Today's blog post concludes the history I'm writing for DC's character Terra, which covers her entire continuity from 1982 to 2010. I've backdated it so that all the pieces on that topic are together. The link to the final entry, which covers the character's third incarnation (Atlee), her appearance in Blackest Night, and Elseworld versions of Terra, is here. The entire continuity is here.
Judging from the current level of editorial attention in comics, continuity bibles - individual histories of fictional characters - seem to be a thing of the past for maintaining narrative consistency in the industry. Terra has long been overshadowed by the 1984 four-issue arc, The Judas Contract, leading to simplistic negative interpretations of the character. Yet Terra is also a metaphor for the Earth itself; she is a pulp fiction reincarnation of ancient earth goddesses. Gaia is still alive (or half-dead) in American pulp fiction, but the girl's getting a rough deal.
The ambiguities around Terra, as she is cast and recast as heroine and villainess, tell us a lot about how we see our planet - and how hard our world is. The song, The World is Stone (in its original French version and the English redux) captures the mood of the period when the character was created, reflecting the tough materialism of the late 1970s and 1980s.
The World is Stone Lyrics
Stone, the world is stone
It's no trick of the light, it's hard on the soul
Stone, the world is stone, cold to the touch
And hard on the soul in the gray of the streets
In the neon unknown, I look for a sign
That I'm not on my own, that I'm not here alone
As the still of the night and the choke of the air
And the winners' delight and the losers' despair
Closes in left and right, I would love not to care
Stone, the world is stone from a faraway look
Without stars in my eyes through the halls of the rich
And the flats of the poor wherever I go
There's no warmth anymore
There's no love anymore
So I turn on my heels, I'm declining the fall
I've had all I can take with my back to the wall
Tell the world I'm not in, I'm not taking the call
Stone, the world is stone but I saw it once
With the stars in my eyes when each color rang out
In a thunderous chrome, it's no trick of the light
I can't find my way home in a world of stone
The World is Stone. Sung by Cyndi Lauper CD: Tycoon (1992). Adapted from the French original by Tim Rice.
Le Monde est Stone. From Starmania (1978), originally sung by Fabienne Thibeault (listen here). This version covered on X-Factor France (2009) by Marie Luy. By: Michel Berger, Luc Plamondon.
Le Monde est Stone. (2002) Cover by Garou.
From hard-hearted 80s' Material Girl princess, to 90s' time-travelling-yet-down-to-earth grunge girl, to 2000s' naive environmental elemental and Black-Lantern-sucking zombie queen, here's to you Terra! This continuity bible was a tribute from me to a character I've long found fascinating and compelling, despite the fact that she is so maligned. In 2012, she'll turn 30.