My friend Don C. recently posted this, and I thought I’d share it for consideration:
Given how often I’ve seen debate and discussion of redos in established comics and how little cohesion said debates often have, I think it’s time for some sort of standardized scale. This one refers SPECIFICALLY to the indignation that arises from changes to a book and seeks to rate them in terms of overall impact.
To that end, there’s gonna be some debate as to where a specific event registers on the scale. That’s fine and normal; the classifications are meant to facilitate exchange by providing a common measurement and language for the debate.
With that in mind, here we go:
1: Meh.: Any small change that doesn’t affect the character or story in any real way. Hardly noticeable unless pointed out. Only bothers the most stalwart purists.
EX: Spidey with gold eyes. Most characters after an artist change.
2: Why?!?: Noticeable change that doesn’t affect the character, story or themes in any real way. Will probably irk long term fans.
EX: Superman with no red panties. SpiderMan is a black dude.
3: Oh, Please No….!: Noticeable changes that affect the character and/or story, but not necessarily the underlying themes of the comic. Will bother long term fans, but will likely be accepted by newer ones.
EX: The Vision is really the original Human Torch. Wolverine is a ninja. Green Arrow is a ninja.
4: What Are They Thinking?!?!?: A severe retcon of a character that changes the character, story and/or underlying themes of the book in a way that’s almost irreconcilable to the older story. Will likely offend long term fans, and may also confuse new ones: especially those with a passing knowledge of the character.
EX: Identity Crisis. One More Day. Supergirl isn’t Superman’s cousin/isn’t Kryptonian/is a clone. Son of Satan isn’t. Patsy Walker is a spy. Patsy Walker is a superhero. Was Patsy Walker ever a ninja….?
5: YOU’RE RAPING MY CHILDHOOD!!!: Major change that directly contradicts the established underlying themes and ideas of a character, story or book. Offends most fans, confuses or puts off casual fans, makes haters giggle.
EX: Batman wets himself. Superman: porn star. The Watchmen, if Moore had been allowed to use the Charlton characters.
Please note: It’s tempting for a lot of folks to make EVERY change a #5, but I’d say despite the indignation fans might feel a lot of the most egregious events are still a #4.