So, last night (well, night for me) Greg revealed a chuck of info about the Harper Family on Earth-16: Jim Harper, Guardian I, is Roy Harper's great-grandfather. This is a new take on the family, which is, quite frankly, a mess. Just to give you something to read (and show off, of course), here is a little roundup of the Harper Family in the DC Universe.
Jim and Clone Jim
Jim was first cloned in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #135. The nature of the cloning was retconned twice, first in Superman Annual #2 (1988) and later in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen Volume 2 #2.
Roy and Jim
Two characters having the same name in comics must mean they are related. Roy and Jim weren't the first.
- Chuck Grayson, Golden Age Robotman (not the one from the Doom Patrol, but the one from the All-Star Squadron), was related to the Dick Grayson of Earth-Two.
- Speed Saunders, non-costume ace reporter, was a cousin of Sheila Saunders, Golden Age Hawkgirl. I haven't found any relation with Greg Saunders, the Vigilante, but his name is spelled Sanders half the time.
- Phantom Lady (Sandra Knight) was a cousin of Starman (Ted Knight). Seeing as they've both led to entire legacies of children, it's one of the biggest and longest running superhero families of the DC Universe.
- The Golden Age Air Wave Larry Jordan was a brother of Green Lantern Hal Jordan's father, Martin. Larry even had a son, named after his cousin. He was the third Air Wave (his mom was the second, briefly). The Jordan family is another great snafu, with people changing names and cousins being ascribed to other parents (Hal had two brothers, who both had two kids).
- And then there's the Harpers. The relationship was first established in Teen Titans #44, when Mal Duncan took a Guardian costume out of Speedy's locker. This was further elaborated upon in Superman Family #192-194, where Speedy and the clone of Jim Harper, the Golden Guardian, first met. Speedy's father (who also changed names a couple of times) was a brother of the original Jim. Later, as the years passed, a generation was added (for the first time in the 1990 volume of Who's Who) making Roy William Harper, Sr.'s father a brother of Jim.
And then... writers ignored each other
In the Golden Age, Jim Harper was a poor city kid, orphaned at an early age. This origin has been virtually unchanged since the Golden Age, but received its last update in the 1980s, in Secret Origins #19. Jim was still an orphan. Sidenote: some guy was the asisstant editor on that issue.
So, orphaned at an early age, yet he has family? In the aforementioned Superman Family story, he says he remembers his brother, who was a ranger, who died in a forest fire. Street kid, has a brother who's a forest ranger on the other side of the country?
Next up, he's got more family. The 1994 series Guardians of Metropolis introduces Jim's sister, Mary Harper, and her granddaughter, Roberta or "Famous Bobby".
And the first meeting of Roy and (clone) Jim after Crisis on Infinite Earths was shown in Superboy #82 (2001). Here, Jim explains Roy (and Lian) are his only living relatives. So they kinda forgot not-quite-so-Famous-that-anyone-remembers-her Bobby. He also explains that his younger brother, Roy's grandfather, was born after the original Jim Harper died... Jim Harper supposedly died in the line of duty (Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #135) well into his career. And he was orphaned at an early age. How, exactly, was this brother born?
Another addition to the Harper family was Jamie Harper. She was the daughter of the son of the brother of Jim, and all of those were cops. She started out at the GCPD, as a sort of Commissioner Gordon to Robin, and later moved to Metropolis and joined the Science Police. She started to use her second name, Billi, so as not to estrange her boss (the Jim Clone). He figured it out anyway.
So that means street city orphan kid Jim Harper had two brothers and one sister.Really, writers of DC Comics, building a superhero legacy is beuatiful. But at least make it fit. You should have Who's Who and Secret Origins just to check things...