I’m beginning to wonder if DC’s going to announce anything at Comic-Con this year, given how many announcements they’ve been rolling out over the course of the past week or so. Maybe they’re going to announce everything pre-Con, when they’re most likely to get the most coverage?
Some of these announcements seem like pretty big ones. Like this one, for example.
DC is going to be re-using the “DC Comics Presents” phrase, recently used as the title in a 2004 series of one-shots celebrating the legacy of the late, great DC editor Julius Schwartz but previously to that it was the title of a 1978-launched Superman team-up title, as an umbrella title for a series of 96-page, $8 trades.
While the contents seem slightly all over the place—some are devoted to creators, other to characters—this seems like a pretty winning format, with a price point between that of a couple $3-$4 comics and even DC’s cheapest trade paperbacks, but a page-count closer to that of a trade.
For example, you can get the first 44 pages of Time Masters: Vanishing Point or Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors for about $8, or, for the same price you can get more than twice as many pages of comics in one of these things. Even DC’s $3 can’t match that value; you can only get about 60 pages worth of those for the price of one of these volumes.
Looking over the list, I see I’ve read an awful lot of these, so here’s a run-down, with me saying stuff about stuff...
DC COMICS PRESENTS: BRIGHTEST DAY #1
Written by NEIL GAIMAN, ED BRUBAKER, JUSTIN GRAY, JIMMY PALMIOTTI, SCOTT KOLINS and ARNOLD DRAKE
Art by CARMINE INFANTINO, TEDDY KRISTIANSEN, SCOTT KOLINS, JOE BENNETT, SEAN PHILLIPS and RYAN SOOK
Cover by RYAN SOOK
Spotlighting Hawkman and Deadman – two of the characters who returned after BLACKEST NIGHT to usher in BRIGHTEST DAY to the DC Universe! This volume collects several hard-to-find stories including tales from HAWKMAN #27, 34 and 36, SOLO #8, DCU HOLIDAY ‘09 and STRANGE ADVENTURES #205. Everything from the first appearance of Deadman to a team-up between he and Hawkman can be found here!
This is one of the most bizarrely titled, as it has fuck-all to do with Brightest Day the comic or “Brightest Day” the DC event/story/branding exercise, beyond featuring two of the dozen or so resurrectees.
What’s worth noting here is that not only does these stories comprise an awfully long span of time—1967 to 2009—but there are both entire, single-issue stories mixed in with short stories from Solo (a veritable trade collection gem mine) and a holiday special. Those short pieces are the sort that more likely than not don’t end up in trades, because you generally need to either have a popular character with an ongoing concern (Like, if there was a Deadman monthly getting collected regularly, then they’d stick a Deadman eight-page short in it, but otherwise?) or a creator specific trade (Like, The Best of Neil Gaiman’s DC Universe Stories or something) to find a place for them.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: ETHAN VAN SCIVER #1
Written by ANN NOCENTI
Art and cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
Batman and Catwoman face off in the streets of Gotham City as they search for the ultimate weapon – a gun that never misses! Collecting BATMAN AND CATWOMAN: TRAIL OF THE GUN #1 and 2, this volume features the stunning artwork of superstar Ethan Van Sciver as he brings to life two of the most iconic characters in the DC Universe.
This one’s weird too in that its entitled Ethan Van Sciver, but it’s a single story, and he didn’t write it, just drew it. So instead of naming It after the story or the characters, they named it after the artist. I would expect a book with that title to have more than one story by EVS, and feature the work of several writers.
Title, aside, this is a pretty good story. It was originally published in 2004 as a two-part, “prestige format” series. Like a Legends of the Dark Knight or Batman Confidential story, it was set earlier in the two lead characters’ careers.
I remember liking it pretty well, being impressed with how good that version of the Catwoman costume looked (EVS basically combined the Jim Balent purple costume with the post-“Year One” gray…and gave her some Tim Sale-ish accent, like big ears), how inventive the maguffin was and that Nocenti and EVS came up with a couple of similar but new Batman-style rogues.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: SUPERMAN #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS and JEPH LOEB
Art by IAN CHURCHILL, ARIEL OLIVETTI, TODD NAUCK and BRENT ERIC ANDERSON
Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
DC Comics is proud to present these hard-to-find stories by best-selling writers Geoff Johns (BRIGHTEST DAY, GREEN LANTERN) and Jeph Loeb (BATMAN: HUSH, Hulk)! Collecting SUPERMAN #179-185 and SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL #121, this volume pits The Man of Steel against the Royal Flush Gang, Major Force and…Dracula?
I’m almost certain I’ve read all of these, but the only one I really remember is the Loeb-written, Churchill-drawn Superman vs. Dracula story. It’s definitely a Loeb-written, Churchill-drawn comic book, but it’s also definitely a Lois Lane and Clark Kent go to Transylvania to interview Dracula story, which sort of balances things out.
I was a sporadic Superman reader at the time, but I remember snapping that issue up based on the Ed McGuinness cover alone. I would marry that Ed McGuinness cover:(For a more detailed account of the contents of this comic, please see Chris Sims’ post on it from back during Comics Alliance’s Dracula Week)
Note that this volume is just called DC Comics Presents: Superman #1, the same title as one of those 2004 Schwartz celebrating one-shots.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: JACK CROSS #1
Written by WARREN ELLIS
Art and cover by GARY ERSKINE
Now, terror has something to fear – and his name is Jack Cross! This massive special features JACK CROSS #1-4, a never-collected volume introducing Warren Ellis’s one-man anti-terrorist unit Jack Cross and his special brand of violence and civil protest, gorgeously illustrated by Gary Erskine (THE FILTH).
All I remember about this is a single DC house ad, so I’m not even sure if it was a miniseries or an ongoing that never caught on due to it being a DC book without a DC superhero in it, but I seem to recall it being kinda sorta 24 as Ellis would have conceived it, but not quite. Anyway, $8 for a four-issue Ellis-written, Erskine-drawn series is a hell of a deal—not quite $1 bin price, but $2 bin price is awfully close.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: BATMAN #1
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Art and cover by SCOTT MCDANIEL
Collecting BATMAN #582-585 by Ed Brubaker (GOTHAM CENTRAL, SLEEPER, Captain America) and Scott McDaniel (NIGHTWING)! These lost tales feature Batman vs. The Penguin in an epic showdown!
Isn’t it weird to think, with his Captain America run between us and his Batman work, that Ed Brubaker used to write for the Bat-office, and that the run ended up being rather short and rather unremarkable, for whatever reasons?
Ed Brubaker and Batman should be chocolate and peanut butter, shouldn’t they?
If they’ve got the issue numbers right, then this collects three Brubaker stories, beginning right after the end of Larry Hama and McDaniel’s Orca, The Whale Woman’s story arc, and before the last issue before the “Officer Down” storyline/even that put Commissioner Gordon into one of his temporary permanent retirements.
This is another one that shares a title with a 2004 one-shot, by the way. Oh, and the other odd thing about this title—and the Superman and the Green Lantern one below—is it seems to cut off the possibility of future volumes, unless the plan is to number future volumes, so there will be a DC Comics Presents: Batman Vol. 2 and so on.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: YOUNG JUSTICE #1
Written by TODD DEZAGO
Art and cover by MIKE MCKONE & HUMBERTO RAMOS
Because you demanded it! Collecting the out-of-print JLA: WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS 2-issue miniseries, this is the story that started it all for Young Justice. Featuring Robin, Impulse, Superboy and the JLA and art by Mike McKone (TEEN TITANS) and Humberto Ramos (IMPULSE, Wolverine)
This 1998, two-part miniseries was one of the first, non-Morrison appearances of Grant Morrison, Howard Porter and John Dell's then still quite new and exciting JLA, and one of the unofficial starts of Young Justice. I recall it being fairly disappointing as a whole, but it was a pretty neat premise—a genie creates two Earths, one in which there are no children, and another in which there are no adults. The League tries to find out what happened to all the kids in the world, while the world's greatest child superheroes Robin, Superboy and Impulse must try to save the day on their end (other kid heroes like Mary and Freddie Marvel and the Dan Jurgens Teen Titans make cameos, while Billy Batson plays a fairly large role). McKone drew all the JLA portions, while Ramos drew the kid sections.
Still worth eight bucks though, and I wonder if this is the start of more Young Justice reprinting as we get closer to the debut of a cartoon with the same name.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: GREEN LANTERN #1
Written by JUDD WINICK
Art by DARRYL BANKS and DALE EAGLESHAM
Cover by DARRYL BANKS
Kyle Rayner and Jade take the stage in this special collecting GREEN LANTERN #137-140. Now that Jade is back as part of BRIGHTEST DAY, take a peek back in time to when her relationship with Kyle was in full bloom!
These are, just as the solicitation says, Jade-centric issues from Winick’s run. I generally only bring up Winick when complaining about him, but his GL run was actually some of his best DC writing. There were definitely wonky bits to it, and it wasn’t as good as the Ron Marz run that lasted much of Kyle Rayner’s career as the only Green Lantern, but Winick seemed to get the character better than he has others he’s worked on, like Green Arrow and The Marvel family.
I imagine the point of this collection is to highlight Jade and her relationship to Kyle, as she has some relatively high-profile appearances going on at the moment, then to make sure some awesome comics are available, though.