In reply to various comments… (hyperpost 3a)
Very tired and stressed today, so the next proper hyperpost won’t be til tomorrow night. Instead, you get this, dealing with various points raised by Pillock and Zom (and anyone else who comments – I notice Sean Witzke just commented) in the comments to the recent posts. This might be a little disjointed, but consider it a series of tangents to the main event – or maybe a hypertimeline tributary that will feed back into the main thing later. The ‘hyperpost’ thing really is turning into my magnificent octopus, isn’t it?
In brief, my love for hypertime is that it’s a brilliant imaginative concept, and the fact that it provides a framework for letting the ‘linear men’ cope with stories where Jimmy Olsen has the wrong hairstyle or something is just a byproduct of what I think is its neglected use, for telling big epic superhero stories a la Final Crisis(see the Hypercrisis description in this interview:
Hypertime has been quietly ignored and no-one quite realises how elegant and perfect the theoretical framework is. It’s very simple. I have a diagram.
My one regret about my brief falling out with DC after the ‘Superman Incident’ is that I didn’t get to do my Hypercrisis series at DC to explain all this stuff and set up a whole new playground. It’s the one thing I could still be arsed doing with classical superheroes. If I ever go back, I’ll explain the whole Hypertime thing and recreate the Challengers of the Unknown as Challengers: Beyond the Unknown.
It’s one thing I still want to do. It had a monster eating the first few years of the 21st century and Superman building a bridge across this gaping hole in time. A bridge made of events. The Guardians of The Multiverse and a new Green Lantern Corps made up of parallel reality Green Lanterns, the Superman Squad and the mystery of the Unknown Superman of 2150 etc, etc. There’s a huge synopsis filled with outrageous stuff.
I want to read that – hell, I want to write that. I’m not particularly interested in having a framework to ‘explain’ inconsistencies between different stories – that’s why they’re called *different stories* – but I think it’s amusing that something that’s primarily a storytelling device – and I am absolutely convinced that that was Morrison’s primary intention for it, rather than as a continuity-fix – has the additional side-effect of totally destroying the Linear Men’s rigid hierarchy of what ‘counts’ and doesn’t count. Doing that by itself is no reason to do a story – in fact, anything to do with ‘continuity’ is a reason *not* to do a story (watch Attack Of The Cybermen if you don’t believe me). But it’s a nice side-effect.
I’ll just say that it isn’t like all those delightful Silver Age details you mention were confusing, but that they had gotten boring…which nowadays we think sounds crazy, how could they have gotten boring? Well, they did, though: the DCU lost a lot of life in the years between 1975 and 1985, and after Crisis blew it up it gained momentum again.
The ‘confusing’ thing is brought up by Marv Wolfman in one of the text pieces in the original issues of Crisis – it was definitely *his* reason for doing it.
That said, I agree with you – the post-Crisis DCU is the one I fell in love with first, be it the Giffen/DeMatteis JLA, Moore on Swamp Thing, all the pre-Vertigo titles like Animal Man and Doom Patrol, Byrne’s Superman revamp (a misstep in retrospect, but it seemed a good idea at the time), Grant & Breyfogle on Batman, hell even stuff like *LOBO* seemed funny at the time.
I’d question how much that was a *result* of Crisis, though, and how much Crisis was a symptom of a wider change in the company in the mid-80s (when did Giordano, Levitz et al get in charge?) – the ‘British Invasion’ would have happened with or without Crisis, as would the movement of Marvel creators like Byrne and Wolfman across, and a lot of the general rise in quality then was due to USian freelancers raising their game to compete with the British ones (the Giffen/DeMatteis League, at first, is such an obvious attempt at doing Watchmen-in-continuity that I’m amazed this never gets mentioned when people talk about either comic). And some of those British creators were more than capable of using the tired story elements in new ways – just look at For The Man Who Has Everything (which of course contains another imaginary story…)
All that said, one of the biggest problems with any discussion of Hypertime, and where I resist your urge to push the discussion in small part towards physics, Andrew, is how the term seems to point in the direction of some sort of concrete theoretical basis. I tend to think of it as a signpost, a direction of travel, a statement of intent rather than as a theoretical object that’ll bear too much scrutiny, because quite clearly it *won’t*. We should be paying attention to what the concept is trying to achieve and view it as a useful *tool* rather than quibbling over the details because the details will only ever get us so far.
True – however, the physics post, when it comes, will not be about the ‘DCU physics’, but rather about what I suspect was the real pop-science inspiration for the idea…
And there I must leave you, for now, as I have computer problems to fix. More hyperpost tomorrow.