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Retconning-- Or, Repairing the Past

Although we didn't specifically study this in class, I think it is something worth discussing. Also, I was prompted to write this by a previous blog post about Spiderman revealing his secret identity in Civil War.

When Marvel decided to take such a big step by publishing this comic, they shocked readers and convinced them that Spiderman's world would never be the same. Then along came One More Day, a controversial story that erased this event completely and once again restored Parker's secret identity.
This is not the first time Marvel, or any comic book company, has done this. Consider how many characters have "died" at least three or four times. Sometimes even seeing the corpse is not enough to convince readers. Also consider the third X-Men film, in which (SPOILER) the writers make the strong decision to remove Magneto's powers, only to hint that they are being restored in the end of the film. While this may be typical of movies in general (always leave it open for a sequel), it looks especially bad for Marvel. The result is that regular readers no longer feel threatened or affected by characters undergoing life-changing experiences, like loss of a secret identity or unplanned death. If demand is high enough, they'll always come back. Ask Hawkeye.
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