The Wold Newton Universe site logo1795 - Wold Newton meteor strike: Eighteen individuals "were riding in two coaches past Wold Newton, Yorkshire.... A meteorite struck only twenty yards from the two coaches.... The bright light and heat and thunderous roar of the meteorite blinded and terrorized the passengers, coachmen, and horses.... They never guessed, being ignorant of ionization, that the fallen star had affected them and their unborn." Tarzan Alive, Addendum 2, pp. 247-248. The meteor strike was "the single cause of this nova of genetic splendor, this outburst of great detectives, scientists, and explorers of exotic worlds, this last efflorescence of true heroes in an otherwise degenerate age." Id., pp.230-231.         Artwork by Lisa Eckert

The Philosophy of the Wold Newton Universe and the Crossover Chronology 

Or 

How This Site Works

by Win Scott Eckert

(based on long discussions with Mark Brown, John Small, Lou Mougin, Matthew Baugh, Dennis Power,  Brad Mengel, Art Bollmann, Pete Coogan, and the rest of the New Wold Newton Meteoritics Society)

 


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The Crossover Premise:

The Crossover Chronology is built upon the base of the genealogical and historical speculations of William S. Baring-Gould, Philip Josť Farmer, Prof. H.W. Starr, and Rick Lai. Elements of the Cthulhu Mythos are also incorporated. Taken together, these speculations are accepted as true and constitute the foundation of the Wold Newton Universe.

Using this foundational framework, crossover stories are then integrated to establish that there are other characters who co-exist with the original characters included in Farmer's Wold Newton Family tree.  Film, television, or comic book sources are quite acceptable, as long as they do not explicitly contradict a literary source; if a seemingly contradictory source can be shown, through a scholarly article or piece of research, to fit in after all, so much the better.

The Crossover Chronology is a list of crossover stories in which two or more literary characters, situations, universes, or, in some rare cases, actual historical personages, are linked together. A very good example is The Rainbow Affair, which brings together Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu, Nayland Smith, and James Bond (all already in the Wold Newton Universe, based on Farmer's family tree), with The Men From U.N.C.L.E, The Avengers, The Saint, Inspector West, Department Z, and Miss Marple (all added to the Wold Newton Universe per this crossover). The crossover stories establish that there are other characters who co-exist with the characters populating the Wold Newton Universe, although the newly-added characters are not necessarily a part of the Wold Newton Family tree.

Again, when evaluating crossovers, I am looking for stories that involve two or more fictional characters and that do not involve contradictions (that are too difficult to resolve) with what is already included. Examples of the latter would be the otherwise enjoyable Sherlock Holmes and the Hentzau Affair, and Superman: War of the Worlds. These stories are mentioned instead on the Alternate Universes page.


On Historical Figures:

As frequent site visitors can tell, the guidelines for this site are in a state of evolution. Therefore, regarding the use of historical personages as crossover links, in the early days of this site, I often used a fictional character meeting an historical character as a way of linking in different fictional characters. After a while, though, it became obvious that certain historical characters made this problematic, Adolph Hitler or Jack the Ripper being two prime examples. Who hasn't met them in some fictional tale? Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that no more fictional characters should be added on that basis, although I will not retroactively exclude characters previously brought in that way. A side rule to this is that fictional descendants and/or relatives of fictionalized versions of real people can be used to make additions to the Wold Newton Universe, because this type of crossover is not as over-utilized as the fictional-character-meets-real-person scenario.  An example of the fictional relative crossover is a character on the television program Alias stating that he is the great-nephew of Harry Houdini.  Since a strongly fictionalized version of Houdini exists in the WNU, this brings in Alias.

Furthermore, if an historical person becomes a character in a fictional series, that is the Wold Newton version of that person. Therefore, the "Mark Twain-as-a-sleuth" series of mystery books will come in through a meeting with Inspector Lestrade, because this is not "our" universe's Mark Twain, it's the Wold Newton version of Twain. The same goes for Harry Houdini's numerous appearance in the Newtonverse.


On Superheroes and Comic Book Universes: The Bat-Man & Superman

Rules/Guidelines and Exceptions

Superheroes are a very interesting subset of Wold Newton crossovers and require a detailed explanation of how these crossovers work.

 

Supporting articles and crossover entries are then used to build upon, augment, or enhance an interpretation, such as my theory that the Elongated Man is the son of Plastic Man.  

Again, any crossover must also pass the bar of being non-contradictory with existing Wold Newton Universe continuity. Therefore, even if a comic book hero meets a Wold Newtonian character, that does not necessarily mean that it is a genuine crossover. As with all crossovers, the settings, characters and time placement must also harmonize with whole of the Wold Newton Universe.  Thus, unfortunately, Superman: War of the Worlds is relegated to an alternate universe. 

This also means that there is a preference for superhero references which are set in the particular superhero's original general time-frame, such as Superman in the 1930s-40s, or Spider-Man in the 1960s-70s.  In a "real-world" continuum like the Wold Newton Universe, it is unlikely, though not impossible, that Spider-Man would still be operating in 2002, absent an elixir vitae like Fu Manchu's.  Therefore less weight will be given to superhero crossover references which take place late in a particular hero's publishing career, and particularly after superhero-universe "reboots" or in the context of a superhero-universe "ret-con." Obviously viable explanations will be considered, such as interpreting the 1986 Batman / Sherlock Holmes crossover as a meeting between Batman III and Holmes.

Of course, this set of rules/guidelines and exceptions will not satisfy everyone.  However, it works in my version of the Wold Newton Universe, which I see as an extraordinarily complex set of sources and mysteries that can never be satisfactorily buttoned down into one over-arching scheme which will always work and always satisfy everyone.  Kind of like real life.  And as with real life, I actually don't mind when some mysteries remain in the Newtonverse.

Known references to superheroes which conform to this schema are included for the sake of a complete Chronology and Character List.  Each individual Wold Newton Universe fan has his or her own ideas about which novels, stories, films, comics, etc., fit into their own vision of the Newtonverse; if a fan does want to include these stories, then this Chronology helps that fan to understand when those adventures occurred. For the convenience of the reader who chooses not to include superhero universe references in his or her version of the Wold Newton Universe, the references are in green text. Feel free to ignore them or any other references in this Chronology and Character List which are perceived as undesirable.

 

 

The General Rationale

I would emphasize that there is a broad rationale behind this set of guidelines and exceptions which govern superhero crossovers. I love the Justice Society of America. The JSA and 1930s and '40s mystery men are my favorite superheroes. But I'm not going to incorporate the whole kit and caboodle into the Wold Newton Universe. 

The Wold Newton Universe is not a mirror of any superhero universe. It is essentially a pulp/explorer/detective/non-powered hero universe. Pulp heroes, Victorian detectives, explorers, hard-boiled private eyes, secret agents and, in the distant past, sword and sorcery heroes, are the mainstays of the Wold Newton Universe. In keeping with Mr. Farmer's primary source material, Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, there are also Lovecraftian horror, science-fictional, and classical literature aspects thrown in. Powered heroes whose adventures were documented by comic book publishers are welcome, but they can be imported into the Newtonverse in a way that does not overpower continuity or the other Newtonverse characters (as long as they meet the guidelines for inclusion).

While I am not wedded to everything Mr. Farmer said, I do accept most of it (see ruminations below on shoehorning all material into an obsessively strict "real" world).  For a long time I studiously ignored the superhero references in Sting of the Green Hornet, not wanting to bring in superheroes. In the course of some discussions I was reminded that Mr. Farmer himself mentioned Lois Lane as a possible sister to Margo. I knew it was a throwaway line on his part, but felt that it wouldn't do too much harm to follow his lead and do a very limited inclusion of superheroes. So the entry of an "Elseworlds" version (i.e., alternate universe version, or non-mainstream DC Universe version) of Superman into the Newtonverse was based on Farmer's comment and on the appearance of Clark Kent in Sting of the Green Hornet.

Then came The Batman -- a very clear appearance with two of the main figures of the Wold Newton Universe, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.  Thus, an Elseworlds Batman came into the Newtonverse.  I felt it was only reasonable to give a Marvel Golden Age hero, Captain America, his place, due to the fact that that Cap also appeared in Sting of the Green Hornet.  Since The Batman and Captain America were both in the Newtonverse through crossovers with other Wold Newton figures, I was able to add The Batman / Captain America crossover;  it was also extremely "pulpy."

However, I quickly became aware that too many superheroes in the Newtonverse would overshadow the personality of this site, which is derived from Mr. Farmer's works. So I devised the rationale of only including a limited number of alternate universe (AU) versions of archetypal superheroes as a nod to the Golden Age of comics. We have Elseworlds versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Plastic Man, Elongated Man, and Dr. Solar. Of these, only Superman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, Elongated Man, Dr. Solar, and Sub-Mariner can be said to be "super-powered," and there have been articles written which provide Wold-Newtonian explanations for their powers, which are more limited than as portrayed in the exaggerated comics stories (the articles are here and here).

The Batman is a very strong and athletic, but otherwise non-powered crime-fighter, like so many other pulp heroes. Cap got his strength through science, again, a pulp-like origin. Even so, in Batman and Captain America, Batman fought him to a standstill. (Given that Bruce Wayne is almost or as strong as Lord Greystoke, as demonstrated in Batman and Tarzan: Claws of the Catwoman, one can only wonder if one of Mr. Wayne's ancestors was present in Wold Newton, Yorkshire, on December 13, 1795.)

As far as other non-powered characters go, we have alternate universe versions of Sgt. Rock and Col. Nick Fury, which gives the Newtonverse a nice balance of versions of DC and Marvel characters. The appearance of a type of War Wheel in Batman and Captain America indicates the presence of an Elseworlds Blackhawk. And continuing with the World War II crossovers, I have added The Unknown Soldier, who worked with The Batman.

Another non-powered comic book character who may be safely added without incorporating all of DC Comics continuity is Slam Bradley (from the Batman / Holmes crossover -- see below). Slam's brother, Biff Bradley, as well as Bat Lash, Jonah Hex, and the Enemy Ace, Hans von Hammer, are also worthy non-powered additions from Guns of the Dragon.  And let's not forget "Hop" Harrigan, whose son, Ace Harrigan, is a member of Prince Zarkon's Omega Crew.

There is a Batman / Sgt. Rock / Sherlock Holmes crossover from a special issue of The Brave and the Bold. The crossover also happens to include Boston Brand, the Deadman. Including another ghost in a universe already populated with everything from the Elder Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos to Topper doesn't seem like much of a stretch, so I have included the story. As always, this is the Newtonverse version of Deadman; crossovers with the rest of the DC pantheon are part of the DC Universe only.

The Batman / Sherlock Holmes crossover in Detective Comics issue no. 572 (March 1987) is too notable to disregard, despite the somewhat bothersome presence of the Silver Age hero, the Elongated Man. However, there are hints in the story of a link between the Elongated Man and the Golden Age Plastic Man, which I have expanded upon in the Chronology. Plastic Man and the Elongated Man represent the archetypal stretchable heroes in the Wold Newton Universe and were a necessary addition in order to include the Batman / Holmes story.

The non-super-powered Shang Chi, as the son of Fu Manchu, and with clear links to the Sherlock Holmes and James Bond continuities, is impossible to ignore. Again, all of these characters are AU versions of their comics' universes counterparts, so the DC and Marvel Universes are not congruent with or incorporated into the Newtonverse.

We have an extremely limited, but enjoyable, inclusion of comic-book superheroes, because too many super-powered beings in the Newtonverse tend to diminish and water down the incredible and remarkable accomplishments of their less-powered pulp/secret agent/explorer/detective counterparts. Moreover, the less-powered characters in non-superhero stories (such as The Shadow, Tarzan, The Destroyer and James Bond) don't act like they live in a universe overflowing with superheroes.  It is difficult to believe that a James Bond novel would really take place in the Marvel Universe, because all sorts of things would be different if he lived in that universe. But Nick Fury could still have James Bond style adventures in the Marvel Universe. 

While superhero characters play an entertaining part in the Wold Newton Universe, they are, after all, only one small aspect of a much larger tapestry which includes pulp heroes, detectives, secret agents, Victorian heroes, jungle explorers, prehistoric barbarians, Lovecraftian horrors, science-fiction adventurers, and classical literature characters.

(For John Small's ruminations on the limited role of superheroes in The Wold Newton Universe, please click here.)

 

The "Distortion" Method

As I have already stated, my methodology when dealing with superhero crossovers is to include superheroes only if they meet an established, mainstream non-superhero Wold Newton Universe figure, like Sherlock Holmes or Tarzan.  In other words, I donít use comics book superhero crossovers with other superheroes to bring in more superheroes.  That's too easy.  I only use comic book superhero crossovers with non-superhero Wold Newton Universe figures.

Again, a potential fly in the ointment is that even if there is a valid crossover, there should not be too many superheroes in a universe which emulates the "real" world.  The premise of a "real world" universe filled with superheroes stumbling over each other, even though they supposedly all operate in secret, wears somewhat thin after a while.  A universe containing only a few superheroes operating in secret (or not operating in secret, but nevertheless regarded as urban legends) is much more believable if we wish to maintain the premise that, to the general observer, the Wold Newton Universe emulates the real world.  Even if we only accept the stories of superheroes which were revealed to the public by their "original creators" we are left with a "real world" filled with numerous publicly known alien invasions and visitations (such as the Fantastic Four's Galactus), mass-destruction, and other world-changing events.

Without sufficient explanation of these events, or rather, without a sufficient background story explaining how even the original authors' outrageous, non-real world could fit into a more realistic continuity, I was unable to include some otherwise valid Silver Age superhero-pulp hero crossovers between Doc Savage and Spider-Man, and Doc Savage and the Thing.  However, researcher Dennis Power has uncovered the Secret History of Superheroes in the Wold Newton Universe.  As Power states:

The real exploits of the "super" heroes are overshadowed by voluminous output of the "comic" book industry. There are literally thousands of characters whose exploits posit destruction and death on epic proportions just about every week. It is easy to loose sight of the fact that, out of the thousands of characters out there, some of the comics are based on a handful of real people.  We must first understand that although the "comic" book characters and exploits are based on real people, they are highly fictionalized, often to a point where the true character is unrecognizable so far as its comic book persona or continuity are concerned.

Peter Coogan, in an analysis of how various researchers approach source texts concerning superheroes (Woldnewtonry), calls Power's approach toward superheroes the "distortion" method: "This principle views the texts as great distortions of the events of the Wold-Newtonites' lives. Names, events, and characterizations can be, and even should be, greatly altered." Coogan adds, "This approach allows the inclusion of superheroes while holding more closely to the 'real world' principle of Farmer than does the 'lightly fictionalized' approach, at least with superheroes (because Farmer, particularly in Tarzan Alive!, sought to portray the Wold Newton Universe as identical to reality, or in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life as fairly congruent with reality)."  Coogan concludes, "Viewing the texts as distortions of real events gives the [superhero] characters a credibility and reality that the lightly fictionalized principle cannot."

Closely related is the "germ" methodology which is used to excellent effect in several articles by Jess Nevins, such as The All-Aces Squad and Secret Wars. Coogan states that, "This principle views the texts as gross exaggerations of events that only serve as the germs for the stories. In this view, the biographers take mere ideas and blow them up into adventures. This principle offers the least material to deal with as most of the texts are simply discarded and the germ is explained. Jess Nevins' treatment of superheroes follows this principle." 

Both the distortion and germ methods provide realistic alternatives to the "light fictionalization" approach with which some other speculators treat superheroes, (1) all the while claiming that their speculations comply with real-world physics (they don't), and that they operate within the real world of Farmer's Tarzan Alive! (again, they don't.)  Clearly one cannot "lightly fictionalize" superpowered characters and yet still posit that their adventures take place in the real world, the world outside our window. Thus, Wold Newton style speculation with many powered superheroes requires either:

Thus dispensing with the notion that original authors in the realm of comic book superheroes can somehow be said to be absolutely or unfailingly reliable sources of events which occur in the "real" world, we are left with the conclusion that comic book companies' continuing biographies of "super" heroes sometimes alter and distort events, occasionally beyond recognition of what the original, real events were, although a kernel of truth may remain.  For example, Dennis Power explains the aforementioned Galactus thus:

If you are talking about the Giant Humanoid that travels the Universe draining planets of their energy to sustain his life, then you are correct, he doesn't fit in. The humanoid, sentient characteristic was a creation of the comic book writers for dramatic purposes.

Dennis Power goes on to explain how one of the members of the Four received an extra-terrestrial message describing the threat of a doomsday machine which threatened Earth's existence. Since this was a private communication, the existence of extra-terrestrials, and indeed the doomsday machine itself, was not revealed to the world at large. 

Another possible way of determining how the events depicted by publishers of superhero universes do or don't fit into the Wold Newton Universe, is to take a particular character's adventures as generally valid up until the point at which (1) the character meets another character from the same publisher in a blatant marketing attempt to cross-sell to different sets of readers, or (2) some world-changing event occurs in the comic, one which could not possibly be hidden or explained away in a more "realistic" continuity. Yet another way to facilitate the inclusion of superheroes in a fictional universe which emulates the real world is to take the position on that the least powerful version of the hero is the correct one. For example, the Sub-Mariner, in Art Bollmann's interpretation, doesn't have wings on his feet and isn't all that strong (per the 1950s version). Sometimes, this is different from the original interpretation version.

In any event, Power's mystery-man articles follow in the tradition of the tongue-in-cheek wit and humor which can be found throughout Mr. Farmer's works. Thankfully, Power's "distortion" methodology  wisely avoids claims that the mystery-man scenarios as he describes them take place in the "real" world. This is ironic, as his paradigm provides a more "real-world" model for Wold Newton superheroic conjecture than some other online Wold Newton superhero speculations, which fall into the unfortunate trap of claiming that the events portrayed in their speculations occurred in "this world," i.e., the real world in which you and I live. (2)

At any rate, since there are now some definitions and limitations to explain superheroes, and the events depicted in their comic magazines, in terms which make sense in the Wold Newton Universe as described on this site, we are now able to include the Spider-Man and Thing crossovers with Wold Newton Family member Doc Savage.  Additionally, Spider-Man shared adventures with the ancient warriors Red Sonja and King Kull, both of whom exist in the history of the Wold Newton Universe.  Finally, Spider-Man also shared an adventure with Shang Chi, the son of Fu Manchu, who is another noted member of the Wold Newton Family.

In contravention of the misconception that the Wold Newton Universe is overflowing with super-powered heroes, here is the tally.  

"Super"-powered heroes (6):

  • Superman

  • Plastic Man

  • Elongated Man

  • Dr. Solar

  • Members of the "Fantastic Four" (Reid and Ben)

 Low-powered heroes:

  • Captain America

  • Wonder Woman

  • Namor, the Sub-Mariner

  • The Deadman

  • The Spider-Man

  • Members of the "Fantastic Four" (Sue and Johnny)

  • Dr. Stephen Strange

Non-powered heroes:

  • The Bat-Man and Robin

  • Batman II and Robin II

  • Batman III and Robin III

  • Blackhawk

  • Slam Bradley

  • Biff Bradley

  • Bat Lash

  • Jonah Hex

  • "Hop" Harrigan

  • The Enemy Ace, Hans von Hammer

  • Sgt. Rock

  • Col. Nick Fury

  • Shang Chi

  • The Black Panther

I would point out that six super-powered heroes out of literally hundreds of Wold Newton Universe characters hardly constitutes a flood, and those who may imagine otherwise are merely engaging in wishful thinking.  Let us also remember that Wold Newton Universe versions of some of these heroes operated for a lesser amount of time than as portrayed by comic book publishers, that they were much less powerful than as portrayed in the comics, and that their adventures were considerably less flamboyant.

 

Known references to superheroes which conform to this schema are included for the sake of a complete Chronology and Character List.  Each individual Wold Newton Universe fan has his or her own ideas about which novels, stories, films, comics, etc., fit into their own vision of the Newtonverse; if a fan does want to include these stories, then this Chronology helps that fan to understand when those adventures occurred. For the convenience of the reader who chooses not to include superhero universe references in his or her version of the Wold Newton Universe, the references are in green text. Feel free to ignore them or any other references in this Chronology and Character List which are perceived as undesirable.


Policy Statement on the Nature of The Wold Newton Universe:

(freely adapted, with Dennis Power's permission, and my gratitude, from his Policy Statement on The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe site)

 

Pastiche vs. the Original Author

This site, The Wold Newton Universe, is a work of fiction which uses as a foundation the works of Philip Josť Farmer: Tarzan Alive, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, and others, all of which are listed on this page. Farmer's works in turn, are an extension of the type of scholarship propounded by W. S. Baring-Gould, H.W. Starr, and other Holmesians. These works by Mr. Farmer are certainly, in our view, non-canonical. They are pastiche.

Since we are already using pastiche as the basis for this universe-building exercise, we are unquestionably free to continue using pastiche to extend the Universe. Therefore, we are not unduly concerned with peremptory dismissals of new additions to the Crossover Chronology, based on that fact that they are pastiche and not by the "original author," given the fact that we are building upon a continuity which is completely and wholly based on pastiche.

As has been true since this site was first posted, each work which is added to the Crossover Chronology, pastiche or not, is carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Many works make the continuity "grade," as it were, and many which do not end up listed on the Alternate Universes page.

The same holds true with regards to integrating ideas or characters through the recent plethora of Wold Newton articles: they are evaluated and added to the Chronology on a case-by-case basis. As long as any additions made to the Chronology, and to the Wold Newton Universe site in general, are logical to us in the context of the work and the universe we are creating, then they will not be altered to fit someone else's vision or version of the Wold Newton Universe.

 

The "Real" World

One controversy which has arisen of late, regarding the nature of Wold Newton speculation and universe-building, is that articles or ideas are summarily challenged because, after all, these ideas cannot happen in the "real" world. (The dismissal of ideas is based on the limiting premise that there is ONE TRUE WAY to interpret Farmer, viz., that he intended every single element included in his two pseudo-biographies to be interpreted as happening in the real world. More on this below.)

We have a different interpretation, which is not stated in the hopes or with the intention of changing anyone else's opinion, but rather to state our opinion and how this site, The Wold Newton Universe, deals with the question.

We feel that it does not make sense to make the Wold Newton Universe into the "real" world, unless one is working strictly in literature or historical fiction without fantastical elements, that is to say, anything of the character of Pride and Prejudice to canonical Holmes to Flashman or the Sharpe series. Once one starts to use elements of fantasy, i.e.,  Lovecraft, Burroughs and Doyle's Challenger series, then one is no longer dealing with the real world. As amazing as this world and this Universe is, we are reasonably certain that there are not any Lost Continents, Ape-Men, costumed vigilantes, superheroes or supervillains, Old Ones, or Elder Gods.

Even if one goes the route of attributing the presence and powers of Lovecraftian aliens, superheroes, magic, psychic phenomena, etc., to Unknown Science or Hidden History, one is either dealing in another form of fantasy or buying into a vast conspiracy that makes the X-Files Consortium seem like small potatoes. Not only has the presence of all these vast powers and activities been hidden from the public, even though many have taken place well within the public eye, but all scientific knowledge has been tailored to hide the fact of these anomalies of physics and biology. Perhaps every scientist in the world is in on the conspiracy?

Now, while Mr. Farmer's intention may have been to take his favorite literature and have it relate to the world in which we live, we think that when you try to force the fantastic into the real world, it undergoes a transformation from gold into base matter. In doing so, the original material suffers for it. In Tarzan Alive for example, several Tarzan stories were rendered "fictional" primarily because they could not have happened in the real world. Tarzan and the Ant Men and Tarzan At the Earth's Core are prime examples of this. Also, to fit into the real world, several of the lost civilizations that Tarzan visits are said to be mostly fictionalized by Burroughs and that they were never quite as large or grand as depicted.

Yet Mr. Farmer did not use this tactic to a great extent in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life.  He did not analyze the Lost Cities or supervillains to make them fit better into the real world, as he had done in Tarzan Alive, but rather reported adventures as they happened. In his genealogy for Doc, he also added fantasy elements through Manuel of Poictesme and horror elements through Lovecraft's Robert Blake. He did not bother to make these fit into the the real world. Perhaps he would have done so eventually. In our opinion, it seems as though he was modifying his views, though others may simply state he did not have time or space to make those arguments.

Everyone is free to make their interpretations of the Wold Newton Universe material as they see fit. However, in our view, which we freely admit is an adaptation of Mr. Farmer's, we prefer to use the genealogies he established and modified in Tarzan Alive, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg and The Lavalite World, without the concept of shoehorning Tarzan and the others into the  "real" world. This is not to say that The Wold Newton Universe does not mirror and emulate the real world as much as is reasonably possible; it does, but not to an obsessively strict degree. Our version allows fantastical elements to be added if they make sense in conjunction with the rest of the Universe's continuity. In the end, we would prefer to work with Mr. Farmer's genealogies and still allow Tarzan and Doc to have all the adventures ascribed to them by their creators, and by later writers as well. Agreeably, it may not be a perfect match, but does it really have to be?

The Wold Newton Universe is an alternate universe where the history is oddly parallel, but often different, to that of the real world. It is a place where the laws of physics as stated in our universe do not necessarily apply, so that the laws of thermodynamics and the cube square law are sometimes suspended, perhaps by an Act of Congress. Magic works, the undead "live," New York and Tokyo are just not fun places to live, there are lots of immortals, time travel is possible, men have malleable flesh, and some canines have the power of human speech.

The Wold Newton Universe is also a place where costumed vigilantes are often seen, but not too many superheroes. We have kept down the number of superheroes, but not because we do not like superheroes (the JSA is one of our favorite groups), or because we do not believe that they could not exist given the less restrictive physics of the Wold Newton Universe. Rather, for the purposes of the back story described on this site, the emphasis is on pulp heroes, secret agents, explorers, and detectives. The presence of too many super-powered beings tends to overshadow the exploits of the pulp base of The Wold Newton Universe; this also holds true for The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe site. For example, why have James Bond go after Blofeld if the Green Lantern could just make all of the atomic bombs inert? This is not to say that superheroes do not exist; they do, but with certain restrictions: (1) there are not very many of them; (2) the highest threshold of their power is as exhibited in the Golden Age Superman, who could not fly and was not invulnerable; and (3) their main operative time frame was the late 1930s to approximately the mid 1950s, with a second  generation operating in the 1960s to 1980s.  A few descendants may still be operating today.

As always, these comments only apply to The Wold Newton Universe website and should not be construed as being applicable to any other Wold Newtonian site, nor should they be seen as a criticism or antipathy towards any site which does not adhere these these particular views. This is in keeping with our long-standing policy of encouraging other Wold Newton sites, even those which do not conform to the continuity and interpretations described on this site.

In other words, when it comes to Wold Newton, it is our policy to "live and let live," with respect to different continuities, mind-sets, and interpretations of Farmer. We also hope that others will adapt this "live and let live" stance with respect to differing Wold Newton interpretations and premises, all of which can be regarded as different, or alternate, but nevertheless equally valid.

Consequently, as Dennis Power has stated, all forms of negative criticism, especially that which complains that we are not following the "original author" or "real world" rules allegedly used by persons propounding said criticism, will be ignored. With all due respect for other opinions and commentaries, no one should feel snubbed, nor slighted, if their suggestions are not adopted.

In conclusion, these statements are intended to put to rest the notion that we need to continually respond to incessant and repetitive challenges on subjects which are matters of personal interpretation, and therefore can never be resolved. Consequently, this is also intended to be my own final personal statement on these matters pertaining to the nonstop debates and challenges regarding (1) the Wold Newton Universe being the "real" world, and (2) the use of pastiche. These statements are not intended to offend anyone, but rather to put issues to rest so that we can get back to having fun, and we hope they will be taken in that light.


New Directions:

As stated above, the Crossover Chronology, which is the basis for this little exercise in universe-building for which I coined the phrase, "The Wold Newton Universe," stands upon the foundation established by Farmer, Baring-Gould, Starr, and Lai. While their genealogical work was speculative in nature, the Crossover Chronology, as originally conceived, was not. It was intended to include only stories or events that are substantiated and documented in novels, short stories, comic books and graphic novels, television programs, and films. This is still the main thrust of the Crossover Chronology.

However, the careful reader will note that, of late, there has been a limited amount of new conjecture being integrated into the Chronology. Conjecture is being included on four bases:

  1. purely for the purpose of filling in genealogical "holes";

  2. for reconciling seemingly conflicting information;

  3. for answering "burning questions" which are raised by different elements of the Wold Newton Universe; and

  4. with the rise of genealogical theorizing on par with that of Baring-Gould or Farmer, by such Wold Newton scholars as Mark Brown, Dennis Power, Chris Carey, or any others, some of these speculative relationships may be included in the Newtonverse Crossover Chronology. (Brown's, Power's, and Carey's, articles and / or websites are linked prominently throughout this site.)

As an example of number (1), the inclusion of the character Clive Reston (Master of Kung Fu comics series) left open the question of his parentage. It was established in the series that James Bond was Reston's father, and his great uncle was Sherlock Holmes. Wold Newton contributor Matthew Baugh postulated that Mycroft Holmes was Reston's grandfather, and that Mycroft Holmes had a daughter who had a liaison with James Bond. I named the daughter "Shrinking" Violet Holmes, and, viola, we have a small bit of guesswork which fills in a minor hole in the Wold Newton Family tree.

An example of number (2), which falls into the category of attempting to reconcile conflicting information into one continuity, is my explanation of the history of Professor Moriarty and Captain Nemo, and the inclusion of Rick Lai's The Secret History of Captain Nemo. Lai views some events as completely fictional, while Starr and Farmer believe other events to be fictional. My explanation views all the recorded events as having happened, and attempts to meld them together, thus rescuing the Prince Dakkar character and the events of Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island from the fictional oblivion to which they were consigned by Starr.

A third example is my answer to the burning question raised by the inclusion of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (through a Sherlock Holmes crossover), Superman (through a 1942 Green Hornet crossover), and The X-Files (connected to the Cthulhu Mythos): if humanity has an established history of contact with extra-terrestrial beings, why is Dana Scully such a disbeliever in alien life? My answer is contained in the Chronology, and it is conjecture, but it is conjecture within the established facts and boundaries of the Wold Newton Universe.

An example of number (4) is Dennis Power's conjectural father-son relationship between evil genius Fu Manchu and master detective Charlie Chan. I have chosen to accept Power's theories, and thus have added Charlie Chan to Farmer's original Wold Newton Family tree; the recent addition of a viable Charlie Chan crossover bolsters Chan's presence in the Newtonverse.

Those who are interested in more conjectural and speculative undertakings that go beyond the information in the Crossover Chronology are encouraged to visit the Wold Newton Universe Articles pages, as well as Mark Brown's Wold Newton Chronicles and Dennis Power's The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe, many of whose theories I respect and agree with, and some of which I may not necessarily agree with. I also recommend the articles on Jess Nevins' Wold Newton page and Jean-Mark Lofficier's French Wold Newton site. (Please note also that just because Brown's, Power's, or anyone else's speculations are not yet included on the Crossover Chronology, this does not mean that I necessarily disagree with or discount them; I may just not have had the time to add their information yet.)

And now, on to the Chronology....


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THE WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE CROSSOVER CHRONOLOGY


1.    At least some of the followers of the "light fictionalization" approach to superheroic Wold Newton speculation don't respect the idea that different scholars work from different principles (as demonstrated in Coogan's Woldnewtonry). They consider their principles to be superior and self-evidently correct. An example of this self-importance is the immediate dismissal of any speculation utilizing the "distortion" method, which "disagrees with every chronicler ... [and] must be rejected by scholars who care about their sources." 

The implication of this and similar baiting statements is that those Wold Newton game-players, such as Dennis Power, who approach the texts and resulting speculations utilizing the disapproved distortion method, do not care about their sources, and thus do not merit any further attention. This is certainly an odd position to take, especially for those who strongly believe that two very different characters with two different histories are actually one merged character, despite the fact that the theory regarding these conflated characters disagrees with every chronicler of said characters. 

In addition, other faulty and inconsistent techniques which are utilized to disparage speculative articles resulting from the "distortion" or "germ" methods include: 

2.    Of course we understand that Mr. Farmer, in his seminal Wold Newton work, Tarzan Alive, followed in the Holmesian tradition of treating his subject as a real person who actually lived. And the premise works very well in Tarzan Alive, so well, in fact, that the book is sometimes shelved in the non-fiction section. However, those who have carefully reviewed the remainder of Mr. Farmer's Wold Newton works, including his follow-up "biography," Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, understand that he moved rapidly away from this confining literary pretense. Even Tarzan Alive departs from reality with its contention that Tarzan is immortal, and the inclusion of the Professor Challenger stories. Arguments that his other works, such as The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, "After King Kong Fell," "The Freshman," and "The Problem of the Sore Bridge - Among Others," take place in "this world," are utterly unconvincing.

Those who extend the premise to speculate that superhero comic books explicitly take place in "this world" or the "real world" are equally unconvincing. It is more ironic, and even baffling, that the main proponents of the "superheroes in the real world" position routinely dismiss others' Wold Newtonian conjecture, most of which is not based on an obsessive "real world" premise. The dismissal is made on the basis that it would be physically impossible for the others' Wold Newtonian conjecture to take place in the "real world." The final irony is that the those allegedly adhering to a real-world premise frequently violate many rules of real-world physics, despite their frequent admonishments that others should not do so, and their summary dismissal of others' speculations for failure to do so.

The "real world" question is treated more expansively here, including the decision to premise the Wold Newton Universe as described on this site as parallel universe which mirrors and emulates the real world as much as reasonably possible, without being compulsively strict about it (which, after all, takes all the fun and life out of the Wold Newton speculative game). 


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The Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology was created for the sole purposes of entertainment and information.

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