What’s a Multiverse?
The multiverse theory suggests that there are numerous parallel universes. Comics love this thought. Marvel and DC lean into this heavily, using it to explain reboots, out of continuity stories, and things they want forgotten. I’m here to suggest that the multiverse doesn’t exist just within the franchises, but across the franchises.
How Marvel and DC are Connected
Have you ever heard of Amalgam Comics? Amalgam comics was the literal amalgamation of Marvel and DC comics. There was a crossover event pitting DC against Marvel. The two Brothers, the embodiment’s of the franchise, remembered each other’s existence. They sent champions to destroy the others, giving us match-ups such as Superman vs Thor, Wolverine vs Lobo, and Robin vs Jubilee. Seeing that the Brothers would not stop until one universe was destroyed, Spectre and the Living Tribunal joined forces to combine the universes, creating the Amalgam Universe. From this we got great characters like Doctor Strangefate, Dark Claw, Spider-boy, and Super Soldier.
In the lore of both franchise we see this universe, the Amalgam Universe show up. Marvel referred to it as Earth-692, and later renumbered it to Earth-9602. DC scribes it as Earth-496. Since both recognize it as an existing universe within their own respected multiverses, they must also recognize each other, for without the other franchise, Amalgam would not exist. So! Marvel and DC exist within the same Multiverse.
Now what about the other franchises? Of course, DC and Marvel get most of the love but many more comic franchises exist.
Batman, a beloved character by most, gets around. Recently he teamed-up with the Ninja Turtles. This would then have to connect the IDW and DC franchises. Though this team-up was not included in continuity for Batman, this has to fit in somewhere. IDW now would have to exist on another Earth within the DC multiverse.
IDW and DC have teamed-up again… using Batman. In Arkham Dreams, Batman has a run-in with the Maxx. Strangely enough, the Maxx is not an IDW character! The Maxx is an Image Comics property. This would then mean that Image characters have access to the IDW universe… or multiverse! Since IDW exist in the DC multiverse, and Image exists in the IDW multiverse, by default, Image exists within the DC multiverse.
Tarzan, a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs back in 1912, has graced many media outlets including comics.
Tarzan’s start in comics came from Gold Key comics. Gold Key gave titles such as Star Trek, Lost in Space, the Twilight Zone, and many Disney and Warner Bros properties. Though no explicit connection was made, for the sake of this theory we can assume all these properties within a Gold Key multiverse, with no portals connecting the universes.
DC took the reigns in 1972. They continued the series straight from the Gold Key line, they didn’t even change the numbering! Oh my! Everything that I just mentioned in the previous paragraph just joined the DC multiverse. If you think this is a loose connection… Don’t. DC has a connection with DC deeper than the DCEU, however I won’t get into this due to WB not completely being a comic franchise.
In 1977, Marvel got hold of Tarzan and restarted the line. This was my definitive Tarzan comic (unpopular opinion). Though the comic line was rebooted by Marvel, the continuity stayed the same. This was still Burroughs’ Tarzan therefore still sitting in the same universe.
Next up, Dark Horse… and Batman. Dark Horse released a Tarzan comic in collaboration with DC, Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Catwoman. Similar to the connect of DC and IDW, DC and Dark Horse also has a shared universe somewhere in the DC multiverse.
But wait! There’s more! Dark Horse has two earths in the DC multiverse. Superman/Tarzan: Sons of a Jungle has a similar premise as Superman: Red Son, Kal-El lands and grows up in the jungle raised by apes.
Fun note: Dark Horse also has a Tarzan vs Predator comic, so there’s another connection.
Tarzan recently teamed-up with Marvel’s Red Sonja in a Dynamite comic. Therefore, Tarzan is back in Marvel but through the Dynamite Universe.
Earlier I mentioned Gold Key had Star Trek comics within their “multiverse”, but guess what‽ BOOM! Studios produces Planet of the Apes comics and within their explicit continuity thereof was a Star Trek crossover in collaboration with IDW.
To add to BOOM!’s tie-in to our now massive multiverse, we have the Power Rangers. Marvel, Image, BOOM!, and many other smaller companies have all done Power Ranger comics. We know from the show, all iterations exist within the same continuity.
Valiant, is tough. But don’t worry, the connection is there. I noted that Tarzan and Predator exist within some universe together within the Dark Horse “multiverse”. Valiant’s Magnus, the Robot Fighter, also had a run in with Predator. There is no explicit connection between Tarzan and Magnus, so now hard evidence exists that these crossovers exist in the same universe, however, we can pretend.
That was weak, but don’t worry, I have a stronger link. X-O Manowar met Marvel’s Iron Man in Heavy Metal. This opens a Valiant universe in the Marvel multiverse.
Got All That?
That was a lot of information. Here’s an infographic to help sum it all up:
Red yarn boards make everything easier to understand, right?