JLA/Avengers is Canon

The Epic Crossover Event

JLA/Avengers, written by Kurt Busiek, is described on its Amazon page as “perhaps the most eagerly anticipated and memorable crossover of all time, as the Justice League of America unites with The Avengers. Superman, Batman, and the other members of the JLA join forces with Captain America, Iron Man, and the many other Avengers to fight a threat so immense it threatens two entire dimensions.” This was the ultimate Marvel/DC event, featuring hundreds of character cameos as well as headlining bouts like Superman vs Thor!

But are the events that played out in this adventure considered canon?

What is canon?

In regards to fictional universes, canon refers to everything that is judged to be included in the history, setting, circumstances, and overall makeup of the property. When the property is written by a single creator, then that person is responsible for acknowledging what is or is not canon. When it comes to much larger properties, the publisher sets the guideline that keeps contributing authors writing stories in the universe that “fit” in the continuity of what is expected for characters and events.

When ranking the validity of different types of evidence, I’d consider the following in order:

  1. Direct Comic Page Reference
  2. In-house Published Sourcebooks
  3. Off-hand Author/Publisher Comments
  4. All Third-Party Sources

Now, let’s get to the evidence…

The DC Evidence

This one is pretty easy since the author of JLA/Avengers also wrote a JLA arc that included overt references to the events of the crossover in its story. Kurt Busiek wrote it. DC published it on its comic pages. JLA/Avengers is clearly canon in DC.


The events of JLA/Avengers is referred to in JLA #107.

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In JLA #111, also written by Kur Busiek, Owlman explains that the Crime Syndicate reboot is a result of the events of the JLA/Avengers crossover.

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© DC Comics

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In addition to this, DC used the Cosmic Egg that appeared at the end of JLA/Avengers. In Trinity #7, John Stewart refers to the Avengers as “Others.”

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Marvel Evidence

Marvel repeatedly acknowledged the canonicity of the events that took place in JLA/Avengers in their 2008, 2011, and 2012 sourcebooks. These were all titled the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, published by Marvel themselves.


The Terminus entry states, “In a distant cosmos, he arrived on another Earth and began to rampage across its USA attracting and battling a league of justice-seeking superheroes. Though Terminus easily resisted even their mightiest warrior, their detective correctly deduced the importance of Terminus’ power lance. Combining their minds via their telepath, the heroes assaulted Terminus on several levels, then dumped him into thinking they were trying to steal his lance. As Terminus unleashed a potent blast of power through the lance, one of the heroes channeled the energy back at Terminus, blasting a hole in his helmet and incapacitating him. A being of high power from that universe then dispatched Terminus back to the Earth-616 reality.”

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© Marvel Comics

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In Monica’s entry, it mentions “the will-powered energies” of an “emerald gladiator.” That’s a reference to a GL (Kyle Raynor) who she fought in JLA/Avengers.

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© Marvel Comics

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The Galactus entry reads that he was “assaulted by yet another extra-dimensional powerhouse, who sought the origins of the universe, but he recovered via the actions of the Avengers and a league of heroes from another reality.”

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Avengers’ entry says that they “teamed with the league of heroes from a divergent cosmos to save both their universes from a cosmic scholar turned semi-omnipotent destroyer.”

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The Grandmaster’s entry recounts nearly the entire plot of JLA/Avengers.

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© Marvel Comics – © DC Comics

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The Verdict

The events in JLA/Avengers is canon because it is acknowledged in publications from both Marvel and DC since its release.

You read comics, right?

I still read them from time to time, which is why I’m thrilled to be a part of two New Jersey events this month.

One is on 3/12/17 at the Clifton Community Recreation Center, 1232 Main Ave, Clifton 07011 http://www.njcomicbookshows.com/clifton.htm

The other is on 3/19/17 at the Toms River Elks Lodge 600 Washington Street Toms River, N.J. 08753 http://www.jerseyshorecomicbookshow.com

As a way of revving myself up for these events, I wrote a superhero vs vampire story exclusively for Wattpad.  (Description Below)

Force – Jeff Beal is unique. Balancing high school and a broken home, Jeff blows off steam jumping rooftops and taking down bad guys under the name Shadow, protege to Macro City’s superhero, Force. And when a string of gruesome murders grip the city in mortal terror, Force and Shadow swear to put an end to the bloodshed. But the Vampire Lavinia is no ordinary killer. Now Jeff must use every resource at his disposal to hunt down the deadly vampire before the sun sets … because he won’t survive the night.

Read the first few chapters here.  I’ll add to it every Friday night at 8pm.  Shoot me an email, post a response, or tweet me @J_Kleckner to let me know what you think.

Thank you again for your support. Happy Reading.

The Author’s Shakabuku on Audience and Genre

For those of you who don’t know Shakabuku, it’s a “swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.”

It was introduced to me by Debi, Minnie Driver’s character in one of my favorite movies, Grosse Pointe Blank (IMDB).

I have been fortunate enough to have had two experiences with Shakabuku this year, only months apart.

The first one came in August, when my family and I binge-watched Stranger Things (IMDB) on Netflix.

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Stranger Things on Netflix – Photo Source

The second came just this past weekend while I was listening to the audiobook of Ready Player One, written by Ernest Cline and read by Wil Wheaton.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Photo Sources

During each of these experiences, I found myself saying, “At my best, I want to create work like this.”

It wasn’t hard to see the connection between the two.  They were both adventures with heavy pop culture references from the 1980s.  Even Grosse Pointe Blank fits neatly into the center of that Venn Diagram, just without the fantasy or science-fiction elements.

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Venn Diagram of Awesome – JeremiahKleckner.com

The weird part for me was that I never saw my nexus of interest so clearly before now.

Like many writers starting out, I dove into my writing.  I found an idea and attacked it without much consideration for my audience or what genre it would be until after it was done.

It’s worked out okay for me so far.  I have two series (soon to be three) for sale and a ton of ideas.  But I’ve struggled with identifying my audience and I’ve never had the same kind of thrill reading in my books’ supposed genres as I have during these past two months.

Am I nuts or have some of you had the same experience?  Comment below or come out and tell me about it.  I’ll be criss-crossing NJ these next two weeks for books signings and readings.

Here’s my itinerary.  Hope to see you there!

Building an Audience Means Taking the Next Step

People won’t just come to you.

Now that there are so many entertainment options choose from, people (rightfully) feel that they should to be courted by creators who want them to read/watch/hear their work.

In truth, it may have always been this way.

Selling the First Wheel

So, if these systems have been in place for millennia, then what can I do to compete?

Building An Audience

Step One:  Blog Regularly

The weekly blogging schedule I’ve taken up has helped keep me sharp and focused.  It doesn’t hurt that I changed my branding a little bit to better fit my personality and interests.  The Writing Teacher was fun and I liked the dual usage of the word “Writing” in the title as both an adjective and a verb, but it didn’t allow me to comment on the topics that most engaged me.

Cynical Sci-Fi gives me some range and helps me be truer to who I am, which is important.  This authenticity has contributed to an increased follower-ship on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Step Two:  Broaden My Market Base

It is hard to find new ways to promote old work.  Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan has had thousands of readers and I am very proud of how it has influenced the Peter Pan mythos, but it is a three-year-old book among many, many, many newer similar titles.

Therefore, I am working with the Audiobook Creation Exchange to make both Captain James Hook titles available on Audible and iTunes.  As of this post, I have one audition already submitted and I am using my audience base to promote this opportunity to others.  (Expect to get updates on this process as it unfolds.)

Step Three:  Collaborate With Others

Working with others in a creative field can be a real pain.  Many will actively try to cut you down so that you do not get a leg up on them or will try to rip off your ideas while discouraging you from pursuing them.

It is important to find a partner (or group) that will encourage you while being constructively critical.  I am fortunate that my writing partner is as talented as he is insightful.  Hundreds of thousands of words have passed between us:  read, commented, and revised.

This isn’t for work that we share credit for either.  These are solo titles, made better through joint effort.

The followup step is to get myself into book talks, social groups, and conferences.

Step Four:  Create New Work

This is often the hardest part.  You tweet.  You post.  Distractions pull you this way and that until hours have passed and you find that your daily word count is under 1000.  It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

  1. Develop new ideas
  2. Set a schedule
  3. Stick to it

This simple process has given me two new series of short fiction, the first titles of which are already done and ready to go.  More are on the way as July and August are typically big drafting months for me (teacher’s schedule).

Step Five:  Experiment

I’m taking a different route with the new titles.  Their lengths allow them to be submitted to genre magazines and I feel that they have a good shot, so I’m trying that first before diving into a self-publishing model.

As with the audiobook creation process, expect that future posts will include updates on which magazines each title will be submitted to and what the responses are.

New is only new for so long, then you have to learn what comes next.  These are both new journeys for me and I’m excited to take them on as a lifelong learner.

 

The Four Types of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Worlds in under 300 words

It all depends on how immersed your world is in the elements of that genre.  

Minimal Immersion

The world is just like the one we see, except the hero, the villain, and maybe some friends have a special power.  Perhaps they can see through walls or have an accelerated healing factor.  Other than this, the world that the story takes place in is no different than ours.   Some examples of this are “The Sixth Sense” or any Spider-man movie.

Total Immersion

The story world is identical to ours, except that there is a major change.  This is the basis for most alien invasion, vampire attack, or zombie films.  “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Walking Dead” are television shows that do this well.  Other examples are stories involving characters like Superman, the X-Men, Transformers, and Harry Potter.

The Secondary World

The story takes place on a completely different world.  The geography, climate, politics, economy, and species of life are specific to this setting.  This gives the author complete control, but carries the burden of making it seem real to the reader.  Obvious examples are “Star Wars” and The Lord of the Rings.

The Strange Visitor

The fourth type of fantasy or science fiction setting is when a person from our world visits another time/space or when someone from a different time/space visits our world.  Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, and “The Terminator” all fit this type perfectly.

With a better understanding of the different types of fantasy and science fiction settings, it will be easier to distinguish which best fits the story an author is trying to tell.

Immersing story in genre.

Stories should be shaped by the elements of the genre.  

 SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

When you tell a story in science fiction and fantasy, make sure you are using the genre to tell the story more effectively. Authors often use space ships, orcs, and aliens as window dressing for a story that could have just as easily been told on the streets of an American city. If the fantastic elements don’t enhance the story, then it doesn’t belong in the genre. The easiest way to tell if an author has done this is to try deleting the science fiction or fantasy elements in the story and see whether the message of the story is as effective.

 MYSTERY

Mystery writers know this rule and it is a lesson that all writers should follow. Don’t start writing until you have the ending in mind. The ending should be obvious from the beginning without giving away any surprises. This practice takes time and plenty of rewriting, but it is important.

FOR EXAMPLE

In Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan, thirteen-year-old James Hoodkins is torn from his home, nearly drowned, beaten, forced to kill, and made into a pirate all as a result of his chance encounters with Peter Pan. The fantasy elements of magic and a secondary world (Neverland) concentrate and enhance the story in a way that would be diminished if it were taken away. The ending, in which an adult Captain Hook confronts an eternally young Peter Pan, is obvious and anticipated.

Why Fantasy and Sci-Fi Writing is Important

The genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction are more than just about escape.  Artistic distance allows people who work in the fantastic to parody or critique the changes we see in our world. The idea is similar to why a comedian with a sock puppet can speak harsher truths than a politician or a pope. Sometimes we need to be shocked into seeing the bizarre nature of our world.

The view from the outside gives us a hard look at ourselves and our history.  For example, our access to technology has grown far faster than our maturity as a race, either emotionally or spiritually.

Looking ahead, countless Science Fiction and Fantasy books depict the plausible extremes of where our misuse will lead.  iRobot is a classic example of this.

Looking back, we’ve been able to process the damage we’ve already done.  The whole Godzilla franchise is rooted in the horrors committed during the atomic age.

Find the fantastic in the mundane.  We live in a world of extremes.  The problem for most authors is that the fantastic has become so commonplace that it may be difficult to recognize it when you see it, even if it is something that you are reading that first had to travel through space.