"Ultimate" DC Line Set to Launch in 2010

Hey gang, so the big news today from DC's The Source blog is that in 2010 they are going to start releasing a series of graphic novels introducing a "modern" take on the origins of Batman and Superman. So basically, DC is launching their own Ultimate line of comics like Marvel did, except that DC is going to be only doing it as graphic novels instead of releasing single issues monthly like all other comic books. Kirk Warren at the Weekly Crisis sums up his feelings here and I absolutely agree with him 100%, and I'm going to share some things that Kirk and others haven't really discussed, since what most people have said so far is on the money. Hit the jump for those.

The Hollywood Effect

Weekly Crisis made an excellent arguement that there already are definitive comic book re-tellings and re-imaginings of Supermans and especially Batmans origins, with books like Batman:Year One, Superman: Birthright, Long Halloween, and the currently being released Superman: Secret Origin. And while these "Earth One" stories are going to be a brand new continuity, what about the fact that any new readers you bring in is going to be because of things like The Dark Knight and Smallville? Not to mention the fact that you can stop anyone on the street and they can tell you Batmans origin, so why even bother showing it yet again? Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were two of the biggest movies of the entire decade, so the chances you encounter someone new buying comic books that hasn't seen those movies and is therefore already caught up on the Batmans origin are slim-to-none. And with Superman, they are currently still releasing a new origin mini-series about Superman right now. As in, if you go to the comic book store, you will see the second or third issue there with three more to come out. So why make that inconsequential for a "modern" update, when that's exactly what Smallville is on the TV? There's no need.

The Creators

To put it bluntly, DC has very few talented artists, and most of the artwork in their books is atrocious (and I don't mean the Red Lantern) and of the handful of superstars they do have, half of them cause massive delays on every project they work on. So why would you take Gary Frank and Shane Davis out of the DCU to focus on this kind of project when they could be on a monthly book that needs the boost of having a talented artist on it.? It doesn't make any sense to me, unless DC is banking on making more money on this book than it costs to produce it, but even then is it worth missing out on shoreing up one of their marquee titles? If Gary Frank wanted to draw Batman, then have him do an arc on Batman & Robin or have him take over art duties from Tony Daniel. Shane Davis' Superman looks great, so put him on Action Comics or whatever the main book post-World of New Krypton is going to be, it would beat the hell out of the crap on there now. Geoff Johns writes a hundred books a month, so that's not as big a deal to have him add another thing to his plate, but with JMS writing Superman? And in this format? I guess it does give him complete creative freedom, something he's ruined his reputation with every other company in comics over, but it also seems odd to me that they would give such a high profile assignment to him after his only DC work is the Brave and the Bold. I really like JMS's Thor and Spider-man runs, but I don't think that a limited tenure on a team-up book most don't even know is still published is enough to warrant putting him on a top-level assignment. That's just me.

The Designs

Good God. I like Gary Frank's art. I really do. But his Batman redesign is just flat out hideous which is funny because almost nothing is different about it except he is no longer wearing underwear. And the Alfred? It seriously looks like Frank and Johns were in a meeting and Johns said "Eh, just make him look like an old English tough guy, but don't draw him to look like Michael Caine"
"Well,what about if I just draw him to look like Alan Quartermaine from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?"
"Yeah sure go for it, I'm going to go back and count my money".
Alright I made up that last part, because we all know that Geoff Johns hires migrant workers to count his money for him. And that's how internet rumors get started boys and girls. Anywho, take a gander at the Batman costume and Alfred:

Shane Davis's Superman, on the other hand, looks gorgeous and will most likely end up being his artwork that is the highlight of the book. Check that out:


Anyways, that's my take on it. I don't have anything against the whole idea except it is so unnecessary and seems like a complete cash grab. However, the big silver lining here is that if this is profitable and works well, this might inspire Marvel and DC to take a chance on critically acclaimed runs continuing in this format of releasing directly to tradepaper back form and not dealing with the monthlies anymore. So books like Blue Beetle, Agents of Atlas, and Captain Britain could live on in just collection form every six to eight months. Still better than no new Agents of Atlas I say.

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