What You Need to Know About DC COMICS Headed Into 2015

Convergence: Superman
Convergence: Superman
Credit: DC Comics

In the comic book industry, it's almost standard practice to end promotional copy with the words: "Nothing will be the same!"

But at DC Entertainment in 2015, those words aren't an exaggeration.

Not only is the company closing up its editorial offices in New York and moving to Burbank, Calif., in 2015, but the entire line will take a two-month break in April and May for the much-touted Convergence series, returning in June with an expected fresh start for its line.

As this week marks the beginning of a new year, Newsarama looks at What You Need to Know about DC headed into 2015.

Worlds Converge

In the middle of the year, everything stops for Convergence, the premier event of 2015 for DC. In fact, it's such a significant event for DC's line that Convergence-related titles will be the only in-continuity comics shipping from DC in April and May.

At the heart of the event is the revelation that both pre-New 52 and post-New 52 timelines exist. And an evil version of Brainiac managed to "collect" heroes from both those timelines — as well as other alternate worlds, futures and continuities — and they're all trapped by the villain in domed cities.

New, full promo for Convergence - art by Carlo Pagulayan and Jose Marzan, Jr. with colors by Hi-Fi.
New, full promo for Convergence - art by Carlo Pagulayan and Jose Marzan, Jr. with colors by Hi-Fi.
Credit: DC Comics

During Convergence, these worlds finally encounter each other. Brainiac is putting them onto one planet (either called "Blood Moon" or "Telos"… or maybe both), and readers get to see what happens when they meet.

That means readers get to see characters who were eliminated with the New 52 reboot — like the Justice Society members, or a married Clark Kent, or a Wally West who has kids. And they'll see a revival of heroes from stories like Kingdom Come and Flashpoint.

But they also get to see battles between heroes who otherwise wouldn't have met, like Harley Quinn fighting Captain Carrot (we're not kidding) or the fight between Two-Faces from two worlds.

Convergence promises to be a geek-out-fest for DC fans, but what comes after the event might prove to be even more significant.


June Surprises

Earlier this year, Newsarama floated six wild theories about what will happen to the DC Universe when Convergence ends.

The ramifications are anyone's guess at this point. Will the old universe be destroyed once and for all? Or will the two universes — and maybe even other timelines — be combined?

The latter option could give the DCU the best of both worlds, allowing executives and editors to hand-pick those concepts from the old DCU that are missing (and might still work well) in the new one.

Whatever the outcome, with the series happening on the anniversary of 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, we're betting there's at least some kind of change coming.

Most DC-watchers have given up the notion that the New 52 will entirely disappear, or that the old, pre-Flashpoint universe will be restored. Not only does DC seem to be committed to its new universe's concepts, but there are indications that the current universe's stories continue into June.

Credit: DC Comics

For example, Geoff Johns is continuing his Justice League and Forever Evil plans for a "Darkseid War" into June, meaning the changes to that best-selling title should be minimal. Gail Simone has said her new Secret Six line-up will continue into June (at least those characters who survive the first arc). And DC's March solicitations called the current Wonder Woman run by Meredith and David Finch the creators' "first arc," indicating more of the Finch story to come post-Convergence — and with them just introducing the New 52 Donna Troy, it doesn't look like they're preparing for the end of the New 52.

So it doesn't look like another reboot, or any kind of earth-shattering modifications to the make-up of the current DCU.

However, there have been indications that the DCU of June will be different from its pre-Convergence status.

For example, Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti told us things will be "different" in the Green Lantern universe after Convergence. And we already know that Green Lantern Corps, Red Lanterns and Green Lantern: New Guardians are ending with their March issues — a surprising number of cancellations for a line that usually sells well.

Another area that's being primed for a shift is the Batman universe. Scott Snyder told Newsarama that the current Bat-universe stories are setting up a "fresh" status for Batman when Convergence ends. "Things will be very, very different in June," Snyder told Newsarama, "Very different."


Personnel Shake-Up

Convergence also marks another change coming to DC — the two-month break for the event coincides with DC's move from their long-time New York offices to their DC Entertainment offices in Burbank, Calif.

We already saw major executive changes in 2010 after Diane Nelson became president of the newly formed DC Entertainment. But that organizational structure was based on part of the company being on the East Coast while the rest was on the West.

Now that everyone's under one roof, for example, will DCE still need "co-publishers?" Formerly utilized to encourage cohesiveness between East Coast and West Coast — with Dan DiDio in the East's editorial offices and Jim Lee over the West's digital, video games and multimedia offices — the idea of co-publishers might not be necessary in the new environment.

There's also been a clear division in the past between what Hank Kanalz and his digital comics office does editorially in California and the work by the print staff in New York. With those offices moving into the same building, would some of their tasks be combined now? And would that mean a restructuring of their executive and editorial staff?

In the years since Geoff Johns became chief creative officer, he's been somewhat disconnected from the editorial side of DC, focusing instead on TV shows, movies and appearances by DC characters in other media. Would his job change now that he's down the hall from the staff making the monthly comics?

We already know that some DC staffers aren't making the move to Burbank, and others are being newly hired in California. But industry watchers should expect some announcements in 2015 about new job titles and positions, as Nelson's revised structure is implemented after the editorial move.

By the time summer 2015 rolls around, readers should expect those changes to also be reflected in the creative output of DC Entertainment.


Digital Push

It's difficult to imagine that four or five years ago, DC didn't have much of a digital comics program. From the recent success of its Batman '66 title to the many tie-in comics it releases for video games and TV shows, the digital line at DC is becoming more and more diverse and interesting for comic book readers. Not only does it utilize reading experiences that aren't possible in print, it also showcases concepts and licenses for a wider audience than the current print distribution network can offer.

While DC's recent digital success alone would support the conjecture that we'll be seeing the company push even further into digital, it's also almost inevitable that the editorial move from New York to Burbank will encourage more use of the digital format. Formerly, the digital editorial office resided on the West Coast, while the print editors were housed in the East.

After the April-May move, both offices will be working together — or, as we noted above, they might even become one office. So readers should expect the utilization of digital to be even more plentiful, and the growth of the digital line at DC to continue.


Mini-Relaunch

One change that's guaranteed to happen in June is a shake-up of the titles offered by DC. The publisher is expected to treat the return of the monthly titles in June (after the Convergence break) as a smaller-scale relaunch of the entire in-continuity line, and readers should look for several new ongoing series to launch in summer 2015.

Credit: DC Comics

At the end of March, DC revealed that it was canceling 13 ongoing monthly titles, while concurrently ending its three weekly series. With those weekly series usually shipping four comics per month, that opens up 25 empty spots in DC's line-up when it returns in June.

But will DC fill all those empty spots with new ongoing titles? One possibility is that DC is paring down its line for the long-term. Marvel has been shipping fewer comics each month than DC has lately (although some of the extra by DC can be attributed to Vertigo) — maybe DC will experiment with a tighter line-up of titles each month, or more mini-series or mini-events.

Or perhaps the choice in 2014 to rely heavily on weekly comics paid off. Snyder has already confirmed that Batman Eternal is returning sometime after Convergence, and the four November issues of The New 52: Futures End were higher than many of DC's ongoing titles. Will DC continue to feature more than one weekly series in its line-up?

But the most exciting possibility for critics and fans — and one that's made more likely after the recent addition of almost experimental comics from the Batman office, and the unexpected success of the remarkably different Harley Quinn title — readers will probably see DC trying out some very new concepts and styles for their heroes.

The replacement comics in June should bring about some questionable, but potentially ground-breaking, new comics from DC as the company gets the opportunity to launch a new batch of #1 issues in summer 2015.

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