And as origami became more complex it also became more practical. Scientists began applying these folding techniques to anything — medical, electrical, optical, or nanotechnical devices, and even to strands of DNA — that had a fixed size and shape but needed to be packed tightly and in an orderly way. By the end of the Bug Wars, origami had completely changed, and so had Robert Lang. In 2001, he left his job — he was then at the fibre-optics company JDS Uniphase, in San Jose — to fold paper full time.
No mention of using origami for time travel, but give the guy a few years. Since string theory and its cousin brane theory call for as many as 10 or 26 dimensions, most of which are compactified (essentially, folded in on themselves) to such a small level we can't detect them, it's not entirely inconceivable that the mathematics Lang uses for his origami could have some application to describing the shape of spacetime. And if I were the likes of Morrison or Ellis, I'd have turned that idea into a four-issue miniseries already.
Also, it turns out that the history of origami in the West has an odd connection to the history of comic books: social critic and Kinsey Institute researcher Gershon Legman, who joined Fredric Wertham in attacking comic books starting in the late Forties, makes a surprise appearance in the New Yorker article:
In the mid-nineteen-forties, the American folklorist Gershon Legman began studying origami. Legman was a man of diverse inclinations: he collected vulgar limericks, wrote a book about oral techniques in sexual gratification, and is credited with having invented the vibrating dildo when he was only twenty. After becoming interested in origami, he made contact with paper-folders around the world — most significantly, Akira Yoshizawa, a Japanese prodigy who, before being recognized as an extraordinary talent, made a meagre living by selling fish appetizers door-to-door in Tokyo. What made Yoshizawa extraordinary was that he presented the art for the first time as a medium that could be creative and expressive — he devised tens of thousands of models, and was particularly famous for his gorillas. In 1955, Legman organized an exhibition of Yoshizawa’s work at the Stedelijk Museum, in Amsterdam.
Legman and Wertham are interesting people, much more than the stereotypes we remember them as today. Both of them were what we'd call "liberal progressives" who were deeply concerned for the welfare of children...and both had a heartfelt, genuine, and utterly misplaced dread of the evil effects that comic books had on young minds. Both were totally opposed to censorship...except when their fear overtook them, and they lent their support to a crusade to eradicate something they saw as an even greater evil, even if it meant impinging on our civil liberties and freedom of speech. Fortunately we're so much more enlightened than that today.
So, Legman helped crush the comic book industry in ways from which it still hasn't recovered...but he also helped introduce us to origami.