|Date(s):||1934 - present|
|Medium:||Comics, TV shows, movies|
|Country of Origin:||U.S.A.|
|External Links:||Wikipedia Page|
List of DC Comics Universes
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DC Comics is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media.
A blanket term, theoretically encompassing all DC Comic properties, including those from the animated series and the various movies is called the DC Universe. In practice, individual DC properties (such as Smallville) with larger fandoms are not considered to be part of the DCU fandom. The movies are generally acknowledged to be their own continuities—for instance, the trilogy of Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan are referred to as the "Nolanverse"—but there is, of course, significant fan overlap between comics and movie fandom.
The major characters are generally published in their own book, that is, a comic named after them, as well as appearing in a 'team' title, crossing over into other titles, and generally will put in an editorially mandated visit when crossover events occur. Although in theory most characters inhabit one continuity, in practice, books have their own writers and editors, and it is nearly impossible to keep abreast of all books. Events may be canon in one book but be regarded as optional background in another.
The fictional universe of the DC comics, excluding the movies and animated series, tends to be divided along 'family' and/or 'neighborhood' lines, both by readers and creators. Major characters usually have a fictional city as their home base, which is their 'territory,' and secondary or tertiary characters are usually defined by which major hero they're associated with and/or related to.
Fans, likewise, tend to congregate around the characters which they find most compelling, but due to the interconnected canon, will probably be generally aware of plots and characters outside their area of interest.
Family vs. Team
To complicate matters further, a character may act differently in different books (and under different writers.) A character in his or her own title will usually act in such a way as to make them the star of the story: in team titles, it's necessary that no character monopolize the story to such an extent that fans of the other characters are alienated.
The result is that it is possible to be a fan of Batman when he is at home, but find him unfamiliar and bizarrely congenial when he is with the Justice League, or the other way around. The result is that one can be a fan of the Batman found in JLA, but not particularly fond of the Batman found in Gotham, further fracturing comics fandom.
The animated versions of the same characters exist in several different continuities. One of the more prominent ones is the DCAU sometimes called the Timmverse, which encompasses most of the DC animated series between 1992 and 2006, from Batman: TAS to Justice League Unlimited, with the exception of the more anime-style Teen Titans cartoon (2003-2006) and the latest Young Justice (2010 – 2013) and Green Lantern: TAS (2012 – 2013) cartoon series. Unless stated by DC all of the more recent animated offerings do not exist in this universe.
- Superman series (1978–1987)
- Swamp Thing (1982, 1989)
- Batman series (1989–1997)
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
- Catwoman (2004)
- Constantine (2005)
- V for Vendetta (2005)
- Batman Begins series (2005-2012)
- Superman Returns (2006)
- Stardust (2007)
- Watchmen (2009)
- Jonah Hex (2010)
- The Losers (2010)
- Man of Steel series (2013-2016)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
DC Comics has had a lot more TV series based on their characters compared to other comic book companies.
- Adventures of Superman (1952-[[1958)
- Batman (1966-1968)
- Shazam! (1974-1977)
- The Secrets of Isis (1975]]-1977)
- Wonder Woman (1975-1979)
- Superboy (1988-1992)
- Swamp Thing: The Series (1990-1993)
- The Flash (1990-1991)
- Human Target (1992)
- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997)
- Smallville (2001-2011)
- Birds of Prey (2002-2003)
- Human Target (2010-2011)
- Arrow (2012–present)
- The Flash (2014–present)
- Gotham (2014–present)
- Constantine (2014-2015)
- iZOMBIE (2015–present)
- Legends of Tomorrow (2016–present)
- Supergirl (2016–present)
- Lucifer (2016–present)
- Preacher (2016–present)
- Powerless (2017)
- Krypton (2017–present)
- Black Lightning (2017–present)
Since the DCU is a shared universe that incorporates different properties, fans may be able to enjoy different subfandoms that fall under DC Comics's scope without necessarily engaging with the rest of the DCU. The popularity of different characters, properties and subfandoms tends to rise and fall over the decades, e.g. the Legion of Super-Heroes going from being one of the DCU's most popular teams in the 1980s to a microfandom in the 2010s. Batfandom is generally considered to be the most popular comics-based DCU subfandom of the 2000s and 2010s. Popular adaptations such as Lois & Clark (1990s), Smallville, the Teen Titans cartoon (2000s) or the DCTV verse (2010s) also shape the fannish output of the wider DC fandom but the popularity of the adaptation does not necessarily impact the popularity of the source material.
In the 60s and 70s, there were barely any “fan” comics, since superhero comics were like animation is today: mostly aimed at kids, with a minority of discerning adult/teen fans, and it was success among kids, not fans, that led to something being a top seller. [...] But as newsstands started to push comics out, the fan audience started to get bigger and more important…everyone else started to catch up[...]: most comics started to have attractive people who paired up into couples and/or love triangles, and featured extremely byzantine long term storytelling.
For a more detailed list of old and modern zines, see the Comics Zines category.
During the zine era, fans communicated with each other via fanzines and on the letter pages found at the end of each issue of a comic.
- Alter Ego was founded in 1961 as a fanzine focusing on comic books. It became a formal magazine in 1999.
- Batmania: A Batman fanzine that ran from July 1964 until April 1975. It can be found on Comic Book +, a site that also houses a number of other comic book fanzines.
- The Heroine Addict: A women in media zine predominantly focusing on female superheroes.
- The Heroines Showcase: The continuation of The Heroine Addict.
- Hola!: A Wonder Woman zine that ran between 1978-1979.
- Interlac: A Legion of Super-Heroes apazine that started its run in 1976 and is still being printed today.
- Legion Outpost: A Legion of Super-Heroes zine that ran from June 1972. 10 issues were published.
- Beyond the Clock, a revitalized Batman zine.
- Klordny: A Legion of Super-Heroes zine and fanclub.
- Princessions: A Wonder Woman (and women in media) print newsletter.
- Supraman: A Superman zine.
- Midnight Conference, a Batman zine.
- Utility Belt: the newsletter of Battalion: the Australian Legion of Batman Fans.
- "a monthly webzine written by women and dedicated to exploring the comics industry. We provide interviews with creators, artists, writers, movers and shakers in the industry, as well as articles and reviews on current, up and coming, and past greats. [Their] mandate is to increase the visibility and raise the awareness of the participation of women in comics as both creators and fans"
In 1999, fan Gail Simone coined the term "women in refrigerators" to describe a plot device whereby a female supporting character is killed in order to advance a male character's dramatic arc. The website with the same name attracted a great deal of fannish and industry attention. In part due to her exposure from this, Simone gained a regular column on Comic Book Resources, and eventually a job writing comics, first with Bongo Comics, eventually with DC Comics, writing the critically acclaimed series Birds of Prey. Simone's comments on the industry's attitude toward women have not implicated her employers, but Simone is seen by some as a feminist working within a regressively patriarchal industry. It is perhaps worth noting that although herself a fan who writes comics, Simone's public comments on fanfiction have been dismissive and mostly concerning its inferior quality of writing.
At some point, the internet allowed sufficient female comic fans to find each other and form distinctively (although not exclusively) female comic fan-communities. Reactions to this from male comic fans have been mixed. In 2004, a storyline involving the death by torture of a female character prompted Mary Borsellino to create activism site Girl Wonder.org protesting the treatment of female characters. The site has outgrown its original mandate and continues as a consumer education and feminist activism site focused on comics.
For a more detailed list of ships, see the DCU Relationships category.
Based solely on AO3 numbers, the most popular pairings in DC Comics fandom all involve at least one Batfamily member (e.g. Tim Drake/Jason Todd, Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne, Kon-El/Tim Drake, and Dick Grayson/Jason Todd), whereas the wider DCU shipping fandom gravitates towards pairings inspired by various TV shows, e.g. Oliver Queen/Felicity Smoak, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor and Kara Danvers/Lena Luthor. The comics side of the fandom is slash-heavy, Barbara Gordon/Dick Grayson being the only non-M/M pairing to make it into the Top 10.
Fanfiction in Comics Fandom has had two main waves, the first, from 1999, was the smaller part of a larger wave of comics writing. The fandom was atypically mixed-gender, with writers such as Dr. Benway setting the bar for dark, gothic, lengthy works which explored troubling possibilities left untouched in canon, and proving that gen did not have to be suitable for a general audience. At the same time, a primarily female group of writers were writing somewhat lighter, happier stories, focusing on humour, family, and of course, romance, including slash. Many of these 'first wave' writers also wrote Marvel Comics fanfic and were members of the mailing list Outside The Lines (which was open to all comics fic, but dominated by X-Men fen).
The second wave may be said with only some exaggeration to have been started by one woman: Te. In 2003 Te began writing seriously in the Batfamily (Batman, and the vigilantes he surrounds himself with, in Gotham). By the end of 2004, she had written easily 200 stories, most of them sexually explicit character studies, by and large slash. Readers and writers who knew Te from other fandoms followed her to the DCU, and no doubt due in part to her copious output, were influenced primarily by her version and view of the characters, in contrast to the characterization established by earlier writers.
Examples of Fanfiction
- Dracoverse; Influential 'first wave' series/shared universe created by Kaylee, in which Jason Todd never died. (Late '90's - 2000).
- Oracle & Nightwing by Jody Revenson; inspired many other stories. (Late '90's).
- Sea & Sky series by 'rith & Dannell Lites; epic first wave Tempest/Nightwing series. Also something of a shared universe, with a large number of associated fanworks by various authors/artists, including a wide range of DC characters. (1999 - 2006).
- Superman and Man by DarkMark; Superman and Christopher Reeve spend a day trapped in each other's bodies. CBFFA Winner and rare example of RPF in this fandom. (1999).
- In Darkest Light by Meljean Brook; Wonder Woman/Batman het (2001?).
- The Case Of The Disappearing Felines by Jamjar. Young Justice gen. (2004).
- The Mystery of the Bat by Basingstoke; gen, Batman family AU. (2004).
- Jason and Me by David Hines; Stephanie Brown gen. (2004).
- Being and Belonging by Te; Tim-centric Tim/Dick. (2004).
- Hanging Work by Cereta; a much recced AU series wherein Dick Grayson was trained by Catwoman instead. (2005).
- A preliminary examination of potential significant others (last saved by T. Drake) by Betty, Petra, and Zee. Documentation fic. (2006).
Examples of Fanart
- Draw Stephanie Brown meme
- Superman & Superboy by Glockgal
- Saturday Morning In Front Of La Salle De Justice by ~RadiationActor
- Earth and Sky (2006)
- The Greatest Gift (2007)
- Once Upon a Time in Gotham (2009)
- Ante (2012)
- Behind the Mask (Superhero Anthology) (2012)
- Blue Lantern Fanzine (2014)
- DamiRae Zine (2021, 2022)
- Nine Layers of Illusion (2016)
- Ten Thousand Leagues Above You (2016)
- Ephemeron (2017)
- Sensational Ladies (2022)
- Sunshine through the Clouds (2022)
- DCU tag at Archive Of Our Own
- DC Fic Index on LJ
- Femslash masterlist
- Fonts of Wisdom's DC page
- Offpanel.net ; AO3 collection via Open Doors
- The Family Archives , a Babs/Dick, Cass/Tim, Batman/Black Canary archives.
- JLA Unlimited 
- The Joker X Harley Fanfiction Archive 
- DC Comic Fanfiction Archive (defunct)
- Women of Gotham (defunct)
Fests and Challenges
- List of DC Challenges
- Timfinity: A Tim Drake AU Challenge (2005/2006).
- Jingle Bells, Batman Smells A fall/winter story exchange for DC comics (2004, 2005, 2009).
- DCEU Exchange
- Monitor Duty, A Newsletter, includes Marvel Comics
- Comic Store News, a newsletter, includes Marvel Comics
- DC Central
- GL Corps
- Titans Together
- Justice League Fanfiction
- All DC Related
- DC Fic Finders
- DC Comics Icons
- DCU Femslash
- DCU Memes a home to various DCU fic memes
- A pun. Comics and graphic novels are sometimes referred to as 'sequential art'
- Charter, Sequential Tart Media Kit, accessed 9 October 2008
- The scans_daily incident , Mary Jane Comiquette, etc.
- Data accessed 24 September 2017.
- A brief glance at the authors listed at Fonts of Wisdom is suggestive, accessed 05 October, 2008
- Not entirely, but perhaps represented by the group writing at Offpanel.net accessed 05 October, 2008
- Oh my god, I can't prove this, but seriously, I am so right