[[caption-width-right:200:[-DC's logo as of ComicBook/DCRebirth. [[note]][[ImageLinks/DCComics Click here to see their old logos]].-][[/note]] ]]

DC Comics is one of the two biggest comic publishers active in the United States today, the other being Creator/MarvelComics.


DC began as Detective Comics, Inc in 1937, to publish a crime-themed AnthologyComic, ''Detective Comics'', which introduced Franchise/{{Batman}} in issue 27. In 1938, the company launched a second title, ''Action Comics'', starring Franchise/{{Superman}}. Detective Comics merged with National Allied Publications and All-American Publications in 1944 to form National Comics; however, due to the appearance of their logo, the company was popularly known as DC Comics, and eventually formally adopted that as its name.

Detective Comics' {{superhero}}es proved popular in the 40s, but with the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, the genre entered a decline. National Comics managed to hold on during UsefulNotes/TheInterregnum by diversifying into {{western}}s, humour, romance, and scifi, as well as some crime and horror titles which were innocuous enough to escape being censored by UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode.

In the mid-1950s, DC revived their old superhero, Franchise/TheFlash, in order to appear in their anthology ''Showcase''. Rather than bringing back the old character, the writers introduced a new hero with a new secret identity and a scifi-based origin. Following the success of this story, the Franchise/GreenLantern was similarly reimagined, and National began increasing their superhero output. This practise was copied by several other publishers, most notably Marvel, who actually managed to exceed DC's sales and popularity in the 60s due to stronger writing. In 1967, DC managed to get some of this popularity by bringing Creator/SteveDitko over from Marvel, who introduced elements such as [[{{Antihero}} flawed heroes]] and personality clashes during team-up stories. Around the same time, the conglomerate Kinney National Company (who would become the parent of film studio Creator/WarnerBrothers shortly after) purchased DC Comics, integrating it as a division of Warner Bros. in the process. In the 70s, DC began to expand into more mature stories, attracting teenagers and young adults who previously considered comics to be exclusively a kids' medium.

In the 1970s, after Marvel's [[UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode Comics Code]]-defying [[DrugsAreBad anti-drug]] ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' story, DC jumped on the bandwagon with a slew of '[[MoralOfTheStory relevant]]', social-issue-tackling {{superhero}} stories. Most famously, Franchise/GreenLantern and ComicBook/GreenArrow took a trip across America, fighting such issues as drug use and broken homes. Furthermore, Creator/JackKirby, the other major co-creator of the MarvelUniverse, signed up to create [[ComicBook/NewGods The Fourth World]] comics such as ''The ComicBook/NewGods'' and ''ComicBook/MisterMiracle''. Unfortunately, these titles were ahead of their time and Kirby eventually returned to Marvel in the mid 1970s.

However, by the late 1970s, the company was going through rough waters with Marvel finally beating them in sales and DC Comics floundering with titles that began big and then petered out within a few issues. Then the company got a new President, Jenette Kahn, who began to reorganize the company to fix that problem. For instance, she created health plans and instituted reprint fees. More importantly, in 1981, she instituted a royalty system for talents where the better their titles sold, the more they would be paid, giving them a stake in a series' continued success. Also, she and the senior editors took control of their titles' sustainability problem by creating the LimitedSeries, so they could at least get it under their control with predetermined endings for title. The moves paid off, the most obvious example being ''The New ComicBook/TeenTitans'' which became a major success under Marv Wolfman and George Perez, whose enhanced pay was enough incentive to keep the title going for years. Furthermore, they could show the origins of their original characters in a mini-series ''Tales of The Teen Titans'' without interrupting their main title.

In addition, DC took a chance on some of the talent from Britain and gave some of the promising talents, such as Creator/AlanMoore, Creator/GrantMorrison, and Brian Bolland, a shot at their lesser titles. The result was an explosion of astounding creativity that signaled the comic book version of UsefulNotes/TheBritishInvasion. Mainstream comics would never be the same.

[floatboxright:DC universes with their own articles
* Franchise/TheDCU (Main comics)
* Franchise/{{DCAU}} (''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and related shows)
* WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies (Direct-to-video animated films starting with ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday'')
* Franchise/DCExtendedUniverse (''Film/ManOfSteel'' and related films)
* Series/ArrowVerse (''Series/{{Arrow}}'' and related shows)
* VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries (VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum and sequels)

In the late 80s, DC was responsible for catapulting comics to a new era of respectability and critical acclaim. Part of this was their epic, {{continuity}}-shaking ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'', which showed that comics could tell stories as effectively as any novel or movie. The other was a pair of [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructive]] works, Creator/AlanMoore[='=]s ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' and Creator/FrankMiller's ''Comicbook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'', both of which brought a new level of intelligence and psychological complexity to the medium. They also kicked off the craze for DarkerAndEdgier, HotterAndSexier comics, and started the so-called [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks Dark Age]]. In the wake of this, all the other publishers started [[FollowTheLeader copying them]], and even the main [[Franchise/TheDCU DC Universe]] became somewhat darker to accommodate the new tastes.

DC's supernatural paradigm has changed considerably. In the 1990s, with the growing influence of the ComicBook/SwampThing and the beginning of the Kali Yuga storyline, DC left behind the Cosmic Good versus Cosmic Evil convention once common in superhero stories. Instead, according to current DC metaphysics, the cosmic battle involves LawfulNeutral (angels, Lords of Order) versus ChaoticNeutral (demons, Lords of Chaos), with both sides fairly indifferent to human perspectives about good or evil. (The only exception to this seems to be the DC version of God, who is Good rather than Lawful, and the Devil, who varies according to the writer.) This cosmic disinterest in good/evil issues has been a major motivation for ComicBook/ThePhantomStranger and Deadman in their choices to side with humans instead of TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness of the week.

[floatboxright:DC Comics imprints
* ComicBook/AllStarDCComics
* Creator/AmericasBestComics
* Creator/{{CMX}}
* Johnny DC
* Creator/TangentComics
* Creator/VertigoComics
* Creator/{{Wildstorm}}
* Creator/YoungAnimal

In the 90s, with comics enjoying increased sales due to a speculation boom, DC published a series of dramatic, shocking stories, including such events as [[ComicBook/TheDeathOfSuperman Superman dying]], [[ComicBook/{{Knightfall}} Batman's back being broken]], and Green Lantern becoming a {{supervillain}}; sales were impressive, but they quickly dropped off again as the law of supply and demand came to bite speculators in [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer their collective assi]]. However, DC endured, and continued to publish a number of critically acclaimed graphic novels under its Vertigo, [=WildStorm=], and America's Best Comics imprints. (Other imprints, such as Helix (SF) and Minx (targeted at the teenage girl manga market), have been less successful.)

Since then, DC has continued quite strongly, and in all likelihood will co-dominate the English-speaking comic industry for years to come.

As of September 2011, DC rebooted their entire universe back to square one to make the stories and characters 'younger and more relevant' to the modern age. This took the form of "the ComicBook/{{New 52}}" comics revamped, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman and the Justice League.

In 2013, it was announced that DC would be relocating its main offices to Los Angeles to better integrate its multimedia operations.

See DCComicsCharacters for an index of the characters in the larger DC Universe, and check ComicBook/DCComicsSeries for an index of all the series published by DC, both in and outside of the larger continuity.
!!Relevant tropes:
* ArcNumber: Since 2006, "52" has been the arc number for the DC Universe, being the title of a weekly series, the number of Earths in their multiverse, the number of DCU titles in their 2011 reboot, et cetera.
** This may no longer apply as of Convergence and DC Rebirth.
* ContinuityReboot: DC has rebooted their universe completely twice, and used CrisisCrossover stories to "tweak" matters at least twice more.
** Not to mention they retconned the Second Reboot (The New 52) with a soft reboot (Rebirth), indicating that the New 52 was not a separate universe, but rather the Post Crisis Universe Altered by an outside actor. The "New" Batman/Superman etc. simply have altered histories but are the same people substantially.
* CrossoverFinale: Because DC tended to launch new titles out of crossovers in the 1980s and 1990s, the yearly renewals tended to come up around the time of the next crossover. Thus throughout the 1990s, many DC Comics ended with a crossover story. And given the aforementioned tendency towards ContinuityReboot, sometimes the sole line gets something like a CrossoverFinale.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: DC stands for "Detective Comics". So the company's current name iteration in full is "Detective Comics Comics".
* MicroMonarchy: The tiny state of Markovia.
* MostWritersAreMale: The creative teams at the start of the 2011 reboot highlight this: Out of 52 creative teams, of two or three people each, there was exactly ''one'' woman: Creator/GailSimone is writing ''[[ComicBook/{{Firestorm}} The Fury Of Firestorm]]'' and ''ComicBook/{{Batgirl| 2011}}''. Later, more women were added to the creative teams; such as Christy Marx writing ''ComicBook/AmethystPrincessOfGemworld'' for the ''Sword and Sorcery'' comic.
* ComicBook/PostCrisis: The TropeMaker, and still an idea that dominates discussions of DC Comics, especially with the New 52's wholesale reboot.
* SuperFamilyTeam: Various imprints either have family teams in them, or are of family teams.
* TrainingTheGiftOfMagic: While the metaphysics of the DC universe is often confused, it seems that some characters (such as ComicBook/{{Zatanna}}) are "Homo Magi", members of a subspecies of humanity with the ability to work magic quickly and easily, although they may still need some kind of training, while others (such as [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]]) have to work through rituals and hard study.
* TwoFirstNames: Various civilian identities of their superheroes have this, such as [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bruce Wayne]], [[Franchise/{{Superman}} Clark Kent]], [[Franchise/TheFlash Barry Allen]], among others.