I think I’m going to talk about parallel universes this week. Yeah I think I’m going to do that. So I’d say alternate realities are a big staple of superhero comics like Marvel and DC, though I’d say they were a little bigger for DC.
The idea of different realities for DC began back in the early 20th century during the ‘golden age’ of comics which roughly covers the 1930’s to the mid 1950’s where the Flash and Green Lantern were born. These two characters followed the popular versions we know and love today, like The Flash from the Justice League cartoon and the Green Lantern from that 2011 Green Lantern movie.
When it came to the 50’s superhero comics lost their popularity and these characters vanished. However during the 60’s when the silver age began due to a fresh injection of creativity thanks people like Stan Lee, the start of the alternate universes began.
DC tasked writers to refresh the Green Lantern and Flash mythos thus stripping out their golden age versions. The golden age characters were then explained to exist in a parallel world to their silver age versions called Earth 2.
DC collectively calls their parallel worlds The Multiverse. Each reality is called Earth and has a number designation like Earth 2 or Earth 3. Earth 2 tends to contain a more classic iteration of the DC universe and instead of the Justice League they have the Justice Society. Earth 3 is where superheroes are evil and vice versa.
When it comes to Marvel their designations tend to conist of three digits with the mainstream universe is called Earth 616. Any Marvel comic which has the word Ultimate in refers to Earth 1610.
The Ultimate Universe; A reality where the Avengers are called the Ultimates. A team of Avengers exists but they’re a black ops team for S.H.I.E.L.D and Peter Parker is dead and Miles Morales is Spider-man.
A lot of ideas from the Ultimate Universe were used for the Marvel movie universe. Like S.H.I.E.L.D. forming the Avengers and Hawkeye being an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Marvel parallel universes seems to have come from their ‘What If’ stories.
Issues in which a story would contain an alternate scenario. Like What If Daredevil had become an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.