Welcome!

The original goal of The Real Batman Chronology Project, way back in 2009 when it first started, was to document the process of reading every single Modern Age Batman comic book. However, after I began reading I quickly realized that DC publishes a lot of monthly comic books that feature Batman, but they don’t tell you in what order to read them or how to organize them. And trust me, it’s not easy to figure it out sometimes. Thus, the adventure in comic book reading evolved into the project you see before you: an attempt to place every Modern Age Batman appearance into chronological order. The Real Batman Chronology Project was originally a blog, but its scope expanded tremendously and warranted significant change in 2011.  Hence, the site you see here mirrors the blog, but in a more accessible and aesthetically pleasing format.  The site also allows me to continue ongoing various research-based projects in regard to Batman Continuity—Continuity with a Capital C—including chronologies for the Golden Age Batman, Silver Age Batman, and New Age (New 52) Batman.  The new blog contained within this site also allows me to conduct commentaries on comic book narrative, authorship, fandom, culture, news, and more.

Why so many timelines, you ask? Well, to put it simply, Batman has a long and renowned history that dates back to 1939.  This rich history, aside from niche areas of the Internet and very few books, has not really been successfully evaluated and analyzed from the narratological perspective of serial-continuity.  To answer the query about “why so many timelines” in a more scrutable and scholarly way, one must have prerequisite knowledge about how DC has rebooted its characters about every twenty-five years.[1] For Batman, the titular character debuts in 1939 and gets rebooted roughly somewhere from 1960 to 1964—about twenty-five years later. The second version of Batman—the Silver Age Batman of Earth-One—lasts until 1985/1986. That’s close to twenty-five years later. And guess what? You guessed correctly if you said DC rebooted Batman again another twenty-five years after that.  2011 brought about the third major reboot (don’t call it a relaunch) in the history of the DC Universe. Columnist/reviewer Keith Callbeck even goes so far as to refer to the post 2011 rebooted DCU as the “DCU 3.0,” making the post 1986 rebooted DCU the “DCU 2.0″ and the original DCU the “DCU 1.0.”[2] Pretty interesting stuff, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The complexity and narratological structuring and re-structuring involved with serial fiction has always fascinated me. Batman has always been of particular interest. I hope you enjoy this project as much as I have enjoyed working on it. And I hope that you can learn something from it, not only about Batman, but about narrative continuity as told by multiple artists and authors in a variegated serial-fictional world.

So, “What is the correct chronological order for reading Batman comics?”  The answer to this question, and the shibboleth you should repeat over and over while reading this site, simply is there is no right answer and there can never be a right answer.  There are too many stories and too many retcons and too many other things going on to even begin to answer properly.  In fact, many canonical Batman stories are essentially interchangeable on a timeline.  Furthermore, who is really to determine which books are canon and which are non-canon, anyway?  I declare this time and time again in the various sections of the site: We don’t know the true reading order and we never will. I can’t stress that enough. We never will. Columnist Travis Hedge Coke says it best, “There is no canon. [Readers and fans] can, and have, ordered certain comics into several different, sometimes overlapping canons. Further, belonging to a canon does not ensure that works are aligned by a shared chronology or continuity. Canons are personally established, or they are established for business reasons, for marketing purposes, and that’s about it. It’s not a magic thing, it only means, at essence, ‘these works count towards…’ whatever you want them to count towards. Canon is not a judgment of total value or relevance to all things. And canons are rarely permanent, both the personal and the business sorts.”[3] Despite having addressed the ostensible futility of building comic book timelines, the Real Batman Chronology Project is definitely not a complete waste of time. This project is a labor of love and if you examine each panel of as many Batman stories as you can get your hands on, you will see that things do fit into a timeline in the most pleasantly unexpected ways. Of course, the maddeningly opposite happens almost just as often.  But that is simply a part of the process. Theoretically, if the perfect suggested order is compiled, then we have the closest thing to answering our dreaded chronological question. Finding continuity is a game—It’s piecing together an impossibly intricate jigsaw puzzle. There’s no greater satisfaction than stepping back and seeing the final picture as a whole.

Oh, and one final note: This site is meant to be entirely non-opinionated and nonobjective, and not some random fanboy list of my own personal favorite Batman stories. I’ll be the first to admit that I geek out a bit harder (and usually write a bit more positively) about my faves, and likewise, write a bit more negatively about things I don’t like as much. That being said, this does not mean that I’m trying to alienate any fans or tell any of my readers what’s good and what’s bad. I’ll leave that to the reviewers and the critics. This website is not a comic book review or critique site. This website is home to an intensive scholarly research project, through-in and throughout. There are a ton of stories I’ve included on my timelines that I despise and many more that I absolutely adore, which are absent since they are non-canon. I can’t stress this enough: The Real Batman Chronology Project is meant to be uninfluenced, unbiased, and most importantly, a scientific research-based endeavor that examines the continuity of Batman via a narratological reading based solely upon the facts (admittedly as I see them) in the comic books themselves. Every tale—and I mean every tale—that is slotted into my chronology is done so only after a thorough examination of narrative and an intense regard to continuous in-story information. There is no such thing as a definitive right or a definitive wrong when it comes to creating these comic-book-world timelines. As the late curmudgeonly genius Robert Anton Wilson said, “I don’t think most issues in the sensory-sensual spacetime world (the world of experience) actually reduce to two-valued logic.” The same mentality can and should also be applied to Batman comics that exist in the sensory-sensual spacetime world of the DC multiverse and the greater omniverse in which it dwells.

If you are so inclined, please check out http://therealbatmanchronoproject.blogspot.com and add yourself as a follower!  And feel free to drop me a line at therealbatmanchronologyproject@gmail.com!

And last but certainly not least, thanks to Ashley Jean and Ross for supporting me from the awkward beginning. And thanks for the multitude of assistance that I’ve received along the way from countless friends and strangers alike.

–Collin Colsher

 

 

 

  1. [1] COLLIN COLSHER: I should clarify, when I say “DC” I refer to the corporate beast that is “DC the company.” Unfortunately, the business of comic books has a long documented tradition of screwing over some creators, writers, and artists. The unethical treatment of workers in the comic book “industry” isn’t something that I will tackle very often on this site, but I felt there should be at least something said. All superhero comics, including Batman books, are the products of many different creative minds, but in the end it is the corporate bigwigs, publishers, and editors that control the characters and the worlds in which they live—even if most of the time these said bigwigs, publishers, and editors have contributed little or nothing towards either. Thus, from a narratological perspective, innovation and strong continuity or story development are tough things to achieve in the capitalist consumer-driven market. It’s a sad state of affairs, and probably a topic of discussion for another venue, but it is interesting to see how the hierarchical dynamics of the mainstream superhero comic book genre directly affect how story and character are shaped.  On the other hand, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, I love comics.  And without Disney, Warner Bros, and other conglomerates, my favorite characters and stories would not exist in the forms they do today.  Plus, it is my wholehearted belief that comic book art and stories, despite everything (and despite what Alan Moore says), are evolving for the better every year!  So, as you can see, the complexity of the issue only gets more complicated as you peel back layer after layer.
  2. [2] COLLIN COLSHER: For the intents and purposes of this project, I will refer to the classical comic book ages that are born from line-wide continuity reboots—the GOLDEN AGE, the SILVER AGE, the MODERN AGE, and NEW AGE. One can also split the Modern Age into subsections: The early years of the Modern Age in the late 1980s being the IRON AGE, DARK AGE, or COPPER AGE where comics became more “adult-themed” and darker in general; the CHROMIUM AGE or IMAGE AGE of the 1990s, named after Image Comics and the subsequent style that permeated all companies in that decade—which was then followed by the bubble bursting in 1996 and the steady decline of the industry for five years until…; the DYNAMIC AGE of the 2000s where DC and Marvel began branching out with more forward-looking, diverse storytelling by contracted big-name talents; and 2011 DC, with its huge New 52 reboot, and 2012 Marvel, with its NOW! reboot, both spawning the NEW AGE of comics (as I like to call it). Both DC and Marvel ushered in the New Age around this time with a re-purposed focus on nostalgia, even darker themes, decompressed continuity, and mega event crossovers. Since the New Age really won’t be officially categorized until after its has ended, it currently has several different names, such as: The NEW GOLDEN AGE (as claimed by Douglas Wolk); the PRISMATIC AGE (as defined by Andrew Kunka, Grant Morrison, and the Mindless Ones blog); the BOUTIQUE AGE (as labeled by Ken Quattro); and the MEGA-CORPORATE AGE (as labeled by Charles Hatfield). But as I was emphasizing, for the purposes of this site, these subdivisions and alternate names will be ignored.
  3. [3] TRAVIS HEDGE COKE

43 Responses to Welcome!

  1. Jeff Richardson says:

    I know you haven’t started Golden/ Silver or DCnU timelines, was just wondering your thoughts on the Bronze age?

    • cac641 says:

      The Bronze Age isn’t really a storyline era; it’s more of a “tone shift” that occurred in the mid 70s. Basically, the last ten years of the Silver Age could be considered the Bronze Age–a transition from the PG look and feel of comics in the 60s to the more mature, dark, brooding look and feel of comics in the 80s (before the Modern Age begins in 1986). There were no reboots or relaunches associated with the beginnings of the Bronze Age–storylines remained intact and were ongoing at the time. The stories simply grew darker, more socially relevant, edgier, and more violent, especially with the works of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams on Batman.

      So, the Bronze Age is great! I’m not ignoring it; it just doesn’t have its own list since technically it’s a part of the Earth-One universe timeline.

      –Collin C

      • Jeff Richardson says:

        Will you be implementing the Bronze Age stories into the end of the Silver Age timeline? I was also looking things over on the Modern Age timeline and didn’t see a consistent batch of the Batman and the Outsiders series? I saw the first few issues included but then nothing until the issues ranging in the 30′s? Is Batman not featured in between or are the stories just out of continuity?

        • Collin Colsher says:

          The Bronze Age will end the Silver Age, yes. And I include a footnote in Bat-Year Ten that directly addresses the Outsiders. All of those stories coincedentally are Bronze Age tales! Anyway, the reason I only reference a few Outsiders books in Bat-year 10 is because the first 31 issues of the “Batman & The Outsiders” series (which would have fit mostly into this Bat-year) take place BEFORE “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Therefore, most of them are simply pre-”Crisis” reference materials. As far as I’ve found, only the few issues I’ve listed are the stories that have been canonically referenced in the Modern Age of comics. Issue #32 (in Bat-Year 11) is technically the first post-”Crisis” Outsiders story.

  2. Jeff Richardson says:

    Do you have a section of the site where you let us know about any updates or revisions? I can’t find one on here or the blog? I saw the current Golden/ Silver Age lists, but am unsure as to when it receives updates. This’d be especially good when you add in the few remaining stories into the Modern Age (such as Kevin Smith stories, JLA inter company crossovers, etc).

  3. Collin Colsher says:

    Coming soon, Jeff!

  4. Chris Barr says:

    I just wanted to take a second to thank you for what you are doing here. I’ve been attempting to read Batman chronologically, and your site(s) have proven invaluable in my collector hunts. Cheers!

  5. Evan Hyjurick says:

    Collin, thanks so much for all the hard work you’ve put into your site. I’ve been a big Batman fan for years and am finally getting a good collection of comics together. Great to be able to reference this chronology to see where those comics fit in the scheme of things.

  6. Goodonyou says:

    I love the site. I have a suggestion though: Arrows at the top or bottom of every page to go to the next year of stories. For example, in year six, there would be a back arrow that would bring you to year five and a forward arrow to take you to year seven.

    I know it’s minor but I think it would help. Thanks again for all the hard work!

  7. Boosterrific says:

    I just discovered this site, and I love it. I chronicle Booster Gold appearances, and those alone can be daunting. Ordering Batman appearance is a Sisyphean task, indeed, but you are making it look effortless. Thanks for making the effort.

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Thanks for the support! Your website is pretty amazing too. Booster Gold is (and always has been) one of my favorite characters in the DCU. I’ll post a link to your page up on here.

  8. Monster Zero says:

    Longtime fan here, and when I first heard about the New 52 my thoughts turned to you and what it was going to mean for the BCP! Good to see you’ve been able to survive this DC-inflicted madness :)

    I’m running a Catwoman scripted fiction project, and the BCP has been an invaluable resource as we develop plots and storylines for that, so just wanted to say thanks and see you when the new site is up and running.

  9. Steve says:

    Hope you’re still working on this! It’s been a while since you updated… ok not a while BUT almost 2 months!

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your concern. I work on the site EVERY DAY! See the Golden Age for details. I will be tackling the New Age (New 52) very soon. Very, very soon.

      –CC

      • Steve says:

        Gotcha! I keep looking at the updates section to see if anything has changed. I supposed I don’t really follow the golden age section since it’s not a part of Batman’s history that I’m into currently… maybe sometime in the future though. Thanks again for all the hard work… Hope you’re enjoying the new Batman stories in the new 52 as much as I am!

      • Chip says:

        I know the new 52 will be tricky, since they’re saying that post-Crisis stuff “sort of” happened prior to Batman #1.

        Do you think that maybe some of the continuity issues in the last couple of years of post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint could be eased by moving some of those stories over to new 52 continuity? Basically, I’m looking at Snyder’s Detective run, and how the Gordons’ backstory got butchered. (Great story, but certain details just didn’t fit.)

        • Collin Colsher says:

          Moving stories from the Modern Age to the New 52 Age certainly would ease some of the inconsistent continuity issues of the former. However, I personally would never take the liberty of entertaining such a radical practice. The stories of the Modern Age were meant to take place in the Modern Age (including Scott Snyder’s “Detective” run). The only things that I will place in the New 52 Age will be stories from the New 52 Age AND any references to past tales from previous epochs–but bear in mind, even those references will be notated simply as references, and NOT the actual complete issues from before. Not sure that answers your question, Chip, but that’s pretty much how I’ve been operating in regard to my chronologies, so that is my mentality when it comes to the transition between Modern and New.

  10. Chip says:

    I love this site, and it’s a great resource, even for people developing their own chronology of Batman that may not fully match up to yours. As I alluded to in another post, I’m creating my own Batman collection/chronology without using Long Halloween and Dark Victory. They are fine stories, and I like them, but they do prevent a lot of other stories from fitting in, or cause some awkward placement. (Look at the Unofficial DCU Chronology site…he has both stories compressed down to a couple of months and moving scenes all around.)

    So, I might post a comment from time to time asking why an issue might not fit exactly. If you say issue x can’t fit because it contradicts issue y, but I don’t include issue y in my Batman collection, then maybe I could work issue x into it.

  11. dcjokerz17 says:

    It’s a good site with lots of info, but i don’t like your placement of The Long Halloween, you’ve placed it in year 3/4 when it should be in year 2/3, otherwise keep building up this chronology.

    • Collin Colsher says:

      “The Long Halloween” was originally written as the direct follow-up to Frank Miller’s “Year One.” So, originally, it was meant to (and can be read to) take place in Year Two or Year Three. However, the vast voluminousness of Batman “early year stories” spewed forth by DC in the 90s and 00s required the alteration, retconning, or shuffling around of several tales (including “The Long Halloween”) in order to fit with verisimilitude and make the Modern Age chronology capacious enough to withstand it all without continuity errors. You’ll undoubtedly find many comic books on my version of Batman’s Modern Age that are supposed to take place at a certain juncture, but I have fitted them into different spots to make a more legitimate and accurate timeline. Hopefully, I have added footnotes or made mention of such changes throughout the chronology.

  12. Rohan says:

    Is it possible to somehow include major story arcs from the post-crisis DC universe into this chronology? This basically means including issues that do not necessarily have Batman appearing in them like “Superman for all Seasons” and “Green Arrow: Year One” and also missing issues from “The Death and Return of Superman”.

    • Collin Colsher says:

      It is definitely possible–see Chris Miller’s amazing and profoundly seminal work over at the Unauthorized Chronology of the DC Universe (http://dcu.smartmemes.com/). However, I really am just focusing on Batman here. I even omit Bat Family titles if the Caped Crusader fails to appear. It’s not a knock to the other characters; but to add a handful of “major story-arcs” into this chronology would be hard because I feel you either need to pick one character (as I have done) or do a comprehensive all-encompassing list of the whole DCU. Who am I to say what story-arcs are the most important? If I were to begin adding other stories, then it would be wrong of me to leave others out. I do try, though, to add important event items that affect the whole DCU. Maybe I will add a series of footnotes including pertinent info about the goings-on during the “Death and Return of Superman,” “Green Arrow: Year One,” and “Superman For All Seasons.”

      Thanks for your input and comment!

  13. Allie says:

    Hi Collin,

    Would there be any way to put a note in your chronology listings as to what collected edition (if any) a comic book in question belongs? As I’m not hugely knowledgable about comics, it’d be great to know what graphic novel/book that, say, Batman 536 belongs to when I’m following the chronology.
    Thanks so much for establishing and maintaining this site and blog – I’d long been looking for something that could give me direction as to where to start with Batman comics when I stumbled across TRBCP. It’s been very informing and helpful, keep up the great work!

    -Allie

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Dear Allie,

      Thanks so much for the kind words and your continued support of the site! I’ve had a lot of requests lately, among them: adding a downloadable version of the quick lists and making the whole site more navigable in general. Your suggestion is a good one as well, and one that I will add to the list. It’s tough maintaining everything solo, but hopefully in the months to come I can start to take care of some of this business.

      Trade Reading Order is a faaaantastic site that lists just about every single trade/collected edition that has ever been published and also gives the info regarding which issues are in which books. In the meantime (before and changes are likely to be seen on my site) I’d suggest perusing over there for some info regarding this specific topic. If and when I do add trade/collected edition information to TRBCP it will likely come straight from that source.

      Take care, Allie. And again, thank you!

      –CC

  14. I’m curious, do you own all of the bat titles, if not how do you go about taking care of all the placement and so on and so fourth?

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Having been a collector for quite a while now (and having had family members that collected for years) I own nearly 100% of the Batman corpus from the Modern Age, which allowed me to complete the Modern Age section mostly from reading actual physical comic book issues and trades. Of course, I don’t have much of the Golden or Silver/Bronze Age stuff–if I did I’d be a millionaire. Thus, torrent downloads of cbr and cbz files are my outlet there. I hope I’m not exposing myself as an illegal downloader, but really the only way to get your hands on some of the older stuff is via digital downloads. That being said, I do try my best to purchase (or borrow) some of the Sunday/Dailies trades and Golden Age Batman trades that have been released when I can. Currently, economic times are rough (as we all know) and it’s hard to make ends meet, but I haul my ass over to the comic shop and am able to gather the issues I need for the New 52 stuff.

  15. tiptupjr94 says:

    “Don’t call it a relaunch”

    Why is everyone hellbent on destroying this term? What’s wrong with calling it a relaunch?

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Nothing is wrong with calling it a relaunch. However, the term became maligned in mid 2011 when Dan Didio et al at DC refused to release the details of the upcoming big changes and went so far as to deny that it was a company-wide reboot. As a part of their denial, DC higher-ups were the first to use the word “relaunch” and stress that the September switch to the New 52 was “definitely not a reboot.” As I recall, someone at DC even stated that it wouldn’t even be a “soft-reboot.” BUT, of course the New 52 (for better or worse–personally I like it so far) has been a complete overhaul a la post Crisis on Infinite Earths or the dawn of the Silver Age.

      Hope that explains it a little bit. There’s nothing wrong with the term “relaunch.” It’s the association of that terminology with the lack of complete honesty on the part of DC bigwigs that caused such a negative backlash against it.

  16. Donovan says:

    Just a quick question regarding the website. Do you intend to be covering others within the bat family like you have on your blog? Or are just sticking with the titles that Bruce Wayne has appeared in. You may have managed it offhand somewhere, but I haven’t seen anything. Anyways, great work.

    Oh and as a clarification, I’m talking about the New Age.

    • Collin Colsher says:

      I have been and will continue building the New Age (New 52) chronology based upon the same parameters that I used for constructing the Golden and Modern Age timelines. To clarify, the Modern Age chronology on the blog is the same chronology virtually cut and pasted onto the website. I try not to include any issues that do not include a Batman appearance or reference. That being said, some items are just too damn important to the whole DCU or to the Bat Family to leave out. Thus, those things will be included in some way, shape, or form. If you are interested in the complete arcs of Batwoman, Batgirl, or Nightwing, you’ll just have to turn elsewhere–those issues will not be included if Batman is not directly involved. Luckily, there are a bunch of websites popping up that have been detailing the arcs of other Bat Family members in the New Age–I’m thinking specifically of Aussie Nightwriter’s fantastic Dick Grayson timeline at Dick Grayson Biography.

      Of course, if you have any concerns, questions, or just want to chat, I’m always available! Thanks for your support, Donovan.

      Best,

      Collin C

      • Donovan says:

        Thanks Collin, that pretty well answers my question. I was more thinking to the latter years of the initial Modern Age timeline when there were mentions of Red Robin and Stephanie Brown, along with other books involved with the Bat Family, but I figure without Bruce being around, there were many references about him floating around within each of those books including Batman & Robin, Detective Comics, and the good ole’ Bat Book. Anyways, thanks again for taking your time to respond.

  17. Elliot says:

    Have you considered trying to fit the Batman/Judge Dredd crossovers (Judgement on Gotham, Vendetta in Gotham, The Ultimate Riddle, and Die Laughing) into the chronology? The Ultimate Riddle, the third crossover, refers briefly to Zero Hour, an event which, if I’m not mistaken, occurred only in the “Earth-Prime” reality of the DC Multiverse.

    • Collin Colsher says:

      I hadn’t simply because I haven’t read them. As a big fan of both Batman and old 2000AD stuff, you’d think I would have at some point. But I will look into them. It seems like the Dredd/Batman crossovers make it very clear that the Judges are jumping through time and space from an alternate Earth/dimension to arrive in Gotham. If that is the case (and we ignore some of the unorthodox renditions of certain characters by artists) then I don’t see why we can’t squeeze these tales in. So keep your eyes peeled!

  18. Jonathan Davis says:

    I am reading through your Modern age timeline in its entirety, introductions and all. Post Frank Miller “Batman” is the version of the character that interests me the most, compared to Gold/Silver.

    I understand how certain stories become non-canonical when chronologically-erroneous name-dropping occurs (i.e. Two-Face mentioned at a point in time before he could possibly exist). That much makes sense, although you do seem pretty loose with the instances that you inform the reader to “ignore” these mentionings and those instances which wipe the story from canon altogether. No big deal.

    What I need help with is the following: I don’t understand how the significance of Batman’s suit symbol can make an otherwise “fine” story into one that is non-canonical. Obviously, the suit design is not simply “artistic choice” and is evidence as to something. Is there a chronology/canonicity for the suit designs? Do you have an article detailing this? This would help me a bunch.

    • I usually advise the reader to ignore the incorrect costume if it is drawn in a flashback sequence because it most often means the error was simply made by the artist or writer (as opposed to a non-flashback story deliberately written in “current time” narrative style that gets it definitively wrong)—if that makes any sense. It is a bit confusing, I know. Let me try to explain it in another way. Here is a specific random example: Gotham Knights #43 occurs in Year 18—it absolutely has to for various reasons including publication date, in-story factors, numbering, etc… In this issue there is a flashback, which must be canon since it effetcs a canon issue and is shown in a canon issue. This flashback shows a retired Batgirl take a new Jason Todd Robin out on patrol at the behest of Batman to psychoanalyze him and test his physical capabilities. It also tells us that Joker breaks out of Arkham and foreshadows that he will soon do terrible things to both Babs and Jason. Therefore, this flashback has to take place in Year Eleven, relatively close to the events of Killing Joke and “Death in the Family.” However, by this point, Batman is wearing his yellow-oval costume, and yet in this flashback he has his black bat insignia! Thus, this becomes a prime instance of a canonical flashback where we must ignore the incorrect costume.

      As far as how the significance of Batman’s costume can make an otherwise “fine” story into a non-canonical story, it all depends. Usually, there is something more going on than simply the costume to make it non-canon. If you have specific questions about specific tales in mind, I’d be happy to answer questions regarding them. Shoot me an e-mail at therealbatmanchronologyproject.com if you do have any queries.

      And for the Modern Age there is definitely a chronology/canonicity for the Dark Knight’s suit designs. Batman’s costume definitively goes through many changes, in this order: The black insignia costume with gray tights, the yellow-oval with gray tights, the yellow-oval with black tights, back to the black insignia with gray tights, then the raised-yellow oval with gray tights. Of course, the switch from the original costume to the yellow insignia has had many different time placements and been retconned a bunch, but it always signaled the transition from the Golden Age to the Silver Age. So for the Modern Age, the yellow-oval is kinda-sorta linked to the inception of the Teen Titans. For the intents and purposes of my chronology, everything pre-Titans era is original costume. Following that (in Year Seven) is the yellow-oval period. After “Knight’s End” and returning from the Bane affair, Batman dons an all black (with yellow-oval) ensemble at the end of the “Prodigal” story-arc (in Year Fourteen). He will rock this look until the end of “No Man’s Land,” at which point he returns to his original costume design (in Year Sixteen). When Batman returns from his jaunt through time and starts Batman Inc (in Year Twenty-Two), he will switch to a raised yellow-oval symbol on gray set of togs.

      And Jonathan, always remember, this is a suggested chronology. There can never really be the exact dead-on version. Everyone is free to mold their own timeline and pick and choose as they see fit. But hopefully, this is as close as anyone has ever gotten (and ever will)! And hopefully this is the numero uno reference point for any other lists out there!

  19. Andy Smith says:

    I was intrigued to read about your take on the costume/insignia and its effect on chronology and canonicity (probably not a real word but you know what I mean). I agree that it’s undoubtedly a useful indicator for story placement, especially where other evidence is lacking. However, my take is that any individual book (and by extension any individual panel) is just a representation of the “reality” of the DC Universe (whichever one it happens to be). For instance, I’ve been reading “Wargames” in order, and the change in art styles between, say, “Detective” and “Batgirl” is dramatic – in one, Batgirl (Cassandra) looks like the perviest thing you’ve ever seen, and in the other she looks cute as a button. Both issues are clearly canonical (at least within the overall arc) despite one or both clearly not representing “reality”. The characters obviously don’t live their “real” lives as a series of static images with bubbles coming out of their mouths. I think of it like Julius Schwartz channelling the original Flash and turning his adventures into a comic which was read by Barry Allen (which was a stroke of storytelling genius in my opinion, decades before everyone was dropping the word “postmodern” into every conversation). We’re not seeing a reality, but a retelling/reinterpretation of that reality.
    Factual/timeline inconsistencies are a different issue, and I appreciate your point that the costume alone isn’t usually enough to discount a story. However, I don’t think an inconsistency (or a downright error) should necessarily discount a story from canon either. For instance, I’m a fan of Doctor Who, mainly the original 26-year run (I’m going to assume you’re not familiar with it; if you are then you probably know where this is going…) Clearly every story that was shown on TV during that run is canon; removing almost any given story would have a house of cards effect on the rest (arguments will rage for eternity over whether to include the hundreds of books, comics, audio plays etc). However, there are massive inconsistencies within just the TV show which make it impossible for events to all have happened as shown. For instance, in a mid-seventies story a certain character is clearly established as being a high-ranking officer in a UN military organisation in 1980, but in a mid-eighties story is seen retired from the military and visibly older in 1977. Theoretically you could pretend that the later story doesn’t count and never happened because a different production team made a mistake (or wilfully ignored continuity for the sake of telling their story) , but the fact remains that at the time of production both the stories were meant to be part of the ongoing tale (and it can be argued that it was in fact the earlier of the two stories that got it wrong). There are whole books dedicated to trying to resolve this and many other problems, and they all fail (or at least cheat outrageously). The only truly workable explanation is that we are seeing an interpretation of a different reality, not that reality itself. There are endless other examples; Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has a handful of timeline problems, but it all still counts; the New Testament has two very contradictory accounts of the birth of Jesus, but are both considered canonical (which is I think is where the term originates); any TV or film series that has recast a character has a problem akin to that of a change in art style; Dr No and Skyfall can’t both be about the “real” James Bond, but both are unquestionably canon.
    So I suppose my argument is that unless a story is clearly meant or stated to be outside of continuity, then why not include it? Point out any issues with continuity, and if it can’t be explained or retconned away, then it can be put down to an error on the part of the creatives who reinterpreted the events of the DC Universe(s) for those of us unfortunate enough to live in the real one. My final point is that whatever your intentions people will use your work as a reading guide (I know I do); to that end it makes sense to me to throw out as little as possible.
    Anyway, feel free to completely ignore my little essay and keep up the great work. Been getting into comics and Batman specifically after a long break (I used to rely on http://dcu.smartmemes.com/index.html to help me make sense of it all but he’s stopped unfortunately).

    • Dear Andy,

      Thanks for your support and kind words! I would never ignore such a well-thought out and insightful comment. And as far as “The Unauthorized Chronology of the DCU” goes, it was originally my primary source when I started this mess five years ago. (I’ve corresponded with site author Chris Miller before as well—I believe he stopped because he is in the process of getting his PhD).

      As I always say, continuity is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. We all create our own personal continuities and the beautiful thing is that we can never really be wrong. I’ve tried to include as many stories as possible—I agree with you when you say that all stories that aren’t explicitly meant to be out-of-continuity should therefore be IN-continuity. I’ve tried to stick to that concept while building my timelines, although my natural stubbornness probably has a significant effect in what gets left in and left out. I’m sure others are more willing to accept stories as canon—ones which I haven’t, while others still are upset with the stories I have chosen to include.

      It’s funny you mention Skyfall too. Skyfall is the perfect example of everything I love about comics—seamlessly folding in bits of old continuity into new continuity, meshing an older version of a character’s history with the new. Except in this case, the problem (for me) with Skyfall is that it isn’t a comic book, it’s a movie, and one which I had always regarded the same way Alan Moore playfully does—as a chain of decidedly different British agents “filling the Bond role” over time. The Broccoli family seemed to quietly share that same view for decades, until the Craig films, of course. That’s precisely why Skyfall was so amazing yet baffling and frustrating for me. You are absolutely right, the very smarmy Scottish Bond seen in Dr. No who drives the trick-gun-equipped Aston Martin could never in a billion years be the ice cold decidedly not-Scottish badass from Casino Royale. And yet they are one and the same thanks to Skyfall! I’m digressing a bit (or a lot) here, but the Skyfall example is something so intrinsically linked to narratological issues stemming from comic book type continuity, I’m surprised there aren’t more write-ups about it.

      Anyway, thanks for taking the time to say hi and to give a wonderful piece of your mind. Not sure if this has been an adequate response, but I hope it is!

      Best,

      Collin C

      PS. Canonicity is indeed a REAL word and one I use far, far too often!

      • Andy Smith says:

        Cheers Collin – thanks for the kind words also, and your considered response.
        You’re right about Skyfall (and the Craig films generally) as they do somewhat scupper the fan favourite theory. No one really minds because everyone liked the movie – I suspect if it had been terrible lots of fans would be declaring it a non-canonical abomination. But of course you can’t use quality as an indicator (and I’m glad to see that you don’t, tempting as it must be at times).
        But you’re right – canon is whatever you want it to be, there are no rules apart from the ones you impose on yourself. The great thing about very long running series is that there will always be bits you love and bits you hate, bits that you think count and bits that don’t. And if you find yourself spending time thinking about it all (and in your case writing about it), then you’ve found something you love and find interesting and helps make you happy, which can be no bad thing.
        Andy

  20. Elliot says:

    Have you given any thought toward trying to fit in the Dark Horse crossovers with Aliens and Predator? You did a great job at fitting in the crossovers with Judge Dredd and Marvel Comics.

    • Hi Elliot. While the Judge Dredd and Marvel crossovers both distinctly explain and show that the respective crossovers are happening as a result of some interdimensional transfer/cosmic scy-fy device within their narratives, the Dark Horse crossovers do not. In contrast, all the Batman vs Predator/Alien story arcs are written as though the Predators/Aliens exist in the same shared universe as Batman. Of course, this is not true.

      Aliens, Predator, Grendel, Hellboy, The Ghost, Terminator, The Mask, SpyBoy, and even Tarzan have all crossed-over with DC characters, but these crossovers were all meant to occur out-of-the continuities of both DC and Dark Horse proper—with special exceptions of course (in the pages of Grendel, for example, Batman’s breaking of Grendel’s arm is canon). Don’t forget, unlike Image, Marvel, or DC, Dark Horse functions less as “a model for an interweaving multiverse” and more of a general corporate publishing umbrella, handling multiple character properties more like a regular book company rather than like a superhero comic book company. Furthermore, Batman vs Predator (and its various sequels and spinoffs) are all considered non-canon according to AlienVersusPredator Wikia, ComicVine, and Poe Ghostal’s popular blog. But if that isn’t good enough for ya, try this. In the first book (from which all the others spawn from), the Mayor of Gotham is killed by a Predator, something that definitely can’t be canon in the DCU. Hope that clears things up!

  21. Zachary Freeman says:

    Hi there,

    I have been trying to locate video of the original 1999 premiere of Batman Beyond. Just before the show began there was a short introduction video containing video from the Tim Burton movies as well as video from the animated series. There was a naration that went something like this “Hero, Legend.. for years….. tonight Kids WB takes you into the future…”

    I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me in finding this video. I thought you might be exactly the person to ask.

    all the best
    Zach

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