There are a lot of reasons why a character would have a mysterious background: Wolverine’s was due to agglomeration of stories; Wonder Girl’s was a misunderstanding that spiralled out of control; in Cable’s case, they just didn’t care.  Sometimes, as with Golgo 13, a multiple-choice history works, other times you get the infuriating Joker technique, which assumes readers are idiots by undermining its own narrative, leading to today’s amnesiac query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) will lean towards Patrick Verona, Padua High School’s most eligible and talked-about senior, asking: In your opinion, what example of the “mysterious stranger” multiple-choice background story trope works the best?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I really don’t remember any that worked for me. I just stick with the one I see first because retcons are almost every time too try hard shocking just because.

  2. King Mob from “The Invisibles” who has the whole multiple pasts built up in-universe on purpose to confuse others, so if someone thinks they know his past or reads his mind, they won’t know which pasts are real and which are fake.

  3. I really dislike the concept of having multiple Jokers over the years. I do like the idea of the Joker not remembering his own origin.

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