At this year’s San Diego Comic Con, most of the big DC Comics announcements came through the film or TV side of things. No films, except for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, were announced, but lots of TV shows based on DC Comics characters got trailers, teasers, and lots of buzz. But, between the no longer chain smoking British magicians, shirtless archers, and hints of Batman villains and allies showing up on Arrow, DC did make a few big comics announcements mostly having to do with Batman’s 75th anniversary.
1. “Lost” Harlan Ellison Batman Script to Become Digital Comic
To coincide with the BluRay and DVD release of the 1966 Batman television show starring Adam West and Burt Ward, DC Comics announced that an unused script by science fiction writer and editor would be made into a special digital comic called Batman ’66: The Lost Episode. It would be an official spin-off of the regular Batman ’66 series written by Jeff Park with art by Jonathan Case and others. No art has been released from the comic, but it will feature Two-Face as the main villain. He was a major Batman rogue that unfortunately didn’t appear on the television show and had to wait until Billy Dee Williams played him in the 1989 Batman film to make his big screen debut. Ellison’s script will be adapted by former Watchmen and Teen Titans editor Len Wein, who wrote four episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. Batman ’66: The Lost Episode will be drawn by legendary artist Jose Garcia-Lopez (Superman) and will be released in November.
2. First Art from Batman Earth One Volume 2 Released
After a fair amount delays, DC finally showed some preview art for Batman Earth One Volume 2, the sequel to 2012’s Batman Earth One that was originally slated for a 2013 release. The stinger for Batman Earth One featured The Riddler trying to figure out Batman’s secret identity, but Gary Frank’s preview art for Volume 2 reveals that Killer Croc will also be giving Batman a hard time in an extended fight sequence. This version of Killer Croc is a mixture of man and reptile, like his original Pre-Crisis appearance drawn by Don Newton and Curt Swan. Batman Earth One Volume 2 will be written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank and will join Superman Earth One Volume 3 and the long anticipated Grant Morrison and Yannick Paquette Wonder Woman Earth One as a 2015 release.
3. Neal Adams’ Batman Stories to be Collected in a New Omnibus
Before Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, artist Neal Adams and writer Dennis O’Neill along with the oversight of editor Julius Schwartz did away with campy Batman and returned him to his dark and gritty roots as the “Darknight Detective”. Adams gave Batman ears and a longer cape while also co-creating the new villains Man-Bat and Ra’s al Ghul. He and O’Neill brought the Joker back as a homicidal maniac in 1973’s Batman #251, which featured the now famous cover of a giant, grinning Joker holding an Ace of Spades while chasing Batman. Bleeding Cool reports that all of Neal Adams’ Batman stories from the 1960s and 1970s will be collected in a large omnibus along with Walter Simonson’s work on the New Gods. This will replace the harder to find trio of hardcovers released by DC in the early 2000s.
4. Cameron Stewart’s Multiversity Art Unveiled
Even though it has been in the works since a few Crises ago, details about Grant Morrison’s upcoming DC Comics swan-song Multiversity have been hard to come by. This changed at San Diego Comic Con where a map of DC’s multiverse based on a original design from Morrison and lots of concept and interior art were released along with insights from the various creators. There are quite a few one-shots dealing with the different DC Earths from the pulp world of Earth 20 to Earth 16 where the descendants of superheroes and villains, like Batman and Lex Luthor, deal with being heroes in a world without any villains to fight. However, the highlight of the bunch was Cameron Stewart’s work on Multiversity: Thunderworld, which is set on Earth 5 and stars the Marvel Family. Stewart based his designs on C.C. Beck’s original work on Captain Marvel from the 1940s and made sure Shazam didn’t look like Superman. Morrison called the Thunderworld comic, his “Pixar story”, and it will be an all ages book.
5. First Image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
This isn’t comics related, but I couldn’t resist.