13 Dimensions of MULTIVERSITY: DC Worlds We Want Brought Back!

Which alternate DC Earth would you like to return to in Grant Morrison’s epic Multiversity event, beginning this week? Here are 13 far-out suggestions:

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Multiversity, which starts today 8/20, returns the concept of infinite earths to the DC Universe. True, there have been 52 of ‘em floating around, bumping into each other, getting underfoot, and clogging up the sink over the past seven years. Multiversity will visit new and old parallel earths as it literally rewrites the old Rand-McNally Map of the DC Universe, which I wouldn’t use anymore to get to your mom’s, unless you want your mother to turn out to be a zombie Nazi polar bear who killed Lincoln. I’m looking forward to new Earths and revised versions of familiar worlds, but I’m also hoping there’s time to visit some of the most oddball of DC’s parallel Earths.

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Here are 13 Weird Worlds worth revisiting in DC’s Multiverse. Oil up your own Cosmic Treadmill and follow along!

1. Earth-I: The (Inevitable) Death of Superman

Nope, that’s not the 1992 Death of Superman at the bony clawed fists of Doomsday, a villain introduced a few months before, but the first death of the Man of Steel, murdered in his Silver Age prime by his very own archnemesis, Lex Luthor. In this parallel history, Lex cures the world of cancer, thus convincing his prison board and Superman that he’s reformed.

Panels from Superman #149 (1961), script by Jerry Siegel, art by Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff

Panels from Superman #149 (1961), script by Jerry Siegel, art by Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff

But surprise! (Well, surprise to everyone except those who have ever read a Superman comic book, that is.) Lex actually uses the opportunity to trap and kill Supes with a Kryptonite ray while he forces Kal’s friends to watch, then unceremoniously dumps the body by the side of the road. Which only goes to prove: never trust Lex Luthor. (Are you listening to me, New 52 Superman in the Justice League alongside New 52 Luthor?)

Panels from Superman #149 (1961), script by Jerry Siegel, art by Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff

This story is not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story…oh, wait, it is an imaginary story; sorry. But that means Superman stays dead and Luthor is sentenced to an eternity in the Phantom Zone. We all know that no one ever escapes the Phantom Zone, right? Supergirl takes over protecting Metropolis, and nobody ever sees Superman again in this imaginary story. That’s why I call this world Earth-“I”, and let’s face it, a world without cancer and without Lex Luthor isn’t gonna be that bad to live in now, is it?

Panels from Superman #149 (1961), script by Jerry Siegel, art by Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff

2. Earth-Lobo-Oh-Seven: The Spy That Fragged Me

Each of DC’s 1994 annuals featured a different Elseworld, those parallel Earths where, as the ad copy told us, super-heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places — some that have existed, and others that can’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t exist. A shorter version of this: You wanna see Pirate Batman? Here he is! In between Revolutionary War Superman, Nazi Green Lantern, and medieval Legion of Super-Heroes is one of the most bizarre (and one of my favorite)) Elseworlds tales in L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual #5. If it had been published by Marvel, they would have called it “What If Lobo was James Bond?”

Panels from L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 Annual #5 (1994), script by Tom Peyer, art by Mike McKone and Wayne Faucher

Panels from L.E.G.I.O.N. ’94 Annual #5 (1994), script by Tom Peyer, art by Mike McKone and Wayne Faucher

In a world of dangerous devils, desirable damsels and dirty deeds done dirt cheap, will Lobo…James Lobo…save the Earth — or destroy it?

Panels from L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 Annual #5 (1994), script by Tom Peyer, art by Mike McKone and Wayne Faucher

I’m really hoping Multiversity visits this Elseworld. I really want to see further adventures of James Lobo, like “Frag Another Day” and “Skyfrag.”

3. Earth-SS: Like fathers, like sons…think about it, won’t you?

Cover of World's Finest Comics #215 (1972), art by Nick Cardy

Cover of World’s Finest Comics #215 (1972), art by Nick Cardy

One of the greatest creators of stories that don’t quite fit like puzzle pieces into regular continuity is Bob Haney, co-creator of some of the wildest concepts at DC: the swingin’ sixties original version of the Teen Titans, element man Metamorpho, and dozens of weird, way-out Brave and the Bold stories that improbably teamed up Batman with Sgt. Rock or Kamandi. Haney didn’t let strict continuity get in the way of a good story, which is why so many of his comics are supposedly set on “Earth-B” (for Bob), a carefree alternate to stodgy old Earth-1. And although Haney didn’t create the concept of Superman and Batman having teenage sons being groomed to take over the family business one day, he did turn those characters into the Super-Sons, a timely saga of rebelling (super) youths struggling with “the man” — that is, “the Bat-Man” and “the Super-Man.” Both at home…

Panels from World's Finest Comics #215 (1972), script by Bob Haney, art by Dick Dillin and Henry Scarpelli

Panels from World’s Finest Comics #215 (1972), script by Bob Haney, art by Dick Dillin and Henry Scarpelli

…and in costume…

Panels from World's Finest Comics #230 (1975), script by Bob Haney, art by Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell

Panels from World’s Finest Comics #230 (1975), script by Bob Haney, art by Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell

…the Super-Sons had to deal with their square dads and the generation gap in a decade of peace, love, tuning in and dropping out, setting off on their own journeys and crime-fighting adventures.

Panel from World's Finest Comics #215 (1972), script by Bob Haney, art by Dick Dillin and Henry Scarpelli

I’d love to see this Earth again, because these stories remain concrete proof that neither Clark Kent nor Bruce Wayne should ever have children.

Panel from World's Finest Comis #224 (1974), script by Bob Haney, art by Dick Dillin and Vince Colletta

Panel from World’s Finest Comis #224 (1974), script by Bob Haney, art by Dick Dillin and Vince Colletta

4. Earth-Scooby: Where all the villains wear rubber masks

There’s actually already an entire added wing currently nailed onto the side of DC Universe in their non-canon digital-first weekly comics and their all-ages print titles, which take place outside the familiar climes of the New 52. From Batman ’66 to Smallville, from the Jiro Kuwata Batmanga to Justice League Beyond and Teen Titans Go!, these non-continuity tales are often some of the most entertaining parallel worlds.

Perhaps none is so unique as the world of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, which pairs the teens (and dog) of Mystery, Inc. with characters from the DC Universe. Yes: It’s just like those episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies where they met Batman and Robin (and Don Knotts, Sonny and Cher, Dick van Dyke and the Harlem Globetrotters.) Thrill as Ace the Bat-Hound and Scooby-Doo become the Canine Crusaders!

Panels from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #4 (2014), script by Sholly Fisch, art by Dario Brizuela

Panels from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #4 (2014), script by Sholly Fisch, art by Dario Brizuela, with some serious Miller riffing going on there

Think you’re turning Japanese as Shaggy and company encounter the chibi versions of Teen Titans Go!?

Panels from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #7 (2014)

Panels from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #7 (2014)

Daphne and Velma learning to fight crime under the mentorship of Super Friends Wonder Woman? Sure, why not?

Panels from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #9 (2014)

Panels from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #9 (2014)

Yep, I wanna see this. I want Multiversity to bring back Scooby-Mite.

Panel from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #6 (2014)

Panel from Scooby-Doo Team-Up #6 (2014)

5. Earth-89: Mr. and Mrs. Bruce and Lois Wayne

Remember all those Silver Age Lois Lane comics where she hatched some embarrassingly anti-feminist plot to catch Superman as her own private super boy-toy? In Lois Lane #89, LL finally wises up and devises Fifty Ways to Leave Your Superman. (“Go fight a whale, Kal / Get real, Man o’ Steel / You’re a question mark, Clark / Now Lois is free.”) Which leaves the door wide open for the only other bachelor in the DC Universe, Bruce Wayne, to date and romance Lois.

Panels from Lois Lane #89 (1969), script by Leo Dorfman, art by Curt Swan and Mike Esposito

Panels from Lois Lane #89 (1969), script by Leo Dorfman, art by Curt Swan and Mike Esposito

You’d think Clark would be above this all. Is Superman upset at this? Is he? Well, does Bizarro poop in the woods?

Panels from Lois Lane #89 (1969), script by Leo Dorfman, art by Curt Swan and Mike Esposito

Robin’s not all that chuffed either after Bruce reveals his secret identity to Lois … um, sure, it’s after the wedding, but still. Cue that Incredible Hulk sad piano theme as Robin walks off into the sunset…

Panels from Lois Lane #89 (1969), script by Leo Dorfman, art by Curt Swan and Mike Esposito

Why I love this world so much: When gangsters who want to know Batman’s secret ID kidnap Lois and torture her by literally throwing big words at her, she finally cracks and tells them that Batman is in fact Clark Kent.

Panels from Lois Lane #89 (1969), script by Leo Dorfman, art by Curt Swan and Mike Esposito

This story can’t stomp on Superman and Robin hard enough for me! Haw!

6: Earth-9602: well, I’ll be super-Amalgamated!

Amalgam: the weird and wonderful merging of the DC and Marvel Universes in two miniseries in 1996-97 produced such hybrid heroes as Superman and Captain America combined to form Super-Soldier!

Panel from Super-Soldier #1 (1996), co-plot and script by Mark Waid, co-plot and art by Dave Gibbons

Panel from Super-Soldier #1 (1996), co-plot and script by Mark Waid, co-plot and art by Dave Gibbons

Batman and Robin (The Animated Series!) and Wolverine and Jubilee stuck in a blender and reconstituted as Dark Claw and Sparrow!

Panels from Dark Claw Adventures #1 (1997), script by Ty Templeton, art by Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett

Panels from Dark Claw Adventures #1 (1997), script by Ty Templeton, art by Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett

I think you can figure this one out:

Panel from Lobo the Duck #1 (1997), script by Alan Grant, art by Val Semeiks and Ray Kryssing

Panel from Lobo the Duck #1 (1997), script by Alan Grant, art by Val Semeiks and Ray Kryssing

I definitely support Multiversity re-visiting the Amalgam Universe, if only to see Red Lantern cat Dex-Starr combined with Rocket Raccoon. Oh, c’mon, tell me you wouldn’t buy that.

7. Earth-C-Minus: Super Furry Friends

Sure, I was ultra-excited to see the advance cover of Multiversity #1 and find that Morrison’s series would include Captain Carrot, that sensational super-rabbit and his Zoo Crew team of fightin’ fauna from Earth-C (now boringly renamed Earth-26, because we can’t have fun lettered Earths anymore). But I’m hoping the series digs just one dimension deeper to Earth-C-Minus, where the heroes of comic books published on Earth-C live. Yep, to express it as one of those SAT logic questions: “Earth-1 is to Earth-2 as Earth-C is to Earth-C-Minus.” C-Minus is where the animal doppelgangers of Earth-1 live, and their names are not only animal puns but pretty groan-worthy animal puns. On Earth-C, the animal heroes have joined together to form the JLA: “Justa Lotta Animals!”

Panel from Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! #14 (1983), plot by E. Nelson Bridwell, script by Scott Shaw!, art by Scott Shaw!, Al Gordon, and Carol Lay

Panel from Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! #14 (1983), plot by E. Nelson Bridwell, script by Scott Shaw!, art by Scott Shaw!, Al Gordon, and Carol Lay

We also saw the later, “satellite-era” JLAnimals, but luckily not the story where Zap-Panda brainwashed all her teammates, leading to the events in “Aye-Aye Dentity Crisis.”

Panel from Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! #14 (1983), plot by E. Nelson Bridwell, script by Scott Shaw!, art by Scott Shaw!, Al Gordon, and Carol Lay

I would like to visit the current Justa Lotta Animals, because they’d certainly now have Cyboar as a member.

8. Earth-Go-Boom: In which Jimmy and Superman must repopulate the Earth

Panels from Jimmy Olsen #29 (1958), script by Otto Binder, art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley

Panels from Jimmy Olsen #29 (1958), script by Otto Binder, art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley

I think we all wanna see what happens next here.

9. Earth-Terrapin: The Shell of Steel

Here’s an alternate world, created by DC gag cartoonist Henry Boltinoff, I’d love to revisit. I’m not certain of the history of this Earth, but I presume Jor-El and Lara, as Krypton exploded around them, managed to save their pet turtle by rocketing him to Earth, where he became … well, you can guess.

Super-Turtle strip from Action Comics #318 (1964), script and art by Henry Boltinoff

Super-Turtle strip from Action Comics #318 (1964), script and art by Henry Boltinoff

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…turtle? Boltinoff’s many filler comic strips populated the pages of DC books during the Silver Age, so consider: This strip is set in the same world as Cap’s Hobby Hints!

Super-Turtle strip from Action Comics #309 (1964), script and art by Henry Boltinoff

Super-Turtle strip from Action Comics #309 (1964), script and art by Henry Boltinoff

Say, whatever happened to Super-Turtle, anyway?

Panel from Ambush Bug #3 (1985), plot by Keith Giffin, script by Robert Fleming, art by Keith Giffen and Bob Oksner

Panel from Ambush Bug #3 (1985), plot by Keith Giffin, script by Robert Fleming, art by Keith Giffen and Bob Oksner

10. Earth-Python: I’m a Kryptonian and I’m OK

We’ve never seen this Earth since its sole appearance in Superman: True Brit, an Elseworlds original graphic novel — a world where the baby Kal-El landed not in Smallville, Kansas, but in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England, and was raised by a kindly British couple!

Panels from Superman: True Brit graphic novel (2004), script by John Cleese and Kim "Howard" Johnson, art by John Byrne and Mark Farmer

Panels from Superman: True Brit graphic novel (2004), script by John Cleese and Kim “Howard” Johnson, art by John Byrne and Mark Farmer

Thus young Colin Clark becomes Great Britain’s Man of Tea … Superman!

Panels from Superman: True Brit graphic novel (2004), script by John Cleese and Kim "Howard" Johnson, art by John Byrne and Mark Farmer

It’s about time we revisited this Earth! Based on ideas created by Monty Python founding member John Cleese (who grew up in Weston-super-Mare himself) and scripted by Kim “Howard” Johnson, the author of several Python biographies and reference books, True Brit takes its subject decidedly less seriously and contains whole baskets full of Monty Python and The Rutles Easter eggs for the sharp-eyed viewer.

Panels from Superman: True Brit graphic novel (2004), script by John Cleese and Kim "Howard" Johnson, art by John Byrne and Mark Farmer

11. Earth-1893: The Bare Super-Necessities

Cover of Superman Annual #6 (1994), art by Mike Mignola

Cover of Superman Annual #6 (1994), art by Mike Mignola

Take Superman, squish him together with Rudyard Kipling, and you’ve got Kal-El as The Jungle Book‘s Mowgli! Which is a brilliant idea, although I really think they should have taken the opportunity to make tiger villain Shere Khan bald.

Panels from Superman Annual #6 (1994), script by Darren Vincenzo, art by Frank Fosco and Stan WochCover of Superman Annual #6 (1994), art by Mike Mignola

Panels from Superman Annual #6 (1994), script by Darren Vincenzo, art by Frank Fosco and Stan Woch

This Earth also liberally sprinkles on some Edgar Rice Burroughs to Tarzan it up a bit, including homaging Maureen O’Sullivan’s (body double’s) infamous nude swimming scene in the 1934 movie Tarzan and His Mate. Say, how ya gonna keep a Superman in the jungle when he’s seen Lois Lane nekkid?

Panels from Superman Annual #6 (1994), script by Darren Vincenzo, art by Frank Fosco and Stan Woch

Of course, the whole adventure eventually gets told to Rudyard Kipling, who thinks it’s a dandy story to turn into an adventure novel. Parallel-Earth stories: turning respected writers into plagiarists since 1875.

Panels from Superman Annual #6 (1994), script by Darren Vincenzo, art by Frank Fosco and Stan Woch

Why do I want to go back to this Earth? Why, because I want to see if they’ve turned this scenario and these characters into TaleSpin!

12. Earth-HOYVIN-GLAVIN!: The Brave and the Bird-Brained

Covers from The Adventures of Jerry Lewis

I know that despite my fondness for National/DC’s licensed celebrity and comedy titles of the Silver Age, we’ll never again see them in print due to licensing issues. There goes my dream of having an entire library of SHOWCASE PRESENTS: BOB HOPE, but it can’t stop me wishing that the New 52 crosses over once again with Jerry Lewis, who had his own DC comic book for nearly 20 years (five of them teamed up with Dean Martin). Jerry bumbled his way through team-ups with Batman…

Panels from The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #97 (1966), script by Arnold Drake, art by Bob Oksner

Panels from The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #97 (1966), script by Arnold Drake, art by Bob Oksner

…Superman…

Panels from The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #105 (1968), script by Arnold Drake, art by Bob Oksner

Panels from The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #105 (1968), script by Arnold Drake, art by Bob Oksner

…the Flash…

Panels from The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #112 (1969), script by E. Nelson Bridwell, art by Bob Oksner

Panels from The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #112 (1969), script by E. Nelson Bridwell, art by Bob Oksner

…making him the nexus of worlds between the DC Universe and The Nutty Professor. Hey, if nothing else, it’ll help the Multiversity series sell in France.

13. Earth-Twinkie: Crisis in Delicious Golden Pastry and Tasty Fruit Filling

But if I have to choose one, only one long-forgotten world of the DC Multiverse to be revisited by Grant Morrison, I am crossing my fruit-jam-stained fingers in the hopes that the New 52 visits the world of Hostess Snack Cakes, where no villainous deed is severe enough that it can’t be battled by delicious creme filling or chocolately cake.

Panel from Hostess ad "The Intergalactic Gold Eaters" in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #249 (1979), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Panel from Hostess ad “The Intergalactic Gold Eaters” in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #249 (1979), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Sick of all the blood, guts, and severed Joker faces in current Batman comics? Here’s a simpler world where murder no longer exists, but the Gotham City Police Department does have a Division of Missing Pastries.

Panel from Hostess ad "Twinkieless Gotham City" in The Flash #241 (1976), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Panel from Hostess ad “Twinkieless Gotham City” in The Flash #241 (1976), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Just as DC superhero comics taught us to fight for truth, justice, and the American way, and that criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot, the DC Universe Twinkie ads showed us that any puzzling problem can be solved by the liberal application of delicious, fruity filling and crispy, baked pie crust.

Panel from Hostess ad "The Spy" in Tales of Ghost Castle #2 (1975), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Panel from Hostess ad “The Spy” in Tales of Ghost Castle #2 (1975), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Take it from me, Mister Grant Morrison: If you want to create the crossover story of the year, you’ll send the DC heroes to the kinder, gentler Earth-Twinkie, where nobody’s arms ever get ripped off and everyone loves those delicious Hostess Snack Cakes.

Well, almost everyone.

Panel from Hostess ad "The Cornered Clown" in Batman #282 (1976), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Panel from Hostess ad “The Cornered Clown” in Batman #282 (1976), art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

Author: John DiBello

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4 Comments

  1. The Earth-Twinkie Luthor stole 40 Hostess CupCakes.

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  2. The real Earth One. For Gods sake just bring back the real Weisinger-Schwartz Earth One!!!

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  3. No Inferior Five?!?

    // revised versions of familiar worlds //

    And that’s the key phrase right there. We aren’t getting the actual “original” parallel Earths. I should be totally stoked for Multiversity, but like the rest of the New 52 (until Batgirl #35) it’s getting a pass from me.

    I’ve been a fan of DC’s multiverse since shortly after I started reading comics — picked up the JSA revival in All-Star Comics #58 off the spinner rack at 5 years old, having already become familiar with the concept after reading the wacky JLA/JSA crossover in Justice League #123-124 featuring Earth-One, Earth-Two, and Earth-Prime. The first back issues sought out by precocious little me were alternate-Earth tales, Imaginary Stories, and those wacky Super-Sons issues of World’s Finest that Haney insisted were real. What Grant Morrison’s doing now might have echoes of that great old weird stuff, along with his newer pet projects like President Obama Superman, but it is by dint of present continuity once if not twice removed from its origins. Remember when the Power Girl who existed in the last iteration of Earth-Zero before Flashpoint found a new “Earth-2″ and thought it was home at last, only to discover that it was instead merely a version of her own Earth-Two that had overwritten the original, that she was a remnant of the DC Multiverse wiped away by Crisis on Infinite Earths still hanging around as its sole survivor after Infinite Crisis? Despite iterations of the old Earth-S and Earth-C and so forth with varying degrees of fidelity to the first worlds of those names, this ain’t them; this can’t be them, in large part because they were a reaction to the classic Earth-One and we haven’t had that around in ages. Sigh… Hypertime, we hardly knew ye.

    The mostly digital-first alternative stuff like Batman ’66, Scooby-Doo Team-Up, and Adventures of Superman is all I’m getting from DC these days, excepting the odd Vertigo or whatever. Derek Fridolfs’ Li’l Gotham was delightful. My sister’s kids love Art & Franco’s Tiny Titans and the like. Sholly Fisch has, since Batman: The Brave and the Bold and that series based on a horribly designed toy line that dared to call itself Super Friends, been writing the best, most awesomely winky DC-continuity-nut-friendly stuff in years for the DC kids line. I want more of that, and while we’re at it Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Ninth Grade, and, geez, just a mainstream DC universe that I can relate to.

    I mean, y’know, since you asked.

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