In December, DC is finally revisiting Grant Morrison's DC One Million in a two-issue story in Superman/Batman.
The story, which starts in Superman/Batman #79, is written by Chris Roberson, who writes the Vertigo series i, Zombie and did the Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love mini-series. Jesus Merino will draw the issues.
When the story is published in December, DC One Million will be 12 years old. The company-wide crossover was one of 1998's biggest events, as almost every DC title took part in the story during November that year. While Morrison wrote the four-issue mini-series that drove the event, 34 other comics released a single issue numbered #1,000,000.
Set in the 853rd Century (which is when a 1,000,000th DC issue would theoretically be published), DC One Million teamed up the heroes of the 20th Century with the characters from the future's Justice League Alpha. The team from the 853rd Century included versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, Hourman, Starman, Aquaman, The Flash and Batman, all teaming up with current day heroes to defeat Vandal Savage and Solaris the Living Sun.
While Solaris has shown up since, most of the concepts Morrison introduced in the 853rd Century have been rarely seen, or have completely disappeared -- until now.
Newsarama talked with Roberson to find out more about the crossover and to get the story on why the publisher is finally revisiting DC One Million.
Newsarama: Chris, fans have often wondered why DC hasn't revisited the 853rd Century and the concept of DC One Million more often. What motivated this story in Superman/Batman? Was it something you pitched to them, or something they suggested?
Chris Roberson: The editors on Superman/Batman, Matt Idelson and Will Moss, contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in pitching story ideas for the book. Growing up as a DC fanboy in the '70s and early '80s, the old World’s Finest title was one of my favorites, and some of the Silver Age stories Curt Swan drew for that book remain some of my favorite stories of all time. So naturally I jumped at the chance to write for the modern-day successor to World’s Finest.
I’m also a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s work, and have been rereading all of his comics over the course of this year. When Will Moss told me that I could suggest a partnering of any two “Superman family” and “Batman family” characters, the first thing I thought of was DC One Million.
Nrama: Were you one of the original readers of DC One Million? What did you think of it when you first encountered it?
Roberson: I had mostly stopped reading superhero comics back in college in the late eighties, but a few years before DC One Million came out I had been lured back into the DC Universe by titles like Mark Waid’s The Flash, James Robinson’s Starman, and Grant’s JLA. When DC One Million hit the stands I was right there in the front row. I read and reread every issue of the crossover, and some of the ideas and imagery from those books have stuck with me ever since. In particular I was obsessed with the whole idea of Superman’s lineage, and the cross-time Superman Squad, and all of that fantastic future history that we only get glimpses of.
I’ve always thought it was a shame we didn’t see more of that era and those characters, because they are just so fantastic. When Grant brought the Superman of that era back for All Star Superman #6, I was over the moon. (Though the fanboy in me wanted to nitpick that Kal Kent in that book appears to misremember just when he’s from, by a factor of ten. He claims he’s from the year 853,500, which is about 770 million years too late.) But it just left me hungry for more.
Nrama: As a comic book writer and looking back at what was accomplished in that series, are there different things that stick out to you as a writer versus reader?
Roberson: It’s hard for me to read that crossover as a writer and not just sink into the pure pleasure of reading it. But DC One Million showcases one of Grant’s greatest skills as a writer, which is to tell you only the bits of the story that you absolutely need to know, and then to let the reader fill in the rest with their imaginations. Because if the writer and artist show you everything, it has a tendency to get boring. If the reader is able to fill in the gaps on their own, the story can be potentially endless.
Nrama: What's the premise of the story you'll be telling in Superman/Batman #79 and #80?
Roberson: The title of the story is “Worlds’ Finest” (note the plural possessive), and it concerns the Superman-Batman team of two eras dealing with the same villain, who travels from one time period to the other. Hilarity ensues.
Nrama: What characters will we see?
Roberson: Superman and Batman of the 853rd Century and the modern day, of course, as well as Robin the Toy Wonder, and brief glimpses of the future versions of Flash and the Atom. And a few surprises along the way, as well.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the villain in the story?
Roberson: He calls himself Epoch, the Lord of Time, and he’s been around the DCU for a long, long time, in more ways than one.
Nrama: Does this mean we'll see more stories from you within the DCU?
Roberson: I hope so! I’ve got my hands pretty full with iZombie and the Cinderella miniseries from Vertigo and the titles I’m writing for Boom! Studios, but I’d love a chance to play around in the DCU some more.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about these Superman/Batman issues?
Roberson: Just that, if they like these issues but haven't read the original DC One Million series yet, what the heck are they waiting for? Go read it, already!