Wein Explores DC's History in "Legacies"

Fri, December 11th, 2009 at 5:28am PST | Updated: December 11th, 2009 at 9:54am

Comic Books
Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer
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Cover art for "Legacies" #1

In 2010, DC Comics will celebrate 75 years of comic book publishing by releasing a number of titles that will not only look back on the company's rich history of superheroes and villains but will also tell new stories showcasing many of the characters that have embodied its universe since the dawn of the Golden Age of Comics.

As part of its "DCU in 2010"campaign, DC will be publishing new editions of "The History of the DC Universe" and an all-new "Who's Who" series, profiling some of the best and lesser-known characters populating the DCU.

DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio also announced that comic book legend Len Wein ("Justice League of America" and "Swamp Thing") is writing a ten-issue series entitled, "Legacies," which will traverse the long and winding history of the DCU from its infancy in the 1930s up to the events just prior to "Countdown to Infinite Crisis," with each issue moving the story forward, closer to the present.

With each storyline focusing on a specific era of DC Comics, an all-star cast of artists will collaborate on "Legacies, which is slated for a launch in May 2010, and kicking things off for the Golden Age arc is the father and son duo of Joe and Andy Kubert.

CBR News spoke with Wein about "Legacies," and the creator of Wolverine and Human Target confirmed that Crimson Avenger, The Atom and Sandman will play a major role in the series. He also challenged CBR readers to find the one thing that these three superheroes have in common that separates them from the rest of the DCU characters of the Golden Age.

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CBR News: While this is not a re-imagining of "History of the DC Universe," my understanding of "Legacies" is that the history of the DCU will be explored in the series. Can you please set "Legacies" up for us and share your thoughts on what the story is about?

Len Wein: Well, I suppose you could say that "Legacies" is the history of the DCU as told from the point of view of the man on the street. It starts at the dawn of the Golden Age and it runs right up to the moments before "Countdown to Infinite Crisis" begins. Our initial protagonists are two young street kids from Suicide Slum, who accidentally cross paths with some of the earliest super-heroes, and [the story tells] how those encounters change them both forever. These two kids and their offspring will be our point of view characters throughout the run of the story.

Art from "Legacies" #1

Can you shed some light on who those "earliest superheroes" might be and what made you choose them specifically?

I chose Crimson Avenger, Atom and Sandman to feature in the first issue for several reasons. One is that Crimson Avenger is essentially the first costumed hero, appearing in "Detective Comics" several issues before the Batman premiered, so it was important he been seen early in the story. But there is one other thing all three characters have in common that separates them from the other Golden Age DCU characters, and I'll be proud to tip my hat to the first reader who can tell me what that is.

Your most recent DC work has been writing supporting features for "Justice League: Cry for Justice," telling, in essence, "Who's Who"-styled entries for the superheroes featured in that title. That, along with your long history at DC Comics, seems to make you a perfect fit for "Legacies." Was this your pitch or did DC come to you?

It was sort of mutual, as I recall. I had a meeting with Dan DiDio to discuss possible future assignments, and Dan started talking about this vague idea he had to do a new version of the "History of the DCU."

"It's the sort of thing you do better than anyone," Dan said, and realizing what he just said, added, "In fact, you're the one who should be doing it." It was basically as simple as that. I then took Dan's rough idea, came up with a storytelling take on it and we were off and running.

"Legacies" is a ten-part miniseries, and my understanding is that the story is broken down generation by generation, from Golden Age to Silver Age and from Bronze Age to the Modern Age. Is this accurate?

Art from "Legacies" #1

I think "generations" is too broad a term for what I'm doing. While the first two issues are clearly set in the Golden Age, it gets more difficult to separate the ages as the series goes on. Suffice it to say that each arc ends with a pivotal moment in the history of the DCU.

Will these stories be revisionist in nature, or will you be delivering the histories of these legacy characters as they were originally introduced in DCU proper?

The best answer to that is probably yes to both. I'm making a few minor adjustments to some of the stories as I go, to keep things as much as possible consistent with most current continuity, but with the exception of certain obvious changes, much to the history should be familiar to the reader.

Flash and Green Lantern are without a doubt DC's top two superheroes that come to mind when you talk about "legacy" characters. Why do you think the passing of the mantle works so well within the Flashes and the Green Lanterns? Meaning, I don't think introducing a new Superman every 20 years would be quite so widely accepted. That said, I guess there's a new Batman in Gotham these days...

Interesting question. I guess, perhaps, it's the basic powers that make it so easy to move on to the next generation; super-speed and the power ring, that all remains consistent no matter who happens to be The Flash or Green Lantern at any given moment. It's something I'll be delving into a bit as the series goes on.

Coming out of "Blackest Night," will there be some new "rules" shaping and governing DCU, in terms of life and death and life beyond death? And does "Legacies" play a role in explaining what that is?

Art from "Legacies" #1

I've heard rumors to that effect, but "Legacies" is a story, not a rulebook. Whatever the rules become after "Blackest Night" will be left to other series to define.

Will "Legacies" tie into current DCU continuity or will it exist on its own timeline?

Basically, current continuity. That means characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman don't appear until the dawn of the Silver Age. Part of the fun of this story is explaining what went on between the Golden and Silver Ages. I'm having a great time with that aspect.

For each arc, you're working with a different team of artists, and right off the bat you've got heavy hitters Andy and Joe Kubert. What can you tell us about the look and feel of the Golden Age of Comics as portrayed by the Kuberts?

[They imbue the book] with a perfect sense of time and place. I think it's one of the best jobs Andy and Joe have ever done. I literally wept with joy when I looked at the finished art for the first issue. It will absolutely blow you away.

"Legacies," a ten-part miniseries written by Len Wein and featuring the art of a number of the industry's top artists, is slated to launch in May 2010.

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TAGS:  dc comics, legacies, len wein, andy kubert, joe kubert

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