THE ATLAS OF THE DC UNIVERSE: Paul Kupperberg Reveals 13 FASCINATING FACTS

The celebrated Mr. K explains why Gotham is in New Jersey, Metropolis is in Delaware, why Atlantis got then much ink – and much, much more…
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By PAUL KUPPERBERG
In 1989, I took on the grant from hell… I mean, I accepted a gig from Mayfair Games, publishers of role-playing games ( RPG ) and sourcebooks consequently. This is not to say anything negative about the ticket folks at Mayfair, who were unfailingly dependable to me during the march of working on The Atlas of the DC Universe and the earlier Doom Patrol module storyline I wrote for them ( “ Moonshot, ” recently reprinted in the Doom Patrol Bronze Age Omnibus ).

This is to say that the experience of actually writing this giant was one of the least pleasant of my career ( see Fascinating Fact #2, below ) because of the thousands of small details that needed to be collated and banged into the proper order. On the top, the finished product turned out to be something I ’ thousand gallant of and I ’ m glad to see it ’ s been of use to my companion creators in the DCU ( see Fascinating Fact #13 ) .
hera then, are 13 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT THE ATLAS OF THE DC UNIVERSE:

1. The report was drawn by Blue Devil artist Paris Cullins… not that the designers gave him anything interesting to draw therefore that you could actually tell who the artist was .
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2. There was no internet in 1989 when I wrote the Atlas. Research was done the antique way, by going through the honest-to-god stories in DC ’ s library, photocopying relevant pages, and compiling stacks and stacks of notes and reference substantial, which always ended up getting strew all over and around the desk during the writing action, and was normally missing some full of life bite of data that would need to wait until the next trip to DC for me to inquiry it. I could have written it in one-third the clock ( and with none of the headaches ) if I ’ d lone had Wikipedia .
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3. I made up most of the history for most of the cities and towns as I was writing those entries. Take a set like Ivy Town, placement of Ivy University, where Dr. Ray Palmer, aka the Atom, worked and teach, and where K.O.R.D. Industries had a manufacture plant. The previous prison term very probably contains the sum full of what had been established for Ivy Town in the comics over the years, forcing me to just make sh * t up sol I ’ d have enough to fill a bible ; Ivy Town “ sol named for the about epidemic growth of ivy vines they were forced to clear so they could build their new homes ” ? sure. Why not !
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4. Along with the assumed cities and towns of the DCU, the Atlas besides covered pretense counterparts of “ real universe ” ( Earth-Prime, if you will ) cities. The entry for New York covers four pages, including a map. At a glance, I ’ d say that — references to Titans Tower, the Justice League International Embassy and a few other such DC additions aside — the entry is historically accurate .
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5. On exceed of having to write the thing, I besides had to provide “ sketches ” for the maps of the cities that accompanied the entries, both actual and fabricated. Those were, of course, turned into something presentable for the reading public .
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6. I have to hand it to Mayfair ; for the full-color foldout maps of the US and the earth, they shopped that job out to master mapmakers Rand McNally, which had been doing this thrust since 1872. true, it looks like a regular Rand McNally map of the US, just with all the made-up places spotted in there with the very cities. But hush — Rand McNally .
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7. The Atlas was published as a sourcebook for an RPG so it ’ south fully of information like “ office levels ” and “ skills ” and “ drawbacks ” for characters who inhabit all the places it covers. I didn ’ thyroxine write any of that farce. I don ’ thyroxine tied know what most of it means .
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8. Contrary to popular impression, the decision to locate Gotham City in New Jersey and Metropolis in Delaware was not arrived at randomly. There was precession for it ; a panel from a 1978 World’s Greatest Super-Heroes syndicated Sunday strip by Martin Pasko and George Tuska that clearly places them south of New York on the easterly seaside. Denny O ’ Neil famously described the two cities as Metropolis being NYC above 14th Street and Gotham being NYC below it, but New York ’ s got tantalum be somewhere thus Metropolis and Gotham had to be moved. I like to think that Jersey being the state Marty grew up in had some influence on the decision. ( Note from Dan: I still reasonably much alive by O ’ Neil ’ s description – particularly the angle that Metropolis is above 14th on a beautiful form day and that Gotham is below 14th on a showery late-autumn night ! )

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9. Some of the entries were a little easier than others to write, including the ones for Atlantis and the other-dimensional Darkworld from my series Arion, Lord of Atlantis. If nothing else, I didn ’ thyroxine feel like I was stepping on another godhead ’ randomness toes by making up back stories that didn ’ triiodothyronine fit in with their plans. fortunately, for the wide strokes of most character histories, I did have the profit of Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe ( now causing hernia throughout fandom in the recently released omnibus edition, Vol. 1 ) to refer to .
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10. The Atlas went deep into the DCU, including page after page report businesses, media outlets, fast-food franchises, and even sports teams. I may know absolutely nothing about sports and have less than zero matter to in them, but I did learn what it takes to make up names for teams .
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11. I did indulge in a few entries included for my own entertainment, including this one for Austanburg, a little western european country I created near the end of my operate on Checkmate in the 1980s. I was reasonably certain no one would always be picking up on this rinky-dink nation ( or Cypher Industries, a company associated with it and for which I included an entry in the “ Science and Technology ” incision ), but I felt it deserved a few hundred words, just because .
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12. The longest introduction in the Atlas by far was the one on Atlantis, running 10 pages, compared to the three or four pages each devoted to Metropolis and Gotham City. I don ’ thyroxine know precisely why that was except it shows just how authoritative a function Atlantis has played in the history of the DCU. Go trope .
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13. Though never meant to be basic, The Atlas of the DC Universe however turned into the go-to guidebook for not entirely the RPG community but for many DCU writers and editors equally well. With no early one-stop source for this screen of information then available ( remember : pre-internet ! ) cipher much cared that it had been written to be used with eight-sided dice. american samoa long as they could look up what they needed to know about Littleville, Wyoming ( hometown of Dial H for Heroes’ Robby Reed ) for that epic poem they were working on, they were satisfied .
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MORE
— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite Unpublished DC COMICS Projects. Click here .
— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite 1970s DC COMICS HOUSE ADS. Click here .

Paul Kupperberg has been writing comic books from Archie to Zatanna for 45 years at DC, Archie, Charlton, Marvel, Bongo and others. He is besides the writer of Paul Kupperberg ’ sulfur Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics ( Charlton Neo Press ) ; I Never Write for the Money… But I Always Turn in the Manuscript for a Check ( Comics Career ) ; the amusing book industry-based murder mystery The Same Old Story, the short-story collection In My Shorts : Hitler ’ s Bellhop and early Stories, JSA : Ragnarok, and his latest, the YA fantasy/time travel gamble Emma ’ s Landing, all from Crazy 8 Press and all available on Amazon, or signed and personalized mastermind from Paul ( email him at pkupps55 @ yahoo.com for details ) .

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