This morning, on the DCU blog The Source (http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/), a week of major announcements kicked off with a new publishing initiative and yes, a new Earth.
How to cast aside the continuity-heavy past of their major characters and offer an easily accessible version of Batman, Superman, and others to new readers has been a question that plagues not just DC but other companies with established universes as well. DC's solution comes in the form of Earth One, a series of ongoing graphic novels.
Superman: Earth One
These are all-new stories presented as book-size tales, rather than single-issue magazine length stories. They feature a continuity that will be shared amongst the line, and is all-new to DC's comic books as a whole. The first two announced books are the natural starting points, Superman: Earth One and Batman: Earth One. Both books will focus on a revised origin and "early years" story featuring the titular characters, with updates being made for today's time period and audience.
Superman: Earth One will be written by J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by artist Shane Davis. Batman: Earth One comes from scribe Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, the team whom are currently in the midst of re-establishing Superman's origin in the core DC Universe, the one that acknowledges the past 70 years of story to varying degrees.
In a first interview with AintItCoolNews.com, both JMS and Johns note that while these origins are oft-told stories, they hope to see things with fresh pairs of eyes, and being free of continuity is offering a turly new experience for readers.