8 Biggest WTF Comic Book Moments Of 2020

DC introducing a new sidekick for Joker only scratches the surface of their wild and weird 2020.

Punchline Joker
DC Comics

At this point, it's safe to say that no one needs reminding just how wild - and cursed - 2020 was. Yeah yeah years are just arbitrary periods of time, and the reasons behind 2020 being so ridiculous largely stem from long-term trends, but let's all agree it was rough, alright?

Across the world, industries had to adapt to an unprecedented pandemic and to say the process has been difficult would be putting things lightly. The comics industry itself has had its wobbly moments in recent times, and 2020 exacerbated them in a great many ways.

So yeah, comics were bonkers last year. While there wasn't a shortage of truly brilliant series that exemplify what makes the medium so special, there were some decisions taken both on and off the page that raised more than a few eyebrows.

Whether it was another entry in the "Why On Earth Did They Retcon That?!" series or a classic case of parent companies carelessly restructuring the medium's biggest publishers, 2020 gave readers a lot to chew on when it comes to the industry - and needless to say, not always for the better.

8. Marvel Retcons... The Vietnam War - History Of The Marvel Universe

Punchline Joker
Marvel Comics

This is a bit of (okay... MASSIVE) cheat in this list, but it somehow eluded the 2019 WTF Moments list and well, the History of the Marvel Universe collection did technically drop in 2020, so it warrants a mention this time around.

Anyone who's familiar with either the Marvel or DC universes will know that each one's sliding timeline has caused more than a few headaches over the years. DC has largely addressed this with frequent retcons - some hit, others miss - whereas Marvel has just largely acknowledged it all and sort of thrown their hands up and gone "eh - what can ya do?"

Or at least that was the case until the other year. Beginning in 2019, Marvel released a new ongoing called History of the Marvel Universe, written by Mark Waid with art from Javier Rodriguez. The end goal with the series was to provide a definitive in-world history that could adapt to the requirements of a sliding timeline, and it led to some... weird results.

The Marvel Universe kicked off proper in real life during the 1960s and many of the characters were rooted in the socio-political context of the time. Tony Stark was a weapons manufacturer during the Cold War, while Frank Castle - The Punisher - was introduced as a Vietnam vet in the early 1970s.

But rather than retconning the characters every couple decades to have them be involved in a new conflict (Marvel aren't exactly starved for choices there), they decided to create a new war of their own - the Siancong War - which whitewashes the histories of both characters in favour of a racist depiction that portrays Fu Manchu-esque caricatiures battling it out in a fake Asian country.

Yikes. Yikes all around.

Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Talks about stuff @EwanRuinsThings