I was thinking about the timeline of DC Comics’ Earth-51 (home to the Great Disaster in Countdown to Final Crisis) and trying to wrap my head around what the past and present might mean for a world that’s been created and destroyed twice in as many years, and realized that some of the time paradoxes make much more sense if you consider that there’s more than one kind of time.

Real-world time is, as you’d expect, the time that passes between when two stories are published. For example, it’s been 45 years since Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962).

In-story time is the time that passes within a story. So even though it’s been 70 years since Superman first appeared on the newsstand, it’s only been 10–15 years since his debut within the DC Universe.

The tension between these two leads to a strange, fluid take on time, which has its own issues.

But then you get into time travel and cosmic retcons, and in-story time can’t quite explain things. Continue reading

As of two weeks ago, DC was still talking about its upcoming Infinite Christmas special. Yesterday, the book came out, complete with a logo based on the Infinite Crisis logo.

Only it had been renamed the Infinite Holiday special, ruining the joke.

No word on why they changed it, but someone on the Newsarama forums suggested “Christmas on Infinite Earths” would have been even funnier.

Note to those who are likely to cite this as more evidence for the non-existent “War on Christmas:” Most of the stories in the book are Christmas stories. Many of them with the word in the title. And in a country where atheists are the most distrusted minority, the idea that Christians are being persecuted is laughable. (Why do I think this footnote is going to get more comments than the actual post?)

While writing an article on Earth-Prime yesterday, I had an interesting thought linking Superboy Prime’s “continuity punches” from Infinite Crisis with the early appearances of Earth Prime.

DC Comics established Earth-Prime as the reader’s world. It was basically the same as the real world, with no super-heroes, and allowed DC characters to interact with a world in which they were fictional characters. It also allowed the comics’ writers and editors to write themselves into stories. In 1985, as DC was dismantling the multiverse concept with Crisis on Infinite Earths, they established the existence of a Superboy on Earth-Prime, just before they destroyed the universe. This Superboy returned after a 20-year absence as one of the main villains in Infinite Crisis.

Flash #228 (1974), “How I Saved the Flash,” featured writer Cary Bates traveling to Earth-1 and meeting the Flash. Up until this point, the conceit had been that on Earth-Prime, comic writers would dream about super-heroes’ adventures on Earth-1, just as Earth-1’s writers would dream about heroes on Earth-2. In this story, the connection went the other way, too: Earth-Prime’s Cary Bates was able to influence events on Earth-1 by sheer force of will, which he called “plotting power.” Continue reading