Batman Proves Marvel & DC Need To Make Their Comic Timelines Clear

There is an excessive amount of Batman content, but no way to tell what timeline is what. This is an issue with many DC and Marvel titles.

It’s no secret that a large barrier to entry for Marvel and DC Comics is continuity, and nowhere is that more clear than with Batman. Batman is among the most popular superheroes of all time, and as such, there is a seemingly limitless amount of Batman content. For longtime fans of the character, this is great, but at the same time it can be very off-putting to new fans and comic book readers.

This isn’t just a Batman issue though; Several of DC and Marvel’s characters have ongoing runs and storylines that intersect in confusing or hard-to-follow ways. Many of these stories happen in their own timelines, but for whatever reason, the publishers make no effort to distinguish them. Marvel and DC could easily clear up any confusion by simply marking the universe on the cover of each issue. For example, Marvel’s main universe is Earth 616, DC’s is Earth-1. These are the timelines where the “main” narrative takes place, and each publisher has its own offshoots of that, such as Earth-1610, Earth-12, Earth-2149, and so on. By simply putting one of these numbers on the cover, understanding where the story is taking place would be a lot less convoluted.

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Batman is a prime example of why publishers really should start clearing up their timelines. This week, two different Batman titles are coming out. Last week, three different Batman titles came out, and the week before there were 2 other different titles. This isn’t counting the other stories where the Caped Crusader is featured in like Flashpoint: Beyond, Death of the Justice Leagueand Robin. There is so much Batman content, new and old, but still no way to know what takes place where and when. If DC could just put a number designating a universe on each cover, such as Earth-1 for the main continuity Batman, it would be less confusing and more accessible to new readers.



Batman from Earth One versus his traditional counterpart.

Marvel has this issue too with titles like spider-man and avengers, but not to the same degree as DC and Batman. However, a case from the Marvel side of things is the recent Doctor Strange: Nexus of Nightmares. Fans who have followed Marvel recently know that Doctor Strange has died and Clea is now continuing his story of him as Sorcerer Supreme in stranger in Earth-616. Then how, when, and where does nexus of Nightmares exist? Seasoned comic veterans know it’s not an Earth-616 story, but greener fans would be thrown off if they knew Doctor Strange is dead, yet here he is alive and well on a new cover.


The multiverse and a continuously running narrative make comic books confusing, but Marvel and DC could clear a lot of it up with one simple step: putting a universe designating number on their covers. It would make high-profile titles, like Batmanmore understandable, more accessible, and more enjoyable to read.

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