DC Comic’s Convergence and Marvel’s Secret Wars: Too Messy for Me.

I was reading The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett when I ran into this quote.

Then the Dean repeated the mantra that has had such a marked effect on the progress of knowledge throughout the ages.
“Why don’t we just mix up absolutely everything and see what happens?” he said.
And Ridcully responded with the traditional response.
“It’s got to be worth a try,” he said.”

That’s how I feel about these two events coming out of DC Comics and Marvel Comics. These are the premises straight from Wikipedia.

DC’s Convergence.

Set on a world outside time and space, Brainiac has used his access to Vanishing Point to roam the history of the DC Universe. Using it to abduct heroes from different lost and defunct eras (pre-Flashpoint, pre-Zero Hour and pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths) and across the multiverse, Brainiac amasses a collection of 40 cities. Taking them to this mysterious world within domes (very much like the one that he has kept the city of Kandor from Krypton in over DC publication history) he opens them to see what happens. The ensuing chaos pits various DC heroes and villains and their historic or multiverse counterparts against each other as a villain known as Telos arises to take advantage of it all.

Marvel’s Secret Wars

The basic premise involves the collision of the Marvel 616 Universe with the Ultimate Marvel Universe which destroys both. But pieces of the two universes – with other universes – are mysteriously saved and combined with other post collision universes creating the “Battleworld”.

All the DC characters you remember existing pre-New 52 are now trapped under a dome by Braniac fighting characters from other universes that you don’t give a damn about. Everything you can think of is being thrown at the wall for this event. Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain are back but so is all the characters from Flashpoint. Kyle Rayner is in his ugly original costume once again but so is Hal Jordan in his Parallax costume. I guess they figured the New 52 never really did bring in new readers so they decided to write a comic that included years and years of history in eight forty page comics and hope nobody cries.

Meanwhile over at Marvel they’ve been trying to figure out a way to get rid of their failing Ultimate line for years, the problem is they created a hugely successful character in Mile Morales. The Ultimate Universe exists to this day because of MIles Morales but having a comic book universe for one successful character doesn’t make sense in the long run.

So they came up with this idea of smacking the Ultimate universe and the 616 Universe (which is the original Marvel universe for those not in the know) to see what kind of chaos comes out of these two universes having to coexist. If the event doesn’t end with Miles Morales in the regular Marvel Universe and the Ultimate line over with I’ll be surprised. The only other result I can think of is the Marvel Universe being completely reset.

It’s not the long history of both DC Comics and Marvel’s continuity that makes me disinterested. To me, it looks like when I try to spring clean by emptying all my shelves and draws at once then organize it all in one day. Just looking at the solicitations is such a mess it gives me a headache. How can you possibly get a coherent story by throwing in every version, every universe, every character of your entire history? How? Then how can you possibly write a good story with that? I don’t think you can and I certainly don’t think you can write one good enough to be $4.99 an issue.

To me, from both publishers, it sounds like Countdown to Final Crisis, a much chagrin and poorly review weekly series, all over again.

Sometimes in interviews comic book writers complain about continuity, that it can be a shackle to creativity in comics. This however, is too much freedom from continuity. Continuity can be a structure for which you write your story and to throw that away for an event comic in no way seems like a good idea.

Plus it’s kind of insulting to let fans have this taste of characters and histories that have gone away in comics for a couple months only to take it away in their post-event comic world. No thank you.

Featured image by Charlie Layton.

You Should Read: Scenes From A Multiverse by Jon Rosenberg

Since 2010 Jon Rosenberg has giving us a glimpse of a multiverse, his multiverse, possibly even our multiverse. A multiverse where you may run into sociopathic business deer, owl lawyers, dungeon divers, and corn gods. That’s just when you dip your toes in. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Scenes From A Multiverse is a daily comic by Jonathan Rosenberg (creator of Goats) about what it’s like to live in a multiverse. Each day, Monday through Friday, we’ll visit another location somewhere in an ordinary, everyday multiverse and see how folks there live and play.

What makes Scenes from A Multiverse shine is the lack of fear in the subjects. Rosenberg will take a subject that’s topical, political, or pop culture related and dig at it to its core. Then he creates satire that can be silly, smart, or both.

buy all three downloadable meat topping packs and unlock a free mystery topping

TWO STEPS BACK

If there’s controversy in the news, you may see it satirized in his strip. If there’s a new great game, show, or movie out Rosenberg will find the humor in it and make a strip of it. If he just feels like referencing Dune or Star Trek that day no one is going to stop him from doing it.

atheism is not a religion in the same way cake is not a pony

ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL INCREDULITY

All the while this is interwoven with a cast of characters that is in constant flux. The sheer amount of different worlds, creatures, religions, and names created for a great punchline showcase the vast amount of work Rosenberg puts into each strip.

shakespeare used to throw cows at old ladies

GOOD ARTISTS BORROW, GREAT ARTISTS SUCK

Plus, an added bonus of being both friendly to readers and entertaining on Twitter.

Read Scenes from A Multiverse

Buy some of his merchandise.

Become one of his patrons on Patreon.

Follow him on Twitter.

All images are the creation and the intellectual property of Jon Rosenberg.

Some More Dumb Ideas for Cinematic Universes besides Ghostbusters.

In which I play the role of generic film executive for satire purposes.

Since we’re making Ghosbusters into a cinematic universe where we get not one, but two reboot movies what other franchises can we make cinematic universes for?

I mean, if we can do it for Marvel and DC Comics why not everything else? If J.R.R. Tolkien’s and J.K. Rowling’s worlds can make multiple movies why not one movie from the late 80’s? It’s not like DC and Marvel have been publishing books every week in a shared universe for years and years and years and years and year. It’s not like there are multiple books written by authors to make multiple movies. It’s not like everyone was super cool when Warner Bros. stretched the Hobbit into three films, people were just peachy keen about that.

So my braintrust, what other “franchises” can we run into the ground. Did I say run into the ground? I meant make a cinematic universe.

Groundhog Day – I mean, why not make another Bill Murray franchise a cinematic universe? Here’s the pitch: Groundhog Day doesn’t just occur in Punxsutawney but the whole United States! That’s a movie in every state all stuck in the same day over and over again until they all meet up in the Last Groundhog Day and stop the evil Groundhog from ruining the space time continuum.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Why limit it to just one alien visitor? What about a whole lot of alien visitors all with different quirky personalities who come back to Elliot to do something I don’t have to come up with because I am an executive. Get one of those depraved script writers we keep in the basement to do it.

The Shawshank Redemption – So Andy gets out and Red gets out but what about the other prisoners they were friends with? Well, they all get sent to different prisons coming up with their own escape plans imitating Andy.  Meanwhile, we get to see the Adventures of Andy and Red returning from that dumb town they went to that I can’t remember because I don’t actually watch movies.

Home Alone – Alright, we’ve got one block all with families whose kids get left home alone. A different set of robbers robs a different house each movie falling into the booby traps of the kids. Finally the robbers all team together to get their revenge by kidnapping a rich man to use his mansion to lure all these mischievous kids under one roof. The kids then have to get along well enough to booby trap the entire mansion.

Being John Malkovitch  – There are so many actors in the world, why only be one? We can do Being Channing Tatum, Being Benedict Cumberbatch, Being each actor from the Avengers until you have to Being All the Avenger Actors filming The Avengers 3. It’ll be a hit!

The Harmontown Documentary is now on Netflix.

Dan Harmon is one those creators who is bound to the work wholeheartedly.  Without Harmon, Community isn’t the same. What I mean is, when you watch Season 4 of Community it’s still Community but without its voice. It feels hollow. When he got fired from the show he decided to take his podcast Harmontown on tour, document it, and release it as a film.

If you don’t really know who Dan Harmon is, this documentary gives you the history of the writer. If you don’t know the controversy surrounding him and Chevy Chase, you’ll get that too. You’ll also get a very human side to a creator and that comes with all the dark side as well. This is part of Harmon’s charm. He’s an open book and he doesn’t mind if he may be the kind of book you don’t want to read or may not like. He doesn’t like taking showers, he’s probably an alcoholic, he’s a dick to his girlfriend, and he openly admits he leaves the tour having learned nothing.

That is essentially what I like about him, what his audience likes about him. If you know you can be a bad person, and openly admit your faults that may make you a bad person, does that mean you’re a bad person? Even if I believed deep down that Harmon was a bad person the fact that he doesn’t hide it softens the blow.

We watch him self-destruct and then when he’s done self-destructing he picks up the pieces and moves on. Harmon isn’t a rebel or subversive but openly criticizes the system he works in to make his money. His audience are people who feel like outsiders trying to become Dan Harmon or something like him. They want to work within the systems but feel as if they don’t belong in that system.

“Our mantra would always be make the shows you would want to see, and I think that really affected Dan’s work.” – Rob Schrab, director of The Lego Movie sequel.

That’s where Spencer comes in. Spencer is one of those audience members who stayed true to himself, and Harmon plucked him from the audience to become his dungeon master in live D&D games. Spencer is the hero of the documentary, and Harmon openly admits that.

Harmontown is crude, silly, dark, sad, uplifting, and pretty funny. It’s worth a watch if you’re a writer. It’s worth a watch if you’re a fan of Community. It’s worth a watch if you even if you just like to watch someone implode then try to reconstruct themselves.

“What Then?” by William Butler Yeats | I think about this one a lot.

His chosen comrades thought at school
He must grow a famous man;
He thought the same and lived by rule,
All his twenties crammed with toil;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’

Everything he wrote was read,
After certain years he won
Sufficient money for his need,
Friends that have been friends indeed;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘ What then?’

All his happier dreams came true —
A small old house, wife, daughter, son,
Grounds where plum and cabbage grew,
poets and Wits about him drew;
‘What then.?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’

The work is done,’ grown old he thought,
‘According to my boyish plan;
Let the fools rage, I swerved in naught,
Something to perfection brought’;
But louder sang that ghost, ‘What then?’

The Battle of Pelennor Fields | Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien

“In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face.

All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dínen.

“You cannot enter here,” said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. “Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!”

The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.

“Old fool!” he said. “Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!” And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.

And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the city, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of war nor of wizardry, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.

And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns, in dark Mindolluin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the north wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.”

via Goodreads | Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien: “In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black s…”.

Gives me chills down my spine every time I read it. One of the few times Peter Jackson was able to evoke the same kind of emotions in the film version was Rohan’s charge into battle.

 

Speculations for Joe Abercrombie’s next The First Law trilogy

Author Joe Abercrombie tweeted this today:

Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy was one of the best fantasy series I have read in years. I ate it up nearly as quick as Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower or more recently Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards. It felt like reading The Lord of the Rings if Middle-Earth were as brutal of a world of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Just like people you’ll love the main characters one minute and hate their guts another. I never saw the twists coming, and when dialog was spoken I thought afterwards of course they would say that. I left reading the books thinking I could write something like this because of the ease of the prose then jealous when I realized how wrong I am because these books were brilliantly written. It’s one of those series that leave you floored as a reader and a writer.

As always remember that there are spoilers ahead.

Last chance before spoilers.

Last chance before spoilers.

I have to say ahead of time I have not read the First Law side books though I do know the big reveal of Red Country. Red Country, being the latest book in the First Law timeline takes place thirteen years after The Last Argument of Kings. So here is what I am speculating will occur in the next trilogy.

  • Sand dan Glokta and Jezal dan Luthar will no longer point-of-view characters. Jezal will make an appearance, maybe even just a mention but won’t have any prominent plot points. Glokta will be a prominent secondary character to one of the point-of-view characters.
  • There will be three or four new point-of view characters to replace the one we’re losing: Jezal, Glokta and Collem West.
  • I’m on the fence on whether Dogman will still be a point-of-view character.
  • Logen Ninefingers (still alive as revealed in Red Country) and Ferro Maljinn will be the only returning characters with a point-of-view.
  • What the Bloody Nine is will be fully revealed in Logen’s quest to confront Bayaz.
  • Bayaz manipulation of the North and the Union will begin to unravel but perhaps not fully free of the First of the Magi until the third First Law trilogy.
  • Ferro will have to deal with her madness if she is to accomplish her goals with the Gurkish.
  • The spirits that Logen can talk to will become more prominent again, and why he can do so will be revealed.
  • Perhaps Bayaz himself will have a point-of-view exploring his background with the other magi.
  • The Great Eastern Library will make an appearance
  • Maybe even one of the other magi not seen in the original trilogy will get a point-of-view to explore Bayazs background.
  • We will finally meet Khalul in person, perhaps through Ferro but like Bayaz his downfaill won’t come until the next First Law trilogy.
  • Tolomei will be released or break out from the House of the Maker
  • It is implied that Bayaz killed Juvens, we’ll find out why.
  • The other side will be explored more, perhaps be a main focus of the plot.
  • The mythology of Euz and his four sons, Kanedias, Juvens, Bedesh and Glustrod will be explored.
  • Logen Ninefingers will be actually dead by the end of this trilogy, having started what will be the downfall of Bayaz.
  • However, the Bloody Nine may not. With Logen dead the Bloody Nine may takeover to wreak havoc in the third trilogy.
  • Luthar may die before the end of the second trilogy.
  • There is no way there is only two laws by Euz. A third law will be revealed.
  • Cawneil, one of the magi, may be forced to give up her slothful ways in the Great Western Library, possibly even have a change of heart about being a cynic.
  • Zacharus may take a stand against Bayaz, and he will fall doing so possibly revealing Bayaz’s more sinister nature.

Obviously this is all based on having not read the three World of the First Law books, as I understand Bayaz makes an appearance in one of them.

There’s nothing like the feeling of discovering a new favorite book series and I hope Abercrombie will continue to do so with the next trilogy.