Stories I Never Told: Crime Syndicate of America

Being something of a loner as a youth, I had a lot of time to think. And what I thought about were stories.

Most of those stories were no good, but some of them were pretty damn cool. Sadly, a bunch of them were the sorts of stories that had expiration dates on them. Mostly comic book stories that now no longer fit into any kind of continuity.

But I’ve decided to dig into my archives and give those stories some new life, presenting them here in a little feature I like to call…

Stories I Never Told


Crime Syndicate of AmericaDC Comics’s Crime Syndicate of America always seemed really cool to me. The basic premise was this: In an alternate universe (called Earth-3), there were no superheroes, only a group of villains resembling Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Batman. I always loved that concept.1

In a comic published in 1985, Earth-3 was destroyed, then retroactively (thanks to time travel) made to have never existed at all. Young Barry thought it was a shame to lose such great characters.

I spent some time thinking of ways to recreate the CSA2 for the new, post-Crisis DC Universe. At the time, alternate universe/parallel worlds were verboten at DC, so that option was out. I had to come up with something new.3

Cobbled together from my old notes, here’s what I came up with in 1987 or thereabouts. (I would have been around 15 or so at the time.) [Read more…]

  1. The fact that Earth-3 had only villains and yet hadn’t been conquered by them was, I think, a comment on the enduring power of Good.
  2. How cool is it that a villainous group has the same initials as the Confederacy?
  3. In the decades since, alternate universes became OK again at DC, and the CSA was once again returned to its status as an other-dimensional, evil version of the Justice League.

Memory Monday – Lex Luthor Explains it All

I love — LOVE! — parallel world stories. So the DC comics of my youth were practically custom-made for me, what with the various multiple universes and different versions of each character therein. As a kid, I already knew about Earth-One and Earth-Two, but today’s Memory Monday comes from the story that introduced me to Earth-Three.

In 1985, DC discarded its parallel worlds cosmology and reduced things to a single Earth. Their rationale? That multiple universes were “too confusing” for readers.

Yeah, right. Check out the panel below, as Lex Luthor quickly explains the multiverse, and tell me this is “too confusing.” Somehow, 11-year-old Barry was able to understand it just fine…

Lex Explains it All

Yeah. Confusing. Right.

(From DC Comics Presents Annual #1, 1982. Story by Marv Wolfman. Art by Rich Buckler and Dave Hunt.)