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Ten(!) Things We’ve Learned About the “New” DC Comics

by  in Comic News Comment
Ten(!) Things We’ve Learned About the “New” DC Comics

Over the past few days, DC Comics has unleashed a range of interviews discussing and disclosing details about the publisher’s approach to its line of superhero comics in the wake of the imminent two-month “Convergence” event. Once the dust settles from the multi-dimensional battle royal, the publisher is promising to give readers a new and very different approach to re-building the DC Universe.

RELATED: Lee & DiDio Call June Launches “First of Many Steps” in Building the “New” DC Comics

To that end, we’ve gone through the interviews and statements DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, CCO Geoff Johns and numerous creative teams have made about the line’s new direction, pulling out the biggest pieces of news and revelations and gathering it all here.

  • One of the most obvious attempts DC is taking to make sure it reaches as wide a potential audience as possible is its May initiative which finds the creative teams of the upcoming new titles and relaunches previewing their work through all-new eight-page stories. These short introductions to both familiar characters and new concepts will be made available in print as special back-up stories, some via one of DC’s Free Comic Book Day offerings, and digitally in a variety of formats. “It put a lot of stress on the system to do this,” DiDio told the press. “But this is, I think, a necessary tool, and so valuable to really inform outward what we have planned for all these books, and it gives a chance for everybody to see them, in advance, before they hit the shelves.”
  • Both Superman and Batman will have new status quos revealed in May. Writer Gene Luen Yang joins John Romita Jr. on “Superman,” where he promises to explore the iconic hero’s “immigrant experience,” and the solicitation copy for the creative team’s first issue together promises a “big secret” will be revealed.

    Meanwhile, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo continue their chart-topping, critically acclaimed run on “Batman,” with the writer telling CBR that readers should expect “the boldest, weirdest, biggest thing we’ve ever tried on the book.” Though Snyder didn’t get into specifics beyond that, Capullo’s cover art for June’s Issue #41 features a decidedly mecha-looking Batman wielding a smoking gun. The same Bat-character — who may or may not be Batman himself — is also featured on the cover of “Batgirl” #41, with the directive to “eliminate” Barbara Gordon.

  • Bobbie Chase, who has been DC Comics’ Editorial Director since 2012, has been promoted to VP of Talent Development. Her main focus is to find writers from other fields and recruit them, more or less, into writing for DC.
  • A major part of DC’s approach to publishing post-“Convergence” is to increase the diversity of its line, not only in regard to the characters inhabiting the DCU, but in the creators behind the characters, and types of series the publisher releases — hence Chase’s promotion, and the increase in new-to-DC Comics talent joining the publisher in June.
  • Following along that line of thinking, DiDio described the new DCU as being more focused than ever on characters over events. “If you get yourself into a grind with event after event, sooner or later, you’re going to be only artificially propping up the sales of your books, and your line itself,” the Co-Publisher stated. “Only the event is what’s driving people, not the individual characters.”

    This sentiment appeared to be echoed by Johns in describing how he and artist Jason Fabok will build their “Justice League” stories in the months ahead, with stories designed to feel like “a universe-spanning event in one book.” “Our goal is to make this the biggest possible story,” Johns told CBR News. “But again, it’s got to resonate personally with the characters. If we just do big explosions, it’s hollow to me. It’s going to affect the status quo of the team, affect many of the characters on the team, there will be some big changes on the team, and hopefully the adventure will be really intriguing and revelatory.”

  • On a character-specific front, writer Steve Orlando’s upcoming “Midnighter” series marks the first time an openly gay, stereotype-shattering character will headline his own DCU title. The Wildstorm universe creation, described by Orlando as having “100 percent lack of fear, 100 percent lack of shame in who he is,” will be fully integrated into the DCU, even more so than he has been in recent months, as a guest-star in “Grayson.” According to DiDio, “This isn’t a book that’s going to be shy about what it is or who he is. It’s fully embraced.”
  • Fans of the new approach can, on some level, thank Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s “Harley Quinn.” “If ‘Harley’ flopped, we might be doing something different,” Palmiotti told CBR about his and Conner’s continuity-ignoring approach to the hit title. “But because it caught on, I think a lot of the editors looked at this and said, ‘Maybe we can do this with some other titles.'”
  • Ultimately, DC Comics’ goal moving forward is to “push the envelope” across the board, on both new titles and existing ones. “Right after we launched the New 52, a lot of people were focused on, ‘What happened to this character? Did they disappear?’ We want to keep this thing moving forward,” Lee emphasized. “We want fresh characters, we want new concepts, we want these characters to be leading the charge into the future, not looking backward. I think you only accomplish that if you keep challenging yourself, embracing risk, and moving forward.”

Let’s add two more things we’ve learned, as the DC reveals continue!

  • The solicitation copy for Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang’s “Batman Beyond” ongoing declares the world of Terry McGinnis is the definitive future of the DCU, and not a possible future or alternate reality.
  • According to another round of solicitations for its June titles, released via ComicBook.com, when the DCU exits “Convergence,” Kyle Rayner will be dead, at the hands of the Omega Men. The cosmic outlaw team’s new series will explore their reasons for targeting the White Lantern, and the consequences of their actions.

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