As I churn through the thousands of images from the last fourteen years of the DC2, I've come across some really interesting bits and pieces... old promos; unused covers; designs, sketches and the like... so I thought I'd share some to make this task less tedious, and provide some commentary on them.
If anyone from the history of the site wants to pipe up or share their thoughts, please feel free!
We had loads of cool mini-events, mega-events, crossovers and the like. We always tried to promote them in fun ways, so here's a handful of teasers we used across the years:
Danger Trail and New Outsiders were two of the most quintessential DC2 titles, and it was only inevitable they'd cross over at some point.
Oh, this crap piece of work is one of mine! I know all about the villainous Black Light and how they'll debut in the DC2niverse. In fact, we've already seen one of their number in an old issue of Green Lantern Corps, and theirs is a future that is bound to come around at some point! But yeah, this was when I had no idea how to properly use GIMP:
"The Return" was one of our annual Bat-book crossovers, based around the return of Bruce Wayne after he seemingly died fighting Ra's Al Ghul the year prior. It was synergistic with what was going on in the mainstream titles at the time, as Final Crisis and Battle for the Cowl were going on around the same time, and as with a lot of events shared between the DC2 and the DCU proper, there was a lot of coincidental thematic cross-pollination at the time. Some of us were convinced that DC were pinching our ideas, but that's crazy.
Oh, here's another interesting artefact. DC2 Nemesis! This was probably my proudest "event moment" on the site, though I have high hopes for something I intend to get to in 2020. I can't say the teasers do it justice, but you get the vibe I was going for, right?
Oh, I must have been reading Warren Ellis' JLA: Classified arc, "New Maps of Hell" when I did this-- but then again, I was always reading something by Warren Ellis. That line from Superman about being a scientist's son is lifted from the finale of that story, and I disagree with it nowadays... Kal-El's biological father may have been a scientist, but he was raised by the Kents. It sounds about as right to me now as it does when Superman shouts "Rao!"
And a tie-in between two of the events mentioned above! Ramon and I planned to introduce our take on a post-Battle of the Cowl-styled Jason Todd in the aftermath of Bruce's "death", and Nemesis seemed like a good place to launch him. I can't remember if it happened that way? Ramon wanted to write the story-- or I pushed him to, I was a pushy guy-- and he was a faster artist than he was a writer. I can't remember if we used Jason in the Bat-books or Nemesis first, basically. God, 2009... ten years...
"Breaking The Bat" was me riffing on Grant Morrison's Gothic story arc from Legends of the Dark Knight. Dick-Grayson-as-Batman being targeted by devilish, supernatural forces with ties to the origins of the Dark Knight. I loved writing this, as it was when I had a crack team working on the Bat-books, and we were coming up with some really nice, original villains to bedevil the city, rather than rely on the usual Arkham lot. I'll try and dig out some of the stuff we did that featured them, but it was a blast.
You can tell I rely dug the "use-dialogue-from-a-story-to-promote-and-tease-said-story" aesthetic of promo packages:
Our version of Earth-2 was sorta like... if there was no JSA, and the JLA debuted and aged normally? I can't remember to be honest, but in recent issues featuring Power Girl (who originated from Earth-2), I boiled it down to running ten years faster, so everyone was basically ten years older and we had a lot of legacies running around. That helped me nail down the relationship between Power Girl and Supergirl (later Superwoman) but I admit, it was a shortcut that I feel still works. David, one of the founders and Golden Age genius, crossed his JSA title with Earth-2's JLA, and the results were explosive. A veritable crisis on two earths...
(I love that JSA logo. Boris did it, I think.)
The last thing I remember us really doing in the hey day of the site was an attempt to relaunch and refocus the Superman family of titles; Don was going to do a team-up book with Superman and a rotating cast, called DC2 Comics Presents..., David wanted to do Adventure Comics and as I was the one who pushed for Action Comics' existence back in the early days of the site, I was going to run that title. We managed to get one issue out each before other responsibilities took priority, a special one-shot from Don, and a pair of annuals by David and myself.
When I concluded my initial run on Green Lantern and needed some breathing room, I put the title on hiatus but asked Trevor to help me with a tease for future events the next year. He hit it out the park, and I eventually returned to the title. Not everything came to fruition immediately, but I did manage to get everything done before I put the title on hiatus again at the end of last year.
What have we got? Panel 1): Guy Gardner got his head smashed open by the Predator at the end of the run, and needed surgery to relieve the damage. I wanted to have him turn heel a bit, make him more of an arrogant arsehole closer to the mainstream version, but I chickened out. Instead though, he was infected with remnants of the Predator entity, and his face-heel turn was a lot more temporary. Panel 2): Carol Ferris was given a corrupted Star Sapphire ring which we saw her utilise in the penultimate arc of Green Lantern Corps last year. I know where she ends up. Panel 3): Chloe and Hal lost their daughter to the Predator, but she was rescued by Kyle and Sinestro, just before Red Lanterns invaded from another dimension and put everyone on a collision course. And finally, Panel 4): John Stewart became the main Green Lantern of Earth, and that's where we started the relaunch from.
And last year, we only went and did it again! Another hiatus, and another teaser. I won't get into much detail about this one, because I know where each of these panels end up, but let's have a look anyway...
Panel 1): That's the devilish Parallax and his minion, Alex Nero. Panel 2): I COULDN'T POSSIBLY SAY. Panel 3): That's Parallax's army of Manhunters. Panel 4): Atrocitus' legion of Red Lanterns! They haven't been seen in ages. Panel 5): Our very own Cyborg-Ultraman sure doesn't like that power battery, does he? Panel 6): Oh, there's Carol again. She sure looks happy...
Okay, that's the first round of nonsense I found in the archives. More to come!
I found some more random covers, so I thought I’d share because why not!
If I remember rightly, near the tail end of the first “run” of the site, just before there was a mass exodus of talent back into the real world, we were about to start a couple of events that never really saw the light of day. The first is Crisis: Lamentation Day, which had a prologue written by David and a first issue written by myself and Fantomas, but other than that we never managed to continue with it!
Joey did the first cover to the mini, and you might have seen it around the site before, but when there was the possibility of the miniseries continuing (it ties a lot of threads up from that original run of the site) I decided to hide the first issue because we might return to it, just as we did DC2 Most Wanted.
I love what Joey did with the first issue’s concept—Justice League versus the Secret Society of Super Villains, with Red Hood stuck in the middle!—and its such a striking visual that I would have loved to see the story continue with him on art duties, but alas, I think the time has passed… and I don’t have the rest of the story in me right now. Joey was always a pinch-hitter when it came to delivering quality covers on short notice, and I’d love to see his work grace the site again in the future!
Anyway, here’s the cover, and what a beauty:
And now, something a lot different… the two unpublished covers to Omega Point, the mini-series that was supposed to wrap up my run on Justice League! At the end of my penultimate issue of my first run, the Big Seven of the Justice League vanished in pursuit of Darkseid, who’d been a captive of the team throughout the series. That would have spun them off into their own Rock of Ages-styled adventure, while the second tier characters would deal with the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. We produced one issue of the latter that hit the site, but when I knew I wasn’t going to get round to finishing Omega Point, I removed the CSA issue of Justice League and quickly moved off. I think that was probably one of my last issues on the site before I left for a few years.
Anyway… Jamie is great with covers like this. His use of colour and composition are top notch, and I love how much his works POPS. The cover dress is superb, and the idea of seven issues with each of the Big Seven spotlighted was going to be so amazing. Here are the covers to Omega Point #1 and #2:
Interestingly, I have seven covers in the vault for The Flash: End of the Line, the big Flash event I’ve been planning since the early days of my return to the site five-ish years back, with two issues written. I don’t want to start any more BIG EVENTS without having all the issues in the bank, but hopefully I pull my finger out and you get to see Jamie’s work sooner rather than later. Maybe by the end of the year? They’re so good, too. Can’t post them before the series hits because they’re spoiler-y the further on they get, but the conceit is so cool.