Friday, January 18, 2013

Multiverse Goodness

I always loved the multiple earths concept!

I came into comics in the 1970s, and every year I thrilled
to the annual exploits of the JLA/JSA team-ups, especially
when a third earth's heroes were involved!

My favorites, though, were always the 'Eath 2' heroes...
the original super-heroes! Fed by a steady supply of
Golden Age story greats via DC's reprints, Treasuries,
and (later) digests.

When the time came for there to be a new generation
of heroes, continuing the Golden Age legacy on a massive
scale, I was beside myself!

There was such a different feel to each
of the groups of characters!

DC acquired different companies' stables
of characters, and that worked seamlessly
since they were simply introduced as being another,
as-yet-undiscovered earth.

Some twists were villainous 'versions' of the
characters we already knew (or were our heroes
altruistic versions of these originating villains?!)

There were simpler times in the Fawcett Universe-populated
'Earth S' after DC attained those characters, and for
a time they retained their impressive C. C. Beck goodness.

Something about the Quality heroes, especially
my first introduction-- the Freedom Fighters--
really lit my fire and grabbed my interest.

But the great thing of the day was diversity.
You didn't have to contrive to have a different
genre or story; it merely took place in its own world...

No need for fussy continuity or homogenization;
there was a beauty to having fun in comics.
It wasn't something to be ashamed of.
Even though the Super-Friends comic was
considered 'out-of-continuity,' that was foolishness
itself! Everyone knows it merely depicted the
exploits of an alternate earth's Justice League!
(And with excellent E. Nelson Bridwell scripts
that few 'mainstream' universe writers could match!)

The future is disastrous?
No problem! Alternate reality/timeline/earth!
Keep telling those awesome Murphy Anderson-illustrated tales!

TV Batman and William Shatner-alum Adam West;
too hokey for you? Who's Earth Cheese!

When next returning to Earth Cheese, if something
seems amiss, perhaps it's the closely-related
Earth Schmaltz.

There was Earth Hot-Live-Superman...

Earth 'Prime' where we 'readers' lived....
(unlike Marvel Comics' real world,
which is where the heroes also lived...
at least until Millar's '1985.')

(Whoops! Earth Prime already had a
'first super hero!' Guess we'll now call that one
Earth Lazy-Editor retcon.)

See, the magic of having characters that define and
inhabit their own special universe is that there
are less restrictions on what can and can't be done.
And I for one always found that the point of
writing; to entertain.
Your fans want to see Spider-man and Superman meet..
they don't tend to care as much about every
minutia of their entire history being delineated.
(Well, they didn't back then, at least.)

Multiple earths allows for extremism or mature
stories or multi-culturalism that the editors of the
mainstream universe are not willing to introduce.

Or, cannon fodder for major events!
(Ever notice how many 'sole survivors of a doomed planet'
DC Comics in particular has!?!)

You can have with pseudo-spoofy drug-related
..You can have a future with a wildly
alternative vision of the current characters
we know...
or even a universe in which the only thing
in common with the most known earth
are the names!

A world unto itself.
A feel, a look, a history all its own..
just like each person. Connected,
but perfectly unique.

It allows for flexibility and range in
the emotional content, the style,
and the creative team's vision.
(Goodness knows there's more than one
take on the world! Shouldn't we be
allowed to view it?)

Darkness has a place, just like light.
But the two don't have to overlap.
One doesn't need to envelop the other.

Certainly, a shared-universe between, say,
Sugar and Spike, 'Mazing Man, Angel and the
Ape, Tiny Titans, Scooter, Stanley and his Monster,
Debbi, and other fun, light-hearted titles would have been okay.

But, post-Crisis, the push was on to
make everyone and everything 'compatible' in
this shared universe. So, rather than seeing a
light-hearted book featuring serious characters,
we got the darkening of all the old beloved fun characters.

All previously light, simple, or innocent creations
had to be reinterpreted through a horrible realism
that gave them a 'reason' for existing in this newer,
more bad-ass (still fictional and four-color) universe.

Again I ask;
what's wrong with leaving enough space in a publishing company
for every story to have a place?

Certainly, not all comics or stories are created
equal, and--Thank you very much--I don't mind
having a separation between concepts to keep the good
safe from the bad.

Much of the last 25 years of DC's publishing
history has been marred by the inane need
for 'continuity' (which has never been reasonably
achieved, by the way,) at expense of story.

Different takes on characters are one thing; so long
as they don't supercede or eliminate the prior history.
Can't we all just get along?

But alas, it seems the editorial decree was
once more 'hodge-podge,' and seeing how
much of having their cake and eating it too
would fly in a new marketplace.

All things are transitory, especially in the
media market and with entertainment.
But a little loyalty to prior customers
seems a small request. Having a truckload of
options instead of one small, convoluted universe
seemed such a simple solution!


If you'd like to see my version of a retconned, singular universe
that still manages to blend styles and genres, check out my new
blog--a throwback to the DC Explosion of 1978--at

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