The Original Universe
INFORMATION (FAQ) ABOUT THE ORIGINAL UNIVERSE
Q: So what is The Original Universe?
A: It’s close to the works produced by Dr. Jerry Bails, Roy Thomas in the first incarnation of ALTER EGO, and the zines that Len Wein and Marv Wolfman contributed to in their early lives -- except that I only compare in kind, not in quality! I don’t think that big of myself.
A fanzine has a much smaller financial requirements from its membership -even no cost. In fact, the Usual could require nothing more than a regular Letter of Comment [LOC] (I’ll explain both of these later in this missive).
Q: Where’s “The Original Universe” name come from?
A: A few years ago DC Comics used this name to promote some of their product, to separate it from Elseworlds stories.
I found the name ironic; the original universe at DC was really the original multiverse pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC now has another multiverse after 52, but the damage has been done to many characters as different writers tried to tack on more origin ideas. It also lead to calling characters ‘radioactive’ when too much messing around made them untouchable, as well as the dreaded ‘retcon’ (retroactive continuity) word, when everything about the characters was changed yet again for new continuity. A prime example: The Legion of Superheroes now in its fifth history rewrite - although there are seeming originals in the present day at the moment.
Many of us in this zine were readers before Crisis, so we know where everything came from. Parts of this zine will hopefully celebrate that past.
Q: Who are you?
A: In 1990 I originated COMICOPIA, a comicbook APA. This I contributed to for 100 issues, more than 16 years. I began writing for APAs 6 months earlier, and at one time was a member of 4 of them.
I’m a 4-time winner of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) [so far; it’s 2007 when I write this]. As of June 30th I added 1st-time Script Frenzy winner to my resume. I got a BfA in Cinema: Animation Option in May 1990, so it’s about time I used it! :)
I’ve had 13 letters published in comics to date, and so far have 5 tabletop roleplaying game publishing credits (as of July 2007), 4 of them in super-hero games. At least 2 more will come out this year.
As you can read, I have a lot of know-how here... not to mention collecting comics for more than 26 years!
Q: Just what is “the Usual”?
A: This is a tradition with zines, in ways similar to Minac. It takes several forms:
i. Letters of comment (LOCs). My fellow APA-folks will be familiar with this. They are like MCs, only shorter. Often they are about 2-3 pages of text before the font size is reduced. They can be comments on the zine itself, comments replying to other LOCs... they tend to share the vibrancy of MCs like that.
Even if you contribute other things to the zine, you’re encouraged to still LOC for this reason.
ii. Cover art / illustrations
There’s a zine tradition called “fillos”: small illustrations to go as fill between long blocks of text.
Likewise, I hope contributors can provide artwork for covers. Some such artists have gone on to wider exposure and awards.
One zine I’m a part of prints several pieces by others. Some are reprints from FAPA (the now-legendary F/SF APA that’s been around for over 50 years so far); some are columns from his mom on the incredible travels she’s gone on worldwide... and one deals with the life of a man as he went through WW 2 as a soldier.
The Original Universe deals with comicbooks, so pieces will most likely cover that. Some of them may be original fiction, from me or others; I print them up at no additional cost to readers (if from others, obviously), but please be mindful the length isn’t too great (4 pages max).
Some of it can just have a link to comics as thin as the fact all who write for it / read it are comic fans. I’m not going to push for anything more strict than that -- and since we all are fans anyway, that will not come into question. I hope for more comicbook content, but if I’m the sole provider for that, it’s fine.
iii. Letters of Comment (LOCs)
As I said, these can be similar to the MCs we APA folks are accustomed to.
LOCs as e-mail are fine. I send my LOCs to my 2 other zines that way. You don’t have to worry about formatting; that’s my deal.
iv. zine exchanges
This is another longtime tradition for zines: trading your zine for mine.
Q: Is this an electronic zine?
A: No. I’ve already spoken at length over the years on how I have a dislike for electronic-only zines. There’s an archive of electronic zines at efanzines.com , and I may well store zines after the fact there, but the originals will indeed be printed and mailed first.
Q: Are there rules for flame wars?
A: Nothing official, just a simple guideline: I read everything before I print it. If it’s just there to start a fight, I leave it out. In general we’re mature enough not to pick fights anyway, so I likely won’t even need to use this guideline.
Q: Is there a subscription fee?
A: Not an enforced one. There is a voluntary one (another form of “the Usual”), but it isn’t a neccessity. It’s not a huge dent: $3 US per sample issue, $12 for a year. I’m staying with a bi-monthly schedule.
Would I like people to subscribe? Of course! Any subscription funds will go straight to paying for photocopies and mailing.
Q: Are there MinAc rules? (Minimum Activity. An APA term)
A: Yes and no. Yes, because you have to contribute the Usual every 2 issues or you drop out. No, because subscribers still receive issues until their subscriptions run out (if they’re subscribed). I’ll let you know an issue before, so you’ll have approximately 2 months to re-subscribe. You just don’t get feedback unless you LOC as well.
There are no concepts like Member or Waiting lists. If you contribute non-flames, I print you.
Q: How long in pagecount will this be?
A: Well what I’d love is a 32-page zine, but the ones I’ve seen at that length are 15-20 years old. I’ll be happy if I start at 12-16 pages. More will just be gravy, but 32 will be the maximum for now. I just received one in early May that was 46 pages, but for me that’s just crazy.
(I just realized: it may be shorter for financial and content reasons.)
I hope you all join in!