Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Crisis on Infinite Earths

This month is the 30th anniversary of the the biggest event in comics history.  Well. At least from my point of view.  In truth if it had not been for 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths we would not have seen a lot of the big events in comic we have seen over the last 30 years.  That can be good or bad.

Sure Marvel's Secret Wars predates it by almost 6 months, but Crisis was a much bigger deal to me.
At the time I was reading a lot of sci-fi and I loved the idea of alternate Earths, parallel dimensions and all that good stuff.  One of my favorite books from the time was Fredrick Pohl's "The Coming of the Quantum Cats" (1986) and Robert A. Heinlein's "Job, A Comedy of Justice" (1984).

I have always wanted to do my own Crisis-like arc.  Back in the day it wasn't too difficult of a prospect.  Back then we all played in Oerth. Greyhawk was the campaign setting of choice.  The idea was to do a huge Crisis like event and in the end have all of our worlds merged into one.

Later I thought about doing it with different systems; where each Earth was represented by a different game system.

Needless to say it has left a deep imprint in my psyche.

Now in DC we are coming up the new Multiversity.
The optimistic would say it has been all part of a larger super-arc.  The pessimist would say that DC is out of ideas and cashing in on their last good one 30 years ago.

One day I will do a Crisis-like campaign in one of my games.  Maybe something like CoIE where it is a large in scope but limited in duration sort of mini-campaign.

In any case I am sure it would be fun.


Tim Knight said...

Thanks for this, Tim. I hadn't realised it was the 30th anniversary. Crisis On Infinite Earths remains my favourite 'event' in comics and is the gold standard by which I judge all others.

Like you I had dreams of a Crisis like event in my games back in the day, when we had a lot of fragments of Villains & Vigilantes games knocking around. Even now I keep returning to the idea, as you suggest, of a "crisis" across different RPGs. I'm alwats leaving that door open in case the opportunity truly arises ;-)

JB said...

I don't think it was related to Crisis (since none of us read DC comics back in the day) but we had parallel dimension crossover action on the brain back in the 80s and this especially applied to our RPGs. We had alternate versions of all our favorite characters transcribed into various different (waaay different systems) back in '85-'87.

Scott Anderson said...

When Crisis came out again as a TPB a few years ago, I read it. I was not impressed, to be honest. Pariah left me cold. A lot of the super-short vignettes left me cold. It seemed rushed. I now see that it was the first of its kind, and nobody really knew how to do the mega-crossover.

Earth X in my opinion is how a mega crossover ought to read. There's space and time for everything, and everything is revealed by the end- questions were answered that I didn't even know I was asking.

The imaginary "criss-cross crisis" of the Big Bang universe is a great idea. Just as earth-shaking as the Crisis, but condensed down to a few paragraphs recounting an event that never actually saw print.

And Watchmen deconstructed the crossover just as the Crisis birthed it. Also 30 years ago this year.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I think part of what I liked about Crisis was not just the story (which I do still like) but also when I was reading it and all the circumstances around it. At that time parallel universes seemed to be in everything I was reading, CoIE just added to that.

Certainly there is an element of nostalgia here.

Doctor Futurity said...

Ironically I never read Crisis when it came out (I was a pure Marvel guy at the time, except for Teen Titans and Omega Men) but it was because of Crisis that I got into DC...and became a hardcore DC-only guy for the next 28 years or so until recently. When Crisis revamped the DC universe I decided to poke my nose into the new books, Superman...Batman...Action Comics....etc. Two years later I was buying DC almost exclusively.

Reading Marvel and DC today I think DC made a critical error ditching its continuity with New 52...even though New 52 is what got me back to reading DC (and comics in general) lately. Marvel has done a really interesting job with leveraging their lengthy comic history while still trying to revamp their characters and stories for a modern audience. DC did so but the loss of continuity has to have had an effect on the long tail of book sales for them.....and I have a feeling that 2015's lineup is an experiment to see if they can "get the old magic back" and make it work with the current stuff. Don't know if it will succeed, but as long as the results are entertaining I'll be happy.

Unknown said...

Huh...when I ready your article, I was reminded that I'd recently seen a setting book on RPGNOW for just this topic. Alas, I couldn't find it. And, now, I get in my email notice that they've put out an update to it:

Superstring Multiverse

Superstring Multiverse Worldbook 1

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I saw that as well. Might need to grab that.

James Mishler said...

It seemed for a while that Gary was kind of leading up to this with his New Infinities Gord the Rogue novels... but instead, he simply destroyed the old Greyhawk (a la Elric and the Young Kingdoms) and shuffled Gord off to another alternate Earth (Yarth, IIRC).

What If...