DC Comics solicits Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, with cover art

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

With all the attention focused on DC Comics's upcoming relaunch, fans have been wondering if the "Earth One" series of graphic novels would continue. Not to mention, with writer Geoff Johns's full DC Relaunch plate, would he even have time for he and artist Gary Frank's Earth One project?

Looks like the answer is a resounding "yes."

A cover image for Batman: Earth One hit the airwaves today, along with the following description:
Geoff Johns, the writer of BLACKEST NIGHT, GREEN LANTERN and INFINITE CRISIS re-teams with superstar artist Gary Frank, his collaborator on SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN, SUPERMAN: BRAINIAC and SUPERMAN & THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, to create this original graphic novel that gives new insight into Bruce Wayne's transformation into Batman and his first year as The Dark Knight. This follow-up to the # 1 New York Times bestseller, SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE, by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis is the latest in the series that features the industry's top writers and illustrators and their unique takes on DC's characters. It's the perfect book for new readers of graphic novels as well as longtime comic book fans.
Release date appears to be May 2012, which'll be a busy collections month alongside the rumored release of the first DC relaunch collections.

I'd note that description certainly makes it sound like there's more Earth One books to come -- "the latest in the series that features the industry's top writers and illustrators and their unique takes on DC's characters," indeed.

But, while I enjoyed Superman Earth One, I do wonder if in the midst of new takes on the DC Universe proper, will there be sufficient interest in another new take, disconnected? That is, if Geoff Johns recreates Batman while Grant Morrison recreates Superman, Gail Simone recreates Batgirl, JT Krul recreates Green Arrow, Paul Cornell recreates Stormwatch, and on and on ... will there be enough people around to read it?

Also: if DC's gone day-and-date digital for all of their titles, and then they publish Batman Earth One, will you be able to find it on a computer screen near you?
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  1. Geoff Johns' name sells. And with a character like Batman, the biggest selling character for DC at the moment. I reckon this will be just as successful as Superman: Earth One. It'll be interesting to see how many characters get the Earth One treatment and if they all converge in a "Justice League: Earth One" book...

  2. Yes, Batman Earth One's success will be telling as to whether the Superman book was an anomoly or not, and I'm guessing determine whether we see more Earth One volumes after that. Superman and Batman still remain bigger names even than Wonder Woman; whether a Wonder Woman Earth One -- let alone something like Green Arrow Earth One or Ambush Bug Earth One -- can carry their weight remains to be seen.

  3. Grant Morrison is working on his Wonder Woman project. I heard that here was talk of making it the Earth One Wonder Woman book. Might be a smart move; if anyone is going to sell Wonder Woman, it'll be Grant. In all, I think it all comes down to the creators involved for the lesser books. Once they start bringing in guys no one has ever heard of, there's going to be trouble.

    Also, since he's been brought up, I'm not going to be shocked if we never see Ambush Bug again, as Giffen doesn't want to do anything with him anymore.

    As for Batman: Earth One, I'm still looking forward to it quite a bit. I have some big issues with where his writing tendencies have gone these days, but I'm still a Geoff Johns fan on the whole. Seeing him with his own take on Batman interests me. The only trouble with this whole thing is that Gary Frank is apparently a slow artist, which means by the time we get Batman: Earth One vol. 2 we'll probably have Superman: Earth One vol. 4.

  4. I think there's a different market for these (sort of) one-shots outside of regular readers they can appeal to. I imagine a fresh retelling of Superman and Batman would be much less intimidating for someone trying to get into comics after the fairly recent surge of powerhouse superhero films, even moreso than the DC Relaunch, which will still incorporate lots of stuff new folks would have a hard time following. I think the relaunch is more for people who used to read comics but got out of it, and now want to get back in (or DC wants to invite them back in).

    That logic also might help them introduce new readers to DC's superstars, maybe making someone who likes the work start to do a little digging on what else the writers/artists have done. Making the retellings by big names will also attract regular readers interested on a familiar writer's retelling, such as Johns handling Batman. I know I'm intrigued, and I really liked Superman Earth One.

    Now we need a The Flash Earth One, maybe by Morrison.