After what seems like months of speculation, this week DC formally announced a two-month mega event starting in April 2015 called Convergence, that would bring back all the formally thought-lost worlds of the DC Multiverse, including the pre-New 52 versions of the DC heroes and villains. DC promises to bring back many obscure Earths from the Multiverse, and going by the promo image, we’ll see the original Earth-2 Justice Society of America, the Grant Morrison era JLA, the original Gen-13 and no doubt many, many more. DC has had, as the name goes, a nearly infinite number of Earths over the decades, and here are some that I hope they bring back for the big event next year to get their proper due.
1. Gender Bent Earth, No Designation
This maybe doesn’t officially qualify as a true parallel Earth in the DC Multiverse, but I love it, so I’m counting it anyway. In issue #349 of Superman from 1980, Kal-El comes back from a mission in space only to find that everyone on Earth has undergone a sex change and become the opposite sex; Superman is Superwoman, Supergirl is Superboy, Wonder Woman is Wonder Warrior, etc. There is a Superman on this Earth, but he’s a wanted criminal, so all the heroes are after him.
In the end, it turns out to not really be a parallel Earth, but Supes’ old foe Mr. Mxyzptlk, the imp from the 5th dimension, changing everyone’s sex on Earth-1 just to eff with Superman. Once Superman sends Mxy back, this gender-bent Earth goes away, but it maybe still exists as some parallel Earth in the multiverse. The best part of this Earth is that the gender-flipped heroes are pretty much still wearing whatever their counterparts did at the time, so Superboy is in puffy sleeves and short shorts, as that was Supergirl’s costume circa 1980, and Black Canary stand-in Black Condor was wearing biker leather and shorts. I issue a challenge to any and all cosplayers out there to do this version of the gender-bent JLA; if you do you’ll have my eternal admiration
2. Earth-A, Home of the “Lawless League”
This particular Earth is the epitome of awesome Silver Age DC craziness, and I love it just for this reason. This Earth came as a result of one of the annual Justice League/Justice Society crossovers during the early sixties, as the JSA’s Johnny Thunder, wielder of the near-omnipotent magical Thunderbolt, goes from his home on Earth-2 to Earth-1 to meet his counterpart.
Earth-1 Johnny turns out to be a bad guy, however, who knocks out good Johnny cold, and then uses the Thunderbolt to change history, erasing the origins of the JLA and preventing them from ever coming to be, resulting in an new Alternate Earth (hence, “Earth-A”). Then the Thunderbolt creates his own evil versions of the JLA, the “Lawless League,” who are a bunch of thugs granted the Justice League’s powers (we know that they’re evil thugs because they don’t shave.) The Lawless League of Earth-A was never seen again, but I think they are due for a return in Convergence, stubble and all.
3. Earth-17, Home of the “Overman”
The first of two parallel Earths created by Grant Morrison on this list, this one in the early nineties towards the end of his run on Animal Man, as a commentary on the whole “grim n’ gritty” explosion going on in comics at the time. On this Earth, Overman was from a world where he was the first superhero, and all the other superheroes were grown from his cells. This version of the Justice League was also attached to the military in ways too convoluted to explain.
Overman was then infected with an STD (remember, this is Grant Morrison here) causing him to go insane and start killing and then eating the other heroes. While Morrison made another, different version of Overman in his series Final Crisis, this is the one I want to see again, because it’s just so bat-shit.
4. Earth-154, Home of “The Super Sons”
Much like Earth-A, this is another example of the kind of Silver Age wackiness that I admire old school DC so much for. Originally appearing in the sixties, but becoming a regular feature in 1973, The Super-Sons were originally intended to be from a parallel Earth where Superman and Batman each had college-aged sons who were, for all practical purposes identical to them…same powers, same costumes, same hair, same jawlines, you name it. Who their mothers were was kept vague, maybe because DC felt their young readership didn’t care.
Clark Kent Jr. and Bruce Wayne Jr. were a little bit hipper than their pops, though, and spoke more in contemporary slang; DC’s first of many attempts to make their classic stalwart characters come off as young and hip (the latest being the entire New 52.) After appearing in many adventures together, it was revealed in a 1980 issue of World’s Finest that the Super Sons were nothing more than computer simulations created by Superman for his and Batman’s amusement, and after the Super Sons demanded to know who their mothers were (Superman and Batman never programmed any mothers into the simulation, deeming them as “irrelevant.” Try not to read into that too much) and the Super Sons discovered the truth about themselves.
Although they pretty much vanished with that story, they showed up one more time in 2005’s Infinite Crisis, were they were designated as being part of Earth-154, where I assume they were real and not just holograms or whatever. Time for a comeback?
5. Earth DC/Marvel Crossover
This is the Earth most fans would love to see in Convergence that probably has a snowball’s chance in Hell of appearing in said series. Nevertheless, it is a legit part of the Multiverse: a weird combination world where the Justice League and the Avengers exist side by side, Where Batman met the Hulk, where Spidey and Superman once famously duked it out, and where maybe the best inter-company crossover of all time ever happened, 1982’s Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans.
Why was the Titans/X-Men crossover so epic? Well, aside from the fact that this was both teams at the height of their creative and commercial success, in this story they take on Darkseid and Dark Phoenix, that’s why. No crossover has ever topped that lethal of a villain combination. At best, we’ll see some stand-in version of the Marvel heroes as a nod to the old crossover Earth, and maybe that’ll just have to do. But while it would be cool as Hell to see a cameo of some sort, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
6. Grant Morrison’s Anti-Matter Earth, Home of the Crime Syndicate
There have actually been three different versions of the alternate Earth that is home to the “evil Justice League,” a.k.a. the Crime Syndicate of America. The first were from the Multiverse’s original Earth-3, and they all seemingly died in Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 back in 1985 (although it looks like they’ll be appearing in Convergence based on the promo image.) The current CSA from the recent Forever Evil mini-series are from the New 52 Earth-3.
But there was another Crime Syndicate, from the Anti-Matter Earth, that made their first appearance in Grant Morrison’s Earth-2 graphic novel in the late ’90s. These were arguably the best versions of these characters, featuring a Johnny Quick who mainlined the Speed Force like heroin, and and a Superwoman who liked to sexually humiliate Jimmy Olsen in the broom closet of the Daily Planet. These versions informed the current CSA in a big way, but are still distinctly different enough to qualify as their own distinct incarnation, and therefore their own distinct parallel Earth.
7. Earth-Timm, a.k.a. The DC Animated Universe
For many fans out there, their gateway drug into DC comics world was the excellent interconnected set of animated shows from Warner Brothers animation, starting with the now classic Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, and extending into Superman, Batman Beyond, and finally Justice League/Justice League Unlimited.
This was not only a well-animated and well-written version of the DCU, but producer Bruce Timm cherry picked the best parts of the comics universe and condensed them into a more streamlined (and arguably better) version than the comics. Although this has been hinted at before as being its own Earth with the greater DC Multiverse, I think it’s time to see it properly portrayed as such, and give fans who love the DCAU a bit of insight into what’s happened on “Earth Timm” since JLU ended nearly ten years ago.
8. Earth-172, Home of Superboy and Batboy: Brothers in Justice
Yup, this is yet another crazy alternate world born of DC’s Silver Age, appearing only once, in issue #172 of World’s Finest comics in 1967. On this Earth, Bruce Wayne was adopted by the Kents after his parents were murdered in Crime Alley, and he and Clark grew up as brothers. Eventually Bruce begins his superhero career and becomes Batboy, as he and Superboy become Smallville’s protectors and a crime fighting team.
Both Clark and Bruce eventually move to Gotham City where they become Superman and Batman, and where Clark Kent becomes employed at the Gotham Gazette as a reporter, and Batman eventually relocates to the Legion of Super-Heroes’ 30th century. This Earth officially got designated “Earth-172” after the issue it appeared in the DC’s Absolute edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Nowadays, an earth with a teen Clark and Bruce bunking together and then going off to the big bad city would be designated Earth-/… As in slash fiction.
Previously by Eric Diaz: