History of the DC Multiverse (Briefly)

3 Nov
Superboy-Prime's first appearance, in DC Comic...

Superboy-Prime’s first appearance, in DC Comics Presents #87 (1985). Art by Eduardo Barreto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover to Infinite Crisis #1. Art by George Pérez

Cover to Infinite Crisis #1. Art by George Pérez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A depiction of several alternate Earths within...

A depiction of several alternate Earths within the Multiverse and the variations of the Flash inhabiting each Earth. Art by Dan Jurgens and Art Thibert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, written by Wolfm...

Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, written by Wolfman. Art by George Pérez. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DC is kind of confusing mess when it comes to what comics they publish exist and what don’t, and where they exist, and do they exist in a modified fashion.

During the 1930s and 1940s, it seemed as though DC had the attitude that everything in fiction, published by DC or not, existed in one reality, and even tried to push the notion that reality was our real world.

However, by the 1960s, they found they had a revived super-hero age that didn’t exactly work with this method, and so the first version of the DC multiverse was created.  And even though they didn’t all appear in the comics stories or specifically get named in the stories, the writers and editors at DC felt the need to place every single thing published by DC, and any adaption in other media based on DC properties, into its own alternate Earth if it couldn’t fit into the main DC Universe (which was called Earth-1 at the time).

Following the Crisis  on Infinite Earths in 1985, the multiverse was destroyed, because even though I was able to grasp their multiverse concept when I was 6, DC writers and editors were getting confused.

The new universe that was born out of the Crisis was just one single universe, whose history kept changing constantly for the next 20 years, because writers and editors still got confused, or were just lazy or didn’t care.  And despite that, the multiverse still existed, sort of.

First, there were two pocket Earths.  One was created by the Time Trapper, and was the home of a pre-crisis version of Superboy.  The other, created by Glorith, was the home of the Pre-Zero Hour Legion.

But that’s not all.  In 1988, Grant “Multiversity” Morrison showed the Pre-Crisis Universe still existed.  In 1994, many alternate realities were shown to exist.  Some where new, but there were also pre-Crisis realities and realities based on live action and animated television series and films produced after the Crisis.

Then, in 1996, we learned that the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe were twin realities, despite the fact that Marvel was actually part of a larger multiverse of its own while DC was supposed to be this singular Earth (despite the past few paragraphs you’ve just read.)

In 1998, DC seemed to ease this by introducing Hypertime, in which all variations of fiction exist in their own realities.  It was basically the pre-Crisis multiverse reintroduced in a different way.  In Hypertime, all the pre-crisis realities existed, as well as DC’s series of “Elseworlds” stories, TV and film adaption, and the universes of other comic book companies.  Even the post-crisis stories that were later written out of continuity by the before mentioned confused, lazy, or complacent writers and editors found a place to still exist.

In 2006, some folks from the pre-Crisis era were shown to still exist, and their return also brought some revelations.  For one thing, the return of the Earth-2 Superman brought back memories in the other JSA members of pre-Crisis times, basically giving them two sets of memories (pre and post Crisis).  And the Luthor of Earth-3 also revealed that the post Crisis reality is not the pre-Crisis reality, but indeed an amalgamated reality, with every person in the universe being an altered version of their pre-Crisis counterparts.

Additionally, the Multiverse was temporarily recreated by Luthor-3, which DC has stated was not Hypertime.  But it was basically the same thing as Hypertime, but with numerical designations for everything.  However, when Luthor was defeated, the multiverse collapsed, and the DCU became one Earth again, but not the same one, and not really one.

So following Infinite Crisis, there was a new altered history of the DCU.  And Hypertime still existed, though Booster Gold of the future was apparently in the process of destroying the Hypertimelines.  But additionally, the results of Infinite Crisis caused for 51 exact duplicates of New Earth to be created.  Duplicates, until Mister Mind altered the realities so each one was unique.  Some were alternate versions of pre-crisis Earths, some were based on Elseworlds or DC cartoons, and some were new and unique.

Then came Flashpoint, where things are now kind of complicated and confusing.

Dan DiDio has stated there is now the DC Multiverse, with 52 Earths, and everything from September 2011 on is what exists, and only in the “New 52” titles.  Everything that came before is gone.

But DC still has ongoing publications outside of the New 52, as well as adaption in other media still being produced.  These take place outside the DC Multiverse.

In my next blog, I will look at the comics that have been published since the Post Flashpoint canon began, and attempt to find placement for those DiDio says don’t exist but you should read them anyways.

Following that, I will look at the earlier versions of the DC Multiverse and see if there is still a place where these stories still exist…somewhere.

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