The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 Related to: DC Comics
 from antiquity to 2016



   DC Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: Dectective Comics 23, Jan 1939

Like all the other publishers, DC also published anthologies of weird stories (as opposed to continuing characters) in the 50s, but even before that, they had anthologies of adventure stories. The earliest time travel that I’ve found so far are from 1939: a two-part story of Slam Bradley and his sidekick traveling to the year two billion, A.D., in Detective Comics 23 and 24; and a five-part story, “A Playboy in King Arthur’s Court,” starting in in Adventure Comics 37. As for the 50s weird stories, the first one I found there was an H.L. Gold tale, “The Endless War,” in Strange Adventures 2. As I find others, I’ll list them in my time-travel comic books page.

 History runs wild when Columbus, Napolean, and Cleopatra journey through time from the past to the present! 

—from the cover of Strange Adventures 60

[Jun 2012]






   DC Comics (Superheroes)
First time travel: Adventure Comics 71, Feb 1942

As a kid, I never read DC (Why would I? Excelsior!), but I’ve read some DC time-travel comics since then (don’t tell Stan). The earliest DC time travel that I’ve found was in 1942, but as for the big boys, the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder got the jump on the Man of Steel by a few months: Batman’s first travel was back to ancient Rome in Batman 24 via hypnosis by Professor Carter Nichols. Here’s a table of notable DC first time-travel experiences that I’ve found through 1969 (after that, everything became time-travel chaos):
  1. Starman (Feb 1942) Adventure Comics 71
  2. Justice Society of America    (Apr/May 1942) All Star Comics 10
  3. Green Arrow, et. al. (Jun 1942) Leading Comics 3
  4. Green Lantern (Spring 1943) Green Lantern 7
  5. The Shining Knight (Jul 1943)
      earlier Shining Knight is suspended animation Adventure Comics 66
  6. Batman and Robin (Fall 1943) World’s Finest 11
  7. Mr. Terrific (Apr 1944) Sensation Comics 28
  8. Wonder Woman (Nov 1946) Wonder Woman 20
  9. Superman (Jan-Feb 1947) Superman 44
  10. Johnny Peril (Apr 1948) Comic Cavalcade 26
  11. Johnny Quick (Nov 1948) Adventure Comics 134
  12. Superboy (May/Jun 1949) Superboy 2
  13. Lois Lane (Jan 1951) Action Comics 152
  14. Blackhawk Commandos (Dec 1951) Blackhawk 47
  15. Rex the Wonder Dog (Oct 1954) Rex 17
  16. Jimmy Olsen (Sep 1955) Jimmy Olsen 7
  17. The Flash (Oct 1956) Showcase 4
  18. Legion of Super-Heroes (Apr 1958) Adventure Comics 247
  19. Aquaman (Aug 1958) Adventure Comics 251
  20. Challengers (Nov 1958) Chal. of the Unknown 4
  21. Rip Hunter (May 1959) DC Showcase 20
  22. Supergirl (Aug 1959) Action Comics 255
  23. Adam Strange (Dec 1960) Mystery in Space 62
  24. The Atomic Knights (Jun 1961) Strange Adventures 129
  25. Elongated Man (Nov 1961) The Flash 124
  26. JLA (Mar 1962) Justice League of America 10
  27. The Atom (Nov 1962) The Atom 3
  28. J’onn J’onzz (Dec 1962) Detective Comics 305
  29. The Spectre (Apr 1966) Showcase 61
  30. Eclipso (Jul 1966) House of Secrets 79
  31. Prince Ra-Man (Jul 1966) House of Secrets 79
  32. Sea Devils (Dec 1966) Sea Devils 32
[circa 1990]


   DC Comics (Funnybooks)
First time travel: All Funny Comics 20, Nov 1947

It seems that everyone in the DC stable wanted to get in on the road to time travel including the humor line-up. The earliest that I’ve found so far in the Nov 1947 issue of All Funny Comics. Later, there were Bob Hope (in Bob Hope 43) and Jerry Lewis (in Jerry Lewis 43 and 54). In Bob’s story, he gets sent into the future by Carolyn Spooner. It also had a cover with Bob as a caveman. As I find others, I’ll list them in my time-travel comic books page.

 This cant be the stone age!—Im just putty in the hands of a girl like you! 

—from the cover of Bob Hope 43

[Jun 2012]


   Adventures of Superman
created by Whitney Ellsworth and Robert J. Maxwell
First time travel: 23 Apr 1955

In the first episode of Season 3, “Through the Time Barrier” (23 Mar 1955), Professor Twiddle’s time machine takes the staff of the Daily Planet back to prehistoric times. I don’t know whether there was any other time travel.

 Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look—up in the sky! Its a bird! Its a plane! Its Superman!
Yes, its Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who—disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannored reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper—fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!
 

[circa 1966]


   DC Superhero Cartoons
First time travel: 10 Dec 1977

As you know, I was forced to ban all post-1969 comic books from The List because comic books pretty much fell to pieces after that date. If I discover many more superhero cartoons like these ones, I will be forced to expand the ban.
  1. The Protector (10 Dec 1977) The All New Super Friends Hour
  2. The Time Trap (30 Sep 1978) Challenge of the Super Friends
  3. New Kids in Town (31 Oct 1998) Superman
  4. The Savage Time (9 Nov 2002) Justice League
  5. Day of the Dark Knight! (2 Jan 2009) Batman: The Brave and the Bold   
  6. Staring at the Future (30 Oct 2013) Teen Titans Go!

 It is the fifth century, A.D., the place is Britain, and I am Merlin Ambrosius. 

—“The Day of the Dark Knight!”, Episode 4 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold

[Aug 2013]
   Superman: The Movie
by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Mario Puzo, et. al. (Richard Donner, director)
First release: 15 Dec 1978

The humor didn’t quite click for me, but I did enjoy other parts including Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, the John Williams score, and a well-presented Superman mythos including his first time-travel rebellion against the don’t-mess-with-history edict of Jor-El.

 In times of fear and confusion, the job of informing the public was the responsibility of the Daily Planet, a great metropolitan newspaper whose reputation for clarity and truth had become the symbol for hope in the city of Metropolis. 

[Oct 1978]


   Lois and Clark
created by Deborah Joy LeVine
First time travel: 26 Mar 1995

Four seasons with 7 time-travel episodes:
  1. Tempus Fugitive (26 Mar 1995) to 1966 (H.G. Wells, Tempus)
  2. And the Answer Is . . . (21 May 1995) time traveler’s diary (Tempus)
  3. Tempus Anyone? (21 Jan 1996) future alternate universe, Tempus
  4. Soul Mates (13 Oct 1996) back to prevent a curse
  5. ’Twas the Night before Mxymas (15 Dec 1996)    Christmas Eve time loop
  6. Meet John Doe (2 Mar 1997) future Tempus runs for president
  7. Lois and Clarks (9 Mar 1997) future Tempus traps Clark

 Lois, did you know that in the future you're revered at the same level as Superman? Why, there are books about you, statues, an interactive game—youre even a breakfast cereal. 

[Sep 1993]
   Smallville
created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar
First time travel: 3 Mar 2004

Ten seasons with at least 9 time-travel episodes:
  1. Crisis (3 Mar 2004) phone call from the next day
  2. Reckoning (26 Jan 2006) back in time to save Lana
  3. Sleeper (24 Apr 2008) Kara and Brainiac back to infant Kal-El
  4. Apocalypse (1 May 2008) Clark back to stop Kara and Brainiac
  5. Legion (15 Jan 2009) The Legion (plus Persuader) from 31st century
  6. Infamous (12 Mar 2009) Clark back to stop Lois from writing a story
  7. Doomsday (14 May 2009) Lois to the future
  8. Savior (25 Sep 2009) Lois returns, persued by Alia
  9. Homecoming (15 Oct 2010)    Clark to his own past and future

 Chloe: When you were a baby. Clark, if you really are in trouble on Krypton, youd better find a way to get there, and soon, or . . .
Clark: Ill never have existed. 

—from “Sleeper”

[Oct 2001]
   Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Mario Puzo, et. al. (Richard Donner, director)
First release on dvd: 28 Nov 2006

Richard Donner, the original director of Superman II, was replaced partway through the production. Almost 30 years later, a dvd the movie was put together with mostly his footage and a time-travel ending that was pretty much identical to the end of Donner’s first Superman movie (and equally lame).

 Jeepers, I have seen some faraway looks in my time, but with that look, you might as well be on the North Pole or someplace. 

[Aug 2011]
   Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
adapted by James Krieg (Jay Oliva, director)
First released: 30 Jul 2013 (direct-to-dvd)

By my count, the Flashpoint comics by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert had a total of 72 comics, but it all fit in 81 minutes of this animated dvd in which the Flash awakens without his powers in a world where the rest of the Justice League is at war with pretty much everyone. Initially, he blames his arch-enemy Professor Zoom for messing with the timeline, but it turns out that it’s not Zoom who needs to be stopped from time traveling.

 We have to find out what he changed and change it back before they kill everyone on the planet. 

[Jul 2015]
   Legends of Tomorrow
created by Phil Klemmer, Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg
First episode: 21 Jan 2016

Time Master Rip Hunter puts together a ragtag band of misfits from the early twentieth century (he found them by watching reruns of Arrow and The Flash) to track down and stop the evil, world-conquering despot Vandal Savage.

The pilot gets one extra half star for playing The Captain and Tennille when the gang visits 1975 and another plus half star because the swollen-headed Rip got belted by both Hawkgirl and the White Canary; but it lost a half star for Rip’s own soppy background story. Beyond the pilot, though, the explanations about changes to the timeline are just whacked.

 I like being part of a team, man. 

[Jan 2016]
 


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Thanks for visiting my time-travel page, and thanks to the many sources that provided stories and more (see the Links and Credits in the menu at the top). —Michael (
main@colorado.edu)