I recently read this question:

Has Superman ever been attacked by changing our sun?

which asks about something that has not, to my knowledge, happened in any Superman comics, but did happen on the TV show Smallville. It got me wondering how much, if any, of the events of Smallville are or were considered canonical within the larger DCU? Was it a separate version of Earth, or an alternate history, or did the show exist entirely outside of other DC material?

I'm particularly curious about the handful of episodes written by Geoff Johns which introduce or reference many other DC characters, including the JSA and the Legion of Super-Heroes. In addition, Chloe was very briefly written into Action Comics, though with a different background.

I also know that Smallville's plots are continuing via its own comic line, and was curious what DC's position on that series relative to The New 52 universe.

  • In Superman: War of Supermen comic series, Luthor changed our yellow sun to red. See comic strips in my answer to the attached question..
    – user931
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 8:50
  • It also happens in the 80s Suoerfriends cartoon when Luther makes a pact with Helios beings of our Sun who turn it red
    – K Dog
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 16:43

5 Answers 5


The Short Answer

No. Smallville (the televised series) has no place in the canon of the DC Comics multiverse. DC has almost erased Smallville (the town of Superman's development) from the Superman legend due to the erasure of the character Superboy (the Adventures of Superman when he was a boy) from the mainstream continuity. Superboy has been replaced with the clone/hybrid character Conner Kent.

The Longer Answer

Consider the sorted history of the DC New 52 Multiverse:

  • The DCnU was designed to replace the previous confusion caused by the Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC had a plethora of Earths and heroes and no one could easily tell which heroes belonged where and the nature of their relationship to the most popular characters in the DCU of the time.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths, instead of stabilizing the DC Universe, only caused its history to become more convoluted and difficult to follow as conflicting histories were unaccounted for and relationships were only realized after the fact.
  • DC then released Zero Hour, which was supposed to act as a continuity patch fixing all of the continuity errors. Instead it creates new ones and fails miserably.
  • After another decade, DC realizes this and begins an ultimate migration to their new Multiverse using Flashpoint, a series of stories that shatters the DC Universe (resurrects Barry Allen, the original Flash) one more time, and acts as a precursor to the current New 52 Universe.

Wikipedia notes:

A new Multiverse was revealed at the end of the 52 weekly limited series. Unlike the original Multiverse, which was composed of an infinite number of alternate universes, this Multiverse is composed of a predetermined number of alternate universes, which were originally referred to as New Earth and Earths 1 through 51. Each of the alternate universes have their own parallel dimensions, divergent timelines, microverses, etc., branching off them. --Wikipedia > List of Multiverse Worlds

  • Smallville and Lois and Clark bear the dubious distinctions of not have any place in the DCnU New 52 multiverse-continuum. So any canon they possess would remain integral to their own televised series.

  • The DC Animated Series (Superman the Animated Series, Batman the Animated Series) and Batman Beyond are listed to exist on Earth-12 of the DCnU.

  • The recent Young Justice animated series is listed to exist on Earth-16 of the DCnU.

  • so basically, "no until they make another mess of things and then who knows?" :)
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 2:31
  • They still have 30 Earths they have not assigned anything to. They may eventually give the comic version its own Earth to develop other stories around. Since they are still making stories in that universe, I don't see why they wouldn't. Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 2:33
  • After Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis created 52 universes (see 52, and your Wikipedia quote). That was the status quo going in to Flashpoint.
    – user1027
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 2:53
  • I was trying not to drive people any crazier than keeping up with this has already made me. I read comics and hate admitting I know most of this, by heart... If you keep reciting it, through all of its iterations, you begin to sound like King James Bible when they talk about who begat whom...(christnotes.org/bible.php?q=begat) Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 2:55
  • @Thaddeus - the logic for DC stuff seems to be written in Bad Perl. The obfuscated kind. Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 3:17

Smallville, as well as the DCAU (DC Animated Universe), and many 'one-shots' or other things not in the main canon have their own (internal) canon.

Typically, these were assigned to one of the alternate universes. It remains to be seen if these universes are amongst the New 52's alternate universes.


Smallville is canon in terms of the classic story of Clark Kent into Superman, however added a few elements and they confirmed he's based off/is the Silver Age Superman, thus why he was so powerful and ended with planet moving feats...

As far as the show, it's separate from the comics but then so is everything else, the animated series, games, hell even the comics Pre new 52, classifieds, elseworlds, New 52 etc, etc. All based off the same character though. So in that respect, same thing.


DC has a long history of taking ideas and concepts from other media and folding them into their comics. The Daily Planet, Kryptonite, Jimmy Olsen, and Superman's power of flight all came from the radio series.

The Christopher Reeve film's version of Krypton, with the crystal towers and long flowing robes, not to mention the "S" being a Kryptonian symbol and not the Earth letter "S", was taken on by John Byrne when he took over the book. Before that, Krypton had a look far closer to the old Flash Gordon serials. Ironically, some of the costumes used on the first episode of Adventures of Superman literally WERE from Flash Gordon - they were recycled outfits from the Republic serials.

Both Batman and The Flash got minor tweaks to their costumes to hew closer to their TV versions.

So while the show did not become "canon", minor facets of the show were picked up, like the name of Lex Luthor's father. The new films also took on the idea that Lex' dad was a successful businessman himself - this was not the case in the comics. Chloe Sullivan became a character in the comics, though not the "same one" from the show.


DC Multiverse can easily say that Smallville occurred on Earth-X (Where X is any number 0-52 that hasn't been established).

The better answer is that the Smallville universe has never crossed with the Earth-0 (main multiverse of the current comics) yet. But there was "Smallville Season 11" comics which came out in the last few years. In theory, one day, there could be some crazy Superman comic which brings every Superman from every Earth into one issue (like an old Power Ranger episode that brought every red ranger together).

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