If things at DC Comics seem a little different in the coming months, it’s because writer James Tynion IV is leaving. He announced today that he’ll exit Batman after issue #117 in November and The Joker after issue #14 in April 2022. Where is he headed? Well, he’ll be moving his talents exclusively to Substack, with “no immediate plans to write any other superhero comics in the near future.”
The announcement was made, appropriately enough, on his Substack, which will become a subscription-based site where Tynion will basically have complete creative control to do whatever the heck he wants. And that begins in September with the publication of Blue Book, an original UFO comic written by Tynion, drawn by Michael Avon Oeming, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar.
That’s a lot to digest but the writer goes deep into all of it over on his Substack. Basically, he had to choose between a new contract from DC and another from Substack. The difference being Substack’s was “The best [contract] I’ve ever been given in a decade as a professional comic book writer. A grant from Substack to create a new slate of original comic book properties directly on their platform, that my co-creators and I would own completely, with Substack taking none of the intellectual property rights, or even the publishing rights,” Tynion wrote. So, that’s the deal he took.
Tynion’s Substack will cost $10 a month, with other options and discounts depending on how long you choose to buy-in. “The more you support this newsletter… the larger the budget I have to start building the next wave of big, cool ideas that I’m dying to try out. There is no upper limit,” he wrote. Tynion, who also writes outside of DC, clarified on Twitter that none of his creator-owned work at other publishers will be affected by the Substack deal.
The writer actually gave a breakdown: “I launched my highest selling original comic book series yet with The Nice House on the Lake at DC Black Label. News got out that my best-selling horror comic, Something Is Killing the Children, is in development at Netflix with Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy’s Intrepid Pictures. And we announced that Boom Studios and I are launching the first spin-off title in the “Slaughterverse” with House of Slaughter. Over at Image Comics, my conspiracy thriller The Department of Truth hit sales highs approaching our original launch numbers for Issues #10 and 11 (turns out people like Bigfoot!), while we continued to develop the project for television with the fine people at Sister. I’ve also been having some extremely exciting conversations about the future of my Young Adult series, Wynd, in comics and other media that I can’t talk about just yet…”
Of course, the whole creators going to Substack thing has been rather controversial over the past few months. Money problems, issues with who is on the platform and who isn’t, the list goes on and on. So this move might not end up being as clean and easy as it seems. Even so, it does mark a pretty huge get for Substack and loss for DC, not to mention a big gut punch to the traditional comic book hierarchy.