DC Comics’ first big announcement of San Diego Comic-Con is a big one. Fans have been wondering when the rollout of the first all-encompassing digital service, DC UNIVERSE on the Warner Bros. Digital Network, would come, how much it costs, and what would they get for their hard-earned dollar. Before we delve into all of that, here’s a taste… of the upcoming exclusive series, Titans.
Check it out below and let us know what you think:
The studio also revealed some long-awaited details about the service. For a yearly fee of $74.99 (plus tax, if applicable in your state) or monthly subscriptions for $7.99/mo., users get live-action series, past and present, animated series and a curated, rotating selection of comics. DC UNIVERSE will be available through desktop computers, iOS and Android devices, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, and Google Chromecast.
Some of the video content available at launch includes the classic Christopher Reeve Superman feature films, Lynda Carter Wonder Woman ’77 TV series, Max Fleischer’s Superman Serials, Batman Ninja, The Dark Knight, and, just confirmed, early seasons of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League the animated series, and Batman Beyond. Plus the demo at Comic-Con includes selections of Batman: The Animated Series, Static Shock, DC Animated original films, Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman episodes, Constantine, The Adventures of Superboy, and much, much more.
But of course, you want to know about the new original programming, right?
Confirmed with its first full trailer is Titans, which seems similar to the Netflix Marvel shows in tone, and will be for mature audiences in language and content. Here’s what’s on the slate:
TITANS follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.
DOOM PATROL is a reimagining of one of DC’s strangest group of outcasts: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Woman and Crazy Jane. Led by the mysterious Dr. Niles Caulder they're called into action by the ultimate hero for the digital age, Cyborg. Banding together these rejects find themselves on a mission that will take them to the weirdest and most unexpected corners of the DC universe.
SWAMP THING follows Abby Arcane as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus in a small town in Louisiana but soon discovers that the swamp holds mystical and terrifying secrets.
YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS features the return of the fan favorite animated series with a huge cast of DC's most iconic young superheroes - plus brand-new characters, many of whom are just discovering their unique meta-powers and special abilities. Set against the backdrop of a rich, deep world that touches all corners of the DC universe, the season focuses on meta–trafficking, and an intergalactic arms race for control of these super–powered youths.
HARLEY QUINN follows Harley’s adventures after she breaks up with the Joker and strikes out on her own in this new adult animated comedy. With the help of Poison Ivy and a ragtag crew of DC castoffs, Harley tries to earn a seat at the biggest table in villainy: the Legion of the Doom.
Other series in the works will make appearances in Titans, and be spun off to develop into their own series down the road. Look for Doom Patrol and Hawk and Dove to get this treatment. DC is hoping to stagger the release of its original programming so that there is one new episode of something each week.
“There is no age gate,” said DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. “This app is intended for adults; like all streaming services, you need a credit card to create an account. If you are a parent, and you are concerned what your children are watching, we encourage you to sit down with your children and have that conversation: This is what mommy will allow you to watch, this is what daddy will allow you to watch.”
Now, one of the questions fans will ask is, what comics will be available? It depends on what’s trending, what is showing, and what is in current DC Comics conversation. For example, expect comics like Teen Titans, Aquaman, and their trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to always be around.
“We’ve remastered all the comics so you can watch natively at 4K resolution,” Lee explained. “We have the standard panel-by-panel, zoom in, and we also have autoplay, so if you have a party, hit that, it can walk you through the comic.” While Lee admits he’s not a big fan of panel-by-panel mode, he is much more interested in that mode on a large TV screen. “Post of the panels comics are traditionally in landscape format, so it looks really good.”
And he's right, it does look extremely impressive on a big screen. Why are the comics curated as opposed to flooding the user with the entire collection?
“We didn’t want to throw a bunch of random comics and overwhelm the casual reader who are drawn by the TV shows and movies. We can bring in special talent, who can introduce the work that’s inspired them, from our catalog. There are ways we can make the comics just stuff to read. It’s the stuff that inspired all the shows, and here’s the creative process, so it’s a more in-depth immersive look at the comics. We felt that’s a great way approaching it so you don’t get lost trying to navigate it.”
Similar to the Comixology experience, and as Lee mentioned, users can go page-by-page mode or guided panel mode. What’s new is a third way to navigate comics, a scrub mode, where if you press and hold and move your finger, you can skim a page forward and backward, like fast-forwarding or rewinding through the panels.
DC recognizes that there are fans of the movies, fans of the comics, and fans of their animated series and movies. Some diehards are into it all, but oftentimes they don’t cross over with each other all that much — so they’re hoping this can draw these separate fans and get them to try out the other content they’ve been missing out on.
Along with all of the above, users can also enjoy the interactive part, where they can keep all of their DC fandom in one place. There’s going to be a message board to connect with creators and fellow fans in discussion forums, character bios, original and compiled articles about DC characters and listicles, a merchandise shop, and other perks and rewards for being a member.
For attendees at Comic-Con, visit the DC Booth #1915 to pre-order and receive an exclusive collectible DC UNIVERSE T-shirt. Pre-order during the convention floor course and get entered into a contest for a chance to win two tickets to the Aquaman premiere in December 2018. Another benefit to pre-ordering a yearly membership is that fans will get the first three months of DC UNIVERSE for free.
Across the street from the convention in the Hilton Gaslamp (not to be confused with the Hilton Bayfront) is the DC UNIVERSE Experience, where fans can get a taste of what the subscription entails and experience several interactive booths and six installations.
Fans can relieve tension by acting out their aggression with the Harley Quinn Chaos Room, where they enter Arkham Asylum and splatter paint, hit things with a paint-soaked bat, and go wild. Enter Dick Grayson’s Loft, where you are guided by a member of the Detroit Police Department and you scour his loft for clues to help find the person of interest before time runs out. The Titans trailer is a reward if you succeed. In the Young Justice Watchtower, you get to access the main console and take the hero assessment to see which Outsider you resemble, then get a green screen photo with the rest of the team roster. One of the freakier installations is the Living Comic Book, which is a 3-story comic book where each floor recreates a moment in the comics: Wonder Woman: Blood Vol. 1, the Death of Superman, and going into the sewers with Batman as the Court of Owls literally hound you.
At the Swamp Course you’ll be greeted by some creepy fishermen as you navigate through thick fog through the swamp rocks or on the rickety dock for another photo op. If you do all of that, you’re likely to work up an appetite and go into the Chief’s Dr. Niles Caulder’s Lab, where you’ll be able to choose one of three flavors of dragon’s breath popcorn (made with liquid nitrogen) and juice in a test tube. There’s also plenty of costumes of the Titans and props from film and TV shows. See the images below.
The DC UNIVERSE experiences certainly look to live up to the hype, but more importantly, if you're a big DC Comics fan, the new digital service is showing promise. It'll be interesting to see if fans bite at that price point, which is almost as much as a Netflix account.
What do you think about the DC UNIVERSE pricing and the service they are providing? Love all the bells and whistles? Want something more? Share your thoughts on the service as well as that hot Titans trailer in the comments section below.