Hello, folks! Your postman is reporting for duty. This week we have questions about why DC should put all of its shows, movies, and comics into a single multiverse, why Deadpool rules when other R-rated “superhero” movies drool, why Finn had no problem murdering the heck out of his fellow Stormtroopers, and more.
You said you wanted to give life advice, so here you go.
I’m a collector—action figures and statues mainly—and I was in a relationship that recently ended. Don’t ask. But the nice part is that she was used to my hobby and I could display my stuff everywhere. Now I have a new place and I want to put my junk back up but I also want to date someone again.
Can I do both? I don’t want to hide myself, and I know there are at least a few women out there who would enter a “nerd cave” and have no problems with it. But I can’t help but think bringing even a pretty geeky girl to my apartment and her seeing a bunch of Ame-Comi Girls on a bookshelf is going to get me a second date, you know?
Should I keep my stuff stored until I’m in a new relationship? Should I put them all out and hope to find someone who doesn’t care? I’m honestly stuck here, so you’re as good a solution as any.
I’m super-excited to get this question, because I have been there. I suddenly found myself single at a time when I had literally push-pinned unopened Star Wars figures to my walls in lieu of art (which isn’t just obscenely nerdy, but tacky as hell). I quickly came to the conclusion that while I enjoyed my hobby, I would enjoy not dying alone even more. So I took them down (plenty of less ostentatious displays of geekery remained).
Was I being dishonest? No more than any messy person who does a super-clean before a date comes over. New relationships are tricky, fragile things, so you don’t want dump all your hang-ups and quirks on someone on your first date, whether it’s your fondness for statues of female superheroes, or the fact that you run a Happy Days-specific erotic fan fic website.
If collecting is a major part of who you are, you shouldn’t hide it. If it’s important to you, then you owe it to yourself and your prospective relationships to be honest. There’s a line between putting your best self forward and misrepresenting yourself, but only you know how few toys and collectibles you can display without feeling like you’re pretending to be someone else.
If you’re worrying about the sexy nature of your toys putting off prospective dates, the same answer applies: If you like figures of sexy superheroes, don’t hide it. But that also doesn’t mean displaying every single one and introducing them each to your date by name. To be honest, lots of people (of both genders) think this sort of cheesecake is fine—while plenty don’t. If it’s something you really enjoy, wouldn’t you rather be in a relationship with someone in the former group?
And speaking of being honest: Don’t ever lie about it. If your date asks you point blank “Hey, do you run a Happy Days-specific erotic fan fic website?”, you tell him/her the truth. Not just because lying is a crappy thing to do to them, but because it does you no good either. If you never reveal to him/her that you’re a toy fan, what’s your plan if the relationship actually works out? Hide your toys forever?
Across the Multiverse
Greetings Postmaster! I was wondering your thoughts on the DC Cinematic/Television universes. At the moment, they mostly seem to be existing independently of each other: The movies are their own thing, obviously. But on TV, Flash/Arrow/LoT and possibly Supergirl (depending on how the announced crossover handles it) exist together, while other shows like iZombie and Gotham exist in their own independent realms.
Is DC planning on turning all this into one big multiverse with everything? If they aren’t, why not? The Flash did a great job introducing the concept of the multiverse so anyone could understand it. Isn’t it doable?
Warner Bros./DC could do it. They should do it! And they absolutely won’t do it.
To be fair, there are a lot of reasons for WB/DC not to. First and foremost is that the idea of a single multiverse is tough for a lot of people to wrap their heads around. And DC does not have a single multiverse.
Arrow and The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow are separate shows in the same universe. Supergirl is part of their multiverse. Constantine appears to be in the regular universe, though. But other shows like Gotham have their own universes that are not part of the Arrow/Supergirl multiverse, even though they are both technically DC universes. Then there’s the DC comics multiverse, which is a completely separate multiverse. Most of the cartoons have their own separate universe, but they are not part of a bigger multiverse, although they might have their own little multiverses inside.
DC has multiple multiverses across all its media. This shit is hard for me to keep track of, and I more of less get paid to do so. Imagine trying to explain this to your non-nerdy cousin who just wants to see Batman punch Superman. Which brings us to the other main reason DC/WB won’t do it—it won’t make them money. Connecting the shows/cartoon/movies/whatever together is a blast for fans, but those fans will be watching the shows or buying movie tickets whether Grant Gustin Flash meets Ezra Miller Flash or Christian Bale stops by Gotham and asks what the hell is going on.
There’s no benefit, and there’s a decent chance that you might turn off the larger, non-nerd audiences that any show/movie/whatever needs to succeed. Also, it takes work across departments and studios and networks and god knows what else to make these things happen. Both The Flash and Supergirl are produced by the same people, but there were some big meetings and some sizable contracts signed just to make this cameo possible (and please note that they’ve been very clear that Supergirl is not part of the actual Arrow-verse, but is another totally separate universe like Earth-2). And remember, Warner Bros. is a hierarchy with the films at the top. The movie execs aren’t going to do anything that could possibly interfere with their main money-making superhero franchises. This is how we get a Batman show without Batman in it and a Supergirl show where Superman is a shadow puppet.
But as I said up top, there is actually one weird trick that DC/WB could use to create one massive multiverse of every DC comic, cartoon, TV show, movie, everything. Ready?
Just say it is.
Seriously. Just get DC president Diane Nelson, and comics co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee, and a few of the showrunners, and the King of Warner Bros. or whoever in charge of the movies together, so it feels like it’s really one massive group decision, and literally just say out loud: “Uh, yes. Everything DC has ever made is in one giant multiverse. It’s all canon. They’re all connected, although some parts of this multiverse are more connected that others. So yes, Arrow from the TV show could technically arrive in the main DC comics universe. Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel could technically appear in the new Justice League Action. He won’t, because he’s a living person and that’s a cartoon, but in a nerdy, technical way it is possible. Yes, Batman from The Animated Series shares a multiverse with the Wonder Woman TV series. The two won’t crossover, because of the cartoon thing, because that’s not how linear time works, and because it’s dumb. But technically they could. No questions!”
And that would be that. Fans would be thrilled. Warner Bros. wouldn’t have to do or approve anything additional because of it. Just say it is, simplify the craziness, and then move on exactly as you have been. Admittedly, there’d have to be some kind of reshuffling DC’s comics multiverse which is stuck at 52. But they reboot that shit all the time. What’s one more? Don’t they have some kind of Rebirth coming up soon anyway?
Deep End of the ‘Pool
Your retro colleague Charlie Jane Anders in her editorial about the magnificent Super, compared Deadpool with Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman. I agree that those movies have smartass “heroes” and stylized hyper violence; and yet I HATED all three of those snarky, “subversive” films, while I love Deadpool and Super.
Can you articulate what Deadpool and Super have, under the surface, that I responded to so favorably, while I hated those other films so much? The short answer is “Heart”, but I’m hoping you can break it down a little deeper for me.
I haven’t seen Super, so I can’t answer for that. I can definitely tell you why I feel Deadpool is superior to Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman, which all happen to be based on comics/stories by Mark Millar. On the surface, all four movies are pretty similar—a snarky, disrespectful-of-authority “hero” with cool powers who fights unquestionably bad villains with copious amounts of profanity and violence.
The first difference is that Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool is actually likable, and the stars of the other three films are jerks. Yes, Deadpool is an insane maniac, but he still has people he cares for, he can be funny (if often crude), and at the end of the day he’s basically a good guy, albeit one with a very open attitude to violence. I would theoretically like to hang out with Deadpool. I enjoyed hanging out with him when I watched the film. Meanwhile, I have zero desire to hang out with any of the stars of Wanted, Kingsman, or Kick-Ass. They are all either bland or obnoxiously pleased with themselves, practically gloating when they get their superhero lives/powers.
It also helps that Deadpool is part of the X-Men universe. It adds a legitimacy to him and his movie that the other three stand-alone films don’t have. As part of a larger whole, Deadpool effectively gets to be the bad boy of the X-men-verse, and that makes him more interesting and more fun, because we know what “normal” X-Men characters and stories are.
Mainly, I think it’s Millar; he’s great at the wish-fulfillment aspect of being a superhero (“Boy, I wish I was a super-spy/hero/gun-magician!”) but his characters are... lacking. (“Boy, that super-spy/hero/gun-magician is kind of an asshole.”) Honestly, “heart” is probably still the best answer.
Of Jims and Beams
In Star Trek teleporters are everywhere and a common mode of moving between ships. Now unless they have somehow changed how they theoretically work, basically each time our crew uses it, they are killed and a clone is made at the end point out of locally sourced materials. So where do they get the material to build the people on the other end? Are there giant vats of people goo that sit inside each ship just waiting to become the next Picard? When they teleport down to a planet, does the ship just carve a chunk out of the soil to make the away team?
I realized I had no idea how this worked, so I’m delighted to answer the question for any other nerds who don’t know this key bit of information. I don’t want to blow your mind, but Star Trek is a little inconsistent with exactly how it uses its transporter tech through its series and movies. Hopefully I’ve gotten the general gist; I have zero doubt people will be happy to correct me in the comments.
A ship’s transporter coverts a person’s matter into an energy pattern and beams the energy to wherever it needs to go. Now, some people consider the energy pattern to be mere information—like a computer program broken down to binary 0s and 1s. But I don’t see why the transporter doesn’t actually transmit the energy itself.
If it does, then just like matter can become energy in the first place, the energy can reform as matter (in the future of Star Trek, he clarified, as every scientist reading this had a brain aneurysm at the same time). The weird part is that the transporter can reconvert the energy back to matter at its intended destination—there doesn’t necessarily need to be a specific receiver to intercept the energy and reformat it, as we’ve seen every time someone beams to a planet’s surface instead of another ship.
This means no additional matter is needed. I guess you could argue that if your new body is technically made of the same stuff you left with, you aren’t really a new clone, and didn’t really die. But at the same time you and your consciousness ceased to exist as a living being, which is dead by pretty much any definition.
It’s an interesting philosophical debate it appears that Starfleet got over very, very quickly.
In The Force Awakens, Finn is very upset after seeing one of his stormtrooper buddies killed but then 5 minutes later he massacres stormtroopers in the stolen TIE fighter with Poe. Did he have a mental break? Some sort of Stockholm syndrome? Won’t he switch back just as easily?
I have no doubt that Finn was traumatized by seeing a fellow Stormtrooper die, but I think he was at least as appalled by what the troopers were doing, namely executing civilians. Watching his co-worker’s death wasn’t necessarily what made Finn recognize the sanctity of all life. It was more “I don’t want to die like this guy, and I especially don’t want to die while murdering innocent people.”
Finn would be in a position to know if other Stormtroopers had similar doubts about their mission, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say they didn’t, and that all of Finn’s fellow soldiers were incredible assholes. They were all stolen from their families and trained for years to be unquestioning killers for the First Order. Just because Finn was somehow immune to the programming doesn’t mean anyone else was.
This, by the way, bums me out immensely—the idea of Finn being the only kid in the First Order Stormtrooper Academy that thinks everything he’s being taught is evil and insane, and him having no way out, no one to even talk to about it. He’d have spent his formative years emotionally isolated, and yet he somehow still was able to shake off literally years of indoctrination at the first actual sight of the atrocities his fellow soldiers were committing.
I enjoyed season 1 of Gotham. Crazy I know, but season 2 lost me. I still watched it because I had to keep watching once I start watching a story, but by the end of it I just wanted it to be over. And then Jim Gordon pulled the trigger. Is this a world where Jim Gordon becomes a vigilante with no moral spine? Does Bruce grow up to be police chief Wayne? Wasn’t this supposed to tell the story of Batman before Batman? Is the show worth watching because we don’t know what will happen or has it lost the plot completely destined to be an hour of awful television?
Gotham was ostensibly going to be “the story of Batman before Batman,” but it has quickly become a mind-boggling Elseworlds tale that I’m convinced is a hyper-violent mirror world version of Batman ’66. It’s terrible. I love it. I find it worth watching because 1) I don’t ever know what will happen, but also 2) whatever does happen, it will be the least Batman-y thing possible.
And I’m genuinely excited for it to return next Monday, February 29. As for the future of Gotham, I want Bruce Wayne’s first job as Batman to be catching the vigilante serial killer team of Jim Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth. I want Penguin and the Riddler to both take turns as Batman’s inexplicably older Robin, and I want Barbara to be the Joker. As absurd as this sounds, I know for a fact you can’t out-crazy Gotham.
If you have a question, need advice, have a “what if”? scenario, or want answers to anything remotely nerdy, email your friendly post-apocalyptic fake mailman here. And see you next week!