DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line

twitter DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line0facebook DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line0google DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line0pinterest DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line0tumblr DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel linereddit DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line0stumbleupon DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line0email DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line

eathone DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line
DC is revamping its Big Two with new origins and new “Jump on in!” continuities. Again. But the twist this time? It’s in GRAPHIC NOVEL FORMAT, a marked shift away from the Wednesday crowd in a search to get new readers and a move towards DC’s long-rumored “Ultimization” of their core books.

Announced this morning on The Source blog, SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE and BATMAN: EARTH ONE kick off an ongoing series of original graphic novels featuring “their first years and earliest moments retold in a standalone, original graphic novel format, on a new earth with an all-new continuity.”

superman leveledlores DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line

SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE will be written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Shane Davis.

batman fnl3 DC announces EARTH ONE graphic novel line

BATMAN: EARTH ONE ‘s creative team is Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, the current Superman team. The first interview from the duo appears at Aintitcoolnews.com, which as we write, has conveniently crashed (at least on our computer) so here’s some quotes from JMS:

“What I’m trying to do is to dig in to the character and look at him through modern eyes. If you were to create the Superman story today, for the first time, but keep intact all that works, what would it look like?”

“It is monumental for us as comic readers to see Superman birthed for the first time,” Davis said. “It’s a privilege to realize that you’re the artist that gets to draw it, better yet having the luxury to do it in an original graphic novel. This is going to be epic!”

And Johns:

“BATMAN: EARTH ONE allows Gary and I to break the restraints of any continuity and focus on two things: character and story. Add to that the idea of working on a line of graphic novels instead of being limited to twenty-two pages, it’s a challenge and I love a challenge.”

Observations: As a line of jump-in out of continuity books, this is pretty much the same thing DC tried a few years ago with the All-Star line, except that the all-star creative line-ups seems to have a lot of scheduling problems. That experiment was mostly a failure — only two of the rumored books have ever appeared, and Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman etc. is controversial, to say the least. The shining triumph was Morrison & Quitely’s All-Star Superman, a much loved neo-classic.

The big — some might even say SHOCKING — twist this time is that the books are coming out as OGNs …not pamphlets. It’s either a huge vote of confidence for Random House’s sales team (RH is DC’s distributor to the book trade) or a tacit admission that the pamphlet is no longer a way to grow the audience, as the current generation of readers greys up and moves on.

If the new line is a bid to reach out to potential readers who might know Batman and Superman from the movies/TV shows/video games but not want to invest in the monthly habit, AICN is an interesting choice for the rollout. It certainly isn’t a civilian site, but it does reach the general fanboy nation in large numbers.

Also, Earth One…isn’t there already an Earth One? Or is that Earth 1? Will the target audience for this really care about that kind of thing?

Comments

  1. I like the idea, both of doing an Ultimate-style revamping of the DC universe and of moving to a series of original graphic novels. But I wish they weren’t starting with the Superman and Batman origin stories to do it.

    C’mon — it’s Superman and Batman. Everyone knows their origins, even the people who don’t read comics already. Just jump into the deep end and tell some stories!

  2. J.D. Lombardi says:

    Eh. I don’t see this as a reboot in the least – just another offering if you’re not into buying books that have large issue numbers on the front. Nothing wrong with that since it’ll leave all the diehards alone for the most part. I honestly really like that Bat outfit update though, but would only get either of the books if it had been a slow week/month and there wasn’t anything particularly hot out there to read.

  3. Kinda makes you wonder why they bothered to release Superman: Secret Origin with this in the works, doesn’t it? Anyway, with these creative teams, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for these.

  4. “what would it look like?”

    I don’t know: Superman: Birthright? Superman: Shit, Is That Christopher Reeve?!? Smallville? Tom DeHaven’s It’s Superman?

    (Has that ghoulish new Supermorigin even finished serialisation, yet?)

    What is the flaming point of digging into this vein again? Surely the snake can eat only so much of its own tail before it starts chewing on its own arse.

    And whoopity-do, they’re doing graphic novels. That and a lollipop will give you something to suck on. It’s just more Batman, more Superman, more of the same by the same-old-same-old. Filling the shelves with the same goddamn story over and over again. Not even the pretence of a character arc beyond NotSuperman-Superman. What a waste.

    //Oo/\

  5. I think the OGN approach is a smart idea — as floppies, this wouldn’t go over at all, but as OGN’s, it actually has a chance of reaching the new readers the line targets. Good luck to ‘em.

  6. ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZ!

    (smacking lips in disorientation to be followed by yawning)

    Oh sorry, I must have dozed off.

    What was that about Superman & Batman yet again?

    ~

    Coat

  7. Jason says:

    I like the OGN approach as well… However, do we really need the Nth retelling of the origins/formative years of the core characters? It seems like every year or two, there is some comic book special, mini-series or what-have-you that retells this same story. While a new reader might be enticed, I doubt it will counterbalance the current comic book readers who won’t pick up a retelling of the same story told to them time and time again. It’s like continually re-reading the first chapter of a book…

  8. It certainly explains volumes about JMS having a smaller profile at DC than anyone had been expecting when he switched teams. Most people were thinking he jumped to have a crack at Superman and were confused by the whole Brave and the Bold/Archie thing. The bookstore cycle takes place with a much longer lead time, especially in terms of advance review copies, so it wouldn’t greatly surprise me if the scripts for v. 2 and maybe v. 3 were already in the can.

    Random House has a reputation as the big dog for pushing books. Guess we get to see if the reputation works for graphic novels. Anyone know if these are slotted as adult or young adult?

  9. As a gentle, general reminder, there was a point in time we were all saying “Why more of the same?” just before All-Star Superman launched. And that work has become the definitive Superman of the mid-2000s, IMHO.

    I don’t have enormous faith in the Straczynski book, as the writer’s sensibilities don’t seem to lend themselves to this character and mythos, and frankly that art looks like those bad painted DC trading cards from the mid 90s. On the other hand, it’s Geoff Freakin’ Johns and Gary Freakin’ Frank on Batman. If that doesn’t make your spine tingle just a little bit, superhero comics might not be the hobby for you.

  10. Joe Lawler says:

    Yes, but All-Star Superman wasn’t another look at Superman’s origin. It seemed to take the approach that everyone knows the basics of Superman and just told good stories.

  11. All-Star Superman wasn’t telling the origin story, though, was it? It never pretended to be an original modern updating of the Superman origin story. It spent exactly one page! telling the Superman origin story, before blowing us away with something new and awesome.

    And Geoff Johns? No.

    //Oo/\

  12. Actually, let me retract that last line. Sorry.

    //Oo/\

  13. “Also, Earth One…isn’t there already an Earth One? Or is that Earth 1? Will the target audience for this really care about that kind of thing?”

    Probably not, which makes the project’s title already a perplexing issue from a marketing standpoint. Why bother with the convoluted concept of multiple earths, if one is merely doing “ultimate” origin stories with DC’s best-known characters? Is it so that if this product line falls apart like the All-Star line did, then DC can start up an “Earth Two” series and try all over again? Talk about redundancy.

    I really hope that DC knows how to market this stuff beyond the insular fanboy contingient they’ve been pandering to now for years.

  14. Wraith says:

    I would be impressed with EARTH ONE if this new continuity/line of books were (a) published in a cheaper over sized monthly magazine format and (b) is aimed at and suitable for new YOUNGER readers (and new readers of ALL AGES in general).

  15. Mikael says:

    DC already does great all ages material aimed at younger readers. It’s called the cartoons. Just ask my nephews who all want some kind of toy tied in to Batman Brave and the Bold. Now, we have the next step.

    The comics don’t need to be aimed at anybody. They just need to be interesting and good. And a line of OGNs, with the right kind of crosspromotion in the first few pages with the other OGN releases, could do well if marketed right.

    Plus – along with Random House, and the OGNs themselves, this could all be tied into the DC Entertainment deal. In such a way that, next year is DC’s 75th Anniversary. Look for more announcements all over the place. So if the brand reaches where it needs to – promoting movies, cartoons, etc. – having these OGNs hit at the same time will make good.

    In other words, this is a wait and see regardless of the many naysayers above.

  16. Calling the books Earth One could be an attempt to bring back the crowd that DC is consistently losing, the ones, like me, that actually remember THE Multiverse, not their new multiverse created after 52, but the original Multiverse that the Crisis of Infiinite Earths destroyed. It won’t work, but c’est la vie. What will likely happen is Geoff Johns fans will flock to the Batman title. The Superman title will flounder, and the Batman Earth One title will eventually be published as a comic book with Geoff Johns continuity. Not a good thing in my opinion.

    I used to thrive on DC, but they have conistently pushed me away with their denigration of the original heroes. This line could be based on DC’s belief that their low sales figure reflects people like me no longer buying comic books–not true, I buy the occasional Marvel, the Dynamite titles, Buffy and Hellboy, but DC’s only super hero title worth buying is Power Girl IMO–Amanda Conner’s art is awesome and Palmiotti and Gray treat PG with respect, the plots are sophisticated fun, and you get the impression that the people behind this book actually like super-heroes and don’t see them as a juvenile concept. It’s got just the right tone, and it amazes me that this poster child of bad continuity retconning is actually the only survivor of the Crisis. I like the irony.

    Ray

  17. There’s already an “Ultimate Superman,” isn’t there? It’s the TV series called SMALLVILLE. Well, at least in this one he gets his traditional red, yellow and blue costume.

  18. A couple of things occur to me –

    – These are not under-exposed creators. There are plenty of $3 and $4 comics by JMS, Geoff Johns et al that have come out in recent years, so the step up to the higher price tag for an OGN can’t rest on this being a unique opportunity to see these rare talents at work.

    – Perhaps then the fact that all concerned are relatively fast, professional creators rather than superstars who crank an issue out once in a blue moon is part of the plan? Could these volumes be coming out quite regularly, say two or three times a year? Perhaps something closer to a manga digest model, aimed at western bookstores?

    If so, I hope these play to the strengths of a longer form, rather than just reading like a bundle of issues glued together.

  19. With all due respect, Ray, I doubt that the audience you speak of is really that big, at least among the current-day fanbase. COIE happened twenty five years ago. Most fans I know were either not born yet or were still in elementary school*. While they may be reasonably well-versed in pre-Crisis continuity, they learned it second-hand and don’t have any personal attachment to it. So, again, I don’t really think DC is naming it’s line “Earth One” in hopes of recapturing older fans. More likely, they are doing it for trademark reason (though, given the age of many staffers, I wouldn’t be surprised if nostalgia played some role in it as well).

    *I was the former.

  20. Volde says:

    Earth one label is obviously for different brand/line like All-Stars or Ultimate are, not to draw old fans back.

  21. Steven Taylor says:

    Wow.
    What a much of negative old curmudgeons. (For the most part.)
    I thought comics were supposed to be fun.
    Looks like fun to me.

  22. Steven Taylor says:

    Sorry. Meant to say “…bunch of negative old curmudgeons.”
    Where’s the edit button on this sucker?
    You get the drift.

  23. @Mark Clapham, the CBR article (and probably the AICN interview, which I couldn’t get to load) has Geoff Johns saying the plan is to do two a year. It’s not clear whether he means two total, which seems excessively slow, or two per character, which would make a lot more sense — especially once it expands beyond Superman and Batman.

  24. Jason Cline says:

    Does this have anything to do with the recent legal restrictions regarding Superman’s origin? Or is that more what the Secret Origin story is trying to work around?

  25. Everyone on this thread is outside the target audience. This is probably not a product for you.

    That said, these are weird creative teams to do something like this. JMS on Superman makes some sense. He is a big name that has never worked on the character before. However, Shane Davis is just a guy. The promotional image is not interesting in any way.

    Geoff Johns has been re-writing the mainstream DCU for the better part of a decade. How his Batman is supposed to be interesting, or different, is a bit lost on me. He has done nice work for them and I guess this is sort of a reward. Gary Frank is great, but it is a shame to lose his Superman work. That has been such a wonderful fit of artist and material. At least he is doing some actual design work on Batman.

  26. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    So are they just going to rehash famous stories as well as the origin stories? Or are they going to redo the origin stories and then go on to original stories, meaning that those of us who know where Batman came from can start reading with volume 2? I admit it, I’m confused.

  27. Tim at More Fun Comics says:

    “It’s just more Batman, more Superman, more of the same by the same-old-same-old. Filling the shelves with the same goddamn story over and over again. Not even the pretence of a character arc beyond NotSuperman-Superman. What a waste.”

    In theory you’re right. In reality, no one ever buys any of the superhero books that aren’t the big two that are on the fringe, so your argument rings hollow. Unless Red Tornado, Vixen, Metal Men, Doom Patrol, R.E.B.E.L.S. Great Ten, and Vigilante are all in your collection, then I’m mistaken.

  28. Because those are all such absolute acmes of originality, right?

    //Oo/\

  29. thequestion says:

    if the creators are worthy and the price is reasonable, i’m in

  30. Instead of “Earth One” it should be “Earth Done In One”.

    As a bookseller and professional Seducer of the Innocent, I much prefer the “done in one” books featuring familiar characters. Books like “Red Son” or “It’s a Bird” or “Secret Identity” are easier to sell, are self-contained, and don’t require previous knowledge of “what has come before”. Vertigo series are easy to sell, as most of them are finite (Preacher, Sandman, Doom Patrol), that is, self-contained.

    DC has done many “done in one” graphic novels, both in the DCU (or some corner of that multiverse) and elsewhere (Vertigo Crime being the most recent example). Add a recognizable character to the equation, and the success increases.

    By creating a new continuity, you simply repeat the problem of the comic books. Instead of John Byrne, you have JMS. Eventually, the line will become too large, and thus too daunting for a neophyte to enjoy. Granted, there are many manga series which contain 20, 30, 40+ volumes. Marvel’s Ultimate volumes had a strong backlist, although the comicbook sales imploded.

    Here’s an elephant: Are the contributors receiving advances? Do all share in the royalties, or just some, with others getting a flat fee for work done?

    Here’s another elephant: Given the larger risk (an original GN versus an original comicbook), will DC/Diamond offer these GNs on a returnable basis? Or will comics retailers migrate their initial orders to other distributors such as Ingram or Baker & Taylor? If so, might retailers shift ALL or MOST of their initial orders to returnable vendors, sacrificing margin for less risk, using Diamond solely for restocking? If so, how does that affect Diamond? DC makes money either way, whether it moves from Random House or from Diamond. Due to Diamond’s exclusivity agreement with DC means they must stock the titles, even if those titles fall below economic minimums.

    Here’s what I suggest: allow proven talent to create a self-contained multi-volume story, with each volume containing a story arc. Use the model perfected by Neil Gaiman on Sandman, except that each volume is an original graphic novel. By avoiding the monthly deadlines and the set page amount, creators are given more freedom to tell an epic story without rushing the product. Plan for one volume a year of each series, with at least one new title a month.

    Creators could also, using the established advance-payment system used in regular publishing, write a single volume, possibly even lengthier than the “Sandman” type trade. Instead of 200 pages, perhaps a 1000-page epic could be published, if an author objects to cutting the story into smaller volumes. Of course, DC could just follow proven procedure, and collect the individual volumes either into a deluxe hardcover or an absolute edition.

    Of course, publishing original graphic novels creates more risk for DC, so editorial must be more proactive to make sure the titles published are well-told and generate buzz. With a more flexible production schedule, DC can encourage and mentor prose novelists to cross-over into graphic novels, thus enlivening the medium with new viewpoints. (See: British invasion)

    Overall, I think this is an excellent development. Of course, it all depends on the stories told.

  31. By the by, Geoff Johns and JMS aren’t big names outside comics fandom. The characters are going to be the draw or not.

  32. Synsidar says:

    When the basis for Iron Man’s origin story was changed from Vietnam to the Gulf War, and then to the operations in Afghanistan, did any Iron Man fans care much? The JMS interview implies that Superman’s revised origin is mostly that, revising the obviously dated aspects of the classic origin and targeting new readers who might regard Superman as dated and uninteresting. There are changes, such as the elimination of Superboy, but —

    Here, of course, we’re doing more than that because we’re not sticking to a script, but the idea is much the same. So in the case of Superman, you take all those elements that work, and infuse them with a modern sensibility, how it would be written today, this minute, if it had just been created for the first time. If I have any one particular strength as a writer, it’s taking someone of massive power and making them relatable, sympathetic and vulnerable while not taking an inch away from that incalculable power.

    BUG: Are there aspects of Superman’s origin that you purposefully left out for the sake of your story?

    JMS: The only substantial thing I’m leaving out is the notion of a Superboy. Here, the first time Clark puts on that uniform, it really is his first time.

    In reflecting further on the question of changes, probably one of the most changed characters is Jim Olsen, and the most changed atmosphere is that of the Daily Planet. Having worked as a journalist for nearly ten years, I know what a news room is supposed to feel like, and my one ongoing complaint about comics set in those environments is that you (or I) could tell that the writers had never actually worked for a newspaper. [. . .]

    BUG: How does SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE fit in with current continuity? The name suggests that it could be either part of it or an all new start from square one for the character.

    JMS: At this juncture, the book operates outside DC continuity. At some point way, way down the road, some of that may be folded in, but again that’s a long ways away.

  33. Joe Lawler says:

    JMS is a big name outside of comics fandom thanks to Babylon 5, but I guess that really just makes him a big name in two fandoms.

  34. Oh dear Lord. Once again DC proves I’m an idiot. Here I thought that nothing could ever suck as much as that Superman story in Wednesday Comics. Hoo boy. I never considered they might put Straczynski on Superman. Wow DC. Way to summon up new vanguards of suck.

    Dear Superman’s haircut, I hate you.

  35. There’s so much overlap between comics fandom and sci-fi TV fandom that I don’t really differentiate. Whether or not that’s a mistake is something else.

    In the mainstream, people don’t usually say “I loved the writer of this show, so I’m going to love his/her next one just as much!” They just don’t. These books are aimed at that mainstream.

  36. The think about JMS is that he keeps taking on projects like this that are, at best, on the periphery of the DCU. Does anybody know if his time at Marvel screwed him up on taking on continuity books?

    I know that the last half of his Amazing Spider-Man run was filled with a mad shuffle from event-to-event. If I understood things correctly, his proposed One More Day ending was rejected because it fiddled with existing continuity even more than what they ended up with. And I also know that he left Thor because he was told Siege was on the horizon.

    Also, the best work he’s done has been with stuff like the Twelve, Rising Stars, or Supreme Power; where what he was doing didn’t have to make sense over someone else’s established history.

    Now he’s at DC, playing in the faintly DCU at best Brave and the Bold, writing origin stories for bought characters but not doing the books that bring them into the bigger universe, and now this out of the mainline Superman book.

    So I ask: Is it that DC isn’t using him well or is it that he just doesn’t want to deal with (in some cases) 60 years of back story and however many titles worth of what other people are doing?

  37. I realize the people at DC seem to be doing pretty well for themselves these days, but some decisions they make are just baffling.

    A continuity based graphic novel line sounds great. Naming it something confusing to the general public seems like a huge mistake. The definition of Ultimate doesn’t really lend itself to the nature of the line, but I think the meaning is very quickly inferred. This is a small issue to be sure, but it just shows more weird thinking. Unless a component to these stories involves explaining what Earth One is, I think it just creates a mess.

    Also, origin stories. Again? I could be wrong, but wouldn’t a cool story, with maybe a short call back to origins be the better way to handle this? I’m sure 95 out of 100 people could already tell you these characters origins, I think a stronger hook is needed.

  38. Steely Dan says:

    I like this idea in theory, I’m just not jazzed about the actual creators (I’m more of a Darwyn Cooke fan when it comes to super-heroes–Gary Frank and Geoff Johns are too literal for my tastes). The “Earth One” title is also kinda dumb and likely confusing to a mainstream (i.e., non-comics-reading) audience.

    That said, I do like the idea of doing these as original graphic novels. And I also like the idea of telling the origin stories. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be told linearly with the destruction of Krypton at the beginning of the book. Flashbacks and non-linear storytelling can make a familiar story seem fresh and different if done right.

    Also, why not take the opportunity to re-invent the origins of each? I know J.J. Abrams’ unused screenplay for a Superman movie from about five or six years back got trashed online, but I read it and actually enjoyed it. It made the idea of Superman fresh again.

    And for what it’s worth, Tom DeHaven’s “It’s Superman!” novel is still the best Superman story.

  39. There’s a hundred or so pages to these; I doubt the last page will be the hero deciding to put on the suit for the first time. There’s bound to be more to even these first books than just origin stories.

  40. For me it really just boils down to the quality of the product. While I agree that this will create some continuity confusion and that “Earth One” as a line designator is a head-scratcher, at the end of the day I just want to experience good Superman and Batman and DC stories, be they pamphlets, OGNs, TV shows, cartoons, films, or tap-dancing Broadway musicals. So I’ll withhold judgment until I’ve taken the new models out for a spin. All Star Superman and The Dark Knight couldn’t’ve happened if DC and Warners had some sort of moratorium on franchises being reinterpreted or rebooted in this manner. These iconic characters are elastic enough to take it. And hey, if these new versions *do* end up being disappointments, the “correct” interpretations are still in your long box (or on your DVD shelf, or heck, in your action figure drawer), right where you left ‘em.

  41. “The comics don’t need to be aimed at anybody. They just need to be interesting and good.”

    Not true. Comic book shop quarter bins are already full of stuff that wasn’t properly aimed at anybody. In a corporation, marketing is a MAJOR factor in getting one’s message across. The problem here is that neither DC or Marvel have shown much aptitude in marketing their wares outside of the direct market.

    “And a line of OGNs, with the right kind of crosspromotion in the first few pages with the other OGN releases, could do well if marketed right.”

    That’s not going to work with these new books. Other OGNs are mostly being made for the current continuity-obsessed fan base.

  42. The Beat says:

    The interviews with JMS and Johns are now visible at AICN — guess their server wasn’t up to the traffic load! — and if ther eis one thing which would be risible in a story set today it is Clark Kent coming to the big city and getting a job at….a NEWSPAPER. Give me a break!

    Superman would totally be a blogger now!

  43. *groan* Superman as a blogger? Please, for the love of God, no. TV reporter maybe, but putting the words “Superman” and “blog” together is like a grandpa with bleached blonde hair, an Abercrombie shirt, and cargo shorts: it’s trying too hard. 5 years from now, when the word “blog” dies a horrible death, the resulting work would just look terribly dated.

  44. Question: Among the Marvel and DC superhero Eisner nominees for best story, how many were “in continuity” (contemporary history), and how many were reinterpretations, imaginary stories, or future stories?

    @KET I think DC did a might fine job of marketing their Batman books during The Dark Knight movie release. Not only did the classic backlist sell VERY well (as seen on BN.com sales rankings that summer), but they also released the remastered hardcover “Killing Joke” and an OGN HARDCOVER of Azarello’s “Joker”, both which sold very well.

    Then there was Watchmen. The fan base bought their copies years ago, yet DC managed to sell hundreds of thousands of copies after the movie trailer aired during The Dark Knight. Perfect storm? Perhaps. But that’s what marketing is all about.

    Oh, and Random House? One of the reasons DC signed with RH was to utilize RH’s sales force and contacts. DC sent a free copy of Watchmen to every RH account which didn’t stock graphic novels, asking them to read the book and consider stocking a growing category.

    And then there are the reviews in the New York Times… Incognegro and Absolute Watchmen to name two. And the Dark Knight movie adaptation made the NY Times mass market bestseller list.

    DC has also been active in selling books to bookstores and libraries, attending ABA and BookExpo for over twenty-five years. They partnered with the New York Public Library in the late 1990s to investigate if graphic novels would appeal to teens, placing a selection of graphic novels in library branches. They also partnered with WaldenBooks to feature DC titles in a dedicated display near the Science Fiction section (back before there was a “graphic novel” section in bookstores).

    True, I would like to see more DC author events in bookstores (why they didn’t promote “Superman: True Brit” more, I don’t know…) but there’s always room for improvement.

    The only reservation I have is that DC’s past is littered with failed imprints: Paradox, Piranha, Minx, Matrix/Helix, Impact… I hope this isn’t one of them.

  45. The Beat says:

    Jason, have it your way, but just you watch — the new Superman villain is named Structured Buyout.

  46. The more I think about this (i.e. contemplating the prospect of reading the occasional Batman and/or Superman story again, in a format that actually fits the way I buy and read comics now as a grown-up), the more I like it.

    That is all.

  47. Brenticles says:

    Wow. What a bunch of Negative Nellies in this thread. How dare DC tell origins and original stories with product aimed at a new market! The nerve!

    I hardly doubt the OGN will spend the entire time covering origins. It will probably last a few pages at most so I don’t see what people are getting so worked up about. I think the point is they are starting at the beginning free of continuity and in a format that will be carried by bookstores. I mean original work in bookstores first, that’s great! A format that wider audiences might be interested in and removing them from the LCS ghetto and removing the continuity-fetish are all good moves for DC.

    The Earth One title seems pretty self explanatory to me but I think a lot of people are over thinking it. One: as in start, new, original, beginning. It sets it apart from current production while at the same time ties it in to the history of the company. Is it the best title? I don’t know, but really not that confusing as to what they are aiming for.

    I’ll be looking forward to these and will check them out when they hit the bookstore.

  48. Maybe Clark Kent and Rick Refern can start a support group for fictional out-of-work newspaper reporters?

  49. Alan Coil says:

    The audience for these books IS NOT the dweebs at the LCS. Those dweebs mostly won’t read it as it “costs too much” or “that’s not Superman/Batman!”.

    The audience for these books will be the general public, and Random House will be distributing them to book shops all around the world.

    Who cares what the LCS reader thinks?

  50. Wraith says:

    # Mikael Says:
    12/7/09 at 2:28 pm

    DC already does great all ages material aimed at younger readers. It’s called the cartoons. Just ask my nephews who all want some kind of toy tied in to Batman Brave and the Bold. Now, we have the next step.

    The comics don’t need to be aimed at anybody. They just need to be interesting and good. And a line of OGNs, with the right kind of crosspromotion in the first few pages with the other OGN releases, could do well if marketed right.

    ______________________________________

    It’s thinking like yours why the industry is in such crappy shape. Putting out all ages Marvel and DC superhero comics that can be read and enjoyed by EVERYONE without talking down to the readers, is one of the ways (BUT NOT THE ONLY WAY) to help save the dying AMERICAN comic book industry.

  51. Darren Hudak says:

    I don’t think Superman would be a blogger today, yes he wouldn’t work at a newspaper, (since they’re dying and all) but the original reason for being a reporter was to be where the information was, so he could know who needed help first and respond quickly. Of course as Superman’s vision and hearing got better this became less and less necessary but there’s still enough of it there to work. I think he would work at a CNN/Fox News/MSNBC type place but not in an on air capacity, (they tried that in the 70’s and it doesn’t really work, if he’s on air he can’t change to Superman and there’s only so many times you can play that card before it gets old). I’m not one of those who think Bloggers have replaced reporters on all level, (some levels but not all) and a lot of bloggers even work from home which tosses out the old “being where the information is” idea. Clark Kent being reinvented for the modern day would/should work in some kind of media position but I’m not sure blogger would be the best one. News writer maybe, news segment producer, something like that would make more sense.

  52. Wraith says:

    I’m calling it right now, Jimmy Olson is going to be black in the EATH ONE continuity.

  53. Alan Coil says:

    So what if he is, Wraith? Are you saying black men can’t be newspaper photographers?

    Or are you secretly hoping for it to be true so you can complain?

    Exactly what is your motivation for bringing that point to the discussion?

  54. Wraith says:

    # Alan Coil Says:
    12/7/09 at 8:26 pm

    So what if he is, Wraith? Are you saying black men can’t be newspaper photographers?

    Or are you secretly hoping for it to be true so you can complain?

    Exactly what is your motivation for bringing that point to the discussion?

    ____________________________________

    I’m black, and proud of it. And I wouldn’t like nothing more then to see more black and other non white minority characters (both old and new ones) appearing in more DC and Marvel comics. That being said, I’m against changing white characters to black (or any other non white minority) in order to make a book’s cast more diverse. I’m a firm believer that this type of race retconning can and will be flipped the other way, and we will see cool black or other non white minority character turned white and the justification for that will be “We made Jimmy Olson and Nick Fury black, so fair is fair”.

    Another reason why I brought this up, is because JMS said that out of all of Superman’s supporting cast, Jimmy Olson will be changed the most from his traditional portrayal. Which is not to say that he will be black in this series. It’s only a guess/prediction of mine based on what JMS said in the AICN interview and on the fact that Warner Brothers was at one time rumored to wanting Chris Rock to play Jimmy Olson in the remake of the Superman franchise before they finally settled on the craptacular SUPERMAN RETURNS.

  55. JtotheA says:

    Not impressed with Batman. Costume is some weird futurist vision. Batman, as he looks like a short stocky neanderthal, instead of Bruce Wayne. I’m not interested in a Douchebag version of Batman. GJ can probably write this quite well.

    Superman looks great from the shot…but honestly not a big fan of J. Michael Straczynski’s work. And the cover is Superman smashing a building in Metropolis? Doesn’t fit with the Superman most people know.

    The litmus test: 5 year old son doesn’t think it looks cool.

    Pass.

  56. These products do not seem to be aimed at the Direct Market. I am sure that the material will be offered through Diamond, but this is more of an evergreen aimed at the bookstores.

    I hope their experiment succeeds. I would like to see if the creators break the instinctual 22 page format. With Shane Davis doing some of the art, I hope they have a good running start at the deadlines.

    Do we know who in editorial is cracking the whip?

  57. Joe S. Walker says:

    Not shown here, but that’s a ludicrous redesign of Alfred.

  58. Heidi has a point with the newspaper thing – I’d suggest he could be some sort of tweeting stringer for AP (I can’t believe all reporting isn’t outsourced at this point actually) – wasn’t Ultimate Peter Parker a web designer or some such thing?

    But really, this begs the bigger question – why in the hell, in a year when the top selling item on Amazon is the Amazon Kindle, and the most awaited item at Barnes and Nobels is the Nook, is DC so effing hell-bent on killing trees and placing items on already dusty shelves? Why not release these as web comics *then* sell them in bookstores, like they did with High Moon and Bayou?

    I can only imagine that DC is having to make do with last year’s budget before greenlighting anything really exciting.

  59. I have to say, I’m no longer amazed by people who want there to be more new comics readers complaining about a way a company is trying to bring in more new comics readers.

    I’m also no longer amazed by people complaining about the content of something they haven’t read yet.

    Perhaps someone should start a movement now to get these banned from a library somewhere. Why wait for the big rush at release time?

  60. Nate Horn says:

    I think Heidi is right about the newspaper thing, too, but I don’t like giving someone a generic job like “blogger.” Really, what is a blog anymore? I think that term is waaay too generic. I mean, I could put up a web site of nothing but pictures of my poop and call it a blog. On the other hand, The Beat has news stories, opinion pieces, picture journals – it’s more like what good newspapers used to be. So, yeah, giving Clark Kent a generic job like “blogger” is only going to date the story whenever we figure out what sites like The Beat or Journalista actually are.

    As far as these books, I have no idea who they’re trying to market to here. I think they’re going after the people who walk into bookstores and say they want to “start reading Batman from the beginning” or some vague phrasing like that. The people who are dismayed to find there really is no starting book to Batman or who shake their heads when given The Dark Knight Returns to start. The problem is there are literally hundreds of Batman and Superman books on the shelves, so how do you make these stand out? (I have a hunch no one’s considered that question yet.) This just reeks of the same lousy pre-planning that went into Minx. It’s more a desperate attempt to compete for manga dollars than an actual targeted strategy at how to take dollars away from manga.

    The benefits of manga are the price point and the accessibility. Looking at accessibility, this kinda addresses that by being a new line of books starting at the beginning, but if someone wants to start reading One Piece or Naruto, they can pick up One Piece vol 1 or Naruto vol 1. With Batman and Superman, there are sooooo many other Batman and Superman books, so it’s not going to be as easy as just picking up Earth One vol. 1. As for price point, that’s the rub. Manga is popular to buy because it’s $8 for a volume. DC wants to compete by going in with $20+ a volume? I don’t get it.

    I was really hoping DC Entertainment would mean giving thought to what they did with DC IPs, but if they’re going to give it the same half-thought out attempts as they did with Minx, good luck.

  61. Alan Coil says:

    Shannon Smith said:

    “Oh dear Lord. Once again DC proves I’m an idiot.”

    One set up line, so many potential responses. ;)

  62. Steven Taylor says:

    “You want ideas?”
    “I want comics!”
    “You can’t handle comics!”

  63. Outsiders, Volume 6 = six issues = 160p. = $14.99 on glossy paper.

    How is Naruto Volume 1 different from Earth One Batman Volume 1? Both start an ongoing story. Ultimate Spider-Man is the same, yet each number is sequentially numbered, and although it crosses over with other Ultimate volumes, it is mostly self-contained and accessible.

    Currently, if an Innocent requests an accessible Superman or Batman title, I can recommend:
    DC Showcase (reprints 25-issues in black and white, usually done-in-one stories)
    Chronicles (reprinting golden age stories in chronological order, basically the paperback version of the DC Archives)
    Superman: The Man of Steel (reprinting the 1980s reboot in chronological order)
    Adventures (based on the animated cartoons, usually done-in-one)

    There’s also the reprints of Justice League International, as well as the JLA reboot from Morrison. DC has also started reprinting the Perez reboot of Wonder Woman.

  64. Brian said it best.

    I ditched superhero books for manga, jeez, almost 10 years ago. I don’t even buy trades because the of the mish-mash of creators jammed under one cover. This has me interested.

  65. Nathan says:

    main DCU is Earth-0, in the post 52 multiverse Earth-1 has yet to be used.

  66. It’s the DCU for the Twilight gerneration but it’s going to fail cuz they’re not doing it right.

    src=”http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/data/media/433/TRINITY_VOL._2_TP.jpg”

    DC still has the problem of attracting the kind of artists that will sell projects. Shane’s work falls into what I perceive as DC’s house style. has no presense. Shane’s work lends itself to supposedly writer-dominated.
    comics that DC is known for where the art really does not do as much as it could. DC’s superstars fail from low productivity syndrome just like Marvel but DC has the habit of keeping ‘super star’ artists AWAY from promoted books for the most part. Bagley’s on BATMAN. How much of a push is that book getting? Jim Lee has been allowed to walk away from their top-selling comic to do other work. The Kuberts do close to nothing.

    Oddly enough, The whole things reminds me of the effort Marvel puts towards its licensed comics, especically with their Classics Ilustrated and with their Anita Blake series. Ron Lim really phones it in on the Anita Blake comic series and I see that same approachwith Earth One so far. . This project could have been an opportunity for DC to break away from everything DC is known for but I get the feeling that they’ve already blown it. Somone mentioned that JMS’ sensiblities don’t lend themselves to a character like Superman. I don’t know if I fully agree,since DC may be going for an “edgy” approach to Superman, but the same can be said about Gary Frank. Gary Frank’s sensibilities don’t lend themselves to Batman. Nothing wrong with Gary, but he’s too slick for Batman. He draws really pretty people. He’d be a better fit for Superman.
    Don’t know why they’re going through with this.

  67. I have pre-orders already.

    Jes’ sayin.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] It’s being discussed all over the place, so I’ll just state my initial thoughts. [...]

  2. [...] In the responses to this article at PW’s The Beat and The Comics Reporter, it is mentioned (many times) that this is one of maybe 3 or 4 “new continuities” developed for these characters within the past 5 years, including the top-selling  All-Star Comics line (developed by Bob Schreck, who was fired by DC with the line being all-but-discontinued). [...]

  3. [...] While surely notable, the announcement of a new crossover storyline has failed to ignite the wwebsite-crashing uproar that yesterday’s Earth One, aka “Ultimate DC” announcement did. And now the retailer perspective — via Brian Hibbs and Chris Butcher is coming in. If this were just another reboot people might be interested, but the fact that it’s a GRAPHIC NOVEL LINE reboot is what has people sitting up. [...]

  4. [...] DC’s upcoming series of “Earth One” original graphic novels has garnered a good bit of commentary, much of it tepid to negative. [...]

  5. [...] While DC reps remained mum about the price and format of the Earth One OGNs, they announced last week — such elements being important clues to the intended audience of said projects — Amazon was not as tightlipped, and the listing for EARTH ONE: SUPERMAN by JMS and Shane Davis reveals that it will be 128 pages for $19.99. JOKER-sized, as Robot 6 points out. [...]

  6. [...] Heidi has a good write up on DC’s newest initiative — basically, it sounds like DC’s version of the “Ultimate” line, but they’re skipping out on the serialization, and going straight to OGNs. [...]

Speak Your Mind

*