New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pérez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose...
By John Byrne


Somewhere out there, Mark Gruenwald is smiling.


Not the Mark Gruenwald who lives on, six years after his untimely death, as the happy and sometimes poignant memory of a dear friend. Not some spiritual avatar of Mark who has "passed on" yet still lingers, able to look back on the world he has left behind. Not a Mark who might be ready to get chatty with John Edward -- were not Mark so utterly contemptuous of those who prey on the grief and suffering of others.

No, I'm talking about Mark Gruenwald. A real person. A human being. An inhabitant of the Planet Earth who did not succumb to massive heart failure and perish without the hope of easy resurrection so common to the comic book characters he loved so much. A Mark Gruenwald who is five years older, and perhaps five years wiser.

Maybe I should back up a bit.

Over lunch the other day I began reading "The Best Science Writing - 2002," a rather hefty collection of articles from many sources, edited by Matt Ridley. One of these, "Quantum Shmantum" by Tim Folger (originally printed in Discover magazine) discusses a scientist by the name of David Deutch, and his work on what has come to be called the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI), a mathematical system for making sense out of the wonders of Quantum Mechanics (QM).

Stephen Hawking has also embraced MWI, which will give you some idea of its credibility, though he employs it purely as a mathematical model. Dr. Deutch (and his increasing number of followers) take it literally. And what they take literally is this:

We are not alone. We are not unique. "We" is a very small and poor word, in fact, for dealing with the concepts inherent in MWI. The Universe in which we live is but one of many. An infinite number of them, in fact, and more all the time. Every logical universe exists, according the MWI, and every possible iteration of those logical universes exist or are born each time there is a point of divergeance.

That's the part that would make Mark Gruenwald smile. In comics, Mark was the High Priest of the MultiVerse. He loved "Earth 2." He shoehorned "alternate realities" into the Marvel Universe every chance he got. And he and I had many a debate over just how the MultiVerse worked, within that comic book context.

Mark liked the idea that universes were created by our actions (and by the actions of all life, everywhere in "our" universe). If you stub your toe, you instantly create a parallel universe in which you didn't stub your toe. Or in which you stubbed a different toe. Or in which you stubbed your toe a fraction of a second earlier. Or later.

And, actually "or" is not the appropriate word. "And" is the appropriate word. For the actions create all the variable, all the possible, logical universes, all that the same time! (As the article commented -- an infinite number of Ahabs pursue and infinite number of whales! I wonder if Superman is out there, somewhere?)

And this "universes appearing all the time" motif I did not like. I preferred the idea -- pure conjecture at that time -- that the Big Bang created an infinite number of universes from the get-go, and that therefore all the possible iterations of a single event were able to occur without universes being constantly created, and dragging along behind us like the chains upon Marley's Ghost.

But -- no. According to David Deutch and his comrades in theory, universes DO spring into being, out of nothing, every time even the slightest event occurs which might have had a different outcome. (Which means, basically, every time anything happens, since obviously not happening is an alternative. . . )

A lot of people don't like this theory. Martin Gardner, perennial curmudgeon, writing for The Skeptical Inquirer, dismissed Dr. Deutch and the whole theory of MultiVerses -- tho' truth to tell his reason for doing so did not seem to go much beyond the fact that the whole concept made him uncomfortable.

But, anyway, there I was, reading the article (and not reading the article) over lunch (breakfast, dinner, down time) on my porch (in the living room, the bedroom, the library, the back yard) and thinking (not thinking) that somewhere, somewhere, for real, Mark Gruenwald was smiling.

John Byrne is one of the industry's most noted creators. In almost three decades, he has completed work on hundreds of books, including most of the "Big Two's" major titles. His previous achievements include classic runs on X-MEN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, AVENGERS, WEST COAST AVENGERS, SUPERMAN, THE SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK, and an expansive five-year run on FANTASTIC FOUR. Byrne's latest creator-owned monthly series, LAB RATS, debuted April 2002 from DC Comics. His next project is GENERATIONS 3, also for DC.

Article continued below advertisement


E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend



Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.

CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent