As you'd expected, this kind of taxonomy is right up my alley, particularly when applied to comic books. So, occasionally I'd like us to take one of these tropes and discuss its occurrence in comics we know and love (oh, and in Marvel comics, too).
The first one is The Artifact, which TVTropes defines thus:
Describes an unfortunate situation where a character or gimmick seems to no longer fit with the mood or design of a story according to a writer, but is kept because there seems to be no way for the writer to get rid of them without causing some serious disruption . Sometimes it's due to being tied in closely to the mythos or that The Artifact has just been around so long that removing it seems like overstepping bounds. And if it's due to pure fan popularity, the producers probably aren't going to push it out in any case for no reason.
The longer running a continuity is, it seems to me, the more likely it is to have one or more Artifacts. So, superhero myths -- which in some cases go back 70 years -- should be full of them.
But are they?
Batman & Robin
Alfred the butler; butler? Well, the wealthy do still have servants, although they are less likely to have the whole 'live-in' staff. Is Alfred an Artifact?
The Haley Circus. I think traveling circuses (except for les de Soleille) are not quite the phenomenon they once were. And the idea that racketeers would be willing to kill to get a piece of the profit from a traveling circus? Yipes. For that matter... do people really have wards any more? Is Robin's entire origin an Artifact?
Small farm? Great metropolitan newspaper? A circus strong man costume? Again, is the entire origin an Artifact? Oddly, some of the elements of the origin seem less Artifactual to me than they did in the 1970s. Why is that?
Ugh. The military boyfriend. The girl's college. The marching band uniform. My god... Wonder Woman herself is an Artifact of the DCU. No wonder writers have so much trouble with her!
Flash & Aquaman
Oddly, their Silver Age origins seem pretty Artifact-free. Even Green Lantern's does, although "test pilot" isn't quite the high profile profession it once was.
What do you think of these possible Artifacts, or others you've spot in the DCU?