Lucia Di Gotterdammermoore

Clever title, no?

Welcome, gentle Bloggers, to this week’s Theatre Of The Obvious; the ushers will show you to your seats. Our play tonight is The Most Tragickal Storie of How The DC Universe Swallowede Its Own Monstrous Taile, And Then Liked It Too Muche, starring Alan Moore as Barry Allen, Mark Waid as The Psycho-Pirate, and Geoff Johns as The Anti-Matter Universe of Qward. Everybody’s favourite Ye Olde Grant Morrison makes a walk-on appearance as either Lady Quark or Buddy Baker, I’m not sure which, and our own Keith Giffen supplies sets and costumes to the whole dubious affair as best he can.

Let me say first that I liked Crisis on Infinite Earths, that I like to think Marv Wolfman and I could be friends if I was sufficently knowledgeable about bottles of Scotch, and that I’m glad DC keeps pissing off Alan Moore.

I’m glad, because if they’d never started, he might never have left. And if he’d never left, would we have had From Hell, LOEG, Lost Girls, or Big Numbers? Or even 1963, you see. Grant Morrison is happy to play a pop-magic version of the Fox, the Broome, and the Schwartz with DC Comics, and I love him for it (I love Vimanarama and The Invisibles more, of course, but Seven Soldiers is a career in any league), however the way Grant plays with comics is his own thing, and Alan’s got another.

(Should I have said that Neil Gaiman plays the role of the little Indian boy that Oberon, King of the Fairies, takes a shine to? No, probably not…)

Alan’s like Kirby: no one listens to him, but then they all pick through his wastepaper basket for the treasure of his discarded coffee-cups and stir-sticks once he’s stormed off. Kirby, ever prescient, was right about graphic novels and modern mythology…only no one listened to him. Alan, ever penetrating, was right about the superhero’s truest arch-enemy being horror…and no one listened to him either.

Or rather, they listened: but they didn’t hear.

Well, Grant heard. But aside from Grant.

And so the curtain rises on our play, because I just re-read Alan’s proposal for Twilight Of The Superheroes, and found myself thanking whatever powers may be that he never got the chance to make it. Devilish fellow, he found a way of making a sequel to Watchmen…what audacity. And yet for Alan, audacity’s just part of the way you do things. He didn’t need to be audacious in the world of DC: he’s audacious wherever he goes, he carries his audacity with him. Who is it, that effortlessly creates brand-new superhero concepts and universes that actually sell, while he’s taking a break from more important work? Who is it, whose voice lends solidity to even the slimmest of storytelling reeds? Who is it that does what only hardcore Christian comics can normally do, which is pick up a thread of historical buffery and make viable comics from it. Who made a comic about competitors to the Standard Model of physics. Who made a comic about the intersection of the Mandlebrot set and the gentrification of working-class towns. Who made a comic about the sublimation of masturbation in English fantasy literature. Who is Alan Moore, is who.

So aren’t you glad we never saw him tackle the stultifying topic of “Who Is Donna Troy?”

Although if he had, we’d probably be done with it by now…oh no, Bloggers, don’t kid yourselves: we’re not done

So there we have Twilight Of The Superheroes, a proposal for a twelve-issue post-Crisis millenial longjohn nightmare in the DCU proper, to be published somewhere around…oh God, it would’ve ended up being sometime in 1989, wouldn’t it? Kee-rist. Talk about having your finger on the pulse. Holy jumpin’ catfish.

And then the influences spreading out from it to other DC titles would’ve lasted (I speculate) perhaps ten years or so, before they would inevitably have gotten, as history shows these things do, somewhat confining and topheavy. Leaving, then, just enough time for a smart turn in some new direction, sometime around the year 2000.

Lovely. Elegant.

But, it never happened.

Oh, except…it kind of did.

It kind of did, because instead of a twelve-issue limited series beginning and ending sometime in the late Eighties, what we’ve gotten instead is a seemingly never-ending, truthfully rather dated in 2007, infinitely (pardon the pun) more ham-fisted millenial nightmare that just mines and mines and mines Alan’s proposal, and never even bothers refining what comes out of the vein. I love Grant Morrison’s work in the DC Universe. But: Black Adam as Kid Miracleman? Really? Grant, of all people, passed that? Alan certainly never would’ve: he didn’t even want anybody to mention the word “nuclear” in Twilight, he thought by then that was pretty old hat. Oh, Grant. Listen, Mister Miracle #4 is (as I’ve stated on several occasions) one of the best comics I’ve read everEVER — but…

Hey, but hold on, let’s not blame it all on Grant. He’s only Lady Quark, after all.

What about Mark Waid?

You see, I love Mark Waid. I’ve absolutely hated a lot of his comics, but when he’s on he’s ON: he’s got a tremendous amount of talent and potential, professionally he’s enormously capable, he can — in a word — write. Well, Geoff Johns can write too, I guess. I have read some Johns stuff which I admired. I’ve read some frickin’ Superman comics by Johns that I’ve admired greatly, surely the litmus test for our sort of genre writer. But where Waid scores, he scores higher than Johns, and that’s hard to deny. Which is only natural: he’s got some years on his little buddy, after all. He should be better!

But then, maybe that also makes him more to blame, you see?

We have Kingdom Come. Alan Moore must feel like Barry Allen in Crisis, his once-fresh (well, I daresay he would not characterize them as fresh, these days) ideas phasing in and out of different time periods through the last twenty years of DC history, and in an ever-more decrepit state each time they’re seen…the Twilight of the superheroes he imagined as a single story (albeit with ramifications) becoming a permanent, tide-locked, line-wide theme…Kingdom Come, with its sublimated House Of Steel/House Of Thunder conflicts and its appallingly didactic, sickeningly corrective “Trinity” shenanigans, seems simply unable to be kept within its allotted little ‘verse in the (where’s that link? SCIPIO, HELP!) fascinatingly suggestive post-52 world of DC multiversal structure…no.

Instead, Kingdom Come, as the most notable and closest copy — we could call it Copy-Prime — of Alan’s Gotterdammerung, just keeps bleeding out onto all the other titles, and all the other universes too.

I’m telling you, they should just burn all the Xeroxes of Alan’s proposal that they have lying around the DC offices. Just burn ’em and get rid of ’em. Remove the taint of them. Use hypnosis, if necessary. Heat vision, even. Or, anything but super-ventriloquism, eh? Because only Alan can be Alan: his story was intended (and I don’t believe I’m taking any liberties by saying this) to live or die on its details — details of actual script, art, colouring, lettering. The theme was supposed to be in the work, and never supposed to be decoupled from it. It was not a blueprint for managing editors, it was a story.

A story, not a twenty-year plan for a New Direction!

I’m sure that Mark and Geoff would both readily admit that Alan’s their master, in the realm of comics writing. In fact it’s probably silly to imagine them saying otherwise: no artist worth his salt ever imagines that he’s at the top of the heap in absolute terms (except possibly if his name is Picasso). No real artist likes themselves best. This isn’t athletics, where in order to truly do your damnedest you must be willing to defeat your idol.

Which is why I’m not afraid to say: Mark Waid has played Psycho-Pirate to Alan Moore’s Flash. People think it’s Grant Morrison who plays that part, but they’re wrong. I’ve read every word of all of Mark’s scripts since his first Flash Annual, and his responses in letters pages and editorials too. I’m very familar with Mark’s work. He’s not a traditionalist, despite his encyclopaediac knowledge of comics trivia. He’s an innovator in his heart: a risk-taker. A mountain-biker, if you will. True, he does his best work when pretending to be a traditionalist — and some of his work in that mode is very, very good indeed — but make no mistake. Grant Morrison’s an addle-headed, swooning, girlishly-excited fan-creature. Geoff Johns is a plodding, frequently overly-literal, craftsman-in-the-making full of future potential. Mark Waid’s all business, though. He’s a tiger. He’s a crazy man, fully of age: don’t get in his way, or he’ll knock you down.

At a guess: Alan Moore’s his hero.

Which would explain why he looks and looks on him so.

While Geoff Johns provides the background to that looking.

I love Alan Moore’s writing; but if he were still writing what he’d been writing twenty years ago, I would’ve long since become disenchanted with him. Thank God, then, that he’s never stopped moving or changing! But Twilight Of The Superheroes, his cast in this DC earth, needs to absent itself from the whole being-dug-up thing. He would tell you so himself, if you could get him to care. It really has outlived its time, and I’m beginning to despair of it exhibiting any moral conclusions that aren’t simply, at this point, perfunctory. In just a couple of years, the payoff-moment for all this millenial madness will have come and gone a freakin’ decade ago. We will be into a new era. “These are the times…These are the feelings.” Even Veidt knew that, and in the mid-Eighties no less.

I guess I cry foul. I guess I cry obvious. Anyway I cry, I cry…

Burn those fucking Xeroxes, DC.

You’ve got a year to start the fire. But seriously, that’s the absolute outside limit.

And then after that I hope to God we’ll see something that isn’t a repetition of somebody’s bad mood they had once in the Eighties. That produced some mighty fine comics then. But which isn’t producing any mighty fine comics now, by a long shot.

Thus, is ended, our play!

Costumes and sets lovingly crafted by that underrated talent, Keith Giffen. That guy can make almost anything look good. But seriously, Mr. Waid: please look into exchanging a little of that fire of yours for some cool self-knowledge, because since everybody gets older you will have to do it sometime, and now’s…well, I was going to say now’s as good a time as any, but now’s the time!

And Mr. Johns: as for you, please emulate your own best accomplishments. You’re never too young to put off trying to seem older.

Finally, Mr. Morrison: whatever can you be thinking, Mr. Morrison? But you have some credit in the bank with me, Mr. Morrison. Plaese spend that credit wisely: it’s rather a large amount of credit, and I would hate to see you waste it. I expect to be past the millenium before 2009; and it’s not often I ask you to keep up with me, but…

In all seriousness, I’m through waiting.

Get your shoes on. We’re going for a run.

Hope you cross the finish line before I do.

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12 responses to “Lucia Di Gotterdammermoore

  1. Now what to say about this one? I should have something to say about it; I’ve (for a change!) actually read some of the stuff being discussed.

    It’s a very Dominique-Francon-like attitude you’re exhibiting here: “I’m glad he didn’t do that, because it would have been great, and then they would have ruined it!” But I think Howard Roark had the rights of it: if it’s great it can’t be ruined by what comes after. I mean, I’m assuming it would have been great; I didn’t get greatness off of the Twilight of the Superheroes script when I read it; it seems in retrospect to be basically what Kingdom Come was. The implication, then, is that Kingdom Come could have been great. But, as I said before, I haven’t read the comic of Kingdom Come, so on what grounds am I saying it wasn’t?. I’ve just painted myself in a corner where I can’t say that Kingdom Come wasn’t great because the DC writers won’t leave it alone, so all that leaves me is this, which I can say, based on the novelization: Kingdom Come was too mean. I can put up with some darkness and “would”ness in my superhero comics, but I won’t abide meanness. “Mean comics suck.” In fact, remember that thing, Doom Force, that was supposed to be a parody of other ’90s xtreme comics? I didn’t get, at the time, that it was supposed to be a parody; I just thought it was mean and wouldn’t swallow it. It’s been a while since I’ve read the Twilight script; was that mean too? I seem to recall it was, a bit.

    But, either way: Kingdom Come and Twilight both are fine on their own, but they are stories that end and are therefore no use as the future of your regular continuity, so they can’t even be allowed to begin in that continuity… so what’s the point of pretending that they’re coming? Why not just do something else instead? Marvel’s near-future continuity as at least as messed-up as DC’s, and Marvel wouldn’t make this mistake, would they?

    (I know the real reason why DC can’t leave Kingdom Come alone: Alex Ross. A consensus was reached at one point that Alex Ross is the Man, and they want to get as much use out of him and his stuff as they can. Wait until Justice starts leaking into continuity.)

    Moore could totally have fixed Donna Troy. He fixed Swamp Thing, didn’t he? Donna Troy would have been a piece of cake.

    I am interested in these things you say about Mark Waid, because of course I’ve spent two and a half, three years of blogging energy on select of his recent work. You’ve read all his scripts? Legion, Brave and Bold, everything?

    I’m very familar with Mark’s work. He’s not a traditionalist, despite his encyclopaediac knowledge of comics trivia. He’s an innovator in his heart: a risk-taker. A mountain-biker, if you will. True, he does his best work when pretending to be a traditionalist — and some of his work in that mode is very, very good indeed — but make no mistake. […] He’s a tiger. He’s a crazy man, fully of age: don’t get in his way, or he’ll knock you down.

    I wish we had seen more of that guy writing the Legion. Instead, he seemed to lose interest a bit after the first year, and abandoned his themes… and, two years later, they had to get Jim Shooter in to try to start the engine again (which is not a slam on Bedard, who has done a better job than they could have rightfully expected).

    (Allow me to take a second to explore your analogy here. In COIE, the Flash *used* the Psycho-Pirate to incapacitate the Weaponeers of Qward and ruin the Anti-Monitor’s plans. So Moore is using Waid to spread his ideas throughout DC continuity? And Waid is the only one left at the end who remembers what it used to be like?)

    In one of Bill James’s books he talks about how the Los Angeles Dodgers, after the regime of Walter O’Malley, got themselves into trouble by trying to solve all their problems with the question, “What would O’Malley do in this situation?” Not because O’Malley wouldn’t have known what to do, but because the Dodgers’ executives were unable to replicate his thinking: he was great and they were not. So I guess what you’re saying is that DC is not quite in the position of the Dodgers: they need to stop asking themselves, “What would Moore do?” and start asking “What are Morrison and Waid and Johns going to do?” and rely on Morrison and Waid and Johns to be great enough to make the answers worth listening to.

    Which brings us to Final Crisis, which is apparently the answer to the question, “What would Morrison do?” But maybe not. Rumour had it that DC was going to a) kill off the New Gods, and b) turn its Big Seven (or however many) superheroes into the New New Gods, the Fifth World if you will… but then changed their mind, and now it’s going to be a much smaller thing that Morrison is doing just with Batman in his own title. So was that the plot of Final Crisis? If so, what is the plot of Final Crisis now that they’ve changed it? And is that Fifth-World thing a stupid idea, anyway, or not?

    I’m not worried, I guess, that the DCU is still chasing Kingdom Come. There have been just too many times when there have been positive affirmations that the DC heroes will simply never let anything like that happen. The first season of JLU, the end of Infinite Crisis, the whole premise of Justice Society (especially, I guess, the current arc guest-starring the Kingdom Come Superman), Blue Beetle… How often can you go to the well on that anyway? Kingdom Come‘s influence has got to decrease with time.

  2. Twilight strikes me as “mean” too, especially (shudder) the roles of Captain Marvel and the Martian Manhunter. Kingdom Come is similar to it in broad strokes — the “houses,” the Superman/Marvel/Batman fight — but nobody seems particularly sympathetic except Batman and his clan of underground vigilantes.

    That to me seems to be the big difference with KC. Twilight, if I remember right, ends with everything going completely to hell and the Green Lanterns having to clean it all up. The suggestion is that the regular DC milieu is beyond help, whereas the suggestion in KC is that Superman et al. only need some corrective clarity from Alex Ross’s dad.

    Really, I think the reason KC continues to be popular, aside from the extent to which DC indulges Ross, is that its basic theme cuts right to the heart of the superhero. At some point a super-character’s worldview must intersect with realpolitik, if I use that term correctly, and depending on which side wins, you get Silver Age nostalgia or Dark Age grim ‘n’ gritty (or a mix of both, which is around Geoff Johns’ wheelhouse).

    By the way, surely you’ve seen that Moore’s “Tygers” story from an old Green Lantern, which lays out the GL Ragnarok, is pretty much the basis for Johns’ (and Dave Gibbons’) “Sinestro Corps.”

    On the topic of crossovers with endings, possibly my favorite DC intertitle crossover was Morrison’s DC One Million, which had a definite story, didn’t aim to change The Rules forever (except for blowing up Montevideo), and provided a broad platform (the 853rd Century) for crossovers. With all, or most, of the rest, you could see the character spinoffs and continuity patches coming, but DC1M was content to stay within itself.

  3. Should have been clearer — no one seemed particularly sympathetic to me in Twilight except Batman’s army.

    Another thing about KC, while I’m thinking about it: obviously Alex Ross is a big Captain Marvel fanboy, but Waid used Marvel in a similar way at the end of the 1995 crossover Underworld Unleashed. That was the one where Waid created the character “Neron” as DC’s version of the Devil, making “deals” with various supervillains (and Blue Devil) for their souls in exchange for amped-up powers. It started with the Flash’s Rogues’ Gallery getting blown up, I think.

    Anyway, turns out Neron is really after the soul of the most incorruptible DC superhero. No problem, the heroes say, Superman’s on a space mission. But hold on — he’s not the most incorruptible … Captain Marvel is! And Neron’s lured him to Hell! D’oh!! So when I saw how Waid and Ross were using Cap in KC, I figured it was along the same lines as Waid’s use of him in UU.

    Hmmm … now I’m not sure if that adds anything meaningful, but thought I’d throw it out there.

  4. Matthew: I shouldn’tve said “all”. There’s a cut-off point, and it’s well before the Legion and BotB. Although I wouldn’t mind reading these at all: your analysis of Waid’s take on the LSH members’ character makes me think it’d be well worth the time spent on it.

    Your point about how KC can never actually become the DC future is really well-taken: it can’t, so why do they keep trying to suggest it? But I think you miss my point about Moore’s Twilight — it isn’t that it would’ve been great, but then they would’ve ruined it. Hell, we never got it, and they’ve managed to ruin it anyway! But I think it would’ve mired Moore in the superhero world for a much longer period of time, and that would’ve delayed the appearance of his later, greater work.

    Would Twilight have been good? With Moore scripting, I’m sure it would’ve been — though I’d hazard a guess it would’ve been a step down from Watchmen. KC is at least two or three steps further down than that. But would Twilight have been mean? I don’t know…Moore’s an unusually humane writer despite (because of?) his occasionally bloodthirsty ways, and the world he outlines seems to be populated with a lot of regular folk outside the Houses, too. This is one thing (among many!) that KC is significantly lacking in, it seems to me — James Robinson did a better job of this same thing (this same thing!) with The Golden Age, and of course Watchmen’s the template for all of it, even Twilight itself. It seems pretty likely to me that Moore didn’t submit this outline on spec, but rather in response to a request from the higher-ups: “could you do a Watchmen-type thing again, only this time using the established DC characters? Only, you have to make it so they’re not all totally wrecked afterwards. Do you think that could be done? Because we’re all, like, pretty blown away by how Watchmen a) turned out, and b) sold, and if we had it all to do over again we would totally have let you use the Charlton characters, actually.” I have to think that’s how it went down, in the beginning.

    But, hmm, mean…as Tom says, the Captain Marvel stuff is a bit nasty, certainly a symbolic attack on “purity” that Twilight’s dystopian future would have needed to work, but sure: mean. However, that KC only needs Pariah…I mean, Alex’s Dad…to provide a little correction for the superheroes seems like copping-out on the theme of how the gods interact with their mortals. There’s a certain insincerity there, or perhaps a better thing to call it would be lack of commitment. Moore’s out is the “fluke field” of mutable thirty-year future history, and John Constantine’s anti-hero status upsetting the apple-cart of predestination; Waid’s out is Hypertime, and the fact that the superheroes are only tarnished, rather than fully corroded. Also Moore’s proposal shows a future-history “Could” where the heroes are affected by the changing world around them, where KC’s “Could” works precisely the other way around: the heroes affect the world negatively, but in the end they’re not robbed of volition and self-determination, as they apparently are in Twilight.

    Also, Tom, I’d forgotten about UU, and the rather silly/unnecessary DC “Mephisto” with the less-inspired name…you’re right, that’s another time they’ve gone to Twilight’s thematic well, bucket in hand! Soooo repetitive. I’m not at all sanguine about Final Crisis, because I think I really don’t care for the Fifth World…I’d be completely dismissive of the whole thing if Morrison hadn’t blown my socks off (he practically blew my feet off!) with his Mister Miracle mini, and Seven Soldiers in general. DC One Million took a nice approach, I think: the 853rd century is just so far off, it’s like the Fifth World.

    Was it ever fully established, by the way, that the world of the New Gods was outside/above the interlocking series of the 52 universes? Or did that thread get dropped? That idea is something I truly appreciated about DC’s recent multiversal square-dance, that the New Gods could be conceptually separated from the regular heroes using meta-continuity…

    Finally, Matthew: no need to ask if Marvel would do the same thing, they’ve done it! Albeit in a slightly different way: their messed-up future scenarios didn’t ever “stick” to their main continuity, but look at them now! They’ve brought a dystopian future history of the KC variety right into their present day. Big mistake, if you ask me…but of course that’s hardly an original thought of mine, is it?

  5. I am pretty sure the Fourth World is still outside the Multiverse. However, back in the spring there were competing artistic versions of the Female Furies (a “prettier” one in Hawkgirl and the classic look in Firestorm), appearing in stories that came out contemporaneously. I thought that was going to be part of all the Countdown multiversal hoo-hah, but I guess the Hawkgirl ones were just off-model.

    Also, remember the Silver Age Multiverse, when the planet Oa only existed in the Earth-1 universe? Given that there are all kinds of “Elseworlds” Green Lanterns (including the Bruce Wayne Lantern) participating in Countdown, I take it that’s no longer true. However, I don’t think DC has thought out the implications of Oa, replicated across more than one parallel universe. I wonder if Morrison has …?

  6. Wow, that never occurred to me.

    So what does that mean, then?

    And, is there an Oa on Earth-2?

    Did you see Scipio’s multiversal-structure picture, Tom?

    Boy, I’m just full of questions, aren’t I.

    Here’s a thing I would advise the DC brian-trust to think about: if you’ve only got 52 universes, don’t waste any of ’em on dumb stuff that isn’t very good. I know the pre-Crisis multiverse never actually showed such a ridiculous number of universes as fifty-two, but now that we know that’s all there are, and can even lay them out on a chart…and since some of them are pre-sold, as it were…

    Man, I don’t even know why Kingdom Come rates a universe, actually. And that’s one gone! Gone forever. I hear there was an Earth-15 that is no longer, too. Whoops.

  7. Apparently they’re running through these universes like crazy in Countdown and Booster Gold. According to this thread at Comic Book Resources:

    http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?t=184772

    25 or 30 of them, depending on how you’re counting, have already been established on some level.

    I don’t know. I don’t really care what they do as long as the stories are good. And, since the stories I’m getting are good, I’m not going to sweat these particular details, which will probably be tedious anyway.

  8. Bah. Who needs to tell more stories with Victorian Batman?

    This is Marvelesque, which to my mind is a problem: in a way you can boil down one of the strengths of DC to the fact that their shared universe can support Elseworlds…mind you, I think of the word “Elseworlds” as mostly synonymous with “a bunch of stories that didn’t need writing”, but even so. If they don’t need to be anything, they don’t need to fit in anywhere. Marvel (as I’ve said somewhere else around here, but just can’t remember where) can’t do Elseworlds, because everything needs to fit into continuity. No “What If Superman Had Been Mowgli?” for them!

    I mean, I’m still not quite sure if Morrison’s 853rd Century stories really happened, if you know what I mean…so Van Vogt-ian, now that I think about it…

    This is a mistake. Someone should really tell DC about Scipio’s Structure, so they can see how precious each one of these universes are…

    By the way, and apropos of nothing, I just read a whole bunch of stuff about who the hell the goddamn Sith are in Star Wars. And, interesting: that was not the impression I’d gleaned.

    I thought the Sith came first, and the Jedi afterwards.

    I do believe that would’ve been better.

    Thoughts, Matthew?

  9. I think that DC is wasting its time with a lot of this continuity stuff. They’d be much better off just telling stories–trying to keep things as consistent as they can through a reasonable conscientious effort, yes, but not sweating the details. Because we’ll sweat the details for them! For free! Anytime they need to know something about the nuances of their continuity (not that I can think of a reason why they would), they can just check our blogs!

    As for Star Wars, I’ve managed to avoid getting too deep into Star Wars lore beyond the first three movies. Okay, I did read a few of the novels, especially the ones by Barbara Hambly. And I did read ‘Splinter of the Mind’s Eye’. And, of course, Brian Daley’s Han Solo trilogy was huge for me. So as you can tell I’m not interested in that stuff at all.

    Never gave the Sith/Jedi thing much thought, though. I guess I thought of the Sith as a schism from the Jedi, to the extent I had a concept of them at all. But what would be *better*?

    Well… why are there only two Sith? That’s kind of weak. It’s like having only one Sinestro.

    What would be better, as far as I’m concerned, is if the Sith and the Jedi were completely separate, operating from completely different traditions and relying on completely different lore. Using a whole different Force, even, maybe. Gives you twice as many storytelling possibilities. Of course, it also makes the notion of a rogue Jedi switching to the Sith a much more difficult and unlikely proposition, but what the hey.

  10. I’m going to take a moment to say more: I’ve been having a little online discussion with a fellow named Jack Butler (look over on Pretty Fakes if you want to meet his biggest fans — and observe me maundering on endlessly), and he’s just brought up the idea that “parallel universe” is the worst kind of misnomer: because divergence isn’t parallelism, never has been and never will be.

    And this is a difference between Marvel and DC. (Hi, RAB: I don’t have the link here handy, but I’ll put it in when I get a moment.) Marvel’s “What If?” universes are divergent; DC’s Silver Age multiverse was parallel. Meaning qualities in other universes paralleled those of the “main” universe: they were there only for funhouse-mirror storytelling effect. You could have an evil universe, a silly universe (I’m quite glad Captain Carrot exists in the 52, really), any kind of universe so long as it didn’t grow developmentally out of the main one.

    And DC’s current multiverse is like that too, obviously: see Victorian Batman, above. Although DC’s future universe is becoming more and more flavoured with multiple divergences as time goes on…and absent the Fluke Field, can I just say this is bogus? Does Earth-2 have multiply-divergent future-universes in it? I think it totally doesn’t, and it totally shouldn’t, so there’s an interesting fine lide to ride here, Earth-0 is the only Earth with a Future, perhaps (although Matthew, I’m still waiting with bated breath to hear you expound on the possibility of an Earth-2 Legion), but you can kill interest in the futures of a single divergent timeline as easily as you can kill interest in the overabundance of many parallel timelines. In each case, possibility is precious, and so ought to be preserved (just thank your lucky stars Bendis and Millar aren’t working at DC — we’d be on Earth-59 by now already).

    Sorry, bashing this out.

    Anyway, shouldn’t someone, somewhere, be asking themselves what are the best possible parallel universes to have? By which I mean, of course, the most fruitfully parallelly parallel universes.

    Kingdom Come-ism is ruining everything. As a parallel, it perhaps has some (thankfully forgettable) value; as a possible divergent future it just brings everything down to its own seamy level. If it could be logically excluded as the Earth-0 Future for good and all, that would be one thing. But it just keeps on hangin’ on.

    Okay, I must leave this comment unfinished. The basic ideas I wanted to express are out there, and now it’s time for me to go to the store. But let’s all start drawing that parallel/divergent distinction on Monday, damnit! New company policy!

  11. I read “Splinter” too, of course. Dunno who Brian Daley is; I think the best continuators of Star Wars are Al Williamson and Carmine Infantino…

    It was Al Williamson, right?

    There are only two Sith, because any more than that and they’ll all kill each other, like lightsaber-wielding fighting fish. Eventually the student tries to kill the master, in a not-very-obscure twist on an old Zen story…

    I thought mine would have been better, because instead of the Sith being a splinter faction of the Jedi, the Jedi could’ve been a splinter faction of the Sith…and then the Sith’s true origin could have been lost! In the mists of time! The dark side could’ve been the beginning of Force-usage, that some original Jedi hero (or even anti-hero) could’ve rebelled against, way back when. And the Sith might still have secrets the Jedi don’t know, as their “parent”…whittled down to two individuals…

    That could explain why the Jedi are so darn susceptible to being turned to the dark side: because it’s where they began.

    I like yours, though: it’s like Dreadstar, a competing civilization of Force-users, with a different understanding. Here’s where the midichlorians might’ve been of use: they’re what the Sith thought about the Force, where the Jedi were all Zenny. But then they loosely conjoined for a while, and there was some conceptual bleed from one group to the other.

    Yes…that might’ve worked…might’ve established groups of underground Sith-sympathizers throught the galaxy, from whom the real Sith might’ve drawn their apprentices…

    It’s good! Quite stylish for Jedi switching sides, too.

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