantastic Four at the time) was written poorly by Chris Claremont during an Uncanny X-Men appearance. So Byrne decided to show us all that that appearance was NOT “in continuity” by having the Doom from that X-Men story revealed to be a Doom-bot.

Another recent example was Jim Starlin in his Infinity Abyss mini-series, where he used an almost exact idea (instead of Doom-Bots, he used clones of Thanos) to explain away recent appearances of Thanos that he, Starlin, felt were out of character for Thanos (including the infamous Thanos/Ka-Zar fight). At least Starlin CREATED Thanos, so I guess paternalism is not that weird for him.

A final recent example is the X-Editors/Chris Claremont (one or the other) deciding that the Magneto in Grant Morrison’s run was NOT the actual Magneto driven mad by Sublime, but a changeling.

Can anyone think of any other examples of paternalistic continuity?


Peter David seemed to be very protective of his merged Hulk. When Erik Larsen had Doc Ock beat the crap out of Hulk in his SPIDER-MAN storyline, David rectified the situation by having Hulk beat Ock in his comic, also managing a few jabs at Larsen in the script.

About Starlin’s use of Thanos clones to retroactively invalidate Thanos’ less inspired appearances, I loved the recent scene (written by Dan Slott, if memory serves) when Squirrel Girl defeated Thanos and the Watcher made sure to clarify that this was the REAL Mad Titan, not a clone or android.

But then, Starlin can always beat that by explaining that in that scene, BOTH the Watcher and Thanos were LMDs, all part of a later-to-be-explained clever ruse devised by that wacky Thanos. Excelsior!

1.The ‘Dark’ Beast. Any time you don’t like waht the Beast did..it could have been the dark one.

2.The whole Spider-Man clone. Ugh…who was the real one again.

3.The Kang time doubles.


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