Posts Tagged ‘Uber-Mega-Super Crossover’

How would the story be told?

You would need an incredible team of writers to pull this off, but the more people you have the harder it is to get them to agree. People like Jess Nevins would be a valuable resource who know fantasy worlds inside and out. I would wonder, with the perception of crossovers as being money driven instead of creator driven, if the most talented writers would shy away from taking part in this project for fear of creative restrictions. I can’t see someone like Alan Moore, who beautifully blended together Victorian era characters in The League of Extraordinary Gentlmen, wanting to take part in this. Someone like that would probably see this as just a stupid thing done to make money. Also people more legally tied to their creations might be more hesitant. I can’t see George Lucas letting Luke Skywalker meet Spiderman.

However you would settle who tells the story, the next obstacle is how it would be told. The simplest form to tell the story would be in novels or by making it the biggest comic book maxi-series ever. A maxi-series or several series of comic books is my preference, so you could visually see all the characters together. As far as film is concerned, it is an incredibly long process to make a movie or TV show, with all the variables involved. Plus anything involving a wide audience would have to take time to explain a million obscure characters, which would hinder the story telling. On the video game front a fighting game tie in would be fun. I do like the interactive nature of video games today, and it would be cool in a game if fans themselves could somehow unlock a part of the story. The internet allows a lot of possibilities as well.

Does it matter?

The most important thing in all this is that the stories are really good stories. Because of that, I would not want to have time spent in the narrative as to WHY all these characters met. It’s all made up anyway, so let’s just say that, for some reason, all these characters are in the same universe. BAM, what happens? How do they interact? What do they do? It doesn’t have to be that they all meet to fight a common foe, like JLA/Avengers, just what would a world be like if they were all together. That’s the heart of what I want to see, what would happen, instead of taking forever explaining how the real Marvel and DC universes ended up meeting everybody.

One thing to consider in this possibility, is what the rules of the world are. Just like any world building exercise, the world has to follow a set of rules. When mixing in different realities, you have to take into account their different interpretations of various concepts. For example, vampire mythology is very diverse throughout different media, as the ideas of how magic works, the role of ancient mythology, not to mention different takes on historical events such as WWII. (For example, some media have Vampires immune to religious objects, others do not. In Dungeons and Dragons, I believe magic works by memorizing spells, where other words its more based around magic objects, etc) These different interpretations of different phenomenon would have to be worked out if it were done this way.

Now if there was a great idea to how the “real” realities would intersect, then that would leave room to include many of very distinct realities like Star Wars, the Matrix, Dune, Final Fantasy, various fantasy/sci-fi novels. Some of the worlds in anime/manga, could be included more easily. Other things that could now be included are post-apocalyptic worlds, dytopian worlds like 1984, and your alternate realities of other worlds, including DC’s Elseworlds, Marvels Age of Apocalypse, Mangaverse, Ultimates, and 2099. In fact, one possibility for the feasibility of this is various alternate realities of each world meeting. That is sort of already happened with Ash from the Evil Dead series meeting Marvel Zombies, and alternate plane in the Marvel Megaverse, and Marvel’s Heroes Reborn reality crossing over with Wildstorm.

Could it be done?

Telling the story across all media would be ungodly complicated and next to impossible. Even with characters under the same house, look how long it took to make Jason Vs. Freddy, or Aliens Vs. Predator. Comic books or novels look like the best possibility. Entertainment companies might be more willing to cooperate since there’s not as much profit at stake in comics. In regards to what type of story is told, different companies also might cooperate more if all the characters are together just because, instead of involving the “real” continuities intersecting with each other, either way it’s a lot of legal headaches on the road to a good story.

What has been done already?

We’ve had some pretty colossal in house comic crossovers, even involving different realities (Crisis). We’ve had intra-company crossovers involving their whole universes, Valiant/Image, DC/Image, Marvel/DC, Marvel/Top Cow also Marvel/Ultraverse, (After Marvel bought Malibu.). We’ve had comic characters meet movie and video game characters. The Wold Newton Universe theorizes that classic literary and pulp fiction characters are inter-related, and the concept is expanded upon at Wold Newton What I am proposing is a step up from that, although admittedly a giant step.

Maybe in a hundred years when all these characters are public domain, someone can pull it off, just like Alan Moore did with characters from 100 years ago in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. If that happens, the Alan Moore of the future will really have his work cut out for him.

Well there you have it. Is this the most insane idea ever or what? To what degree could any of this happen? Given the impossibility of all worlds meeting, what would your picks be of worlds to include? Should it be done? Could it be done? What do you think?

(I originally wrote this a few years ago)

My teenage years were during the 90s, when comic companies, in the midst of rapidly declining sales, featured a variety of inter-company crossovers. Crossovers between Marvel and DC were not new, in the 70s and 80s they did Superman/Spiderman, Batman/Hulk, and X-Men/Teen Titans. During the 90s however, they came with increasing frequency; Batman/Punisher, Silver Surfer/Green Lantern, Batman/Daredevil. Then they went all out with Marvel vs DC, which led to the merging of the two universes, known as Amalgam. Even other comic companies got into the act with Batman/Spawn, and Superman/Madman. Dark Horse themselves scored big with Aliens vs Predator, matching the two movie characters against each other. That eventually became a film itself. Dark Horse also did Robocop/Terminator, two other movie characters. Not only did characters from the same medium meet, but comic book characters met movie characters in Batman/Predator. Other media mixing included Tarzan/Predator, and Superman/Aliens.

In the midst of all of these meetings, many of these tales were  just for pretend stories.other stories, such as Fantastic Four/Superman, were said to have taken place in “actual continuity,” where one character came into the “real” universe of the other.

Some of these crossovers were very entertaining, while many were disappointing. Either way they left fandom speculating on what other crossovers could and should take place. This got me thinking a step further, how far could the crossover be taken? How many characters feasibly (and legally) could meet in one story? Further thinking about this concept led to what I know call my ultimate fanboy nerd dream, the Uber-Mega-Super crossover, a giant crossover world featuring a huge amount characters from every medium in sci-fi/fantasy/horror.

Now I hate to be a downer, but when in preparing for this article, I poked around the internet to try to get a grasp on how many different worlds and franchises are out there. I know comics, TV and film fairly well, but I’ve been a little out of touch with video games and role playing these last few years. I found wikipedia articles on old cartoons I remembered as a kid, and found entire lists of different role playing games and science fiction novels. After looking at all this stuff I realized there’s just too many worlds to keep track of. Since it is pretty much impossible for EVERYONE to meet, I kept wondering to what extent an uber crossover could it happen. How big of a crossover could you have, how big of a story or stories could you feasibly and legally put together, and still have it actually be good?

Assuming that it is impossible to have every single world together, the first question would then be who to include. One of the easiest options is to stick with characters in the modern day. Many of the most popular characters in fiction exist in our time anyway. Limiting it to this would eliminate various fantasy worlds such as Dungeons and Dragons, and the numerous future worlds such as Star Trek and Dune. Future worlds specifically are usually a very distinct reality, making the combination of various future worlds difficult. Eliminating these universes would make the story easier.

Other possibilities a step up from that are to have the present world and one, or just a small handful, of fantasy pasts or futures, or to have one of each, or one and not the other.

Also generic characters could be weeded out, for example how many aliens invaded, or attempted to invade earth. Some of them can be removed, along with your generic barbarians, hard edge spies, reporters, vampire overlords, urban vigilantes, etc. Comic books especially often feature characters that are representative of other characters, but for legal reasons have different identities. For example in the series Planetary, certain characters are understood to be Superman, the Fantastic Four, and even Godzilla. Also how many secret government spy groups would you need? The most interesting characters and concepts can be combined into a few, or just one super spy group. Same thing with superhero teams, keep the characters, but you wouldn’t have the Justice League AND the Avengers. Mad scientists, experiments gone horribly wrong that gave birth to x thing, same deal.

Entire worlds that can be trimmed out for simplicity sake are ones where the main story had been finished, instead of continuing adventures like comic book worlds. A lot of your fantasy trilogies such as Lord of the Rings do not go on forever. Star Wars would fit this too, to a point.

Since we would be talking about a large number of characters anyway, one thing that might help tell the story easier is to spread the characters out through different time periods. For example, if you were to just take a crossover between all comic book characters, you could have most of the DC characters be in the WWII era, Marvel during the 60s, and Image, Valiant, and other indy characters in the 90s. The generations would interact of course, and in a neat way it could reflect actual comic book history.

Also with characters like James Bond or Indiana Jones, you wouldn’t have to include every character from every story, just the main crew, their immediate allies, and main arch foes. (Bond’s Spectre, Blofield, and Jaws for example)

Another approach to managing the crossover would be by company. In this era of multimedia conglomerates, there are a lot of properties under one roof. Hasbro for example, has the Transformers franchise, as well as G.I. Joe, and many more obscure franchises like Visionaries, C.O.P.S, and one of my personal favorites, Inhumanoids. On top of that they’ve bought out rival toy companies over the years like Coleco and Galoob, producers of even more obscure toy lines like Sectaurs and Blackstar. Hasbro has also acquired the gaming company Wizards of the coast, makers of Magic the Gathering, who in turn owns TSR. TSR of course are mostly known for Dungeons and Dragons, but also have created other lines like the Sci-Fi game Alternity. So that one company, all by themselves, could feasibly have a story mixing several of the most popular franchises in entertainment, along with some lesser known ones, that include a good genre mix of fantasy, sci-fi, military action, and more. If that one company would work with, say Warner Brothers, then they would also have the entire DC universe, plus well known horrorfilm franchises of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

In dealing with such a large number of characters, one option is to break up the story into large arcs by specific characters, which again might be easier creatively and legally. For example, a story where Star Wars meets Star Trek, the story continues with Star Trek meeting Marvel, then Marvel meeting DC, then ending with D.C. meeting Star Wars.

Or instead of breaking up by specific franchises, break the story up by company. Have one story where Hasbro characters meet, then in turn meet characters from Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers then meets Marvel Entertainment, who go back and meet Hasbro. Again, with only 2 or 3 of the right companies, the possibilities are pretty big.

How could this story be told, would the story matter? More in part 2.