DC’s new comics solicitations for November, 2020, were full of surprises, but there may not be a bigger shock than the announcement that they would be publishing Alan Moore’s pitch for Twilight of the Superheroes.
DC is releasing DC Through the ’80s: The End of Eras on December 15th. It’s a compilation of several pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths stories, including Moore and Curt Swan’s legendary “What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” Detective Comics #500, The Brave and the Bold #200, and several others. The hardcover will also include essays on this era of comics from Elliot S! Maggin, Andy Kubert, J.M. DeMatteis, and others, alongside Moore’s mega-crossover pitch.
Twilight of the Superheroes was Moore’s attempt, in 1987, to clean up what he saw as the mess that was created by Crisis. It was a mechanism to reintroduce a version of the multiverse (as well as what would eventually become Hypertime, the constantly shifting timeline of the DCU), and an effort to let superhero stories ascend to the status of myth by putting a cap on their end. Moore argued in the pitch document that part of what made ancient mythology so enduring was the finality of the stories, something at odds with serialized comic publishing that only provides the illusion of change. So Twilight would end the DC Universe.
It was framed as a conversation between two Constantines – the modern day one that Moore had been writing at the time in Swamp Thing, and a future one who traveled back to prevent a dark timeline where the heroes had taken over the world and sorted themselves into families. In the tale, the House of Steel (Superman’s family) and the House of Thunder (the Marvel family) were set to be united, while some unpowered heroes who had allied with Batman, along with an alliance of DC’s space based heroes, opposed the union. They all fought and destroyed everything, so old Constantine was back to try and stop it.
The series would never come to be, in part because of Moore’s falling out with DC over Watchmen, a book heralded as a great innovation in creator’s rights that’s ownership was supposed to revert back to Moore and artist Dave Gibbons when the book fell out of print. Its success meant that DC never actually let the book cease publishing and in 1989, Moore walked away from DC all together. Modified pieces of Twilight of the Superheroes have made it into other books – most prominently, the hit prestige series Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, which bears several broad similarities to Moore’s pitch, as well as the aforementioned Hypertime – but this is the first time the pitch has seen its way to official print.
The announcement of the publication of Moore’s Twilight of the Superheroes pitch came as part of a large culling in DC’s ongoing titles. October sees the end of Batgirl, Batman and the Outsiders, and Justice League Odyssey, and November has five more ongoings end: Teen Titans, Young Justice, Suicide Squad, Hawkman, and John Constantine: Hellblazer. There is also vague text alluding to an end to Aquaman.
The cuts in DC’s line are announced a week before DC’s big convention-replacement DC Fandome event. A full schedule was officially released on Friday, and there were a number of highlights within, including a video game announcement from WB Montreal (rumored to be a Batman game); Neil Gaiman, G. Willow Wilson and Michael Sheen discussing The Sandman; one panel rumored to be Mark Waid, Grant Morrison and Paul Levitz talking Multiverse shop for an hour that I’m SUPER into; “The Expansion of DC’s Watchmen” panel discussion with Tom King and Jorge Fornes talking Rorschach and Damon Lindelof talking about the show; and sneak peeks at upcoming shows like Superman and Lois and movies like Wonder Woman 1984 and Superman: Man of Tomorrow. It is entirely possible that replacements for the reduced ongoing line are formally announced at one of these panels.
Den of Geek will be your home for all of your Fandome coverage. Stay tuned!