With the announcement of DC Comics' Convergence event earlier this week, we were left wondering: who's doing the forty (yes -- forty!) two-issue tie-in stories?
For context: Convergence will see a number of alternate DC earths, including the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe, the classic Earth-2, the worlds of popular Elseworlds stories like Kingdom Come and Superman: Red Son and many more. The events of the story will play out primarily in a nine-issue, weekly miniseries launching on April 1 but in addition, the entire DC superhero publishing line will take two months off and be replaced by more than three dozen two-issue microseries (that's what I'm calling them, anyway) that will give fans a more in-depth glimpse into the worlds of Convergence.
Literally nothing else is known. There has been no official word on any creative team, character or world connected to any of the tie-in microseries.
But what about an unofficial word? Like...really, really big hints?
The foundation for Convergence was laid in the one-two punch delivered back in September with the final issue of Superman: Doomed and the Booster Gold #1: Futures End one-shot. In that book, the time-traveling hero was cast blindly through time, reliving a past trauma as well as seeing a number of alternate worlds...which later turned out were mostly on the promotional poster for Convergence (seen above).
In Booster Gold, in particular, we got a particularly detailed look at something...could it be Convergence itself?
The story featured a number of artists doing two-page vignettes, while writer Dan Jurgens (who is working on The New 52: Futures End, Convergence's #0 and who created Booster Gold) drew the framing pages that take place in a mysterious lair later revealed to belong to Brainiac/Telos.
The working assumption by many that with his heavy workload, Jurgens wouldn't have been able to finish the full issue without putting something behind schedule. He's rarely had deadline issues in the past, though, and while he's co-writing the Futures End weekly, there doesn't seem to be anything else on his plate in terms of art (ComicBookDb says he's drawn parts of #0, #3 and some covers, but other than Booster Gold, that's it). So...what gives?
What if DC was, without telling us, giving us a peek into the future of Convergence?
My theory is perhaps backed up by Dan Jurgens, who had this to say when we asked him about the various artists working on different worlds back in September:
"Normally, when you see a number of artists on a book, it's because there's a large deadline problem and the 'All hands on deck!' alarm goes out. In this case, we selected the guys for very particular reasons as we really wanted to capture the feeling and particular look of the environments Booster was visiting."
Who were the fill-in artists, and what did they do? Here's a look:
Will Conrad did an OMAC/New 52 flashback
This one may or may not be anything that recurs, but since he was singled out to draw it, it seemed worth mentioning. Since rumor has it The New 52 won't play into Convergence, this could be the sole piece of hard evidence that dividing up the art was done for deadline reasons...or it could have been done to throw the readers off the scent of what they were doing.
It could also just have been about recapturing a tone. While Conrad didn't draw Justice League International Annual #1, the issue in which these events took place (it was Jason Fabok), his style is much closer to how it was originally presented than anyone else involved with the Booster Gold one-shot.
Moritat on Gotham by Gaslight
The longtime artist on the Jonah Hex-centric All-Star Western, who also wrote an arc of that title featuring Booster Gold, took on Gotham By Gaslight, the first-ever Elseworlds story, originally by Bryan Augustyn and Mike Mignola.
This is one that we didn't actually see on the Convergence poster, which is interesting. But it's likely to show up, if for no other reason than DC seems to love it. Gaslight Batman has popped up again and again, notably in the Infinite Crisis video game.
Steve Lightle on the Legion of Super-Heroes
From here on in, these are worlds we did see on the teaser image. In this case, at least, we assuem it is. I've never had an easy go of differentiating the various iterations of the Legion.
That said, Lightle's take on the Legion of Super-Heroes was his fourth time around with the team; in the '80s, he drew more than a dozen issues in a row and even returned to write one. He worked briefly on the title in 2011 and in the early 2000s did a couple of issues of The Legion with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
Stephen Thompson & Mark Irwin on Charlton
Charlton's universe is one that has integrated much more successfully than most others to the DC Universe proper.
While characters like Shazam, and even some that come from within DC but had to be merged during Crisis, often stick out like a sore thumb when they're in a room with DC's heroes, the Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Huntress and others have integrated pretty seamlessly.
That said, many of them have been changed drastically for the New 52, and their Charlton versions are, in some cases, much more popular. What to do? Well, apparently use the Charlton world not only here, but also in The Multiversity.
Ron Frenz & Scott Hanna on Kamandi
Frenz and Hanna killed it on the Kamandi pages in Booster Gold, which was the thing that inspired my question to Jurgens. There's always a balancing act when you're trying to evoke Kirby without aping him too much, and that came out well in their pages. I wouldn't mind a couple of issues of that.
The world, created by Jack Kirby, started as a pitch to do a Planet of the Apes story and when the rights were tied up elsewhere, just became its own thing with some similar visuals and concepts. The artistry, scope and madness of it, though, was pure Kirby and it's gone on to be one of his most beloved DC projects.
In fact, we kind of knew that Kamandi may be coming back into print, as recently Quantum & Woody artist Tom Fowler tweeted that he had turned down the opportunity to draw the book (and he wasn't happy about it).
Brett Booth & Norm Rapmund on the pre-relaunch DCU.
This is particularly notable because the image of the pre-relaunch DC Universe in the Convergence promo appears to show Wally West as The Flash -- and that's something Booth could definitely get behind.
He's a big fan of Wally, having "redesigned" the character for the New 52 in his own spare time before being brought in to be part of Wally's real introduction to the New 52 months later.
You can pick up a copy of Booster Gold #1: Futures End at ComiXology if you want to see the rest of it firsthand and see what kind of clues you can pick up.