Update: This story has been altered to reflect DC’s new solicitations for September, which have Batman: Damned kicking off the label instead of Superman: Year One.
Today, DC Comics announced that its launching a new imprint geared toward “edgy, provocative” takes on some of everyone’s favorite superheroes called DC Black Label.
In the early 90s, DC launched some of the most popular, enduring stories not just in comics but in all of fiction under its Vertigo label including Preacher, Y: The Last Man, Fables, A History Of Violence, and The Sandman. These titles were original properties geared towards courting an older audience, mimicking the content of R-rated films. It looks like DC now has plans to do another Veritgo label but this new one is focused on DC characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
DC Black Label will launch with Batman: Damned, penned by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Lee Bermejo on September 19. Batman: Damned is a bi-monthly series that unfolds in 48-page issues. The Black Label was originally going to start with Superman: Year One, but that title has been delayed until November. Here’s DC’s entire lineup:
- SUPERMAN: YEAR ONE from Frank Miller (THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT: MASTER RACE) and John Romita Jr. (ALL-STAR BATMAN, SUPERMAN) A groundbreaking, definitive treatment of Superman’s classic origin story in honor of his 80th anniversary. This story details new revelations that reframe the Man of Steel’s most famous milestones—from Kal-El’s frantic exile from Krypton, to Clark Kent’s childhood in Kansas, to his inevitable rise to become the most powerful and inspiring superhero of all time.
- BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the creative team behind DARK KNIGHTS: METAL Batman wakes up in a desert. He doesn’t know what year it is or how The Joker’s head is alive in a jar beside him, but it’s the beginning of a quest unlike anything the Dark Knight has undertaken before. In this strange future, villains are triumphant and society has liberated itself from the burden of ethical codes. Fighting to survive while in search of answers, Bruce Wayne uncovers the truth about his role in this new world—and begins the last Batman story ever told.
- BATMAN: DAMNED from Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, the creative team behind JOKER On a deserted Gotham City bridge, a body is found. Whispers spread the news: Joker is dead. But is this a dream come true or a nightmare being born? Now Batman and DC’s outlaw magician John Constantine must hunt the truth through a Gotham City hellscape. The city’s supernatural recesses are laced with hints about a killer’s identity, but the Dark Knight’s descent into horror will test his sanity and the limits of rationality, as he must face a horror that doesn’t wear a mask.
- WONDER WOMAN HISTORIA: THE AMAZONS from Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet) and Phil Jimenez (INFINITE CRISIS) A Homeric epic of the lost history of the Amazons and Queen Hippolyta’s rise to power. Featuring monsters and myths, this three-book saga spans history from the creation of the Amazons to the moment Steve Trevor washes up on the shores of Paradise Island, changing our world forever.
- WONDER WOMAN: DIANA’S DAUGHTER (working title) from Greg Rucka (WONDER WOMAN, BATWOMAN) It’s been 20 years since the world stopped looking to the skies for hope, help, and inspiration. Now the world keeps its eyes down, and the powers that have risen have every intention of keeping things that way. Amongst a scattered, broken resistance, a young woman seeks to reclaim what has been forgotten, and on the way will learn the truth about herself, her heritage, and her destiny.
- THE OTHER HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, THE AMERICAN WAY) 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.
For more on DC Comics, check out our preview of TT Games’ upcoming Lego DC Super-Villians.