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Wayne Markley

by Wayne Markley

One thing that I have always liked in comics is the idea of a shared universe. marvel was excellent at this in the early days, even though throughout the years it have ended up being rather complex as well as muddled. This is why marvel is doing trick Wars this summertime which will supposedly simplify things as well as bring whatever into one world. DC has always had a difficult time with this concept, even though they seemed to pioneer the multiverse concept. Others have done it extremely well, Valiant (under Jim Shooter) pertains to mind as well as there are other worlds from Disney’s Ducks to television worlds (X-Files, Buffy, etc.) that have had mixed results.

Fantastic four #1

In the early days of Marvel, indicating the very first couple of years of marvel after they introduced the amazing four as well as went with the idea of super-heroes, they swiftly well established that all of their heroes were in the exact same universe, as well as a lot of of them were based in new York City. What Stan Lee was able to do is tell stories where heroes crossed over in the background for just a panel or two. For example, in an problem of amazing four you would see Spider-Man swinging by in the background in one panel as well as the subtitle would state something like “Spider-Man is on his method to offer with the Kingpin, see his present issue”. By doing this, Lee was able to produce a unified world where you wished to checked out the other books as each book was a brick in the bigger universe. He was able to bring subplots, such as a villain’s failed criminal offense being referred to in the villain’s next appearance that was not in the book they appeared in prior. This method of storytelling was the blueprint for future universes such as Valiant as well as Crossgen. While this was a special concept at the time, Stan Lee (and his cohorts Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, etc.) were able to do this since they had such a little number of titles; eight for a big part of the ‘60s, as well as since they based the stories in the genuine world. In the late 1960s as well as on, as marvel was able to broaden the number of titles they were publishing as well as Stan Lee stopped composing everything, things slowly ended up being diluted as well as the marvel world was broadened as well as stretched to the point where it has ended up being a large mess. marvel is currently planning on cleaning up the who world as well as making whatever a lot more coherent with this summer’s trick Wars event. marvel has collected a number of these early stories in legendary Collections, just look for volume one of the legendary Collections of amazing Four, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron guy or Thor.

All-Star Comics #3

DC Comics in their 75 year history did extremely bit in terms of crossovers up until he late 1960 (following Marvels success). now to be clear, DC has team-ups such as the traditional Justice society in All-Star Comics where a group of heroes would gather to tell stories as well as have adventures. There were likewise other teams of heroes like the seven Soldiers of Victory. You likewise had Superman as well as Batman team-up every month in World’s Finest Comics. however you rarely, if ever, had Flash running in the background panel of a Superman story stating “see where Flash is going in Flash this month”. It was well understand there were other heroes around, as well as they undoubtedly shared a universe, however the continuity was not extremely tight. DC established the concept of a Multiverse, that is different universes in which different heroes existed, starting with Flash #123 where the golden Age Flash satisfied up with the Silver Age Flash. This led to an annual Justice League/Justice society crossover as well as in future crossovers the JLA as well as JSA would crossover with a different universe, such as earth S (Shazam as well as the Fawcett heroes), the flexibility Fighters (the old high quality heroes), seven Soldiers of Victory, etc. all of these stories have been collected in a series of trades called dilemma on several Earths.

Crisis on limitless Earths

Over the years, DC’s world ended up being so muddled they did dilemma on limitless Earths in an attempt to clean up the whole mess. as well as it did clean it up for a while, however somehow they ended up messing everything up once again over time as well as tried to right it once again with Zero Hour. then there was the major upgrade of the new 52 where DC introduced their entire line in an attempt to begin fresh. In the early days of the new 52, DC had guaranteed that there would be a tight as well as coherent universe, as well as there were looks of that, however it soon turned into a mess once again as Superman would be in three different events (Trinity War, Hel on Earth, as well asRotworld) all at the exact same time. If you are going to have clean continuity, Superman (or any type of other hero) must be restricted to one event at a time. marvel is likewise guilty of this so it is not like DC is alone. DC is appealing to enhance on this in the future as well as they have not totally forgotten their past as seen in grant Morrison’s lovingly look at DC’s crazy past with Multiversity.

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes

There have likewise been attempts to tie together licensed universes. These are events as well as not a coherent world like marvel as well as DC, however they are still crossovers of different worlds. the very best example of these is IDW where they have done a number of crossovers trying together different properties. There was Infestation which connected together GI Joe as well as Transformers (mind you the two properties have had a long history of crossing over} together with lots of others. They likewise did an X-Files crossover with Transformers, Ghostbusters, TMNT as well as others which were really rather good. They have likewise done little crossovers such as star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, star Trek/ physician who (which was extremely good) as well as star Trek/Planet of the Apes, which is likewise extremely good. all of these different crossovers events are offered in trade collections.

Don Rosa library Vol. 01: Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck – The kid of the Sun

Disney has a number of relatively tight universes however they are separated by different licenses. For example, you have the standard characters of Mickey, Donald, Uncle Scrooge, etc. They have a loose world where the characters satisfy when the stories phone call for it however there is not any type of type of continuity that marvel as well as DC has done. except for Don increased who is always trying to tie together old stories, mainly in the Duck world, as well as he does an outstanding task if it. There is likewise the Pixar world, as well as the world of the Princess, where a excellent collection of Princess stories just came out, called Disney’s Princess Treasury. It’s nearly 800 pages for $20 in full color – a excellent bargain.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents

A special mention must be pointed out of the Thunder Agents from the mid-1960s where Wally wood as well as good friends produced a world that connected together all of their heroes, Thunder Agents, Noman, Dynamo, etc., in a extremely tight universe. Plus, these were excellent stories. DC did a number of Archive editions of these comics as well as IDW is currently reprinting all of these classics in trade paperback.


The early Valiant world as put together by Jim Shooter was a excellent example of a world that was securely put together. all of the characters interacted with each other as well as they all shared the exact same villains as well as organizations. The early problems were so securely done that what occurred in one book would be showed into one more book that came out a week later. The downfall of this tight continuity came when Valiant started to broaden their world as well as they grew beyond the core six to eight books. As the world grew as well as gained popularity (and therefore the money crunchers demanded a lot more titles to bring in a lot more revenue) the continuity might not be held together. Plus, Shooter was no longer composing all the books. You then had to farm out a lot more as well as a lot more material outside of their core offices, where a great deal of the work was being done. In the ‘90s I checked out the Valiant offices rather on a regular basis as well as you would see a number of books being serviced in any way stages, from scripting to penciling to production. It was there where I had the possibility to satisfy as well as chat with Steve Ditko who was working there at the time. however just like nearly all of these excellent securely knit universes, success brought their doom.

CrossGen’s Scion

As a quick aside, in the 2000s, CrossGen Comics fate mirrored Valliant’s nearly to a T. They were extremely successful early on with a few books as well as had a tight continuity. With the success came a requirement to broaden as well as the a lot more titles they published, the a lot more the continuity got diluted as well as the business pertained to an abrupt halt as well as died. A pity as the early work was truly good.


Perhaps the tightest world as well as the longest running is the Archie Universe. The core books (which are soon pertaining to an end) have run nearly seventy five years in the exact same fundamental world of Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Reggie, Moose, as well as others. There has always been Pop Tate’s Chok’lit Shoppe as well as Riverdale High as well as all of the Riverdale highlights. considering that Archie is better to a gag animation strip than the standard superhero world, it truly does not in shape in with this article, however I believed it must be pointed out as I am such a fan of the traditional Archie material.

As you can see, there is a long history of trying unified universes in comics. a lot of with mixed results. I would suggest the early Variant comics were the most unified as well as finest reading. even though the early marvel material is likewise great. nearly all of these shared universes run into the exact same issue as they broadened the number of titles there were doing as well as the single visionary (Stan Lee, Jim Shooter, etc.) ended up being over dedicated as well as were not able to preserve their vision for the line. All victims of their own success. Of course, this is just a short introduction as well as there is a great deal a lot more that can be stated about any type of of these worlds, both pro as well as con.

That is it for this blog. whatever I have written right here is my viewpoint as well as in no method shows he thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. I motivate you opinions or thoughts as well as I can be contacted at MFBWAY@AOL.COM. I say thanks to you for the recent comments on my blogs as well as I look ahead to future conversations. evaluation copies, or general comments are welcome. As always,

Thank you.

Classic comic covers from the Grand Comics Database.