DC Universe Relaunched in the Aftermath of Flashpoint

Posted by Grey Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Everything You Know Will Change in a Flash." That was a tagline for DC Comic's big Summer crossover event, Flashpoint, and today we finally got a grip of the magnitude of the change.

It is official. The entire DC Universe will be relaunched in the wake of Flashpoint, the publisher's big Summer crossover event.

Coming on the heels of weeks of fan speculations and rumors, 52 monthly titles will be launched with #1 issues across the month with 13 new titles shipping each week. For longtime DC fans, 52 is a number they are no stranger to, being both the exact numbers of parallel earths making up DC's multiverse, and the title of the critically acclaimed 52-issue weekly limited series published in 2006.

Relaunched under DC Comics's renewed directive to introduce "a more modern, diverse DC Universe", the change will officially kick off on August 31st, where the publisher will release two comics: The final issue of "Flashpoint", and the first issue of "Justice League", with a new superstar creative team comprising writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee. More significantly, the release of "Justice League" # 1 also mark the beginning of same-day digital release for all of the publishing line's ongoing titles, "making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print."

Here is the complete press release from DC Comics.

This year, change is in the air at DC Comics.

On Wednesday, August 31st, DC Comics will launch a historic renumbering of the entire DC Universe line of comic books with 52 first issues, including the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and bestselling artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE issue 1 will launch day-and-date digital publishing for all these ongoing titles, making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print.

DC Comics will only publish two comic books on August 31st: the final issue of this summer’s comic book mini-series FLASHPOINT and the first issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE by Johns and Lee, two of the most distinguished and popular contemporary comic book creators, who will be collaborating for the first time. Together they will offer a contemporary take on the origin of the comic book industry’s premier superhero team.

In the hours, days and weeks to come, we’ll have more news about the other titles. Tomorrow, we’ll hear from Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee about this momentous occasion. Keep checking THE SOURCE for updates about the other first issues.

This year, make history with us.


Following the breaking news at USA Today, the following letter was sent to retailers by Bob Wayne, SVP of Sales for DC Entertainment.

To our comics retail partners,

In the time I've worked at DC Comics, I've witnessed any number of industry defining moments. But today, I bring you what is perhaps the biggest news to date.

Many of you have heard rumors that DC Comics has been working on a big publishing initiative for later this year. This is indeed an historic time for us as, come this September, we are relaunching the entire DC Universe line of comic books with all new first issues. 52 of them to be exact.

In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character's legend - but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.

This epic event will kick off on Wednesday, August 31st with the debut of a brand new JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, which pairs Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, together for the first time. (Yes, this is the same week as FLASHPOINT #5.)

We think our current fans will be excited by this evolution, and that it will make jumping into the story extremely accessible to first-time readers - giving them a chance to discover DC's characters and stories.

We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.

Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.

Dan DiDio, Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza have been working diligently to pull together some of the best creative teams in the industry. Over 50 new costumes will debut in September, many updated and designed by artist Jim Lee, ensuring that the updated images appeal to the current generation of readers.

The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 will also launch digital day-and-date for all ongoing superhero comic book titles - an industry first.

On Wednesday, June 1st, this initiative is expected to be announced in a nationwide feature article, and we're hopeful the news will be picked up by media outlets around the world. Throughout the month we'll reveal more details of our plans with articles in both the mainstream and comics press and on June 13th the Diamond catalog solicitations for all of the September titles will be released, followed by the June 29th street date of the print version of Previews.

DC Comics will support this initiative with an innovative mix of publicity, promotional efforts and retailer incentives designed to maximize your opportunity to increase your DC sales. We will discuss additional details of these incentives when we get closer to solicitation later in June.

We'll be updating you more through email as September nears. But today, I hope your share our enthusiasm for this historic news!

Sincerely,

Bob Wayne
SVP, Sales
DC Entertainment


DC's Source blog has unveiled the cover (seemingly one half of cover, if you ask me) of "Justice League", premiering the new looks of the major superheroes.

Meanwhile, the following changes was reported by Comic Book Resources, citing "multiple sources throughout the industry":

Included in the 52 series will be:

- A new title starring Superman written by Grant Morrison.

- Birds of Prey #1 - This new ongoing series will not feature the work of longtime "BoP" writer Gail Simone. In fact, many tried and true approaches to books will be getting a second look at DC in September.

- Teen Titans #1 - The new start for the teen team will be written by "Red Robin" scribe Fabian Nicieza. UPDATE: Nicieza has come out publicly saying he is not writing the Titans, however the other consistent word CBR News has heard is that writer Scott Lobdell will be involved with the franchise. Either way, expect to see many old friends from DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras' Marvel days working on DC's new books.

- Justice Society of America #1 - Only one of a number of current titles that will welcome a creative team shift, the future of the original superhero team will apparently not involve current writer Marc Guggenheim.

- Wonder Woman #1 - Don't expect the recent changes from writer J. Michael Straczynski to stick when the Amazing Amazon sees another new #1 hit.

- Green Lantern #1 - Even with a new #1, Green Lantern remains in Johns' hands, and readers can expect the effects of major crossovers like "Blackest Night" to stay in place moving forward.

- Hawkman #1 - While fans have known a "Hawkman" series by James Robinson has been in the works since the writer mentioned it on a panel at New York Comic Con, Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston has been reporting the rumor that the book will be drawn by "Batman & Robin" and "Outsiders" artist Philip Tan.

- Aquaman #1 - No surprises here. The already announced series featuring the sea king by Johns and Ivan Reis will be part of the relaunch wave.


While my biggest concern over the sweeping changes is whether the current Batman, Inc. storyline will remain, I am quite confident that DC would not be so foolish to eliminate one of its most popular titles in recent years. Nonetheless, Jim Lee's redesign of Batman, reverting his chest logo to the old Batman insignia does scares me a little. In addition, I'm not a big fan with Superman's collar flipping up and his relatively young look when compared to Batman. That said, the troubling legal issues between DC and the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are said to be a factor behind Superman's expected radical change as portions of the origins of Superman could change ownership, thereby drastically changing the origins of the Man of Steel. For starters, one would have notice the most drastic changes to the Last Son of Krypton's infamous undergarment: No more red undies!

For now, let us keep our fingers crossed that a truly revitalized DC comic line will be in place with most of the finer elements intact.

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