Resources‎ > ‎

Awesome Almanac - A Journey Through The Multiversity Guidebook - Part 2

Another day, another nine alternate Earths...

Thanks for all the comments and corrections last time out.  I know I haven't updated anything yet but I will once this all goes into a proper annotations post when it's all done.  As usual, let me know this time around if I missed anything (else) or got something horribly wrong (again) - you can always reach me on the Twitter, or alternatively you can email me here.

*Obligatory joke about checking the spelling and putting some pictures in it when it's properly done*.

A measly three thousand words this time out on Earths 11 through 20.  Kid's stuff...  let's get on with it.

Earth 11

A gender reversed Earth that first appeared in 2005's Superman/Batman #23 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness, but was probably heavily influenced by the various one-shot pre-Crisis stories featuring the same concept, like 'The Turnabout Trap' from 1980's Superman #349 by Marty Pasko and Curt Swan.

Pictured from left to right are Wondrous Man, the male equivalent to Wonder Woman (a different version of this character, Wonder Man, appeared as the antagonist in Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Kalman Androsofszky, Jeremy Haun, David Hahn and David Baldeon); Aquawoman (who hadn't been seen prior to her appearance in The Multiversity #1); and Batwoman and Superwoman, both of whom closely resemble the characters originally seen in Loeb and McGuiness' Superman/Batman.

Mentioned but not seen are Earth 11's Flash, Jesse Quick (based on the character created by Len Strazewksi and Mike Parobeck in 1992's Justice Society of America #1, daughter of the Golden Age heroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle); this Earth's equivalent to Green Lantern, Star Sapphire (who actually first appeared opposing the Golden Age Flash in 1948's All-Flash #32 by Robert Kanigher and Lee Elias, but is better known from her second incarnation as the villainous alter ego of Hal Jordan's Silver Age girlfriend Carol Ferris - Ferris was first possessed by the Star Sapphire in 1962's Green Lantern #16 by John Broome and Gil Kane); Power Man, a gender reversed version of Power Girl (herself a Multiversal analogue to Superman's cousin Supergirl), who probably draws inspiration from sometime Teen Titan Power Boy, created by Geoff Johns and Tony Daniel in 2006's Teen Titans #38; and Zatara, a male analogue to Zatanna who again may well draw inspiration from a character from Johns and Daniel's Titans run - Zachary Zatara.  Nephew of the original Zatara and cousin to Zatanna, Zachary first appeared in 2006's Teen Titans #34.

The icon for Earth 11 shows all of the landmasses upside down compared to how they would normally be depicted.

Earth 12

Until recently the setting for a bewildering array of Digital First comics featuring Batman Beyond and his Justice League compatriots, Earth 12 currently figures heavily into the plot of the weekly The New 52: Future's End series.   Batman Beyond first appeared in the cartoon of the same name in 1999 and was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, who, alongside Alan Burnett, were responsible for a run of highly successful DC Universe cartoons in the 1990's and early 2000'sThough I don't think it's ever explicitly stated (a rights issue maybe?) Earth 12's history is heavily implied to encompass all of the cartoons that fall under the 'DC Animated Universe' umbrella (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited).  DC's various animated projects that followed the 2006 finale of the Justice League Unlimited cartoon are not regarded as taking place in the same continuity as these series.

Though DC published a great deal of Batman Beyond tie-in comics prior to 2010 (and featured an alternate version of the character briefly in 2008's Countdown), Batman Beyond's first 'official' appearance as part of the mainstream DC Universe was in 2010's Batman #700, in a sequence by Grant Morrison and David Finch.

Pictured along the back row from left to right are Green Lantern Kai-Ro (named for Kairo - Hal Jordan's sidekick in the 1960's Filmation cartoons); Mareena, daughter of Aquaman, alias Aquagirl; and Micron, a future version of The Atom.  All three were created by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini and first appeared in the 2000 Batman Beyond episode 'The Call (Part One)'.

In the middle row are Warhawk, son of Green Lantern John Stewart and Hawkgirl (who also first appeared in 'The Call'); and Danica Williams, Earth 12's Flash, who first appeared in 2013's Batman Beyond Unlimited #13 by Adam Beechen and Dustin Nguyen.

Down front, from left to right, are Superman, who technically first appeared in DCAU continuity in the 1996 premier episode of Superman: The Animated Series, 'The Last Son of Krypton (Part One)', though his 'Superman Beyond' revision seen here is the work of writer Paul Levitz and artist Renato Guedes and was first seen in 2010's Superman/Batman Annual #4; Terry McGinnis, the titular Batman Beyond; and Barda, one of Jack Kirby's New Gods of New Genesis, who was revealed as a member of this Earth's Justice League in that same Superman/Batman Annual story.

Like Earths 20 and 40, Earth 12 sits opposite a twisted and corrupt version of itself on the Multiverse map; in this case the totalitarian world of the Justice Lords of Earth 50.

Earth 13

A "Vertigo Earth" populated by analogues of DC's magic-based characters, many of whom were previously co-opted into DC's Vertigo imprint when that line launched in 1993.  Earth 13 appeared briefly in Morrison and Mahnke's Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D, and Morrison's own design sketch and character outline for Superdemon was included as part of the supplemental sketch book material in Final Crisis Secret Files

It's likely that Earth 13 was conceived before all of the DC Universe characters that had previously been part of the "Vertigo Universe" returned to the DCU at the conclusion of Geoff Johns' Brightest Day in 2011.  Many of the characters have gone on to become featured players in the New 52, a DC Universe much more comfortable with it's occult denizens than it had been for a dozen or more years previously. 

Moses B. Cotsworth's International Fixed Calendar, concieved in 1902, proposed segregating the year into 13 months of 28 days, with the 2 superfluous days per year, named Leap Day and Year Day, falling outside the 'official' months.  Sol, the proposed new 13th month, would fall between June and July.  Cotsworth's reasoning doesn't appear to be have been grounded in the esoteric though and, unsurprisingly, the proposed reform never really caught on.  Inexplicably it was adopted by the Eastman Kodak Company as their internal corporate calendar until as late as 1989.

The League of Shadows are, from left to right, Hellblazer (alias John Constantine, created by Alan Moore, Stephen R. Bissette and John Totleben in 1985's Saga of the Swamp Thing #37.  The self-consciously ridiculous costume he's wearing comes from 1992's Doom Patrol #53, by Grant Morrison and Ken Steacy, where various magical DC characters were reimagined as super--heroes in a parody of the early Marvel Universe comics of Lee and Kirby); Annataz, Earth-13's version of the sorceress Zatanna (created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson in 1964's Hawkman #4); Witchboy, an analogue of Jack Kirby's Klarion the Witch Boy who first appeared in 1973's The Demon #7, and would go on to become one of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers; Swamp-Man, a take on Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson's Swamp Thing, who first appeared in 1971's House of Secrets #92; Superdemon, this world's magical spin on Superman via Jack Kirby's Etrigan the Demon, who first appeared in 1972's The Demon #1; Fate, a grim 'n' gritty 90's take on Doctor Fate who first appeared in 1994's Fate #0 by John Francis Moore and Anthony Williams; Ragman, based on the character created by Joe Kubert and Robert Kanigher in 1976's Ragman #1; Deadman, based on the character created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino in 1967's Strange Adventures #205; and The Enchantress, based on the distinctly go-go check ‘switcheroo-witcheroo’ created by Bob Haney and Howard Purcell in 1966's Strange Adventures #187.

Earth 14

When asked about the mystery 'question mark' worlds on the Multiverse map, Morrison confirmed that he was deliberately leaving them blank so as to leave room for other writers to add to the cosmology he'd already authored.  He can't resist getting something in there though - I wonder if the mysterious Monitor Magi have any connection to Seven Soldiers' Seven Unknown Men?

Earth 15

This was a bit of a surprise to everyone I think, confirmation that the Superboy Prime thread from the searingly bad Countdown series remains a concrete and significant part of Morrison's Multiversal comology - I honestly don't think even the most slavish fanboys would have begrudged an Earth-15 history that didn't reference Countdown at all to be honest. 

The mysterious 'Cosmic Grail' mentioned in Earth-15's description is robbed of any mystery in the accompanying picture - that's a cracked Green Lantern power battery, presumably granted immeasurable symbolic power by virtue of being the last extant artifact of an obliterated universe.  The Batman of Earth-17 mentions in the main story this issue that he's curently actively engaged in a search for the Grail, apparently to combat the looming threat of Darkseid.

Earth 16

Earth Me, as seen in The Multiversity: The Just #1.  From left to right we have Batman Damian Wayne (based on the chaacter created by Grant Morrison an Andy Kubert in 2006's Batman #655); his beau Alexis Luthor, daughter of Lex, who first appeared in The Just #1; Chris Kent, son of Superman (based on the character created by Richard Donner, Geoff Johns and Adam Kubert in 2006's Action Comics #844); The Flash, alias Wally West (based on the original Kid Flash who first appeared in 1959's The Flash #110 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino and who took up his uncle's mantle as The Flash in 1986's Crisis on Infinite Earths #12); Green Lantern Kyle Rayner (created by Ron Marz and Daryl Banks in 1994's Green Lantern #48); Arrowette, daughter of Green Arrow Connor Hawke, who first appeared in The Just #1; Bloodwynd, created by Dan Jurgens in 1992's Justice League America #61; and Sasha Norman, alias Sister Miracle, who also first appeared in The Just #1.

Mentioned but not seen are Megamorpho, the daughter of Metamorpho who made her debut in The Just #1; and Offspring, son of Plastic Man, who first appeared in 1999's The Kingdom: Offspring #1 by Mark Waid and Frank Quitely.

You can read more about Earth 16 in The Just annotations here.

Earth 17

One of the (too many) post-apocalyptic Earths, Earth 17 is home to an updated (and DC Universe-fied) version of John Broome and Murphy Anderson's Atomic Knights, who first appeared in 1960's Strange Adventures #117.  Like the Tangent Universe of Earth 9, it's departure point from the regular DC Universe comes as a result of a decidedly different outcome to the real-life Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963, though with much harsher consequences in this case.  In the original Atomic Knights tales, the apocalyptic Hydrogen War happened in 1986, so I'm pretty surprised Morrison didn't decide to do something with the 1980's 'two minutes to midnight' doomsday paranoia that so informs Watchmen.  Ah well...

From left to right across the back we have Challengers of the Unknown Rocky Davis and Ace Morgan (both of whom first appeared in 1957's Showcase #7 by Dave Wood and Jack Kirby); Atomic Knight Wonder Woman and her atomically-mutated dog steed (possibly a call-back to her time as an Apokaliptian Female Fury in Final Crisis, though the orginal Atomic Knights also all rode around on giant irradiated dogs); and Atomic Knight J'onn J'onzz (based on the Justice Leaguer of long-standing created by Joe Samachson and Joe Certa in 1955's Detective Comics #225)

Down front is Captain Adam Strange, based on the classic DC sci-fi character created by Julius Schwartz and Murphy Anderson in 1958's Showcase #17; and next to him is Earth 17's Batman, who first appeared in this issue's main story and, as per the 1:100 variant for this issue, was designed by Grant Morrison.

The art on this page is really horrible.  There was an article on Bleeding Cool just after Christmas intimating that the Guidebook was running pretty late production-wise (though in the end it only slipped a week from it's originally solicited ship date).  You have to imagine that they were really up against the wall when they let this page through.

Earth 18

Home of the Justice Riders, a wild west take on the Justice League of America who share their name with the rough riders first seen in an eponymous 1997 Elseworlds one-shot by Chuck Dixon and J.H. Williams III.  The only member of those Riders who's amongst the Earth 18 residents we see here is Marshall Diana Prince, based on Wonder Woman and now called Madame .44. 

The current members of the Justice Riders are primarily heroes from DC's various Western comics: from left to right we have Bat Lash (a gambler and charming rogue in the Maverick mold, created by Joe Orlando, Carmine Infantino, Sheldon Mayer and Sergio Aragones in 1968's Showcase #76); Madame .44, visually modeled on Williams' Elseworlds Wonder Woman but named for the character created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane in 1961's All-Star Western #117; Strong Bow (created by Dave Wood and Frank Giacoia in 1951's All-Star Western #58.  Though he made it into Who's Who and the Wolfman/Perez History of the DC Universe, Strong Bow hasn't appeared in a sequential DC story since 1970's Tomahawk #131, apart from a brief ensemble turn in 1985's All-Star Squadron #55 ); the ghostly El Diablo (based on the character created by Robert Kanigher and Gray Morrow in 1970's All-Star Western v2 #2, but likely heavily informed by the more supernatural takes of both Brian Azarello and Danijel Zezelj's 2001 Vertigo mini-series and the character as he appears in Jain Nitz and Phil Hester's El Diablo series from 2008); Super Chief, alias Saganowhana (who first appeared in 1952's All-Star Western #68 by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, and was planned as a recurring character in the Morrison-penned sections of the 2006 52 weekly series, though he actually only appeared in a handful of issues due to space constraints.  I wonder if his amulet, forged from a mystical meteor, is a multiversal counterpart to the meteor that gave eternal life to the Immortal Man and Vandal Savage?); and finally on the far right Cinnamon, a female gun-for-hire created by Roger Mackenzie and Jack Abel in 1978's Weird Western Tales #48.  Cinnamon would later be revealed as one of Hawkgirl's previous reincarnations in 2002's Hawkman #7 by James Robinson and Rags Morales.

Mentioned but not pictured here are the Trigger Twins, this world's twin versions of the Flash, who can be seen in full cowboy regalia in the Flashes group shot on page 21.  The original super-powerless Twins were created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino in 1951's All-Star Western #58; Firehair (created by Joe Kubert with a helpng hand from editor Carmine Infantino in 1969's Showcase #85); Tomahawkman (who might be the Native American Hawkman seen in Dixon and Williams' Elseworlds book, or may be a take on Tomahawk - a frontiersman active during the Revolutionary War and by far one of DC's most popular Western heroes - created by Joe Samachson and Edmund Good in 1947's Star-Spangled Comics #58); Johnny Thunder (confirmed by Morrison during one interview as this Earth's version of Captain Marvel, the original western Johnny Thunder (as opposed to his superheroic namesake) first appeared in 1948's All-American Comics #100 in a story by Robert Kanigher and Alex Toth); and Pow-Wow Smith (created by Don Cameron and Carmine Infantino in 1949's Detective Comics #151).

I love the idea of the 'telegraph internet', and it's refreshing that Earth 18 - despite it's Wild West trappings - is vibrating firmly in the present rather than the distant past or a post-apocalyptic future.  I can't help but wonder if this universe's Time Trapper has a bushy beard and wears a Davy Crockett-style 'coonskin cap...

Earth 19

DC's first 'Elseworld', Earth 19-to-be appeared originally in Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola's 1989 Gotham By Gaslight graphic novel, a tale of Batman tackling Jack The Ripper in the historic Gotham City of the 1890's.  Earth 19's Batman as seen here sticks closely to Mignola's original design.  The Acclerated Man and The Shrinking Man (this world's versions of The Flash and The Atom) haven't appeared before this issue.  The Wonder Woman is from another Elseworlds book - set in the same Victorian time period as Gotham By Gaslight but not originally intended to be follow the same continuity - 1997's Wonder Woman: Amazonia by William Messner-Loebs and Phil Winslade.  The description for Earth 19 suggests that time has moved forward slightly into the early 20th Century, but is still some way behind the present day.

Previously a resident of Earth 34, the Amazonia Wonder Woman is one of the very few characters to lose their Earth entirely between 2008's Countdown: Arena and 2014's The Multiversity - other notable members of this club include Earth 31's Superman from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns - we'll get to that later - and Earth 50's Apollo from The Authority.

The late 19th/early 20th Century was a popular setting for the Elseworlds books - Adisakdi Tantimedh and P. Craig Russell's JLA: Age of Wonder, Jen Van Meter, Cliff Chiang and Tommy Lee Edward's Batman: The Golden Streets of Gotham, Howard Chaykin, David Tischman and Marshall Rogers' Green Lantern: Evil's Might, and Chaykin's Batman & Houdini: The Devil's Workshop with Mark Chiarello were all set in a similar milieu to that laid out for Earth 19, but it doesn't look like any of the featured characters from those stories have made it into the Guidebook.

Earth 20

Home of the Society of Super-Heroes, as seen in the pages of The Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of Counter Earth #1.

From left to right we have Green Lantern Abin Sur (based on the character who first appeared - and died - in 1959's Showcase #22 by John Broome and Gil Kane); The Mighty Atom (based on the Golden Age Atom created by Ben Flinton and Bill O'Conner in 1940's All-American Comics #19); Doc Fate (based on the Golden Age hero Doctor Fate, created by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman in 1940's More Fun Comics #55, via pulp adventurer Doc Savage, created by Lester Dent in 1933); The Immortal Man (based on Marv Wolfman's 'Forgotten Heroes' version of the character who first appeared in 1965's Strange Adventures #177); and Lady Blackhawk, this version of which first appeared in The Multiversity one-shot, based on the (male) character created in 1941 by Chuck Cuidera, Will Eisner and Bob Powell in Quality Comics' Military Comics #1.

You can read more about Earth 20 in the annotations for The Society of Super-Heroes here.