Creating comics is a crap shoot. No matter what anyone says, no one knows what a success will be. Especially in the early days, when comics were still in their infancy, creators threw every concept they could think of against the wall to see what would hold up. Sometimes they reached greatness, but more often these characters disappear in the fog of publishing history.
In some cases, the creators developed a brand new genre. In others, they created characters who act in ways never seen before. Or upgrade characters for a brand new age. In any case, the potential for failure is high. Will readers accept the book? Will the character resonate with audiences and can she grow with readers? And most importantly, is it fun to read the comic?
None of these comics were supposed to work, but they did, and they did it spectacularly. They created characters that have endured for decades and created and strengthened the very fabric of the comic book industry.
There was every reason these books crashed and burned, but they survived and became the pillars on which the industry is built.
DC Comics continuity has been a mess. Whenever a writer wanted to tell his story, he wasn’t initially overly concerned about when it took place or whether its details contradicted anything that had previously been established. They just wrote their story. But as readership shifted from children to adults, that wouldn’t fly anymore.
In 1985, legendary writer Marv Wolfman had the crazy idea of having a contiguous DC Universe with a single Earth. Utilizing the indescribable artistic talent of George Perez, Wolfman planned to create a limited series that would have the daunting task of turning over 50 years of divergent, overlapping, and in some cases contradictory continuity into a single, linear tale of the DC Universe that would not alienate both longtime creators and fans. Was such a task even possible?
Not only was it possible, it was a resounding success. Admittedly, DC wasn’t sure if the 12-episode series would be a hit, so was limited in the amount of marketing behind it. Despite this, Crisis was a best-selling comic. Several news organizations credit Crisis on Infinite Earths with saving the company, calling it the best comic book crossover of all time. Marv Wolfman had a risky idea, and his talent turned it into what is now considered a touchstone of comic book history.