More than three years after “Multiversity” was announced, attendees this weekend at MorrisonCon in Las Vegas were given a first look the ambitious undertaking DC Comics describes as “Grant Morrison‘s love letter to superhero comics.” What’s more, the publisher confirmed the project, initially targeted for a 2010 release, will at last debut in late 2013.
“Multiversity” is an eight-issue series comprised of six one-shots and a two-part conclusion — each issue, illustrated by a different artist, contains a 38-page lead story and an eight-page backup — with each issue set on a different parallel Earth within the DC Universe. There’s a world of legacy heroes, featuring the now-adult sidekicks and children of the Justice League; a Nazi world, reminiscent of the premise of Superman: Red Son; Thunderworld, populated by the Captain Marvel/Shazam characters; and so on. According to DC, each world publishes comic books about the heroes on the other worlds — a nod to the Silver Age that Morrison so loves — and once the characters realize this, they unite to confront the villains.
“There’s something always appealing about a Russian Superman and a vampire Batman,” Morrison told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a different way of looking at the archetypes that we’re familiar with. And I wanted to a really massive story that would be my ‘Lord of the Rings’ and it would be the best thing I’ve ever done. Whether it is, I don’t know. But I’ve certainly spent a long time on it.”
At MorrisonCon, the writer debuted art by his “All-Star Superman” collaborator Frank Quitely for “Pax Americana” #1, the issue of “Multiversity” that’s perhaps been mentioned the most over the past few years. Set on the world of the Charlton Comics superheroes, most of whom were bought by DC in 1983, the issue features such characters as the Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and The Question, who fail to stop the assassination of the U.S. president. While some of those same Charlton heroes served as the basis for the characters in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen,” Morrison insists he’s not trying to replicate that landmark miniseries.
“We’re taking the characters and applying it back to Watchmen and seeing what we could get,” Morrison told the trade paper. “Nobody has really used those Alan Moore tricks in 25 years so it seemed right to take that very tight, controlled, self-reflecting storytelling and seeing if we can do something new with it. […] It’s not trying to be Watchmen, it’s more of an echo of a storytelling technique of ‘Watchmen.'”
Morrison also spoke with iFanboy, which debuted two pages of art from “Multiversity.” Stay tuned to Comic Book Resources for more details about the project, and more coverage of MorrisonCon.