I’m new to comics and often hear terms like “Golden Age,” “The New 52,” and Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 16 etc thrown around but I’m confused what they mean. I understand that Golden Age comics were the originals in the 40’s, Silver Age was the 50’s through the 60’s and Bronze Age in the 70’s, but I’m not clear on which “ages” come after that. Which “age” is DC in now? Are “The New 52” and “The DC Rebirth” the titles of series of comic books or the names of different ages? And what about this thing of different storylines taking place on different Earths? How do you know which Earth a particular storyline takes places in?
You are the same as me
I have NO CLUE what any of the earths mean, so I just rolled with the original origins and looks of characters. But yeah I have the same question
Regarding The New 52 and Rebirth…
The New 52 was a linewide continuity reboot that began at the end of August in 2011. A reboot can be defined as “An entirely new storytelling framework that has nothing to do with what came before.”
Rebirth began at the end of May in 2016 and that was a relaunch. A relaunch can be defined as “A new starting point within an existing storytelling framework.” Branding wise, Rebirth began to end around late 2017 but it is still regarded as the most current period of history in the modern continuity of the DC Universe.
Hopefully that clears up the difference regarding those two items for you
First, there are the ages, which apply to both DC and Marvel:
Golden Age: ~1938-1950
Silver Age: ~1956-1971
Bronze Age: ~1971-1986
Dark Age: ~1986-1996
Modern Age: ~1996-present
Then, there’s DC’s particular timeline with respect to the multiverse and various reboots:
The Golden Age ended with a major implosion of superhero titles, such that pretty much only Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman survived through the Interregnum. Basically, stuff like romance, sci-fi, westerns, and horror became more popular. Then, the Comics Code (a sort of industry self-censorship code that got progressively less draconian over the years before falling out of use entirely within the last decade or so) came into effect in ‘55, and killed some of the appeal of thsoe genres by pushing comic books back into being more kids’ fare. In response, DC went back to superheroes by rebooting the Flash with a new name and identity (Jay Garrick was the Golden Age Flash, Barry Allen was the Silver Age Flash), which kickstarted the Silver Age and led to similar reboots for Green Lantern, the Atom, and a few others.
In a Silver Age story called The Flash of Two Worlds, it was established that Barry Allen and Jay Garrick were living on two alternate Earths, Earth-1 and Earth-2, respectively. So, Earth-2 is the Golden Age characters, Earth-1 is the Silver and Bronze Ages. Subsequent crossovers between the Justice League of America (a Silver Age creation) and the Justice Society of America (the JLA’s Golden Age predecessor) established an infinite multiverse, including a few other Earths that either contained characters from companies DC had bought (Charlton Comics was Earth-4, Quality Comics was Earth-X, Fawcett Comics was Earth-S) or had some gimmick, like evil versions of all the heroes (Earth-3).
The twelve-issue miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths (which is great) in 1985-86 destroyed the multiverse and created a new, merged Earth from the former Earths 1, 2, 4, S, and X. The New Earth era lasted up until 2011. At first, there was only one Earth with all the characters on it. Then, the miniseries Infinite Crisis (which is not so great) and its follow-up year-long weekly series 52 (which is definitely great) in 2006 reintroduced a new version of the multiverse, with only 52 earths. Young Justice is the first adaptation to take place in the official comic multiverse (rather than presumably an entirely separate multiverse like the Arrowverse), and was set on Earth-16 of the 52 multiverse.
Flashpoint in 2011 was a hard reboot. It kept the idea that there are 52 Earths, but renamed the “main” one to Earth Prime. The New 52 was just the banner the post-Flashpoint books launched under (so all the books and new volumes beginning in 2011 had “The New 52” on the cover to indicate that they were part of the reboot), but is also used to refer to the changes made by the Flashpoint reboot generally.
DC Rebirth in 2016 reintroduced elements of the New Earth era while continuing the Prime Earth timeline. Like the New 52, it’s just a banner applied to every title running or started at the time.
Wow, thank you both so much! These were very helpful answers. One more question though, for comics today, HOW do you know which of the Earths the story takes place in? Do you just assume it’s Earth Prime unless otherwise specified? Also, do you know if all 52 Earths have been established or are there still some unexplored “Earths?”
It’s usually specified if a story takes place or a character is from somewhere other than Earth Prime.
Unless you see a notation or a character saying something to that effect, you can safely assume Earth Prime is the focus of what you’re reading.
If it happened between when the golden age super heroes disappeared and the present day in an ongoing series and its not specifically spelled out as being in an alternate universe (like Earth 2 or Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo crew) its safe to assume that it happened on the main DC Earth (either Earth One or New Earth depending on when the story was written). Mini-series are a bit trickier though DC has helpfully started to brand the ones that exist outside of this continuity as black label.
Multiversity goes a long way to defining all the earths but I think Morrison did leave maybe a dozen or so open for people to play around with.
Right now, I believe the only DC book that is taking place in another world is Freedom Fighters, which is on Earth 10/X, where Superman landed in Germany during the Third Reich and Nazis rule the Earth.
If you want a good guide to what the worlds look like right now, check out The Multiversity here on the app – all the issues take place on a specific Earth, but one issue, The Multiversity Guidebook, has a listing of all the known worlds, a history of how all the past Crisis’ have changed the main Earth, and how they all fit in the tapestry of gods and supernatural forces. It’s a little heady, but VERY informative.
I think it’s important to note, none of the new universes and multiverses have been the result of a complete restart. All the stories already link together narratively. I’m not saying all the stories are good (and there’s definite gaps), but it’s interesting to watch the evolution.
I’m about to explain eveything…
Comics began and continued for a while. Than… an incident called the crisis of infinte earths happened (it’s a very long story, you can read it on this app). The outcome of the crisis was new-52 earths, and that’s why they created the age of new 52. Than after new 52 when it on for a while, a new event happened which you can read in the justice league rebirth comics. This creating this new age of rebirth.
The story is much bigger than that, but you have to read it in the comics. Its mind blowing!!!
And @BatJamags slays the answer! Give that hero a Community Hero package!!
Creating an Event is a way to revitalize the characters and narratives, often with new writers and artists involved, lending fresh perspectives. And typically every Event stirs controversy amongst fans. Gotta love it! From a marketing standpoint, never a bad idea to dive back in and re-seed your greenhouse. You know…get that chlorophyll flowing. Swampy would approve.