Is 9/11 Canon to DC Comics? Here’s Why Superman Never Stopped It

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Humanity has been through many tragic events over the years, from freak accidents to horrific yet intentional acts – and one of the most notable has been 9/11. Since DC often features historical events, fans are curious to know if 9/11 is canon to DC Comics and why powerful DC heroes like Superman never stopped it.

The 9/11 attack occurred within the canon DC timeline, as seen with the release of 9-11 Vol. 1 #2. The tragedy served as a major point of character development for certain figures within the DC world as well, such as Simon Baz and Jo Mullein, who are both members of the Green Lantern Corps. Unfortunately, heroes could not prevent it, but the issue focused on firefighters, officers, and soldiers as the real heroes.

Creators have given fans clear references to 9/11 within the canon DC timeline, touching on many aspects during and after the tragedy. Below is everything you need to know about 9/11 taking place within the DC universe – including DC Comic issues that touched on the subject, how the event impacted numerous DC characters, and why our beloved heroes were unable to prevent it.

Did 9/11 Happen in DC Comics?

The 9/11 tragedy was indescribably catastrophic, having a massive impact on the United States as well as the world as a whole. The World Trade Center, more commonly known as the Twin Towers, was destroyed due to a terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, taking many lives while leaving countless civilians injured and traumatized.

It’s become one of the most well-known tragedies internationally, being recognized, referenced, and remembered worldwide. The location was known as Ground Zero following the event before a singular building named “One World Trade Center” (Freedom Tower) was constructed.

The event is often featured in media releases, and many fans wonder if DC content creators decided to add this historical event to the DC universe and timeline as well.

dc 911 superman

DC Comics released a commemorative issue in 2002, leaving some time for the dust to settle and the initial mourning phases to pass. The one-shot comic issue shed some light on 9/11 as a whole. While it served as a means of respecting all of the brave individuals and survivors that day, the editor-in-chief described the project as a creative outlet for artists in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks as well.

What made this specific DC Comic issue stand out more was how the creators referenced numerous individuals who took a stand that day. An example of this would be “Wake Up”, which portrays a child named Jimmy reflecting on his deceased mother who was an N.Y.P.D. officer and often reminded him how important it is to stand up to the bad guys.


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This specific story was dedicated to N.Y.P.D. Officer Moira Smith, Port Authority P.D. Captain Kathy Mazza, their families, and all of the children honoring their lost parents. Other scenes depict civilians trying to escape the collapsing building, people helping each other to survive the attack, and much more, with many scenes commemorating officers, doctors, and soldiers.

ground zero DC

Additional scenes paid respect to all of the heroic firefighters who risked their lives to save civilians after the attacks, with panels depicting firefighters working together to pull civilians out of the World Trade Center wreckage. While no comic or tribute could capture the scope of what truly happened that day, it was certainly touching to see that the creators took time and effort when creating the issue.

How Did 9/11 Impact the DC Timeline?

Within the DC universe, 9/11 also served as a source of inspiration for a couple of figures, although it’s hardly mentioned directly. The tragedy impacted Simon Baz in his initial story as he was a child at the time of the attack, as depicted within his origins portrayed in the GL series.

A young woman named Sojourner “Jo” Mullein witnessed the 9/11 attack within the DC universe, and she was inspired to become a superhero. Both characters went on to become members of the Green Lantern Corps as a result.

Why Didn’t Superman Stop 9/11 in DC Comics?

Many fans believed that Superman was not on Earth at the time of the attack and other heroes may have been too far away. Unlike the Marvel world, where many heroes occasionally operate in New York alongside Spider-Man, the DC universe did not have heroes who resided in New York and defended it apart from the Teen Titans.

Original Justice League

Fans have also stated that the event would have happened before the Modern Age of Heroes due to the sliding timeline, which means that Superman would not have made his debut yet. That said, the comic issue communicates that the firefighters, police officers, soldiers, and survivors were the real superheroes that day – some of whom are portrayed with Superman tattoos, clothing, and more.

One of the first sections of the issue follows a young boy reading a Superman comic book as a firefighter carries him out of the World Trade Center. Superman then laments through his own narration, stating that one thing he cannot do is become real regardless of how much he wishes he could change humanity’s fate in the real world – however, he then states that, fortunately, the real world is protected by heroes of its own.


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Although none of our beloved DC heroes were able to stop the attack, It’s clear that the creators poured a ton of love, compassion, and realism into this specific issue, reminding fans that while these characters may not be capable of aiding humanity in our darkest moments, humans are always capable of working together and becoming the heroes that we need.

That’s everything there is to know about the occurrence of 9/11 within DC Comics. Although this event didn’t have a different outcome within the DC universe, many fans were still glad to see the creators showing honor and respect regarding this real-world tragedy.

What do you think about 9/11 being included in the DC timeline? Let us know in the comments below.

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