Multiversity is coming, and Grant Morrison and DC are going to bring it to you. You’ll see it in 2013, and before then, you’ll likely learn a lot more about it, but right now, we’ve got Grant Morrison himself to tell us everything about it that he can.
But that’s not all. Check out these gorgeous Frank Quitely pages for the first time anywhere. As we’ve seen with We3, All-Star Superman, and Flex Mentallo: Hero of the Beach, when these guys work together, magic can happen.
Grant can tell you more about it.
iFanboy: It’s been a while since Multiversity was first announced, can you recap what the premise is?
Grant Morrison: The premise is basically to take six worlds of the DC multiverse and give them their own books. And around that there is a framing device which incorporates a lot more of the world and sets up a new DC super team which looks after the welfare of the entire multiverse and they’re headquartered in a place called the Multiversity. [The idea] happened right after Final Crisis, and obviously we’d reintroduced a lot of the multiverse stuff so I was really keen to do some work on it. And I started writing the book back then and I’ve still been writing it now. It turned out to be one of these really involved and epic tasks. You know, I wanted to write it differently from the other stuff that I tend to do, and so I’ve actually spent six years working on these issues and it’s been a lot of revising and redrafts and recreation, and so I’m very pleased with it—it’s very tight and together. It’s a different kind of way of working in comic books for me.
iF: When you first started this, DC was in a very different place than it is now. How much did the change over to the New 52 affect this story?
GM: Fortunately for me the change over for the New 52 didn’t affect much because the parallel worlds are still out there and we don’t really deal at all with the DC Universe in this. Well, there’s a little… there’s a little sort of wave over to the DC Universe, but the actual book is set in a bunch of completely different worlds and none of them have been affected by what’s happened in the New 52, thank god for me.
iF: This summer when you announced that this book was being actively worked on, you also announced that you were leaving your other DC books: Action Comics and Batman, Incorporated. Is Multiversity your final word on the DC Universe?
GM: No! I mean, everybody thinks that I’m leaving. It’s been promoted across the internet that I’m leaving comics or leaving superheroes, but I’m not at all. I’ll I’m doing is stopping a couple of monthly books for a while. I’ve got a Wonder Woman project coming up and Multiversity to come and I’m sure there’ll be other things because it’s a kind of writing that I like to do. All it means is that I’m not doing monthlies for a while to concentrate on special projects. And partly that’s because I’ve enjoyed the way that Multiversity was written and the fact that I was able to do multiple drafts and kind of bring it to a kind of perfection for myself. I want to a bit more of that, you know? As much as I love the lively kind of live performance aspect of monthly books, where you’re basically sending in a first draft and working fast, I kind of really got into this notion of spending a lot of time on something. So Multiversity kind of inspired the rest of the stuff that I’ll be doing for the next couple of years.
iF: This sounds to me to be very similar in structure to Seven Soldiers. You see to like this style of an opening and closing issue with a bunch of one-shots in the middle. What do you get to do in that format that you can’t do in just a straight mini-series?
GM: Well, I also like having lots of number ones. [Laughs] There’s a really upfront commercial reason for doing these things, but also I kind of like weird structures, you know? And with something like Seven Soldiers, where we had a team who don’t meet each other but whose paths cross, we were kind of creating this big tapestry of all those books. This one’s a bit more linear but it’s done in the form of… it’s almost like a baton race or a relay race where each of the worlds can read a comic book that’s published in their world but which tells the adventures of the previous world. The characters are actually reading the series along with the readers. So that was the kind of take on this one. The structure that I had was to build a framing story and then have each of the different worlds referring to what happened in the previous world and having to figure out their own way of defeating the bad guy. But like I say, I kind of like to do odd structures and that’s just how this one worked out. And it came about that way because of the original parallel worlds story where The Flash meets the Golden Age Flash and I loved the idea that Barry Allen knew about Jay Garrick because he read about him in a comic book. So that kind of set up the whole premise of these guys all have comics published and they can all read about each other in different parallel Earths. So I thought, how would you use that as a strategy if you’re fighting an enemy who is attacking multiple parallel worlds all at one? And that kind of formed my take on this.
iF: You seem to be especially enamored with the mulitverse concept whereas a lot of modern writers shy away from it. What is it about the multiverse that appeals to you so much?
GM: Honestly, it’s just the kid’s thing, you know? I think when all of us saw that… just that idea of, “Ohmygod, that’s another Flash? There’s a Green Lantern?” You know? The first comic book I really picked up on as a kid was a Justice League—I think it was issue 46 with the Anti-Matter Man—and it had a team-up with Earth-2 and Earth-1 superheroes, and I’d never seen Dr. Fate or Dr. Mid-Nite or Wildcat and I was just blown away by the idea that these things existed. So I guess it’s been that kid’s thing. You know, everyone loves to see the Elseworlds guys—the vampire Batman, the Soviet Superman— and I think there’s something always interesting in seeing a tweak or a new take on a character you’re familiar with. And it works particularly well with the DC superheroes because they are so iconic and so mythical and when you see a little twist on them it can cause huge changes to the familiar stories. It’s just one of those things I’ve always loved, you know? Professor Zoom’s got a yellow [Flash] suit! [Laughs] The Green Lantern on Earth-2 has got a big, high collar and a cape! There’s just something about that that’s really visceral if you like superheroes at all. The idea of hundreds of versions of them on different worlds with different Justice Leagues and different Legions… there’s just something pure “comics” about that. I’m not explaining myself well at all.
iF: No, it makes sense.
GM: I’ve gone into, like, a kid kind of thing. [Laughs]
iF: So this is going to feature multiverse variations of familiar characters? Or are you going to get to create new characters as well?
GM: There will be a couple of new ones. Because what we’ve done also is, we’ve not only got all the multiverse versions of DC characters, but we also have multiverse versions of every other comic book company in existence. So we have multiverse versions of Image characters and Marvel characters… you know back in the day, DC would do their own kind of take on The Avengers where they would do those heroes from “that other place” with a Thor who was kind of an Aboriginal Thor. So we’ve kind of taken that aspect, the stuff that DC and Marvel used to do, the Squadron Supreme type stuff, and I’ve kind of done an update on that thinking as well. So yeah, it’s got everything. It’s got multiple versions of everybody, including us. [Laughs]
iF: One of the things that people are really excited about is that your old buddy Frank Quitely is going to draw one of the issues. What is it about you guys that works so well together?
GM: Oh god, I don’t know. We just get on. For me, he’s the artist I’d be if I was really good at drawing, you know? I can draw a little bit, but that’s what I wish I could draw like. So we’ve always got on, I’ve always responded to his work, and because we live close by we’ve been able to form a much closer partnership than I have with most other artists who tend to live in America or quite far from me. So it’s just that, you know? I really, really love his work. I don’t have to explain things to him in the same way that I do with other people; he gets it. He knows what I’m looking for. He always draws exactly what I’m looking for but better. And he’s one of those guys—and I’ve been fortunate to work with a few of them, but I think Quitely’s the best of them—it’s that every single thing he does is interesting to look at. Every single panel. There’s no wasted panels, no boring head shots. And I do appreciate that, you know? An artist who makes the characters act and creates a world that seems tangible that you can move around in are the ones I most prefer, and those are Frank’s strengths. So yeah, there’s a hundred reasons. And we just get on. We hang out a lot and we get on, so it makes working together a lot easier.
iF: So there’s a different artist for each one shot and then an artist for the framing issues? Is that how it’s working?
GM: Yeah, that’s the idea. Each parallel world will have a very different looking comic and then the framing device will be its own thing. We started Frank Quietly off early because he’s the slowest of the bunch. The work’s been amazing, but it’s taking him quite a long time to do it so we wanted to get him going. He’s done so much on it now and this is why we’re telling people—we wanted to show some of it because it’s great. [Laughs]
iF: After six years of writing, are you excited to get it out there or are you apprehensive? It’s sort of been your own thing for six years and now other people are going to see it.
GM: I’m actually really excited because I think it’s probably the best superhero comic I’ve ever written and it has things in it that no one’s really seen before. The Earth Prime book, Ultra, which comes later on, is the one I’m really excited for. As much as the Frank Quitely one is going to be the one that everyone is going to talk about—because it’s such a beautiful book and I think we’ve done something really quite interesting with it—but the Earth Prime book is kind of a haunted comic and it will do things to people’s heads that comics don’t usually do. I’m excited for people to see that one, and to see a lot of the new tricks and new ideas because, again, we wanted this to be something that is going to be like nothing that’s ever been before. And spending so much time working on it I really feel like I can actually deliver on that boast.
We want to thank Grant Morrison and DC Comics for this look inside Multiversity, and we’ll be here when more details are revealed.