SDCC 2014: DC Comics: MULTIVERSITY Enrollment with Grant Morrison Panel

Full-color Map of the Multiversity
Credit: DC Comics

Multiversity, the long-awaited story reestablishing the multiverse by Grant Morrison and a host of artists is finally coming, and DC Comics hosted a panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego to reveal new details.

Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart, and editor Eddie Berganza took the dais for the panel hosted by John Cunningham.

"I'm not even me, I'm the evil version of Grant from Earth-3," Morrison started off.

"I've seen dynasties rise and fall since I started working on this." Morrison started on this as far back as 2006, and it was first approved in 2009.

Cunningham took the panel back to The Flash of Two Worlds, the first DC Multiverse story in the 60s. "This was the first one, and I loved it because The Flash Barry Allen takes on the role of The Flash because of reading a comic book when he was young. And funny enough the guy in the comic was a real man from another world called Jay Garrick.

"So I thought if it ever happened one day that something so devastating was to hit the entire multiverse, one of the ways we could communicated about it is by writing comics about it. So you'll see each issue, they'll be reading comic books about the other worlds' adventures. And our own real world also exists - it's Earth-33, which used to be known as Earth-Prime. I also liked that the multiverse was based on vibration - vibration is music! A lot of people didn't understand how Superman basically sang Darkseid to death at the end of Final Crisis. The whole DC Universe is a piece of music, so it's all put into an Octave and a structure of eights."

Multiversity #1  with Cover Text
Multiversity #1 with Cover Text
Credit: DC Comics

Likewise in Kamandi, he was reading comic books to learn about the past of the DC Universe.

The Monitors used to look at the 52 universes, but they're all gone now, "and we've become more vulnerable to things from beyond."

The cover to Multiversity #1 was shown next, with the President Superman and other crazy alternate characters on the cover.

Morrison said that it's been really fun working on this over the years, and now integrating it into the New 52 to keep it current. Berganza noted, "As an editor, I have to say - he's on time! He's almost done with this, in fact!"

Thunderer in Multiversity
Thunderer in Multiversity
Credit: DC Comics

The last of the Monitors is "set in place to protect the Multiverse," so he's "kind of my author's character," Morrison said. Thunderer is a character who is one of the DC "Marvel characters," an analogue for Thor who's an aboriginal God.

Morrison is excited to talk directly to the reader, the way that Stan Lee used to do. "It plays into stuff I'm interested in, breaking down the barriers of what's real and what's not. We developed this hypnotic induction technique to really fuck people up. It has mental effects and psychic effects that I think are quite bizarre."

Multiversity #2
Multiversity #2
Credit: DC Comics

The first world is Society of Superheroes, where it's 2014 and they've just come out of a war that was like the Second World War. There's "a lot of zombie fighting in this one. We have actually zombie paratroopers which is a new one!" It takes place on Earth-20. Abin Sur is the Green Lantern of that world, teamed with Lady Blackhawk and Doc Fate. "My thought was that Abin Sur was never seen even though he was protecting Earth because he looks a bit like Satan." Doc Fate is a pulp version of the magic user. "Any Jodphur enthusiasts, this is the book for you."

Multiversity #3: The Just
Multiversity #3: The Just
Credit: DC Comics

Book 3 is on Earth-16, and it's "The Just." In this world, "Batman and Superman have already solved all the problems of Earth," and their kids are now left on the world, with superpowers, but there is "seriously nothing to do. Green Arrow (Conner Hawke)'s daughter Arrowette is a Miley Cyrus type and he's trying to stop her getting involved in this stuff. It's a fun book."

In this world, too, The Atom turns 18 and never grows up from there. Lex Luthor's daughter is having an affair with Batman, Jr. - who is Damian Wayne grown up. And in this world Lex killed Superman, so Superman, Jr. is really pissed about their relationship. Offspring, Plasticman's son from an old Mark Waid/Frank Quitely story is in it, too.

Multiversity #4: Pax Americana
Multiversity #4: Pax Americana
Credit: DC Comics

Pax Americana is next, which "is our take on the Chalton characters - which plays into Watchmen. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons initially started a story on them, but went into the analogues. So we thought wouldn't it be interesting to take some of the characters and put them into the modern era. It's not the same story as Watchmen; we wanted to take those techniques and reinvent them. We start with the Peace sign on fire instead of the smiley face with blood on it. The cover serves as the first page of the story, and is all about why the Peacemaker assassinated the president of the United States. It goes backwards through time to tell the story.

Morrison and Frank Quitely use an eight-panel grid for the story, as a take-off of the 9-panel grid for Watchmen.

Multiversity #5 - Thunderworld
Multiversity #5 - Thunderworld
Credit: DC Comics

Issue 5 is Thunderworld, with the classic CC Beck style Shazam. Cameron Stewart came onto the project after Morrison simply announced him as that artist, without actually asking him to do it first!

"Grant mentioned it to me as this is the "All-Star Superman" for Shazam/Captain Marvel," Stewart said.

Dr. Sivana and the Sivana family are going to be in the issue, and Morrison said it's funny how he's "married to the most beautiful woman in the galaxy and nothing's good enough for him.

"What Sivana does is tracks the magical lightning back to his source. So he decides to create a technological version and an equation to duplicate the power."

Stewart actually finished this issue over a year ago. "Frank Quitely's been working for 2.5 years and still isn't done," Morrison joked.

Stewart also knows "almost nothing about the overarcing story, so I am really excited to read it. That's the fun of working with Grant, he doesn't tell you anything!"

There is also a guidebook, and it defines every one of the 52 worlds, with all of the characters that live on each one - "I though tI owed you that after all this time," Morrison said.

Multiverse Map sketch by Grant Morrison
Multiverse Map sketch by Grant Morrison
Credit: Entertainment Weekly / DC Entertainment

Earth 6 is the Stan Lee "Just Imagine" Universe, and it's directly opposite the Jack Kirby Universe. A full-color Rian Hughes version of the map will have no text on it, so that you have to use it with the guide book "which is rather like taking six tabs of acid." There are seven "unknown worlds," which used to be a DC theme.

Fan Q&A Summary: No Animal-Mans in this multiverse set of stories. Some throwaway Batmans who only appeared in a panel or two of old stories in the 70s will appear on specific Earths now. President Superman and Captain Carrot lead the "Multiversal team," and Grant's proud there's "only one straight white guy on the whole team" (that's that Multiversity #1 cover). Flashpoint and the other revisions are addressed in the Guidebook, where "all of the history becomes true." "There's a lot that are Elseworlds, like the Justice Riders. I thought it'd be more fun to tie those into the history of DC's Western characters, so Johnny Thunder is a Shazam, and Tomahawk is Tomahawkman - we changed them into Superheroes. They're all riding steampunk horses. There's nothing that's specifically a "pre-52" universe, but a lot of stories that will remind you of comics you used to read."

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