Black Lightning writer John Ridley explained how his new book, The Other History of the DC Universe, evolved over time. The Oscar-winning screenwriter sat down with EW to talk about the giant project and how the scope of focus evolved over time. When taking a long view of DC history, there are a lot of events to consider. Ridley made recontextualizing and analyzing world events from diverse perspectives a focus for the team. By all accounts, this will be one of the largest efforts to put marginalized characters in the spotlight at the company in recent years. Announcements like the Milestone Media return earlier this year at DC FanDome are welcome additions as well, but there is still a lot of work to do. However, Ridley and his team should be commended for their work in reaching across the scope of time in the DC Universe.
“It’s evolved, expanded, [and] recontextualized in every way, shape and form. From the writing to the main characters, to the events, to the incidents, both real and imagined, to the visual style of storytelling,” Ridley admitted. “None of us, myself included — and I put myself at the head of the list — had any concept of what we were getting into, in terms of the breadth of the story. [I brought] in individuals who were outside of my perspective to get their opinions on the scripts and for me to deal with those reactions honestly and not just saying, “Okay great, you read that and I’m doing this.”
He continued, “I’m a Black man of a certain age and it would’ve been just as disingenuous for me to have assumptions about Renee [Montoya] or Tatsu [Yamashiro] as with any of these other characters if it were just a straight white man writing about a Black character. Certainly throughout history that’s been done. And done well. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Tony Isabella and what he did with Black Lightning, or any number of writers and artists who may not have been Black, who may not have been women, but wanted to put their all into those characters to the best of their ability.”
When the project got announced, John Ridley talked about how much of an honor being able to write this account was.
“I could not be more excited by the opportunity to excavate the canon of the DC Universe through a vast array of characters who’ve earned their seat at the table,” explains Ridley. “I’m very impressed with DC's commitment to making their history as reverent and urgent as it is engaging and entertaining for all its many fans.”
Will you be checking out The Other History of the DC Universe? Let us know down in the comments!