DC Comics co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee brought copious teases and announcements to their "meet the publishers" panel at New York Comic Con on Thursday.
With the Dark Nights: Metal event in full swing, Doomsday Clock ticking down to release, and "The New Age of Heroes" on the horizon, they had plenty to talk about. Doomsday Clock is a fully self-contained 12-issue maxi-series, with no tie-ins or crossovers, Lee said. It will, as promised, feature the Watchmen characters meeting the DC Universe. Some of the characters introduced in Metal "may remain after the event," he also teased.
But they also had some surprising announcements to make concerning 2018's publishing plans. In 2018, DC Comics will be relaunching both the Vertigo imprint and MAD Magazine.
On 8/8/18 (Aug. 8, 2018), Vertigo will have a "line in the sand" relaunch under former Batman Group Editor Mark Doyle. They'll be launching with "major creators, all-new titles, and a cohesive brand," Lee teased, though he didn't want to give any other details just yet.
Likewise, MAD Magazine will relaunch with "a new band of idiots" on April 1, 2018 (the birthday of their mascot Alfred E Newman). The Magazine was the final vestige of DC Comics presence in NYC, and is moving to their LA offices with the rest of the brand. New editor Bill Morrison promises that while it's a new MAD, it won't forget where it came from.
“A lot of the stuff and people you love about MAD are not going away. It’s going to change, you’ll see a lot of new things, but you’ll also see Spy vs Spy, Sergio Argones, the Al Jaffee fold-ins, many of the things we love about MAD," he said.
Yes, Al Jaffee is still hand-drawing fold-ins, one every two months, in his mid-nineties!
Action Comics #1000 lands next year, surreptitiously falling in Superman's 80th anniversary. The publishers revealed a special logo for the major issue, but wouldn't tease what they have planned beyond "major stories and events," DiDio said. Lee joked they're doing "1,000 variant covers! Each one, he has a different vehicle over his head!"
The Co-Publishers are both getting back in the creative mix, too, with the DC: The New Age of Heroes line-up of new titles. DiDio will be co-writing a book with Grant Morrison, while Lee will be drawing Immortal Men, and promises he'll have ties to "all the other immortal characters in the DC Universe [like] Vandal Savage, Ra's al Ghul, Hawkman," and more.
Finally, the Earth One line of original graphic novels got the spotlight. Morrison teased Wonder Woman Earth One Vol 2, which is nearly complete and will be the "Empire Strikes Back" of their trilogy. "Everything goes to hell," he said. Morrison also didn't like the idea that Wonder Woman would only have one costume. "I also really liked the idea that Wonder Woman would have many costumes, not just one, so we have her in a different costume in almost every scene in the book," he said when he stopped by for a guest appearance.
Aquaman: Earth One, previously teased, was formally announced with Francis Manapul as both writer and artist.