Continuity Cognitive Dissonance (CCD) is a psychological affliction which has swept through the comic reading community like a firestorm.
While it has always existed in one form or another since the comic industry began, the Internet is responsible for the increased spread of this contagion, now even being propagated by the creators of the largest groups of characters, DC and Marvel Comics who are beginning to see and understand the benefits to their bottom line this psychoses affords them.
Some comic fans may have some trace aspects of CCD including putting comics into plastic bags with cardboard backs, putting comics in long boxes with month separating tags and index cards on top to reduce the actual touching of the comics.
They may spend an inordinate amount of time (any time, in fact, may be too much) on comic forums discussing the merits and differences between the 127 different comic analogues of Superman through the mainstream comics industry over thirty years.
When a comic reader is in the full throes of CCD, they are able to think about characters in multiple realities, sorting their likes and differences, overlapping story themes, meta-concepts and mutual appearances in a single comic without any apparent effort.
These highly afflicted otaku usually keep an image archive with over 30,000 images which they reference from their highly developed memory palace created specifically for comic lore and sorted on their drive in a way only another comic-obsessed individual could possibly understand (and disagree with).
The primary sign of CCD is when you know enough about a character to know there have been multiple reboots of said character, both favorable and not so well-considered.
You also know which parts of the character were the most interesting, which parts should never be spoken of, and which parts should have landed someone in a a hospital or morgue.
The dissonance comes when you try to explain it to someone in a historical context but they weren’t there so they can never understand it, no matter how passionately you wax on about that amazing point in comic history.
Night Thrasher is alive, again.
Here is a perfect example of a continuity-altering retcon which now replaces a previous story event which must be incorporated into a memory palace complete with an image element for storage. You’re welcome.
Continuity Cognitive Dissonance activated: Parallel timeline alternate established. Night Thrasher returned to mainstream Marvel Earth Prime-variant 616, post Secret Wars 2015 event timeline.
Initiator: The Collector, revised version since introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, white hair variant. Supporting graphic to follow:
But every so often one something happens to all of these multiversal moments frozen in space and time and some creative mind explodes into a fully-fledged space-time inversion, helping universes collide. This is when continuity cognitive dissonance goes from just being a different kind of crazy to producing something truly amazing…
The World According to Superheroes — a collection of essays waxing on about the modern mythology of superheroes, their affects on our culture and the unspoken biases which comprise this most contradictory cultural phenomenon.
Thaddeus Howze is a popular and recently awarded Top Writer, 2016 recipient on the Q&A site Quora.com. He is also a moderator and contributor to theScience Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange with over fourteen hundred articles in a four year period.
His speculative fiction has appeared online at Medium, Scifiideas.com, and theAu Courant Press Journal. He has appeared in twelve different anthologies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. A list of his published work appears on his website, Hub City Blues.