EARTH ONE: "A New Superman for the 'Twilight' age"

Ever since the announcement of the “Earth One” line of graphic novels just over a year ago, it’s been a little unclear just who the line was aimed at, or how it fit into DC’s various lines of books. Subsequent statements just muddied the waters. Although obviously an Ultimates-type revamp for new readers, with just one book on the schedule — the just released JMS/Shane Davis SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE — it was just a toe in those same muddy waters.

Well now the New York Post has come out with a solid branding statement:

He wears hoodies, has smoldering eyes and, as a lanky Clark Kent, wears low-cut pants and hipster skinny ties. Artist Shane Davis also made him less physically imposing — shorter and less beefy — than he has traditionally been depicted.

The new look and new attitude are being used to kick off DC Comics’ “Earth One” line of graphic novels, which puts their classic characters in today’s world. The $19.95 hardcover, out in comic shops on Wednesday and book stores Nov. 2, is aimed directly at the youth market.

Given this new smaller, hoodie-clad, Superman, all that is now missing from that cover is an iPod Nano loaded up with Grizzly Bear.


  1. Luke says

    If they’re aiming for the youth market, maybe it’d be a good idea to release it in a cheaper format than a $20 hardcover.

  2. Chris Hero says

    “Given this new smaller, hoodie-clad, Superman, all that is now missing from that cover is an iPod Nano loaded up with Grizzly Bear.”

    Or making him an emo vampire! Or a student at a wizard boarding school! ^_^

  3. K-Box says

    What an excellent way of letting everyone know that this will be 100-percent worthless.

  4. Mikael says

    So much gnashing of teeth from posters who probably wouldn’t even read it to begin with. Everyone has this knee-jerk reaction to label things. How Newsarama of you all.

    Ever since this was initially announced, it had one strong goal (if you actually, you know, read press releases/interviews and such). And that’s to have a bookstore presence. DC has had a new relationship with their bookstore distributors – I could easily see DC being asked to create something that had bookstores in mind first. And thus we get Earth One. Something that can sit on endcaps, maybe attract attention and be read by people who may not ever walk into a comic store.

    But of course it’s more fun to be snarky than to actually support an initiative.

  5. says

    Well said, Mikael. Reading a book first before judging it seems pretty crazy, but I’m willing to give it a whirl.

    Except for Twilight.

  6. says

    Mikael: Agreed on all counts, but I think Luke is absolutely right that a $20 hardcover is probably not the best format decision for the market they’re going for.

  7. says

    I ordered a lot of these for my library and so far we have nine people on the holds list so that’s promising (from my perspective).

  8. says

    Having read a black and white preview of the Superman Earth One graphic novel (which will of course be in color), I’d just like to say that this is a perfectly enjoyable new take on Superman, with really nice art and I’m sure the production values will justify the price.

  9. Chris Hero says

    “But of course it’s more fun to be snarky than to actually support an initiative.”

    I’m just amused you’d be judgmental over people not supporting a new initiative from DC, the same company that doesn’t support their own initiatives. Excepting Vertigo, what’s DC’s track record for supporting new publishing initiatives? Heck, go ahead and add Vertigo into that.

  10. Evan says

    I think most people around the net have been very supportive of the project and anticipating it.

    However, having the stupid NY Post reporter equate it to Twilight? Being completely unaware what the comic fans actually think of Twilight?

    THAT’S a potential way to kill sales before the book is even out because it can end up getting rejected outright.

    I doubt its going to even come anywhere near Twilight in any format but don’t attempt to use some other pop culture phenomenon to attach it to without thinking there could possibly be an adverse effect.

  11. says

    Twenty bucks for a hardcover doesn’t seem out of line with what’s being offered at the rapidly-expanding YA section at my local Borders (the only section that’s maintained expansion in the last couple of years by the by.)

  12. KET says

    “So much gnashing of teeth from posters who probably wouldn’t even read it to begin with. Everyone has this knee-jerk reaction to label things. How Newsarama of you all.”

    Nahhh, DC PR-o-rama would merely wank away over it. Which is entirely who the publisher needs to move any potential copies of this overpriced doorstop anyway. Twilight fans already have shirtless vampires and werewolves, so why would they ever need a guy who’s always overdressed?

  13. K-Box says

    Why should I support an initiative that’s being masterminded by the same guy who’s currently producing one of the worst runs on Superman in years, in the face of some very stiff competition for that dishonor? I’ve seen how JMS handles “realism” in superhero comics – it reads like the left-wing equivalent of one of Steve Ditko’s equally insufferable Objectivist screeds.

  14. The Vicious Circle says

    Kryptonians sparkling under a yellow sun. What’s not to love?

    Besides, it’ll just be like all other “initiatives,” meandering around for a year or two before being canceled, only to return in special-edition one-shots and limited series. Then a relaunch. People who like it will say the publisher never gave it a chance. People who hate it will say I told ya so.

    Nothing ever really changes at the big two.

  15. Chris Hero says

    @The Vicious Circle:

    So, you’re saying I should hold my breath for Minx coming back?

  16. Harry says

    K-Box, you respectfully forgot to include: “In my humble opinion”, ’cause JMS is writing one of the Best Runs in Superman ever… in my humble opinion of course.

  17. Snikt Snakt says

    Emo-Superman! What’s next, he’ll get piercings & tattoos? Maybe have a bromance w/Batman?

    Yeah, that’s what fandom has been clamoring for all these years…

  18. says

    Nobody here has to support this at all. Its not intended for the existing comic market. DC didn’t develop an OGN format with a new version of the character and blast the mainstream press for the existing 50,000 Superman readers and whatever number of comic readers who already have buying habits established.

    The fact that this either eludes or angers the existing comic-reading base is a bit puzzling.

  19. The Vicious Circle says

    @Chris Hero

    Nah, no Minx. That was just a crass attempt to get some manga money.

    Not that this new thing isn’t, but the reworked, DC-owned superhero properties are what throws this one into the cycle.

    The main challenge for the sparkly Superman is going to be finding readers who want to trudge through the 5000th retelling of an origin story even tiny non-comic readers already know, no matter how laterally different it might be.

  20. says

    @The Vicious Circle: That “crass attempt” resulted in some of the best books DC put out at the time. I’d take a Minx GN over, say, “Cry for Justice” any day.

    And incidentally, “Superman: Earth One” is a headline story on Yahoo’s front page as a write this. And yes, the headline mentions Twilight.

  21. Reader says

    What a disappointment!
    Why change from a strong decisive image to a confused skinny kid. Who gains from this?
    This is LAME! We need strong determined heroes and not weak confused kids. You think villains care about the environment or emotions? Wake up

  22. Brett says

    They may be aiming this at non-regular comic readers and the youth market but they don’t seem to be interested.

    If you wonder why, yahoo did a story on them and over 2000 people commented, most of them sound like non-regular comic readers.

    I know some people don’t like to hear what people say on the internet but this is the market you are trying to reach, here is a sample of what they are saying:

  23. Brett says

    Many people wonder why comics have so much trouble gaining new readers.

    It’s because there is a great disconnect between those leading the industry (and what they believe is good) and both readers/non-readers alike because the response from non-readers from the above story just nails it.

  24. K-Box says

    Is there some reason why my earlier comment, made six posts back, is still “awaiting moderation”?

  25. says

    It had two links so it automatically went into moderation, and I read it and it was snotty and insulting so I left it there.

    There are now over 3000 comments on the Yahoo Hipster Superman story. Dear god, am I glad I am not a Yahoo mod!

  26. says

    Sales Rank: 32

    That’s out of ALL books on That means it is a bestseller by any definition.

    Oh, and the book hasn’t shipped yet… these are PRE-ORDERS. So the book is a success BEFORE the book has been printed.

    Not too surprising, as DC did almost the same thing twenty-five years ago. Except, instead of Yahoo, they had the cover of Time Magazine.

    Once Superman’s 75th anniversary hits next June, the trade paperback will probably be shipping, and be ideally placed to capitalize on the publicity.

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