On Friday, DC Comics announced that writer Gail Simone would be leaving "Wonder Woman." This May, DC's War of the Supermen event brings change and a new status quo to the Superman titles. The question of who would shepherd both marquee franchises in the wake of that news was answered today with 19 letters:
J. Michael Straczynski.
Come July, the Eisner Award-winning writer of titles such as "Thor" as well as upcoming relauncher of the Superman mythos in "Earth-1: Superman" will take the reigns of the monthly "Superman" and "Wonder Woman" series, DC's The Source blog reports. Since bringing this talents to DC, Stracznyski has written the out-of continuity "Brave & The Bold" series and the introductory issues for DC's off the radar Red Circle superhero reinvention.
Straczynski's tenure with two of DC's biggest icons start in July on the heels of major milestone issues for each character's eponymous monthly comic book. "Superman" will hit issue #700 in June, just after the War of the Superman weekly event wraps in May. "Wonder Woman" returns to its original numbering with May's #600 after a DC-promoted post card campaign proved effective. JMS is the monthly wrtier as of issue #701 and #601 respectively.
No information on artistic collaborators was given, though a "mission statement" essay for both characters was promise for later today.
"For as long as I've been doing conventions (starting in the early Cretaceous period, when it was just me and a handful of pterosaurs on a panel debating whether or not mammals with opposable thumbs were really necessary to the writing of quality comics, a point still hotly debated today), there has always been the same question from folks in the audience: 'Is there any one character who is your dream character to write for?' The answer has always been the same: Superman," JMS wrote in the Source story. "When I first came over to DC, that dream was realized in part by Dan DiDio's gracious invitation to write the first of potentially many Superman original graphic novels. Now the dream has come fully true with the opportunity to write for the mainstream title, in a story that returns Superman to his roots in a way that will have the whole country talking about him in ways that we haven't seen in a long time."
The writer added that opportunity to write Wonder Woman, who he called "the nearest analogue to Superman in the DCU" would be "massively exciting. She's a vital, powerful character, and we hope to bring a more contemporary sensibility to her character will retaining everything that makes her unique.
"That DC is willing to jump-start these two runs in the pages of their respective anniversary issues is a great opportunity and a vote of confidence in what we have planned for these characters. I'm looking forward to this with more excitement than words can convey."
The dual anniversary issues are actually part of a "trinity" of milestone comics for the publisher in June. That month, the Dark Knight also celebrates "Batman" #700, and while current artist Tony Daniel will be involved in some way, the full creative team and ultimate direction for that book come July remains unknown.
Stay tuned to CBR for more news on JMS' runs with "Superman" and "Wonder Woman" as they are made available.
UPDATE!: As promised, DC posted to The Source an essay by Straczynski where the author explained his connection to both characters. "As a kid growing up in the mean streets of New Jersey, Superman was an icon for me," the writer explained. "It was a tough life: we moved about 21 times in my first 17 years, we didn't have much money, and every day was a struggle. When I told grown-ups that I was going to be a writer someday, nobody listened, nobody thought I had a chance, because as far as teachers were concerned, kids like me who came from nowhere and nothing were dead-enders, destined to end up working at the gas station at best or in jail at worst. Writers were supposesd to be Ivory Tower guys with leather patches on the elbows of their smoking jackets, who went to the right schools and came from the right families. I lived in the world of No, a place populated by bullies and street fights and tenements, with no possibility of escape.
"But Superman...see, Superman could do anything. If there was someplace he didn't want to be, he could just fly away. And he couldn't be hurt, which to a kid who got beat up pretty regularly in fights and elsewhere was a pretty attractive idea. Superman taught me the morals and ethics I draw up on to this day: to play fair, not to lie, and to be willing to put yourself between harm and those you care about."
Straczynski went on say "The Superman symbol is Kryptonian for No Limits" adding that this idea connects to Wonder Woman as well. "As Superman has been for me, so Wonder Woman has been for a lot of women readers, so the chance to dive into that character is something I'm eagerly anticipating. This is a strong, mythic, powerful character who for some time now has been kind of drowning under the weight of her own mythos, so I'm looking forward to paring away some of the layers of debris and undergrowth that have piled up around her in order to get to the core of the character. Coming from the world of TV and film, the first rule you learn is to service the main character more than anything else, so I'll be writing with an eye firmly fixed on that rule."
Finally, JMS promised, "Similarly, we plan to bring Superman back to his roots, to really explore who he is...how he sees us, and how we see him, in a much more personal way than we've seen in a while. This is part of a larger effort that will have national ramifications, but I can't say much more about it than that for now. Keep an eye on this website for more information when the time is right...but for now, let's just say that Superman may be a lot closer in proximity to you, the reader, than you ever guessed."
For the full essay, check out The Source, and keep your eyes on CBR for more news on both projects in the coming days.