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Gareth

Comic Book Character Continuity

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Is there any definitive list of canon stories for DC characters such as Superman, Batman, etc.? Not just major collected storylines but issue by issue every written story that is intended canon? I guess the entire DC universe was rebooted a short time ago, but I'm only talking about the DC universe that existed before that.

Obviously Batman #1 isn't canon with Batman #700 is it? Also, I know there are many Batman books with intertwining story arcs but there are also many Batman series that are not canon with the ongoing universe like Batman Adventures. For a casual fan like me I don't think it could be much more confusing.

Anyone have any answers or is this just a lost cause?

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Grant Morrison wrote his Batman story as if every Batman story published in the DC Universe happened over a fifteen year period.

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I don't know specifically of a list or project that's tracked this, but I have to think it's at least been attempted. We would be talking about tens of thousands of stories to keep track of, but someone somewhere has undoubtedly made the effort.

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As far as I know there was a rudimentary list a few years ago for Batman, starting with Year One, going through Long Halloween and the Loeb stuff, and placing most of the major stories in order, picking up with the regular comic after Crisis on Infinite Earths which was the original reboot point.

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I guess the entire DC universe was rebooted a short time ago, but I'm only talking about the DC universe that existed before that.

It sounds like you're primarily looking at the post-Crisis era (post-Crisis on Infinite Earths (1986), pre-Flashpoint (2011)). Generally speaking, everything between Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint should be "canon" unless specifically stated otherwise (Elseworlds, movie/TV tie-ins, etc.). That does mean, however, that certain pre-Crisis events which were still said to have happened post-Crisis (Batman meeting Ra's Al Ghul for the first time, for instance) are technically non-canonical in the post-Crisis era. There were multiple soft resets of continuity in the post-Crisis era as well, like Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis.

All that to say that the DCU has had overlapping gray-area continuity for the entire modern era of comics, hence why it's better to focus on the big stories and not try to focus on every single issue. You can navigate the continuity in a general sense by using big stories as guideposts (Crisis, Death in the Family, The Killing Joke, etc), but don't get bent out of shape about the specificity of everything.

Honestly, at some point continuity becomes not-too-important for the DCU. It doesn't matter that you didn't read Batman #287 if you want to read Batman #617; it's not like a TV series where you need to see every episode along the way. And realistically speaking, if you actually *did* manage to read every canonical story, you'd probably know a lot more about the continuity than the actual people writing the comics anyway.

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