DC Comics
Overview
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic book
American comic book
An American comic book is a small magazine originating in the United States and containing a narrative in the form of comics. Since 1975 the dimensions have standardized at 6 5/8" x 10 ¼" , down from 6 ¾" x 10 ¼" in the Silver Age, although larger formats appeared in the past...

s and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner
Time Warner
Time Warner is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc...

. DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

, Batman
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

, Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is a DC Comics superheroine created by William Moulton Marston. She first appeared in All Star Comics #8 . The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986....

, Robin
Robin (comics)
Robin is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, as a junior counterpart to DC Comics superhero Batman...

, Aquaman
Aquaman
Aquaman is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73 . Initially a backup feature in DC's anthology titles, Aquaman later starred in several volumes of a solo title...

, Nightwing
Nightwing
Nightwing is a name that has been used by several fictional characters in the DC Comics Universe. It was conceived as a Kryptonian analogue to the character of Batman, with Nightwing's frequent partner Flamebird based on Robin...

, Green Arrow
Green Arrow
Green Arrow is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His secret identity is Oliver Queen, billionaire and former mayor of fictional Star City...

, Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter
The Martian Manhunter is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in publications published by DC Comics. Created by writer Joseph Samachson and artist Joe Certa, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #225...

, Green Lantern
Green Lantern
The Green Lantern is the shared primary alias of several fictional characters, superheroes appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The first Green Lantern was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Martin Nodell in All-American Comics #16 .Each Green Lantern possesses a power ring and...

, and the Flash
Flash (comics)
The Flash is a name shared by several fictional comic book superheroes from the DC Comics universe. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the original Flash first appeared in Flash Comics #1 ....

, and such superhero teams as the Justice Society
Justice Society of America
The Justice Society of America, or JSA, is a DC Comics superhero group, the first team of superheroes in comic book history. Conceived by editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox, the JSA first appeared in All Star Comics #3 ....

, the Justice League
Justice League
The Justice League, also called the Justice League of America or JLA, is a fictional superhero team that appears in comic books published by DC Comics....

 and the Teen Titans, and such antagonists as Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics, and the archenemy of Superman, although given his high status as a supervillain, he has also come into conflict with Batman and other superheroes in the DC Universe. Created by Jerry Siegel and...

, the Joker
Joker (comics)
The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain published by DC Comics. He is the archenemy of Batman, having been directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin...

, the Riddler
Riddler
The Riddler is a fictional character, a comic book character and supervillain published by DC Comics, and an enemy of Batman. Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #140 ....

, Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze, real name Dr. Victor Fries , is a DC Comics supervillain, an enemy of Batman. Created by Bob Kane, he first appeared in Batman #121 ....

, Bane
Bane (comics)
Bane is a fictional character who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 , and was created by Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Graham Nolan. Bane has been one of Batman's more physically and intellectually powerful foes...

, Catwoman
Catwoman
Catwoman is a fictional character associated with DC Comics' Batman franchise. Historically a supervillain, the character was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, partially inspired by Kane's cousin, Ruth Steel...

, Sinestro
Sinestro
Thaal Sinestro is a fictional character, an alien supervillain in the DC Comics Universe. Created by John Broome and Gil Kane, Sinestro is the former mentor of Hal Jordan and the arch-nemesis of the entire Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro first appears in Green Lantern #7 . In 2009, Sinestro was...

, the Penguin, Two-Face
Two-Face
Two-Face is a fictional comic book supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. and is an enemy of Batman. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 , and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger....

, General Zod
General Zod
General Zod is a fictional character who appears in comic books published by DC Comics, a supervillain who is one of Superman's more-prominent enemies. The character first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 , and was created by Robert Bernstein and George Papp...

, Gorilla Grodd
Gorilla Grodd
Gorilla Grodd is a supervillain appearing in DC Comics, primarily as an enemy of The Flash. He debuted in Flash v.1 #106 , and was created by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino....

, Brainiac
Brainiac (comics)
Brainiac is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Action Comics #242 , and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino....

, and Darkseid
Darkseid
Darkseid is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 and was created by writer-artist Jack Kirby....

.

The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series Detective Comics
Detective Comics
Detective Comics is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics since 1937, best known for introducing the iconic superhero Batman in Detective Comics #27 . It is, along with Action Comics, the book that launched with the debut of Superman, one of the medium's signature series, and...

, which subsequently became part of the company's name.
Encyclopedia
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic book
American comic book
An American comic book is a small magazine originating in the United States and containing a narrative in the form of comics. Since 1975 the dimensions have standardized at 6 5/8" x 10 ¼" , down from 6 ¾" x 10 ¼" in the Silver Age, although larger formats appeared in the past...

s and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner
Time Warner
Time Warner is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc...

. DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

, Batman
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

, Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is a DC Comics superheroine created by William Moulton Marston. She first appeared in All Star Comics #8 . The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986....

, Robin
Robin (comics)
Robin is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, as a junior counterpart to DC Comics superhero Batman...

, Aquaman
Aquaman
Aquaman is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73 . Initially a backup feature in DC's anthology titles, Aquaman later starred in several volumes of a solo title...

, Nightwing
Nightwing
Nightwing is a name that has been used by several fictional characters in the DC Comics Universe. It was conceived as a Kryptonian analogue to the character of Batman, with Nightwing's frequent partner Flamebird based on Robin...

, Green Arrow
Green Arrow
Green Arrow is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His secret identity is Oliver Queen, billionaire and former mayor of fictional Star City...

, Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter
The Martian Manhunter is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in publications published by DC Comics. Created by writer Joseph Samachson and artist Joe Certa, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #225...

, Green Lantern
Green Lantern
The Green Lantern is the shared primary alias of several fictional characters, superheroes appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The first Green Lantern was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Martin Nodell in All-American Comics #16 .Each Green Lantern possesses a power ring and...

, and the Flash
Flash (comics)
The Flash is a name shared by several fictional comic book superheroes from the DC Comics universe. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the original Flash first appeared in Flash Comics #1 ....

, and such superhero teams as the Justice Society
Justice Society of America
The Justice Society of America, or JSA, is a DC Comics superhero group, the first team of superheroes in comic book history. Conceived by editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox, the JSA first appeared in All Star Comics #3 ....

, the Justice League
Justice League
The Justice League, also called the Justice League of America or JLA, is a fictional superhero team that appears in comic books published by DC Comics....

 and the Teen Titans, and such antagonists as Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics, and the archenemy of Superman, although given his high status as a supervillain, he has also come into conflict with Batman and other superheroes in the DC Universe. Created by Jerry Siegel and...

, the Joker
Joker (comics)
The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain published by DC Comics. He is the archenemy of Batman, having been directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin...

, the Riddler
Riddler
The Riddler is a fictional character, a comic book character and supervillain published by DC Comics, and an enemy of Batman. Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #140 ....

, Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze, real name Dr. Victor Fries , is a DC Comics supervillain, an enemy of Batman. Created by Bob Kane, he first appeared in Batman #121 ....

, Bane
Bane (comics)
Bane is a fictional character who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 , and was created by Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Graham Nolan. Bane has been one of Batman's more physically and intellectually powerful foes...

, Catwoman
Catwoman
Catwoman is a fictional character associated with DC Comics' Batman franchise. Historically a supervillain, the character was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, partially inspired by Kane's cousin, Ruth Steel...

, Sinestro
Sinestro
Thaal Sinestro is a fictional character, an alien supervillain in the DC Comics Universe. Created by John Broome and Gil Kane, Sinestro is the former mentor of Hal Jordan and the arch-nemesis of the entire Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro first appears in Green Lantern #7 . In 2009, Sinestro was...

, the Penguin, Two-Face
Two-Face
Two-Face is a fictional comic book supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. and is an enemy of Batman. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 , and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger....

, General Zod
General Zod
General Zod is a fictional character who appears in comic books published by DC Comics, a supervillain who is one of Superman's more-prominent enemies. The character first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 , and was created by Robert Bernstein and George Papp...

, Gorilla Grodd
Gorilla Grodd
Gorilla Grodd is a supervillain appearing in DC Comics, primarily as an enemy of The Flash. He debuted in Flash v.1 #106 , and was created by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino....

, Brainiac
Brainiac (comics)
Brainiac is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Action Comics #242 , and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino....

, and Darkseid
Darkseid
Darkseid is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 and was created by writer-artist Jack Kirby....

.

The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series Detective Comics
Detective Comics
Detective Comics is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics since 1937, best known for introducing the iconic superhero Batman in Detective Comics #27 . It is, along with Action Comics, the book that launched with the debut of Superman, one of the medium's signature series, and...

, which subsequently became part of the company's name. The title can be considered a redundant initialism
RAS syndrome
RAS syndrome , also known as PNS syndrome or RAP phrases , refers to the use of one or more of the words that make up an acronym or initialism in conjunction with the abbreviated form, thus in effect repeating one or more words...

. Originally in Manhattan at 432 Fourth Avenue, the DC Comics offices have been located at 480 and later 575 Lexington Avenue; 909 Third Avenue; 75 Rockefeller Plaza; 666 Fifth Avenue; and 1325 Avenue of the Americas. DC currently has its headquarters at 1700 Broadway, Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan, or simply Midtown, is an area of Manhattan, New York City home to world-famous commercial zones such as Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and Times Square...

, New York, New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

Random House
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

 distributes DC Comics' books to the bookstore market, while Diamond Comic Distributors
Diamond Comic Distributors
Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. is the largest comic book distributor serving North America. They transport comic books from both big and small comic book publishers, or suppliers, to the retailers. Diamond dominates the direct market in the United States, and has exclusive arrangements with most...

 supplies the comics shop specialty market
Direct market
The direct market is the dominant distribution and retail network for North American comic books. It consists of one dominant distributor and the majority of comics specialty stores, as well as other retailers of comic books and related merchandise...

. DC Comics and its major, longtime competitor Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 (currently owned by Time Warner's main rival The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

) together shared over 80% of the American comic-book market .

Origins

Entrepreneur Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson
Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson
Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson was an American pulp magazine writer and entrepreneur who pioneered the American comic book, publishing the first such periodical consisting solely of original material rather than reprints of newspaper comic strips...

's National Allied Publications debuted with the tabloid-sized New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 in February 1935. The company's second title, New Comics #1 (cover date December 1935), appeared in a size close to what would become comic books' standard during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books
Golden Age of Comic Books
The Golden Age of Comic Books was a period in the history of American comic books, generally thought of as lasting from the late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s...

, with slightly larger dimensions than . That title evolved into Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics was a comic book series published by DC Comics from 1935 to 1983 and then revamped from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues , making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman...

, which continued through issue #503 in 1983, becoming one of the longest-running comic book series.

Wheeler-Nicholson's third and final title, Detective Comics, advertised with a cover illustration dated December 1936, eventually premiered three months late with a March 1937 cover date. The themed anthology series would become a sensation with the introduction of Batman
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

 in issue #27 (May 1939). By then, however, Wheeler-Nicholson had gone. In 1937, in debt to printing-plant owner and magazine distributor Harry Donenfeld
Harry Donenfeld
Harry Donenfeld was an American publisher who is known primarily for being the owner of National Allied Publications, which distributed Detective Comics and Action Comics, the originator publications for the superhero characters Batman and Superman...

 — who also published pulp magazines and operated as a principal in the magazine distributorship Independent News
Independent News
Independent News Co. was a magazine and comic book distribution business owned by National Periodical Publications, the parent company of DC Comics. Independent News distributed all DC publications, as well as those of a few rival publishers, in addition to pulp and popular magazines. The company...

 — Wheeler-Nicholson was compelled to take Donenfeld on as a partner in order to publish Detective Comics #1. Detective Comics, Inc. was formed, with Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz
Jack Liebowitz
Jacob "Jack" S. Liebowitz , was an American accountant and publisher, known primarily as the co-owner with Harry Donenfeld of National Allied Publications .-Early life:...

, Donenfeld's accountant, listed as owners. Major Wheeler-Nicholson remained for a year, but cash-flow problems continued, and he was forced out. Shortly afterward, Detective Comics Inc. purchased the remains of National Allied, also known as Nicholson Publishing, at a bankruptcy auction.

Detective Comics Inc. soon launched a fourth title, Action Comics
Action Comics
Action Comics is an American comic book series that introduced Superman, the first major superhero character as the term is popularly defined...

, and the premiere of which introduced Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

 (a character with which Wheeler-Nicholson had no direct involvement; editor Vin Sullivan
Vin Sullivan
Vincent "Vin" Sullivan was a pioneering American comic book editor, artist and publisher.As an editor for National Allied Publications, the future DC Comics, he was responsible for buying Superman from creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and edited that archetypcal superhero in his first...

 chose to run the feature after Sheldon Mayer
Sheldon Mayer
Sheldon Mayer was an American comic book writer, artist and editor. One of the earliest employees of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied Publications, Mayer produced almost all of his comics work for the company that would become known as DC Comics.He is credited with rescuing the...

 rescued it from the slush pile
Slush pile
In publishing, the slush pile is the set of unsolicited query letters or manuscripts sent either directly to the publisher or literary agent by authors, or to the publisher by an agent not known to the publisher....

). Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the first comic book to feature the new character archetype — soon known as "superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

es" — proved a major sales hit. The company quickly introduced such other popular characters as the Sandman
Sandman (DC Comics)
Sandman is the name of seven fictional characters, superheroes appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. All are connected in one way or the other, though there are three largely dissimilar concepts, with two or three persons having served in each role various times...

 and Batman
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

.

On February 22, 2010, a copy of Action Comics #1 (June 1938) sold at auction
Auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

 from an anonymous seller to an anonymous buyer for $1 million, besting the $317,000 record for a comic book set by a different copy, in lesser condition, the previous year.

The Golden Age

National Allied Publications soon merged with Detective Comics Inc. to form National Comics, which in 1944 absorbed an affiliated concern, Max Gaines
Max Gaines
Maxwell Charles Gaines was a pioneering figure in the creation of the modern comic book. Born Maxwell Ginsburg or Maxwell Ginzberg, he was also known as Max Gaines, M.C...

's and Liebowitz's All-American Publications
All-American Publications
All-American Publications is one of three American comic book companies that combined to form the modern-day DC Comics, one of the world's two largest comics publishers...

. That year, Gaines let Liebowitz buy him out, and kept only Picture Stories from the Bible as the foundation of his own new company, EC Comics
EC Comics
Entertaining Comics, more commonly known as EC Comics, was an American publisher of comic books specializing in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series...

. At that point, "Liebowitz promptly orchestrated the merger of All-American and Detective Comics into National Comics... Next he took charge of organizing National Comics, [the self-distributorship] Independent News, and their affiliated firms into a single corporate entity, National Periodical Publications". National Periodical Publications became publicly traded on the stock market in 1961.

Despite the official names "National Comics" and "National Periodical Publications", the line used the logo "Superman-DC" throughout (the DC logo could be seen on their covers and ads as early as 1940), and the company became known colloquially as DC Comics for years before the official adoption of that name in 1977.

The company began to move aggressively against what it saw as copyright-violating
Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.- "Piracy" :...

 imitations from other companies, such as Fox Comics' Wonder Man
Wonder Man (Fox Publications)
Wonder Man is a fictional comic book superhero, created by Will Eisner, whose first appearance was Wonder Comics #1 .The character is of some historical significance by virtue of the lawsuit that resulted from his only appearance....

, which (according to court testimony) Fox started as a copy of Superman. This extended to DC suing Fawcett Comics
Fawcett Comics
Fawcett Comics, a division of Fawcett Publications, was one of several successful comic book publishers during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s...

 over Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel (DC Comics)
Captain Marvel is a fictional comic book superhero, originally published by Fawcett Comics and later by DC Comics. Created in 1939 by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker, the character first appeared in Whiz Comics #2...

, at the time comics' top-selling character. Despite the fact that parallels between Captain Marvel and Superman seemed more tenuous (Captain Marvel's powers came from magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

, unlike Superman's), the courts ruled that substantial and deliberate copying of copyrighted material had occurred. Faced with declining sales and the prospect of bankruptcy if it lost, Fawcett capitulated in 1955 and ceased comics publication. Years later, Fawcett ironically sold the rights to Captain Marvel to DC — which in 1973 revived Captain Marvel in the new title Shazam! featuring artwork by his creator, C. C. Beck
C. C. Beck
Charles Clarence Beck was an American cartoonist and comic book artist, best known for his work on Captain Marvel at Fawcett Comics and DC Comics....

. In the meantime, the abandoned trademark had been seized by Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 in 1967, disallowing the DC comic itself to be called that. While Captain Marvel did not recapture his old popularity, he later appeared in a Saturday morning live action TV adaptation
Shazam! (TV series)
Shazam! is a half-hour live-action television program produced by Filmation , based upon DC Comics' superhero Captain Marvel....

 and gained a prominent place in the mainstream continuity DC calls the DC Universe
DC Universe
The DC Universe is the shared universe where most of the comic stories published by DC Comics take place. The fictional characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are well-known superheroes from this universe. Note that in context, "DC Universe" is usually used to refer to the main DC continuity...

.

When the popularity of superheroes faded in the late 1940s, the company focused on such genres as science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, Westerns
Western (comics)
Western is a Franco-Belgian one shot comic written by Jean Van Hamme, illustrated by Grzegorz Rosinski and published by Le Lombard in French and Cinebook in English.-Story:...

, humor
Humour
Humour or humor is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement...

, and romance
Romance comics
Romance comics is a comics genre depicting romantic love and its attendant complications such as jealousy, marriage, divorce, betrayal, and heartache. The term is generally associated with an American comic books genre published through the first three decades of the Cold War...

. DC also published crime
Crime comics
Crime comics is a genre of American comic books and format of crime fiction. The genre was originally popular in the 1940s and 1950s and is marked by a moralistic editorial tone and graphic depictions of violence and criminal activity. Crime comics began in 1942 with the publication of Crime Does...

 and horror
Horror comics
Horror comics are comic books, graphic novels, black-and-white comics magazines, and manga focusing on horror fiction. Horror comic books reached a peak in the late 1940s through the mid-1950s, when concern over content and the imposition of the self-censorship Comics Code Authority contributed to...

 titles, but relatively tame ones, and thus avoided the mid-1950s backlash against such comics. A handful of the most popular superhero-titles (most notably Action Comics and Detective Comics, the medium's two longest-running titles) continued publication.

The Silver Age

In the mid-1950s, editorial director Irwin Donenfeld
Irwin Donenfeld
Irwin Donenfeld was an American comic book publishing executive for DC Comics. Donenfeld co-owned the firm from 1948 to 1967, holding the positions of Editorial Director and Executive Vice President...

 and publisher Liebowitz directed editor Julius Schwartz
Julius Schwartz
Julius "Julie" Schwartz was a comic book and pulp magazine editor, and a science fiction agent and prominent fan. He was born in the Bronx, New York...

 (whose roots lay in the science-fiction book market) to produce a one-shot Flash
Flash (comics)
The Flash is a name shared by several fictional comic book superheroes from the DC Comics universe. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the original Flash first appeared in Flash Comics #1 ....

 story in the try-out title Showcase
Showcase (comics)
Showcase has been the title of several comic anthology series published by DC Comics. The general theme of these series has been to feature new and minor characters as a way to gauge reader interest in them, without the difficulty and risk of featuring "untested" characters in their own ongoing...

. Instead of reviving the old character, Schwartz had writers Robert Kanigher
Robert Kanigher
Robert Kanigher was a prolific comic book writer and editor whose career spanned five decades. He was involved with the Wonder Woman franchise for over twenty years, taking over the scripting from creator William Moulton Marston. In addition, Kanigher spent many years in charge of DC Comics' war...

 and John Broome
John Broome (writer)
John Broome , who additionally used the pseudonyms John Osgood and Edgar Ray Meritt, was an American comic book writer for DC Comics.-Early life and career:...

, penciler
Penciller
A penciller is an artist who works in the creation of comic books, graphic novels, and similar visual art forms.The penciller is the first step in rendering the story in visual form and may require several steps of feedback with the writer. These artists are concerned with layout to showcase...

 Carmine Infantino
Carmine Infantino
Carmine Infantino Carmine Infantino Carmine Infantino (born May 24, 1925, in Brooklyn, New York is an American comic book artist and editor who was a major force in the Silver Age of Comic Books...

, and inker
Inker
The inker is one of the two line artists in a traditional comic book or graphic novel. After a pencilled drawing is given to the inker, the inker uses black ink to produce refined outlines over the pencil lines...

 Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert is an American comic book artist who went on to found The Kubert School. He is best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman...

 create an entirely new super-speedster, updating and modernizing the Flash's civilian
Civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

 identity, costume, and origin with a science-fiction bent. The Flash's reimagining in Showcase #4 (October 1956) proved sufficiently popular that it soon led to a similar revamping of the Green Lantern
Green Lantern
The Green Lantern is the shared primary alias of several fictional characters, superheroes appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The first Green Lantern was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Martin Nodell in All-American Comics #16 .Each Green Lantern possesses a power ring and...

 character, the introduction of the modern all-star team Justice League of America (JLA), and many more superheroes, heralding what historians and fans call the Silver Age of comic books
Silver Age of Comic Books
The Silver Age of Comic Books was a period of artistic advancement and commercial success in mainstream American comic books, predominantly those in the superhero genre. Following the Golden Age of Comic Books and an interregnum in the early to mid-1950s, the Silver Age is considered to cover the...

.

National did not reimagine its continuing characters (primarily Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman), but radically overhauled them. The Superman family of titles, under editor Mort Weisinger
Mort Weisinger
Mortimer Weisinger was an American magazine and comic book editor best known for editing DC Comics' Superman during the mid-1950s to 1960s, in the Silver Age of comic books...

, introduced such enduring characters as Supergirl
Supergirl
Supergirl is a female counterpart to the DC Comics Superman. As his cousin, she shares his super powers and vulnerability to Kryptonite. She was created by writer Otto Binder and designed by artist Al Plastino in 1959. She first appeared in the Action Comics comic book series and later branched out...

, Bizarro
Bizarro
Bizarro is a fictional character that appears in publications published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp as a "mirror image" of Superman and first appeared in Superboy #68...

, and Brainiac
Brainiac (comics)
Brainiac is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Action Comics #242 , and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino....

. The Batman titles, under editor Jack Schiff, introduced the successful Batwoman
Batwoman
Batwoman is the name of several fictional characters, female counterparts to the superhero Batman. The original version was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff. Her alter ego is Kathy Kane. This character appears in publications produced by DC Comics and related media beginning in Detective...

, Bat-Girl
Bette Kane
Bette Kane is a fictional character in the . She first appeared in the sixties as "Betty Kane", the Bat-Girl. Later, her name was modified to "Bette Kane" and she took on the mantle of Flamebird.-Pre-Crisis:...

, Ace the Bat-Hound
Ace the Bat-Hound
The comic book character Ace the Bat-Hound was the canine crime-fighting partner of Batman and Robin in DC Comics of the 1950s and 1960s. Ace debuted in Batman #92...

, and Bat-Mite
Bat-Mite
Bat-Mite is a fictional character appearing in stories published by DC Comics. Bat-Mite is an Imp similar to the Superman villain Mister Mxyzptlk...

 in an attempt to modernize the strip with non-science-fiction elements. Schwartz, together with artist Infantino, then revitalized Batman in what the company promoted as the "New Look", re-emphasizing Batman as a detective. Meanwhile, editor Kanigher successfully introduced a whole family of Wonder Woman characters having fantastic adventures in a mythological context.

DC's introduction of the reimagined superheroes did not go unnoticed by other comics companies. In 1961, with DC's JLA as the specific spur, Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 writer-editor Stan Lee
Stan Lee
Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics....

 and legendary creator Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby , born Jacob Kurtzberg, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor regarded by historians and fans as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the comic book medium....

 ushered in the sub-Silver Age "Marvel Age" of comics with the debut issue of The Fantastic Four.

Since the 1940s, when Superman, Batman, and many of the company's other heroes began appearing in stories together, DC's characters inhabited a shared continuity
Continuity (fiction)
In fiction, continuity is consistency of the characteristics of persons, plot, objects, places and events seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time...

 that, decades later, was dubbed the DC Universe
DC Universe
The DC Universe is the shared universe where most of the comic stories published by DC Comics take place. The fictional characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are well-known superheroes from this universe. Note that in context, "DC Universe" is usually used to refer to the main DC continuity...

. With the story "Flash of Two Worlds
Flash of Two Worlds
"Flash of Two Worlds!" is a landmark comic book story that was published in The Flash #123 . It introduces Earth-Two, and more generally the concept of the multiverse, to DC Comics...

", in Flash #123 (September 1961), editor Schwartz (with writer Gardner Fox
Gardner Fox
Gardner Francis Cooper Fox was an American writer best known for creating numerous comic book characters for DC Comics. Comic-book historians estimate that he wrote over 4,000 comics stories....

 and artists Infantino and Joe Giella
Joe Giella
Joe Giella is an American comic book artist best known as a DC Comics inker during the late 1950s and 1960s period historians and fans call the Silver Age of comic books.-Early life and career:...

) introduced a concept that allowed slotting the 1930s and 1940s Golden Age
Golden Age of Comic Books
The Golden Age of Comic Books was a period in the history of American comic books, generally thought of as lasting from the late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s...

 heroes into this continuity via the explanation that they lived on an other-dimensional "Earth 2", as opposed to the modern heroes' "Earth 1" — in the process creating the foundation for what would later be called the DC Multiverse
Multiverse (DC Comics)
The DC Multiverse is a fictional continuity construct that exists in stories published by comic book company DC Comics. The DC Multiverse consists of numerous worlds, most of them outside DC's main continuity, allowing writers the creative freedom to explore alternative versions of characters and...

.

A 1966 Batman
Batman (TV series)
Batman is an American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin — two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to...

 TV show
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

 on the ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 network sparked a temporary spike in comic book sales, and a brief fad for superheroes in Saturday morning animation
Saturday morning cartoon
A Saturday morning cartoon is the colloquial term for the animated television programming that has typically been scheduled on Saturday mornings on the major American television networks from the 1960s to the present; the genre's peak in popularity mostly ended in the 1990s while the popularity of...

 (Filmation created most of DC's initial cartoons) and other media. DC significantly lightened the tone
Tone (literature)
Tone is a literary technique that is a part of composition, which encompasses the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in a literary work. Tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, guilty, condescending, or many other possible attitudes...

 of many DC comics — particularly Batman
Batman (comic book)
Batman is an ongoing comic book series featuring the DC Comics hero of the same name. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27, published in May 1939. Batman proved to be so popular that a self-titled ongoing comic book series began publication in the spring of 1940...

and Detective Comics
Detective Comics
Detective Comics is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics since 1937, best known for introducing the iconic superhero Batman in Detective Comics #27 . It is, along with Action Comics, the book that launched with the debut of Superman, one of the medium's signature series, and...

— to better complement the "camp" tone of the TV series. This tone coincided with the famous "Go-Go Checks" checkerboard
Checkerboard
A checkerboard or chequerboard is a board of chequered pattern on which English draughts is played. It is an 8×8 board and the 64 squares are of alternating dark and light color, often red and black....

 cover-dress which featured a black-and-white checkerboard strip at the top of each comic, a misguided attempt by then-managing editor Irwin Donenfeld to make DC's output "stand out on the newsracks."

In 1967, Batman artist Infantino (who had designed popular Silver Age characters Batgirl
Batgirl
Batgirl is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, frequently depicted as female counterparts to the superhero Batman...

 and the Phantom Stranger
Phantom Stranger
The Phantom Stranger is a fictional character of unspecified paranormal origins who battles mysterious and occult forces in various titles published by DC Comics, sometimes under their Vertigo imprint.-Publication history:...

) rose from art director to become DC's editorial director. With the growing popularity of upstart rival Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 threatening to topple DC from its longtime number-one position in the comics industry, he attempted to infuse the company with new titles and characters, also recruiting major talents such as ex-Marvel artist and Spider-Man
Spider-Man
Spider-Man is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15...

 co-creator Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stephen J. "Steve" Ditko is an American comic book artist and writer best known as the artist co-creator, with Stan Lee, of the Marvel Comics heroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange....

 and promising newcomer Neal Adams
Neal Adams
Neal Adams is an American comic book and commercial artist known for helping to create some of the definitive modern imagery of the DC Comics characters Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow; as the co-founder of the graphic design studio Continuity Associates; and as a creators-rights advocate who...

. He also replaced some existing DC editors with artist-editors, including Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert is an American comic book artist who went on to found The Kubert School. He is best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman...

 and Dick Giordano
Dick Giordano
Richard Joseph "Dick" Giordano was an American comic book artist and editor best known for introducing Charlton Comics' "Action Heroes" stable of superheroes, and serving as executive editor of then–industry leader DC Comics...

, to give DC's output a more artistic critical eye.

These new editors recruited youthful new creator
Creativity
Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new that has some kind of value. What counts as "new" may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs...

s, in part in an effort to capture a market which had grown from being dominated by children, to include older teens and even college students. Some new talent, such as Dennis O'Neil
Dennis O'Neil
Dennis J. "Denny" O'Neil is an American comic book writer and editor, principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and Group Editor for the Batman family of books until his retirement....

, who had worked for both Marvel
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 and Charlton
Charlton Comics
Charlton Comics was an American comic book publishing company that existed from 1946 to 1985, having begun under a different name in 1944. It was based in Derby, Connecticut...

, gained critical and popular acclaim on titles including Batman and Green Lantern (his Green Lantern run with artist Neal Adams became a key title in the burgeoning 1970s Bronze Age, and the move away from the Comics Code Authority
Comics Code Authority
The Comics Code Authority was a body created as part of the Comics Magazine Association of America, as a tool for the comics-publishing industry to self-regulate the content of comic books in the United States. Member publishers submitted comic books to the CCA, which screened them for adherence to...

). Nevertheless, the period was plagued by short-lived series that started out strong but petered out rapidly.

In 1967, National Periodical Publications was purchased by Kinney National Company
Kinney National Company
Kinney National Services, Inc. was formed in 1966 when the Kinney Parking Company and the National Cleaning Company merged. The new company was headed by Steve Ross....

, which later purchased Warner Bros.-Seven Arts
Warner Bros.-Seven Arts
Warner Bros.-Seven Arts was formed in 1967 and became defunct in 1970, when Seven Arts Productions acquired Jack Warner's controlling interest in Warner Bros. for $32 million and merged with it. The deal also included Warner Bros. Records, Reprise Records and the B&W Looney Tunes library...

 and became Warner Communications
Warner Communications
Warner Communications or Warner Communications, Inc. was established in 1971 when Kinney National Company spun off its non-entertainment assets, due to a financial scandal over its parking operations and changed its name....

.

The Fourth World

In 1970, Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby , born Jacob Kurtzberg, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor regarded by historians and fans as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the comic book medium....

 moved from Marvel Comics to DC, at the end of the Silver Age of Comics, in which Kirby's contributions to Marvel played a large, integral role. Given carte blanche to write and illustrate his own stories, he created a handful of thematically linked series he called collectively The Fourth World. In the existing series Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen and in his own, newly launched series New Gods
New Gods
The New Gods are a fictional race appearing in publications by DC Comics, as well as the title for four series of comic books about those characters. They first appeared in New Gods #1 , and were created and designed by Jack Kirby....

, Mister Miracle
Mister Miracle
Mister Miracle is a fictional superhero published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Mister Miracle #1 and was created by Jack Kirby.-Publication history:...

, and The Forever People
Forever People
The Forever People are a fictional group of extraterrestrial superheroes published by DC Comics. They first appeared in Forever People #1 , and were created by Jack Kirby as part of his "Fourth World" epic.-Fictional history:...

, Kirby introduced such enduring characters and concepts as archvillain Darkseid
Darkseid
Darkseid is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 and was created by writer-artist Jack Kirby....

 and the otherdimensional realm Apokolips
Apokolips
In the DC Comics fictional shared Universe, Apokolips is the planet ruled by Darkseid, established in Jack Kirby's Fourth World series. It is also integral to many DC Comics stories. The planet is considered the opposite of New Genesis....

. While sales were respectable, they did not meet DC management's initially high expectations, and also suffered from a lack of comprehension and internal support from Infantino. By 1973 the "Fourth World" books would all be cancelled, although Kirby's conceptions would soon become integral to the broadening of the DC Universe. Kirby went on to create other "daring and different" series for DC, including Kamandi
Kamandi
Kamandi is an American comic book character, created by artist Jack Kirby and published by DC Comics. The bulk of Kamandi's appearances occurred in the comic series Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, which ran from 1972 to 1978....

, about a teenaged boy in a post-apocalyptic
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization due to a potentially existential catastrophe such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, extraterrestrial attack, impact event, cybernetic revolt, technological singularity, dysgenics, supernatural...

 world of anthropomorphic talking animals, when directed by the publisher to come up with something resembling Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes (1968 film)
Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, based on the 1963 French novel La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle. The film stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison...

.

The Bronze Age

Following the science-fiction innovations of the Silver Age
Silver Age of Comic Books
The Silver Age of Comic Books was a period of artistic advancement and commercial success in mainstream American comic books, predominantly those in the superhero genre. Following the Golden Age of Comic Books and an interregnum in the early to mid-1950s, the Silver Age is considered to cover the...

, the comics of the 1970s and 1980s would become known as the Bronze Age, as fantasy gave way to more naturalistic
Naturalism (literature)
Naturalism was a literary movement taking place from the 1880s to 1940s that used detailed realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character...

 and sometimes darker themes. Illegal drug use, banned by the Comics Code Authority
Comics Code Authority
The Comics Code Authority was a body created as part of the Comics Magazine Association of America, as a tool for the comics-publishing industry to self-regulate the content of comic books in the United States. Member publishers submitted comic books to the CCA, which screened them for adherence to...

, explicitly appeared in comics for the first time in Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man is an American comic book series published by Marvel Comics, featuring the adventures of the fictional superhero Spider-Man. Being the mainstream continuity of the franchise, it began publication in 1963 as a monthly periodical and was published continuously until it was...

in early 1971, and after the Code's updating in response, DC offered a drug-fueled storyline in writer Dennis O'Neil
Dennis O'Neil
Dennis J. "Denny" O'Neil is an American comic book writer and editor, principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and Group Editor for the Batman family of books until his retirement....

 and artist Neal Adams
Neal Adams
Neal Adams is an American comic book and commercial artist known for helping to create some of the definitive modern imagery of the DC Comics characters Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow; as the co-founder of the graphic design studio Continuity Associates; and as a creators-rights advocate who...

' Green Lantern
Green Lantern
The Green Lantern is the shared primary alias of several fictional characters, superheroes appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The first Green Lantern was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Martin Nodell in All-American Comics #16 .Each Green Lantern possesses a power ring and...

, beginning with the story "Snowbirds Don't Fly" in the retitled Green Lantern / Green Arrow #85 (September 1971), which depicted Speedy
Roy Harper (comics)
Roy Harper is a fictional superhero in the DC Comics Universe. He was known for over fifty years as Green Arrow's teenage sidekick Speedy. He first appeared alongside his mentor in More Fun Comics #73...

, the teen sidekick of superhero archer Green Arrow
Green Arrow
Green Arrow is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His secret identity is Oliver Queen, billionaire and former mayor of fictional Star City...

, as having become a heroin addict.

Jenette Kahn
Jenette Kahn
Jenette Kahn is an American comic book editor and executive. She joined DC Comics in 1976 as publisher, and five years later was promoted to President. In 1989, she stepped down as publisher and assumed the title of Editor-in-Chief while retaining the office of president...

, a former children's magazine publisher, replaced Infantino as editorial director in January 1976. DC had attempted to compete with the now-surging Marvel by dramatically increasing its output and attempting to win the market by flooding it. This included launching series featuring such new characters as Firestorm and Shade, the Changing Man
Shade, the Changing Man
Shade, the Changing Man is a fictional comic book character created by Steve Ditko for DC Comics in 1977. The character was later adapted by Peter Milligan and became one of the first Vertigo titles....

, as well as an increasing array of non-superhero titles, in an attempt to recapture the pre-Wertham days of post-War comicdom. In June 1978, five months before the release of the first Superman movie, Kahn expanded the line further, increasing the number of titles and story pages, and raising the price from 35 cents to 50 cents. Most series received eight-page back-up features while some had full-length twenty-five page stories. This was a move the company called the "DC Explosion". The move was not successful, however, and corporate partner Warner dramatically cut back on these largely unsuccessful titles, firing many staffers in what industry watchers dubbed "the DC Implosion
DC Implosion
The DC Implosion is the popular label for the sudden cancellation of more than two dozen ongoing and planned series by the American comics publisher DC Comics in 1978.-History:...

." In September 1978, the line was dramatically reduced and standard-size books returned to 17 story pages but for a still-increased 40 cents. By 1980, the books returned to 50 cents with a 25-page story count but the story pages replaced house ads in the books.

Seeking new ways to boost market-share, the new team of publisher Kahn, vice-president Paul Levitz
Paul Levitz
Paul Levitz is an American comic book writer, editor and executive. The president of DC Comics from 2002–2009, he has worked for the company for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles...

, and managing editor Giordano addressed the issue of talent instability. To that end — and following the example of Atlas/Seaboard Comics
Atlas/Seaboard Comics
Atlas/Seaboard is the term comic-book historians and collectors use to refer to the 1970s line of comics published as Atlas Comics by the American company Seaboard Periodicals, to differentiate from the 1950s' Atlas Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics...

 and such independent companies as Eclipse Comics
Eclipse Comics
Eclipse Comics was an American comic book publisher, one of several independent publishers during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1978, it published the first graphic novel intended for the newly created comic book specialty store market...

 — DC began to offer royalties
Royalties
Royalties are usage-based payments made by one party to another for the right to ongoing use of an asset, sometimes an intellectual property...

 in place of the industry-standard work-for-hire
Work for hire
A work made for hire is an exception to the general rule that the person who actually creates a work is the legally recognized author of that work...

 agreement in which creators worked for a flat fee and signed away all rights, giving talent a financial incentive tied to the success of their work. In addition, emulating the era's new television form, the miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 while addressing the matter of an excessive number of ongoing titles fizzling out within a few issues of their start, DC created the industry concept of the comic book limited series
Limited series
A limited series is a comic book series with a set number of installments. A limited series differs from an ongoing series in that the number of issues is determined before production and it differs from a one shot in that it is composed of multiple issues....

. This publishing format allowed for the deliberate creation of finite storylines within a more flexible publishing format that could showcase creations without forcing the talent into unsustainable openended commitments.

These changes in policy shaped the future of the medium as a whole, and in the short term allowed DC to entice creators away from rival Marvel, and encourage stability on individual titles. In November 1980
1980 in comics
-Year overall:* Big Rapids Distribution, a major Midwestern comics distributor, goes under, and two former employees , form Capital City Distribution, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin....

 DC launched the ongoing series The New Teen Titans, by writer Marv Wolfman
Marv Wolfman
Marvin A. "Marv" Wolfman is an award-winning American comic book writer. He is best known for lengthy runs on The Tomb of Dracula, creating Blade for Marvel Comics, and The New Teen Titans for DC Comics.-1960s:...

 and artist George Pérez
George Pérez
George Pérez is a Puerto Rican-American writer and illustrator of comic books, known for his work on various titles, including Avengers, Teen Titans and Wonder Woman.-Biography:...

, two popular talents with a history of success. Their superhero-team comic, superficially similar to Marvel's ensemble series X-Men
X-Men
The X-Men are a superhero team in the . They were created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The X-Men #1...

, but rooted in DC history, earned significant sales in part due to the stability of the creative team, who both continued with the title for six full years. In addition, Wolfman and Pérez took advantage of the limited-series option to create a spin-off
Spin-off (media)
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work...

 title, Tales of the New Teen Titans, to present origin stories of their original characters without having to break the narrative flow of the main series or oblige them to double their work load with another ongoing title.

Late 1980s

This successful revitalization of the Silver Age Teen Titans into The New Teen Titans led DC's editors to seek the same for the entire line and for the wider DC Universe
DC Universe
The DC Universe is the shared universe where most of the comic stories published by DC Comics take place. The fictional characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are well-known superheroes from this universe. Note that in context, "DC Universe" is usually used to refer to the main DC continuity...

. The result, the Wolfman/Pérez 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths is a 12-issue American comic book limited series and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 to simplify its then 50-year-old continuity...

, gave the company an opportunity to realign and jettison some of the "baggage" of its history, address "errors" in the characters' long histories and - particularly - revise, update and streamline major characters such as Superman and Wonder Woman. A companion publication in the new prestige format
Prestige format
Prestige format is a term coined by DC Comics and later came into wider use to refer to a square-bound comic book with cardstock covers. A prestige format comic book is usually longer than a normal, stapled 32-page comic...

, two volumes entitled The History of the DC Universe, set out briefly the revised history of the major DC characters, and set the scene for an effective reboot of all titles, while still rooted in the long tradition and history of the DC Universe. Effectively moving from the realism of the Bronze Age towards the era sometimes called the "Dark Age," Crisis featured many key and resonant deaths which would shape the DC Universe for the following decades, and separate the timeline of DC publications into pre- and post-"Crisis".

Meanwhile, a parallel revolution had started in the non-superhero and horror titles. Since the start of 1984
1984 in comics
-Year overall:* The independent publishing boom continues, as Antarctic Press, Continuity Comics, Deluxe Comics, Matrix Graphic Series, and Renegade Press all enter the arena...

, British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 writer Alan Moore
Alan Moore
Alan Oswald Moore is an English writer primarily known for his work in comic books, a medium where he has produced a number of critically acclaimed and popular series, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell...

 had re-energized the horror series The Saga of the Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing, a fictional character, is a plant elemental in the created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson. He first appeared in House of Secrets #92 in a stand-alone horror story set in the early 20th century . The Swamp Thing then returned in his own series, set in the contemporary world and in...

, and his acclaimed work sparked the comic-book equivalent of rock music's British Invasion. Building on the dark naturalism of the Bronze Age, numerous British writers, including Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Richard Gaiman born 10 November 1960)is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book...

 and Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic book writer, playwright and occultist. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and counter-cultural leanings, as well as his successful runs on titles like Animal Man, Doom Patrol, JLA, The Invisibles, New X-Men, Fantastic Four, All-Star Superman, and...

, subsequently began freelancing for the company. The resulting influx of sophisticated horror/fantasy material led not only to DC abandoning the Comics Code
Comics Code Authority
The Comics Code Authority was a body created as part of the Comics Magazine Association of America, as a tool for the comics-publishing industry to self-regulate the content of comic books in the United States. Member publishers submitted comic books to the CCA, which screened them for adherence to...

 for particular titles scripted by those talents, but also to establishing in 1993 the Vertigo mature-readers imprint.

Key titles in the subtle shift towards the Modern Age include the two DC-published limited series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a four-issue comic book limited series written and drawn by Frank Miller, originally published by DC Comics under the title Batman: The Dark Knight in 1986. When the issues were released in a collected edition later that year, the story title for the first issue...

by Frank Miller
Frank Miller (comics)
Frank Miller is an American comic book artist, writer and film director best known for his dark, film noir-style comic book stories and graphic novels Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City and 300...

 and Watchmen
Watchmen
Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colourist John Higgins. The series was published by DC Comics during 1986 and 1987, and has been subsequently reprinted in collected form...

by Moore and artist Dave Gibbons
Dave Gibbons
Dave Gibbons is an English comic book artist, writer and sometime letterer. He is best known for his collaborations with writer Alan Moore, which include the miniseries Watchmen and the Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything"...

. These titles drew attention to changes at DC for their dark psychological complexity and promotion of the antihero. The new creative freedom and attendant publicity that allowed Miller to produce a dark, future Batman and Moore to create a similarly dystopian alternate history allowed DC to challenge Marvel's industry lead. These titles also paved the way for comics to be more widely accepted in literary-criticism circles as suitable reading for adults, and to make inroads into the book industry, with collected editions of these key series selling particularly well as trade paperbacks.

Conversely, while the mainstream DC Universe got a shade darker, the mid-1980s also saw the end of many long-running DC war comics
War comics
War comics is a genre of comic books that gained popularity in English-speaking countries following World War II.-American war comics:Shortly after the birth of the modern comic book in the mid- to late 1930s, comics publishers began including stories of wartime adventures in the multi-genre...

, including venerable series that had been in print since the 1960s. These titles, all with over 100 issues, included Sgt. Rock
Sgt. Rock (comics)
Sgt. Frank Rock is a fictional infantry non-commissioned officer during World War II in the . He first appeared in Our Army at War #83 , and was created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert.-Publication history:...

, G.I. Combat
G.I. Combat
G.I. Combat is a long-running comic book series published first by Quality Comics and later by National Periodical Publications, which was the primary company of those that evolved to become DC Comics.-Publication history:...

, The Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier (comics)
The Unknown Soldier is fictional war comics character in the DC Comics universe. The character was created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert, first appearing in Our Army At War #168 .-Publication history:...

, and Weird War Tales
Weird War Tales
Weird War Tales was a war comic book title with supernatural overtones published by DC Comics which ran from September 1971 to June 1983.-Background:...

.

In March 1989, Warner Communications merged with Time Inc.
Time Inc.
Time Inc. is a subsidiary of the media conglomerate Time Warner, the company formed by the 1990 merger of the original Time Inc. and Warner Communications. It publishes 130 magazines, most notably its namesake, Time...

, making DC Comics a subsidiary of Time Warner. In June, the first non-camp Batman movie
Batman (1989 film)
Batman is a 1989 superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, directed by Tim Burton. The film stars Michael Keaton in the title role, as well as Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl and Jack Palance...

 was released, and DC began publishing its hardcover series of DC Archive Editions
DC Archive Editions
DC Archive Editions, collect early, sometimes rare, comic books published by DC and other publishers into a permanent hardcover series. With more than 100 titles, this series began in 1989 with Superman Archives Vol. 1...

, collections of many of their early, key comics series, featuring rare and expensive stories unseen by many modern fans. Restoration for many of the Archive Editions was handled by Rick Keene with color restoration by DC's long-time resident colorist, Bob LeRose
Bob LeRose
Robert K. "Bob" LeRose was an American advertising artist and a comic book colorist for DC Comics, who provided the color for hundreds of stories featuring Batman, Superman, and other major characters.-Early life and career:Raised in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens, New York City, Bob...

. These collections attempted to retroactively credit many of the writers and artists who had worked without much recognition for DC during the early period of comics, when individual credits were few and far between.

1990s

The comics industry experienced a brief boom in the early 1990s, thanks to a combination of speculative purchasing (mass purchase of the books as collectible items, with intent to resell at a higher value as the rising value of older issues was thought to imply that all comics would rise dramatically in price) and several storylines which gained attention from the mainstream media. DC's extended storylines in which Superman was killed
The Death of Superman
"The Death of Superman" is a 1992 comic book storyline that occurred in DC Comics' Superman titles. The completed multi-issue story arc was given the title The Death and Return of Superman....

, Batman was crippled
Batman: Knightfall
"Knightfall" is the title given to a major Batman story arc published by DC Comics that dominated Batman-related serial comic books in the spring and summer of 1993...

, and superhero Green Lantern turned into the supervillain Parallax
Emerald Twilight
"Emerald Twilight" is a 1994 comic book story told in Green Lantern #48-50, written by Ron Marz, and published by DC Comics. The story introduced a new Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, who gained a significant fan following....

 resulted in dramatically increased sales, but the increases were as temporary as the hero's replacements. Sales dropped off as the industry went into a major slump, while manufactured "collectibles" numbering in the millions replaced quality with quantity until fans and speculators alike deserted the medium in droves.

DC's Piranha Press
Piranha Press
Piranha Press, an imprint of DC Comics from 1989 to 1994, was a response by DC to the growing interest in alternative comics. The imprint was edited by Mark Nevelow, who instead of developing comics with the established names in the alternative comics field, chose to introduce several unknown...

 and other imprints (including the mature readers line Vertigo, and Helix
Helix (comics)
Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and science fantasy imprint of DC Comics, launched in 1996 and discontinued in 1998. Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and science fantasy imprint of DC Comics, launched in 1996 and discontinued in 1998. Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and...

, a short-lived science fiction imprint) were introduced to facilitate compartmentalized diversification and allow for specialized marketing of individual product lines. They increased the use of non-traditional contractual arrangements, including the dramatic rise of creator-owned projects, leading to a significant increase in critically lauded work (much of it for Vertigo) and the licensing of material from other companies. DC also increased publication of book-store friendly formats, including trade paperback
Trade paperback (comics)
In comics, a trade paperback is a collection of stories originally published in comic books, reprinted in book format, usually capturing one story arc from a single title or a series of stories with a connected story arc or common theme from one or more titles...

 collections of individual serial comics, as well as original graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

s.

DC entered into a publishing agreement with Milestone Media
Milestone Media
Milestone Media is a company best known for creating Milestone Comics and securing an unheard of publishing and distribution deal with DC Comics and the Static Shock cartoon series. It was founded in 1993 by a coalition of African-American artists and writers Milestone Media is a company best known...

 that gave DC a line of comics featuring a culturally and racially diverse range of superhero characters. Although the Milestone line ceased publication after a few short years, it yielded the popular animated series Static Shock
Static Shock
Static Shock is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It premiered in September 2000 on the Kids' WB! block and ran for four seasons, with a total of 52 half-hour episodes....

. DC established Paradox Press
Paradox Press
Paradox Press was a division of DC Comics formed in 1993 after editor Mark Nevelow departed from Piranha Press. Under the initial editorship of Andrew Helfer and Bronwyn Carlton the imprint was renamed. It is best known for graphic novels like A History of Violence and Road to Perdition...

 to publish material such as the large-format Big Book of... series of multi-artist interpretations on individual themes, and such crime fiction as the graphic novel Road to Perdition
Road to Perdition
Road to Perdition is a 2002 American crime film directed by Sam Mendes. The screenplay was adapted by David Self, from the graphic novel of the same name by Max Allan Collins. The film stars Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, and Daniel Craig...

. In 1998, DC purchased Wildstorm Comics
Wildstorm
WildStorm Productions, or simply WildStorm, published American comic books. Originally an independent company established by Jim Lee and further expanded upon in subsequent years by other creators, WildStorm became a publishing imprint of DC Comics in 1999...

, Jim Lee
Jim Lee
Jim Lee is a Korean-American comic book artist, writer, editor and publisher. He first broke into the industry in 1987 as an artist for Marvel Comics, illustrating titles such as Alpha Flight and Punisher War Journal, before gaining a great deal of popularity on The Uncanny X-Men...

's imprint under the Image Comics
Image Comics
Image Comics is a United States comic book publisher. It was founded in 1992 by high-profile illustrators as a venue where creators could publish their material without giving up the copyrights to the characters they created, as creator-owned properties. It was immediately successful, and remains...

 banner, continuing it for many years as a wholly separate imprint - and fictional universe
Wildstorm Universe
The Wildstorm Universe is a fictional shared universe where the comic books published by Wildstorm take place. It represents an alternate history of the real world where ideas such as interstellar travel and superhuman abilities are commonplace...

 - with its own style and audience. As part of this purchase, DC also began to publish titles under the fledgling WildStorm sub-imprint America's Best Comics
America's Best Comics (DC)
America's Best Comics is a comic book publishing brand.It was set up by Alan Moore in 1999 as an imprint of WildStorm, an idea proposed to Moore by Wildstorm founder Jim Lee when it was still under Image Comics.-History:...

 (ABC), a series of titles created by Alan Moore
Alan Moore
Alan Oswald Moore is an English writer primarily known for his work in comic books, a medium where he has produced a number of critically acclaimed and popular series, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell...

, including The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, publication of which began in 1999. The series spans two six-issue limited series and a graphic novel from the America's Best Comics imprint of Wildstorm/DC, and a third miniseries...

, Tom Strong
Tom Strong
Tom Strong is a comic book created by writer Alan Moore and artist Chris Sprouse initially published bi-monthly by America's Best Comics, an imprint of DC Comics' Wildstorm division.-Background:Tom Strong, the title character, is a "science hero"...

, and Promethea
Promethea
Promethea is a comic book series created by Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III and Mick Gray, published by America's Best Comics/WildStorm....

. Moore strongly contested this situation, and DC eventually stopped publishing ABC.

2000s

In March 2003, DC acquired publishing and merchandising rights to the long-running fantasy series Elfquest
Elfquest
Elfquest is a cult hit comic book property created by Wendy and Richard Pini in 1978. It is a fantasy story about a community of elves and other fictional species who struggle to survive and coexist on a primitive Earth-like planet with two moons. Several published volumes of prose fiction also...

, previously self-published by creators Wendy and Richard Pini
Wendy and Richard Pini
Wendy Pini née Fletcher, and Richard Pini are the husband-and-wife team responsible for creating the well-known Elfquest series of comics, graphic novels and prose works...

 under their WaRP Graphics
WaRP Graphics
WaRP Graphics, later Warp Graphics, is an alternative comics publisher best known for creating and being the original publisher of the Elfquest comic book series. It was created and incorporated in 1977 by Wendy and Richard Pini. The company title is an acronym formed from the founding couple's...

 publication banner. This series then followed another non-DC title, Tower Comics
Tower Comics
Tower Comics was an American comic book publishing company best known for Wally Wood's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, a strange combination of secret agents and superheroes; and Samm Schwartz's Tippy Teen, an Archie Andrews clone...

' series T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is a fictional team of superheroes that appeared in comic books originally published by Tower Comics in the 1960s. They were an arm of the United Nations and were notable for their depiction of the heroes as everyday people whose heroic careers were merely their day jobs...

, in collection into DC Archive Editions. In 2004, DC temporarily acquired the North American publishing rights to graphic novels from European publishers 2000 AD
2000 AD (comic)
2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-oriented comic. As a comics anthology it serialises a number of separate stories each issue and was first published by IPC Magazines in 1977, the first issue dated 26 February. IPC then shifted the title to its Fleetway comics subsidiary which was sold...

 and Humanoids
Les Humanoïdes Associés
Les Humanoïdes Associés is a French publishing house specialising in comics and graphic novels. Founded in December 1974 by Mœbius, Jean-Pierre Dionnet, Philippe Druillet and Bernard Farkas in order to publish Métal Hurlant, it quickly expanded to include a variety of science fiction work...

. It also rebranded its younger-audience titles with the mascot Johnny DC
Johnny DC
Johnny DC is a character that DC Comics has used at various times as a mascot for its lines of comic books, and occasionally as metafictional character who comments on the comics in which he appears.-History:...

, and established the CMX
CMX (comics)
CMX was a division of Wildstorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics which in turn is owned by Time Warner. It was DC's line of manga translations....

 imprint to reprint translated manga
Manga
Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...

. In 2006, CMX took over from Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book and manga publisher.Dark Horse Comics was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon, with the concept of establishing an ideal atmosphere for creative professionals. Richardson started out by opening his first comic book...

 publication of the webcomic Megatokyo
Megatokyo
is an English-language webcomic created by Fred Gallagher and Rodney Caston, debuting on August 14, 2000, and then written and illustrated solely by Gallagher since July 17, 2002. Gallagher's style of writing and illustration is heavily influenced by Japanese manga. Megatokyo is freely available on...

in print form. DC also took advantage of the demise of Kitchen Sink Press
Kitchen Sink Press
Kitchen Sink Press was a comic book publishing company founded by Denis Kitchen in 1970. Kitchen owned and operated Kitchen Sink Press until 1999. Kitchen Sink Press was a pioneering publisher of underground comics, and was also responsible for numerous republications of classic comic strips in...

 and acquired the rights to much of the work of Will Eisner
Will Eisner
William Erwin "Will" Eisner was an American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an...

, such as his The Spirit
The Spirit
The Spirit is a crime-fighting fictional character created by writer-artist Will Eisner. He first appeared June 2, 1940 in "The Spirit Section", the colloquial name given to a 16-page Sunday supplement, distributed to 20 newspapers by the Register and Tribune Syndicate and reaching five million...

series and his graphic novels.

In 2004, DC began laying the groundwork for a full continuity-reshuffling sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, promising substantial changes to the DC Universe (and side-stepping the 1994
1994 in comics
-Year overall:* Huge changes in the marketplace force many retailers and small publishers out of business...

 Zero Hour
Zero Hour (comics)
Zero Hour: Crisis in Time is a five-issue comic book limited series and crossover storyline published by DC Comics in 1994. In it, the former hero Hal Jordan, who had until then been a member of the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps, mad with grief after the destruction of...

event which similarly tried to ret-con the history of the DCU). In 2005, the critically lauded Batman Begins
Batman Begins
Batman Begins is a 2005 American superhero action film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, directed by Christopher Nolan. It stars Christian Bale as Batman, along with Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Tom Wilkinson,...

film was released; also, the company published several limited series establishing increasingly escalated conflicts among DC's heroes, with events climaxing in the Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis is a 2005 - 2006 comic book storyline published by DC Comics, consisting of an eponymous, seven-issue comic book limited series written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Phil Jimenez, George Pérez, Ivan Reis, and Jerry Ordway, and a number of tie-in books...

limited series. Immediately after this event, DC's ongoing series jumped forward a full year
One Year Later
"One Year Later" was a 2006 storyline event running through the DC Universe. As the title suggests, it involves a narrative jump exactly one year into the future of the DC Comics Universe following the events of the Infinite Crisis event, to explore major changes within the continuities of the many...

 in their in-story continuity, as DC launched a weekly series, 52
52 (comic book)
52 was a weekly American comic book limited series published by DC Comics that debuted on May 10, 2006, one week after the conclusion of the seven-issue Infinite Crisis. The series was written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid with layouts by Keith Giffen...

, to gradually fill in the missing time. Concurrently, DC lost the copyright to "Superboy" (while retaining the trademark) when the heirs of Jerry Siegel
Jerry Siegel
Jerome "Jerry" Siegel , who also used pseudonyms including Joe Carter, Jerry Ess, and Herbert S...

 used a provision of the 1976 revision to the copyright law to regain ownership.

In 2005, DC launched a new "All-Star
All Star DC Comics
All Star was an imprint of ongoing comic book titles published by DC Comics that ran from 2005 to 2008. DC has published two titles under the All-Star banner, featuring Batman and Superman....

" line (evoking the title of the 1940s publication
All Star Comics
All Star Comics is a 1940s comic book series from All-American Publications, one of the early companies that merged with National Periodical Publications to form the modern-day DC Comics. With the exception of the first two issues, All Star Comics primarily told stories about the adventures of the...

), designed to feature some of the company's best-known characters in stories that eschewed the long and convoluted continuity of the DC Universe, and were produced by "all star" creative teams. All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder launched in July 2005, with All-Star Superman beginning in November 2005. All Star Wonder Woman and All Star Batgirl were announced in 2006, with the release of Superman Returns
Superman Returns
Superman Returns is a 2006 superhero film directed by Bryan Singer. It is the fifth and final installment in the original Superman film series and serves as a alternate sequel to Superman and Superman II by ignoring the events of Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace .The film stars...

in movie theaters, but neither have been released or scheduled as of the end of 2009. Adam Hughes
Adam Hughes
Adam Hughes is an American comic book artist who has worked for companies such as DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Lucasfilm, Warner Bros...

, who was initially announced as the writer/artist on All Star Wonder Woman in 2006, explained at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International that that project was "in the freezer" for the time being, due to the difficulty involved in both writing and illustrating himself.

DC Entertainment
In September 2009, Warner Bros. announced that DC Comics would become a subsidiary of DC Entertainment, Inc., with Diane Nelson, President of Warner Premiere
Warner Premiere
Warner Premiere is the direct-to-video label of Warner Home Video, itself the home video unit of Warner Bros.In 2006, Warner Home Video announced they would enter the market of releasing original direct-to-video films, a market that has proven lucrative for studios over the past few years...

, becoming president of the newly formed company and DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz moving to the position of Contributing Editor and Overall Consultant there.

2010s

On February 18, 2010, DC Entertainment named Jim Lee
Jim Lee
Jim Lee is a Korean-American comic book artist, writer, editor and publisher. He first broke into the industry in 1987 as an artist for Marvel Comics, illustrating titles such as Alpha Flight and Punisher War Journal, before gaining a great deal of popularity on The Uncanny X-Men...

 and Dan DiDio
Dan DiDio
Dan DiDio is an American writer, editor and publisher who has worked in the television and comic book industries. He is currently the Co-Publisher of DC Comics, along with Jim Lee...

 as Co-Publishers of DC Comics, Geoff Johns
Geoff Johns
Geoff Johns is an American comic book writer, best known for his work for DC Comics, where he has been Chief Creative Officer since February 2010, in particular for characters such as Green Lantern, The Flash and Superman...

 as Chief Creative Officer, John Rood as EVP of Sales, Marketing and Business Development, and Patrick Caldon as EVP of Finance and Administration.

In May 2011, DC announced it would become the first comic-book publisher to begin releasing digital versions of their comics on the same day as paper versions.

Relaunch

On June 1, 2011, DC announced that it would end all ongoing series set in the DC Universe in August and relaunch its comic line with 52 issue #1s, starting with Justice League
Justice League
The Justice League, also called the Justice League of America or JLA, is a fictional superhero team that appears in comic books published by DC Comics....

on August 31, 2011 (written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee), with the rest to follow later on in September.

Logo

DC's first logo
Logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

 appeared on the April 1940 issues of its titles. The letters "DC" stood for Detective Comics, the name of Batman's flagship title. The small logo, with no background, read simply, "A DC Publication".

The November 1941 DC titles introduced an updated logo. This version was almost twice the size of the previous one, and was the first version with a white background. The name "Superman" was added to "A DC Publication", effectively acknowledging both Superman and Batman. This logo was the first to occupy the top-left corner of the cover, where the logo has usually resided since. The company now referred to itself in its advertising as "Superman-DC".

In November 1949, the logo was modified to incorporate the company's formal name, National Comics Publications. This logo would also serve as the round body of Johnny DC, DC's mascot
Mascot
The term mascot – defined as a term for any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck – colloquially includes anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name...

 in the 1960s.

In October 1970 DC briefly retired the circular logo in favor of a simple "DC" in a rectangle with the name of the title, or the star of the book; the logo on many issues of Action Comics, for example, read "DC Superman". An image of the lead character either appeared above or below the rectangle. For books that did not have a single star, such as anthologies
Anthology
An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

 like House of Mystery
House of Mystery
The House of Mystery is the name of several horror-mystery-suspense anthology comic book series. It had a companion series, House of Secrets.-Genesis:...

or team series such as Justice League of America, the title and "DC" appeared in a stylized logo, such as a bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

 for House of Mystery. This use of characters as logos helped to establish the likenesses as trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

s, and was similar to Marvel's contemporaneous use of characters as part of its cover branding.

DC's "100 Page Super-Spectacular" titles and later 100-page and "Giant" issues published from 1972 to 1974 featured a logo exclusive to these editions: the letters "DC" in a simple sans-serif
Sans-serif
In typography, a sans-serif, sans serif or san serif typeface is one that does not have the small projecting features called "serifs" at the end of strokes. The term comes from the French word sans, meaning "without"....

 typeface
Typeface
In typography, a typeface is the artistic representation or interpretation of characters; it is the way the type looks. Each type is designed and there are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly....

 within a circle. A variant had the letters in a square.

The July 1972 DC titles featured a new circular logo. The letters "DC" were rendered in a block-like typeface that would remain through later logo revisions until 2005. The title of the book usually appeared inside the circle, either above or below the letters.

In December 1973, this logo was modified with the addition of the words "The Line of DC Super-Stars" and the star motif that would continue in later logos. This logo was placed in the top center of the cover from August 1975 to October 1976.

When Jenette Kahn became DC's publisher
Publishing
Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information—the activity of making information available to the general public...

 in late 1976, she commissioned graphic designer Milton Glaser
Milton Glaser
Milton Glaser is a graphic designer, best known for the I Love New York logo, his "Bob Dylan" poster, the "DC bullet" logo used by DC Comics from 1977 to 2005, and the "Brooklyn Brewery" logo. He also founded New York Magazine with Clay Felker in 1968.-Biography:Glaser was born into a Hungarian...

 to design a new logo. Popularly referred to as the "DC bullet", this logo premiered on the February 1977 titles. Although it varied in size and color and was at times cropped by the edges of the cover, or briefly rotated 4 degrees, it remained essentially unchanged for nearly three decades.

In July 1987, DC released variant editions of Justice League #3 and The Fury of Firestorm #61 with a new DC logo. It featured a picture of Superman in a circle surrounded by the words "SUPERMAN COMICS". The company released these variants to newsstands in certain markets as a marketing test.

On May 8, 2005, a new logo was unveiled, debuting on DC titles in June 2005 with DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy
Donna Troy
Donna Troy is a comic book superheroine published by DC Comics. She first appeared in The Brave and the Bold vol. 1 #60 , and was created by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani...

#1 and the rest of the titles the following week. In addition to comics, it was designed for DC properties in other media, such as the movies Batman Begins
Batman Begins
Batman Begins is a 2005 American superhero action film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, directed by Christopher Nolan. It stars Christian Bale as Batman, along with Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Tom Wilkinson,...

and Superman Returns
Superman Returns
Superman Returns is a 2006 superhero film directed by Bryan Singer. It is the fifth and final installment in the original Superman film series and serves as a alternate sequel to Superman and Superman II by ignoring the events of Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace .The film stars...

as well as the new Batman film The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight (film)
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins...

and the TV series Smallville
Smallville
Smallville is the hometown of Superman in comic books published by DC Comics. While growing up in Smallville, the young Clark Kent attended Smallville High with best friends Lana Lang, Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross...

, Justice League Unlimited
Justice League Unlimited
Justice League Unlimited is an American animated television series that was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on Cartoon Network. Featuring a wide array of superheroes from the DC Comics universe, and specifically based on the Justice League superhero team, it is a direct sequel to the...

and The Batman
The Batman (TV series)
The Batman is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. It ran from 2004 to 2008, on the Saturday morning television block Kids' WB...

, as well as for collectible
Collectible
A collectable or collectible is any object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector . There are numerous types of collectables and terms to denote those types. An antique is a collectable that is old...

s and other merchandise. The logo was designed by Josh Beatman of Brainchild Studios and DC executive
Management
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

 Richard Bruning
Richard Bruning
Richard Bruning is an American graphic designer and comics creator who is currently the Senior Vice-President-Creative Director of DC Comics.-Biography:...

.

Active

  • DC
    DC Universe
    The DC Universe is the shared universe where most of the comic stories published by DC Comics take place. The fictional characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are well-known superheroes from this universe. Note that in context, "DC Universe" is usually used to refer to the main DC continuity...

     (1935–present)
  • DC Archive Editions
    DC Archive Editions
    DC Archive Editions, collect early, sometimes rare, comic books published by DC and other publishers into a permanent hardcover series. With more than 100 titles, this series began in 1989 with Superman Archives Vol. 1...

     (1989–present)
  • Johnny DC
    Johnny DC
    Johnny DC is a character that DC Comics has used at various times as a mascot for its lines of comic books, and occasionally as metafictional character who comments on the comics in which he appears.-History:...

     (2004–present)
  • Mad Books
    Mad (magazine)
    Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century.The last...

     (1992–present)
  • Vertigo (1993–present)
  • Will Eisner Library
    Will Eisner
    William Erwin "Will" Eisner was an American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an...

     (2000–present)

Defunct

  • All Star
    All Star DC Comics
    All Star was an imprint of ongoing comic book titles published by DC Comics that ran from 2005 to 2008. DC has published two titles under the All-Star banner, featuring Batman and Superman....

     (2005–2008)
  • Amalgam Comics
    Amalgam Comics
    Amalgam Comics was a publishing imprint shared by DC Comics and Marvel Comics, in which the two comic book publishers merged their characters into new ones . These characters first appeared in a series of twelve comic books which were published in 1996, between issues 3 and 4 of the Marvel vs...

     (1996–1997; jointly with Marvel Comics
    Marvel Comics
    Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

    )
  • DC Focus
    DC Focus
    DC Focus was a short-lived imprint of DC Comics. The titles published under this imprint featured super-powered characters who didn't follow the trappings and traditions of classic superhero adventures. Most titles failed to generate significant sales, forcing DC Comics to cancel them. Hard Time...

     (2004–2005; merged with main DC
    DC Universe
    The DC Universe is the shared universe where most of the comic stories published by DC Comics take place. The fictional characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are well-known superheroes from this universe. Note that in context, "DC Universe" is usually used to refer to the main DC continuity...

     line)
  • Elseworlds
    Elseworlds
    Elseworlds is the publication imprint for a group of comic books produced by DC Comics that take place outside the company's canon. According to its tagline: "In Elseworlds, heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places — some that have existed, and others...

     (1989–2004)
  • Helix
    Helix (comics)
    Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and science fantasy imprint of DC Comics, launched in 1996 and discontinued in 1998. Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and science fantasy imprint of DC Comics, launched in 1996 and discontinued in 1998. Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and...

     (1996–1998; merged with Vertigo)
  • Impact Comics
    Impact Comics
    Impact Comics was an imprint of DC Comics that was aimed at younger audiences. It was begun in 1991 and ended by 1993....

     (1991–1993; licensed from Archie Comics
    Archie Comics
    Archie Comics is an American comic book publisher headquartered in the Village of Mamaroneck, Town of Mamaroneck, New York, known for its many series featuring the fictional teenagers Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle and Jughead Jones. The characters were created by...

    )
  • Milestone Media
    Milestone Media
    Milestone Media is a company best known for creating Milestone Comics and securing an unheard of publishing and distribution deal with DC Comics and the Static Shock cartoon series. It was founded in 1993 by a coalition of African-American artists and writers Milestone Media is a company best known...

     (1993–1997)
  • Minx
    Minx (comics)
    Minx was an imprint of DC Comics that published graphic novels aimed at teenage girls. It ran from 2007 to 2008.-History:Minx was announced in November 2006, following several years of planning...

     (2007–2008)
  • Paradox Press
    Paradox Press
    Paradox Press was a division of DC Comics formed in 1993 after editor Mark Nevelow departed from Piranha Press. Under the initial editorship of Andrew Helfer and Bronwyn Carlton the imprint was renamed. It is best known for graphic novels like A History of Violence and Road to Perdition...

     (1998–2003)
  • Piranha Press
    Piranha Press
    Piranha Press, an imprint of DC Comics from 1989 to 1994, was a response by DC to the growing interest in alternative comics. The imprint was edited by Mark Nevelow, who instead of developing comics with the established names in the alternative comics field, chose to introduce several unknown...

     (1989–1993; renamed Paradox Press
    Paradox Press
    Paradox Press was a division of DC Comics formed in 1993 after editor Mark Nevelow departed from Piranha Press. Under the initial editorship of Andrew Helfer and Bronwyn Carlton the imprint was renamed. It is best known for graphic novels like A History of Violence and Road to Perdition...

    )
  • Tangent Comics
    Tangent Comics
    Tangent Comics was a DC Comics imprint created in 1997–1998, developed from ideas created by Dan Jurgens. The line, formed from various one-shots, focused on creating all-new characters using established DC names, such as the Joker, Superman, and the Flash...

     (1997–1998)
  • WildStorm Productions
    Wildstorm
    WildStorm Productions, or simply WildStorm, published American comic books. Originally an independent company established by Jim Lee and further expanded upon in subsequent years by other creators, WildStorm became a publishing imprint of DC Comics in 1999...

     (1999–2010)
    • America's Best Comics
      America's Best Comics (DC)
      America's Best Comics is a comic book publishing brand.It was set up by Alan Moore in 1999 as an imprint of WildStorm, an idea proposed to Moore by Wildstorm founder Jim Lee when it was still under Image Comics.-History:...

       (1999–2005)
    • Cliffhanger
      Cliffhanger (comics)
      Cliffhanger was an imprint of Wildstorm, publishing creator-owned comic books. It was founded in 1998 by Joe Madureira, J. Scott Campbell and Humberto Ramos, when Wildstorm was still part of Image Comics ....

       (1999–2004; merged to form WildStorm Signature)
    • CMX Manga
      CMX (comics)
      CMX was a division of Wildstorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics which in turn is owned by Time Warner. It was DC's line of manga translations....

       (2004–2010)
    • Homage Comics
      Homage Comics
      Homage Comics was a comic book publishing imprint, a subdivision of Wildstorm. It was created in 1995 to focus more on writer-driven titles. As part of Wildstorm, it was acquired by DC Comics in 1998...

       (1999–2004; merged to form WildStorm Signature)
    • WildStorm
      Wildstorm Universe
      The Wildstorm Universe is a fictional shared universe where the comic books published by Wildstorm take place. It represents an alternate history of the real world where ideas such as interstellar travel and superhuman abilities are commonplace...

       (1999–2010)
    • WildStorm Signature (2004–2006; merged with main WildStorm
      Wildstorm Universe
      The Wildstorm Universe is a fictional shared universe where the comic books published by Wildstorm take place. It represents an alternate history of the real world where ideas such as interstellar travel and superhuman abilities are commonplace...

       line)
  • Zuda Comics
    Zuda Comics
    Zuda Comics was DC Comics' webcomics imprint from 2007 until 2010. It featured comics for Flash player instead of in a web page. Announced in a press release on July 9, 2007 and the first ongoing series and competing comic entries went live October 30, 2007...

     (2007–2010)

Acquired companies and studios

  • All-American Publications
    All-American Publications
    All-American Publications is one of three American comic book companies that combined to form the modern-day DC Comics, one of the world's two largest comics publishers...

     (merged 1944)
  • Archie Comics
    Archie Comics
    Archie Comics is an American comic book publisher headquartered in the Village of Mamaroneck, Town of Mamaroneck, New York, known for its many series featuring the fictional teenagers Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle and Jughead Jones. The characters were created by...

     (superhero properties licensed 1991–1993 as part of Impact Comics
    Impact Comics
    Impact Comics was an imprint of DC Comics that was aimed at younger audiences. It was begun in 1991 and ended by 1993....

    , properties licensed again in 2008)
  • Charlton Comics
    Charlton Comics
    Charlton Comics was an American comic book publishing company that existed from 1946 to 1985, having begun under a different name in 1944. It was based in Derby, Connecticut...

     (some properties acquired 1983)
  • Fawcett Comics
    Fawcett Comics
    Fawcett Comics, a division of Fawcett Publications, was one of several successful comic book publishers during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s...

     (some properties licensed 1972, acquired early 1990s)
  • Flex Comix
    Flex Comix
    is a Japanese company specializing in the sale of manga magazines, and goods related to the anime and manga industry in Japan. Flex Comix is affiliated with Asian Groove and Soft Bank BB, forming the Movida Holdings joint-investment company. The company publishes two magazines: Comi Digi +, and...

     (made investment in 2007; jointly owned with other companies)
  • Mad Magazine
    Mad (magazine)
    Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century.The last...

     (legally owned by EC Publications
    EC Comics
    Entertaining Comics, more commonly known as EC Comics, was an American publisher of comic books specializing in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series...

    , but assigned to DC's corporate control in the late 1990s. Both companies are part of Warner Bros. Entertainment)
  • Quality Comics
    Quality Comics
    Quality Comics was an American comic book publishing company that operated from 1939 to 1956 and was an influential creative force in what historians and fans call the Golden Age of comic books....

     (some properties licensed 1956, later acquired)
  • WaRP Graphics
    WaRP Graphics
    WaRP Graphics, later Warp Graphics, is an alternative comics publisher best known for creating and being the original publisher of the Elfquest comic book series. It was created and incorporated in 1977 by Wendy and Richard Pini. The company title is an acronym formed from the founding couple's...

     (properties licenced from 2003 to 2007)
  • WildStorm Productions
    Wildstorm
    WildStorm Productions, or simply WildStorm, published American comic books. Originally an independent company established by Jim Lee and further expanded upon in subsequent years by other creators, WildStorm became a publishing imprint of DC Comics in 1999...

     (properties acquired 1999)
  • Will Eisner Library
    Will Eisner
    William Erwin "Will" Eisner was an American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an...

     (some properties licensed 2000)

See also



External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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