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A "Crisis" Crisis

This post will probably mostly interest people who, like me, are avid followers of the DC Universe.

Later this year, DC's big event will be something called Infinite Crisis, which supposedly will be a universe-altering event, similar to the Crisis on Infinite Earths that they did back in 1985. For those who don't know much about Crisis, a little detail follows.

In the 1950s, DC Comics began to introduce new versions of their Golden Age characters, starting with the Flash. Eventually, it was decided that these new versions of their characters lived in an entirely different universe, which they named Earth-1. The original superheroes lived on Earth-2, where time moved more slowly. Having two different universes was a good way to avoid continuity problems between characters.

It was also a good way to accomodate other characters. For example, when DC bought Fawcett Comics and the Marvel family of heroes (the ones who shout "Shazam!"), they placed them in their own universe, Earth-S. When World War II ended but Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters still wanted to fight the Nazis, they could do so on Earth-X. When DC wanted a set of evil villains who were analogs to the superheroes, they created Earth-3 for them. And so on.

Eventually it was established that this "Multiverse" consisted of an infinite number of universes, and in 1985 DC decided to do a little housecleaning. (I'm skipping a LOT of history here.) In a year-long event, the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a villain from an antimatter universe named the Anti-Monitor decided to destroy all the other universes. The final result of this universes-shattering event was that the Multiverse was destroyed, to be replaced by one universe with, they hoped, one continuity, supposedly making it easier for new readers to dive in.

Of course, problems ensued. The housecleaning wasn't perfect, so in 1994 DC was forced to revisit their reconstruction of the universe with Zero Hour. However, that event only lasted for a month and wasn't nearly as universe-altering as Crisis. Then, a few years later, they created the concept of Hypertime which seemed to imply that other universes were still "out there" but not as easy to reach. Now, the powers that be at DC Comics are building up to a new event, called Infinite Crisis, which is supposedly going to be just as universe-shattering as the Crisis on Infinite Earths that took place in 1985.

But here's the problem I see. Since 1985, comic book fans, writers, artists, etc. have referred to events as being either part of "pre-Crisis" or "post-Crisis" continuity. If this brand new event is just as calamatous, what happens to these terms? Will we have to deal with the unwieldy construction of "post-Crisis, but pre-Infinite Crisis?" And if someone says "post-Crisis" from 2005 onwards, what will that mean, exactly? To which crisis will the speaker be referring?

I have a solution, but it only works if the fan community decides in the end that Infinite Crisis wasn't that good. If that turns out to be the case, we can abbreviate it as "IC" and pronounce it "Ick." Then we'll have four designations of continuity:

Pre-Crisis (Before 1985)
Post-Crisis (1985-2005)
Pre-Ick (1985-2005...hey, wait a minute...)
Post-Ick (2005-whenever they screw around with the universe again)

Anyone who cares about this minutae is welcome to discuss it more here.

For more information, here are links to the Wikipedia entries on:
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Zero Hour
Infinite Crisis


I'd definitely go for "intercrisis" as the term for 1985-2005.

What's the term for the period between WW1 and WW2? (Besides "the thirties".)
I like "InterCrisis." That's cool.

As for the period between WWI and WWI in comics, there is no term. The DC Universe as we think of it today didn't really start until 1938.
Er, I meant the historical term (ignoring comics). Like "antebellum" or "interregnum". Is "interbellum" used?
According to noted comic book historian bob_greenberger, there is no term for the comic book period between WWI and WWII. He writes:

"The Golden Age of comics is considered the arrival of Superman in 1938. The period from 1930-38 is considered by some such as Overstreet as the Platinum Age. Overstreet goes so far as to label graphic material pre-1900 as Victorian Age."
Ah, I misread your question.
Twice! :)




Someone needs to stop DC.
I have missed DC comics the past few years. I'll get them again when the real estate is regular money coming in. I think that the new event will be good storytelling; I just don't know that it will qualify as something amazingly wonerful.
All this brings to mind is: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
Which could make the naming order go like this:
- Pre-Crisis (Before 1985)
- Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (1985-2005)*
- Post-Ick (2005-whenever they screw around with the universe again)

*In a lot of ways those years really were a set of many logical fallacies... :-)
Damn it, this made me surf Wiki for over an hour...
Heh heh. As you may have come to notice, I love Wikipedia. I use it as one of my main references, now.
The "Ick" also fits doubly well with Identity Crisis (IC) seemingly being the kickoff for all this. And Identity Crisis was definitely ick on so many levels.

Side note; I seem to be doing a copyedit on Marv Wolfman's Crisis on Infinite Earths novel, which is out but which had a lot of typos inserted/not caught. There's a chance of a second printing with corrections, and I volunteered to Marv to give it a pass since I can check for spelling, grammar, *and* comics continuity. : -)
Identity Crisis was quite powerful, even if you felt it was ick. I have to admit that I'm enjoying the more sophisticated look at superheroes, especially when compared to some of the silly stuff from the 1960s...
My ick for IC involves the huge number of plot holes and personality/continuity mistakes, as well as the whole murder mystery only happening because of what amounts to writer fiat (i.e. I don't buy the killer, I don't buy the motive, and the whole thing doesn't make any sense). The really sad part is that most of it could've been fixed with just a few minutes thought for each bit. I'll agree the dialogue could be powerful in parts, as well as some of the character perspectives, but the whole thing is just flawed at both the overall story level and with so many small chips from the holes and mistakes. It could've been a really great series if it'd just been competently edited (I don't know if Mike Carlin wasn't allowed to edit Brad Meltzer to any significant degree or not, but this was a prime example of a book that could've easily been significantly improved by a good edit pass).

Identity Crisis

There were two things about Identity Crisis that I really didn't like, and they're both fairly major aspects:
1) The sensationalist nature of the story. While I can understand the need to kill Sue Dibney to further the story, as much as I was sad to see her go, I thought that making her pregnant was schmaltzy and soap-opraesque. Also the way it was presented to someone tapped into comics was "Who will die this issue?," something that bothered me. It's worth noting that DC didn't go so far as to put up a CHECK LIST like Marvel did for Avengers Dissassembled, but having little class, next to no class at all, is still little class.
2) It's treatment of women was poor at best. This is a huge problem in the comics industry, but in I.C. particularly. There are three major female characters: Sue Dibney, Jean Loring, and Zatana. Sue is simply used. She is raped, beaten, murdered and immolated. Jean Loring (SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVENT READ IT) is the one doing the killing, supposedly driven mad because she wants the Atom, a man, to love her again. Zatanna, arguably the most powerful member of the Justice League, is used like a pawn by Green Arrow and Hawkman. Such a high profile event should be more careful than that.

That being said, it was told in a very compelling way, even if the story itself wasn't compelling. I've also truely enjoyed alot of the repercussions of I.C.:
- The fact that Batman has become more grim n' gritty not because Frank Miller sold alot of DKReturns, but because of what they did to him.
- I absolutely adore the repercussions it's having in The Flash. The return of The Top was a fantastic issue, and what it's leading to in the current storyline Rogue War makes me excited for each wednesday in hopes for a new Flash issue.

So while it wasn't the best story, I'm glad it was told.
"I have to admit that I'm enjoying the more sophisticated look at superheroes, especially when compared to some of the silly stuff from the 1960s..."

Actually I feel like they might be heading back that way. With everything getting darker and darker in the past years and coming months, I think the Crisis will try and set things back the way they were, not in the sixties, but in the seventies.

I don't have that much evidence to support my feelings, it's mostly guy (and that's what a good reporter follows, right Cheif?), but many books are reaching a sort of point of no return, Wonder Woman may have blood on her hands in the coming months, the future shown to us in Teen Titans has Robin shooting Duella Dent, Blue Beetle is dead... and I think they may be trying to tell the most harsh stories they can before hitting the reset button.
Just a thought.
Oh, also DC has done this before, giving us Jean-Paul Valley taking up the mantle of the Bat to show us that Batman readers didn't want Rorschach as Batman. They wanted BATMAN as batman.
Given that I am concerned that Infinite Crisis will escort in a new era of bad comics, Ick will do.

Though I think that we will always call anything post-1985 "post-Crisis" no matter what.
And releasing Infinite Crisis right after Identity Crisis is a mistake, they sound too much alike...

December 2016

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