DC Comics’ cluttered and complicated timeline is officially getting organized according to Co-Publisher Dan DiDio at New York Comic Con and Wonder Woman is placed chronologically at the center of it all.
At the DC Nation panel, DiDio stated they’re “building an ultimate timeline” called the DC Timeline:
“For the first time, we’re going to introduce the DC Timeline. The whole idea here right now is, from our standpoint, we’re trying to organize a sense of when the DC stories took place and how they all fit together.”
Talking about the need for consistency, DiDio believes he’s identified that’s where they failed with 2011’s New 52 relaunch and the problem DC continues to have. Too many reboots overcomplicated things:
“That’s where we made our mistake during the New 52 — we didn’t understand which stories matter, which ones didn’t. Once we understand how these characters connect, then we’ll be in a place to give you the true history of the DCU.”
“We’re starting to figure out how continuity works,” he added. DC continuity has been altered, restarted, and in some cases ignored or left unexplained time and again. They sought to simplify things only to turn around and reintroduce vast complexity. Multiverses and other Earths were abandoned during Crisis on Infinite Earths but brought back later on.
DiDio and DC’s objective is not to renounce their history but incorporate and codify it, much like we’re seeing in Doomsday Clock, Batman, and Justice League:
“We’re reintroducing aspects of our history back into [our central universe], from the Justice Society all the way into the future of the Legion of Superheroes.”
How Wonder Woman Fits In
Phases of DC history will be separated into three generations. Generation One is called “Dawn of the Heroic Age” and it starts where Wonder Woman enters the picture and the world of men. “Wonder Woman is our first superhero,” DiDio said plainly.
As ComicBook.com notes, Wonder Woman’s existence and the Amazons date back to ancient times and put this move in line with film continuity. Comic-wise, her arrival, in the US before World War II particularly, is the event that kickstarts the Golden Age and the formation of the Justice Society of America.
Generation Two – “The Space Age” – begins with the arrival of Superman and Generation Three – “The Age of Crisis” – deals with Crisis and everything up to Flashpoint. The modern age is dubbed “The Flashpoint” and encompasses the aftermath of Flash’s time meddling.
The embryonic path illustrated at NYCC is the plan going forward, wherever it takes DC, according to DiDio:
“This will be the basis of all DC Comics for the future. We don’t know what the future is, but what’s happening right now is a high level of planning…”
DC Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee, also present at the DC Nation panel, teased the story potential of Wonder Woman being the first:
“There’s a lot of interesting implications that this timeline sets up. If this character came around back then, then what does that mean?”
Dan DiDio’s announcement of the DC Timeline could be a reaction to trends. It coincides with higher sales of older books and a slump for newer comics which earned the exhortation “We can do better,” from DiDio. Circumstances aren’t turning around yet for the brand, however.
Industry people can see they are in trouble. Rob Liefeld questioned the competency of DC management, saying they rely too much on Batman and the company should “vaporize” and start over.
Ethan Van Sciver routinely scrutinizes the difficulties of DC and comics at large. He suspects the publisher will be sold by Warner Media’s new parent company AT&T down the line to save some cash.
The DC Timeline isn’t finalized but may just be when Doomsday Clock wraps up in December.
How do you feel about Wonder Woman becoming the retroactive first in DC Comics? Leave us a comment.