June 24, 2009

The cover of this weeks 2000AD shows a group of Ro-Busters breaching Fortress Britannia.

If this means nothing to you, suffice to say that the Ro-Busters are a group of decommissioned war robots who sometimes take part in whacky adventures, and Fortress Britannia is Britain after a thinly disguised Russian invasion.   The significant thing is that the Ro-Busters are invading another character’s strip, that of Bill Savage.

It’s an oft noted comment that there is something very appealing about crossovers, particularly in Science Fiction.  Tharg (2000AD’s alien editor) himself notes this in this week’s editorial.  Pat Mills, the writer of Ro-Busters and Savage, the strip the robots are invading, has used the crossover to good effect over the years.  Part of his success, I think, is the disparity between the stories he joins:  putting the swords and scorcery of Nemesis together with the robots of the ABC warriors, or joining the Dinosaurs of Flesh with the 22nd century adventures of Judge Dredd.

Crossovers are everywhere, from the brief glimpse of the Cafe Obi Wan in Indiana Jones 2, to the first Ringworld book by Larry Niven where the artefact of the title was built by characters that didn’t even appear in that novel, but in completely seperate novella.  They are common in music, too, with themes from one piece turning up in another, a device much favoured by so called classical composers.

There seems to be something very satisfying about the crossover.  If I knew what it was I doubt I’d be any richer, but maybe I’d be better informed.