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There have been two periods in which DC Comics has used a structured multiverse concept to keep track of multiple realities: The Pre-Crisis Multiverse from 1961–1986, and the 52 Multiverse from 2007 onward.

From 1986 to 2006, alternate realities were treated as either completely outside continuity (often published under the Elseworlds banner) or described as another “dimension,” or an alternate timeline—anything to avoid calling it a parallel universe. Hypertime was introduced in 1999 to tie everything together, but dropped out of use after only a few years.

Pre-Crisis Multiverse

First shown in Flash #123 (1961) and dismantled during Crisis on Infinite Earths (1986). Infinite universes, and one anti-matter universe. Most DC stories at the time took place on Earth-1, with a few following up Golden-Age characters and their descendents on Earth-2.

Earth Flash Notes 1st App.
Earth 1 Barry Allen with sidekick Wally West The main DC Universe from the mid-1950s through 1985. Justice League, Titans, etc. 1956/1961
Earth 2 Jay Garrick DC’s Golden-Age characters (1930s–1950s), Justice Society 1938/1961
Earth 3 Johnny Quick (Crime Syndicate) Evil versions of Earth-1 characters 1964
Earth C Fastback & the Terrific Whatzit Funny animals: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew 1982
Earth C- The Crash Funny animals: the Just’a Lotta Animals 1983

The following universes were retroactively assigned to the multiverse in post-Crisis stories
Earth D Tanaka Rei World with more ethnically diverse heroes, created for a “lost” chapter of Crisis on Infinite Earths. 1999
Dreamworld Speed Freak 1970s drug culture, appeared briefly in “Second Crisis” 1990
Earth 17 Military Speedster Grim & gritty parody, appeared briefly in “Second Crisis” 1990
Earth 96 Wally West (KC) & Iris West II (KC) The future world of Kingdom Come (identified in Infinite Crisis) 1996/2006
Earth 97 Lia Nelson The Tangent Universe (identified in Infinite Crisis) 1997/2006

Note: There has been some confusion as to whether Earth-4 (characters purchased from Charlton Comics) had a speedster. To the best of my knowledge, there was none. Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt has a cameo in Crisis on Infinite Earths which implies that he has super-speed. This was due to confusion on the part of the artist, George Perez, who was not familiar with the character’s powers. (Source: Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #124)

52 Multiverse

Created during Infinite Crisis (2006), but not revealed until the end of 52, this new Multiverse consists of 52 universes, each separated by a Source Wall with the Bleed running between them, and an anti-matter universe. Many of these universes bear striking similarities to worlds of the pre-crisis Multiverse or to worlds of Hypertime.

New Earth is a focal point in this multiverse, since the other 51 universes started out as exact duplicates of it. Those copies were attacked by the adult “hyperfly” form of Mr. Mind, a creature who feeds on time. The attack altered the past of each universe, transforming 52 identical universes into 52 different ones. The universe containing Earth-51, after being wiped out, was reset as a new copy of the main universe.

Earth Flash Notes
New Earth Several, currently Jay Garrick and Wally West The main DC Universe
Earth-2 Alternate Jay Garrick Justice Society, similar to pre-Crisis Earth-2
Earth-3 Johnny Quick (Crime Society) Evil versions of Earth-2 characters; the “Golden-Age Crime Syndicate”
Earth-9 Lia Nelson The Tangent Universe. (Confirmed in Countdown, identified on Newsarama)
Earth-10 Nazi Speedster Similar to pre-Crisis Earth-X, where the Nazis won World War II. Features a nazi-themed JLAxis
Earth-11 Unidentified Flash Gender-reversed version of New Earth (Superman/Batwoman)
Earth-18 Wally West (Justice Riders) Wild West-era heroes shown in Justice Riders
Earth-21 Barry Allen (New Frontier) 1950s-era heroes shown in New Frontier
Earth-22 Wally West (KC) & Iris West II (KC) The future world of Kingdom Come
Earth-26 Fastback & the Terrific Whatzit Funny animals: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew (pre-Crisis Earth-C)
Earth-31 Barry Allen (DK2) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Earth-33 Lady Flash Magic users from the Conjurors world
Earth-50 Surge? Rebooted WildStorm Universe (post-WorldStorm)
Earth-51 Barry Allen (retired) JLA defeated all supervillains, creating a perfect world
Unidentified Alternate Linda Park Joined Monarch’s army, spotted on Earth-8
Antimatter Universe Johnny Quick (Crime Syndicate) Evil versions of New Earth characters.

Related Commentary

The Flash Companion The Flash Companion
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