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Friday, September 12, 2014 

Some DC beginner's guide to the Multiverse this supposedly is

Vox.Com wrote about Grant Morrison's Multiversity, an alleged explanation of the multiverse that DC is now setting up again in the New 52 era (or are they?), and starts off by asking:
With Marvel dominating the box office and launching crass, anthropomorphic raccoons to superstardom, most people with an eye on comics are wondering what its chief rival DC is up to. And DC faces so many questions. Who's going to be in the Batman vs. Superman movie? How is it treating its gay characters? How is it treating its female characters?
Interestingly, I'd say they're treating their gay/lesbian characters better than the female ones. But why is that an important question? A far better one would be how good the merits of their storytelling are, and whether they can entertain without stuffing in so much political correctness.

As a story telling about parallel worlds, there's one described here I think it could've done without:
For example, on Earth-23 (right), Superman is president, and major heroes like Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are black. Earth-7 is a ravaged war zone where all superheroes are dead. And Earth-10 is a world where the Axis powers won WWII, and Superman's insignia is a swastika.

And there are worlds in the multiverse that haven't even been revealed yet.
I don't think Earth 10 is a world I'd want to visit. More to the point, is this all the book was written for? Just so they can feature parallel takes on established cast members? If anything, the Earth 10 world alone sounds truly repellent, and I honestly don't want to read about a parallel Superman who's a fascist. The Red Son miniseries from a decade ago was enough, and besides, Morrison's long proven his capability of spoiling his ideas with crudeness.
DC is banking on the comic to help bring some clarity to what's going on in its comics universe now. It's supposed to show who the gods are that Wonder Woman prays to, where inter-dimensional travelers come from, and where cosmic beings live.

Most of all, it gives DC a chance to build out its world. Multiversity opens up the door to new heroes, new stories, and the possibility of new comics for DC to pursue. And it's been a huge success. According to Bleeding Cool, it was the top-selling comic the week it was released.
Really, was it? I looked at the BC report, and there's no sales numbers featured, so this argument doesn't hold water.
This is also a story that doesn't focus on DC's big three — Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman — as we know them (though there are variations of these characters on different worlds). These three superheroes drive DC's comics and have mainstream recognition, much like The Avengers and X-Men drive Marvel's popularity. By focusing on characters other than the big three, DC is making a bid to expand its pool of big names.
Well good luck with that. They've long proven that with their approach to marketing, what only they think makes a great story, and the kind of writers/editors they employ today, the chances of increasing recognition for the 3rd tiers - let alone readership - are very few. When they bring up how Morrison's using this miniseries for commenting on how people relate to fiction, they say that:
...it wouldn't be a stretch to think that he could be commenting on how authors and creators take real-world stories and conflicts and put them and their perspectives on the pages of comic books. He's no stranger to this. During his late '80s/early '90s run on the comic Animal Man, Morrison built his values of animal rights and vegetarianism into the comic.
And I don't see how those are more important than human rights. His work also contains leftist beliefs like anti-war sentiment, and he was one of the same writers who attacked Frank Miller for his desire to address the issue of jihadism. And, he was the writer who ran a very unappealing take on X-Men, and wiped out Jean Grey in a pretty awful way.
Morrison also plays with breaking the fourth wall and addressing the reader directly at various points. What Morrison is doing is not unlike what Steve Gerber did with Howard the Duck in the 1970s. Those issues featured commentary on comics, the comics industry, and even subtle jabs at Marvel. Morrison is tapping into that same counter-culture vibe.
Except that Gerber did it all with a lot more style and respect for rationale than Morrison ever has.
Morrison is one of the premier comic creators and writers in the industry. He's known for his work on X-Men, particularly for turning antihero Emma Frost into one of Marvel's iconic characters. He's also known for his runs on DC Comics like Swamp Thing, Batman, Doom Patrol, and the aforementioned Animal Man.
And he's also known for exploiting some of those books for allusions to drugs, which he once had experiences with, and I wonder why a UK writer like him is the one to supposedly honor optimism, slapstick, tongue-in-cheek and campiness of the Silver Age, and why he's the one who's allowed to write his books that way if he pleases for DC, while others apparently are discouraged from doing the same. Actually, now that I think of it, he did have disagreements with earlier editors during his 2 year run on JLA in the late 90s, and left for a time because they wouldn't agree that he depict Superman capable of moving entire planets like he did in the Silver Age again. But that would only enforce the argument that in some past presentations, Superman was depicted too powerfully, which is understandable when you want the heroes to have more drawbacks than just Kryptonite and sorcery. It also brings to mind how weird it is that people supposedly interested in "realism" will make exceptions for Morrison when he wants to do cartoony presentations, though that's still nowhere near as bad as his politics.

But did he really turn Emma Frost into an icon? Judging from sales, including those on solo miniseries from the mid 2000s, I'd say no, he didn't make her a megastar so much as he did turn her into more of a cartoon vixen determined to take Cyclops for herself, all at Jean Grey's expense.
[...] Superheroes, as comic writers have depicted them, have shifted from being fantastical creatures, to flawed outsiders, to regular folk like the characters of Kick-Ass, and now back to surrealism. But where do superheroes go from here?
Where indeed? They completely fail to ponder how Mark Millar's Kick-Ass IS surreal, not to mention very distasteful, and I'm still in awe a book with such an alarming depiction of hoodlums committing rape was considered worthy movie material. How are those supposed to be "regular folks" when they act like anything but?
Morrison believes the next step is changing reality, and living out our own stories. His example is his own life and how superheroes taught him morality, gave him a career, and inspired him.
If he really believed in morale, he wouldn't have attacked Frank Miller for all the wrong reasons several years ago, nor would he make light of drugs. He's not inspired by superheroes so much as he is by the leftist doctrine he's long gone by.
"By offering role models whose heroism and transcendent qualities would once have been haloed and clothed in floaty robes, they nurtured in me a sense of the cosmic and ineffable that the turgid, dogmatically stupid 'dad' religions could never match," he writes. "Words can electrify us or make our blood run cold. And the idea of Superman is every bit as real as the idea of God."
I'm beginning to wonder if he believes Superman isn't a fictional creation, but rather, a pagan deity not unlike Jupiter and Zeus, from some type of bizarre real life perspective. And, as the above lines from Supergods hints, he's not very respectable of Judeo-Christianity.

Since we're on the subject of multiple/parallel worlds, I think I'll also take the time to argue what mistake I think DC really made back when they originally published Crisis on Infinite Earths: it's not that they merged heroes and co-stars from Earth-1 and Earth-2 into just one. It's that they drastically downplayed parallel dimensions, or did away with them altogether. Before Crisis, I think there were some parallel dimensions of Earth and the galaxy featured, and the Atom traveled (or shrank) into a few back in the Silver/Bronze Age, as did Green Lantern and the Justice League. Mera came from a different dimension in Aquaman. And Amethyst was very notable for its own parallel world with magic. But after Crisis, I don't think the concept of parallel worlds was ever emphasized as noticeably as it used to be, if it was ever explored at all.

My point is, they didn't have to keep exploring worlds with doppelgangers of established superheroes. What I think could've made for great storytelling was to create parallel dimensions of Earth and other planets where different beings and other atmospherical structures could dwell. Worlds with sorcery and vast technology, even floating cities you can find in sci-fi novels. That could've made a great substitute for parallel worlds with costumed superheroes, where those who live in the mainstay dimension could travel into, finding people and societies coping with villains trying to destroy their well being whom the superheroes could lend a helping hand to. If they'd thought of it back then, chances are most of the people sorry about the loss of the Multiverse wouldn't have complained so much. Now, with such a drastically reduced audience and some of the most pretentious writers like Morrison running the store along with the editors, the chances of doing something plausible and tasteful along the lines I'm suggesting is close to nothing.

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