The Great Disaster” is an epic tale spanning many titles and manu years in the DC Universe. The stories in this volume are presented in chronological order within the DCU’s timeline rather than in the order of the issues’ original release dates. In addition, the stories are organized in five sections:

PRE-DISASTER WARNINGS
THE DAY AFTER DOOMSDAY
TALES OF THE ATOMIC KNIGHTS
THE GODS RETURN
MORE TALES OF THE POST-APOCALYPTIC WORLD
ALTERNATE ENDINGS

Happily for me, the collection includes “Costume, Costume, Who’s got the Costume” from Superman #295, a tie-in to Kamandi #29, often mentioned on this board but which I have never read. The collection highlights the Atomic Knights, but I’m not so hip about that because DC released a hardcover “DC Classics” edition of that material in color a couple of years ago, but I am pleased to see DC entire Hercules series under a single cover and presented in this context. Oddly (I thought), Jack Kirby’s Atlas was included in the “God’s Return” section, but I always imagined that to have taken place in an imaginary past (like Conan), rather than an imaginary future.

Obviously I haven’t read this yet since it shipped only yesterday, but I thought a detailed description of the contents might sway someone on the fence. This will be my weekend project, at least the “Pre-Disaster Warnings” section.

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I’ve changed my mind about not leading (or at least contributing to) this discussion. There’s enough interest, so why not? Over the weekend I read all of the “Day After Doomsday” stories and Superman #295. The initial three-part story was written by Sheldon Mayer and drawn by Alfredo Alcala in his distinctive style. It dealt with a man from 700 years in the future magically transported back to 1974. The rest of the stories were mainly two-pager standalones with a twist.

Superman #295 was not exactly what I was expecting. I don’t know what I was expecting, but [SPOILER] it was about a Green Lantern (named “Xenofobe” of all things) from the future who masqueraded as Father Time in order to give Superman the opportunity to ensure the LSH future might come to pass. [END SPOILER] By the end of the story, either the Kamandi or the LSH future might come to pass, but the critical year given was 1986.

Cap is right that these stories originally weren’t tied together (not even Kirby’s OMAC and Kamandi), but Jimmm is correct that Paul Levitz did attempt to tie them all together in an article in The Amazing World of DC Comics (and yes, that article is included in the edition under discussion). Did Crisis on Infinite Earths grow out of this attempt to rectify these two (or more) alternate futures?

I plan to skip the Atomic Knights stories at this time because I have read them fairly recently, so if anyone else wants to discuss them, consider them fair game. When I next revisit this discussion (in a week or so, I expect), it will be to discuss Hercules Unchained.

I'll take care of the Atomic Knights discussion.

Ahem. "The Atomic Knights were ridiculous." Thank you. Next!

I've read only one of their stories and thought it was silly, and I was in elementary school at the time.

Even children know that 16th century plate armor won't protect you from radiation!


Jeff of Earth-J said:

I’ve changed my mind about not leading (or at least contributing to) this discussion. There’s enough interest, so why not? Over the weekend I read all of the “Day After Doomsday” stories and Superman #295. The initial three-part story was written by Sheldon Mayer and drawn by Alfredo Alcala in his distinctive style. It dealt with a man from 700 years in the future magically transported back to 1974. The rest of the stories were mainly two-pager standalones with a twist.

Superman #295 was not exactly what I was expecting. I don’t know what I was expecting, but [SPOILER] it was about a Green Lantern (named “Xenofobe” of all things) from the future who masqueraded as Father Time in order to give Superman the opportunity to ensure the LSH future might come to pass. [END SPOILER] By the end of the story, either the Kamandi or the LSH future might come to pass, but the critical year given was 1986.

Cap is right that these stories originally weren’t tied together (not even Kirby’s OMAC and Kamandi), but Jimmm is correct that Paul Levitz did attempt to tie them all together in an article in The Amazing World of DC Comics (and yes, that article is included in the edition under discussion). Did Crisis on Infinite Earths grow out of this attempt to rectify these two (or more) alternate futures?

I plan to skip the Atomic Knights stories at this time because I have read them fairly recently, so if anyone else wants to discuss them, consider them fair game. When I next revisit this discussion (in a week or so, I expect), it will be to discuss Hercules Unchained.


Are the "Day After Doomsday" stories connected to each other or are they just random backups that Levitz decided to try and tie together later?

The article that Levitz did for AWODCC was part of a series by the Woodchucks (including Mark Gruenwald) as they attempted to explain away all the loopy problems with DC continuity. These were never really admitted as the last word on continuity--just exercises in fanboy obsession.

Cap is right that the stories didn't originally fit together--but given that these articles came out in the '70s as more stories were being published, fans like me did take these articles under advisement. The beauty of DC was that you didn't have to accept one version of continuity. There were infinite possible continuities.

The Maggin story in SUPERMAN 295 reminds me of the kind of stories that appeared in Weisinger's hay day. The way that different actors in the Superman universe show up to play a part in a grand deception would make Mort happy (if Mort really ever was happy). I wouldn't be surprised if that was on ESM's mind when he concocted the whole mishegoss.

Science didn't make sense in most of those stories. Like the aliens that could only be stopped by old WWI wooden planes which I think was in the same issue.

It was the dogs I had the most trouble accepting. Somehow giant dalmations don't look very heroic.

Jimmm Kelly: "There were infinite possible continuities."

But then came Crisis which told us that was a bad thing and we'd be happier with only one. Since then they've tried to fix things how many times? I really think they need to just reboot to before the Anti-Monitor showed up and pretend the last 19 years didn't happen. If they thought the Multiverse was confusing they should have just ordered no crossing over of dimensions until further notice and forbid stories taking place anywhere other than Earth-1 for a year or two while they looked into the problem. Or at least keep Earth-2. Toss anybody that doesn't fit into Earth-1 (Shazam, Freedom Fighters, Plastic Man, etc.) and make it clear whether stories took place on Earth 1 or Earth 2. I remember a Batman story in Brave and Bold that seemed to be about the Earth-1 Batman in some parts and the Earth-2 version in others, forming a weird Earth-1.5 version.



Ron M. said:

Jimmm Kelly: "There were infinite possible continuities."

But then came Crisis which told us that was a bad thing and we'd be happier with only one. Since then they've tried to fix things how many times? I really think they need to just reboot to before the Anti-Monitor showed up and pretend the last 19 years didn't happen. If they thought the Multiverse was confusing they should have just ordered no crossing over of dimensions until further notice and forbid stories taking place anywhere other than Earth-1 for a year or two while they looked into the problem. Or at least keep Earth-2. Toss anybody that doesn't fit into Earth-1 (Shazam, Freedom Fighters, Plastic Man, etc.) and make it clear whether stories took place on Earth 1 or Earth 2. I remember a Batman story in Brave and Bold that seemed to be about the Earth-1 Batman in some parts and the Earth-2 version in others, forming a weird Earth-1.5 version.


Yes! I like to think that the Monitor and Anti Monitor immediately killed eaxh other as soon as the came into existence. DC, however, decided to document an alternate timeline in which they lived and mucked everything up.

The “Day After Doomsday” stories were part of an unconnected series of back-ups which appeared in subsequent issues of… Weird War Tales, I think. One of them set up the old trope of the last man on Earth meeting the last woman of Earth. He introduces himself as “Adam” (what else?), and she replies, “Glad to meet you. My name is Gertrude.”

You might be thinking of the Batman/Wildcat crossovers. There were two of them, I think. They definitely had the Earth-1 Batman, but at the time Wildcat was strictly Earth-2, so those stories had fans like me scratching our tiny heads. Years later I found out why they existed: Bob Haney was a boxing fan, so he liked writing Wildcat. He just ignored the whole Earth-1/Earth-2 thing, because it got in his way.

Ron M. said:

Jimmm Kelly: "There were infinite possible continuities."

But then came Crisis which told us that was a bad thing and we'd be happier with only one. Since then they've tried to fix things how many times? I really think they need to just reboot to before the Anti-Monitor showed up and pretend the last 19 years didn't happen. If they thought the Multiverse was confusing they should have just ordered no crossing over of dimensions until further notice and forbid stories taking place anywhere other than Earth-1 for a year or two while they looked into the problem. Or at least keep Earth-2. Toss anybody that doesn't fit into Earth-1 (Shazam, Freedom Fighters, Plastic Man, etc.) and make it clear whether stories took place on Earth 1 or Earth 2. I remember a Batman story in Brave and Bold that seemed to be about the Earth-1 Batman in some parts and the Earth-2 version in others, forming a weird Earth-1.5 version.

That's probably it. I vaguely remember Batman having memories of something that suggested Earth-2 (WWII maybe?) My memory is really terrible.

I see I made a typo above. I meant to say toss Shazam, Freedom Fighters, Plastic Man, etc. onto Earth-2, because none of those people belong on Earth-1, not just toss them away. Although I'd really prefer the Marvel Family in their own universe with the other Fawcett characters. I stopped buying their comics after what they did to Mary.

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