List of DC Comics imprints
- 1 History
- 2 Imprints
- 3 Lines
- 4 References
- 5 External links
In the Golden Age of Comic Books publishing, DC Comics was also an imprint of Detective Comics and its affiliated companies, All-American Publications and National Allied Publications, that were later all merged into National Periodical Publications, later renamed DC Comics. Before the merger, due to squabbles between the companies, All-American published under its own name/imprint in 1945 starting with the February stand date until the December stand date.[dct 1]
In 1987, DC started Piranha Press as a mature readers line.[dci 1] The Elseworlds concept was tested in 1989 with Gotham By Gaslight: An Alternate History of the Batman and was an imprint with 1991's Batman: Holy Terror.[dct 2] Using the licensed Red Circle characters, DC launched the Impact Comics imprint in 1991 as an introductory and new talent imprint.[dci 2]
In January 1993, DC's Vertigo imprint was launched with some former DC Comics imprint titles. DC teamed up with Milestone Media to co-publish Milestone Comics starting in 1993.[dci 3] Impact Comics last saw print in July.[dct 2]
Piranha was shut down in 1994 to be replaced by Paradox Press[dci 1] with Milestone Comics following in 1996.[dci 3] In July, the Helix science fiction imprint was launched. In October 1997, the Tangent Comics imprint was published on skip week then on the skip week of September 1998.[dct 3] In August 1998, DC purchased Wildstorm Productions including imprints Cliffhanger, Homage and ABC.[dct 3] 1998 also saw the end of the Helix imprint as its top title was moved to Vertigo, where reprints of the Helix titles also were printed under.[dci 4]
In 2001, DC shut down Paradox Press.[dci 1] DC launched a Manga imprint, CMX[dci 5] and DC Focus in 2004, but Focus was soon shut down in 2005.[dci 6] Johnny DC was launched in September 2004 with DC Comics' Looney Tunes and Cartoon Network based comic books. In November 2006, All-Star DC was launched with All-Star Superman.[dct 4] In May 2007, DC launched a line for young women called Minx. Also in 2007, DC enter the webcomic market with Zuda Comics.[dci 7]
After seeing Tangent characters in the regular DC Universe in Infinite Crisis in 2006, in Ion in 2007 and then in Countdown, the Tangent imprint was revived on March 18, 2008 for a 12 issue maxi-series. The Red Circle line began print in 2008 as DC's second attempt with the Red Circle characters. This time as part of the DC Universe. The Milestone characters where also licensed in 2008 to be included in the DC Universe.[dci 3] With no placement in major bookstores in the young adult section, Minx was canceled in September 2008. With some licensed pulp characters mixed with pulp like DC characters, DC launched the First Wave line in 2009.
On July 1, 2010, DC shutdown its CMX imprint and moved Megatokyo to the DC imprint. On September 27, 2010, as part of DC Entertainment's reorganization, DC announced the end of the Wildstorm and Zuda imprints with Bob Harris named Editor-in-Chief on September 27 for all remaining imprints: DC, Mad and Vertigo.[dct 4] With the "New 52" reboot in September 2011, the Wildstorm characters were adapted into the DC Universe within the "Edge" line, which also featured the Western and war comics. The Earth One graphic novel imprint was launched in November 2010. By the end of 2011, the First Wave line was discontinued.
|Fiction genres||superheroes[dci 8]|
All-Star, or All-Star DC, was DC imprint that allowed big name creators to make "out-of-continuity" stories of DC major characters. All-Star was DC's answer to Marvel's Ultimate imprint.[dci 8] The original purposes of the line was to have stories featuring the characters in their "most identifiable versions as seen by the world outside of comics". However based on the creators recruited, the purposed shifted to the creators' vision.
Only two out of the four planned mini-series made it to print. All-Star Superman was considered a landmark series for the Superman character and the creators. The other title, All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, was never finished but created a lot of discussions. The title is expected to get new branding, "Dark Knight", if and when it resumes.[dci 8] Due to scheduling issues of the creative team, writer Geoff Johns and artist J.G. Jones, All Star Batgirl status by November 2008 was an indefinite hold. Adam Hughes was working on All Star Wonder Woman book with some pages completed by November 2008.
In November 2006, All-Star DC was launched with All-Star Superman and ran 12 issues.[dct 4]
A Direct to video animated movie was made based on All-Star Superman by Warner Home Video and released on February 22, 2011.
|Status||defunct (mid-2005)[dci 6]|
|Fiction genres||alternative[dci 6]|
Focus or DC Focus was an alternative imprint from DC Comics launched in 2004. The imprint was an alternative in that the titles were about people with superpowers with out costumes or fighting crime. While the imprint had four solid titles the line was closed in mid-2005, with only Hard Time moving to the main DC imprint in a second series.[dci 6]
|Publication types||Graphic novels|
Announced in 2009, Earth One graphic novels were planned to see print in 2010 with the first issues of Superman: Earth One and Batman: Earth One. Superman: EO Volume 1 was issued in November 2010. Batman: EO Volume 1 was held to be released at the same time as The Dark Knight Rises film in July 2012. Superman: EO Volume 2 was confirmed at that time to be released later that year with additional Batman: EO volumes possible with Volume 2 confirmed. In June 2013, work on a Wonder Woman: Earth One volume was under way.
|Fiction genres||superhero alternative history|
Elseworlds is DC Comics' superhero alternative history and non-canon imprint.
In November 1989, the first Elseworld title, Gotham By Gaslight: An Alternate History of the Batman, was printed. The line became an imprint with October 1991's Batman: Holy Terror as it was the first to carry the Elseworld logo.[dct 2]
|Status||defunct (1998)[dci 4]|
|Key people||Stuart Moore (Sr. editor)|
|Fiction genres||science fiction[dci 4]|
Originally it was planned to be released in July 1996 with September 1996 cover dates as "Matrix". However, to avoid comparison to the upcoming film The Matrix, the imprint was renamed "Helix". The imprint continued until 1998, when its "signature book" Transmetropolitan transferred to the Vertigo imprint. Additional Helix titles were later republished in collected editions under the Vertigo brand.[dci 4]
|Successor||DC's Red Circle line[dci 2]|
|Fiction genres||superheroes[dci 2]|
Impact Comics, also stylized !mpact Comics or Impact! Comics, was a superhero imprint for DC Comics using the Red Circle characters licensed from Archie Comics. The line was supposed to be a newsstand based line aimed at the younger readers within its own self-contained universe.[dci 2] The Comet by creators Mark Waid and Tom Lyle was the imprint's longest running title. The imprint was also supposed to be a training ground for new talent.[dct 2]
Impact was launched in July 1991 with several titles: Black Hood, The Fly, Jaguar, Comet, Legend of The Shield and The Web. In May 1992, the imprint got its first team title, The Crusaders, lasting 8 issues. From October to December 1992, various titles are canceled.[dct 2] The Miniseries Crucible began in February 1993 by writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and artist Joe Quesada and was an attempt to relaunch the line but with sales still lagging, the imprint was instead canceled.[dci 2][dct 2]
|Status||Defunct (2012)[dct 4]|
|Founded||September 2004[dct 4]|
|Founder||Joan Hilty (editor)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Fiction genres||all ages cartoons|
DC started a Warner Bros cartoon characters line featuring Looney Tunes and Cartoon Network with the April 1994 issue of Looney Tunes.[dct 2] In September 2004, DC upgraded this line to a full imprint as Johnny DC for the November cover date. In the same month, the imprint added The Batman Strikes, a comic based on the Cartoon Network The Batman series, and Cartoon Network Block Party, an anthology title. In September 2006, a Krypto the Superdog comic was released based on the Cartoon Network series of the same name. Three new titles, Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!, Tiny Titans and Super Friends, were launched in August 2007 by Coordinating Editor Jann Jones. In February, Tiny Titans first issue was released while in March the Super Friends title was relaunched, now based on the Mattel toyline of the same name. Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade began in December 2008 as an ongoing series as a "push to put some energy into the line and actually attract the younger readers it's ostensibly aimed for." but was later changed to a mini-series. By 2012, the imprint was renamed DC Entertainment.[dct 4]
|Country of origin||United States|
|Key people||Karen Berger (SVP)
Shelly Bond (Editor)
Minx was an imprint of DC Comics graphic novels aimed at the young adult particularly teenage girls. The line was launched with The Plain Janes, the lines' signature title. DC signed Alloy Media & Marketing to market the imprint with a $250,000 budget. Also, Minx was working with Book Sense to get the novels into independent bookstores. The Plain Janes was the only title to get a second volume before the imprint was shut down.[dci 9] Random House, DC's bookstore distributor could not get the line's books into the young adult fiction section at the major bookstores. The line was canceled in September 2008. The New York Four moved to Vertigo for its sequel, New York Five.[dci 9]
|Status||defunct (2001)[dci 1]|
|Key people||Andy Helfer (Editor)[dct 5]|
Paradox's first comic books, Big Book of Urban Legends, La Pacifica and Brooklyn Dreams, sees print in January 1995. In August 1996, Paradox begins reprinting of Gon manga by Masashi Tanaka. Road to Perdition published in April 1998 was later adapted into a motion picture. Paradox stopped releasing material with Gon on Safari in September 2000.[dct 5]
|Successor||Paradox Press[dci 1]|
|Key people||Mark Nevelow (editor)[dct 6]|
Piranha Press was DC Comics's first mature readers imprint launched in 1987. The book establishing the imprint's tone was Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children (BSUC), an anthology by Dave Louapre and Dan Sweetman. Piranha's best-selling (and most well-remembered) title was Why I Hate Saturn (which started Kyle Baker's solo career). Piranha was shut down in 1994 to be replaced by Paradox Press.[dci 1] The imprint was DC's first imprint that allowed creator owned titles.[dct 6]
Piranha was announced in November 1987 with Mark Nevelow as its editor. In June 1989, the imprint's first titles hit the stands, BSUC and ETC. 24 different titles saw print under the Piranha imprint. BSUC lasted 30 issues while most were one shots or did not last for more than 5 issues. In December 1992, Prince:Alter Ego, based on the rock star Prince. hit the stands.[dct 6]
|Founder||Dan Jurgens (Writer)
Eddie Berganza (Editor)[dct 3]
Tangent Comics was a DC Comics imprint that introduced the Tangent Universe, a new universe of superheroes, created by Dan Jurgens in 1997 based on alternative concepts for the regular DC superheroes.
The imprint published a series of 18 one-shots over two years starring the Tangent version of the major DC Universe characters. The first nine specials were published during cover date December 1997 "skip-week", with the second nine for September 1998 skip-week.[dct 3] The one shots were collected into two volumes published in January 2008. In 2006, the Tangent characters appeared in the regular DC Universe in Infinite Crisis in 2006, in Ion in 2007 and then in Countdown in 2007. A 12-issue maxiseries Tangent: Superman's Reign written and drawn by Jurgens, ran from March 2008 to March 2009 and revisited the Tangent Universe 10 years later, both in reality and fiction.
- Superman is an African-American New York police officer named Harvey Dent who received psychic powers from experiments conducted on him by a top secret 'Big Brother' group called Nightwing.
- Tangent's Flash is a teenage celebrity and movie star named Lia Nelson who has the ability to move at the speed of light, fly, teleport, and create holograms.
|Key people||Hank Kanalz (SVP)
Shelly Bond (Executive Editor)
Vertigo is the alternative imprint of DC Comics.
In January 1993, DC's Vertigo imprint was launched with Sandman and Swamp Thing groups of titles plus Animal Man and Doom Patrol, all former DC Comics imprint titles plus Death: The High Cost of Living, a 3-issue Sandman related mini-series, being the imprint's first new title. In February, several creator-owned titles begin printing with Vertigo from Disney's aborted Touchmark imprint starting with Enigma. Also, in October, the imprint had its first crossover "The Children’s Crusade" running through the Vertigo annuals with The Children's Crusade "book end" series.[dct 7] In 1998, the Helix imprint closed down with its "signature book" Transmetropolitan transferred to the Vertigo imprint. Vertigo takes over publishing collected editions for the Helix titles.[dci 4] Starting in January 1999, Trenchcoat Brigade brings Phantom Stranger, Constantine, Dr Occult and Mr E together in one series lasting four issues.[dct 8] Vertigo has its first fifth week event in December 1999 To mark the change in the Millennium with books named starting with "V2K". In May 2002, an ongoing title, Fables by Bill Willingham, revitalized the Vertigo line with stories updating old fairy tales. In July, the imprint launched Vertigo Pop:Tokyo #1, title lasting four issues and included some manga, and the successful Y-The Last Man lasting to January 2008 and 60 issues. Fables' first spin-off, Jack of Fables was launched in July 2006 and lasts over 38 issues.[dct 9] After the September 2008 cancellation of the Minx line, the Minx's The New York Four move to Vertigo for its sequel, New York Five.[dci 9] Vertigo's Fables line has its first crossover, The Great Fables Crossover, a nine issue storyline, through its two ongoing titles plus a limited series, The Literals in 2009.[dct 9] In June 2009, Vertigo launched its first line in Vertigo Crime with Filthy Rich followed by Dark Entries both as black and white hard covers. On July 23, 2010, Karen Berger announced DC universe characters would return to the DC imprint thus canceling a title and effecting a proposed new Swamp Thing series.[dct 4] In 2010, Vertigo saw another Fable spin off, Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love and its 100-page "Spectacular" reprints program begins.[dct 10] On September 27, 2010, as part of DC Entertainment's reorganization, Vertigo joined its other DC imprints under the same Editor-in-Chief Bob Harris while three Vertigo editors were fired the next day.[dct 4] Vertigo in 2011 released two one shot Multi-editor anthologies: Strange Adventures and The Unexpected. Another Fables spin off, The Fairest, was launched in March 2012.[dct 10]
|Status||defunct (December 2010)|
|Successor||digital comics division|
|Imprints||America's Best Comics[dci 10]
Homage Comics[dct 3]
In August 1998, DC purchased Wildstorm including imprints Cliffhanger, Homage and America's Best Comics with the imprints appearing under the DC banner in January 1999.[dct 3] In November 1999, the Star Trek comic book began publishing under Wildstorm with a series of one shots and mini-series.[dct 4] On September 27, 2010 as part of DC Entertainment's reorganization, DC announced the Wildstorm imprint would be closed with the December issues with two titles moving to the DC brand and the Wildstorm editorial staff relocating to DC's Los Angeles-based digital publishing division.[dct 4]
America's Best Comics
|Key people||Alan Moore|
America's Best Comics (ABC) was an imprint of Wildstorm, originating before Wildstorm's purchase by DC comics in 1998. Alan Moore created the concepts of the line. The imprint published its first comic, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen #1, in January 1999.[dct 3] Additional titles printed were Tom Strong, Promethea and Top 10. In April 1999, Tom Strong begins its run.[dct 3] Moore became increasingly dissatisfied with DC, wrapping up the various series and moving League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to Top Shelf/Knockabout.
Cliffhanger was an imprint of Wildstorm Productions for creator owned projects.
Homage Comics was an imprint of Wildstorm Productions for writer-creator owned comics.
In March 1996, Wilstorm announced the start of the Homage Comics in August with the relaunch of Kurt Busiek's Astro City and that Homage Comics would be published outside the Image Comics system. In August 1998, DC purchased Wildstorm including imprints Cliffhanger, Homage and America's Best Comics with the imprints appearing under the DC banner in January 1999.[dct 3] Homage merged with Cliffhanger to become "WildStorm Signature Series".
- Kurt Busiek's Astro City
- Leave It To Chance by James Robinson and Paul Smith
- Strangers In Paradise by Terry Moore
- Red by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner
|Status||defunct (September 27, 2010)|
|Founded||July 9, 2007|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Publication types||web comics|
Zuda Comics was DC Comics' internet comics website/imprint starting in 2007. The site published all new web comics and open submission policy for new creators. DC shuttered Zuda in 2010 as the company moved to only DC Comics digital releases instead of web comics.[dci 7]
On July 9, 2007, DC announced Zuda Comics as a free online site for original comics. The site would be a competitive based submission site where users would try to have their feature run the longest to qualify for a print collection. In April 2009, the first Zuda Comic winner, Jeremy Love's Bayou, is printed.[dct 4]
On September 27, 2010, as part of the DC Entertainment reorganization, DC announced the end of the Zuda imprint.[dct 4]
Line of comic books are related comic books that don't necessarily have their own imprint. They may feature affiliate characters to a major character, (Batman line, source of the characters (Red Circle), or other similarities.
DC Archives Editions
|Fiction genres||reprints: superheroes, western, war|
DC Archives Editions is a reprint line that collects DC Comics in hardcover multi-issue format.
|Fiction genres||superheroes, western, war|
With DC's "New 52" reboot in September 2011, the Edge line of titles was launched with Stormwatch and Grifter titles, Wildstorm characters integrated with the DC Universe, and All-Star Western, Sgt. Rock and the Men of War, Deathstroke, Blackhawks, OMAC, Blue Beetle, Suicide Squad titles.
|Country of origin||United States|
|Key people||Karen Berger (Editor)
|Fiction genres||pulp heroes|
The universe was a melding of licensed pulp fiction characters with versions of established non-super powered DC heroes. The comic book line was launched with a Batman/Doc Savage one-shot followed by the limited series and two continuing series. The limited series was six-issue long published in 2010 and written by Brian Azzarello, drawn by Rags Morales featuring the main characters of the universe.
With DC's acquisition in 2009 to comic book rights for Doc Savage and the Spirit among other pulp characters, DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and writer Brian Azzarello decided on a shared universe for these characters then added established non-superpowered DC heroes to the mix.
The First Wave fictional universe is a part of the DC Multiverse and was launched in Batman/Doc Savage one-shot, by writer Brian Azzarello with Phil Noto as artist. This was then followed by a First Wave limited series with art by Rags Morales with the first issue released on March 3, 2010. The mini-series added additional character Black Canary, The Blackhawks, Rima the Jungle Girl, The Avenger, The Spirit, and Doc Savage's The Fabulous Five.
Two First Wave line ongoing series were then started: Doc Savage, by Paul Malmont as the first writer joined by artist Howard Porter, and The Spirit, by Mark Schultz the beginning writer joined by artist Moritat.
Both of these titles also included back-up stories further showcasing the First Wave universe. Doc Savage''s back up was Justice Inc., starring The Avenger, while The Spirit had additional Spirit short black-and-white tales by various creators.
By February 2011, DC planned to cancel the line, however the Doc Savage and The Spirit titles were solicited as late as August 2011. In February 2012, DC listed a First Wave collection for May 2012 release. Licenses for the non-DC characters, Spirit, Doc Savage and the Avenger, has ended prior to December 17, 2012.
|Predecessor||Impact Comics[dci 2]|
|Key people||J. Michael Straczynski (Writer)|
|Fiction genres||superheroes[dci 2]|
Red Circle was a DC Comics line of comic books in the DC Universe featuring the Red Circle characters. The line was the second licensed attempt of DC to use these characters; the previous attempt being Impact Comics.
DC was granted the license to the Red Circle characters in 2008. DC planned to merge the character into the DC Universe and tapped writer J. Michael Straczynski to write their introductory stories in the series The Brave and the Bold in 2009. The line was instead launch as a series of one-shots in August 2009. The Red Circle one shots were followed in September by The Shield ongoing series with an Inferno back up feature and The Web ongoing plus The Hangman co-feature. Both titles fold after 10 issues to be replaced by 'The Might Crusaders ongoing title which by issue 3 was shorten to a six issue miniseries. In July 2011, it was revealed that DC no longer had the rights to them.
|Status||defunct (October 1991)|
TSR is a DC comic book line based on games licensed from TSR, Inc.
Dragonlance was first to be licensed and published with its first issue hitting the stands in August 1988. Additional titles follow with issue one of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in October and Gammarauders in November. In July 1989, Forgotten Realms begins publication. In October 1989, Gammarauders is canceled with issue 12.[dct 11] An annual anthology, TSR Worlds #1, was launched in July 1990 with Spelljammer beginning a 15 issues run the next month. In October 1991, the TSR license ended bringing an end to the line with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons reaching issue 36.[dct 2]
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- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 281. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
A series of nine one-shots springing from the imagination of writer/artist Dan Jurgens, the Tangent Comics imprint introduced an entirely new universe of heroes.
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- Piranha Press. Page 8.
- Impact Comics. Page 6.
- Milestone. Page 4.
- Helix. Page 5.
- CMX. Page 10.
- DC Focus. Page 7.
- Zuda Comics. Page 3.
- All-Star DC. Page 2.
- Minx. page 9.
- Wildstorm. Page 1.
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- Grand Comic DB
- An International Catalogue of Superheroes
- Mighty Crusaders Network - featuring Archie's/Red Circle heroes
- DC Archives Editions