After more than three years as the New 52 brand, DC Comics is retiring the branding and undergoing a status quo shakeup following the events of "Convergence." The new initiative will not have a unifying name and will be comprised of 25 continuing series and 24 all-new ones, some featuring creators and concepts that are completely new to the publisher.
To get as many people as possible excited about these new offerings, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio revealed during a discussion with members of the press that the company plans on releasing a number of original eight-page stories highlighting these fresh starts for free via the DC website, comiXology and other platforms.
"This [initiative] is a lot different," said DiDio, comparing DC's current plans with the launch of the New 52 in September 2011. "There is no overarching brand on this. This is DC Comics, pure and simple. Because it's DC Comics, we have the liberty to go out and sell every single title individually. Which is what we want. Every one of these books is its own entity, and we have to sell them in that fashion.
"What we've done is created eight-page original stories that will be made available free to our fanbase in the month of May," he continued. While the total number of original 8-pagers has yet to be revealed, DiDio had other information regarding the free comics at the ready. "These stories will be inside the second month of 'Convergence' monthly titles, these stories will be comprising our 'Divergence' Free Comic Book Day comic, but at the same time, we're going to be making them available on the DC website, making them available for free through comiXology and all our other digital distributors, and our goal is to get these in as many hands as possible, so people get a real sense of sampling of what goes on here. We're encouraging our readers to download them and make them available to their clientele. So in the month of May, people get a chance to read these books, see the different styles of art, read the different types of stories, see how we plan to interpret our characters in a new way, and hopefully in doing so, will get excited about the books once they come out in June."
Creators like Gene Luen Yang, Ming Doyle and Annie Wu will leave their mark on classic DC characters and new series -- like "We Are Robin" and "Prez" -- will look at the DCU in a different way. DiDio spoke to the new line's diversity, saying, "For every 'Bat-Mite' and 'Bizarro,' there's going to be a 'Section Eight' and 'Omega Men,' which are probably the hard-hitting side. And we're going with every shade in between."
This initiative goes hand in hand with the publisher's recent attempts at diversifying its offerings. Providing original eight-page stories for the new series being launched will allow both lapsed and totally new readers to check out the changes made by the publisher free of charge.
"It put a lot of stress on the system to do this, 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."