How Often Should You Count Supplementary Material In Animation?

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SweetShop209

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Jan 5, 2014
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#1
When a show is successful enough, there will often be supplementary material to compliment the success, whether it's comic books, graphic novels, "art of (insert show)" books, video games, and all that stuff. However, how often should count supplementary material in regards to canonicity to the material it's based on?

To give a few examples, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has many comic book issues that showcase more of the cast and world, and even comics that have expanded backstories for its villains like Sombra and Chrysallis. The DC Superhero Girls graphic novels, much like the movies, showcase stronger instances of character development in contrast to the more humor oriented webisodes (there is still good character development, but not as much as the novels). There's also the matter of things introduced in the supplementary material that got contradicted by the main series. For example, tv tropes mentions under "Retcon" for part 1 of "Shadow Play" that Starswirl banished before Luna, and not after like the "Reflections" arc in the comics claim. Or how about the statements involving Applejack's mom saying that she died, but "The Perfect Pear" only heavily implies it, not outright stating it.

So with this in mind, how seriously and how often should you take supplementary material for the cartoons they complement? Share your thoughts below.
 

Fone Bone

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Jan 19, 2004
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#2
Speaking for me, I don't consider supplementary material canon at all. The only thing in a project that is canon to me is the main continuity. And that includes projects that creators claim the supplementary material is canon.

For instance, I don't consider Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles canon to the first two seasons. But I think it is MORE canon than the follow-up comic book by Greg Weisman. Because it actually aired.
 

SweetShop209

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#3
Speaking for me, I don't consider supplementary material canon at all. The only thing in a project that is canon to me is the main continuity. And that includes projects that creators claim the supplementary material is canon.

For instance, I don't consider Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles canon to the first two seasons. But I think it is MORE canon than the follow-up comic book by Greg Weisman. Because it actually aired.
So, even if the creator/showrunner wrote the supplementary material, you wouldn't consider it canon unless it actually happened in the show?
 

Gatordragon

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#4
If the supplementary material doesn't contradict the main canon, then I'd consider it to be part of the canon unless stated otherwise. Like if a side comic gives a character an ability or item that the main canon character explicitly does not have, then the side comic isn't canon because of the contradiction.

If the main canon references the supplementary material, then that's a big sign that it is part of the canon. Following my previous example, if a character uses an ability or item in the main canon that they acquired from the supplementary material, then that material is most likely part of the canon.
 
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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#5
So, even if the creator/showrunner wrote the supplementary material, you wouldn't consider it canon unless it actually happened in the show?
Pretty much. Although I'm aware my position is unusual. But I have it because shows have been known to deliver supplementary stuff that is supposedly "canon", and then completely ignore it once the project itself relaunches. The Buffy comics are supposedly canon, but Joss once stated that if the show ever came back, they'd be ignored. So as far as I'm concerned there's no point to them, even if Joss himself wrote some of the first issues.
 

JoeMabbon

Hack Fraud
Aug 8, 2014
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#6
Believe whatever you want. But at the end of the day remember that supplemental material, particularly supplemental material written by someone else, can always be discarded at a moment's notice. Star Wars built up a massive expanded universe and then it was wiped in an instant and restarted. Growing too attached to tie-ins is always a gamble.

KOTOR 3 lives.
 

Frontier

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#7
I think it really just depends on the supplemental material.

Like, if someone involved with the source approves of or is involved in the writing of the supplementary material, whether it be a guidebook, tie-in comic, etc., then I would usually treat it as canon.

But if it's a comic tie-in to a cartoon with original writers, then it's probably just it's own thing and shouldn't be viewed as absolute canon with the main source.
 

Neo Yi

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#9
Generally, if the creators state "this is canonical to the original source", that's good enough for me. Especially if a supplementary material was purposely meant to be a canonical companion to the original piece to begin with.
 

SourSweetGone

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#10
Everything is canon until retconned or proven otherwise. Fiction is just funny like that. I take the meta approach of everything is canon just everything is not always relevant to every story. Canon in fiction is a fluid and ever changing beast.
 

jaylop97

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#11
Depending on the direction of the product I can understand if something can be non canon or canon, in some cases depending if the material happens after the show has finished I'm willing to believe it being canon to non canon since it's likely a show could be done and this material could be there simply for storytelling.