It's an interesting time to be a comic book fan. Wherever you look, your favorite superheroes and villains are being brought to life on the big and small screen. These shows -- from "Arrow" and "Gotham" to "Agents of SHIELD" and "Luke Cage" -- are building their own universes that take twists and turns that die hard comic fans likely don't see coming.

And that's a great thing.

It's time to get over the idea that these shows need to follow canon. That's a thought that came to a head on the Oct. 24 episode of "Gotham," in which Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) admitted he had romantic feelings for Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith).

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The idea that Penguin could be anything other than a heterosexual male didn't sit well with many, who let their feelings be known on Twitter.

You see, Penguin has never been portrayed as gay or bisexual in the comics, so surely it can't be any other way on "Gotham," right? Wrong. Comic book canon hasn't mattered nearly as much as some people like to pretend it does for a very long time.

"Gotham" is a perfect example of that. The FOX series, based on the trials and tribulations of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as a young detective, takes just as much cue from the mind of movie director Tim Burton and his "Batman" films than the comic book canon.

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And it's not just "Gotham." All over TV, comic book shows are shying away from the long-standing canon to tell new stories. It's not unlike how comic books themselves continually reinvent characters and situations to tell new stories.

On "Arrow," Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) were engaged to be married, while in the comics Felicity's only real love interest was Ed Raymond -- father of Ronnie Raymond, one-half of the original Firestorm. Meanwhile, Oliver's main love interest is Laurel Lance, the Black Canary.

"The Flash" plays with canon all the time, sometimes in some very interesting ways. For instance, on the series, Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) is the brother of Iris West (Candice Patton). In the comics, though, he's her nephew. There's also that whole Flashpoint thing, which played out far differently on TV than it did in the comics.

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Of course, there's also the fact that she's a black woman on TV after historically being shown as white. That's a major change from canon and one that many fans couldn't help but be excited about.

It's not just DC properties that throw canon aside for the sake of storytelling, though. Take "The Walking Dead," for instance.

In Robert Kirman's graphic novels, Andrea and Sophia are alive and well, whereas Carol died fairly early on in the story. That's completely inverted from how the story has played out on the AMC series. Meanwhile, when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) made his first kill on the show, it was Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) that got the Lucille treatment, followed by Glenn (Steven Yeun). In the comics, Glenn is Negan's lone kill.

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Then, of course, there's Marvel. "Agents of SHIELD" -- which is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- revealed in Season 2 that the character Skye (Chloe Bennett) was actually Daisy Johnson, a character from the comics. While this version of Daisy has similar powers to the one in comics, the producers also made her one of the Inhumans. Some of those elements were later integrated into the comic book version of Daisy, aligning her more closely with the on-screen version.

All this to say, canon just doesn't matter as much in 2016 as it may have in years prior when it comes to adapting comic books into live-action. There are stories that have been told and retold over decades. New details emerge over time, different universes are created.

If the onslaught of superhero TV is going to continue to grow and become more powerful -- and there doesn't seem to be any sign of it slowing down -- forging their own paths is the only way forward.

Besides, does it really matter if TV shows make deviations from canon? After all, nobody seemed all that concerned when "Gotham" revealed that Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) and Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) were bisexual, even though they weren't portrayed that way in comics.

Posted by:Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is equal parts nerd, crazy person and coffee. He watches too much TV, knows more about pro wrestling than you do and remembers every single show from the TGIF lineup. You may have seen him as a pro-shark protester in "Sharknado 3." His eventual memoir will be called "You're Wrong, Here's Why..." TV words to live by: "I'm a firm believer that sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing."