By Todd Allen

DC is making a bigger leap into the digital comics space… tomorrow (6/7/12).  They’re starting an original series of weekly Batman digital comics, titled “Legends of the Dark Knight.”  The $0.99 comics will be out of continuity adventures, with each issue debuting on Thursday.  They aren’t skimping on the creative teams, either.

The initial creative lineup, courtesy of the official announcement:

June 7 – “The Butler Did It” written by Damon Lindelof with artwork by Jeff Lemire

June 14 – “All of the Above” written by Jonathan Larsen with artwork by JG Jones

June 21– “The Crime Never Committed” written by Tom Taylor with artwork by Nicola Scott and Wayne Faucher

June 28 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 1 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith

July 5 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 2 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith

July 12 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 3 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith

This means DC has a new digital comic out each day of the work week:

  • Monday is Palmiotti & Gray’s Ame-Comi Girls (faux-manga super-heroines)
  • Tuesday is Batman: Arkham Unhinged (like the video game)
  • Wednesday is the various Batman Beyond universe comics
  • Thursday is Legends of the Dark Knight
  • Friday is Smallville

Yes, that’s an awful lot of digital Batman, but there’s a Batman movie coming out soon.  Please note that all of this is out of continuity.  3 of the 5 are based on other media treatments (a cancelled live action show, a cancelled cartoon and a video game).

Either way, that’s a real publishing slate and more prominent print names.  I don’t think we’re out of digital’s experimental period, but the experiments are getting more interesting.


  1. Aren’t 4 of the 5 are based on other media treatments? According to DC:

    “AME-COMI GIRLS is based on the best-selling product line from DC Collectibles that brings the distinct Japanese influence of anime and manga to DC Comics’ female heroines and their foes.”

  2. AND, once again, DC copies what Archie is already doing! The New Crusaders from Archie is new content every week, plus access to the old Red Circle archives. C’mon, DC, have an original idea once in a while!

  3. Who exactly is the audience for this? I know everyone loves batman, but so am I now supposed to spend an extra five dollars a week on books that I’m just essentially renting? I like the creative teams, but I want printed books, digital lacks all of the excitement for me. I think I’m just sick of digital comics imitating physical ones, they don’t have a page size, the orientation depends on how you hold the tablet, so why draw pages that look like comics, why not just draw single panels that are all the size of the screen, this imitation does not blow my skirt up. Yes, I’m a bitter old man.

  4. @ The Gibbler A bitter old man in a skirt…?

    But I think that’s a concern that needs to be more readily acknowledged. “Floppy pamphlets” (hate that terminology) can be passed onto future generations, like how my shoeboxes and shoeboxes are going to my goddaughter when she’s old enough. With digital, the software can go obsolete as soon as tomorrow. Pricing REALLY needs to reflect that. I see no reason why e-comics of “standard” page count should cost more than nickles and dimes, at the MOST.

    And even then, publishers need to understand that there are still easily thousands of readers who cannot afford the platforms for these- even basic desktop computers. They are catering to a minority, even if it is a big minority.

  5. These books are made for a new generation of readers, people who are being brought up with I-PADS, computers, and phones that read material. Face it, there are a lot of people doing this and new technology is introducing comics to people who never would be visiting a comic shop. As the tech grows, so will formatting …in order to survive in business, a company has to adapt to the times.

    Sure, most COMIC pople do not like the format, but it winning NEW readers over daily. It isnt the end all answer, just another type of product delivery system that is growing .

    I personally download books when they are on sale and think this pricepoint is a good one for what you are getting with these titles. We have been working on the AME-COMI characters now for almost 2 years and really happy it will now be coming out weekly.

    The amazing list of talent on some of these will get die-hard fans interested and at the same time, getting any new readers, in my eyes, will open the door for them to try other books and yes…a lot of these might be print copies of comics. I am all for anything that gets the rest of the world to give our books a try.

    And to answer a question from above, these books are being draw and written to take advantage of the format and broken up that way. Download one and you will see a difference that is clear.

  6. What I’d like to know is how do they rationalize a 1.99 price point for a digital copy of a print book while an exclusive digital-only book is half that?

    Is it a significantly smaller page count? If not (or maybe even so), it just shows the complete irrationality & stupidity of digital pricing, because presumably the books that are in both formats are amortizing costs over two platforms.

    Comics industry really has it’s head up it’s ass when it comes to digital. They make the record companies look like the model of preparedness planning.

  7. @geembeast: I believe they’re 10 pages long. But in regards to pricing, since they’re digital first exclusives they probably don’t have to worry about pissing of retailers by offering a undercutting them too much. They’re probably also viewed as something of a promotional loss leader.

  8. I will buy these because of the quality of the creative teams, the OUT OF CONTINUITY nature of the stories featuring my favorite comics character, and the low cost.

  9. “out of continuity” is a real selling point for old fogeys like me who don’t like the NU action figure designed characters with their ultraviolence and reactionary deconstructionist decompressionisms.

  10. I just bought the Lindelof/Lemire installment on impulse and felt like I was very much rewarded for my $.99. The story actually clocked in at 20 landscape-oriented screens (so, should this be reissued in print, it’d probably be reformatted into 10), but there was a fair amount of six-panel pages– and even a 16-panel spread. I FELT like I got a full comic’s-worth of content.

    It also helped that the story was clever and demonstrated a good development of theme, and that the art was… well, artful. (Don’t misread that as “awful.”) The joy of the previous “Legends of the Dark Knight” series or “Batman Black and White” is that the character cottons pretty well to non-stereotypical artistic approaches, and Lemire did a great job of showing a cocky, rag-tag version of our hero, both in and out of costume.

    Anyway, I’m not here to be a sycophant. I happened to like the artist, writer, and price-point, and I was pleased with my buy. The story was good. In my book, this was a successful experiment.

  11. There’s a lot to Ike with this digital comics (plus for me personally – the .99 cent price point, out of continuity stories, the varied talent). I copped the 1st Ame comi comic the other and enjoyed it.

    More fans need to have a less adversarial stance against the digitial format. Even if it’s not for you, it may be for someone else. Someone else who may not be a current comic reader. The self-established bubble that one too many wednesday warriors have within the comics world make the growth of the medium that much harder than it already is.

  12. @jimmy palmiotti

    I think that the portrait pages that expand on a previous landscape page (#1 page 10, #2 page 4) break the flow of the reading and detract from the experience.

    The only purpose I can think of for them is to improve a future printed edition but if that’s the case I don’t think it’s a good idea.

  13. This looks like a great idea. Gotta check it out. Okay, 10 pages per comic seems strange, but this is DC giving people what they have been asking for: original content, digital exclusive, and 99 cents. Hope this sells.