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#1225379 - Sun Apr 08 2018 02:19 AM Dc's Elseworlds line
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America



I was looking at mycomicshop.com, here's an incomplete list of the ones they list:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=elseworlds&pubid=&PubRng=

I loved these books for a variety of reasons.
1) they were very nicely formatted, and generally had very nice art.
2) the limited-series or one-shot nature of the books gave you a complete story that came to a full conclusion, as compared to the regular series that are often serialized and often don't come to a similar complete and satisfying end. I used to joke back on the DC boards that "You almost need a Phd in comic book continuity to understand the new books." The Elseworlds line was a welcome exception to that, where you could just step in and enjoy, without all the clutter and sometimes pretentiousness that went with the regular titles.
3) It was interesting to see the characters changed in ways very different from the regular series, in new costumes, new eras, or just a "what if" type twist, exploring a path the characters didn't go down in the regular series.

For reasons I still don't understand, this line of books ended, right about the time I was (for a while) interested in the new books. Its cancellation was part of what pushed me back to being indifferent to and not buying the new books.
They were an easy entry point for new readers, or readers like me who had been out of the fold for a while.


So... what happened?

And what are some of your favorites?



I'll start with one of the more popular ones, BATMAN/DRACULA: RED RAIN, by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones.



As I recall, Moench and Jones collaborated on this Elseworlds book before they did their roughly 50-issue run on the regular BATMAN series.

I love the idea, that Batman is already an atmospheric and almost supernatural creature of the night. And in RED RAIN, he goes beyond that to become a vampire, and truly enter the realm of the supernatural. Also interesting how it changes him and makes him more savage, in some ways out of character for the Bruce Wayne/Batman character we all know and love. But it works and is explainable, because he's a vampire!

And needless to say, great art.

With two new Elseworlds sequels after, BATMAN:BLOODSTORM, and BATMAN:CRIMSON MIST.

Each of these were one-shots and well done.

By Moench and Jones, there was also a BATMAN: HAUNTED GOTHAM series that was enjoyable, but somehow not as engaging and visceral as the RED RAIN series of one-shots.



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#1225380 - Sun Apr 08 2018 02:26 AM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America



I forgot to mention the BATMAN/DARK JOKER: THE WILD hardcover, another Moench/Kelley Jones Elseworlds offering.



Another interesting through-a-mirror-darkly Batman offering. The wraparound foil cover is remarkably atmospheric, projecting the other-worldliness of the story.

I keep all the Moench/Jones material together in one comic box. Despite being different stories, there's both a consistency and a compelling contrast in these works they collaborated on together.




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#1225429 - Wed Apr 11 2018 06:40 PM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America




Another along similar fantasy lines of the Moench/Jones Elsworlds of Batman is BATMAN & DEMON: A TRAGEDY.

Published in 2000, it has beautiful and ornately detailed art by a guy I never heard of named Jim Murray, whose work while distinct, I'd most closely compare to that of Simon Bisley. Bruce Wayne is still something of a playboy millionaire in a big house with Alfred as his butler, but in an eerie mist-filled Tolkienesque world of wizards, sword-wielding barbarian armies, and other assorted monsters and gargoyle-decorated castles.

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#1225445 - Fri Apr 13 2018 09:25 PM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America



I think Frank Miller's BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, while not technically an Elseworlds or a series having the Elseworlds logo on the cover, was in any case the first Elseworlds, the book that created the squarebound high-quality format, and the template of presenting DC heroes in alternate realities with aspects changed, in a limited series or one-shot format.

I'm not entirely clear whether BATMAN: YEAR ONE was an Elseworlds type story, or a full-fledged reboot. I don't recall it being rigidly held continuity in subsequent issues, but maybe it was.

Anyway, these two series by Frank Miller, along with Alan Moore's WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA, I think of as the Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon in comics. Books that remain top sellers over 30 years later, and are constantly back in print.
DARK KNIGHT RETURNS is certainly a good book to argue is the starting point of the Elseworlds line.


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#1225487 - Sun Apr 15 2018 07:14 AM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America




Actually, according to Wikipedia the first official Elseworlds title was GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT (1989), written by Brian Augustyn, with art by Mike Mignola and Craig Russell. While listed as the first Elseworlds, it still didn't have the Elseworlds logo on the cover.

Setting Batman in 1889, in pursuit of Jack the Ripper, who has come from London and begun murdering women in Gotham. With some interesting twists that weave it into the Batman continuity.

I was unaware there was a sequel to it until I read the Wikipedia listing.




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#1225492 - Sun Apr 15 2018 12:59 PM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: Wonder Boy]
the G-man
Online   ass-kicky Officially "too old for this shit"

Registered: Fri May 16 2003
Posts: 43347
Loc: the right
 Quote:
I'm not entirely clear whether BATMAN: YEAR ONE was an Elseworlds type story, or a full-fledged reboot. I don't recall it being rigidly held continuity in subsequent issues, but maybe it was.


Year One was considered fully "in continuity" when first published, but DC later backtracked a little on some of the more controversial aspects (Selina as an S&M hooker for example) and (I think) used "Zero Hour" to take those apsects out of continuity.

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#1225493 - Sun Apr 15 2018 04:27 PM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: the G-man]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America

Yeah, that hint of lesbianism with Selina Kyle/Catwoman in YEAR ONE stood out. And it was noticeable that it didn't appear again once the four-issue YEAR ONE story concluded. Harlan Ellison actually ribbed Frank Miller about that at the 1987 San Diego Comic con. It was quite funny to listen to.


Other DC reboots of the 1980's were very well thought out, and had lasting elements in the new continuity. Lex Luthor re-imagined as a more subtle villain as a corporate captain of industry in the Byrne run. And Greek mythology taking a more prominent role in the Perez WONDER WOMAN run.

Tim Truman's HAWKWORLD series likewise gave a more refined and sophisticated continuity to Hawkman and Thanagar, that put the series on a par with a science fiction novel. The speculative fiction allegory of the Thanagarian empire being over-run by the peoples they conquered and losing the cultural identity that made their civilization great. Gritty and modern in style, but Truman's work had remarkable visual continuity with the Silver Age Kubert run. And in its modernization for the 80's, it amazingly wasn't a reboot. You could re-read the Kubert issues, and they fit right into the updated storyline. That was unique among DC's reboots.

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#1225496 - Mon Apr 16 2018 08:47 AM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America




Another along similar lines as GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT was WONDER WOMAN: AMAZONIA (1997), that set Wonder Woman in the late 1800's with a clear Victorian era flavor.
By William Messner-Loebs and Phil Winslade.

This was the first art I'd ever seen of Phil Winslade's and I was quite impressed with the ornate steel engraving art style, representative of pen and ink art published in that era, such as Gustave Dore, or what Wrightson attempted to capture in his illustrated version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN novel.

WONDER WOMAN: AMAZONIA is also in a larger 8 X 11" magazine size that allows you to better appreciate the art. I can't offhand recall any other Elseworlds published in that size.

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#1225555 - Sat Apr 21 2018 02:03 PM Re: Dc's Elseworlds line [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17610
Loc: A glorious bold new America




Another I enjoyed is JLA: ISLAND OF DR MOREAU (2002). Where Lucas Carr (Silver Age character Snapper Carr) is shipwrecked and ends up on the Island of Dr. Moreaau, where Moraeu's experiments have spawned anthropomorphic animals with the vaguely equivalent powers of JLA members Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman and Aquaman, Superman and Green Arrow.
Set in 1888, it again presents plot threads tied to Jack the Ripper.

Written by Roy Thomas, with art by Steve Pugh. The only other book illustrated by Pugh I've read is PREACHER: SAINT OF KILLERS four-issue miniseries. But I like his art and found both stories very engaging.

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