VAMPIRE BATMAN, HYPNOTIC INDUCTION, AND GOD: GRANT MORRISON TALKS ‘THE MULTIVERSITY’ [INTERVIEW]
By Matt D. Wilson
For years now, DC Comics fans have been hearing about writer Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity – a universe-jumping series of one-shot stories tied together by an introductory and concluding issue that tracks the cosmic monitor Nix Woton as he tries to save multiple universes from an existential threat. Universes that become aware of this threat by reading about it in comic books… comic books that, it turns out, take place in neighboring universes. We first saw artwork from Frank Quitely’s installment all the way back in 2012, but the project has been in the works since even before the advent of DC’s line-wide 2011 reboot, the New 52 (a name that has proven confusing in the past, but, we promise, never more so than in this interview).
Now it’s finally starting next month, featuring auspicious collaborations with artists including Cameron Stewart, Ben Oliver, Chris Sprouse, Ivan Reis, Frank Quitely, and even more besides, introducing readers to a Vampire Batman, a Nazi Superman, a dinosaur cop, “Sister Miracle,” an evil comic book called Ultra Comics, and tons of other ideas inspired by the deep history of DC Comics lore.
Some of that lore actually comes from other companies, of course, and those elements will be prominently represented in Multiversity. The Shazam family of characters originated in the Fawcett Comics titles of the 1940s, and take a prominent role in Multiversity’s “Thunderworld” issue drawn by Cameron Stewart. Likewise, the heroes acquired by DC from Charlton Comics — such as the Question and Blue Beetle — star in their own issue with artwork by Frank Quitely, who with Morrison will place the characters into a story and style reminiscent of Watchmen, the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel inspired by the same characters.
If that’s not deep enough for you, maybe you’d prefer the Chris Sprouse-drawn world of Earth 20, the home of DC’s World War II era heroes like Doctor Fate (or “Doc Fate”, as he’s known in Multiversity) and Lady Blackhawk. There’s also Earth 16, drawn by Ben Oliver, where the descendants of Superman and the rest of the greatest DC heroes have become vapid, grotesque celebrities like something out of reality television.
But those are just a few details of what will be seven much more fleshed out universes, but even those are just seven of 52. There’s a lot to keep track of, so in addition to Multiversity itself, DC and Morrison will release a guidebook that will finally — seven years since it was introduced in 52 — break down and explain the DC multiverse. Somehow fittingly, the book will feature Jack Kirby’s Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, and include a multiversal map designed by Rian Hughes showing where each of DC’s 52 universes lies on a cosmic landscape.
From what we can see, the Monitor Sphere and the Sphere Of The Gods oversee all of creation, with perhaps lesser entities residing in realms identified as Apokalips, Nightmare, Hell, Underworld, Dream, Heaven, New Genesis, or Skyland. All the universes are contained in an “Orrery of Worlds,” a concept you may remember from 52, the series Morrison wrote with Geoff Johns, Mark Waid and Greg Rucka that excavated the multiverse from DC’s continuity basement.
We sat down with Morrison at Comic-Con International in San Diego for a few minutes to dig into all these events and ideas and talk about how The Multiversity has evolved over its long production.