History of the DC Universe was an attempt to summarize the new history of the DC Universe to establish what was canonical after Crisis reformed the multiverse into a single universe. In the original planning of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the History would have formed the final two issues, following the destruction of the Multiverse at the Beginning of Time, but this was changed. History of the DC Universe had been one of the working titles for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The loose plotline of the series involves the character Harbinger chronicling the past, present, and future of the post-Crisis DC Universe. The history is mostly told through one- and two-page splash pages, accompanied by brief prose. At the end of the series, Harbinger places the history in a capsule and launches it into space. In the subsequent series Millennium, this history is intercepted by the Manhunters and used against Earth’s superheroes.
The series was reprinted in hardcover by Graphitti Designs in 1988 with a painted cover by Bill Sienkiewicz. It featured additional material not included in the original series including an introduction by Wolfman and the following:
- essay and Superman illustration by Neal Adams
- essay by Julius Schwartz
- essay by Jerry Siegel with Superman illustration by Joe Shuster
- essay by Bob Kane with Batman illustration by Dick Sprang
- essay and Sgt. Rock illustration by Joe Kubert
- essay by Roy Thomas with Marvel Family illustration by Kurt Schaffenberger
- essay by Paul Levitz with Legion of Super-Heroes illustration by Steve Lightle
- essay by Len Wein with Swamp Thing illustration by Stephen R. Bissette and John Totleben
- essay by Jack Kirby with New Gods illustration by Kirby and Steve Rude
- essay and Aquaman illustration by Ramona Fradon
- essay by George Pérez with Wonder Woman illustration by Trina Robbins and Pérez
- an afterword by Frank Miller
- a gatefold poster
The series was reprinted as a trade paperback in 2002. It had a new cover painting by Alex Ross but did not include the bonus material from the 1988 hardcover edition.