The Other History of the DC Universe Coming From John Ridley

The 12 Years a Slave writer and American Crime creator returns to comics to show the history of the DC Universe from a different perspective.

Black Lightning in John Ridley's Other History of the DC Universe
Photo: DC Comics

Decades ago (pandemic time), DC Comics announced that John Ridley, Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave and creator of the award-winning American Crime, would be writing a series about major events in DC history from the perspective of heroes from traditionally marginalized groups. And now, in the wake of All This *waves at the world*, that series finally has a release date.

The Other History of the DC Universe is coming from DC Comics in November of this year. The book is written by Ridley, with art from Giuseppi Camuncoli (Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith), Andrea Cucchi, and colorist Jose Villarubia. The book will have covers from Camuncoli and Jamal Campbell, the budding superstar currently drawing Far Sector.

“Considering the events of the last few months, I don’t think there has been a more urgent need to see the world through a variety of lenses and perspectives,” said Ridley. “I am deeply appreciative of DC, Cammo, and Andrea, and to all the artisans who have literally put years of work into these stories. I am so enthusiastic for the opportunity to share this series with both the longtime fans of the DCU and a new generation of readers who I hope will feel invited and encouraged to join in.”

The book focuses on several main characters: Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning, and his daughter Anissa (Thunder); husband and wife superheroes you might recognize from Young Justice, Mal Duncan and Karen Beecher (Herald and Bumblebee, respectively); Renee Montoya, the best Question; and Tatsu Yamashiro (Katana). The announcement from DC conspicuously addressed each of these heroes by their given names and not their superhero alter egos, another interesting signal about the point of view of the series.

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In addition to his acclaimed movie and television work, Ridley is becoming something of a comics veteran. The Other History of the DC Universe follows previous work on The American Way and its sequel, The American Way: Those Above and Those Below, where Ridley and series artist Georges Jeanty put superhero archetypes into the American politics of the 1960s and 70s; The Authority: Human on the Inside with Ben Oliver, about an attempt to rip apart the Earth’s ultraviolent alpha heroes from the inside; and a story in The Joker War Zone tying in with the big Batman event with artist Olivier Coipel.

“The opportunity to have John, Cammo, and Andrea tell this story couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Mark Doyle, executive editor of DC’s Black Label imprint that is publishing The Other History of the DC Universe. “Comic books have a proud history of being a reflection of the world around them, and it only makes sense that includes the viewpoints and perspectives that show the diversity of the superhero experience. I think fans will be very pleased come November.”