AN EXPANSION OF THE WOLD NEWTON CONCEPT OF A SHARED UNIVERSE
So, here's yet another Wold Newton site. What makes this one different from the others, you're probably wondering? The most important thing about this site, I would opine, is that it will continue to be actively updated. In that spirit, it will follow in the grand tradition of classic, pioneering Wold Newton sites which first made the cyberspace presence of the Wold Newton concept one to be reckoned with. Before I link to those sites and risk my new readers clicking those links and not making it back here for days, let me first give the skinny on what this new addition to the many online Wold Newton websites is all about.
For starters, let's quickly recap the basic gist of the Wold Newton concept, which is the idea of a shared universe between many disparate characters who have appeared across the spectrum of both old and new pulp literature; comic books; movies; vintage radio shows; TV shows; and recently, relevant complex storylines that began appearing in video games once they got past the old 2-bit stage of development. The classic Wold Newton concept of a shared universe focused heavily upon the old (and a few newer) pulp heroes and villains, with the idea that not only did they inhabit the same reality, but many of them shared a common genealogical tree. The branches of that tree are linked to an event involving members of those families having their respective horse carriages coming simultaneously into the vicinity of a mysterious meteorite landing. This meeting between several families and a falling rock from the stars occurred within the town of Wold Newton, Yorkshire, England, circa 1795. These families had their genetic structure altered by the strange radiations emanating from that large celestial rock, with the result being that their offspring--and the offspring of their progeny--were born with enhanced genetic attributes.
While most of these enhanced individuals, who have come to be called the Wold Newton Family [WNF], had no true superhuman/posthuman/metahuman attributes, many prominent members of their number nevertheless developed their intellectual, physical, and mental skills to a level that was near or at the peak of human potential--thus falling into the category that has been called superior humans. Moreover, they possessed an innate genetic inclination to strive towards developing these abilities so as to ultimately become some of the world's greatest crimefighters/adventurers (e.g., the Shadow; the Spider; Doc Savage; the Domino Lady; the Green Hornet; the Black Bat), detectives (e.g., Sherlock Holmes; Solar Pons; Charlie Chan), jungle adventurers (e.g., Tarzan; Mowgli), aviator heroes (e.g., G-8; Captain Midnight), Western gun-slingers (e.g., the Lone Ranger), explorers (e.g., Prof. George Challenger), mystic heroes (e.g., Captain Satan; the Green Lama), scientists (e.g., the Time Traveler; Prof. Hawley Griffin; Dr. Moreau; Dr. Henry Jekyll; Dr. Herbert West), and criminal masterminds (e.g., Fu Manchu). This ever-expanding shared reality was thus coined the Wold Newton Universe [WNU] by creative mythographer extraordinaire Win Scott Eckert.
Since thrown into the mix via various crossover ref's are other extraordinary inhabitants of the WNU, which includes pulp heroes/adventurers of various sub-genres who existed before that fateful meteorite struck the ground in Wold Newton, such as Conan and other barbarian heroes of the ancient Hyborean Age, like Red Sonja; cosmic entities of dark alien nature like the Lovecraftian Old Ones (a.k.a., the "Cthulhu Mythos"); characters culled from throughout world mythology, such as Beowulf and King Arthur Pendragon; characters throughout classic literature like Ivanhoe and Captain Ahab; a plethora of monster or generally horror-oriented characters like Dracula and Dr. Victor Frankenstein; and other heroes existing alongside the pulp heroes and villains of the WNF who are counterparts of famous comic book heroes existing in alternate universes--but whose origins and levels of power have been altered and "wolded down" to fit into the laws of the WNU, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man.
Just as my other site, the 2.0 version of MONSTAAH (linked below), is designed to expand upon parascholar and artist Chuck Loridans' original ideas for the concept while striving to maintain the spirit and purpose he worked so hard to put into the site during his years of nurturing it--specifically, information on the horror-oriented aspects of the "consensus" WNU--this site will endeavor to do the same for the general Wold Newton concept. It will adhere more or less strictly to the rules of the WNU established by Win Scott Eckert and then further fleshed out by Dennis E. Power and his frequent collaborator, Dr. Pete Coogan. Their conception of the WNU is designed to work in harmony with the spirit and vision of true pioneer sci-fi author, the late, great Philip Jose' Farmer (PJF), whose extensive oeuvre of work established the field of what Win coined creative mythography.
PJF's true Wold Newton work began with the seminal para-biographies Tarzan Alive: The Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. He then continued the concept in earnest with novels like The Adventure of the Peerless Peer; The Other Log of Phileas Fogg; Time's Last Gift; and A Barnstormer in Oz (my personal fav!). These longtime fans of PJF's output first established the rules governing the idea of a shared universe encompassing many pulp fiction vigilantes, villains, detectives, aviators, magicians, and monsters.
These rules, which I will again note that I will more or less stick to reverently, include the following:
1) The WNU is primarily a pulp hero and villain universe, and as such super-heroes as we know them in the comic book medium, movies, and online multi-player video games will be kept to a relative minimum in number, with more of an emphasis placed on those sans any superhuman powers who would work well in a pulp/noir milieu (e.g., Batman and Robin; Captain America; the Golden Age Black Canary; the Spirit; the Golden Age Sandman; the Golden Age Angel; the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion; the Silver Age Blue Beetle; the Question; etc.);
2) Those super-heroes from comic books or other mediums with superhuman/posthuman/metahuman powers who have counterparts in the WNU will, as a rule, possess a level of power that necessarily caps at that possessed by the Golden Age version of Superman (i.e., the original Siegal and Shuster conception of the Man of Steel) and Hugo Danner (the pulp hero protagonist of Phillip Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator), and that such heroes tended to have a much shorter and less dramatic history in the WNU than the comic book versions would suggest;
3) While the WNU has "relaxed" laws of physics and magick compared to the universe we know (often referred to by members of my online discussion groups as the "Real" Universe, i.e., the RU; others prefer designations such as Earth-Real, Earth-Prime, or Earth-Q), its laws do not generally allow the vast range and extreme levels of power that we routinely see with super-heroes and super-villains in comic book (i.e., super-hero) realities like the Marvel Universe [MU] and the DC Universe [DCU];
4) Though the general public of the WNU will obviously be aware of the existence of the somewhat elusive and shadowy pulp heroes, and the relatively small number of super-heroes, the latter will generally be more enigmatic than the showboating public heroes and villains of the MU & DCU tend to be. Further, the general layout of politics, culture, economics, important historical events, and important public figures in the WNU will be very similar to their counterparts in the world we know (i.e., the RU). Further, the general populace will be mostly unaware of the real existence of monsters, posthuman mutants, cosmic beings of power like the Cthulhu Mythos, extraterrestrial/extradimensonal/extratemporal aliens living amongst them, and special government ops designed to handle all of this (e.g., the Ordnance; the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense [BPRD]; the Initiative; the Shop; their various adjunct branches, etc.);
5) Monster-hunting orgs like Monster Hunter International; MONSTAAH; the Ghostbusters; and the Shadow Company obviously do publicly advertise in various journals dedicated to reporting paranormal events (both print and on the Internet), and via video adverts in the WNU versions of video-sharing websites, but only a small niche section of the general public truly believes they hunt real monsters;
6) Much importance is placed upon using recorded crossovers to determine the "woldability" (i.e., whether or not a version of that character or concept inhabits the WNU), as crossovers are obviously a major aspect of a shared universe, though certainly not the only significant component;
7) It should lastly be noted that the WNU is connected to a myriad array of alternate universes [AUs] and alternate future [AF] time tracks, which either branch off from, or have had significant crossover connections with, the mainstream (i.e., "consensus") WNU. Prominent examples of the former include the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe [ERBU]; the Lin Carter Universe [LCU]; Doctor Who Universe [DWU]; the Anno-Dracula Universe [ADU] conceived in a series of novels by Kim Newman; and the various Zombie Apocalypse Universes, including the Romeroverse and the Brownverse.
Prominent AF time tracks believed to branch off from the present (and past) of the WNU include the Star Trek Timelines--both the Classic Star Trek Timeline and the Reboot Star Trek Timeline--which further into the future is posited to harbor the WNU version of the Legion of Super-Heroes as described by Dennis Power, and possibly a version of the Guardians of the Galaxy (which is why the classic version of that timeline is sometimes referred to as the Star Trek/Legion Timeline or Future); the "Low-Tech Future Timeline" (the very different AF that includes the Alien film franchise; the Galaxy of Terror film; the Forbidden World film; the Horror Planet (a.k.a., The Inseminoid) film; the Riddick films; the Firefly TV series and its follow-up film Serenity and comic book continuation; the Jason X film and [possibly] prose novel continuations; and the Fray comic book series by Joss Whedon as an expansion to the Buffyverse); and the Hunter Timeline (the alternate future dystopian, post-nuclear war time track that plays a prominent part of the Warren Comics shared universe, i.e., the Warrenverse, covered extensively on one of my earlier websites--this is the native timeline of Warren characters Derrick Schreck; Demian Hunter; Karas Hunter; Darklon the Mystic; and the Exterminator cyborg Corben Steele).
All of the above, for the most part, will remain integral components to what I refer to here as the Wold Newton Beyond [WNB] concept, or more broadly as the Wold Newton Beyond Universe [WNBU]. I will tend to stick to those general rules in just about everything I include in this expansionist concept, and I do, of course, expect all of my prospective contributors to endeavor to do the same. But as you can see, the pulp hero and villain aspect of the WNU is something that Win Scott Eckert, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Jess Nevins, and many other creative mythographers working in the field have duly covered. The MONSTAAH site--conceived by creative mythographer Chuck Loridans and continued by yours truly--does that for the monster-oriented aspects of the WNU. The expansionist aspect of the WNB concept will be unique in covering what I believe to be an oft-overlooked aspect of the Newtonverse.
In a proverbial nutshell, the WNB concept will do two major things. For starters, it will deal heavily with the study of super-heroes existing within the above-described WNU milieu, specifically what counterparts of the Marvel, DC, and other super-hero universe heroes (and their accompanying rogues galleries and supporting characters) are like while existing within the context of the physical laws extant in a pulp hero universe. This was an idea once delved into extensively by Dennis and Pete on Dennis' Wold Newton: The Secret History site (linked below), as they detailed WNU histories of Superman, Batman, and many other MU & DCU heroes and concepts. That continuing and much-respected project, of course, has since been halted.
Now for another thing I would like to make an important note of. One of the points of debate in the WNU over the past few years has been whether or not dai kaiju (i.e., the Japanese word for giant monsters of exceptionally great size and power like Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan; often simply referred to as "kaiju") could exist in any capacity in the WNU. Initially, Win Scott Eckert accepted their existence, as there was a notable crossover reference with Miskatonic University (a staple of Lovecraftian lore) in the series of Godzilla novels written by Marc Cerasini for Random House in the late 1990s. Because of that ref, the major events in those books were accepted as part of WNU canon for a number of years. Hence, I even wrote up a timeline called "Godzilla in the Wold Newton Universe" for my website The Godzilla Saga. Since then, however, Win has reconsidered this inclusion, as the events of Cerasini's novels would have had too much of a major effect on world events near the turn of the Millennium, and practically constituted a kaiju apocalypse. This realization incited Win to declare a moratorium on all kaiju in the WNU, and thus no kaiju refs were included in his magnificent 2-volume published timeline called Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World (in which he gave the WNU the more general reader-friendly name of the Crossover Universe [CrU]). Hence, the events of Cerasini's Godzilla novels were relegated to an AU diverging from the "consensus" WNU. In response to this, I re-christened my timeline the Cerasini Tohoverse.
Regarding some of the awesome work that has come before any of mine, and which my own work in creative mythography would not exist without, those would be Win Scott Eckert's An Expansion of Philip Jose' Farmer's Wold Newton Universe and Dennis E. Power's The Wold Newton Universe: A Secret History. Those sites contain a vast amount of work, not only from the webmasters but also many other writers in the field of creative mythography who contributed articles and timelines to the site content. They served as an immense inspiration to me a decade ago when I first discovered them, and the great people I met and associated with from the online message groups connected to them were indispensable to my growth as a writer, and to my eventual success in becoming a published author.
Another fantastic site that was one of the main trio of Wold Newton websites that gave me all of this inspiration and personal growth as a writer was Chuck Loridans' MONSTAAH, and I am honored and pleased to note that Chuck passed the torch to me at my request sometime after he retired as its webmaster. MONSTAAH is therefore my baby now, and I am indebted to Chuck for his generosity and blessing; under my watch, the new 2.0 version of MONSTAAH can be considered a "brother" site to the one you're now looking at.
Another major source of inspiration to me has been Robert Wronski Jr.'s fantastic site Television Crossover Universe, which, while not a Wold Newton site and concerning an entirely different reality, the TV Crossover Universe [TVCU], nevertheless provides a plethora of incredible ideas and conceptual tropes that I will be adapting as a major aspect of this site's central caveats. I am quite indebted to Rob for all the hard work he put into his blog's extremely detailed timelines, as well as the similar work from his various contributors (some of whom are fellow creative mythographers), like James Bojaciuk, Kevin Heim, and Gordon Long. But more on the influential aspects of Rob's site below.
In lieu of the above, much credit must be given to Toby O'Brien's Toobworld blog for another huge amount of influence and inspiration in regards to the concept of fitting many disparate sources into a single shared universe, despite also not being a Wold Newton site (hey, a website doesn't have to be a Wold Newton site to be cool and insightful as all hell!). But again, more on that below.
*Fans of megafauna may be interested in checking out Den Valdron's article on the slurpasaurs.
As important as Win's and Dennis' sites remain to the growth and thriving popularity of the Wold Newton concept, they are sadly no longer updated with any sort of regularity. Hence, article and timeline submissions are normally not accepted for either any more. That left an unfortunate vacuum for the new, emerging generation of fledgling creative mythographers and parascholars who may want to make their presence and work in this vocation known. Attempting to fill that void along with the current version of MONSTAAH is the site you're now looking at. Such newcomers to the World of Wold now once again have a place to submit their articles, timelines, and short stories.
Also, there are some longtime creative mythographers out there--including yours truly, and many of whom are published authors--who want to provide some free ideas and work to their readers. The articles, timelines, and short stories provided by me and fellow veteran writers will be fully in canon with published stories that are intended to be part of the Newtonverse's shared sandbox. This site will enable us to provide our readers with periodic but steady doses of free material.
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