Friday, October 14, 2005


More Morrison Crazy Talk

Finally got a chance to check out this recent interview with Grant Morrison, which features golden nuggets like the following (for those not up on their geek-speak, "DCU" is the "DC Universe"):

'Hypertime' was the name Mark Waid gave to a concept of cosmic geometry I'd come up with, one bleary night in San Diego - given that the DCU has a Time LINE, the idea started as a consideration of what might exist beyond the Time Line, on the Time PLANE, or even in the mysterious Time CUBE . The theory allowed every comic story you ever read to be part of a larger-scale mega-continuity, which also includes other comic book 'universes' as well as the 'real world' we live in and dimensions beyond our own. It was also about how the world of fiction relates literally and geometrically to the world of 'reality'. Some of its basic features have even been echoed in current cosmological ideas emerging from the field of superstring research and M-Theory. Skip the rest of this answer if you can't be bothered with crazy talk.

We all live in Hypertime - in our 3-Dimensional level of Hypertime, which can be seen as CUBE TIME in relation to the DCU's LINE TIME, we can pick up comics and leaf through them, flipping in any direction - 'time traveling' back and forward through the 'continuity' like some new Doctor Who! I have a suspicion, based upon experience, that in HYPERCUBE TIME, there exist intelligences who stand in relation to our 3-D universe as we stand in relation to the 2-D universe of our comic book, film or TV heroes and who can leaf through our lives and times with the same ease we can leaf through Superman’s history but that's just me.

And think about the emotional experience of reading comics. Nothing but ink on paper, right ? Yet people fall in love with Jean Grey and threaten to commit murder in her name! People cry when Ted Kord gets shot dead! As we all know, inert drawings and words on a page can produce an absorbing, often addictive, unfolding illusion of life, movement and even personality but surely the reader's 'experience' of the 'story' in a comic is actually a hologram - a virtual reality generated by the overlapping of multiple human consciousnesses - 'creator' consciousness interfacing with 'audience' consciousness through the medium of print.

Hypertime: Different from the Infinite Earths multiverse in name only. Except DC has disavowed Hypertime as stupid, and is now bringing back the multiverse in the Infinite Crisis maxi-series.

Because they are so different, don't you know.
Similar concepts in application, perhaps. But I always thought that Hypertim shared more in common with Alan Moore's "temporal fluke" from his famous Twilight of the Supeheroes proposal: "Although we won't be exploring any of these realities save for one in Twilight, the possibilities there for story ideas in other books are limitless. Within the fluke, there are maybe worlds where the imaginary stories happened: what would the world of Superman Red/Superman Blue be like if you were to visit it twenty years on? Or the world in "The Death of Superman". Is there a world perhaps like the old Earth-Two or a world in which Dark Knight takes place? As well as opening up a wealth of story possibilities without opening up the attendant can of worms, it also provides a convenient trash bin for every story that DC ever published that didn't fit in with the continuity. Brother Power? It happened in the fluke. Prez? The fluke. The Rainbow Batman? In the fluke. Because travel by people in the mainstream continuities into the fluke zone of the timestream would be presented as all but impossible except in exceptional circumstances, the chance for the infinite number of maybe-worlds in the fluke to spill over and damage the mainstream continuity would be minimal."

As for me, I was overjoyed to get to the last pages of Infinite Crisis #1 and see that it really was a sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. I was worried we'd get more hoohah like last year's Identity Crisis. I don't know quite what they've got planned for the DCU in the coming years, but with Morrison as one of the architects, I don't think that anticipating the return of something like the Multiverse would be out of order.
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