I have been very excited about DC Comics's forthcoming Earth One Superman and Batman graphic novel series, and so I was as concerned as everyone else by the news that it was potentially on the rocks. This, after there's been a distinct lack of Batman: Earth One news that suggested Earth One might already be in trouble.
If you blinked this week, you might've missed it, so here's how the story unfolded as near as I can tell, and then a couple thoughts about the reactions to the Earth One rumor.
Crisis on Earth One
It seems the Earth One story started on Monday when Kevin Huxford at SCHWAPP!!! rightly noticed a line in Comic Book Resources's reporting of the CCI Superman panel, in which it appeared J. Michael Straczynski suggested the first Superman: Earth One book would be an original graphic novel, followed by single issues to be collected in subsequent collections. Conor Kilpatrick at iFanboy and Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading picked up the SCHWAPP!!! story.
On Tuesday, The Beat looked to DC for confirmation of the Earth One format change; Dan DiDio and Jim replied (in unison?) that "plans ... have not changed," but a little wiggle room in the statement left the possibility of having single issues at some point still unanswered.
Wednesday, Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool had a statement from Straczynski himself, who said he'd been mis-quoted and that he'd actually been comparing Earth One to his other series Brave and the Bold at the time. iFanboy also posted the statement with a mea culpa from Conor. Right away, however, both Blog@Newsarama and Robot 6 went to tape -- actual recordings of the panel -- which showed that Brave and the Bold wasn't mentioned in the exchange at all; even as he apologized, it seems Conor wasn't so off-base, at least in terms of reporting what was said at the panel.
Both The Beat and Comics Alliance picked up the fact that nothing, ultimately, has really been explained, though they both settle on the cause of the confusion maybe just being end of convention tiredness; if Straczynski didn't actually say Brave and the Bold, maybe he meant it, or thought the person asking him a question said it.
Lessons from the Crisis
A couple of thoughts I had in the midst of all this:
1) Earth One is more popular than it once was. If we take our Time Bubbles back a ways, we'll remember that when DC announced Earth One, there was somewhat lukewarm response in concerns that having "another Earth" confused the DC Universe further; that having another Superman origin in addition to Secret Origin and Birthright only continued to dilute the character; and that the general price and page count for the Earth One books wasn't viable for comics shop readers. Some pro-Earth One attention is a good thing.
2) A dual graphic novel/single issue format is unlikely. Once the initial "Earth One is cancelled" concerns passed, much of the late attention this week focused on Earth One's first volume coming out in original hardcover, and then the second volume coming out in single issues before DC collected it. I don't much like this idea, as it defeats the immediacy of the Earth One collections (everyone reading the same thing at the same time), and it's seemed so unpopular online that I can't believe DC would proceed with it, even if it had one been in the cards.
3) What about single issue-waiting? The above said, I wonder if there's any viability to DC keeping the Earth One books as original graphic novels, but releasing single issue chapters of the OGNs after each one, in the time between the volumes. At least one reason (among many) that fans still collect single issues is that immediacy I mentioned; that, among other things, one doesn't have to wait a year after everyone else to read Blackest Night or the like. I'd be fascinated to see, if this were turned around and the collection were to come out first and the single issues second, would any fan "single issue-wait," as it were, instead of trade-wait? Taking the immediacy out of it, will fans still buy mainstream single issues?
Seems to me, the real headlines for this story won't be when Superman: Earth One volume one comes out, but when we later see what DC does with volume two ...