Monday, February 13, 2012

The Importance of Continuity

When my brother or I got sick when we were kids, we'd bring pillows and blankets to the couches and (mostly) sleep in front of the TV all day. We'd usually put Disney cartoons and such in the VCR. I think one time I was so sick and slept so much that Fantasia played to the very end of the tape and restarted itself - maybe more than once.

I was dreadfully sick last week. When I wasn't sleeping soundly in my bed, I moved to the couch for the endless loop of old cartoons to help me feel better. The 'toon of choice this time around was Defenders of the Earth from 1986. It was released on DVD a few years ago so I have the whole set. I remember watching the series- it was probably my first exposure to my favorite superhero, the Phantom.

The series itself doesn't really say what year it is supposed to be (or, if it does, I've never paid that much attention to it). But there is a note in the credits that states, "This is the 27th Phantom." There's a problem with this! In an episode, Return of the Sky Band, the '27th' Phantom refers to an incident with his grandfather "80 years ago, before World War 2." That, my friends, is the Kit Walker we all know and love, the 21st Phantom. That would make the DOE guy the 23rd Phantom. And if we're looking at the years, that puts the DOE series at around 2015, give or take.

But wait, there's more! The mini series Phantom 2040 is about the 24th Phantom. That takes place in, you guessed it, 2040. How can the 27th Phantom be in 2015, just 80 years after the 21st Phantom, but the 24th Phantom is in 2040, 25 years later? AH! Continuity FAIL!

Now, we could say that the DOE Phantom remarries and has a son in 2022 and completely forget about his daughter Jedda (who briefly became the 28th Phantom when she thought her father had died). Maybe she marries Rick Gordon and chooses to give up her right to the Phantom legacy when her little brother is born. We can just ignore that little "27" note in the credits and it can still work, right? RIGHT??

Really, DOE is considered crap by most fans of any of those King Features heroes, so it doesn't really have to be considered canon. I enjoyed it enough when I was seven. But however you look at it, just ignore that little note about 27 in the credits. Whoever thought that up was way off.

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