"If you were to create the Superman story today, for the first time, but keep intact all that works, what would it look like?" That's the question that writer J. Michael Straczynski hopes to answer in his new DC Comics book, Superman: Earth One.

Taking the lead from Marvel's line of "Ultimate" comics, the "Earth One" books are designed to effectively relaunch DC characters in a fresh, new universe, free of the confines of decades worth of monthly continuity. It's a bold experiment, one that DC has approached before with their "All-Star" line -- offering high-profile artists the chance to create stand-alone works featuring DC heroes.

Most interesting of all, and the thing that will really set them apart from Marvel's "Ultimate" monthly series, are the way in which the books are being released. Superman: Earth One (by Straczynski and Shane Davis) and Batman: Earth One (by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank) will be released on a twice-a-year schedule in a graphic novel format.

"Batman: Earth One is more in line with the European idea of releasing chapters of an ongoing series in graphic novel form," Johns told
AintItCoolNews. "We're planning on doing two novels a year and set in this new universe, we're getting unlimited creative freedom that we couldn't have in current continuity."

That sparse schedule should help them avoid problems that the "Ultimate" universe ran into. Created to allow new fans an entry point without having to rely on complicated backstories, through the years the "Ultimate" universe started creating its own convoluted continuity. Despite the shared "Earth One" universe, with only two books a year it will take "Earth One" quite a while to get to the point where they're mired in backstory.

The first books in the line are slated for release sometime in 2010.

categories Movies, Sci-Fi