Still from Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017) © DC/Warner. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Image Source: The Good Men Project.
Some of the most popular posts I ever wrote on this blog took me back to the summer before I left home for the first time to go away to school. I was 14. In that period before first independence, I read DC Comics' The Judas Contract. This is a story about a 16-year-old girl, Tara Markov, who tries to kill her boyfriend and friends to please a much older man with whom she is having sex. When she fails, she kills herself.
In those weeks before I moved into the unknown, this story taught an awful lesson about how horrible the world can be.
The writer, Brad Meltzer, also described how this story affected him that summer; he wrote a Judas Contract epilogue in 2008. Around that time, I wrote to him about problems in this story. IIRC he said to me, coincidentally: "You can't go home again." You can't go back to that summer. You can't make your peace with that story, because there is no peace in that story.
But I went back to that story and that summer to make peace with both. To understand it, I reviewed Tara Markov's continuity. In the old days of television and pulp fiction serials, writers kept what were known as continuity books. These were histories of specific characters and narratives, so that incoming writers could produce consistent new storylines.
In the 2000s and 2010s, DC threw continuity out the window. It was too much work to learn historical depth of fictional narratives. The results were chaotic. One fan wrote:
"I’m starting to think DC editorial is a lot like my coke head cousin. You know they want to get straight, but they just keep letting me down and taking my money."I revisited this story to show why a narrative history of one character matters. A lot of people agreed with me. My continuity series on Tara Markov has a hit count of 160,161. This month, DC released an animated version of the Judas Contract. My review of the film is here.
You can't go home again, but someone else can take the story forward. Today, I had a comment on my blog from Alexander Shenjobi, who is a teenager from Lagos, Nigeria. He loves these characters and he wants to play Tara Markov's boyfriend, Beast Boy, in a live action movie:
Hi Alexander, yes, people look at blogs; and sometimes my Titans posts get hits from Hollywood, California."my name name is alexander shenjobi i am an african and i have been times without number that i fit the beast boy role i always loved the character and it would be my dream to act as the character i know this is just a blog but blogs really catch peopls attention these days check my instagram page @alexandershenjobi to know me more i also play football "