Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nerd Word of the Week: Multiverse

The Anti-Monitor fights heroes from eight Eart...Image via WikipediaMultiverse (n.) - Simply put, multiple universes that are linked together. More specifically, a set of interrelated parallel realities, usually involving characters that jump between universes to visit and interact with alternate versions of themselves and/or their history. While this term has been extended to any parallel universe story, like that found in The Chronicles of Narnia, it is most often associated with comic book franchises, particularly the DC Comics universe, which had its multiverse grow so expansive and unwieldy that it destroyed it in the seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths (and has since brought it back -- sort of -- in the recent Infinite Crisis).

I bring it up because: June 30 is Superman's 71st birthday -- he first appeared in his modern form in Action Comics #1, which came out on that date in 1938 -- and nobody is a better example of the multiverse than Superman, as he has appeared in more alternate versions than virtually any other character in history. In fact, Grant Morrison turned the joke in on itself, creating a Superman Squad of parallel-universe and time-traveling Men of Steel that regularly team up to battle interdimensional threats. (Just for fun, ask a Supes fanboy whether he prefers the John Byrne Man of Steel origin for Superman, or Mark Waid's Birthright; sparks will fly. Or better yet, ask him which Superman Elseworlds story is his favorite. Not superfan can fail to have an opinion. Personally, I'm a Speeding Bullets guy.)

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