DC Is Relaunching Elseworlds As An Imprint In 2024 And You Probably Didn’t Notice

Batman the Barbarian issue #1 (2024), DC. Words and art by Greg Smallwood.

A popular line is being brought back by DC this year and you probably haven’t heard about it. Even if you did, it’s not exactly as if there is a lot of fanfare for the return of Elseworlds

Superior Man-Red Son
Superior Man (Travis Willingham) flies to Moscow for a fight in Superman: Red Son (2020), Warner Bros. Animation

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The original announcement was made back in October at New York Comic-Con, but since then, the coverage has been light for something that should be a monumental event. Or rather, it would have been ages ago.

After two decades (though it sure doesn’t feel like it), Elseworlds returns in 2024 for, by all appearances, a sustained run that includes new Batman stories (naturally), a 19th-century Justice League, further adventures of a Green Lantern on another Earth, and vampires – of all things. Sure, why not?

Batman Nightfire cvr by Seth Mann
Batman Nightfire Vol. 1 #1 (2024), DC. Words and art by Clay and Seth Mann.

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The titles coming with the relaunch of the imprint are Gotham by Gaslight: The Kryptonian Age by Andy Diggle and Leandro Fernandez, Batman the Barbarian by Greg Smallwood (Human Target), Dark Knights of Steel: Allwinter by Jay Kristoff and Tirso Cons, Green Lantern: Dark by Tate Brombal and Werther Dell’Edera, Batman: Nightfire by Clay and Seth Mann, and DC vs. Vampires: World War V by Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt.

As you may have guessed, Kryptonian Age and Allwinter are continuations of previous Elseworld tales. The former adds layers to the Victorian Earth of Gotham by Gaslight such as a Justice League incarnation and the intro of Kryptonians to the fold. Meanwhile, Allwinter takes the work of Tom Taylor and plants Deathstroke in the thick of his frozen Norse wasteland. 

Leandro-Gaslight Kryptonia cover
Gotham by Gaslight: The Kryptonian Era Vol. 1 #1 (2024), DC. Words by Andy Diggle. Art by Leandro Fernandez.

Batman the Barbarian goes the fantasy route to retell the origin of the Dark Knight – how original – in medieval times. Green Lantern: Dark does essentially the same thing, except it’s not an origin story. Taking place long after the war of good and evil is over, the last hero alive is a gender-flipped Lantern who’s been missing for years.

“Out-of-continuity stories have always been a pillar of DC publishing, granting creators the ability to explore all the wild corners of the DC Universe,” said DC Executive Editor Ben Abernathy in a statement. 

“We’re excited to bring a whole new slate of titles under the ELSEWORLDS banner in 2024, combining some all-new titles from top storytellers, as well as sequels from the current DC line that fit that same out-of-continuity aesthetic,” he added.

Lady Green Lantern-Dark
Green Lantern Dark Vol. 1 #1 (2024), DC. Words and art by Tate Brombal and Werther Dell’Edera.

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Some of the most famous outside-continuity stories are Superman: Red Son, Kingdom Come, and Frank Miller’s work on Batman from The Dark Knight Returns to Year One. Each of these, save for Kingdom Come, and others like All-Star Superman, were turned into animated movies over the years.

Elseworlds was also the theme of an Arrowverse crossover not that long ago. Couple that with the fact Dark Knights of Steel came out in 2021, and you’re left wondering what sort of comeback this is when the idea never went away in the first place. As a piece of DC iconography, it has always been around in some form.

Batman rides once more in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Vol. 1 #1 "The Dark Knight Returns" (1986), DC Comics. Words and art by Frank Miller.
Batman rides once more in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Vol. 1 #1 “The Dark Knight Returns” (1986), DC. Words and art by Frank Miller.

Moreover, if this “relaunch” becomes a return to prominence, that will depend on you, the reader, picking up copies of the above books. But will you? Let us know.

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