Sean's Wold Newton

By | Tuesday, October 24, 2006 Leave a Comment
I've seen a number of works lately that try to bring together several children's stories under one umbrella. Often Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, but sometimes Peter Pan and The Chronicles of Narnia as well. I certainly enjoy the stories, but they have to start with a conceit that the characters lived as children at the same time. Alice was nearly 100 years before the Narnia children and 40-50 years before Dorothy and Peter Pan. So I thought, "Why don't I actually look up what was going on in literature and history around that time to see if I might create my own ersatz Leagure of Extraordinary Gentlemen?"

So I started a spreadsheet of dates looking at famous works of fiction and when they supposedly took place. I started with the above and soon started pulling in the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rudyard Kipling, A.A. Milne, Richard Outcault and just about everyone else I could think of in a hundred-or-so year timeframe. Then I added some real people (William Bonney, Harry Blackstone, the Wright brothers, Abraham Lincoln...) and events (the American Civil War, World War I, the Great Chicago Fire, the Model T...), until I've got this huge timeline of real and fictional events.

(In the process, I learned that Philip Jose Farmer essentially already did this with his Wold Newton family premise, hence the title of this post.)

Anyway, I saw some interesting connections. Alice Liddell, the real life girl that partially inspired Alice in Wonderland, was born in 1852. Supposedly, Dr. John Watson (from the "Sherlock Holmes" stories) was also born then. Real-life gunslingers Pat Garrett and Doc Holliday were born in the preceeding two years.

Now, any story I might write about Alice would have to have her as something of an adult, so I would need to jump to around 1870 at least to start looking for historical references of things to use as springboard. Hmmm... what have we here?

The 19th Phantom became active in the 1870s. John Reid, who would later become the Lone Ranger, finished law school around 1872. The Great Chicago Fire: 1871. Tonto's family is killed: 1873. Around the World in 80 Days published: 1872. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: 1876. The Battle of Little Big Horn: 1876.

So my first thoughts are something like...

Come to think of it, maybe that's where Reid got the idea for a mask!

Any artists out there who'd like to take a crack at a new comic book?
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