The Negative Zone & Plagiarism

By | Tuesday, March 02, 2010 2 comments
So I was just emailed today about some of the work I did on my FF website from several years ago. I dug out some of my old files to jog my memory and, since I had them readily available anyway, thought it might be kind of cool to throw up one or two of my old articles here. (That, plus it'd make for an easy content update.) In particular, I was thinking about my comprehensive piece on Skrulls, as I was most proud of that.

I found it easily enough, and thought I'd give a quick check against Wikipedia to see if there were any major changes since I last updated it around 2004/2005. Then I decided to check my article about the Negative Zone. Below is what I had on my site in May 2004. This Wikipedia article about the Negative Zone was first created in June 2005. Compare the two and see if they seem similar.

Articles: In the (Negative) Zone
by Sean Kleefeld

You've heard of Annihilus, right? And probably Blastaar. You may know something about Dusk if you're a Spider-Man fan. But what about the place they all call home? The Negative Zone. What is it? Where is it? What makes it so different a place than the regular Marvel universe? If you'll bear with me, I will attempt to answer all those questions and more in this article.

General Description
The Negative Zone is universe parallel to Earth's. The two have many similarities, but a few noteworthy differences include: all matter in the Negative Zone is negatively charged; the Negative Zone is entirely filled with a pressurized, breathable atmosphere; and near the center of the Negative Zone is a deadly vortex of unspeakable power. Since the Negative Zone is largely uninhabited, several would-be conquerors have attempted to bridge the gap to Earth and take over it's population.

The earliest origins of the Negative Zone have still not been revealed, but rough estimates place it's height of science and art over 1.5 million years ago, nearly coinciding with the rise of the Skrull and Kree races. It is believed that it was sometime near then, the Negative Zone began "the Big Crunch." The universe slowed it's expansive progress and started contracted back to a central nexus. Some of the most powerful and influential races began to face destruction and sought to preserve their lives.

One of the more aggressive races at this time were the Tyannans. The lion-like bipeds explored much of the Negative Zone, and eventually began to seed many of the planets, including Baluur, with their "spores of life." Their final mission, however, went awry.

A Debris Field had begun forming around Tyanna, which was at the very heart of the Negative Zone. The Big Crunch had begun pulling the universe back towards its center and planets crumbled under the increased pressure. One of the last remaining Tyannan ships careened off a large chunk of rock and crashed on the desolate planet of Arthros. Their engines dead and food processors destroyed, the Tyannan captain ordered the release of their life spores. Life slowly began to evolve, much as it did on Earth.

Farther from the core of the Negative Zone, other cultures thrived. One culture had gone so far as to cover half of their planet with a giant city, and then developed an artificial brain for it. The city, Ootah, even began to develop a sense of self-preservation and drove the inhabitants out of it's boundaries, building up greater defenses to prevent them from returning.

Farther still from the core, the world of Kestor also flourished. It is the first recorded world beyond Tyanna that faced obliteration at the hands of the Big Crunch, roughly 10,000 years ago. Unlike Tyanna, whose gravitational force became greater than could sustain life, Kestor's sun was pulled toward the nexus. This caused the planet's several moons to shift their respective orbits and wreak havoc on the planet itself. As 20,000 left the Kestor in a great ark, the sun exploded with the fury of a super-nova, substantially damaging their ship. All but 500 of the crew died and the navigational systems were destroyed, eliminating all hope of finding a new planet to call home.

One of the planets the Tyannans spored, Baluur, developed in a more barbarous manner. The inhabitants grew very large and powerful, and even the meek among them were stronger than an ordinary human. While they did progress technologically, their advances were generally at least partially driven by war. But they apparently began to experience the effects of the Big Crunch and "several millennia" ago they took their cities underneath the planet's surface. A sole entrance exists and is known only to the Baluurians themselves. They established a quiet monarchy and became very reclusive, only venturing into space on rare occasions.

Eventually sentient life developed on Arthros. A lone insect-like creature emerged from the primordial marsh 1000 years ago, and he began to reason. A frail creature, he used his superior intellect to avoid larger predators and soon stumbled upon the Tyannan's derelict ship. Inside the craft, he donned a helmet in an attempt to warm himself. The helmet in fact had recordings of all the Tyannan technology and culture, and the creature was able to deftly assimilate all of it. He took the power from discarded life canisters and created a Cosmic Control Rod, capable of granting the wielder great power. Taking the name Annihilus, he set out to not only right those who wronged him, but to ensure that no one should ever harm him again.

While Annihilus forcibly took control of his immediate sector of space, a king rose to prominence on Baluur. Blastaar was a ruthless and powerful leader and sought to expand Baluurian domain. The other Baluurians feared him and were eventually able to depose him by sedating him heavily and sending him to what they hoped would be his destruction in the center of the Negative Zone.

While searching for a way to travel through sub-space, Reed Richards stumbled upon a gateway to the Negative Zone. He spent a fair amount of time studying it through probes, and determined that it was largely unpopulated. So much so, in fact, that he -- and others -- used the Negative Zone on several occasions to get rid of difficult enemies, such as the Mad Thinker's android, the Super-Adaptoid and even Galactus. Reed and the Fantastic Four have since done more detailed explorations of the Zone and no longer use it to dispose of villains.

The Big Crunch
Most people are aware of the Big Bang Theory. The universe exploded from a single point where mass and energy were the same. That point contained everything that was to become the stars, planets and galaxies that make up the universe. The force of the explosion sent material in every direction and was so powerful that the universe is still expanding today.

The Big Crunch says that eventually that expansion will slow down to a stop. The gravitational forces within the universe will begin to draw all of the masses back together until it all converges on a single point once again. It is apparent that this is the state that Negative Zone is currently in.

Tyanna, being the center of the Negative Zone, has had everything being drawn towards it since long before Reed's discovery of the Zone. The planets and moons often crash into each other before reaching the nexus, thus creating an asteroid/Debris Field around the central vortex.

As one approaches the event horizon, the air and gravitational pressures increase exponentially. Thus, even with avoiding the numerous floating rocks and natural predators, death becomes more and more likely as a person is pulled faster and faster until they reach a point where their bodies can no longer withstand the immense strain and implode. This region is occasionally called the Annihilation Area.

The Crossroads of Infinity
Until recently, it was generally believed that getting caught in the gravitational pull of the vortex meant certain death. However, like black holes in the Marvel Universe, it was believed that if one could survive entry into the vortex, one could travel to another dimension. This was only a theory, however, until Dr. Doom gambled the lives of the Fantastic Four to prove it. Once inside the so-called Crossroads, one flips through a series of other parallel dimensions as one moves forward. Coming to a halt seems to stabilize the Crossroads and one can then move about freely in the universe s/he chooses to stop in.

It still remains a risky trip, however, for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the expenditure of energy necessary to keep from imploding. On one occasion, it required the use of both Annihilus' Cosmic Control Rod and the Invisible Woman's force field to stave off death. Second, and almost equally important, is the lack of control one has while passing through different dimensions. Even with the precise calculations of Dr. Doom, it required several hops to reach the dimension he sought.

Staying on a straight course to the very heart of the Crossroads leads one to Tyanna. Although they were believed to have been destroyed centuries earlier, their technology proved capable of sustaining them within the center of the vortex. Using their advanced machines, they were able to modify their bodies to exist safely in the immense pressures, but at the cost of being forced to remain hidden within the Crossroads. The Tyannans remain there, content to pursue scientific interests with unabated enthusiasm.

The Distortion Area
Normally one enters the Negative Zone through the Distortion Area. This is an invisible sphere of energy that resides in the Negative Zone and is accessible from many parts of Earth. By hitting the field with a precise wavelength of energy, a rift opens between both dimensions connected by the Distortion Area. This area acts as a buffer between the two polar opposite universes and alters a traveller's own polarity so that they may exist in the other dimension without harm.

When activated, the Distortion Area appears from the outside as a crackling energy source roughly six feet in circumference. This effect only lasts as long as the field is activated and, once closed, becomes invisible again. Nearby matter is sucked into the near-vacuum of the Distortion Area and "falls" for about 50 seconds before emerging on the other side.

The Distortion Area itself is nothing short of indescribable. Humans cannot begin to accurately fathom or record what transpires within the Distortion Area and travellers' minds try to compensate by with a bizarre display of light and color. Combined with the natural turbulence in the area, many find the trip rather nauseating.

Like any other mode of transport, choosing where one enters the Distortion Area in part affects where one is deposited on the other side. Reed Richards' former lab in the Baxter Building, for example, deposited one at the outskirts of the Debris Field near Arthros. A rift opened on Yancy Street, however, drops a traveller harshly on the planet Tarsuu.

Other methods may be employed to reach the Negative Zone but, while they tend to be more spacially accurate, they are very difficult to come by. Generally, this mode of transport is reserved by extremely powerful entities like Thor, Supreme Intelligence, Galactus and Watchers. Captain Mar-Vell's Nega-Bands also could transport the wearer to the Negative Zone but the precise destination was dependant upon the location of the Nega-Band's counterparts worn by Rick Jones.

One of the rather undocumented side-effects the Negative Zone has on people seems to involve bringing forth what are usually considered negative emotions. It is at best difficult at this point to determine the cause of this unusual phenomenon, but a number of dealings with the Negative Zone have given the impression that something inherent within it can lead to emotional distress.

The severity of this distress can vary greatly. On a few occasions, it has manifested itself as a city-wide panic. Other times, it merely caused a single person to temporarily lose their hope. Still other times, it caused several individuals to experience emotionally charged flashbacks, pulled from their subconscious. And, although it could be attributed to his psyche, Annihilus' main motivation is an obsessive fear of death.

Not all inhabitants of the Negative Zone experience anything beyond normal anxieties, but the number of known instances of unusual psychological distress seems rather high. Visitors to the Zone may or may not experience anything emotionally disturbing. So while there is no concrete evidence to show the correlation the Negative Zone has with emotional discord, it remains significant enough to warrant noting here.

As mentioned previously, the Negative Zone was thought to be by and large uninhabited. But, while life has arisen on a number of planets, it is still mostly unoccupied space. The accounts shown might indicate otherwise, but it should be mentioned how much time Captain Mar-Vell and Rick Jones spent In the Negative Zone without occurrence. It should also be pointed out that most of the encounters heroes have had with the Negative Zone revolve around Annihilus and/or Blastaar.

Curiously, for as little life as there is in the Negative Zone, it is very capable of supporting life. Space itself there is permeated with a oxygen-rich atmosphere, closely approximating Earth's. Consequently, humans can exist peacefully in space without the need for cumbersome pressure suits or oxygen masks.

It is perhaps an issue of gravitational pull that is one of the biggest hinderences to life in the Negative Zone. While all objects or reasonably sized mass (planets, moons, asteroids, etc.) obviously have their own gravitational pull, it is weak enough to be overcome with minimal effort. Most heroes with flight capabilities can escape a planet's gravitational field with ease, as any machine with the capacity for flight. Because of this lowered gravity, it is believed that vegetation has difficulty seeding properly, giving life a tenuous foothold at best on any given planet.

Moisture also seems to be an issue in the dearth of life in the Negative Zone. While each planet has hardly been explored in full, many of the ones studied -- including those that are inhabited -- have shown few, if any, natural water sources. Most planets appear to be very arid, with cultures adapting to the lack moisture much as was done on Earth's deserts.

Being a different dimension with different laws of physics, time flows differently in the Negative Zone than it does on Earth. Although a comprehensive analysis has never been completed, preliminary findings suggest that two weeks pass in the Negative Zone for every hour on Earth, making a 336:1 ratio. On a smaller scale, every minute on Earth is a little over five and half hours in the Negative Zone.

It seems, however, that this ratio changes as one approaches the center of the Negative Zone. Since there have been several instances of pan-dimensional conversations between the two planes, it appears the time ratio is much closer to 1:1 when one is at the nexus of the Negative Zone. It is currently unclear at what rate the time difference increases as one moves away from the vortex or if there is an upper limit to how great the difference between the two universes can become.

The Negative Zone is still a very dangerous and mysterious place. Even with the relatively recent explorations by the Fantastic Four, many aspects of the parallel universe lie shrouded in uncertainty. It remains a veritable fountain of opportunities for adventure, should someone choose to explore it. However it also remains a potential vehicle for destruction should someone choose to exploit it.

Appendix A: People

  • Annihilus - Self-styled lord of the Negative Zone. Rules large sectors using power from the Cosmic Control Rod. Powers include flight, immortality, and the ability to emit radiation blasts and kinetic bolts.
  • Blastaar - Warlord and king of Baluur. Can emit powerful energy blasts from fingertips.
  • Borers - Lizard-like bipeds with rudimentary intellect. Denizens of the Debris Field.
  • Brute (Reed Richards of Counter-Earth) - Former member of Frightful Four and conqueror of Tyanna. Adapted Tyannan technology for himself and sough to destroy Earth. (Fantastic Four Unlimited 3) Believed to be captive of Tyanna. Powers include super-strength.
  • Captain - Leader of Kestor's Hope. Died of heart failure. (Fantastic Four 253)
  • Coil - One of the Twisted Sisters of Shadow City. Powers include bonding loose DNA strands to an individual.
  • Dantes, Dr. Edwina - Chief Superintendent of Bedlam Purgatorium.
  • Dusk - Hero of Tarsuu. Led rebellion against Blastaar. Powers include flight and the ability to blend into shadows.
  • Gyre - One of the Twisted Sisters of Shadow City. Powers include extracting DNA strands from an individual.
  • Helix - One of the Twisted Sisters of Shadow City. Powers include creating energy matrices keyed to genetic structures.
  • Korta - Warrior living on the outskirts of Ootah.
  • Lockdown (Jojo Kimanye) - Most prominent hero of Shadow City. Works with full consent of local authorities. Partner of Rosetta Stone. Skilled in several versions of martial arts.
  • Mama Shonti - Religious leader living on the outskirts of Ootah.
  • Nega-Man (Janus) - Former colleague of Reed Richards. Was able to tap into Negative Zone's ambient energy. Although apparently killed in the Annihilation Zone. (Fantastic Four 109), later teamed up with Gideon Trust, Inc.
  • Nim - Former general under Blastaar. Killed by Blastaar. (Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man 14)
  • Nyglar - Queen of Baluur under Blastaar. Killed by Annihilus. (Marvel Two-in-One 75)
  • Ringtoss - One of the Twisted Sisters of Shadow City. Powers include DNA manipulation.
  • Rosetta Stone (Nefer Neith Sinué) - Wealthy socialite undergoing training with Lockdown. Provides most of the duo's crime-fighting equipment.
  • Sascra - Giant squid-like creature used as Annihilus' executioner.
  • Scrupulo - Confidante of Blastaar that helped Nyglar escape Baluurian persecution.
  • Stygorr - Self-styled lord of the Negative Zone. Apparently destroyed when merged with human Lew Shiner. (Fantastic Four 231) Powers included flight and negative matter blasts.
  • Syphonn - Would-be conqueror of Earth. Powers include powerful energy blasts.
  • Taiya - The last "Bride of Ootah." Saved by the Human Torch before being sacrificed. (Fantastic Four 252)
  • Tannar - Lifemate of Taiya.
  • Taranith Gelstal - Former ruler of Mantracora. Killed and replaced by an alien. (Fantastic Four 254)
  • Taranith Gelstal II - Alien stranded on Mantracora. Tried utilizing natives' psychic energy to repair his ship under guise of former ruler. Last seen in a defective escape pod. (Fantastic Four 255)
Appendix B: Places
  • Annihilation Area/Zone - Area of immense pressure immediately surrounding Crossroads of Infinity. Causes implosion of all insufficiently protected matter.
  • Argor - Planet on the rim of the Distortion Area that worships and is ruled by Annihilus.
  • Arthros - Annihilus' home planet. Created in part by Tyannans. Apparently destroyed.
  • Baluur - Blastaar's home planet. Entire population lives underground.
  • Bedlam Purgatorium - Repository for the most dangerous criminals in Shadow City.
  • Chelemek-Prime - Planet inhabited by friendly humanoids and violent dinosaur-like creatures. Home of The Bureau of Monsters Managment.
  • Crossroads of Infinity - Nexus surrounding the center of the Negative Zone. Allows immediate transport to different dimensions.
  • Debris Field - Area of destroyed planets and moons surrounding the Crossroads of Infinity.
  • Distortion Area - Buffer zone between Earth and the Negative Zone.
  • Kestor - Planet of highly advanced science and culture. Destroyed by a super-nova. (Fantastic Four 253)
  • Krysok - Home planet of the Hrollën, a race of robots.
  • Mantracora - Planet technologically equivalent to medieval Arabia.
  • Ootah - Self-sufficient city. Drove out inhabitants and was on the verge of sentience when it was accidentally "killed." (Fantastic Four 252)
  • Shadow City - Entire planet put in suspended animation underground to avoid an unspecified catastrophe. Population continues living through an elaborate virtual reality simulation.
  • Tarsuu - Planet on the rim of the Distortion Area. Home of Dusk.
  • Tyanna - Planet at very center of the Negative Zone. Population is oldest known surviving culture.
  • Vashom - Uninhabited planet. Last know location of Blastaar.

Not that I particularly care that my work was copied without credit here, but it's -- to me -- an interesting discovery in light of all the hoohah with Nick Simmons and Hot Topic lately.
Newer Post Older Post Home


Johanna said...

The same thing happened with my site, where one of Ed's reviews was copied for an article about a particular manga title. I added the line "reprinted with permission from". Soon both the copy and the credit line had been removed. I don't understand how they work over there.

grifter said...

wow, nice catch, Sean. i reckon you won't be donating to Wikipedia anytime soon ...