DC Comics is overhauling its publishing line in June, and the message from the company is clear: An increased focus on diversity, reflected in creators, characters and storytelling styles. Twenty-five of the highest-profile existing series will remain, while 24 new series will be introduced, for a current total of 49 DC Universe titles -- meaning the end of "the New 52" branding, used since DC's reboot and relaunch in fall 2011.
In a high-profile move, Eisner-winning comics creator Gene Luen Yang, known for his graphic novels including "American Born Chinese" and "The Shadow Hero," will make his DC Comics debut by taking on writing duties on "Superman," joining current series artist John Romita Jr. Yang follows DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns on the series.
Additionally, long-time comics veteran Bryan Hitch, who illustrated multiple titles published by DC including "The Authority" and "JLA" before moving to Marvel, is returning to DC to write and draw a new "Justice League of America" series. The "Hitman" creative team of Garth Ennis and John McCrea are also back at DC, for the limited series "Section Eight," featuring characters originally introduced in "Hitman."
Ming Doyle, currently artist on Vertigo series "The Kitchen," moves to writing duties in the DC Universe with "Constantine: The Hellblazer," which takes the place of "Constantine" in DC's publishing line, and adds the "Hellblazer" name from the character's Vertigo days. Riley Rossmo, a veteran of multiple series at Image Comics, will illustrate the series.
Additional new titles announced by DC include a "Black Canary" book written by "Batgirl" co-writer Brenden Fletcher; "Starfire," written by the "Harley Quinn" team of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (who are also writing a new "Harley Quinn/Power Girl" series in addition to the solo "Harley Quinn"), "Cyborg," "Bizarro," "Bat-Mite" and "Prez;" the latter three of which are described by DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee in the press release as "offbeat, irreverently funny titles."
DC's press release announcing the new lineup stresses a progressive approach aimed at appealing to a wide range of fans. The words "inclusive" and "accessible" are used, with DC looking to target its "next generation of fans." These changes follow the two-month "Convergence" event running in April and May, coinciding with the move of DC's editorial department from New York City to Burbank, and featuring short stories drawing upon multiple aspects of DC history and continuity.
"This heralds in a new era for the DC Universe which will allow us to publish something for everyone, be more expansive and modern in our approach and tell stories that better reflect the society around us," DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio said in the press release. "Whether you’ve been a DC fan your whole life, or whether you are new to comics -- there will be a book for you beginning in June."
DC has also revealed the first details of its previously top-secret Free Comic Book Day offering. Titled "DC Comics: Divergence," it will feature three eight-page previews of upcoming stories: from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's "Batman," the launch of "Darkseid War" in Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok's "Justice League," and Gene Luen Yang's first "Superman" story with John Romita Jr. Free Comic Book Day 2015 happens Saturday, May 2.
"In this new era of storytelling, story will trump continuity as we continue to empower creators to tell the best stories in the industry," DiDio said in the announcement.
The 25 ongoing series set to continue in June, most with current creative teams, are: "Action Comics," "Aquaman," "Batgirl," "Batman," "Detective Comics," "Batman/Superman," "Catwoman," "Deathstroke," "The Flash," "Gotham Academy," "Gotham By Midnight," "Grayson," "Green Arrow," "Green Lantern," "Harley Quinn," "Justice League," "Justice League United," "Lobo," "Secret Six," "Sinestro," "New Suicide Squad," "Superman," "Superman/Wonder Woman," "Teen Titans" and "Wonder Woman."
Keep reading CBR for much more on DC's new publishing initiative.
UPDATE 2/6/2015 3:28 AM PT: IGN has word that "Green Lantern," from the team of Robert Venditti and artist Billy Tan, is also among the continuing series, bringing that number to 25, and the total of currently planned DC series to 49. The article has been edited to reflect that addition.