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Alternate Universe / Comic Books

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    Comic Books — DC Comics 
  • The DCU has had many different Earths before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Reset Button event from the mid to late 80's, and many Elseworld stories, including one where Superman turns out like this.
  • By far the most important AU in the DC Multiverse was Earth-Two, home of the Justice Society of America, who would cross over with the Justice League on Earth-One once a year.
  • Other alternate earths in the D.C. Multiverse included but were not limited to:
    • Earth-3, where the good guys were bad guys and so-forth.
    • Earth-4, where characters from Charlton Comics (Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, the Question, etc.) lived after D.C. had acquired their rights.
    • Earth-S, where characters from Fawcett Comics (the Shazam Captain Marvel, the Marvel Family, etc.) lived after D.C. had acquired their rights or they'd fallen into the public domain.
    • Earth-X, where characters from Quality Comics (Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, the Human Bomb, etc.) lived, and where World War II continued into the '70s.
    • Earth-Prime, which was supposed to represent the "real world," and from whence the infamous Superboy Prime cometh.
    • The 5th Dimension and Qward from Superman and Green Lantern, respectively, which were homes to certain villains in their comics.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths supposedly did away with alternate Earths, except for a few things.
    • The 5th Dimension and Qward remained, and in fact, Qward took the place of Earth-3 in establishing a place of origin for the Crime Syndicate.
    • An early post-Crisis Superman story established that Superboy had existed in a Pocket Universe created by the Time Trapper simply to explain an inconsistency of the mainstream DC Universe Superman never becoming Superboy, yet the Legion of Super-Heroes still regard Superboy as actually existing and becoming one of its members.
    • D.C. began labeling their high-concept imaginary stories "Elseworlds" as if to imply that they took place on alternate Earths.
    • The 1996 Marvel vs D.C. crossover clearly states that Marvel and D.C. Comics take place on parallel Earths. This is important to the overall plot of the story, though it doesn't seem to have had much impact on the ongoing lives of either line of superheroes.
      • The 2003 JLA/Avengers also says that Marvel and D.C. are parallel Earths.
    • The fate of the Superman of Earth-2 was still apparent in the story The Kingdom.
    • D.C. eventually created Hypertime as essentially a similar device to exploring alternate versions of characters.
    • And, finally, the plot of Infinite Crisis made it so that the parallel Earths had to exist.
  • After Infinite Crisis, the Multiverse was restored, with 52 separate realities, most of them containing versions of the Elseworld stories. So we got to see Superman fight Communist Superman at last.
  • While a longstanding tradition at DC, the Second Wave of The New 52 had the re-established Earth-2 as a focus. (Not only the Earth 2 comic itself, but also Worlds' Finest, whose stars are refugees from that reality.)
  • Forever Evil involves the Crime Syndicate of the re-established Earth-3 invading the main Earth.
  • The Multiversity:
    • The Earths that get their own individual issues are:
      • Earth-4, where the Charlton Comics characters - The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, etc. - are the heroes of a Watchmen-influenced world.
      • Earth-5, the world of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family.
      • Earth-10, a world where Kal-L was found by the Nazis, and grew up to become Overman. With the help of retro-engineered Kryptonian technology - and, when he was old enough, Overman himself - the Nazis won World War II. In guilt over the Nazis' atrocities, Overman turned his Earth into a pseudo-utopia; the last English-speaking rebels, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, fight Overman's Justice League.
      • Earth-16, with the children of the main DC universe's heroes and villains - Chris Kent as Superman's son, Damian Wayne as Batman's son, etc. - plus DC's '90s supers.
      • Earth-20, a pulp-style world featuring Doc Fate and the Society of Super-Heroes, who include Abin Sur's Green Lantern, Immortal Man, the Mighty Atom, and the Blackhawks.
      • Earth-33, a.k.a. Earth-Prime, which is basically our world, with the reader being its latest superhero. It's also the world of origin for the Gentry, who are designated as "Hostile Independent Thought-Forms" by the reader and his/her haunted comic book, Ultra Comics. The Gentry's creator, the Empty Hand also reigns here, as he is implied to be the personification of our real world apathy towards superheroes and comics in general who is still digesting the previous iteration of the Multiverse lost during Flashpoint.
    • The other worlds of the multiverse include:
      • Earth-0, the main DCU.
      • Earth-1, the world home to the Earth One line of graphic novels, with young and inexperienced versions of the main DC heroes just beginning to appear.
      • Earth-2, as featured in the comic of the same name, where younger versions of DC's Golden Age heroes arose in the modern day in the wake of an invasion from Apokolips.
      • Earth-3, the Mirror Universe of Earth-0, ruled by the Crime Syndicate of America until the Anti-Monitor destroyed it in Forever Evil.
      • Earth-6, the world now home to the stories from Just Imagine... Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe.
      • Earth-7 is already destroyed upon the arrival of Nix Uotan, but appears to have been a Marvel pastiche like Earth-8, below. However, pastiches of DC characters can be seen among the dead, so it's likely this Earth was a mix-up in homage to the many DC and Marvel crossover stories. The guidebook confirms that it is (or was) the equivalent to Ultimate Marvel.
      • Earth-8, a Marvel Comics pastiche, for example featuring the Retaliators and the G-Men.
      • Earth-9, the Tangent Comics universe.
      • Earth-11, which includes female versions of the main DCU's heroes and villains, and male versions of its heroines and villainesses. This is a world where the Amazons of Themyscira had greater influence on society's advancement, to the point that women were given more freedom and helped shape Earth's future.
      • Earth-12, the DCAU world, currently in the era of Batman Beyond.
      • Earth-13, home to a dark, magical Justice League called the League of Shadows, including Superdemon, Hellblazer (based on the Batmanesque version from Doom Patrol #53 and Books of Magic Annual #3), and Fate (the 90s version with the ankh scar). The world is in a state of perpetual twilight, there are 13 months in the year, and 13 hours in every day.
      • Earth-15, a perfect world that was destroyed by Superboy-Prime. All that's left is a Cosmic Grail that was hidden in another world.
      • Earth-17, an Earth ravaged by atomic destruction. Humanity lives in domed cities, and the Atomic Knights of Justice are led by Adam Strange.
      • Earth-18, a Western-style world featuring the Justice Riders, who ride on Steam Punk horses. On this world, the Time Trapper froze the state of progression so that, even with many 21st Century based technological advances, society is still a frontier world.
      • Earth-19, a world currently in the era of Edwardian England, home to the Bat Man, the Wonder Woman, the Accelerated Man, and the Shrinking Man. Bruce and Diana are based on Gotham By Gaslight and Amazonia respectively note .
      • Earth-21, the DC: The New Frontier universe.
      • Earth-22, the Kingdom Come universe.
      • Earth-23, home of President Superman, where the world's greatest heroes are black (which can mean that they're black in the main DCU, as with Steel and Vixen; that a black holder of the legacy in the main DCU is Earth-23's primary holder, as seems to be the case with Green Lantern; that they're black versions of the hero, as with Superman; or that they're completely unique). The major exception is Batman.
      • Earth-26, an Alternate Tooniverse where Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! reside.
      • Earth-29, the cube-shaped Bizarro Universe.
      • Earth-30, the Superman: Red Son universe.
      • Earth-31, a world ravaged by tsunamis and earthquakes, where modern pirates roam the seas. Captain Leatherwing and his crew of the Flying Fox act as a force for good.
      • Earth-32, a world partially based on Batman: In Darkest Knight. Bruce Wayne is Green Lantern, and fights alongside heroes such as Super-Martian, Wonderhawk, and Aquaflash.
      • Earth-34, an Astro City pastiche, home to Goodfellow and the heroes of Cosmoville.
      • Earth-35, a pastiche of Rob Liefeld's Extreme Studios comics, including Supremo and Majesty, Queen of Venus. The premier superteam of this world is the Super-Americans.
      • Earth-36, a world home to a team called Justice 9, based off Big Bang Comics.
      • Earth-37, a world based off the works of author Howard Chaykin, such as Batman: Thrillkiller.
      • Earth-38, a world where Batman and Superman debuted in 1938, aged normally, and had families.
      • Earth-39, a world based off the works of artist Wally Wood, home to the Agents of W.O.N.D.E.R.
      • Earth-40, an Evil Counterpart to Earth-20 where villains rather than heroes triumph, featuring Lady Shiva, Vandal Savage, Count Sinestro, Blockbuster, and Doctor Felix Faust as the Society of Super-Villains.
      • Earth-41, home to Spore and Dino-Cop, a world where so many heroes differ in terms of style and ideology, it's as if they were each dreamed up by individuals who had specific images and ideals of their heroes.
      • Earth-42, home to imp-like versions of the Justice League known as the Li'l Leaguers.
      • Earth-43, which has a Vampire League and is home to the Batman Vampire Elseworlds trilogy.
      • Earth-44, the world of the Metal League, a fusion of the Justice League and the Metal Men, led by Doc Tornado.
      • Earth-45, an Earth where Superman as a concept became perverted and corrupted by mass marketing and turned into the hyper-edgy Superdoomsday, whom later went on a homicidal rampage killing the Supermen of other Earths before being stopped by the Superman of Earth-0 in Grant Morrison's Action Comics.
      • Earth-47, a world where The '60s never ended, home to the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld and immortal teenage president Prez Rickard.
      • Earth-48, the new home to Lady Quark and Lord Volt. A world bred as protectors of the Multiverse, where everything is a superhero.
      • Earth-50, home to the Justice Lords from the DCAU.
      • Earth-51, the world of Jack Kirby's DC creations.
    • The guidebook covers 45 of the Earths, leaving 7 over for other writers to develop: 14, 24, 25, 27, 28, 46 and 49.
  • In Superboy Kon-El gets thrown through several realities including Earth-1098 and Earth-18 while tying to solve the murder of an alternate version of himself.
  • In Convergence, Brainiac has been collecting fragments from timelines and universes that have "ended" together on one world - ie, every DC timeline and AU prior to the New 52 - and Telos decides to let them meet. Featured are:
  • The end of Convergence results in the DC Multiverse becoming a combination of the Pre-Crisis Multiverse, the New 52 Multiverse, and the Elseworlds.
  • Dark Nights: Metal introduces the Dark Multiverse, spawned of the fears and hopes of the Multiverse's inhabitants, and starts adding new Earths to the 52 Multiverse, beginning with the 53rd Earth, where the Justice League are all non-human primates. Its spin-off Tales From The Dark Multiverse added to this with dark versions of classic stories.

    Comic Books — Other 
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is based on the premise of an infinite multiverse of parallel universes or realities which differ with each other in many things. For example, one of the main places where the action in the comic book takes place is a 20th century world where Great Britain is still ruled by a puritan government and a descendant of Oliver Cromwell. In addition, New York is New Amsterdam and the other great powers are the empires of Russia and Germany.
  • Even Archie Comics do this sort of thing, a notable example being the Life With Archie series. The storyline where Archie marries Betty is treated as a different universe from where Archie marries Veronica. The former also happens to feature a character traveling between universes!
  • Black Science explores infinite alternate dimensions. A disturbing number of them have some version of Grant McKay developing pillar technology. This includes a number of nonhuman Grant analogs. One theory is that the travel is easier between dimensions that have weakened the barriers by experimenting with pillars.
  • Marvel Comics has explicitly adopted a Multiverse as part of their canon, with "out of continuity" storylines assumed (or explicitly stated) to have happened on an alternate Earth (or alternate-wherever). The "main continuity" of most Marvel titles is labelled as taking place on "Earth-616".
    • Galactus is the sole known survivor from the previous Big Bang-Big Crunch universe cycle, making him technically a native of an alternate universe.
    • And then there's the Age of Apocalypse storyline. Although it was initially an alternate present for Marvel's baseline universe "Earth-616", it became an alternate reality when Jean Grey split it off into a separate universe during the events of X-Men Omega.
    • The comic Exiles explores this idea to its fullest, having the main characters hop between different Marvel AUs and fixing problems.
    • According to Earth X, every time you alter history through time travel you create an alternate universe.
    • Man-Thing's swamp is home to a plot-friendly conflux of universes, including Howard the Duck's home dimension.
  • There are four known ones in Paperinik New Adventures. In order of appearance, they are: a universe where the Evronians are the Benevolent Precursors who taught science to the inhabitants of the Americas and the Vikings are the dominant power of Europe that are trying to invade (the recurring character Urk comes from there, and was accidentally pulled in Paperinik's own by the Raider); a The Lord of the Rings-like world conquered by an alternate and dimension-hopping Raider, who rules benevolently after finally ending the incessant wars; the timeline from which the alternate Raider comes from (specifically an Alternate Universe of PK's canon future); the Ultimate Universe Continuity Reboot gets established as one by the original PK showing up in the last issue. The story The Day of the Cold Sun specifically establishes there's an infinite number of universes, but travel between them is almost impossible due the sheer numbers of them (in that story the Raider has a device to travel between them, but after finally succeeding at charging it he gets stuck in all of them at the same time because the device couldn't choose one).
  • Sinister Dexter introduced an alternate universe, which fans dubbed the Doppelverse, around the time it got serious. The Point of Divergence is that in the Doppelverse, the title characters were killed while still a pair of punk kids, with the result that most of their enemies are still alive and can come back to make trouble.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • The entire basis for the "Helter Skelter" story arc, which featured an alternate depiction of each of Dredd's biggest enemies, all of which have killed the counterpart to the original Dredd from their respective home dimensions, teaming up to defeat Judge Dredd prime.
    • There was another story arc dealing with the discovery of a Mirror Universe called "Macro Zone Alpha" in which the city was an exceptionally polite place, and the brutal Judges were replaced by soft-spoken rehabilitation officers.
    • Judge Death and his Dark Judges originate from their own universe nicknamed "Deadworld" where living itself is considered a crime. There was also an atomic war at some point that led to the rise of a Judge system where the lawkeepers had ultimate power, but technology was noticeably less advanced than in Dredd's universe, as there were no Mega-Cities.
    • There was also a time when Dredd dimension jumped and punched out Sylvester Stallone.
  • Let's not forget how it's done in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, where universes are known as "Zones". Beginning with the Mirror Universe with Scourge the Hedgehog, and continuing with Blaze the Cat and her "Sol Zone". And did I mention, in one "zone", Sonic is a cop who patrols between zones?
  • The Star Wars Infinities comics. Yavin goes up in smoke? Vader in white armor? Sweeeet....
    • And Yoda kamikaziing the Death Star into the Imperial Palace on Coruscant.
  • Tom Strong features Terra Obscura, which is an alternate Earth... but it's not in another dimension or universe. It's located at the opposite end of the galaxy from "our" earth, and is its exact double — it's even part of a replica solar system. Tom theorizes that this is a ghost particle phenomenon on a cosmic scale. What differences there are are fairly minor, with the existence of more plentiful and more powerful science-heroes on Terra Obscura chief among them. Other than that, history went along many of the exact same beats, and thus it's not all that different from what we're familiar with (including its own version of Tom himself, Tom Strange) — though apparently the War of the Roses swung the other way, as New York is instead called "New Lancaster".
    • It's mentioned off-hand that the first time Tom Strong and Tom Strange met, it was as enemies, which means the Evil Twin angle saw some exploration as well.
  • Zot!: It is left ambiguous which Earth is the real Earth, but it is hinted that Zot's world is merely our Earth with all the bad parts taken out. It becomes more evident when it is revealed that the year is always 1965.
  • Issue #50 of The Powerpuff Girls, "Deja View" (DC run), had the girls being sucked into a vortex through their bedroom vanity mirror and transported into an alternate Townsville. It is rent asunder, which they think is the work of Mojo Jojo. But they encounter Jomo Momo, an alternate Mojo who is this alternate world's champion trying to stop the Powerpunk Girls, the alternate world's villains. The Powerpunks wind up in the true world's Townsville and have their way with it. When the girls gain Jomo's trust, they conspire to stop the Powerpunk's creator, Oppressor Plutonium, and return to Townsville to stop the Powerpunks and send them back. This was meant to be a season five TV episode but it exceeded budget, so the storyline was given to DC Comics to make as a special issue.
  • Alan Moore loves using this trope when telling superhero stories, making it clear that stories with superheroes or fantastic powers would make that world radically different from ours. This includes Watchmen, Miracleman, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Providence
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Boom! Studios) is not only an alternate universe to the mainstream series, but it also has its own alternate universe where the point of divergence is Jason offering Tommy a hand of friendship. There, he refused it, rejoined Rita on his own will and proceeded to take over the world, becoming the powerful Lord Drakkon.
    • Compared to the mainstream series, a few of the series seemingly ended differently. In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Shattered Grid we see that the Time Force Rangers are still united in the future with Wes as part of the team, Lauren Shiba leading the Samurai Rangers instead of her brother Jayden and Lord Drakkon ends up killing Tommy.
      • Issue #26 reveals that the Morphin Grid has sectioned off each Ranger team into their own pocket universes to try and minimize the damage being done to the time stream by Lord Drakkon.

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