Welcome to the DC Universe… where the past isn’t what it used to be.
[Sorry it's been a few months since I've made any noteworthy updates! Between rebuilding my personal system from a major hard drive failure last winter, and a number of other significant life developments, I've been a little preoccupied. But never fear... I've been keeping track of events, and hope to have a significant site update this summer. In the meantime, you could always drop by my blog and check out my reactions to the new Robin Hood movie and the series finale of Lost...]
[Further update: this shouldn't really have come as a suprise, but it turns out that starting a PhD program is a giant black hole for free time. I do have updated content in various stages of editorial readiness, and some semi-revised sections almost ready to go live, but I cna't make any promises just now about when. To whatever loyal readers I may have, though, rest assured I have not neglected the implications of Superman: Secret Origin, DC Universe Legacies, and several other relevant recent projects.]
This site is dedicated to presenting a timeline of the DC Universe, the fictional home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and countless other memorable characters who have followed in their footsteps.
In the view of some fans (and critics) of DC Comics that may be a hopeless task—the publisher has so confounded its own characters’ history that when all is said and done, “DC has no continuity.”
I don’t think that’s true.
Yes, since the publication of Infinite Crisis in 2006, we have a “New Earth” and a new Multiverse on our hands… so if not quite all bets are off, still a lot of confusion has been re-injected into the game. And yes, I have found myself having to do something I had hoped wouldn’t be necessary, and give this site a thorough overhaul, after years spent refining its presentation of previous post-Crisis history.
Nevertheless, I think it’s both possible and worthwhile, even now, to maintain a coherent overview of DCU history and continuity. And I aim to keep this site the place to find that overview, as I maintain the criteria that have distinguished it from the start:
- It’s comprehensive. It covers the entire spectrum of the DCU and the entire span of its history, from the beginning of time to the end of the universe—not just a favorite character or title, nor just one isolated time period.
- It’s canonical. Everything included represents DC’s current, authoritative history, to the extent that it can be determined.
- It’s cross-referenced and fully sourced. Every entry cites the source(s) used—actual published stories set in the current continuity, whenever possible, with issue numbers and dates. And when an entry relates to something set in another time period, it makes that connection clear, rather than leaving events floating out of context.
- It’s annotated. I take pains to explain all my reasoning, especially noting those cases where authoritative sources are scarce and conflicting evidence or personal speculation is involved.
- It’s original. It’s all my own work, not merely a compilation of DC’s own “official” but erratic editorial dicta. (Although I do owe a debt of gratitude to the efforts of a great many other fans with similar interests: see the Links section for details!)
The Introduction explores in greater detail why I find this a project worth doing, and how I went about doing it. Each section of the Timeline itself then has its own introductory notes, explaining any special characteristics of that period of DCU history and (for most sections) offering a condensed “highlight” history… before getting into the full year-by-year details. At the end, I’ve devoted special sections to analyzing character aging, and to pointing visitors in the direction of further reading.
Through it all, I’ve tried my best to make the site a useful and interesting resource for every visitor, even people who don’t necessarily agree with (or even care about!) all my analysis and interpretations of DCU history. For those of you drawn back to DC by recent high-profile storylines after some time away, for instance, I hope it provides a great refresher course!
You can tackle it all from the beginning, dip in where your curiosity leads you, or search directly for information about your favorite character(s). Whole worlds of imagination are contained herein. Go on and explore!
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since this site went live on Jan. 27, 2003.
Contact Me to comment on the site and join the mailing list for future updates!
What’s New? (site history)
• July 14, 2009—Updates to Sgt. Rock’s history, reflecting the recent Lost Battalion mini-series, as well as other World War II details.
• July 4-10, 2009—Minor corrections and updates throughout, most notably reflecting new data on Damian Wayne’s age, and also fixing a navbar error on certain pages.
• July 3, 2009—Major update, with additions and corrections to every section! I’ve sorted out the full sequence of current events leading up to, during, and following Final Crisis—including the interactions of “Batman: R.I.P.” and all its crossovers, Superman’s “New Krypton” arc and the reconfiguration of the Super-titles, Battle for the Cowl and the whole Bat-title relaunch, the latest events in Wonder Woman, JLA, JSA, Green Lantern, Flash: Rebirth, and more! There’s a special day-by-day breakdown of Final Crisis itself. Plus new historical background gleaned from Black Lighting: Year One, Madame Xanadu, and other recent titles; a complete update of the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes (including the origins of Bart Allen and XS) taking into account events in Legion of Three Worlds and elsewhere; new insights into the ages of several characters, including Hal Jordan; and all sorts of minor tweaks and refinements. Feedback is welcome, as always!
• January 15, 2009—Updated to reflect the events of Two-Face: Year One (notwithstanding their very questionable continuity status).
• January 8, 2009—Updated to reflect the events of Green Lantern’s new “Secret Origin,” and the pre-Crisis stories confirmed by flashbacks in Batman #682-83. Also, minor proofreading corrections and entry revisions in several sections.
• December 5, 2008—Updated to reflect the events (and numerous flashback references!) of Grant Morrison’s recent issues of Batman.
• November 24, 2008—Minor proofreading edits throughout, as well as updates to the early history of Wally West and the Teen Titans.
• October 7, 2008—Minor details added to the background of Jonathan and Martha Kent.
• September 30, 2008—Thanks to reader input, I’ve taken a fresh look at Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)’s history, and added information about her age and birthdate in Section VIII.
• September 20, 2008—Minor tweaks. I have (hopefully!) corrected a CSS glitch that was causing incorrect rendering (no scroll bar) in IE 6.0 and earlier. (Update those browsers, folks!) I’ve also added direct access to the four Legion variants from the main navigation menu, added Chris Kent and Ramsey Spencer to the list of character ages in Section VIII, and made copy-editing corrections to a handful of entries.
• September 16, 2008—Minor tweaks. I’ve corrected some errant navigational links, and added new info about Shado’s son Robert, and some additional details about the “52” year gleaned from recent issues of Robin.
• September 15, 2008—Minor tweaks. I’ve updated a couple of entries (including Ray Palmer’s age), and corrected a navigational error on the “Home” button (thanks to eagle-eyed readers!).
I've also learned that there are rendering errors (at least sometimes) when viewed in Internet Explorer 6, including the major problem of a missing scroll bar for the main content area. Unfortunately, versions of IE before 7.0 are notoriously glitchy, and although I coded to work around several known anomalies, I don’t know how to handle this one. I want the site to be as usable as possible for everyone, but I can only encourage frustrated visitors to upgrade their browsers.
• September 9, 2008—I’m excited to announce a comprehensive site update! Call it “version 5.0.”
I admit I’ve waited longer than I’d planned to put any new material online: it’s been nearly two years since my last update. There are several reasons for this. Part of it is just life stuff; I’ve been preoccupied with various non-comics-related matters for the last year or so. Part of it is that DC itself has dragged its feet about revealing many of the changes in “New Earth” continuity, so not all the information I’d like to include is actually available yet. Part of it was the realization that these changes would require a pretty significant overhaul of the site, and I admit I’ve been reluctant to put in that level of effort when there was still so much doubt as to whether DC would be rebooting continuity again next year in Final Crisis.
However, FC writer Grant Morrison has recently reassured everyone on the record that “it’s not a reboot,” so I’ll take him at his word for now. And more than one person has e-mailed me asking if I’m still planning a site update. And I have in fact been tracking new developments in my own notes “offline,” meaning there’s certainly a fair amount of new material crying out to be included sooner rather than later. So the time has finally come (although once I really set to it, it still took me three times as long as I’d planned)… and I hope everyone’s patience will be suitably rewarded!
To celebrate the update, I’ve even registered a new domain for the site—www.dcutimeline.com. The old subdomain (dcu.smartmemes.com) will still work, too, but I think the new address is easier to remember, and I’d certainly appreciate it if you make use of it in any new links you may create.
Content-wise, every section has been updated to include not only new information from recent stories, but corrections discovered since the last update. (Nobody’s perfect, so I’m always open to hearing about those from eagle-eyed readers!) I’ve sorted out all the details from 52, “One Year Later” and Countdown, included the latest information about the revised backstories of Superman and Batman, and far, far more. There’s even new color-coding to denote matters of questionable canonicity. I’ve also added a table summarizing DC’s own “official” timelines, for purposes of comparison. More details can be found in the main Introduction and each individual Section Intro, especially Section V. Let me know what you think!
Previous site history: (hide)
• As of January 31, 2008—first of all, my apologies to any visitors who found the site inaccessible between Saturday January 26 and Tuesday January 29. It was an unforeseen but unavoidable result of the process of transferring my site hosting away from iPower (as I discussed a few months back, below) to HostGator. Suffice it to say that iPower tech support, and especially the domain registrar they use (OnlineNIC), have not made the process easy. (If you run into any performance glitches from here on, please let me know.)
Nevertheless, I’m still here and (in response to a few inquiries) I’m not going away! I admit, I’ve delayed a lot longer than I’d planned before putting any new material online. There are a number of reasons for this… However, I have been tracking new developments (from 52, to the “OYL” titles, to Countdown) in my own notes “offline,” and there is certainly a fair amount of new material I can and should include sooner rather than later. I plan to get that material online as soon as I have the opportunity. I’ll send out e-mail alerts when appropriate, and I hope everyone’s patience will be rewarded when I get the updates done!
• My sincere apologies to any and all visitors who found this site down between May 10 and May 17, 2007. (At least one person contacted me concerned that I was retiring the site—emphatically not so!) The problem resulted from an unannounced migration of my account from one of my host’s servers to another, which (as the customer service reps frankly admitted) “didn’t go seamlessly.” Then, even after the domain was restored, it took several days more to get the visit counters working correctly again. I’ve been hosting with iPowerWeb for four years, but I am, to say the least, not best pleased with them at this point... and since they’ve recently been acquired by a larger company (EIG) and many employees pink-slipped, I suspect this sort of thing will become more common rather than less. I also suspect I’ll be switching to a new hosting company soon. But my complaints are less dire than some clients’; at least this is just a hobby site, not a business site on which my livelihood depends.
For the record, though, this site is still a live and ongoing project, and I am hard at work right now on an update to reflect OYL continuity and backstory changes (not that DC’s being particularly helpful with figuring those out). New stuff will be up soon!
• After nearly four years online, the spam spiders have put this site’s old e-mail address on too many lists. In an effort to cut the junk mail back down to a reasonable level, I’ve changed the address (on the Contact Me link) as of 10/30/06.
• As of 05/24/2006—Minor tweaks and navigational aids added throughout, along with a special bonus day-by-day timeline of Infinite Crisis.
As of now this Chronology should be considered version 4.2. It is up-to-date and substantially complete for all DCU events through the end of Infinite Crisis (notwithstanding the possibility of surprises in Seven Soldiers #1)—the entirety of post-Crisis reality.
The state of continuity on the post-IC “New Earth” remains decidedly ambiguous, however. (Apparently DC’s editorial decision-makers have forgotten the old aphorism about not trying to fix what ain’t broken.) Several retcons have been announced or alluded to, but so far the quantity of online debate over the implications far exceeds the actual evidence that’s been published. At this point one can do little but wait for new details to be revealed in various “One Year Later” series, as well as 52 and the “History of the DCU” backup therein.
- Accordingly, I’ve decided to hold off on any substantial updates to this site for at least the next year, until those details have seen print and the ambiguities have (one hopes) been resolved. I’ll be tracking developments as they happen, but to do shorter-term updates I’d have to keep trying to try to figure out on the fly how to fit things together based on an incomplete and fast-changing set of puzzle pieces, which is frankly more trouble than it’s worth. Once those pieces are in place, I’ll return to the table, and I may consider a wholesale revamping of the structure and content of this site (if circumstances warrant); on the other hand, it may be possible to move forward from that point with no more than minor edits and a new section added for post-IC story developments. Time will tell.
- (In the meantime, though, please don’t think I’m not open to feedback and suggestions from visitors! Both support and constructive criticism are always welcome.)
• As of 04/23/2006—notable additions to Sections I, II, III, V, and VII, including:
- Full coverage of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers project, including new historical information on the Sheeda, Vigilante I, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Newsboy Army, plus current events
- New historical details about Lady Blackhawk, Wildcat, and the resurrected Jason Todd
- The latest updates from Infinite Crisis, including a revised interpretation of its dating
- The character list in Section VII has been updated to reflect recent deaths
- And the ever-popular Much More! (Once Seven Soldiers and Infinite Crisis both wrap up, I plan to do a final polish on these details—and then set out to make sense of “One Year Later” and 52, which may entail some larger-scale restrategizing of the site at that point.)
• As of 03/15/2006—minor changes and additions to Sections I, V, and VI (and, from February, to III, IV, VII, and VIII).
Version 4.1 is now complete and comprehensive (all sections fully updated) as of 01/11/2006! Including:
- Section VI, “The Future,” fully revised to incorporate additional hypertimelines and all three versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes
- Section VIII, “Title Key, Acknowledgements, and Links,” thoroughly updated to include many more sites (plus corrections for changed and defunct links)
- Updates and additions throughout every section, including story information from Sandman: Endless Nights, the new Swamp Thing series, JSA: Strange Adventures, the Charley Parker revelations from Hawkman, the very latest events of Infinite Crisis, and much more!
- And, of course, ongoing tweaking will continue, to include new developments and correct errors. Feedback is always welcome!
• Updates through 10/13/2005—selected revisions and additions throughout, including:
- Fully up-to-date information on the lives of John Constantine and Tim Hunter, including reworking of key events in their early careers
- Inclusion of First Thunder, and newly added details on Captain Marvel’s background
- Further additions and corrections to the character ages in Section VII
- Detailed sorting-out of all the myriad events converging on the beginning of Infinite Crisis!
• Section VII, “You Say It’s Your Birthday,” updated to version 4.1 on 09/25/2005. Improvements include:
- A major expansion and reformatting, documenting the age of just about every DC Comics character for whom an age can be documented, with the same attention to detail as the rest of the Chronology.
- In addition, I’ve made several updates and corrections to Sections I, IV, and V, both to include several interesting literary/historical references, and to keep up with current events leading up to Infinite Crisis.
• Updates through 08/11/2005—selected revisions and additions throughout, including (but not limited to!):
- Thorough analysis of all of this summer’s intertwined events (to date) leading toward Infinite Crisis
- Inclusion of events in Hellblazer through 2004 (although other recent events from the DCU’s Vertigo “wing“ still remain to be covered)
- Revised and clarified introductory copy, and thorough proofreading throughout,including corrections submitted by eagle-eyed readers!
• Section V, the Modern Age, is now Version 4.1 — updated on 06/07/2005. Improvements include:
- Analysis and chronological placement of key DCU events from 2001 to 2005 (Our Worlds at War through DC Countdown), sorting out the many complications arising from Flash, Robin, Identity Crisis, and other intricately connected recent titles and stories
- A summary timeline is now included in the Introduction, just as in the Golden and Silver Age sections
- New entries for historical events revealed in series such as JSA, Power Company, Batman: Death and the Maidens, Nightwing (“Year One”), Green Lantern: Rebirth, and more
- Analysis and inclusion (insofar as possible) of events from Superman: Birthright
- ...and other small corrections and additions throughout, frequently thanks to feedback from enthusiastic readers. Thank you all for your patience!
• Section IV, the Silver Age, is now Version 4.1 — updated on 11/13/2003. Improvements include:
- Complete integration of Dark Victory, Batgirl: Year One, and several crucial tales from Legends of the Dark Knight—reconciling the complicated (and often seemingly contradictory) early history of the Batman and several related characters
- New details about Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, and other early JLAers
- New details on the Titans and the JSA
- A summary timeline is now included in the Introduction, just as in the Golden Age section
- Expanded and corrected entries throughout, thanks to feedback from sharp-eyed readers!
- In addition, navigational improvements have been made sitewide, mostly to avoid the possibility of a visitor landing on an internal page via a search engine, only to be stuck without access to the navigational frame or the other sections.
• Sections I-III are Version 4.1 — updated on 9/18/2003. Improvements include:
- New and reorganized entries on the Beginning of Time, including additional information on Lucifer and the First of the Fallen
- New and reorganized entries on Ancient Egypt, including the latest events from JSA
- Expanded entries on Arthurian England, including an explanation of Merlin’s contradictory history
- The life history of Rá’s al Ghúl
- Bruce Wayne’s ancestral family history
- Expanded entries on Old West characters and events
- New and corrected entries on the World War II era, including many recent “flashback” stories
- New information on the postwar years, including background on Sgt. Rock and Deathstroke
- ...and the proverbial much, much more!
• Previous version (4.0) — last comprehensive update 8/31/2001.(Versions 1-3 were hardcopy only.)
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