While everyone else was ooohing over the Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad trailers shows at Comic Con in San Diego last week, I was paying more attention to the DC comic announcements, several of which deserve a little more attention.
1. DC Comics and Milestone Bring Back the Dakota Universe with “Earth-M”
Why it’s important:
As much as DC and Marvel have done to create diversity in their lineup, Milestone did it first and its heroes are still relevant and needed.
It’s pathetic that it’s taken this long for new stories in the Milestone Universe, whose best known character is Static from the popular Static Shock animated series. On the other hand, at least it is back and with co-founders Denys Cowan and Derek T. Dingle on board. There’s also the welcome involvement of Christopher Priest, one of the original Milestone writers.
Milestone was founded in 1993 by Cowan, Dingle, Michael Davis, and the late, great Dwayne McDuffie in order to better represent those left out of traditional comic publishing: namely, people of color and other marginalized groups.
This was a pioneering company that was far ahead of its time, and its founders were a force for change. There’s no surer proof that things haven’t changed as much as they should have than it’s 2015 and we’re just now talking about new stories featuring these characters.
Why now? Probably because a Static digital first series is in development, possibly with Jaden Smith as the lead.
In other words, big companies smell money to be made.
I hope the Milestone founders do make a boatload of money, but I also hope their characters become far better known because their stories have never been more timely. Take Icon, an alien who landed on Earth 1839 and was adopted by a slave as her son, and doesn’t age. Or Rocket, who was born into the poorest area of Dakota in the Milestone universe, became a hero and a mother. And Static/Virgil Hawkins. a high school geek who has adventures with his friends.
The DC press release states that Icon, Hardware, Rocket, and Xombi will return in a series of original graphic novels and miniseries, which will be written by the founders, Priest, and DC writers Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. I haven’t enjoyed much of Johns’s writing lately, but the involvement of him and Lee means that DC is fully behind these comics.
I look forward to these stories.
2. Lois and Clark are back!
Why It’s Important:
When DC rebooted several years ago, Lois Lane and Clark Kent’s marriage was over. More than that, Lois was sidelined because the powers that be seemed to believe she aged Superman. (I could write an entire other article about DC’s emphasis on youth and its weirdness about married heroes.)
The loss of the marriage might not have been felt as keenly if Lois had remained prominent in the Superman books as Clark’s foil and sometimes helpmate, but instead she was shunted off to a television job and her new affair was created so we *felt bad* for Clark.
Lois is Superman’s touchstone. She’s his contact with humanity because she shares his ideals and fights for them–but without powers. That’s why he admires her: Lois is quite literally Superman’s hero.
Oh, she gets in over her head at times and she’s hardheaded, but she’s always after the truth and always protective of those who don’t have a voice. Remove Lois from Superman’s story and you have, well, what DC got: a remote, unhappy, moody alien who claimed humanity never understood him.
This has done nothing good for Lois, not to mention the Superman books have been mired in moody, angsty Superman for years now, despite the talent of various creative teams.
No more “you will believe a man can fly.”
It’s “you will believe a man can brood.”
But one of the two-part stories from the Convergence event from this spring featured a married Lois and Clark struggling to save their world and keep it safe for their son. It’s this Lois and Clark that will be featured in Superman: Lois and Clark by Dan Jurgens with art by Lee Weeks. The solicit for the first issue has Lois investigating Intergang, Superman doing his thing, and them jointly raising their son.
I’m hopeful that this one will get Superman and Lois right.
Bonus points: Robin, Speedy, Aqualad, Donna Troy, and most of the rest of the original Teen Titans solve the mystery of the forgotten Titan in Titans Hunt, written by Dan Abnett with art by Paulo Siquiera. Why this is so important to my inner fangirl: DONNA TROY IS BACK.
3. Vertigo Has a Full Slate of Titles
DC talked a ton about diversity, but, while some of it shows up in the main characters, they have a long way to go with the creative talent behind the books.
With this informal relaunch of Vertigo, the mature imprint that’s been foundering since the departure of founding editor Karen Berger, the line has done better than the main DC line in showcasing diverse talent.
The new titles include:
Twilight Children by Gilbert Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke; Survivors Club by Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen, and Ryan Kelly; Clean Room by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt; Art Ops by Shaun Simon and Michael Allred; Lucifer by Holly Black and Lee Garbett; Red Thorn by David Baillie and Meghan Hetrick; Unfollow by Rob Williams and Mike Dowling; Slash & Burn by Si Spencer, Max Dunbar, and Ande Parks; New Romancer by Peter Milligan and Brett Parson; Last Gang in Town by Simon Oliver and Rufus Dayglo; Jacked by Eric Kripke and John Higgins; and Sheriff of Baghdad by Tom King and Mitch Gerads.
Cooke and Hernadez are a powerhouse team, Simone is doing horror, something she does well, and I also see a number of female creators on this list.
Between Milestone, Lois and Clark, and the Vertigo books, I’m going to have to do some serious comic reading this fall.