Our recent Comic Book Issue kinda rekindled a, to be honest, still burning love of comics and encouraged us to pull out some classics. A few weeks back, we looked through some of Marvel’s best in the shape of Infinity Gauntlet and Civil War. Since then, we’ve turned our attention to DC and their much-admired “Infinite Earths” concept.
There was a time when DC didn’t care about continuity. They would tell stories, and to hell with where they fit in along the timeline. So a bunch of crazy things happened. For starters, the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, actually wore red, while the original Flash, Jay Garrick, wore a tin helmet. There was an Atom who didn’t shrink down, and heroes with names like Dr. Fate and Hourman. This was the Golden Age of comics. Then superhero books took a nosedive sales-wise, and DC concentrated on war and cowboy books.
When superheroes made a comeback, there was a new Green Lantern in the shape of Hal Jordan (wearing green) and a new Flash in Barry Allen. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were more popular than ever. Basically, the whole thing was given an update and called the Silver Age, but what became of the old heroes?
DC came up with the idea of saying that the Golden Age heroes lived on Earth 2, while the new Silver Age heroes lived on Earth 1. A series of stories saw the Earth 1 and 2 heroes meet up and fight together, and then an Earth 3 was developed with evil versions of the Earth 1 characters (Power Ring was the evil Green Lantern, Ultraman was Superman, Owlman was Batman, etc).
And then the hole thing came to a head in 1985 with the publication of Crisis on Infinite Earths, written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by George Pèrez. Here, as the title suggests, we learn that there are in fact an infinite number of Earths in different dimensions, each with their own heroes and villains. The story sees them all start to collide, which could result in the destruction of all of them. A character called the Monitor watches over, while the Anti-Monitor tries to aid the chaos.
It’s a staggering brilliant and intensely ambitious book that saw fans and critics alike fawn over the detail, and the fact that it brought all of the DC history into some sort of order. Thanks to the book’s success, DC compiled the aforementioned team-up stories into a couple of books called Crisis on Multiple Earths.
More recently, brilliant writer Geoff Johns wrote Infinite Crisis, a sequel to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Earth 2 Superman and Lois Lane, plus a few other characters thought dead, are actually alive and watching over the merged Earth. Superboy of Earth Prime isn’t happy with the non-action of Superboy Conner Kent, and the group decides to try to reanimate Earth 2. Chaos ensues.
DC recently tried to make the whole thing easy to understand for beginners by publishing the Multiversity Guidebook, with an easy run through of the 52 universes currently known about. There’s a lot to discover and world’s to explore. Overall, we’re just glad that DC made the effort.