What is "canon" or constitutes as continuity?

I didn’t even know where this topic should fall so I put it here. I’m also asking about the movies, shows, comics…all of it. What constitutes as being canon? Am I to assume everything we see or read on DCU is canon? If so, how are you to know where in the timeline to place the story you’re reading/watching?

Sorry I’m mostly a DC newbie and getting into a lot of this for the first time.

Here’s actually a bad example but one that might explain how my brain is messing with me. In the 89 Batman or Dark Knight, the Joker is represented in different ways…and meets his end differently. In the 89 flick he’s given a back story of who he is and why… in Dark Knight, not so much. Then throw on the comics (the few I’ve checked out so far) and those are completely off compared to the flicks.

Aside from the horrible bad example above…in short, how do I know what to read or watch and how can I know where each thing fits into the overall Universe story?

OR… are all of these movies, comics, etc, a depiction of a short story that doesn’t ever actually constitute into a big picture? Like Seinfeld… where each half hour show had it’s own story for that show but never had anything to do with any of the other shows?

Again, apologies for these awful examples but I’m trying my best to make sense…even at the cost of my own embarrassment

I wanted to bump this and ALSO let you know I found a search function for posts! On the app, just search your topic or name and search specifically in the community. That’s how I just found this.

Anyway…would love some answers to this still from you DC vets. Thanks again!

Bumping this again. Really hoping one of you awesome people will help understand this

First you need to know is that the movie-verse and comics are different “universes” and therefore will have slightly different canon.

Think of it this way…

Batman 89, Returns, Forever, and Batman & Robin are all one universe and share continuity with each other.

The Nolan movies are in their own world and do not fit in with the earlier movies.

Batman The Animated Series is it’s own thing and doesnt share continuity with The Brave and the Bold, The Batman or Beware the Batman. Each of those shows have their own canon. But Batman: TAS series does share canon with Superman:TAS, Justice League and Justice League unlimited since it’s the same universe.

The new films, Man of Steel, Bat v Sup, Suicide Squad, WW, JL are all the same universe.

This is the same for comics. The tv shows, movies, ect, take inspiration from the comics, but it doesn’t 100% copy it completely.

99% of all comics you pickup with a DC label is part of the shared DC comic universe and has it’s own canon. That canon is sometimes changed by big events altering the universe (Flashpoint/ New 52).

Hopefully this clears things up for you some what.


As for the Comics canon, go to Google and type in “Major DC Comic Story lines.” Go to the Wikipedia link and there will be a list of titles in Chronological order. Good place to start.