Don’t send me emails about the Jughead joke.

§ August 29th, 2022 § Filed under multiverse talk § 17 Comments

So Hal Shipman sailed in with

“IIRC, ‘X’ was an allusion to what they really wanted to call that Earth: Earth-Swastika, i.e. where the Nazis won.

“Kind of like (but not really) where he Fawcett world was Earth-5, rather than Earth-S because a) they were already were using numbers, mostly, and b) someone thought everyone would think the ‘S’ was a ‘5’ anyway.”

To which the I’m sure entirely-coincidentally-named S responded

“Wait, I’m confused – wasn’t the Fawcett world Earth-S?”

The answer is, yes at first, when DC Comics started publishing the Marvel Family, they were relegated to another parallel Earth, eventually dubbed “Earth-S.” The “S” of course stands for the same thing as the S on Jughead’s top:

Anyway, it was cited as such whenever multiversal shenanigans cropped up involving the Big Red Cheese, such as this example from DC Comics Presents #33 (1981):

(That’s Superman in the panel, by the way…long story.)

I presume that changed to Earth-5, with the numerical designation, at around the time they were rejiggering the DC Multiverse a few years back, as per this entry in the Multiversity Guidbook from 2015:

Please note it’s still the “Marvel Family” here, with all their proper names, as opposed to Main DC Earth’s continuity where they’re all named “Shazam” istead. YUCK, PHOOEY

By the way, the Multiversity-era version of the pre-Crisis Earth-X is called “Earth-10” but retains the “X” in its guidebook listing:

Back to Earth-5, or -S, or whatever…I’m not 100% sure of the first usage of the Earth-S designation. I thought for sure it would have been used in this story where Lex Luthor is mystically transported to the Marvel Family’s world in Shazam! #15 (1974):

…but there’s not really any of the usual talk of “parallel Earths” or nuthin’ in the course of the story, and at the end Luthor wonders if it was all just a dream. I presume the editorial decision at the time was to keep Captain Marvel and his pals separate from the tonally-different DC Universe at large, save for a story like this where it could be kept at least somewhat ambiguous as to what actually happened, at least from the perspective of the characters.

Well, that escalated quickly, as I believe this brings us to Justice League of America #135 in 1976. That comic starts off a big multi-issue hoohar between Earth-1’s Justice League, Earth-2’s Justice Society, and the characters originally from Fawcett Comics, which of course brings in the Shazamers in later chapters:

It’s inside this issue that we get what I believe is the first time the Marvel Family’s Earth is dubbed “Earth-S.” At least, its presentation here makes it look that way:

So ultimately, the answer to whether it was “Earth-5” or “Earth-S” is of course “yes.”

17 Responses to “Don’t send me emails about the Jughead joke.”

  • DK says:

    Archie wears “R”, so of course Jughead as 2nd Banana wears the next letter in the sequence “S”.

    In Riverdale it’s a symbol of hope.

  • I still have to get to my trades of the COIE team-ups. In the intro to the one that includes the Freedom Fighters, the person who wrote the intro brought up Earth-Swastika and Julie Schwartz commented that that would be seen as so bad, kids may not get it, but their parents would. Simple solution, he said here, flip it into an X. As in no more Nazis.

    I bought that volume about fifteen years ago and never knew there was talk of the Swastika.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Re: The mystery behind Jughead’s “S” insignia sweater…

    According to a 2017 article by Kelsie Gibson at popsugar.entertainment:

    “While Archie Comics has never revealed the meaning, the widow of Archie comic strips’ creator, Bob Montana, has. According to Peg Bertholet, it actually stands for a place in the town Riverdale is based on, Skunk Hill in Haverhill, MA, where Montana grew up and which he turned into Squirrel Hill. As Bertholet added, Montana’s elementary school mascot was the Tigers, so “Jughead’s S meant ‘Squirrel Hill Independent Tigers,’ and you couldn’t abbreviate it any other way.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I still think it would have been cool to call Earth-X “Earth-Q” instead (for Quality Comics)…I believe later, when DC bought the Charlton Comics characters, their Earth was referred to as “Earth-C” before it was wiped out in COIE.

    philfromgermany — (this is in reference to one of Mike’s Joker posts from last week) there is Brave & The Bold no. 182, by Alan Brennert and Jim Aparo, where Earth-One Batman goes to Earth-Two due to a freak occurrence. Earth-One Batman and Earth-Two Robin (with some help from Earth-Two Batwoman) end up defeating old man Hugo Strange, who had stolen Starman’s Cosmic Rod. But there’s no Joker appearance in that story that I recall.

    However, it would be great to have an Alan Brennert scripted Black Label 12 issues series detailing the life of Earth-Two Golden Age Batman from some point in the 1950s –like around 1956 or so when Earth-Two Batwoman was first introduced, to the point when he married Earth-Two Selina Kyle, to when he retired as Batman and became Commissioner Wayne of Gotham City. As I imagine he and Earth-Two Kathy Kane were dating at some point, how did she (or Vicky Vale for that matter) take the break up…especially knowing Bruce fell for Selina?

    Also, if DC were to do something with this, we could get more back story on Earth-Two Robin and cameos from other JSA members from the late ’50s to the late ’70s when Earth-Two Batman died. One would assume that all the old school JSA members were altruists at heart, so after they renounced their costumes in the ’50s during the House Un-American Activities Committee witch trials, what did they do, as individuals? How did they give to their communities or the world in their civilian identities? I’m assuming that G.A. Earth-Two Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were somehow deputized and didn’t go into retirement in the ’50s like the other JSA members, hence their adventures continuing on past the JSA stories. But as a hypothetical, if we had an Earth-Two Batman limited series, since Alan Scott and Bruce Wayne were both operating out of/ living in Earth-Two’s Gotham City, we could see Alan Scott when he had temporarily given up being Green Lantern in cameos or a subplot of the series.

    And if I recall, in one or more issues of the mid-’70s All-Star Comics revival, grown up Earth-Two Richard Grayson was shown to be a U.S. Ambassador to South Africa. Has this ever been explored in detail? Did he use his position as Ambassador to call for sanctions against the South African government or protest the apartheid system? I confess my own ignorance, I don’t know what measures– if any–the Ford and Carter Administrations took against apartheid and the South African government in reality during the ’70s–but it could be a really interesting part of a hypothetical Earth-Two Batman limited series to depict Richard Grayson’s growing awareness in South Africa. Okay looked a bit up–looks like during the Carter Administration there was a diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and South Africa. Who knows, maybe Ambassador Grayson met with Earth-Two’s Desmond Tutu, or maybe as Robin he helped mentor a Black South African vigilante superhero who fought against the apartheid state of South Africa during the ’70s and ’80s on Earth-Two. There could be a lot of story possibilities there.

  • Donald G says:

    In COIE, the Charlton heroes were on Earth-4.

    Earth-C was the home of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew.

    Earth C-Minus was the home of Justa Lotta Animals.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Sean: It stayed as Earth-X. With Earth-S looking like Earth-5, Morrison made X into 10, though in the last Freedom Fighters mini it was Earth X again.

    Roy Thomas did have an issue of ALL-STAR SQUADRON that showed quite a few Quality heroes going to fight the Nazis, like the Jester and Alias, The Spider. DC really lost out on not using more Quality heroes ( until James Robinson’s STARMAN.)

    The idea of Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman might seem a cheat like when Mike covered the Action comics issue here about the Clark and Lois wedding. I do love period pieces, though, and there were on a few with HAWKMAN and HAWKWOMAN, one set in the 40s/50s, that were stellar.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Donald G: Thanks for the clarification re: Earth-C and Earth-4…it’s been decades since I read COIE, so I guess I got the Earth names mixed up. But it makes me wonder if the Charlton characters in Grant Morrison’s “Pax Americana” story are on a different Earth-4 from the Earth-4 which was destroyed on COIE–which I would consider the home of the unaltered Charlton characters–before they were integrated into DC stories after COIE. Also, although I like the idea of defunct comic companies whose characters are acquired by DC Comics being designated with the first letter of said defunct
    company’s name, I can see how it might have confused readers. Technically I’m surprised DC didn’t just designate the Earth where the Nazis won WW II where the Quality Comics characters live as “Earth-4”–as it was the fourth parallel Earth the JLA and JSA visited; then the Shazam/Fawcett Earth makes sense as “Earth-5,” and the Charlton Comics characters Earth should have been “Earth-6” –unless there is another new Earth introduced in COIE that perishes before the Charlton Earth does…like I said, 1985-86 was the last time I read COIE, so I’ve forgotten a lot of details. I remember Earth-3 eats it early on. I always felt at the end of the maxi-series that any DC Comics fans who loved the whole parallel Earths concept–and Earth-2 in particular–were left in the same position as the Psycho Pirate…in a state of shock…we knew there had been parallel Earths…and COIE, despite the beautiful Perez/Giordano/Ordway art just seemed totally unnecessary and as though DC was just capitulating to a Marvel-style Earth-616 framework. So, I’m definitely glad we have a Multiverse–or even Omniverse–now at DC.

    Wayne: Yes, I recall Roy Thomas explaining how Hourman went to Earth-X–hence why he dipped out of being a JSA member in Golden Age All-Star Comics published in the 1940s by issue no. 7–and met Uncle Sam; then in All-Star Squadron no. 32 Roy detailed how Neon the Unknown, Magno, Invisible Hood and other heroes had died on Earth-X; then there was the “Battle of Santa Barbara” with Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters–great stories with some great Rick Hoberg art! And that’s another bummer about COIE–if it had never happened and All-Star Squadron had continued to be published, we would have certainly seen more Quality Comics characters popping up on Earth-X or Earth-2 or crossing back and forth. I also didn’t like it that in order to make The Seven Soldiers of Victory work post-COIE they replaced the original Golden Age Green Arrow and Speedy with Alias the Spider (since he’s an archer) and TNT or Dan the Dynamite or something. I haven’t read that Stargirl comic you mentioned, and I can see where having Green Arrow and Speedy be time-displaced and joining the Seven Soldiers of Victory could be a clever way to handle the whole concept, but I prefer there being actual Earth-2 iterations of Green Arrow and Speedy as there actually were in the Golden Age of comics.

    Re: Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman, like I said, I don’t know if any DC writers ever covered that 25 or so years of Earth-2 Bruce Wayne’s life from circa 1956 up until he died in 1979, but Alan Brennert (or Roy Thomas, Paul Levitz, Grant Morrison, James Robinson or Geoff Johns) would be great as the chronicler of that, since he wrote the classic Brave & the Bold no. 197 “The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne”–maybe get Ordway or Joe Staton to draw it; as long as Bendis and Tom King are kept away from it, it could be quite good! Also, in as much as “The Big Two” borrow ideas from each other, Marvel has published their “Life Story” Spider-Man and Fantastic Four limited series where the characters aged in real time recently, so it seems to me that DC’s Golden Age Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are all deserving of the same treatment–and why not tackle the JSA as well! Just restore Earth-2 pre-COIE continuity.

    I now feel like I should re-read the Multiversity one-shot issues…definitely thought “Pax Americana” was the best in terms of story and art. I’ts great that an Earth-5 (or “S”) is still out there with a Marvel Family–but I’m not into the overly cartoony art style and wonder why Mary Marvel is wearing white and the Lieutenant Marvel’s, Uncle Dudley, and Mr. Tawky Tawny are wearing altered costumes as well? But it would be cool to see more of these characters–and the other Fawcett Comics superheroes. The Earth -X issue was entertaining, but who green lit Phantom Lady’s ugly new costume? The original costume was great! Also, since the Freedom Fighters originally left Earth-X and came to Earth-1 in 1976 for there own 15 issue comic run, did we ever get an explanation of how/when they returned to Earth-X or anything of that sort? Or again, is the current Earth-X a different Earth-X from the Earth-X introduced in the 1970s in JLA?

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    Honestly, I really hope DCoIE leaves us with at least a real Earth-2 intact. There are so many fantastic stories that could be told on it.

  • S says:

    “and the Charlton Comics characters Earth should have been “Earth-6” –unless there is another new Earth introduced in COIE that perishes before the Charlton Earth does”

    Yeah, Lady Quark – the character find of 1985 – is the last survivor of Earth-6 in Crisis.

  • Chris G says:

    I believe the issue of the JSA All-Star Comics revival in the 70s that introduced Robin as the ambassador to South Africa also noted that there was no apartheid there, with an arch text box comment that Earth-2 doesn’t lag behind Earth-1 in EVERY way.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    S: Thanks for the clarification…unfortunately I don’t own the complete run of COIE anymore…just a few issues I found in dollar boxes over the last five years or so. So, exactly how many numbered/lettered Earths were destroyed in COIE? Earth-2, Earth-3, Earth-4, Earth-5, Earth-6, Earth-X, Earth-C, Earth-C- …were there more? As I recall Earth-1 was spared and all the surviving heroes were dumped there–or was it not called Earth-1 anymore?

    Chris G: Thanks for the info. re: Earth-2 Robin and South Africa. Still, it could be cool to have a retroactive continuity story where Earth-2 Robin mentors a Black South African superhero or team of heroes. Build out Earth-2 mythology more. Apparently the Blue Crane is the national bird of South Africa, so there could be a superhero with that name. Or is there an iteration of the Global Guardians on Earth-2? Maybe Earth-2 Robin teamed up with an Earth-2 Dr. Mist.

    Also, if the upcoming Geoff Johns JSA series will be set on Earth-2, I think DC should revive the annual JL/JSA team-ups for low key Crises as back in the Silver and Bronze Ages. Not a major event that has to impact every DC comic…just a story line plotted across 3 or 4 issues of JL and JSA comics. I think there should be an analogue to Earth-MLJ/Impact out there somewhere where the JL and JSA could meet analogues for The Shield, The Fly, The Jaguar, The Fox, Mr. Justice, Steel Sterling, The Web, The Black Hood, The Comet, Inferno, Firefly, The Wizard, Mr. Satan, and all the other MLJ/Archie superheroes –or better yet, just have a joint publishing deal an utilize the Archie superheroes in a limited series story arc with the JL and JSA–maybe let the Riverdale gang be in the story as well. By the way, Mike, if you can find a scan for one of the pages from the 4 issue Mighty Crusaders mini-series from Dark Circle that came out in 2017-2018, it seems to indicate that there are parallel Earths in the Archieverse as well where different iterations of The Mighty Crusaders have existed over the decades, including the Impact iteration…

    I think the page is in the link below:

  • Sean: Earth-4 was first introduced in FINAL CRISIS. Grant Morison explained that the characters were Charlton plus a hint of Watchmen.Most obvious was Captain Atom being blue. And he did leave 7 unknown Earths out of the 51, for those who bring it up, I say it could be one of unknown Earths; Earth-52 is what Doctor Manhattan created as per DOOMSDAY CLOCK so I’m happy all of that was shoved out of the way. No unfortunate team-ps.

    If you weren’t aware, DC can use the name Captain Marvel inside of a DC comic and that is it. Hence the title of that Multiversity story on the cover. Back to Earth-4, I loved that Grant used Dan Garrett, the Golden Age Blue Beetle. No idea how I got him as my jam, but I have about 20 GA comics. I did some ghostwriting for this guy off and on, and for my birthday one year he sent me BB#4, which was published before WWII started. So odd to not see BUY WAR BONDS etc.

    Mighty Crusaders on another unknown Earth, and I really wish FIRST WAVE continued. Another great idea DC abandoned. Lady Quark has appeared somewhere but in the guidebook, everyone from Earth-6 is still alive on Earth-thirty something. Where! Every! Day! Is! A! New! Event!

    Cassandra: I don’t even know what is up with Earth-2, since by all rights it should be part of Earth-53? Again, DOOMSDAY CLOCK, love it or leave it, gives up that DM created the new52. And I only read a few issues of EARTH 2 and have no idea what EARTH 2 SOCIETY was about. And since Johns wrote DC, I’d hope he’d keep Earth-2 as it was in the 00s, the last time I bought more than 3 DC comics a month.

    Sean again: I was able to buy the three gigantic All the tie-ins to COIE (even the comics with a few panels relating to it from my Salvation Army for ten bucks each, and it is chronological order. So it amazed me just how many issues of ALL-STAR SQUADRON are included, but there was a fair amount of INFINITY INC., copies I no longer have. I hope those characters end up on Earth-2, as well. Also, let your mind run free. If Green Arrow was shunted through time by Chronos fighting Per Degaton (Earth-2 villain with the coolest name) then there is no reason that he couldn’t end up on Earth-2.Right?

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    I meant to say that the WATCHMEN universe could be one of the seven unknown worlds. Sorry.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wayne, thanks for the clarification on post-COIE Earth-4 and Morrison merge aspects of the Charlton Action Heroes and The Watchmen…personally, I’d love to see The Question meet Rorschach meet Mr. A…
    Obviously, the event book you mention should not have been called “Final Crisis” by DC…since they will always and forever have Infinite Crises…

    I just went to Wikipedia to try to see how many Earths DC Comics has cataloged from pre-Crisis to now. Quite a few! Wiki sez there is/was pre-COIE an “Earth-Quality”…basically the Earth all the published Quality Comics stories from the 1930s-’50s took place on…and possibly The Spirit, Lady Luck and Mr. Mystic stories (although I guess those characters should be on Earth-Eisner!) So, by that logic there should be Earth-Charlton and Earth-Fawcett where all pre-DC Comics acquisition stories of those characters took place.

    Good to know there is still a Captain Marvel (Fawcett) Earth! I never liked the superhero character being called Shazam! Shazam should be the old wizard. Still, it would be cool to see Spy Smasher, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Ibis, Minute Man, Golden Arrow, Mr. Scarlet and Pinky, etc. actually being used in stories.

    Cool about your Golden Age Blue Beetle score. A few years back I bought a coverless copy of Mystery Men Comics no. 23 from 1941 (published by Fox Comics) which also has a Dan Garrett Blue Beetle story. I also bought a coverless copy of Yellowjacket Comics no. 9 from 1946…as you recall. the Golden Age Yellowjacket (not to be confused with the Marvel character) is featured in Morrison’s “Pax Americana” story. I always liked the Ditko-designed Blue Beetle–Ted Kord. I think there should be more than 52 Earths in the Multiverse…why limit it? Also, if Earth-51 is Jack Kirby characters Earth, and Earth-37 is Howard Chaykin characters Earth, I’d actually love to see an “Earth-Steve Ditko” with alternative versions of all the Steve Ditko DC/Charlton characters– but all dressed in their original Ditko-designed costumes: Captain Atom, Nightshade, Blue Beetle, The Question, The Creeper, The Hawk & The Dove, Stalker, Shade the Changing Man, Odd Man, and Starman (Prince Gavyn)…they would all be hard-core Objectivists, spouting Ayn Rand quotes…except for The Dove…he’d be the sole objector to The Objectivist League of Ditko superheroes known as Worship Ayn Rand! (WAR!). Dove would try to form his own group: Progressive Enlightened Angelic Caring Empaths (PEACE).

    Anyway, I would still like to see the Agents of W.O.N.D.E.R. from Earth-39 put to good use. Maybe they could end up on Earth-12 (Inferior Five Earth) and do battle with their evil Earth-12 counterparts, H.U.R.R.I.C.A.N.E. (Heinous, Unscrupulous Rats and Rogues Initiating Criminal Anarchy and Nefarious Evil). I’d love to see the real Inferior Five get their own mini-series or see them in conjunction with Earth-47’s The Love Syndicate. I also think that Earth-47 should have it’s own iteration of the early Bronze Age Teen Titans with analogues for Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Roy Harper, Wally West, Lilith Clay, and Mal Duncan…instead of the Teen Titans they could be called “The Mod Godz” or “The Wasted Youth” or something.

    I’m curious what DC Earth Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, and other celebrities featured in DC Comics are supposed to live on? Also, since they are deceased can there likenesses be used or not? I could see a circa 1950s plot idea where Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope get into a battle with Johnny Thunder for possession of the Thunderbolt.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Sean: it was called FINAL CRISIS because it was the last crisis for The Monitors. Already they have DARK CRISIS going on, with it changing to Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths I think this month.

    I don’t buy many Marvel books anymore, but at least their events aren’t crisis-related. Too many tie-ins. At least with DC, I know what books to skip. And, honestly, I loved FC because every character DC created was in the series, even Sonny Sumo, who made a single appearance in FOREVER PEOPLE.

    Wikipedia is a good place to look at all multiverses. There are even listings for the Elseworlds, though some are simply related to the year it came out, like Earth-1998. Earth-1938 was Superman and War of The Worlds. And it starts from the Silver Age and then COIE then Elseworlds and the 52 series, and I haven’t looked since then. I like Scott Snyder an readings a writer, but METAL is something that I never understood. I like the listing because you can link to every single Quality hero.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Starman’s Cosmic Rod”


  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wayne: I’ve picked up some First Wave issues in dollar bins over the last few years, also some of DC’s second attempt at The Mighty Crusaders characters…it actually seems that DC was putting out some good comics in the years right before The New 52–it’s too bad it went the direction it did…although I guess it yielded a big sales bump at first.

    Was Sonny Sumo not anywhere in COIE–I kinda thought George Perez drew everybody in that!

    Snyder’s Batman during New 52 was one of the consistently good comics, although it took me awhile to get used to Capullo’s cartoony art style. I remember looking at a panel with Bruce Wayne and several ex-Robins and wondering why everybody had big anime-style eyes. Having dipped out of comics for almost two decades, I wasn’t expecting that…I was accustomed to a Jim Aparo or even Norm Breyfogle-style depiction of Bruce Wayne…not overly cartoony stuff! I bought METAL but never read more than the first few issues. Some of the recent Snyder stuff hasn’t really interested me all that much. I thought Tynion was doing a decent job on Batman recently.

    Re: Infinity, Inc. I really liked that comic in the ’80s–especially the early issues drawn by Jerry Ordway and Mike Machlan, and the late, great Don Newton–it is sad that he passed away so young. It’s also interesting as the series that features some very early Todd McFarlane art when he was all about graphic design in his page layouts–and giant capes…I think the giant capes start in Infinity, Inc. with Mister Bones’ cape!

    Also, I’ve said it before, but both JLA no. 107-108 and JLA no. 135-137 are such fun Bronze Age comic reads! I was fortunate enough to get the late, great Len Wein to sign my copies of JLA no. 107-108 about eight years ago at a Long Beach Comic Con. Beyond the original Golden Age Quality Comics characters Uncle Sam, Doll Man, Phantom Lady, the Ray, Black Condor, and Human Bomb (and mention of there being Blackhawks and a Plastic Man on Earth-X who had already perished fighting the Nazis) being featured in this story, it’s great that we also get Earth-Two Superman. And in JLA no. 135-137 it’s also great that we get three whole issues to tell the story and that we get to see Earth-Two Batman and Robin fighting Earth-Two Joker–most likely their last recorded fight! But of course, the real treat was seeing most of the Fawcett superheroes revived and fighting alongside the JLA and JSA. It’s too bad that Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Spy Smasher, Ibis, Mr. Scarlet & Pinky (can you image poor Pinky at the 1940s kid sidekick gathering telling his name while all the other kid sidekicks snicker, and suddenly Sandy doesn’t feel so bad about his name anymore!) , Minute Man, etc. didn’t get used more during the Bronze Age by DC. It might have also been interesting to use Fawcett Character Golden Arrow during this JLA adventure and pair him with Green Arrow. Also funny on the cover it says “Shazam’s Squadron of Justice” but in the ’40s some of those heroes (Capt. Marvel, Jr. Bullet Man & Bullet Girl, and Minute Man) were called the “Crime Crusaders Club” for one adventure in a Minute Man story in Master Comics no. 41 from 1943. See the link below: