If you missed the news yesterday, DC Comics announced that J. Michael Straczynski will be stepping down from his monthly writing duties on Superman and Wonder Woman to focus on a sequel to the hugely popular Superman: Earth One graphic novel.
“I’d originally come to DC to do the Superman Earth One book which, at the time, was top secret so nobody knew about it,” Straczynski said, “and filled out on Brave and the Bold for a while to have fun and get up to speed on the DCU. When I was done with SEO I took on the Superman and Wonder Woman monthlies on the theory that I’d have time to script the full 12 issues before bounding back onto Earth One. But when the huge numbers started coming in on Earth One, and the need to fastrack the next volumes became evident in order to keep the momentum going, I knew there was no way in god’s green earth that I could write that and the monthlies simultaneously.
“Meanwhile, I’m taking full advantage of the situation to take a one- to five-year sabbatical from writing monthlies in order to go exclusively into writing graphic novels like Superman Earth One and Samaritan X, along with the occasional high-visibility minseries. I think that’s where the business is going, and creatively, limited series and graphic novels have always been my strong suit in that they let me tell cohesive stories with a beginning, middle and end. They can also be written and drawn before anything is ever announced or solicited, as was the case with Earth One, which has been one of the greatest and most creatively rewarding experience of my career. At some point I’m sure I’ll come back to monthlies — it’s just too darn much fun — but for the next one to five years, it’s strictly GNs and miniseries, with Superman Earth One being the first priority, followed by Samaritan X.”
Replacing Straczynski on Superman is none other than Chris Roberson, who many know from his Vertigo work on Cinderella, and more recently on BOOM! Studios’ Starborn series. Others may remember him from his work with Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges on the Clockwork Storybook project from years ago. Roberson will use Straczynski’s notes and outline beginning with issue #707 to finish out the grounded storyline and move forward from there.
For Wonder Woman, DC has hired Phil Hester to step up to the plate to continue the series beginning with Wonder Woman #605. It’s surprising that the company didn’t approach Gail Simone for the project, but the choice to tap Hester will more than likely make the series succeed.
While it is great to see Superman: Earth One get a fast track sequel (we pleaded with DC to begin work on it in our review), I wonder how much the current Superman lawsuit played into the decision to move the next book forward. IF DC were to lose all the rights to the original work, the derivative works belong solely to DC Comics. In either case, the new book is good news for DC right now as the company prepares to start production on the next Superman film installment, and should generate a great deal of positive interest in the project from the general public.