Inside the DC comics mythology, the Multiverse concept has been one of the main characteristic of their superhero universe.
It began with the team-up of the original Flash Jay Garrick and the Silver Age Flash Barry Allen in the now famous Flash of two worlds story.To explain the existence of both characters, Gardner Fox created the concept of Multiverse, as both characters were the Flash from different earths. Later the JSA and the JLA would work together in what would convert in a traditional reunion.
The multiverse would be used (and abused) to introduce characters from different editorial aqcuired by DC (like Quality and Charlton characters) or just to try different stories outside the continuity and explain contradictions (Kamandi and Batman encounter, for example)
The Multiverse concept would be abandoned after the celebrated Crisis of Infinity Earths for almost twenty years. The character from different earths now lived together in a clustered earth and transformed a lot of concepts(like Superman being the first Superhero of the world), but introducing others (the Legacy hero concept). However various writers tried in some fashion or other to bring back the multiverse in some fashion, with Elseworlds tales, stories imaginaries, alternate timelines or dream realities. Among those writers were Grant Morrison and Mark Waid, who created the concept of Hypertime to bring back the alternate earths but their efforts didn't thrive.
Was Geoff Johns with Infinity Crisis who bring back a glimpse of the previous Multiverse before along with Waid, Morrison and Gregg Rucka in 52 bring it the concept back in proper fashion, with a multiverse of 52 unexplored universes than resembled strongly the original one from before the crisis but included others as the Kingdom Come earth, the wildstorm universe and the tangent line.
During this age and until the new 52 reboot, some earths would be explored and would be used in different stories, as also was hinted the presence of people of other earths living among the characters of the main earth.
However, a new reboot caused during the Flashpoint event changed the multiverse yet again: this time the main earth (rebranded as Prime Earth by Dan DiDio, DC co-publisher) included the characteristics of the Wildstorm Universe and Vertigo characters. Also Earth 2 was started radically different, with some of the Golden Age characters transformed into a younger generation of heroes in a world in war again Apokolips.
However the multiverse still have a stronger presence with characters from other universes making pivotal appearances as last seen in Forevere evil.
A more deep exploration of the multiverse will be provided by Gran Morrison in his series Multiversity.
Currently Documented Multiversal Worlds, Pre Flashpoint
|EARTH-0 New Earth|
|The main and central DC Universe.|
|Mentioned several times, but as of yet unseen.|
Please note the Earth One graphic novels do not take place on this Earth, or any currently numbered Earth.
|The world of a new and unique Justice Society Infinity. The Kal-L of this world is missing. Visited by the New Earth Power Girl.|
|Based on the Pre-Crisis Earth-Three, this Earth is home to the Crime Society of America, a team of evil counterparts of the Justice Society of America. In this universe, all DC heroes are villains, and all DC villains are heroes.|
|This world appears to house classic Charleton brand comic characters, including Dan Garrett (the original Blue Beetle), and Captain Allen Adam, with added inspiration from Watchmen.|
|Home to a version of the Marvel Family more similar to the Golden Age incarnation. Similar to the Pre-Crisis Earth-S.|
|Ray Palmer is the Ray.|
|Courtney Whitmore is Starwoman.|
|Home of Lord Havok and the Extremists . Very similar to the Marvel Universe. Similar to the pre-Crisis world of Angor.|
|Home of the Tangent heroes. This Earth's history is radically different- the Atom accidentally causes a nuclear war in 1961, and Superman takes over the world later.|
|Home to Uncle Sam and his Freedom Fighters, who fight against the Nazis after the Nazis win World War II and take over the world. Also home to a Nazi Superman. Similar to the Pre-Crisis Earth-X.|
|Home of heroes with reversed genders. For example, Superwoman. Batwoman and Wonderman. The Superwoman and Batwoman of this Earth first appeared before the creation of the 52 in Superman/Batman. Its history reflects New Earth's, with only slight differences because of genders being reversed.|
|The setting of the DC Animated Universe, which currently continues in the Batman Beyond Universe comic book series.|
|World of dark and arcane heroes. Monarch destroyed this reality's United States of America.|
|Perhaps a perfect Earth with Zod as Superman and Jason Todd as Batman. Destroyed by Superboy-Prime.|
|Home of the Super Sons and the characters from the Young Justice animated series and comic books.|
|A devastated world home to the Atomic Knights. Similar to the original Atomic Knights stories.|
A world where superheroes began in the Old West.
|A world where superheroes such as Batman and the Blue Beetle fought crime in the Victoria era as seen in Gotham by Gaslight.|
|A world influenced by early 20th century pulp fiction. Home to a Doc Savage/ Dr. Fate pastiche named Doc Fate, as well as a version of the Bat-Man.|
|A world where superheroes where around in the 1950s. Vigilantism was outlawed in the 1950s before the heroes banded together to fight a sentient island, as seen in The New Frontier.|
|A world where Superman was exiled after Magog killed the Joker, leading a generation of violent anti-heroes to take over, as seen in Kingdom Come.|
|Home of Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew.|
|A world where Superman landed in the USSR instead of America, eventually becoming the premier of the USSR, as seen in Red Son.|
|Home to a violent Batman, a subservient Superman and more, as seen in the Dark Knight Returns and related titles. Frank Miller is the writer of pieces of work in this Earth. Batman: Year One also is the origin story for batman in Earth-0 (New Earth).|
|The Batman: Darkest Knight earth. Batman receives a Green Lantern Ring.|
|All the heroes are magic; including Oracle, Kal-El and Bat-Mage, and some heroic versions of villains, such as Weather Wizard and Shade.|
|A world where Wonder Woman was active in the Victorian Era and fought Jack the Ripper, as seen in Amazonia.|
|A world where Barbara Gordon became Batgirl in the 1960s and fought corrupt cops and a female Joker alongside Robin, as seen in Batman: Thrillkiller.|
|Captain Atom and the Atomic Knights.|
|Dan Garrett has the Blue Beetle Scarab armor.|
|A world where superheroes active in the 1940s worked for the US government and were active against the Nazis, as seen in JSA: The Liberty Files.|
|A world where Batman became a vampire and fought against them, as seen in the Red Rain series.|
Doc Tornado and the Metal Men.
|Firestorm has turned the sun red. Superman and Supergirl have to wear Superboy-Prime style armor to keep powers.|
|The Wildstorm Universe.|
|The Utopian society. This world was protected by Nix Uotan and destroyed in the battle between Monarch and Superman Prime . The New Gods immigrated here following the Final Crisis.|
|Home Of Superboy Prime . Revealed in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #5. Unlike Earth-2 that created duplicates of its lost inhabitants Earth Prime was missing Superboy Prime. May be part of the 52 but unrevealed so far.|
|Home to the planet of Qward, the Anti-Monitor and the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. On the Antimatter Earth, the Crime Syndicate rules with an iron fist, killing or imprisoning all those who endanger their rule. In the Antimatter Universe, evil will always triumph over good, as opposed to the positive-matter DC universe, in which the heroes usually win.|
|Both created and destroyed in Infinite Crisis. Home of the Post Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes who survived its destruction. Revealed in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1|
Pre-Crisis Multiversal Worlds
Before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, there were many (hence "infinite") versions of the Earth scattered throughout the Multiverse. The DC Multiverse first appeared in The Flash #123 when Barry Allen ( Flash) found himself in another universe that was separated from his own by being on a different vibrational frequency. This world came to be known as Earth-Two and was populated by the heroes of the "Golden Age" of comics (the 40's and 50's). After this, more worlds were found, and then even more, until finally DC decided it was time to put an end to the expansion of the Multiverse. As was mentioned before, the other worlds were destroyed during the Crisis, but here is a list of the known Earth's before they were lost.
|Home of the Silver Age heroes, such as the Justice League of America.|
|Home to the Justice Society of America and the Golden Age heroes.|
|A world where the only super-powered beings were five villains called the Crime Syndicate of America. Later, a man named Alexander Luthor, Sr. rose as the world's only hero to combat the villains. Also the birthplace of Alex Luthor.|
|Home to characters originally from Charlton Comics, such as the Blue Beetle or Captain Atom.|
|Home to characters originally from Fawcett Publications, such as Captain Marvel.|
|Home to characters originally from Quality Comics, such as Plastic Man and Uncle Sam. The Nazis won World War II and were opposed by the heroes on this Earth.|
|A world with no superheroes. The Phantom Stranger transported Earth-1's Batman to this earth, where he inspired the Bruce Wayne of Earth-5 to become Batman.|
|A world where the Americans lost the Revolutionary War. Home to Lady Quark.|
|Home to Dark Angel.|
|A world home to Post-Crisis versions of heroes, such as Jason Rusch.|
A world home to a man named Tin, possibly Tintin.
|A humorous world home to the Inferior Five.|
|Home to purple butterflies. Nothing else is known about this Earth.|
|Home to a race of stone giants.|
|Two versions of this Earth existed. One was home to pre-Crisis stories of the New Gods after Jack Kirby left the title. The second was home to Overman and parodies of grim and gritty heroes. Overman killed this Earth after being infected with an STD.|
|An almost identical Earth to Earth-1. Earth-1's Hal Jordan shifted into this world and eventually named it Earth-32.|
|A world where the world was ravaged by nuclear war in the year 1986. Home to the Atomic Knights, OMAC and Hercules.|
|An artificial world created by Earth-1's Johnny Thunder where the heroes were replaced by his friends.|
|A fan name for a world where stories by Bob Haney in Brave and the Bold that don't fit into regular continuity take place.|
|Home to the Zoo Crew.|
|Home to the Just'A Lotta Animals.|
|Home to racially diverse versions of the Justice League.|
|Fan name given to the Pariah's unnamed home world.|
The New 52
Ever since the New 52, the exact state of the multiverse has been in question. The former Wildstorm Earth is now fused with Earth Prime, while Earth 2's past has been radically altered. Comments by Mister Terrific of Earth Two and The Phantom Stranger suggest that it may indeed be infinite again. Plans are currently in place to address this.
|New 52 revealed universes|
|The main DC earth, keep the characteristic of previous earth-0, New earth and earth-1, but including characters from Wildstorm and Vertigo lines.|
|A rebooted version of Golden age characters, now updated as a younger generations of heroes after an invasion of Apokolips and the destruction of the original .|
|The home world of the Crime Syndicate, a scorched earth attacked by the Anti-monitor.|
|Home of Calvin Ellis, Superman and President of the USA. Here major superheroes are also african-americans (Nubia, Guardian, Green Lantern John Stewart, Cyborg, Steel, Vixen).|
|Exits outside of the standar earths and have access to all of them. Darkseid was powerful enough to attack a lot of them simultaneusly.|
|Home of Superdoom and their creators, Clark Kent, Lois Lane and James Olsen.( Action Comics #9)|
|Home of Optiman, Flashlight, Iron Knight, Red Racer. All them killed by Superdoom. (Action Comics #9)|
|Home of the "little people", killed by Superdoom.(Action Comics #9)|
Infinity Crisis: Fight for the multiverse.
As part of promotion of the game Infinite Crisis, DC launched a digital first comic initiative based on the game and scripted by Andy Lanning. The story take the champions from different universes and put them togheter to fight an unknown menace.
Earth-0: Prime Universe
|This is the equivalent to Prime earthin the actual DC comics, where its champions (mostly) resembles the new52 version of the characters. Exceptions are Robin, Harley Quinn and Doomsday.|
Earth-13: Arcane Universe
|The Shadow League, a cabal of twisted sorcerers, lusted for absolute rule over Earth. Blinded by ambition, they performed a ritual that extinguished the Sun. With eternal night blanketing the Earth, the world's most powerful magicians united to reignite the Sun, but its new arcane heart forever altered life on Earth. Heroes and villains have since adapted to their magically infused environment, developing strange new abilities. This world was only hinted in the pre-Flashpoint list, but was never developted.|
Earth-17 : Atomic Universe
|As the Cold War was brewing between the world’s superpowers, a mysterious object from space crashed into Kansas. Mistaking the crash for a first strike, the United States unleashed its full nuclear arsenal against the Soviet Union, who retaliated. The ensuing nuclear war instantly vaporized 97% of all life Earth. The survivors hope the Earth can be healed, but the nuclear aftermath has left them with scars that never will. this world is based on earth-17 from pre Flashpoint list, the home of the Atomic Knights after the great disaster.|
Earth-19: Gaslight Universe
|The Victorian era has swept the Earth and a prosperous Age of Invention has revolutionized society through powerful steam technology, and this amazing progress is only the beginning. Heroes and villains have begun to emerge from all corners of society, and with them bring new sources of power and problems far stranger than steam and gas lights. This world is based in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight and earth-19 from pre Flashpoint list.|
Earth-43: Nightmare Universe
|Tales of horrors prowling the night were once just legends on this Earth - until the darkness returned. Ancient and terrible powers beyond comprehension awoke and brought with them an army of monsters. In fighting these creatures, some heroes have fallen, twisting into monsters themselves. Heroes and villains have set aside old rivalries and are united in fighting darkness that threatens to engulf their world forever. This world is based in the Batman: blood rain series, the earth-43 from pre Flashpoint list.|
Earth-44: Mecha Universe
|In this universe, there were no heroes, until a league of scientists known as the Justice Consortium created them. Technology had always been advanced on this Earth, but these new robotic creations were able to think and feel, and wielded powers beyond anything yet seen. They now defend the Earth from threats within and beyond, particularly the Doom Legion and their villainous assassin bots. This world is based in the one panel mention of the metal men from earth 44 as told in Final Crisis #7 - New Heaven, New Earth.|
The multiverse was also used by the producers of the animated shows Superman:The animated series and Justice League & Justice League Unlimited.
Earth: Brave New Metropolis
|A world were the death of Lois Lane make Superman join forces with Luthor |
Earth: Justice Guild of America
|A world were the nuclear world happened and their heroes, the Justice Guild of America didn't could stopped and died. And a powerful mutant created mind projected replicas who started to think by themselves. They were inspired in the original Justice Society of America.|
Earth: Justice Lords
|A world were the death of Flash motiated to the members of the league to take more radical and active action against injustice, transforming themselves into global dictators.|