Black Lightning, The Question, And More Assume The Lead In New DC Black Label Series

Screenwriter John Ridley is ready to explore the untold history of the DCU

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Now Playing: Who The Hell Is Black Lightning?

DC has finally released the details of The Other History Of The DC Universe, a mysterious project by screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years A Slave) that had originally been announced back in January of this year. The project will be released under DC's (now slightly controversial, thanks to the recent Batman: Damned censorship issue involving Bruce's, uh, whole area) Black Label, a mature readers imprint that looks at alternate, out of continuity takes on classic heroes.

So, what exactly is The Other History Of The DC Universe? Well, for one, it's not a traditional comic.

The book will be a five-issue limited series and an illustrated prose story, instead of a full-on comic or graphic novel. Each issue is going to focusing on a different marginalized DC hero. Issue #1 will focus on Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning, with illustrations by Alex Dos Dias, and follow up issues will focus on Karen and Mal Duncan, aka Bumblebee and Guardian; Tatsu Yamashiro, aka Katana; and Renee Montoya, aka The Question. Artistic talent for issues #2 through #5 has yet to be announced.

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Solicit text for issue #1 gives some clue as to what we can expect, explaining that the story will focus on Jefferson during his pre-superhero days as a track and field all-star and eventual teacher--which likely means that each issue will focus on a stand alone origin story, or close approximation of one. It also promises "extensively researched" plots, meaning we can likely expect to see real historical moments re-imagined through the lens of the DCU. However, because of Black Label's official status as an out-of-continuity imprint, it's difficult to tell just how much of each hero's familiar comic book background will filter through--or how much will actually affect their in-continuity stories moving forward.

The Other History Of The DC Universe is far from Ridley's first work under the DC Comics umbrella, after his critically acclaimed WildStorm series The American Way, an alternate history epic, originally hit shelves in 2006. Ridley recently returned to his comic book universe with The American Way: As Above So Below, published under the Vertigo umbrella in 2016. Ridley's credits outside of comics include writing the Oscar Award winning 12 Years A Slave, creating and show running ABC's American Crime, and directing and producing the documentary Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992.

Issue #1 of The Other History Of The DC Universe hits shelves on January 30, 2019, and will be a prestige format, 64-page book priced at $7.99.

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