DC Comics has a tradition of telling out-of-continuity stories with their heroes and villains. This began in 1989 with Gotham by Gaslight, which reimagined Batman taking on Jack the Ripper in a 19th-century Gotham. These continued into the 1990s and 2000s, where these adventures were rallied under the “Elseworlds” banner. While the Elseworlds name hasn’t been used for much of the 21st century, although it came back into brief public consciousness through the Arrowverse, the tradition of out-of-continuity storytelling has continued at DC, with recent hits like DCeased.
However, the Elseworlds imprint is back. DC announced at New York Comic-Con that it would return in 2024, along with several exciting titles.
Naturally, I’ve put together a guide to help keep readers informed. This Elseworlds guide will give you everything you need to know about the new incarnation of the imprint, detailing the titles involved and more. I’ll update it as more information is available and additional titles are announced.
Table of contents
- What are the characteristics of an Elseworlds comic?
- Is there any required reading for these comics?
- Which comics are part of the new imprint?
- Will there be more Elseworlds series?
What are the characteristics of an Elseworlds comic?
Elseworlds have one defining characteristic – out-of-continuity stories using DC Comics characters. That means that they’re not connected to the main DC Universe. This allows creators to take heroes and villains in wild directions.
Sometimes, it’s done by dropping characters into a new setting, such as Gotham by Gaslight’s steampunk/19th century Gotham City. Other times, it’s a chance to explore genres such as western (Justice Riders) or horror (Batman & Dracula: Red Rain). While others focus on what-if scenarios, such as “what if Superman landed in the Soviet Union instead of Smallville as a child?” of Superman: Red Son or “what would happen if Superman retired and a new generation of more violent superheroes took his place?” of Kingdom Come.
Is there any required reading for these comics?
The out-of-continuity nature of the Elseworlds line of comics means you do not need to be up-to-date on DC Comics. However, there’s one caveat to this. Some of the comics that are part of this new imprint are sequels. As a result, you might get more out of them if you’ve read the original series. However, the sequels announced so far seem like they could be jumping on points for those concepts. Nothing is stopping you from checking out the sequel series and then reading the original comics if they interest you.
Which comics are part of the new imprint?
DC Comics has announced six new series as part of the new Elseworlds imprint, launching in 2024. You can find out more details about them all below.
Gotham by Gaslight: The Kryptonian Age
Written by Andy Diggle. Art by Leonardo Fernandez.
Gotham by Gaslight was the first Elseworlds series from all the way back in 1989. So it seems fitting for a sequel to be one of the first of the new batch of Elseworld comics. The original by Brian Augustin, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, and P. Craig Russell was a steampunk reimagining of Batman in a 19th-century Gotham City, hunting down Jack the Ripper. This new series will expand that world, introducing a steampunk Justice League and a Kryptonian threat.
This series will run for twelve issues.
Gotham by Gaslight: The Kryptonian Age #1 will be available in 2024.
Batman the Barbarian
Written and art by Greg Smallwood.
What if Batman was a barbarian in a fantasy world? Well, you’ll be able to read that in this six-part miniseries. Greg Smallwood is a fantastic artist, who will bring this fantastical realm to life.
Sounds like a must read for fans of Conan the Barbarian.
Batman the Barbarian #1 will be available in 2024.
Dark Knights of Steel: Allwinter
Written by Jay Kristoff. Art by Tirso Cons.
Dark Knights of Steel is a high-fantasy reimagining of DC Comics’ heroes and villains that originally ran between 2021-2023. The series will return under the Elseworlds imprint for a sequel titled “Allwinter“.
While Batman and Superman were the focus of the original series, this series will centre on Deathstroke. Here, he will fight for the land that has been frozen by a curse. Expect a combination of epic fantasy and Norse mythology.
This sequel series will run for six issues.
Dark Knights of Steel: Allwinter #1 will be available in 2024.
Green Lantern: Dark
Written by Tate Brombal. Art by Werther Dell’Edera.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by monsters, there’s only one hope for survival – Green Lantern. However, they’ve not been seen for seven years. Can or will they be able to save the day?
This upcoming series will run for seven issues.
Green Lantern: Dark #1 will be available in 2024.
Written by Clay Mann and Seth Mann. Art by Clay Mann.
After Gotham is destroyed by a massive blaze, Batman does the unthinkable to try and fix everything – time travel. However, it will all go horribly wrong.
This upcoming series will run for six issues.
Batman: Nightfire #1 will be available in 2024.
DC vs. Vampires: World War V
Written by Matthew Rosenberg. Art by Otto Schmidt.
DC vs. Vampires is back for another series. Humanity was just beginning to recover from the vampire plague from the original series. Now there’s a new threat in the Queen of the Undead, Barbara Gordon.
This sequel series will run for twelve issues.
Catch up with the original DC vs. Vampires run with our reading order.
DC vs. Vampires: World War V #1 will be available in 2024.
Will there be more Elseworlds series?
There has been no confirmation from DC Comics if there will be more Elseworlds series after the initial six comics. However, you can assume that there will be more series coming at a later date. DC Comics would likely want to keep the Elseworlds line small, at least to begin with, and a new comic book series might be published after the conclusion of the initial batch. As a result, there could be new Elseworlds comics beginning in the second half of 2024, when the six-issue miniseries have concluded, through to early 2025, when the twelve-part series are finished.
This guide will be updated when DC announces more Elseworlds series.
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