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What Does DC's Black Label Mean?

Illustration for article titled What Does DCs Black Label Mean?

Today, DC Comics unveiled their new “edgy” imprint, “DC Black Label.” It will include darker stories done by a variety of well-known writers and artists including:

  • Superman: Year One by Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr.
  • Batman: Last Knight on Earth by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
  • Batman: Damned by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo
  • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez
  • Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter by Greg Rucka
  • The Other History of the DC Universe by John Ridley

Besides the fact that I really want to read both Kelly Sue DeConnick and Greg Rucka’s stories, this appears by DC to be another out-of-continuity imprint label to add to their other out-of-continuity imprint labels. So far, they have:

  • Vertigo (creator-owned characters)
  • Young Animal (old-style DC Vertigo characters curated by Gerard Way)
  • The Wild Storm (WildStorm characters curated by Warren Ellis)
  • Earth One (“Ultimate” style origins of DC characters)

And now, “Black Label,” re-imagining the biggest DC characters in darker stories. What does this mean? Well, it means that DC looked at their most famous stories — The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, etcand realized most of them were Elseworld stories, stories set outside the bounds of continuity where the creators were really able to do whatever they wanted. And since the “Elseworlds” label had been discontinued some time ago, they made a new one for a new era in DC.


And, honestly, I’m happy about this. Sure, I think Superman: Year One will probably be terrible, but at least it won’t be drawn by Frank Miller. However, every other comic announced looks like it will be awesome, from Scott Snyder’s post-apocalyptic vision of Batman carrying the Joker’s head (like Norgal from Head Lopper) to Kelly Sue DeConnick’s history of the Amazons (Kelly Sue! I miss you!) to Greg Rucka returning to Wonder Woman in order to tell a story about her daughter to John Ridley’s history of marginalized characters in the DC universe (god, that sounds fantastic):

“A compelling literary series analyzing iconic DC moments and charting sociopolitical gains through the perspectives of DC Super Heroes who come from traditionally disenfranchised groups, including John Stewart, Extraño, Vixen, Supergirl, Katana and Rene Montoya, among others. At its core, the story focuses on the lives of those behind the costumes, and their endeavors to overcome real-world issues. It isn’t about saving the world, it’s about having the strength to simply be who you are.”


What does this mean? At the moment, I don’t know, but I am eagerly anticipating reading most of these stories.

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