A reinvention is a creative recasting of the canon Dariaverse, retaining the same characters (and possibly the same setting, Lawndale), but with pervasive changes in canon plots, events, and relationships between particular characters. Some changes in the personalities, goals, values, or habits of the characters might also be present, though not enough to make them unrecognizable.
The characters in reinventions might play out their lives in different time periods or genre settings: the modern world in foreign countries, the Old West, fantasy kingdoms, the far future, the Ice Ages, etc. The characters might be the ancestors or descendants of the canon ones, or they might be reincarnations, computerized entities, dream figures, or simply there with no explanation given. The characters in a reinvention never catch on that they are not in their original homeland, as they were born and raised in whatever new world they inhabit. Their world is natural to them. (If they state that they know they are not in the canon Dariaverse, the story is then probably of the characters as actors sort.)
A reinvention appears on the surface to be a type of alternate history, but there are no specific points of divergence in the canon timeline that would produce a reinvention. It is possible that a reinvention could be the result of numerous timeline changes, but it would require so many of them that trying to pinpoint them all is essentially meaningless. Notable differences from canon appear throughout the story set-up of a reinvention, as the author retells the saga of Daria's high-school years in a unique and personal way.
Napalm Kracken did much early on to popularize the notion of reinventions, though without calling it such, in his superb Daria Disenfranchised tales. Here, the main characters again play out their high-school lives but with all-new dialog and plot twists. The characters are still true to their canon selves, but as the world around them has subtly changed, their reactions also change, and the story heads off into lively new directions. An excellent recent example of a straightforward reinvention is NightGoblyn’s story on PPMB, “Exchange Students,” which reinvents Daria, Jane, and Quinn (and their families) in startling ways.
Some reinventions result from combining numerous Iron Chef-style fanfic-writing challenges in a single story. For example, a June 2007 Iron Chef was proposed by WacoKid that combined many separate Iron Chef challenges issued by another fanfic writer, Bliss Ticks, resulting in the so-called “Bliss Ticks Challenge.” A third writer, CAP, successfully answered the challenge with a remarkable tale in a divergent Dariaverse in which Daria is an alcoholic, Jane sells drugs, Tiffany goes to prison, and so forth. A similar collection of unrelated Iron Chefs produced “And When Your Heart Begins to Bleed,” by TAG, several years earlier.
Uberfics and Retrofics
In certain fandoms, a reinvention is called an uberfic or "uber." This term originated in fanfiction for the TV show, Xena: Warrior Princess, wherein certain episodes were shot depicting Xena and company in completely different settings. The characters wore clothing appropriate to those settings, but they still acted much as they normally did. In yet other fandoms a reinvention is usually called an alternate universe, but in Daria fanworks the latter term specifically refers to an alternation in Dariaverse history, to avoid confusion. The term “reinvention” has less ambiguity about it.
See also Counterclock.
A reinvention that involves placing Daria & company in an earlier historical period (e.g., the 1950s or the 1880s) is sometimes called a retrofic. Decelaraptor was a master of the form, producing numerous retrofics placing Daria and Jane in various settings with humorous effect. His relevant works include "Le Morte d'Angela," "Tales of the Missouri Cheyenne," and a host of short fics for an Iron Chef called "Retro Dariana" ("Daria: 1830," "Blimps Over Brittany!" and the bittersweet World War II tale, "Home Is the Sailor"). The Retro Dariana thread also includes Gregor Samsa's excellent story, "Ms. Morgendorffer's Profession," about a Daria born during Victorian times.
See also Western.
Reinventions and Crossovers
Not all reinventions are crossovers, and not all crossovers are reinventions. A reinvention's development can be influenced by an external source, paralleling and perhaps even completely crossing over into that specific other source. For example, if magic of the sort seen in the Harry Potter stories existed in a Dariaverse, but Hogwarts, Harry Potter, and so forth did not exist there, then the subsequent tale about Daria and company learning magic at Lawndale High would be considered a reinvention, since magic is pervasive in the setting, but not a crossover. If Hogwarts and Harry Potter were there, too, the story would be a crossover and a reinvention at the same time.
Roentgen’s Legion of Lawndale Heroes series, currently continued by Brother Grimace, has usually been called a crossover as it describes how things might have gone if the Daria characters had gained the powers of the DC Comics Legion of Superheroes (teenage heroes in the 31st century). However, the story could also be called a reinvention. (The Lawndale heroes have a "Legion Tower," like the Legion of Superheroes, but in the former case the setting is tailored specifically for Daria and company.) In the same vein, LSauchelli’s work-in-progress “Eldritch Evolution,” which recasts Daria in the style of the TV series Heroes, is also a reinvention, as the background for the Heroes affects every aspect of the story, essentially reinventing it. In contrast, Richard Lobinske’s Daria Von Doom Series and TAG’s “Outcasts from Beyond” are crossovers, not reinventions. The Marvel and DC Comics Universes exist in addition to the Daria setting, but do not affect the canon Dariaverse until late in the series, when the crossover for each begins.
- Uber on Ashera's Archive
- "What Is This...Über?" from Whoosh.org
- "Howdy, partner! You from Texas?", a look at Daria Westerns (retrofics), on the Daria Fandom Blog II
Examples of Daria Reinvention Fanfics