Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Shape of Things To Come

I am beginning to believe that this

Fig. 1

is the structure of the current DC Multiverse.

Okay, sure; we all know that "52 universes" only developed from the working title of maxi-series, labelled thus because of how many weeks of issues it had. Pure happenstance....

OR
IS
IT?!?!?!?


Today I don my tin-foil hat (loaned to me by master conspiracy theorist Ben "Tin-Foil" Hatton) in an attempt to cobble together some sort of sensible reason that there should be 52 earths rather than any other number, and how New Earth can be the "first earth among equals".

What I've settled on is that the 52 universes represent the fourth degree of the decagonal figurate number series. I won't bore you with most of the mathematics (Blogger isn't designed for that kind of typing; besides, that's what Wikipedia is for). Suffice it to say that figurate numbers are those generated by the regular expansion of a polygon according to a standard geometric pattern/mathematical formula. One look at some examples, and you'll get it intuitively (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2

The number 52 is generated by the extrapolation of a decagon (a ten-sided polygon). If you'll count the number of dots in Figure 1, you'll see there are 52 of them ...

ONE
FOR
EACH
EARTH!


Yes, this truth is definitely "out there".

According to, well, me, the "initial point" at the rightmost part of Figure 1 represents "New Earth". On the one hand, it's a dot just like all the rest; on the other hand, it's the one dot that is found on each of the successive decagons. It represents the first degree of the decagonal figurate series; it is the first among equals. Q. E. D.!

The two dots adjacent to "New Earth" are, of course, "Earth 1" and "Earth 2". They are conceptually closest to New Earth. Together, those three earths are the basis for the "inner circle" of earths, which includes the most familiar ones.

Maybe it'll be easier if I just show it to you...

Fig. 3

Sorry, Marty, I didn't have time to make it exactly to scale, but you get the idea.

Two structural questions remain:

Why is the structure of the multiverse decagonal?
Well, my answer may be rather metatextual, but I'm personally going to pretend it's manifestation of the Ten Iconic Characters that constitute the mythic rock on which the DCU is based (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Vibe).

Why are we now at the fourth degree of the series (which is: 1, 10, 27, 52...)(a.k.a. Sloane's A001107)?
Perhaps because of the three reboots (Crisis, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis)? Perhaps to represent the four Ages of Continuity (Golden, Silver-Bronze, Post-Crisis, New Earth)? Perhaps because we're now supplanting the Fourth World? Whatever works for your personal conspiracy needs.

And to the editors at DC: please feel free to utilize my diagram! Hey, I like to give back when I can...!

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Comments:
Chemistry + cosmological topology?

Congratulations, Scipio. I am now freaking out.
 
I like this very much. I had a notion that it was based on a deck of cards, but that doesn't seem to be going anywhere...
 
I think you broke my brain.

I hope BlueCross covers continuity related injuries.
 
who-a-jigga-what?

my brain hurts
 
Wow. It's like you just cracked open Grant Morrison's head and let me look inside.

A question: why is Earth-10 next to Earth-1 and not chained off of Earth-2?

Another question: this, the Periodical Table and things like the Flash race. If I come to DC, should I look for a Boston Brand-esque ghost of Bob Haney, chained up in front of the store and inticing people to come inside? You can't possible be using anything as mundane as a sign.
 
Er, "possibly be using..."
 
Actually, Michael, we have protruding from one of our windows a 3D metal sculpture of the Big Monkey Head done by internationally renowned sculptor Robert Cole(www.colestudios.com).

Yes, really.
 
Consider my mind completely blown.
 
What a lovely exercise of post-hoc mathematical justification. This is the type of idea upon which Warren Ellis would base an entire series. It is a lovely image as well. It brings to mind the Praxis Effect, rings of force emanating outward. I imagine that the antimatter universe would be the reflection of the same diagram. Kudos, sir.
 
But aren't Earths 1 and 2 also part of all three decagons, diminishing the uniqueness of New Earth?
 
"protruding from one of our windows a 3D metal sculpture of the Big Monkey Head"

Impressive. Does it have a drive-thru speaker box inside that gives dramatic readings of old Aquaman comics? Actually, giant steel monkey head is pretty freaking awesome all on it's own.

I might have LCS envy. The shop I go to just has a painted skyline with the Bat-signal in the clouds.
 
Why were the guardians holding a tetrahedral pile of lil' earths then? :S
 
Okay, now I officially want to marry you. Brilliant! Or should I say "Oomphy!"?
 
That's really cool, Scipio! I like your idea a lot.

So would each seccessive decagon represent a higher or lower energy state? The Earths that are conceptually furthest from 52 may have taken the most energy to create, which is why they might be out there on the furthest ring.
 
So all religions are wrong!
 
I thought of that too, Marcos. Perhaps 1 and 2 -are- equally important. Both were the core universe for a while.
 
the Ten Iconic Characters that constitute the mythic rock on which the DCU is based (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Vibe).

Hahaha!
 
I like it. It'll confuse the hell out of the average reader, though.
 
You know, you can eliminate all but one (new) Earth being a part of all decogons, if you assume a number sequence for the sides, such as the first decagon has sides equal to One, the second has sides equal to Two, etc., then work backwards, assuming there is an initial decagon with sides equal to Zero (therefore, all points on the initial decagon would be at the same location- New Earth).

This doesn't increase the number of points, and eliminates all but one point (New Earth) being a part of all shapes.

Why yes, I too am a geek :)
 
"But aren't Earths 1 and 2 also part of all three decagons, diminishing the uniqueness of New Earth?"

There are FOUR levels; the first level of any figurate series is one dot (the number one); that would be New Earth. Only New Earth is part of all four levels of the series.

"So all religions are wrong!"

Yes. They are.

"So would each seccessive decagon represent a higher or lower energy state? "

Hm, no, since several worlds are in more than one level. I'm not sure there are any "value judgments" that can be made based on membership in any particular level; only that membership in more than one level makes a world more ... real? stable? important? essential? Something like that!

the Ten Iconic Characters that constitute the mythic rock on which the DCU is based (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Vibe).

Hahaha!


Yeah, I was just being silly. Clearly, Plastic Man needs to go in that list instead of Green Arrow.
 
Weird - that's the symbol of the community college I attend.

No joke.

-M
 
"Does it have a drive-thru speaker box inside that gives dramatic readings of old Aquaman comics?"

Not yet.

"Why were the guardians holding a tetrahedral pile of lil' earths then? "
Because the Guardians lie. That series won't generate a 52.

"Or should I say "Oomphy!"?

Yes; do!
 
That is... outstanding...
 
Frickin brilliant.

Are we then postulating that Level 1 has the DC characters and properties that have appeared consistently in a version of "continuity Earth" at some time. Level 2 is a bit more removed, i.e. Elseworlds, timelines like Omac's, Kamandi's, etc. that have, at times been linked to continuity, but most stories of which have been seperate from the usual 20th century continuity stuff. Level 3 would have little to do with the DCU proper, so not only Wildstorm, but Watchmen, Thriller, and other stand-alone DC properties.
 
Siskoid,

That works well enough for me!
 
Scipio my dear, you constantly amaze me.
 
Ummm.. not to be a party poop, cause it is a nice little exercise...

but what is the significance to the "structure of the multiverse" in the first place. I find the context lacking.

I'm not saying you don't have one in mind, so don't be mad. Just wondering if you could clarify.
 
Should't there be an extra ring with a separate universe for each of the Bob Haney issues of "The Brave & the Bold"?
 
Wow, this is just crazy enough to be true. I can imagine someone at DC stumbling on this page and freaking out.

So, the further away from New Earth, the more conceptually different? Would the furthest away be Earth-Prime(or Earth-51 or whatever) then, since there are absolutely no heroes at all?
 
OMG... I want to have your kids now.. hehe.. and since I don't have a uterus.. I'm going to have to give some thought to that..

EXCELLENT WORK MAN!

*vibe* *snicker.. hehe*
 
"but what is the significance to the "structure of the multiverse" in the first place. I find the context lacking. "

It address three questions:
Why are there 52 universes rather than some other number?
How is that New Earth is some sort of "first among equals" as it is being presented?
Is there some conceptual reason some Earths are more similar to one another and more familiar to us?

Perhaps some readers are content to say "okay, there are 52 universes" without wondering why or how to conceive their relationships to one another. I'm just not one of those readers!
 
Scip,

Last night your diagram inspired me to try to model the DC Multiverse in 3D using AutoCAD. It didn't turn out perfectly (my Earths looked more like digitized blue marbles than planets) but if you like I can e-mail you a copy of the jpeg I made from it.
 
oh my. this post may be the best reason (on the internet) to get oomphy with you.
 
I was with you right up until the ten icons list. Come on, who leaves off Jimmy Olsen? I'll take him over the dame in the fishnets any day of the week.
 
"I can e-mail you a copy of the jpeg I made from it."

Cool!

scipio@bigmonkeycomics.com
 
So howcum out of all the posts I've ever done, a diagram of the multiverse has gotten me three come-ons?

I never realized how sexy multiversal cosmology was; if I had, I'd have been doing it from my first post!
 
Hi Scipio,

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. Again, your project is cool, no objection there. And you kind of glance on an "impact" for the structure when you mention why some earths are more similar than others...

Cool as it is, there's no purpose for it unless it has a structural impact on the storytelling... I guess that's what I was asking you to hypothesize about. How would such a structure impact a comic that wanted to tell a multiverse story? Does your diagram represent an ease of access to a given earth from a given earth? That would not just impact an individual story but also regulate the frequency of certain characters interacting.

Or even metatextually? I mean, if one hypothesizes that there are 52 universes because DC wanted to tell a the story of a different universe every week, that structure wouldn't change the telling of the individual stories, but it sure would have an impact on whether I could take a week off from comic buying!
 
Well done. You'd certainly never get this on a Marvel-centric blog, with over 616 universes in play.
 
Actually, infinite.
With occasional multiversal singularities.

Over 500,000 moon knights alone!
 
Go to the 7-27-07 post at The Comic Treadmill for the absolute best signature expression you could ever hope to have, from no less than Alan Scott himself!
 
Hell, I'd do you too. But you'd have to dress up like Aqualad.
 
There are FOUR levels; the first level of any figurate series is one dot (the number one); that would be New Earth. Only New Earth is part of all four levels of the series.

Duh, of course. Thanks for the clarification. Clearly I should be bumped back down to remedial cosmology.

Actually, infinite.
With occasional multiversal singularities.


That's what bugs me about DC - they keep saying the pre-first-Crisis multiverse was "infinite". Which kinda makes it hard for the Anti-Monitor to destroy all but one of the universes in it. Go on, call it "nearly infinite" (despite that being a meaningless term), but to keep insisting that it actually was infinite is just silly.

Over 500,000 moon knights alone!

If there are infinite universes, you can't count them all to establish how many Moon Knights there are. Is there some property that allows you to derive the number of Moon Knights? :)
 
Yes.
There's one moon knight for every person who has ever heard of him.

Science.

And the Anti-monitor:
If he collapsed nigh infinite at once (I.E. All but a few protected by the monitor or somebody) I could buy that. But one at a time?
I ain't buying it.
 
I guess your theory would seem solid... If it didn't relied so heavily on Vibe.

I mean, Vibe, really...
 
Vibe probably vibrates at a certain, essential, frequency.
 
Scipio, I just had to reference this masterpiece on my latest column.
 
If there are infinite universes, you can't count them all to establish how many Moon Knights there are. Is there some property that allows you to derive the number of Moon Knights? :)

There are some types of infinity which are countable (Cardinality aleph-naught) such as the set of all integers, and some types which are not (Cardinality aleph-one) such as the set of all real numbers between zero and one.

Infinite does not necessarily mean unbounded (reals between 0 and 1).
 
If I understand correctly, "Earth-8" is the Earth where all the post-Crisis characters would have been if there had not been a Crisis. Is that right?

See, I would have given that Earth some other number, and reserved Earth-8 for something more fitting. It seems like they're re-designating the old Earths with numbers, that somehow acknowledge the old designations. i.e. Earth-X is now Earth-10, because X is 10 in Roman numerals; Earth-S is now Earth-5, because S looks like 5. Therefore, because 8 looks like the letter B, Earth-8 should be Earth-Bob Haney, where all those continuically impossible Brave and the Bold stories took place.
 
When I heard the new Mutiverse official limit (however long it lasts) was 52, I immediately thought of two "poles" at the center, positive and negative, each pole surrounded by five groups of five. The main DCU is the positive pole, the Crime Syndicate universe is the negative, and the rest orbit arond them.
 
It cannot have effect in actual fact, that is exactly what I think.
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