To OGN or not to OGN, that is the question that's been raised by panel reports from San Diego that suggest DC may have changed their plans for their Earth One graphic novel series -- something that DC said isn't the case.
Back in December, DC announced a new series of Earth One original graphic novels featuring Superman and Batman set "on a new earth with an all-new continuity." During the Superman: The Man of Tomorrow panel at Comic-Con International last month, someone asked J. Michael Straczynski about the future of these graphic novels. Straczynski is the writer of the first one being released this November, which features the story of a young Superman.
"The last question went to Straczynski," CBR's panel report by Kevin Mahadeo reads. "The fan asked whether the writer plans on continuing the 'Earth One' stories. The writer revealed that the hardcover release will be followed up with single issues, which will later be collected."
Although panel reports on both Comic Book Resources and Newsarama were published during the show, it wasn't until this past Sunday that people really started to take notice of that sentence -- Kevin Huxford, Johanna Draper Carlson, Heidi MacDonald and Augie De Blieck Jr. have all posted about it this week.
I thought I'd go straight to the source, no pun intended (okay, maybe a little intended), so I emailed DC today to see what was up, and they sent me the following statement:
"Our plans regarding the EARTH ONE line of original graphic novels have not changed - they will serve as new, unique and compelling reinterpretations of our key characters in original graphic novel form, by some of the biggest names and brightest stars in the industry."
-- Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, DC Comics Co-Publishers
In all honesty, I'm still a little confused by the panel reports coming out of San Diego -- I wasn't sure if they were suggesting the books would be released as hardcovers first and then be reprinted in comics format down the road, or if the OGNs would be followed by the launch of monthly comic series in the Earth One universe, or what. In any event, it sounds like it's all moot anyway, as DC says they are staying the course with their initial plans.
Update, Tuesday night: Straczynski contacted CBR to clarify what he said at the panel:
This was the actual exchange, as I remember it.
Someone asked me on the panel if Superman Earth One was only coming out as a hardcover or as issues at the same time or afterward. I said, as near as I can remember it, "This is coming out first in hardcover, unlike B&B, which is single issues collected into a hardcover" (which I slipped in to promote the book, which is coming out I think this week or next week). So it went in both directions, which prompted the fan to note, "I'm confused," and I joked back, "So am I."
That was the entirety of the exchange. Basically, the two different subjects got conflated in the hurry to transcribe what was being said, so they got lumped into one sentence.
Fan: With your Superman Earth One story, is that gonna be like an on-going graphic novel series or is this going to be one and done or do you have other plans for other Superman graphic novels if that's not one and done? [the questioner stumbled over some of his words, but I've edited this to simplify... if you listen to the podcast, you'll see that the intent of the fan's question is as reported here]
JMS: What they're gonna do as I understand it is [clears throat] first the graphic novel will come out in hardcover. Then it will come out in individual issues, and then more issues will follow to be gathered together in graphic novels.
Fan: So it's going to be graphic novel hardcover first, then single issues re-collected, then single issues again?
JMS: As I understand it.
Fan: That's extremely confusing. [laughs]
JMS: To both of us. So, yeah, we'll work it out somehow...
As Albert Ching, who covered the panel for Newsarama, points out, "It seems, then, that the reason both Mahadeo and myself didn’t get the part about the Brave & The Bold was that it wasn’t there."