Recently, I said that continuity has often been misused by the fans of various “geek” genres as a means of trying to control what happen within that community. You can’t change characters’ lives because continuity won’t allow it. You can’t introduce new characters who don’t specifically jive with the continuity. You can’t be a real fan unless you know all of the continuity.
It’s easy to see why our somewhat open community is so easily stigmatized as being this place full of bigots and close minded jerks. There’s controversies left and right over things that shouldn’t be very controversial. So Ultimate Comics Spider-man is a black latino kid… and…? It’s not like this fundamentally ruins the idea of a guy who crawls on walls and swings on webs. In fact, if anything, the biggest problem with Miles Morales isn’t the color of his skin but the fact he has a super power that makes him too strong.
And making Catwoman bisexual? How exactly does that ruin anything about Catwoman? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but her underlying character trait was she doesn’t care about the societal norms around her to the point she dresses up like a cat so she can steal other people’s shit. Looking at that, being a bisexual is actually one of the most normal things she’s ever done since the character was created.
But here’s the thing… most of the angry fans know that. Most of them aren’t even that concerned with identity politics. Sure, there are very vocal outliers who are there simply to spew hate. But you know what really gets under the skin of the average comic book, scifi, or fantasy fan?
There’s one detail about Elves and Dwarves throughout many representations that is almost always universal: they have a friendly rivalry with each other. It doesn’t have to be openly hostile, they just seem to look at each other with a little bit of disdain that makes them (at least, within the fantasy genre) the greatest example of frenemies the world has ever seen.
But have you ever considered why?
There’s been multiple versions of the story, generally related to some sort of old mishap between them or the fact they both have skills in certain fields, but the real world reasons for it are rarely questioned. In fact, for the most part, people who create fantasy stories today keep the two as rivals because that’s what Tolkien did. And for many people, that’s a good enough explanation as any. Tolkien has been cited by some fans to have created the fantasy genre (which is completely ridiculous to claim, but fanboys be fanboying), so it would make sense that he originated tropes and that’s good enough.
(I hate that I have to say this, but this is a fictional account of the history of a fictional world. I do not believe these things, nor should you, as I am making them up. If I receive any comments that I did not do my research into these events, you will be mocked.)
In the Agent of Argyre series of books, there is an organization called the Alter Control Task Force. Though ostensibly an organization for policing activities of the Alter race, an attempt to prevent an eventual race war, they are actually representatives of a city-state on the ocean: The Republic of Argyre.
The Republic of Argyre, an artificial island anchored to an oceanic ridge in the pacific, is a city-state established by Alters for the sake of harboring their kind and establishing a relationship with the mainstream human population. Despite being an artificial island and attached to no primary landmass, the city’s structure is capable of potentially supporting all 12 to 15 million active Alters on the planet.
How did a race of people who’ve lived in hiding for centuries manage to construct such a city? Why would they build their city in the middle of the ocean? Where did they get the resources for such a task? In the Alterpedia Historia, we will answer these questions and discover the history of the Alters. Today we address…