Pre-Crisis Continuity was the continuity of the Superman comics prior to the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which destroyed this continuity and began the Modern Age Continuity. This is the continuity of the Golden Age comics, the Silver Age comics, and more.
The backstory of the Superman in this continuity was retconned many times, though the series of his adventures remains constant. Eventually, the alternate universe of Earth-Two was created to explain the discrepancies between early stories and later stories.
Krypton is a technologically superior planet to Earth. In Golden Age stories, it's depicted as housing a race of supermen, who have evolved to physical perfection. By the Silver Age, this had been retconned, and Kryptonians, under a Red Sun were like ordinary humans.
Superman and other Kryptonians displayed incredible powers in this continuity, far exceeding those of their counterparts in other continuities. Superman was able to travel faster than the speed of light at will, visit other planets or time travel easily, move planetary objects, and more.
Superman adopted his super-identity as a child, becoming famous even during his years in Smallville. He even had some costumed adventures as Superbaby!
Regular Comic Series
- Action Comics (until 1985)
- Superman (comic book) (Until 1985)
- Supergirl (comic book) (Until 1985)
- Superboy (comic book) (Until 1985)
In Chronological Order:
- The Origin of Superman
- The Super-Key to Fort Superman
- The Super-Duel in Space
- The Supergirl from Krypton
- The World's Greatest Heroine!
- Crisis on Infinite Earths
Despite the fact that the comic stories from Superman's golden age continued directly into the silver age stories without any reboot or separation, this point was ret-conned with the introduction of the Multiverse. Earth-Two, in particular, was the first alternate universe encountered, and it was created to explain why the golden age versions of certain characters, such as the Flash and Green Lantern, for example, were completely different people than their contemporaries, who had never heard of each other.
It was soon established that this alternate universe was a direct continuation of all the stories from the Golden Age. This can lead to some confusion, since unlike the aforementioned heroes, Superman's golden age version was essentially the same person with few differences, and there had never been an interruption in publication. New Superman stories were published that were set in Earth-Two, which purported to continue the adventures of the Golden Age Superman (even though the silver age stories were technically also doing that).
As such, stories set in Earth-Two may be considered an off-shoot of the pre-crisis continuity - that is, this new continuity includes the golden-age Superman comics but none of his successors.
Works set on Earth-Two:
- Action Comics (Debatably, until 1949 or thereabouts)
- Superman (Debatably, until 1949 or thereabouts)
- Infinite Crisis (Characters from Earth-Two survive, though they are relocated to the Post-Crisis/Modern Age Earth)
- Power Girl (The Modern Age version of Power Girl lives in the Modern Age continuity, but comes from the dead Earth-Two).
The continuity of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century does not always match up with Superman's continuity. This was the original Legion of Superheroes continuity, which was part of the Pre-Crisis Superman coninuity, until the Crisis, at which point Superman continuity ended but Legion continuity did not.
The Legion of Super-Heroes were depicted as living in Superman's far future throughout the pre-crisis era, having historical records of the Pre-Crisis DC Universe and regularly traveling back through time to meet Superman, Supergirl, etc. They were part of the Pre-Crisis continuity.
However, when Superman's continuity was rebooted with Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Legion's continuity continued without being rebooted. After that point, the Legion made crossovers with Superman of the Modern Age.
The legion did finally receive their own reboot, in Zero Hour.
Works in this continuity: