In honour of its 75th anniversary this year, DC Comics is doing a series called DC Universe Legacies, which retells the history of the DC Universe ; it's drawn by a host of famous artists and penned by the great Len Wein (preview of #2 here; reviews here and here). Of course, like any history there is an opportunity to throw in a few retcons. While reading DC Universe Legacies #2 (August 2010), what did my eagle eyes spy but a plot to steal the Markovian Crown Jewels.
I'm presently writing a history of the infamous character Tara Markov here. The Markovs were only invented in the 1980s, but with this issue, their family is being inserted into Golden Age DC arcs. Golden Age stories were originally published by DC in the 1940s; the stories summarized by Wein's DC Universe Legacies have so far covered events inside the DC Universe of the 1920s and 1930s. And in this issue, a gang of 1930s thieves break into a museum (in Gotham?) to steal the Crown Jewels and a portrait of an eighteenth or nineteenth century Markovian royal - who looks suspiciously like Tara Markov, the Titan who died in a DCU story set in the 1980s. Many will say this is just a family resemblance to an ancestor. But these are comic books, where such obvious explanations will never do. Seeing that portrait, I immediately thought of the old Hammer horror film, Countess Dracula. That movie picked up on an idea in other Hammer films and in other contemporary horror films, like The Haunted Palace, starring Vincent Price and based on the story by H. P. Lovecraft. A noble family has a female member of dubious parentage who is introduced as a daughter, niece or cousin. Yet curious visitors are puzzled to see her exact likeness reappearing in a much older portrait or a statue at a gravesite. It turns out that the obscure, eternally young girl is the immortal founder of the whole family legacy. This is the kind of mystery that might suit Tara Markov, if her immortality depended on her status as an earth elemental, rather than as a vampire. There are now three Blood Countess movies out or coming out, all about a terrifying powerful woman from a noble Central East European family. The history behind the story: the Hungarian Blood Countess. For the rest of this post, see my main blog here.