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11/05/2020 2:30 pm  #1


Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

This thread is to discuss and hash out what types of interdimensional linkages there are, so they can then be properly catalogued.

Off the top of my head, the first examples I can think of are:

Shared world - these characters are just in the same universe normally. e.g. Spider-Man and the FF. While many comic companies now do this by default almost immediately, we forget this was once something unusual, so it'd be nice to try and note the first time it was confirmed by various companies. This might also be listed to establish characters share a world where it's not the default for a given company or clear from the outset - e.g. each new Marvel title might in theory be in a world of its own, at least until an established 616 character shows up.

Blended world - these characters suddenly appear together in a story with no explanation, as if they have always shared a world. Except we know from other comics that isn't the case normally. In-universe it might be an alternate reality where they always shared a world, or it might be a temporary reality merger or characters having slipped temporarily between universes, or it might be that a character from one reality just has a counterpart in another. Regardless, no explicit explanation is given in the story itself. Examples include Superman meeting Spider-Man in 1976, or the Teen Titans and the X-Men in the 80s. In the story they seem to share a world, and recall hearing about one another, but it's definitely not normally the case. And it can't just be that 616 happens to have counterparts to Superman and the Titans, or DC's Earth 1 has versions of Spidey and the X-Men, as the crossovers bring in way too many other characters from both companies. 

Incorporated - Marvel is the master of this one - a given character, usually licensed, is simply revealed to have a version native to the reality of the company's other characters.

Reality jump - characters explicitly are seen to move between realities in order to meet.

Cameo - a character has a counterpart in another company's universe (or maybe has temporarily ended up there), based on a sneaky unofficial cameo.
     A sub-category of this one would be where it's clearly not a "proper" version of the character being cameoed, but someone very close approximation - cf the DC versions of the Survival Geeks mentioned a couple of posts below this one.

Temporary reality merger - two or more realities explicitly merge with one another. We've seen this with DC/Marvel in Amalgam, Marvel's Heroes Reborn with Wildstorm, DC and Milestone, etc.

Any other types? Or suggested amendments to the ones listed so far?



 

 

11/05/2020 4:30 pm  #2


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

One interesting variant seem in superhero comics is the Costume Party Sequence. While characters with dialogue generally dress as indigenous characters, background characters sometimes dress as other characters. This neither confirms nor denies the character is indigenous but does confirm that the character wearing the costume is aware of them. This may be a form of cameo but differs in a couple ways: the character may appear off and on throughout the sequence, and it's generally confirmed by partygoers and readers that the character they're dressed at isn't actually present. Though this may be an incorrect assumption, as sometimes characters show up at a costume party dressed as their actual alter egos.


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11/06/2020 1:35 am  #3


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

Andy E. Nystrom wrote:

One interesting variant seem in superhero comics is the Costume Party Sequence. While characters with dialogue generally dress as indigenous characters, background characters sometimes dress as other characters. This neither confirms nor denies the character is indigenous but does confirm that the character wearing the costume is aware of them. This may be a form of cameo but differs in a couple ways: the character may appear off and on throughout the sequence, and it's generally confirmed by partygoers and readers that the character they're dressed at isn't actually present. Though this may be an incorrect assumption, as sometimes characters show up at a costume party dressed as their actual alter egos.

Yeah, the costume party one doesn't prove an actual version of the character exists in a given universe, but does mean that there is at least awareness of the character, even if only as a fiction. And just as in the real world, you can have a mix of people dressed as fictional characters alongside real world individuals. 

I can think of two occasions where comics depicted people in costume, and while some were clearly just regular joes dressed as the characters, others had to be the real deal.

Charlton's Ghost Manor II#21 included a bunch of cameos at a parade, featuring Blue Beetle, E-Man and Captain Atom, and while the location might suggest they could have just been people dressed up as those heroes, they each demonstrated evidence of their actual superpowers beyond what a normal person in costume could achieve - E-Man appears to be firing energy from one hand, Captain Atom is launching into flight, and Blue Beetle has access to his flying beetle ship.

Meanwhile 2000AD Prog#2083's cover features a group of characters attending a convention, surrounded by people in costume. Some are definitely just fans dressed in cosplay, such as a female version of the fourth Doctor leading round a man dressed as a humanoid version of K-9. This might suggest the same to be true of most of the other characters present, until you spot Mike from Monsters Inc. and realize that there's no way a human, even a small one, could wear a costume that looks like the real Mike, with his extremely thin legs and arms.

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11/06/2020 3:57 am  #4


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

And then there are crossovers like this. 
https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/8/85763/7653232-geekcrisis1.jpg
I'm not sure how to describe this off the top of my head. The characters in question are the Survival Geeks from 2000AD, interdimensional travelers, and they've just been called to an assemblage of their counterparts from across the multiverse. Since they are SF fans, it might be possible to make the case that these are all just versions of them in different cosplays, except that wouldn't work to explain the glowing Greys, Transformers, etc. And if those versions are genuinely non-human then presumably all of them are just who they look to be. Which means these
https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/8/85763/7653241-dcgeeks.jpg

are versions of the Geeks where one is Batman, another Superman, another Wonder Woman and the last Braniac. So this is a link to DC (obviously an unauthorized one, but still a link).

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11/08/2020 6:40 am  #5


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

One thing that often comes up when discussing these kind of crossovers is the "validity" of same. Those who dislike the concept that the Omniverse means every story is linked often use this to argue that various crossovers don't "count." As such, there's a general "loss of credibility" in a crossover if the story is underlyingly humorous or seems to be self-aware or metafictional, even if all other aspects of the crossover would otherwise support it being canonical. 

An example of what I mean. The more curmudgeonly among us thus likes to insist that it clearly wasn't the "real" Judge Dredd who chatted with the "real" Marshal Law in 2000 A.D.'s "A Night to Remember" because that tale was a celebration of the comic's history and somewhat tongue-in-cheek. While I disagree, I do recognise that it's better to provide non-humorous links when they are available, as those are harder to refute. Naysayers can insist ANtR doesn't prove Dredd shares a multiverse with other 2000 A.D. characters, but it's much harder to deny it when the crossovers happened in Helter-Skelter, a serious story which was all about scientists in Mega-City One accessing alternate realities. 

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11/08/2020 7:01 am  #6


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

One interesting question of whether or not something counts is bonus features on discs or tapes. Short films certainly count. I would argue that Spider-Man "meeting" the movie X-Men probably doesn't count despite appearing on an Easter Egg in the X-Men DVD because the actors immediately broke character upon seeing him. But what if a character (and I don't have any example in mind) appears in a deleted scene that appears as a bonus feature in a movie or show but did not make it into any cut of said movie or show?


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11/08/2020 8:07 am  #7


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

Andy E. Nystrom wrote:

One interesting question of whether or not something counts is bonus features on discs or tapes. Short films certainly count. I would argue that Spider-Man "meeting" the movie X-Men probably doesn't count despite appearing on an Easter Egg in the X-Men DVD because the actors immediately broke character upon seeing him. But what if a character (and I don't have any example in mind) appears in a deleted scene that appears as a bonus feature in a movie or show but did not make it into any cut of said movie or show?

I think if everyone remains in character, and the cut scene doesn't contradict the finished version (e.g. it could still have happened, just out of the audience's sight), then it counts. And if it does contradict the finished version, then it still counts too, but as evidence that the given character is in an alternate reality where events played out slightly differently.

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11/21/2020 2:54 pm  #8


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

Just thought of an interesting variation, one which could have easily added more characters to my collage: unauthorized use of characters, where they meet other unauthorized characters or original characters created by the swipers. These can fall under two categories:

Little to no distribution: it could be argued that if, for example, a kid creates a homemade comic, using characters without permission (which a lot of kids do), it creates a minor pocket reality which eventually goes away as the work gets destroyed and the creator's memory fades. Kids using toys to tell verbal stories of characters meeting might also count.

Trickier are foreign swipes, often in the form of movies (more than one with the Three Supermen in them). These are arguably also just pocket realities where anyone can meet anyone, but though unauthorized and illegal they have more staying power than the minimal distribution types, and their existence has been secured through internet preservation. They might be blurry due to source film decay over the decades but you can still discern the story.


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11/21/2020 3:12 pm  #9


Re: Omniverse map 2.0 - types of connections between universes

Yeah. Fan made stories and art would also fit, and thanks to the internet have a level of staying power. Given that these can create crossovers without any restrictions and are so numerous that it's virtually impossible to maintain track of them, trying to list them all would be insanity inducing. Plus while there's some incredible fan art out there, there's also a ton of terrible stuff. If something makes it to proper publication, then I'm cool with adding it to the list, and I am willing to make an exception to the "no tracking fan art" on occasion.

Foreign swipes often fit neatly into the other categories - I listed examples of Marvel and DC characters appearing in 2000AD humour strips like Captain Klep in the unofficial cameos section, and given 2000AD is British, they'd count as foreign swipes. 

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