The Multiverse: More than Just Science Fiction?

            It is common knowledge that the idea of a multiverse serves as one of the most prominent prompts for science fiction and has been for years and years, having inspired countless comic books, novels, and movies.  However, what may come to a surprise to some is that the multiverse that we see in science fiction is actually derived from genuine scientific concepts, all residing in the field on quantum mechanics. 

              The catalyst that initiated the mass obsession with the idea of parallel universe’s was Schrödinger’s cat, the infamous paradoxical thought experiment.  Erwin Schrödinger proposed the following: Consider a box, in which is placed a cat and sealed bottle of poison gas, along with another, smaller box that contains one single radioactive isotope.  The radioactive element has a half-life of on hour, which means, according to quantum mechanics, that after one hour, there is a fifty-fifty chance that it will have decayed.  A by-product of this nuclear decay is the emission of an alpha particles (otherwise known as a helium nucleus), and the bottle of poison is arranged to break open if struck by this particle (The Physics of Superheroes).  Given this information, it becomes clear that there is an equal chance of the cat being dead or alive at the end of the hour; however, as the state of the cat is unknown until the box is lifted, the cat can be considered to be both dead and alive. 

              Now, Schrödinger’s cat itself did not serve a hypothesis for multiple universes, rather, the hypothesis for parallel universes was developed by one man’s interpretation of Schrödinger’s cat.  Hugh Everett, an American physicist, agreed that Schrödinger’s cat would be both a dead and alive simultaneously; however, his explanation differed.  In 1957, Everett suggested that the fates of Schrödinger’s cat would be simultaneous – in parallel universes.  In one universe, the cat would survive, while in the other, the cat would die. 

Figure 1: Graphic illustrating Everett’s interpretation the possible fates of Schrödinger’s cat

Furthermore, Everett proposed that every quantum interaction, and every interaction, for that matter, has multiple outcomes, varying depending on the universe.  Let us suppose that this is true.  For example*, imagine that a woman is debating or whether or not she wants to go swimming.  She, after careful consideration, decides to go.  Imagine if an accident happens, causing her to drown, thus killing her.  Perhaps in an alternate universe, she decides not to go swimming, thus continuing to live.  In one of these universes, this Jane Doe would be dead, and in the other, she would be alive.  This idea can be applied to any action, interaction, of decision made by everyone and everything.  This would mean that there are an infinite number of universes, each with slight differences to major differences, all based on the outcomes of events as small as, well, even what time we wake up on a given day, what parking space we choose, or even what shoes we decide to wear.

              Now, this hypothesis sounds, yes, like science fiction.  However, physicists do not just pull things like this out of a hat.  Believe it or not, and, well, much to the dismay of many, hypotheses like these are all based on mathematics.  For instance, Schrödinger’s cat was simply a teaching tool that Schrödinger used to illustrate how some people were misinterpreting the quantum theory (WTAMU).  The exact principle that Schrödinger wished to better explain is known as the wave function, a combination of all the possible wave functions that exist.  A wave function for a particle says that there is some probability that a particle can be in any allowed position, but one cannot necessarily say its particular position without observing it.  If one puts an electron around the nucleus, it can have any of the allowed states or positions, unless it is observed and its position is learned (National Geographic).  Parallels are clearly visible between Schrödinger’s cat experiment and this explanation of the wave function, such that the cat represents an electron that’s place cannot be predicted or known until it is visibly looked upon. 

              Now that the basis of the Many-Worlds Interpretation has been established, a closer look at the theory itself is required.  While this theory is essentially a creation of Hugh Everett’s, the term “Many-Worlds Interpretation” was not coined until years later, during the publication of The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, a book by physicists Bryce Dewitt and Neill Graham.  The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics ultimately popularized the theory to the general public around the 1970s, however, many science fiction fanatics had been drawn to it many years earlier. 

              Today, the concept of parallel universes and, subsequently, a multiverse, frequents the minds of many and is apparent in many works of fiction, ultimately becoming a staple in popular culture.  However, as previously mentioned, theories such as the Many-Worlds Interpretation are not necessarily dreamt up; they are genuine scientific concepts.  Generally speaking, there have been few additions to the Many-Worlds Interpretation in recent years, but the theory has still persisted, gaining worldwide recognition and avid believers.  While the idea of a multiverse is a bit radical and has been criticized by actual physicists, its existence is a possibility, and that is enough. 

* Although many of these interactions may be insignificant, and not influence much, I will use an example of a decision that could change someone’s life

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Works Cited

Baird, Christopher S. “What Did Schrodinger’s Experiment Prove?” 30 July, 2013, WTAMU, https://wtamu.edu/~cbaird/sq/2013/07/30/what-did-Schrödingers-cat-experiment-              prove/#:~:text=%22Schrödinger’s%20Cat%22%20was%20not%20a,did%20not%20scient            ifically%20prove%20anything.&text=Schrödinger%20constructed%20his%20imaginary%  20experiment,not%20match%20the%20real%20world.  Accessed: 2 May 2021. 

Kakalios, James.  “The Physics of Superheroes.” New York: Gotham Books, 2006.  Print. 

Kramer, Melody. “The Physics behind Schrödinger’s Cat Paradox”. 10 Feb. 2021, National Geographic, www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/130812-physics-schrodinger-erwin-google-doodle-cat-paradox-science. Accessed: 2 May 2021. 

DC Comics Ages and Eras

For many, DC Comics has always just been the comic company that rivals Marvel and that has ownership over Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.  Some fans argue that DC is much more than that, due to its plethora of unique characters, but what many don’t know, fans and non-fans alike, is that DC publishes their comics in ages, or eras.  In all, there are five ages:

  • Golden Age
  • Silver Age
  • Bronze Age
  • Dark Age
  • Modern Age

In this post I will be going over each age and a little bit of the characteristics of each one, in chronological order.

Golden Age 1938-1955: 

The Golden Age, 1938-1955, was known for it being the start of Action Comics (1938), the first issue that contained everyone’s favorite Kryptonian, Superman.  The following year, the first issue of Detective Comics debuted, integrating in the caped crusader, Batman.  During theses early two years, villains of Batman and Superman developed, but it wasn’t until the 1940’s when the series All-Star Comics arrived, that new heroes were introduced.  In All-Star Comics #3, the Justice League of America (JLA) was introduced, creating soft spots in fans’ hearts for new characters like Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman.  In #8 of this series, the first female superhero, and one of the most iconic female superheroes today, was introduced.  We know her as Wonder Woman.

Image result for dc golden age

 

Silver Age (1956-1969):

The Silver age lasted from 1956 to 1969  and is iconic for showing the JLA’s characters’ backstories.  For example, in Showcase #4 (1956) the Flash’s alternate identity, Barry Allen, was introduced.  This is historic because most comics just featured adventures of superheroes, not their everyday lives, but DC found a way to show both.  Another monumental thing about the Silver Age is that it developed DC’s multiverse.  This was accomplished by having a crossover issue where Silver Age Flash traveled to an alternate universe and accidentally met his Golden Age counterpart.  Today, DC’s multiverse is one of the most interesting factors about the company, due to it being the first of its kind.  Even rivaling comic companies, such as Marvel Comics, haven’t capitalized on its multiverse as much as DC Comics has.  Another early comic in which the multiverse came into play was Justice League of America #21 (1961), when The JLA meets the Justice Society of America (JSA), later becoming a traditional yearly crossover.  The Silver Age also gave us Batgirl (A.K.A Barbara Gordon), who originally starred as an independent hero, but later joined forces with Batman.

Image result for dc silver age

 

Bronze Age (1970-1983):

DC Comics is known for being significantly dark and gritty, but as you can see, in earlier ages, it wasn’t always like this, but the Bronze Age was the start.  This is because of the famous issue, “The Secret of the Waiting Graves”, where we learn darker things about Batman’s past and origin.  Since the Bronze age was 1970 to 1983, there were bound to be some political views and preferences hidden throughout the comics.  This had been featured in comics before, from characters fighting Nazi’s to Communists, but during the Bronze Age, the “social commentary” had a bit more to do with America and its decisions and problems.  For instance, in Green Lantern #76 (1970), more modern issues were brought into play, such as featuring Green Arrow’s apprentice/sidekick, Roy Harper, A.K.A Speedy (Later Red Arrow and then Arsenal), being hooked on drugs.  In 1971, The New Gods were introduced through New Gods #1, in an action packed, intergalactic war, and in DC Comics Presents #26 (1980) the Teen Titans were introduced.

Image result for green lantern #76

 

Dark Age (1984-1998):

As mentioned earlier, DC is pretty violent, dark, and gritty.  This is really shown in the Dark age (1984-1998), which showed Batman going through some extremely rough and troubled times.  The Dark Age featured notoriously depressing comics such as Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman: A Death in the Family, and Batman: The Killing Joke.  These were infamous for the controversial death of Jason Todd (The second Robin) (A Death in the Family), and the disabling of Barbara Gordon (The Killing Joke), both atrocities having been committed by the Joker.  The Dark Age also set the stage for the Modern age, by debuting, into comics, everyone’s favorite murderous jester, Harley Quinn, who was previously just a minor antagonist from the Emmy-winning cartoon Batman: The Animated Series.  Other characters that were introduced were the Watchmen, Darkseid, and Doomsday, who actually killed Superman in Superman Vol 2. #75 (1993).  Another iconic event from the Dark Age was Zero Hour (1994), which was a series featuring an evil, crazed Hal Jordan (Green Lantern).

Image result for batman: a death in the family

 

Modern Age (1999-present):

The Modern age (1999-present) is what we currently read when we obtain new issues of DC’s comics.  Some crucial things that have happened so far in the Modern Age are the New 52 (the 2011 revamp of all the DC heroes) and DC Rebirth, which have set the stage for the newest version of DC.  There have also been some very important series such as Blackest Night (2009), in which DCU (DC Universe) characters, heroes and villains alike, were recruited to be Black Lanterns, due to A.I.s created by the infamous intergalactic villain, Nekron.  Lanterns from across the whole emotional spectrum were forced to work together to form a resistance against the Black Lantern Corps.  Shortly after Nekron was defeated, the partner series, “Brightest Day”, ensued , causing the “Rebirth” of many characters, such as Swamp Thing.  This said “Rebirth” was the baseline for the DC: Rebirth comics, in which most characters had their own series.

Image result for dc rebirth

 

I hope this helped those who were confused on the matter of the different “ages” because, long story short, each age is just a time period which has a different theme or aesthetic from the others.

 

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Doom Patrol Vs. X-Men: Who Copied Who?

Many people have noticed shocking similarities between DC Comic’s Doom Patrol and Marvel’s X-Men, and it is hard to tell who copied who.

The answer, however, is neither. It is most likely that both the Doom Patrol and X-Men, despite being published in the same year, were developed by DC and Marvel, respectively, completely independent of each other. The similarity of the ideas are uncanny, but perhaps it was the time in which they were published that inspired the companies to create characters that revolved around social struggles. In addition, considering the fact that X-Men hit stores only three months after Doom Patrol expresses that the X-Men were more than likely far into development before Marvel even knew that the Doom Patrol existed, further proving that the similarities between the comics is completely coincidental.

The Different Lantern Corps.

There are many different Lantern Corps. in DC Comics, but the most common ones are the Green Lanterns and Yellow Lanterns.  You more than likely have heard of those, but have you heard of these?

  • Black Lantern Corps. (Death)
  • Red Lantern Corps. (Rage)
  • Orange Lantern Corps. (Avarice)
  • Blue Lantern Corps. (Hope)
  • Purple Lantern Corps. (Compassion)
  • Pink Lantern Corps. (Love)
  • White Lantern Corps. (Life)

 

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DC Rebirth

Recently, DC Comics has created a new line of comics called the DC Universe Rebirth.  In this series, the comics are about each different character’s backstory.  Each hero, villain, and team in the DC Universe has a series. The ones I have read are Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Vixen (one shot), and Cyborg.  I like the DC Universe Rebirth series because it is still full of everything people love about comic books, and it also has an interesting concept.  The concept is interesting because (like I said before), it is about the characters’ back stories, so if you don’t know much about one, character you will learn if you read the DC Rebirth series.

 

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The Birds of Prey

The Birds of Prey is a group of the most powerful heroes in America.  The team consists of:

  • Oracle
  • Black Canary
  • Huntress
  • Lady Black Hawk
  • Hawk
  • Dove

After Barbara Gordon was left paralyzed from a gun wound, she took the name Oracle and gathered together her fellow heroes and created the Birds of Prey.  The Birds of Prey have formed an alliance with Batman, and he sometimes fights along side them, but he is not part of the team.  The Birds of Prey once had their own tv show, but it was cancelled after its first season.  Now, the Birds of Prey have an all new comic book series called Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth, and it is currently on it’s 7th issue.

 

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Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson

Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson was born on January 4, 1890 in Greenville, Tennessee.  He started off his career in the American Military.  After being deployed to Siberia, he retired his military career, and focused on his passion, writing.  His first writing that was published was a non-fiction military story called The Modern Cavalry.  After his non-fiction days, he wrote a fiction book called The Death at the Corral in 1922.

In 1925, he created Wheeler-Nicholson, Inc.  During this period of time, he wrote an adaption to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Treasure Island, in the form of a daily comic strip.  In 1934, seeing how popular comics have become, he made a publishing  company called National Allied Publication.  In February 1935, he wrote and published a comic called New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine.  New Fun instantly became a hit, Wheeler-Nicholson had made history with the font, size, and specially drawn characters.  New Fun was also the very first comic book to have advertisement in it.  Later in 1945, National Allied Publication published a second comic called The New Adventures. The New Adventures went on for many decades, retiring in 1983 with #503.  Despite the quality, humor and action in his comics, people lost interest in his stories.

Before retiring, Wheeler-Nicholson created a new comic called Adventure Comics with a returning character, Superman.  Shortly after development, it became Detective Comics with characters: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.  A year before the very first Detective Comics (now DC Comics) tv series (Batman) aired its pilot in 1966, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson passed away at age 75.  Since the very first Detective Comics comic, DC Comics has grown in size and popularity.  Since the reboot in 2011 (New 52), DC Comics is now one of the best comic companies in America.

 

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