Superhero Crossovers (Online Fiction Crossover)

Considering the great proliferation of online superhero fiction--and the constant recurrence of 'parallel dimensions' in existing superhero continuums--the notion of a potential crossover between multiple narratives (or sideline narratives) occurred to me. I'm curious if anyone out there who writes superhero fiction would be interested in this--it's something that would probably require a great deal of forethought and planning, but it might have some interesting results (and it has the benefit of linking fictitious universes without consequence--beyond admitting to the existence of 'parallel dimensions' in said universe).


I'd understand if people aren't interested because of the various consequences--working with other authors can be a pain, something like this would probably require extensive planning, and the fact of the matter is that you might not *want* to have your narrative rubbing shoulders with anyone else's. But if there's enough people interested in something like this, I'd be curious to give it a stab--or at least take a shot at discussing it. So, if this sounds like the sort of thing you'd like to plan or talk about, please post here, and maybe we can sort something out.


In addition, non-superhero narratives would be welcome in something like this too (with the necessary addendum that your universe probably should be modern, or at least sci-fi in nature). Anyway, a few notes on the idea:


* It doesn't have to interrupt your narrative structure. It can be a side-story taking place in the past, the future, or with characters not immediate to your narrative (so there need be no interruption).


* It would probably involve a lot of collaboration. I imagine it would play out as something like--one of us writes a piece (flip a coin to determine who, or take turns) that describes what happens, the other person scans it to make sure everything's kosher with their character (acting as editor), then writes a version of the events from their character's perspective (or whatever particular POV you use) and sends it to the other author for *them* to edit/scan over. Then, the author posts their version on their page and the other posts *theirs* on *theirs*--with URLs linking the two simultaneous events.


* Depending on who's interested and who's involved, it would probably involve a single plot thread (a villain, etc) that unravels through our narratives in various ways. If you're interested--and if we can start structuring it now--we can even go so far as to start foreshadowing it in our various narratives.


Anyway, again, if anyone's interested, feel free to post here. And again, if you're *not* interested, I completely understand--more than anything, this is just a lark that happened to occur to me (I like the idea of webfiction serials mingling in the same multiverse--it has a nice, interesting flavor to it, especially considering the ease with which collaboration can happen on the web).


Thanks for reading!


I'd be interested. The thing that sucks about collaborating with me though is that I write slowly (or at any rate more slowly than you appear to).


That'd be fine; there are a lot of solutions I can imagine for handling various update schedule conflicts. But ultimately, I think we'd probably want to have a big chunk of it done (at least enough for two or three weeks) before starting it up--to give everyone involved a big running start and plenty of time to work out any kinks that might emerge. Depending on the length of the collaboration, it might even be best to have the whole thing finished before starting the first posts (although, personally, I tend to like to do this thing by the seat of my pants--it gives me a chance to see audience reactions and respond appropriately). Anyway, we can probably set some soft deadlines to this end--depending on how much we want done in advance.


I'm still trying to work out an idea plotwise--I have a few, but nothing's gestated into a solid 'idea' form just yet--just a few images. Generally, I like to avoid anything that has multiverse-shattering importance (I prefer narratives where the main thrust isn't to save the world, but to save yourselves--some threat to a character's existence, or a threat to something the character holds dear), especially since that's a common (and probably overplayed) theme in comic books anyway--and I don't think that any of the characters involved will have reached the 'save-the-multiverse' stage in their personal growth. So most of my thoughts center around a general threat to various characters throughout multiple universes--my first thought was a group of 'Big Game Hunters' who portal from universe to universe, hunting down interesting quarry, but I'm not very confident about that idea. Something else that might be more interesting is some sort of 'power-munchkin' who specializes in reproducing powers from superhumans throughout the multiverse--stealing technology, dissecting superhumans, reproducing events that triggered powers, etc.


(Assuming a lot of the readers come here to the forums, it might be in our best interest--once we have a list of all those who'd like to participate--to take this conversation to emails, or a private forum.)


I tend to think that the "multiverse spanning threat" thing has been overused myself. I like the idea of a common threat, but one that is personal.


Here's a grim idea: a universe spanning serial killer that goes after legacy superheroes (and/or villains).


Another option might be simple mistakes. Your main character has a basement full of potential to be accidentally sent to an alternate universe.


But yes... Getting the plot straight would be better done in private once everyone who might participate speaks up.


Actually, I've been thinking for a while that getting all the writers of superhero fiction I can think of together for a crossover would be funny -- and completely appropriate for the genre.


Rather than have something that crosses dimensions, what about something that has existed since before those multiverses was formed (just find a common point in history that all the series share, even if its primordial).


Or have a basic character designed, with a name, motive, appearance etc, and have him/her/it appear in each series. That way each writer can take the character and mould them to their world without worrying about continuity with other series.


Or combine the two and give the character some kind of collective subconsciousness shared across dimensions. Maybe because the entity was split, or because it exists in all these multiple timelines. Or this person has gained some way of communicating with its alternative selves, or astrally projecting into them, or maybe even just reincarnates into other universes?


The ultimate point is to have an excuse for characters to exist, however briefly, in the same continuity--and interact with one another (hence crossover). Which means that either 1) Some of them have to cross over to someone else's dimension, or 2) All the characters have to go to an alternate dimension and meet there.


I do like the idea of a collectively shared subconscious spanning across multiple parallel universes, though--as well as the notion that Sue Daysdale stumbles across a device in the Vault that allows for traversing between dimensions (and accidentally arms it).


Either way, so far we have two narratives that can do a crossover--ideally I'd think it'd be cool to do three, four, or even five. Any other takers?


I'm definitely interested.


Urban 30, right? Pardon if that's not the case--I just did a search for your name on Google and clicked my way to a superhero link. If that is your page, is this a good place for me to start reading? I imagine we should familiarize ourselves at least briefly with each other's work, so we know what we're getting into (and how to deal with each other's characters).


For quick reference:

The Last Skull

The Legion of Nothing


I'm also very interested. This is the kind of project I'd love to sink my teeth into. :)


Hi guys. Thanks for the link Jim. First, I'm interested in throwing Zephyr (wereviking.wordpress.com) into the ring. But, don't you think a "crossover event" website would be a better idea than all this posting across different blogs? It would certainly fit my format better and let us compile in the one zone a bunch of different pieces about "the event"? Thoughts?


That's a good idea--actually, let's do both: One webpage dedicated to the task of hosting every written piece that comes out of this, posted in some semblance of order--with each author having the opportunity to put their specific piece on their page--either as a side-story unrelated to their main narrative, or just worked straight into the narrative itself. My goal is to give as much freedom to individual authors as possible--so if you want to make this part of your narrative, definitely do so... and if you want to just make it a side-story (and maybe link to the page from your website, etc), that's cool too. I should emphasize--ideally, I see each author as writing their own piece that goes on their own page (no cross-page postings, unless you really want to, and the author who wrote it is okay with it), so we all can fit this event into our various websites (and narratives) as smoothly as possible.


Anyway, so far:

The Last Skull

The Legion of Nothing

Urban 30

Shimmer

Zephyr


That's five, which is a good number to start working with--if more people are interested, they can post here. In the meanwhile, I'm going to start reading through these stories and looking into getting everyone in touch--my email is: Thegreathippo at gmail. If everyone wouldn't mind dropping me a line, I could start building up an email list and we could set up a website to start work with (I'm thinking of just setting up our own private forums for the brainstorming phase/story trading phase).


Here's my suggestion... Create a Google group. Pretty much everyone (I think) has a Google email address.


As for a common website where it could appear... In real life, I'm a web developer and do web hosting for my clients. I could set up a Wordpress installation for this pretty easily, and we'd have a common spot to publish this.


The google group thing would probably be ideal (they have collective documents too, right?)--and the wordpress thing would be perfect, too. I have no idea what its name should be, though(something something crossover?).


http://groups.google.com/group/the_crossover/


Google group made. Just email your gmail addresses to the address I listed above (or list them here, if you're unafraid--minus the gmail extension, of course) and I'll invite you to the group.


...or just click on the link above and request to be invited to the group. That works, too, as I've just found out!


I absolutely LOVE this idea! (thanks for the head's up, JZ)


The problem for me is that Flyover City! has always been a single, unified story with a specific beginning, middle, and end - and there is only three "issues" / chapters / entries until that story is complete. That said, I did / do have something I wanted to ask the other superhero fiction authors about (and this seems like an appropriate place to do so):


The final issue of FC! is going to be (in part) a "current events" update, about the protagonist's personal life, as well as what's happening around the country (i.e., superhero battles / crises, etc.) I wanted to know if anyone would be interested / willing to have a "shout out" to their work in that.


Nothing too specific (that would step on the continuity in your own 'verse); it would be more like an "Easter Egg" that mutual readers would appriciate(like ET showing up in Phantom Menace, or the mention of Gotham City in "Superman Returns). And of course, the mention would have links to all of your sites.


If interested - let me know here, or you can email me. If there's a particular current event you'd want mentioned, you'd could say so (keeping in mind that time in the 'FC!' universe has a tendency to move MUCH slower than in most other fics I've seen. But I'm off work next week, so there's no reason for me to not get this thing wrapped up!)If someone expresses interest, but doesn't have something specific for me to mention - I would just pick something from your current storyline.


The other thing is that 'FC' has always centered around an OUTSIDER'S perspective of what's going on in the superhero world, so the mentions would all be the type of thing that would show up in the newspaper (i.e., "New York City attacked by (your villian here), as opposed to something occuring in a hero's civilian life)


This'll all tie in to the fact that, at long last, when 'FC!' is done, I'll be reviewing all the 'hero fictions listed on the wfg!


That would be awesome (or at least I think so!); one possible in-continuity shout out would be to the cross-over itself--once we figure out what the cross-over entails, you could make a reference to someone else being involved in some sort of parallel dimension shenanigans, and link to the main page we'll use to post all the cross-over stuff (meaning the cross-over happened in your setting too--it just happened to someone else, and was never really referenced in the narrative). But I'm totally for a general non-continuity shout-out ala ET in the Phantom Menace, too (and I have several things in mind that'd work for me).


If you're interested, I'd go so far as to say that the cross-over that's referenced in your narrative could be fleshed out on the cross-over page we'll have (they could show up in the cross-over stories, with you writing a part, if you're feeling up to it--it would just never show up on your main page because it was never part of the central narrative, but it still happened in your setting).


I love the idea, I just don't think Samaritan Project is developed enough to get involved. Though if a villain with time travel/ possibly dimensional abilities was needed, there's always Zebediah from The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin, I don't know if that's helpful.


Well, once we're done with this big crossover event, I can see us leaving it open for more minor crossover events--between individual authors, or small groups--the whole idea is to create an interesting narrative excuse to allow for authors to collaborate and create connections between their characters, after all. So if you don't feel that your work is ready for a crossover yet, that's fine--there's always potential for a crossover in the future. As for Zebediah, I'd have to read the story to give you my opinion on how he'd work--but there's always room for more, so if you're interested, feel free to join the google group listing.


(I should add--in case people are worried that we're going to get too big and unwieldy--my plan is that if we have too many authors involved, we'll split off into small groups and possibly pairs--not every character has to meet/work with everyone else's character, after all)


This seems like a fun initiative (although I am not a superhero writer). In any case, you may be interested to see a similar endeavour organized by Nancy Brauer a while back -- the Uhopping adventure.