I've stated on this blog before about how much I used to love the old Marvel "What If..." comic books. As a matter of fact, there would be times when as a kid on an allowance, I would choose an interesting looking What If... over the standard Marvel stuff. I liked that comic book that much. I can still remember how much I enjoyed reading stories like "What if Cable had killed the X-Men?", which was a rare 2-part story, "What if the X-Men had lost Inferno?", which had the charming image of a demonically possessed Wolverine eating a baby, and of course, "What if the Age of Apocalypse had not ended?".
To this day, I collect the What If... comics Marvel sporadically puts out. Now, I've grown up on Marvel comic books. I've accumulated thousands of them, and I've been reading them for more then 15 years now, so I consider myself an expert on the history of the Marvel Universe as well as it's myriad of alternate dimensions. With that said, I'm still kind of a newbie when it comes to my knowledge of the DC Universe. I've only been reading DC stuff for a little less then a year, but I've read ALOT of DC stuff in that time. I recently managed to pick up the "Kingdom Come" mini series DC originally printed about a decade ago. I haven't started to read it yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. I don't know much about Kingdom Come, but I do know that it details events in an alternate dimension in the DCU. It was that mini series that got me thinking about the idea of alternate universes in these 2 comic book companies.
To my knowledge, Marvel has an infinite number of alternate dimensions, which to me makes sense, because if there is at least 1 alternate universe, shouldn't there be any number of alternate universes, detailing actions that were or weren't taken by the different characters in the Marvel Universe? On the DC side of things though, there seem to only be 52 alternate universes. To me that is puzzling. If there are alternate worlds where characters acted differently, and thereby created a new dimension, shouldn't the number of alternate worlds be infinite?
I guess what I am saying in a long winded, roundabout way is why would DC limit themselves and their potential future storylines by limiting their number of potential universes? Why not have an infinite amount of alternate dimensions, like Marvel does, which could always be used by future writers/creators who want to tell a story involving an alternate dimension? What happens when DC uses up these 52 alternate dimensions?
Anyway, I started this article after looking through some of my old What If... comic books. It's actually kind of funny looking back at these comics, because Marvel has actually gone through with alot of these What If... stories lately. Some examples are, "What If Spider-Man had not married Mary Jane?", "What If the Punisher had become Captain America?", "What if Iron Man had sold out?", "What If the Age of Apocalypse had never ended?", among a few others. I wonder if the folks at Marvel are doing this on purpose, or if it's all just a strange coincidence... If you didn't enjoy reading my comments here, you can take solace in the fact that somewhere in the multiverse, an alternate version of you didn't read this post and was saved from my ramblings!