DC Comics history is being retold through the eyes of marginalized heroes

The screenwriter is tackling a new take on the DC Universe.
The screenwriter is tackling a new take on the DC Universe.
Image: AP/Chris Pizzello/Invision
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The Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years A Slave will retell DC Comics’ history through the eyes of its historically marginalized heroes.

John Ridley, who also wrote The American Way for DC Comics, is working on a new mini-series called The Other History of the DC Universe that will explore landmark moments in DC and US history from the perspective of characters like Green Lantern John Stewart, the first African-American superhero to appear in DC Comics, and Extraño, DC’s first openly gay superhero. Other issues in the series will focus on characters like Vixen, Katana, Renee Montoya, and Supergirl.

The comic, slated for winter 2018, will center on the characters behind the costumes and the real-world obstacles they faced, DC said in a press release this week.

“I could not be more excited by the opportunity to excavate the canon of the DC Universe through a vast array of characters who’ve earned their seat at the table,” Ridley said in a statement. “I’m very impressed with DC’s commitment to making their history as reverent and urgent as it is engaging and entertaining for all its many fans.”

The announcement comes as major publishers DC and Marvel have been working to make comics more inclusive. Marvel has given diverse new alter egos to some of its biggest heroes, like Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, and Ms. Marvel. It also tapped acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates to write its latest Black Panther series. The character, which became Marvel’s first black superhero when he debuted in the 1960s, stars in a movie that is selling out showings ahead of its February US debut.

Meanwhile, DC has introduced characters like Kenan Kong, who is the new Superman of China. And, on the studio side, it set box-office records last year with its female-led superhero movie, Wonder Woman. 

Some of the most fascinating takes on superhero universes have come from unique perspectives like those featured in Ridley’s project, The Verge pointed out. DC’s 2000s comic series Gotham Central chronicled life in Batman’s Gotham City through from the point of view of the everyday officers tasked with policing it. The award-winning 1994 series Marvels, which retold the early history of the Marvel Universe through the lens of a news photographer, captured how ordinary people adjusted to life among extraordinary beings like the original Human Torch and the Avengers.