DC’s latest expansion of their digital-first program will have you believing a man can fly. Or, possibly, that there’s a six-foot bat in Gotham City. DC Comics has announced Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, a pair of series which will continue the adventures of the iconic movie versions of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight as portrayed, respectively, by Michael Keaton and Christopher Reeve. Each digital-first series will run for twelve chapters, with Superman ’78 by writer Robert Venditti and artist Wilfredo Torres, and Batman ’89 by original Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm and artist Joe Quinones. No colorists or letterers were named in the announcement.
Each of the two series will debut digitally on July 27th, with six digital chapters released that day and new chapters released weekly following. The series will also receive physical releases as both single issues and hardcover collections, with the Batman ’89 hardcover arriving in October and the Superman ’78 hardcover hitting stores in November.
Batman ’89 will pick up following the events of 1992’s Batman Returns, with only the two Tim Burton-directed Batman films as its backstory. The series will introduce new characters and bring back old favorites to Gotham:
Continuing the twisted adventures of DC’s Dark Knight from Tim Burton’s seminal classic Batman movies, Batman ’89 brings in screenwriter Sam Hamm (Batman, Batman Returns) and artist Joe Quinones (Dial H for Hero) to pull on a number of threads left dangling by the prolific director. The gothic mentality behind the world, while still rooted in a sense of realism, helped inform many of DC’s global fans’ first impressions on the Dark Knight’s Gotham. In the new Batman ’89 comic, Hamm and Quinones will help usher in the return of Selina Kyle/Catwoman and will debut a new Robin! Plus, Quinones has a vision for Harvey Dent/Two-Face that is as close to movie magic as a comic can get!
Meanwhile, Venditti & Torres’s Superman ’78 will return to the world of director Richard Donner‘s original superhero blockbuster for stories set shortly after Superman first arrives in Metropolis:
Rob Venditti (Hawkman) and Wilfredo Torres (Batman ’66) will collaborate on Superman ’78 to tell stories set within the world Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve created in Superman: The Movie. In Superman ’78, bystanders are surprised and delighted by Superman’s abilities, and Lois Lane doesn’t (yet!) know that Clark Kent is secretly Superman. The sheer thrill of seeing a man fly, leap, or stop a bullet will be reflected in this environment where Superman has just been introduced! Inspired by Donner’s classic, timeless style of superhero storytelling, in Superman ’78 Venditti and Torres will show fans that a man can truly fly.
Batman ’89 marks screenwriter Sam Hamm’s return to comics, and to the Dark Knight. The writer has previously penned a three-part Detective Comics storyline, “Blind Justice,” also released in 1989, and illustrated by Denys Cowan. For Venditti, who’s previously worked on the Superman: Man of Tomorrow digital-first series, Superman ’78 will be his latest go-around with the Man of Steel.
As for Quinones and Torres, DC could not have picked two better-suited artists for these titles. Quinones and writer Kate Leth famously put together a pitch for a Batman ’89 series following the success of the publisher’s Batman ’66 series. Though the pitch was ultimately rejected by DC, Quinones shared some artwork and info about the pitch on his blog back in 2016 (the info sounds strikingly similar to DC’s description of the new series). Torres is also no stranger to the world of the ’78 Superman film, having themed several years of his Inktober sketches around moments from the film franchise, some of which you can find here. Here’s a personal favorite of those pieces:
— Wilfredo Torres (@mightyfineline) October 21, 2017
Creating new material based on the most instantly-recognizable versions of their two biggest characters is honestly a no-brainer for DC, and both of these series sound like a lot of fun. Here’s hoping the hardcover collections include the pre-existing comic adaptations for the other Batman and Superman movies so readers can get the full experience of those universes.
Look for the first six chapters of Batman ’89 and Superman ’78 to arrive digitally on Tuesday, July 27th.