Dr. Strange and the Multiverse

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It’s not so much the connection to the character, so much as the importance of the word and how it affects both mainstream comic book publishers and their history.

Let me back up for a minute, when seeing Dr. Strange in the theater I was excited. Finally Marvel was bringing magic to the movieverse and all of us as viewers were going to have a better experience for it in the long run. I never expected a huge plotpoint in the movie to be anything connected to the multiverse.

Long term comic readers will know the significance and importance of the word to comics in general. It’s something that DC comics has heavily used for years and how we got Crisis on Infinite Earths in the first place. It also is how the designation earth 616 popped up over at Marvel at all. (It even manages to have importance to Ant-man as the microverse ties directly into it)

Basically to not get long winded back in the 80’s, DC decided they had way too many earths with way too many versions of the same heroes and a crazy amount of continuities. So editorial tasked Marv Wolfman and George Perez with shrinking this down to one earth where they’d reboot everything, basically wiping whole worlds off the map. Meanwhile Marvel had other ideas and we were introduced to the Captain Britain corp and the idea of the multiverse in the 80’s during Alan Moore’s fan favorite run on the Captain.

It wouldn’t be until the early 90’s that DC decided to play with the idea of the Multiverse again with books known as elseworlds where Batman got bit by a vampire or Clark Kent became Batman or Superman was raised in Russia instead of American and what it led to. (Superman Red Son is a fantastic book that is constantly in print, highly recommend seeking it out if you’re curious.) Though we also had an evil earth that we’d see Morrison play with that had an evil version of the Justice League on it called the Crime Syndicate.

The multiverse actually led to one of my favorite event books and one of my favorite comics of all time. The event book being Age of Apocolypse which saw Charles Xavier killed years before he formed the X-men which led to an alternate Earth taken over by Apacolypse and his minions. It’s a really cool exploration of a universe readers already loved in new and exciting ways, which also technically helped lead into Exiles. Exiles was a book that starred one of the more fan favorite characters from AoA in Blink and Sabretooth where a team of mostly X-men based characters would jump from earth to earth fixing problems that needed to be fixed.

Geoff Johns really started playing with and introduced the idea of the 52 earths and the multiverse existing again in Infinity Crisis and about 7 years after that Grant Morrison really picked the ball back up and did a series called Multiversity which showed just how different some of those earths really were.

I think one of the major differences between the two concepts of Multiverse has mostly been time/earth and alternate reality based. If DC had a concept they were playing with you’d get an Earth 3 or Earth 48 or something like that but with Marvel you’d get Marvel Zombies (exactly what you think it is) or 1602 (an Earth that gains its super powered characters in a victorian era years before they’re supposed to exist) or 2099 with a future Hulk and Spider-man.

The concept itself really only has loose form and is only ever changed or messed with in a major event book like Marvel just did with it’s Secret Wars.

Now I know I’ve mostly talked the movies but I do have to give a nod to the television side of things as DC and the Flash have already beat everyone to the punch by introducing the multiverse and having at least 4 Earths that we know of appear so far. (Which is so cool to see as a longtime comic reader and something that I know I can’t wait to see them play with more down the line.)

So will we see our heroes jump to different worlds? Is this how we will eventually get the X-men and the Fantastic Four back in the Marvel movieverse umbrella? Will DC ever start playing with it’s multiverse in the movies? I know I’m excited about all the possibilities.

Thanks for reading!

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NCD #299

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A Word From One of the Creators

From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe

I love 12 so far, he’s like the crotchety grandfather and or older uncle who just gives you the hardest time imaginable for even the smallest thing. Capaldi himself is awesome and he’s really making the role his own. Of course we haven’t seen the Doctor in strip since around the mid 200’s when Eric was being questioned by those mysterious agents.

Travis has been a fantastic guest artist just like Tori, I really love seeing how people take my ideas and play with them.

Pax was super fun but stressful this year, planning on doing Prime in Seattle in August as we speak, I’ll be doing a full write up very soon!

Next week…just what do our heroes do with the Tardis and what important date are they not or not forgetting…find out in NCD 300!

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NCD #298

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A Word From One of the Creators

From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe

This months awesome guest artist is Travis Bramble. Travis contacted me via twitter and we became friends very fast and I invited him to do a few fill in strips here. I love his style. He has his own webcomic called Side Quest

Highly recommend reading it, it’s very fun and cool stuff.

I’ve wanted to have Chuck come back for a while now, just really haven’t thought of a good way to use his character that would have felt natural.

Okay I know some people aren’t going to get the Paul F Thompkins joke/reference. Basically for a while now, Paul has been hosting a podcast where he plays an actual time traveling HG Wells in his real time machine. Now what does Wells do with this time machine? Well he comes to the present and brings fellow dead authors with him to the present to discuss their work. The podcast is called “The dead authors podcast” and is well worth your time to listen to.

The visual of Minion and Frank together at a convention amused me so that’s where that gag came from.

We’re just 2 weeks away from 300 and I couldn’t be more excited, going to be a very awesome one.

Just who does Eric know and how can they help solve a time travel problem? Well you’re just going to have to wait 7 days to find out!

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NCD #294

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A Word From One of the Creators

From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe

Yup, for those of you who guess we’d be doing a Frozen bit you get all the stars. I don’t hate the movie at all, I actually think it’s fun. Overrated definitely but fun. I love Idina Menzel and Kristin Bell of course. I actually really liked how they used the characters in Once Upon a Time.

I know I said it last week but I love Tori’s version of Minion, I just want to hug him.

I can’t remember exactly where this idea fully came from, I didn’t want to do another crazy Santa Clause bit and thought it would be funny to see how we’d interact with Frozen. Then of course while writing I think most people would have assumed comic me dated Anna and not else because of the redhead thing. It’s not a direct retcon but more of a “comic me dates more than crazy redheads” and it just added to the fun I think.

Next week…we storm a castle!

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NCD #293

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From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe:

Sorry about the 2 month hiatus folks. I will fall on the blade completely my own and be fully the one to blame. It was never in the cards to take that long but sometimes these things happen and give you a completely new perspective. I’m excited for the future of the strip, though we’re working on getting 1 or 2 fill in artists for the next 8 strips before George officially returns in May.

This arcs guest artist is my awesome friend, talented artist and cosplayer; Tori Mckenna of Cool by Proxy productions (http://feralkiwi.tumblr.com/ and https://www.etsy.com/shop/feralkiwi as well as http://coolbyproxyproductions.com/) I first met Tori and her husband back in April of 2014 during Pax East. They were dressed as Wonder Woman and Superman from the Infinite Crisis video game and helped with the costume contest that I was apart of. They really are two of the nicest people imaginable. She’s been a great sounding board for me since we met and it was great having her guest. George already knows this but her version of Minion has quickly become my favorite. Plus all 5 strips are ready to go so we’re back on our weekly schedule for this arc completely.

Also to note in this specific strip is that Mega man smash joke which of course was related to the new Smash which had come out right after I wrote these. It’s true too, the developers of Smash have given more love to Mega-man and his fanbase than Capcom themselves in years.

Next week…have you figured out just who Eric knows that could possibly own a castle and is winter themed? Well, he tells the crew next week so find out in 7!

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NCD #292

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A Word From One of the Creators

From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe

Remember the power outage that took out poor Jim’s internet and power for a few weeks a couple years ago? Yeah, that happened to Justin during Thanksgiving. It seems to be our curse around certain holidays. Here’s hoping it won’t happen next year during the holidays.

I love the idea of Thanos in that suit. I also love everything about that judge. Justin and I specifically talked a lot about this strip during Supermegafest. (Which we met some of you awesome people at… thank you so much for swinging by the table!) The idea of Daredevil’s entire argument here is insane and that’s what makes it work.

I also really enjoy the reactions in those last 2 panels, really funny stuff. Though, why Superman is at a trial using mostly Marvel characters is a mystery in itself. (But a great mystery nonetheless)

Next week our December arc begins and things are about to get very cold for our heroes. Find out why in 7!

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NCD #291

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A Word From One of the Creators

From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe

When you originally come up with an idea for something, it can completely change and morph into something different in 11 months. When I first came up with the idea during the January teaser, I had a lot of ideas attached, from having the arc span like 8 different strips to having it involve way too many characters. Here I’ll put it in list form:

– Originally the arc was going to start by having Captain America bring me in.
– There was going to be a bit where Eric basically ran through a list of different lawyers from She-Hulk to Phoenix Wright to Manhunter to so many more.
– Phoenix Wright wouldn’t have been the real version of the character, instead it would have been a cameo by one of my favorite youtubers Fraser Agar.
– Character witnesses would have ranged from Bill Gladman to Kang the Conqueror to nods to people and things we haven’t seen in the actual strip yet.
– Comic Eric in Jail for an extended period of time during the trial
– Minion would have played a much bigger part.
– The judge of the case would have been an actual character and another phoenix wright nod.
– “OBJECTION!” would have been yelled by comic Eric at least once.

There are some more that I’m blanking on but I’m glad I cut everything down to what you’re witnessing in it’s current incarnation. I know sometimes I let my imagination run wild which can lead to less than satisfactory endings for the arcs so I’m doing my best to reign in my crazier ideas.

I’m doing my best to use the blogging portion of the site more from reviews to editorial pieces. Sometime in the next few days I’ll have my Binding of Isaac review and thoughts up with hopefully a video aspect as well.

Next time…what is Matt up to and how does it involve the laziest roommate of all time?! Find out in 7, folks!

Top 10 downloaded Why I Love Comics podcasts

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So there are a lot of people that read New Comic Day weekly and I as the lead writer and co-creator of the strip I’ve been wanting to put up more written content lately. Earn those press badges for the shows I cover. So for now on you’ll be getting 2 blog posts from me a week as well as the main strip! (Plus I’ll be posting the podcast here as soon as I figure out how to do that)

Speaking of the podcast, that’s what I do when I’m not doing New Comic Day. I host the Why I Love Comics podcast!

I’ve always described the show as a pop culture talk show where I have conversations with awesome people in pop culture from comic creators to actors to show runners to musicians and youtubers!

This does not in fact make you better at what you do.

This does not in fact make you better at what you do.

So without further ado, we’re counting down the top 10 episodes of the podcast. (Not my top 10 but the top 10 downloaded episodes of all time, with commentary from me.)

#10 Why I Love Comics #114 with Jane Espenson and Brad Bell! – This is a very fun episode. I had just finished reading the first few issues of the Husbands comic, which Jane and Brad were promoting. (Off topic but their publicist Mel rocks and is one of my favorite people) Thanks to Mel and Aub Driver and of course Jude Terror and the outhouse, this interview became possible.

One of my favorite things about this conversation was how easily we got off topic. From talking about the supposed upcoming apocalypse to hearing Brad’s idea for a new Rocky Horror picture show to how they write together, it’s a very fun listen and they’re 2 of my favorite guests of all time. We didn’t talk about Buffy at the time and I had yet to see any Once Upon a Time so it really was a heavy focus on Husbands their awesome webseries as well as writing for comics. I’m still looking forward to having them on the show again down the line.

#9 Why I Love Comics #84 The 2 Year Anniversary with BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS!!!! – I’m actually surprised this one isn’t higher on the list. It’s still till this day the highest compliment I’ve ever received about the show where someone told me they enjoyed the episode because it felt like 2 old friends having a conversation and not a straight up interview. Brian is a huge influence on my writing style and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a few times now. This was also right before the Guardians of the Galaxy ongoing was announced so you can hear him teasing it a bit on the episode.

The other thing that made this episode a little special was that it was the 2 year anniversary of doing the show on my own and some friends did some very cool intro stuff for me.

#8 Why I Love Comics #122 with Adam Busch! – Another Buffy Alumni (along with Jane Espenson) that was a blast to have on the show. We talked a lot about comedy and his over all style as an actor and I even found out about a musical number with the trio that was cut from Once More with Feeling. At the time, Adam had both a very cool sitcom on TBS as well as a very funny and innovative webseries called My Music both airing. It was great to nerd out over a few things as well as the hover board bit.

#7 Why I Love Comics #120 catching up with Greg Rucka! – Greg is one of my favorite writers and he’s actually one of the first guests Chuck and I had during the original run of the podcast before I took over the show myself. He’s sincerely one of the nicest people in the comic industry and a gamer to boot. Towards the end of the show we ended up talking a bit about Mass Effect before I let him go which is always a good thing. There’s also a lot of process talk in this episode, including how they make Lady Sabre.

#6 Why I Love Comics #101 with Amber Benson! – The last of the Buffy alumni on the list and another awesome writer whose work I really enjoy. (She’s also a pretty awesome director.) We covered a lot of her career, though once again barely talked Buffy because there are plenty of interviews about Tara on the internet. We talked a lot about her prose work, working with Ben Acker and Ben Blacker and even Javier Grill Marxuach. There were some audio issues in this episode though so I’m glad people enjoyed it.

#5 Why I love comics #71: Latverian improv on the normandy with Mark Meer! – Mark’s a favorite guest of mine, so I’m glad people really enjoy this one. The first 15 minutes are us just talking comics and Mark turning the tables on me a bit. He’s a super nice guy and playing almost a 100 hours of a trilogy of games hearing someone’s voice you don’t know what to expect. I love the fact that he’s a huge comic fan and wants to voice doctor doom one of these days. I’d still actually love to get him back on one of these days because there’s plenty more I’d love to talk to him about. This as you can tell by the name was also one of the first times I was playing with naming the episodes, which worked for a while. But that is a story for another time.

#4 Why I Love Comics #68: Being slightly awkward is always fun with Layne Pavoggi! – Layne used to have a show on an extremely popular youtube network called “The game station” and the show was called “Layne on” where he’d talk about the news in gaming and sometimes other things in pop culture. He was a great host and is definitely a favorite guest of mine. One of the reasons I think this one is so high on the list is because he gave me a shout out on the show when it went live. I even sent him a copy of NCD vol 1 which sat in the background of the show for the rest of the run. Also his webseries “The Street Fighter” is fantastic and if you’ve never seen it, you should go watch it.

#3 Why I Love Comics #56: One More thing! With John Rogers – I was a huge fan of both Blue Beetle and Leverage so getting John on the show was a huge score for me. He actually told this awesome story about the process that was writing the Catwoman movie that had me almost speechless at one point and we talked about everything from how awesome Jaime was as a legacy character (to which John gave me a hard time because he wanted to write him again) to how Piper is such a unique character and how awesome Mark Sheppard is. It’s not surprising to see this as high on the list as it is.

#2 Why I Love Comics #106: New York Comic Con 2012 – Surprised this one is #2, not sure why either. I mean it’s a packed episode with press rooms thanks to Adult Swim, a conversation with Scott Allie, an awesome interview with Claudio Sanchez and Chondra which happens every NYCC when I’m there. (Sadly wasn’t there this year so it didn’t happen) and getting to talk with the Roosterteeth crew which was a lot of fun. I have been thinking of doing an episode collecting all the interviews I’ve done with Claudio just for the heck of it, we’ll see.

#1 It’s a tie! Why I Love Comics #63: The Binding of Meatboy with Edmund Mcmillen! and Why I Love Comics #89 The return of Edmund Mcmillen! – It doesn’t surprise me how often and how many times these two episodes are downloaded. I’ve spent over 200 hours in the original Binding of Isaac and watched Indie Game the movie a bunch of times as well as played plenty of Super meat boy. It’s also one of the first times I’ve ever tried my hands at actual game journalism and Ed made a fantastic guest on both episodes. We cover a crazy amount of ground in the little over 2 and a half hours combined. It’s well worth listening to both episodes to hear such a cool creator talk about his work.

Episodes I’d recommend – This is going to be a shorter list and it’s not about favorites but more about some of the episodes I think either deserve more listens/downloads or attention.

Episodes #79 and #96 with Scott Lobdell – Scott can be a polarizing figure in comics but I had a lot of fun getting to know him and he’s had a hand in a few of my favorite comics. Plus he has a very interesting outlook on the industry.

Tad Stones – Seriously, I love and grew up with Darkwing Duck and he’s one of the nicest people imaginable. Such a fun guest.

Matt Smith – No not THAT Matt Smith, the artist. He’s the guy who worked on the Doctor Who Comics as well as some of the strongest and most underrated issues of Starman. (And no, that joke will never get old to me)

Doug Jones – Sweetest man on the planet, seriously. Coolest actor out there with one of the biggest bodies of work you can imagine.

Fabian Nicieza – One of my favorite writers of all time, I practically nerd out at him but I love everything about this episode. We talk a lot about Cable/Deadpool but also a few other things.

Dan Milano – One of the first people I ever talked to whose work I studied like a mega fan back in high school. It’s a super fun conversation too.

Bryan Q Miller – One of my all time favorite guests and an episode I loved recording. Bryan is someone who I appreciate a lot whenever I get to talk to him. Have to get him back on one of these days.

John Siuntres – You never really hear the tables turned on John so it was great to have a guy who has been a major influence on my style on my show and as a lot of these I’m recommending, I’m super proud of how the conversation went.

So these are some starters and the top 10 which is technically an 11 most downloaded. So if you’re new to the show, definitely check it out. There’s about to be 190 episodes so there’s plenty of listening to be had.

Next time…the long awaited Binding of Isaac review! (Thoughts on the original game as well as a review of Rebirth)

And coming very soon….my game of the year! It will definitely surprise you!

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NCD #290

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A Word From One of the Creators

From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe

This is obviously the last of the major teases from the first strip all the way in January and I know some fans of the strip have been very excited to see this one. (mostly because of comic me finally getting in some hot water after years of madness)

Daredevil is another character who I’ve always loved but didn’t get to read until the Ed Brubaker run. (I also really like the Mark Waid stuff, but Brubaker was my Daredevil writer) It was the cool noir and pulpy take on the character that starts with the Punisher meeting Matt in jail and we take off from there. It’s really interesting and unique and hooked me from the start. (This was the official return of the Punisher to the Marvel universe proper and happened at the same time as Civil War) If anything I think Matt’s honor code as both a hero and a defense attorney are some of the most interesting things about him.

Also, yes, I know that’s not exactly how these things happen but I needed a fun way to get us from point A to point B, but I will delve into the ideas I scrapped in next week’s commentary.

I love how Justin draws Matt here as it’s obvious he’s been dealing with comic me for hours and possibly days at the point at the end of the strip.

Next week…just who are Eric and his attorney up against and just what are the charges he faces? Find out in 7, folks!

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NCD #289

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A Word From One of the Creators

From the desk of Eric Ratcliffe

So, sometimes the best plans we can possibly come up with fall through completely. It happens and George has been crazy busy. So the original strip that was supposed to be today’s will hopefully be one of the first of 2015. (I say that because December is completely booked, just have to write it all)

With that being said, we had to come up with something in a really short amount of time so I figured I’d throw all my Rhode Island Comic Con experiences together as comic me completely nerds out to poor George. I think it’s a fun bit and works completely.

The show itself, while completely chaotic for some people, (you can look it up online; it’s a bummer, but I would hope they’re going to fix the issues as of next year) but for me, it was a pretty decent show. Got there super early in the morning and got to talk with some good friends like the Make Me a Dragon guys and my friend Jennie Wood as well as Fat Cat Funnies and Ian Nichols.

The celebrity area was flooded with wrestlers, voice actors, actors and even some cosplayers. I got to talk to Gigi Edgley who was Chianna on Farscape and is super awesome and lovely in person, J August Richards who people know as Gunn on Angel as well as Deathlock on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Richard Horvitz Invader Zim himself and several other awesome people.

The highlight of the weekend though was meeting Mick Foley in person for the first time. For those that don’t know, I had him on the podcast last year to talk the WWE comic (http://lovecomics.libsyn.com/why-i-love-comics-159-with-mick-foley-and-phil-lamarr) and he’s seriously one of the major reasons I started writing in the first place. He’s the nicest guy imaginable, actually remembered being on the show and I gave him a copy of NCD vol 1. Seriously, it made my whole weekend to finally meet him.

I even got to hang out with Dr. Affect and Nurse Cause for a little bit of The Blockbuster Buster. We’ve met 3 maybe 4 times now and it’s always a pleasure to hang out with them. Even won Doc’s contest that he had running and got a very cool present for winning said contest.

I have more written content coming to the site very soon. A review of Alex and Riley’s first issue of their new ongoing “Rasputin” as well as just why the Binding of Isaac and it’s update/remake are on the top of my favorite games of all time. I’m really out to give you guys more content on the site at the end of the day at least 2-3 times a week. We’re also auditioning a new artist who may be joining the team very soon!

Next week…what does Eric get in the mail that lands him in hot water? And just what does it have to do with our January teaser from the beginning of the year? Find out in 7, folks!