Posted by Don MacPherson on August 6th, 2011
A word to the wise: in the eventuality that you invent a time machine, you ought to really make sure it’s a functioning time machine and not just a way for your friends to pull a fast one on you. Should you ever be lucky enough to travel back in time, keep a sharp eye out for details that might seem out of place in the chosen period. If need be, make a game out of it, like how people take a drink every time when watching an old, cheesy gladiator movie and they spot someone wearing high tops or a Timex. If you happen to spy such an anomaly, rest assured you haven’t actually pierced the space-time continuum. You probably just passed out on the couch and your friends dropped you in the middle of a Renaissance fair or a Civil War re-enactment weekend.
Case in point: DC’s line of Retroactive one-shots in August. And more specifically, DC Retroactive: JLA – The 70s #1.
When DC announced these one-shots a few months ago, I figured we’d see stories written and rendered in styles reflecting the title properties as they were in the periods in question, but as I read the new story in this issue — “Enter Justice League Prime” — writer Cary Bates quickly established that the story itself is set in the 1970s, doing so with what’s probably the most referred to and overused pop-culture reference of the decade…
Sure, there are other ways to establish things are unfolding in the ’70s — a newspaper headline, a reference to a presiding politician of the time, someone mentioning the damn date — but hey, a reminder of the squeaky, kitschy of the Bee Gees will do in a pinch. (To be fair, a real-world figure who’s no longer with us does play a key role in the story, but he doesn’t turn up until the latter part of the tale.)
So, it seems we’ve been transported back in time by Mr. Bates. It stands to reason; as the 1970s reprint story from Justice League of America #123 in the back of this one-shot attests, Bates has (or had) reality-altering powers for a short time, so maybe he’s managed to take his readers back in time.
It’s a shame he didn’t do the same for his own dialogue.
“Instant messaging”? “Hack”? Sure, a web search indicates the latter term was in use in limited circles in the 1970s, but it certainly wasn’t a common term or in use in everyday vernacular.
Time travel fail.
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