Crossoverlord Discussion Forum

Of Trans-Dimensional teams...
alschroeder at 5:11AM, Dec. 29, 2009
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Actually, I can think of two-to-three examples, and the first two aren't encouraging, but perhaps we can learn from their mistakes….

The first is Marvel's EXILES, which had an interesting run, and Morph stole the show, but for me it got so repetitive as to be ultra-confusing. I lost track of which Earth was which (a numbering system, borrowed from DC, didn't help either—do I REALLY remember the difference between earth-612 and Earth-2012?) and basically it was “What If?” with a continuing team. They'd always fight parallel-version of Marvel's own characters. They never really got OUT there. (Personally, I think it would have been interesting if they had dropped in on not just the parallel worlds, but the more far-out dimensions out there, already established–Dormammu's Dark Dimension, for instance). Also, doing the bidding of that mysterious Timekeeper or whatever he was, was a McGuffin we never believed in. But for me, it was the constant variations of already established Marvel characters that ruined it for me. One issue Namor was a world-conquering nut. The next one, he might be a she, or blue insted of white skinned, etc. It was confusing and repetitive, and I'm not surprised when it got cancelled, twice.

The other was SOVEREIGN SEVEN, by Claremont and Turner. That drew seven characters from different parallel worlds, all with differing cultures, traditions, and powers, all fleeing from the transdimensional Rapture that was hitting most realiteis. There the parallel worlds were more fully developed—Reflex, for instance, was from a Viking culture that had never died, which had melded Christianity with Norse myth in an often fascinating way (Reflex spoke of St. Odin and the archangel Balder, but also spoke of Jesus, also.)–becoming “strangers in a strange land” in the DC universe. It had a lot of potential. However, they ended up in a small town called Crossroads which, although fascinating in a Twin Peaks kind of way, was also ridiculously out there. The Crossroads coffee shop just happened to be a dimensional nexus. The sheriff was an Asian-american woman who used to be a sumarai. At least Smallville PRETENDED to be a normal town.

Crossroads, as a town, as a good idea. SOVEREIGN SEVEN, as a team, was an interesting idea. Together, though, there was nothing “normal” to identify with. S7 should have been either dumped in a “normal” town or city and been the extraordinary-against-the-ordinary, or they should have had an ordinary schlub in CROSSROADS. You need something normal to empathize with when you're trying to tell a story about the fantastic. S7 was all high concept but nothing for anyone to empathize with…unfortunately.

Now, if those two were the only example of transdimensional teams, (teams with members drawn from different realities) one might say it was hopeless. However…

The Justice League-Justice Society team-ups from 1963 to 1985 proves it CAN be done. True, the League-Society combination never had a formal name, save in the original “Crisis on Earth-Two” at one point Gardner Fox calls all the heroes together the “Justice Champions” to contrast them with the “Crime Champions”. But Crisis on Earth-One/Earth-Two became THE JLA story, and like the original Galactus trilogy in FF, spawned many successors. One grew to look forward to the once-a-year two-parter in which the League and Society would meet again…indeed, they would later meet and team-up with heroes from still other realities, like the Freedom Fighters of Earth-X, the heroes of Earth-S (the Marvel Family and other Fawcett heroes), etc. Fox DID create a one-time variation of the JLA, the Earth-3 Crime Syndicate of America, but he didn't do variation upon variation upon variation, which was the folly of EXILES…

I want the team formed out of the CROSSOVERLORD to be able to go anywhere and interact with any comic out there. It might lead to some funny bits as well—if they went to the Order of the Sticks' reality, would they be turned into stick figures as well? Webcomics are huge in bredth and scope. If we make all the superheroes live in one reality, we miss so MUCH that we could do—with a “crossover” team. I DON'T want them to spend a lot of time with other versions of themselves or their friends.

Comments? Objections? Just thinking aloud. —Al
Al Schroeder of MINDMISTRESS http://mindmistress.comicgenesis.com—think the superhero genre is mined out?

Think there are no new superhero ideas?

Think again.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:21AM
theRedDeath at 3:28PM, Jan. 1, 2010
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I think you raised an interesting point, by mentioning how the two comic series' about Trans-dimensional teams were ultimately unsuccesful. I think one of the reasons that could be is the idea that those series where trying to create an “on-going” franchise, that would continue indefinitely like modern super-hero comics.

The nature of “multiverse” kind of stories lends itself to a “infinite possibility” mindset, but the sad truth is most of those stories are ultimately consumed by their own ambition. They become overwhelmed by trying to do or show too much, which leads to convoluted plotlines and characters that just confuse the readers.

Alternatively you have crossover stories like the original “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, and the “Justice League/Avengers” (a personal favorite of mine), which tell a single consise storyline from beginning to end, and just happens to use these parallel worlds as a backdrop and source of characters.

This is one of the things I think “Crossoverlord” has done well. You establish the main cast early on, and you give them a single definitive goal/adversary in the form of “the Smiling Man” which propels them through the story. Had “Crossoverlord” just been a series of vignette's in each character's world, that just happened to co-star the other heroes, it probably would not have captured my interest.

Another example of a multi-dimensional storyline done really well IMO is the first “Kingdom Hearts” game. I don't know if you'd played it or not, but it does a surprisingly effective job of telling a multiverse story. While there are vingette's into the various Disney worlds, the story follows the main characters that thread through all the different worlds, culminating with a resolution on an original plot-specific world. Furthermore, you have the added thematic link by adding a reoccuring villain type (the Heartless), and the sub-purpose of “sealing the keyhole” of each world.

It's those clearly defined links and character-purposes that I think keeps these infinite world stories from getting out of hand. You tell a simple story, with relatable characters like you said, and just use the setting of parallel worlds as a backdrop.


last edited on July 18, 2011 10:21AM
alschroeder at 4:12PM, Jan. 3, 2010
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Good point about the “Kingdom Hearts” game, and like you, I loved the “JLA/Avengers” team-up, which was very, very satisfying. (I especially liked Quicksilver's comments about how everyone on the JLA's Earth loved heroes…) The only thing that didn't ring true to me was Superman/Captain AMerica's mutual dislike for each other's worlds—by rights, Captain America would have fit right IN on DC-Earth. He's practially idolized on Marvel-Earth, about the only hero who IS.

And I think you're right about the definite goal thing. If we do any sequels to this, (and believe me, when we get through with this, we ALL want to take a break) I'd like it to be more like “Infinity Guantlet” etc., definite storylines with definite goals. I don't think you could ever make them the Avengers or the JLA, where they all teamed together every week or so. However, I do want to leave something in place where they CAN get together when trans-dimensional emergencies threaten. I think Mindmistress, at least, is going to realize leaving Ringo in charge of keeping the realities separate isn't going to work anymore, with him sliding into senility (sort of like Merlin in SWORD AND THE STONE).

I think she'll be horrified by the prospect, also. SHE sure wouldn't want it to be a regular thing..

Although it might be fun to do one short “civilian” one where they come in their other identities and have dinner, compare notes, etc. Lorelei meet Dasien's Parker,that sort of thing.—Al
Al Schroeder of MINDMISTRESS http://mindmistress.comicgenesis.com—think the superhero genre is mined out?

Think there are no new superhero ideas?

Think again.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:21AM
algeya at 3:05PM, Jan. 4, 2010
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how about Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles its the only succesful crossover series that I know, only read the first volume and it seems good since the main characters are parallel version of card captor sakura series,
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:21AM
alschroeder at 9:23AM, Jan. 8, 2010
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Not familiar with the Reservoir Chronicles, but sounds interesting.—Al
Al Schroeder of MINDMISTRESS http://mindmistress.comicgenesis.com—think the superhero genre is mined out?

Think there are no new superhero ideas?

Think again.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:21AM
shastab24 at 11:55AM, March 3, 2010
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joined: 12-20-2007
I do think multiverse-hopping can be interesting if done right. After all, I loved the show Sliders (before they killed off the Professor).

What I think works for an ongoing series is definitely the clear goals, but that can either lead into or be followed by other such arcs. In essence, a multiverse-hopping story is a way to place the same characters into wildly different genres and see how they react.

But extensions of the Crossoverlord shouldn't have to apply to just this core team. What about the other teams Ringo assembled? While the core team is off, we could have adventures of, say, Yaoi Boy and Yuuki's team, with its creators involved. That way, the essence of the crossover could be kept, but creators would have room to breathe after each one.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:21AM
alschroeder at 10:12AM, March 4, 2010
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posts: 378
joined: 1-14-2008
Interesting ideas. Follow the other teams…hmmm…
—Al
Al Schroeder of MINDMISTRESS http://mindmistress.comicgenesis.com—think the superhero genre is mined out?

Think there are no new superhero ideas?

Think again.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:21AM

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