UPDATED: DC Announces NATIONAL COMICS Anthology Series for Cool, Crazy-Obscure Characters

Last summer I was instantly taken with the concept behind DC Universe Presents, the publisher’s ongoing showcase for the Wallace Shawns, Margo Martindales and Clifton Collins Jr.s of their bountiful roster of characters. It was to serve as a sanctuary for mid-tier properties like Deadman and, well, any other beloved heroes who just couldn’t sustain their own eponymous monthly series. Unfortunately, the book hasn’t quite captured all too many hearts and minds eight months later. The wait-and-see approach many readers have adopted means that the series has languished. Not into Boston Brand and/or the starting creative team? You’re sidestepping the series for half a year. Maybe more if you’ve justifiably stopped paying attention to the solicits. It’s a cool idea, but maybe an ongoing monthly series of what are essentially unconnected limited series just isn’t the right formula.

All this to say, DC Comics’ newly announced National Comics series of one-shots might be a smarter project and great opportunity to meet some weird, wonderful characters.

Meet Eternity.

Wired’s GeekDad blog caught the news this morning. While you may or may not be interested in National Comics #1 by Jeff Lemire and Cully Hamner (though with a team like that, you ought to be), each new month will offer a distinct new reason to reconsider. That’s because each month, National Comics will totally reinvent itself with a new one-and-done story with a new creative team.

In July, the aforementioned Lemire and Hamner issue focused on reluctant necromancer Christopher Freeman (a.k.a. Eternity). In August, it’s Madame X. Rose and Thorn take over in September. Come October, we’ll meet Looker. Each month, an introduction to a strange new character, providing new readers with an introduction and the characters with a potential starting point for further adventures in the larger DCU. Sort of like a sampler.

A smart idea, and we’re looking forward to picking and choosing from a host of new and re-imagined characters every few weeks.

Look for the 48-page National Comics: Kid Eternity #1 in July.

UPDATE: DC Comics has revealed the creative teams and synopses for the subsequent issues of National Comics:

ETERNITY, written by Eisner Award nominee Jeff Lemire with artwork by Cully Hamner, tells the story of police coroner Christopher Freeman. Given a second chance at life, Freeman discovers the ability to resurrect the dead. Now this clumsy wannabe detective partners with the recently deceased to find their murderers—and find them closure before they once again shuffle off this mortal coil.

MADAME X, written by Rob Williams with artist Trevor Hairsine and a cover by Fiona Staples, starts off with a clear vision of who did it — but the real challenge is trying to prove it. As an upstart law firm’s psychic consultant, MADAME X uses tarot cards to divine the truth behind cases, helping skeptical lawyers gather evidence that will hold up in court.

ROSE AND THORN, written by Tom Taylor with artwork by Neil Googe and a cover by Ryan Sook, is a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde story about Rose Canton, a good girl with a very bad side: Thorn, an ass-kicking femme fatale out for revenge.

LOOKER, written by Ian Edington with art by Mike S. Miller and a cover by Guillem March, tells the story of Emily Briggs, a model who loved looking at herself in the mirror—until the day she couldn’t. Turned into a vampire, LOOKER prowls the dark underbelly of NYC’s elite modeling world, hunting all predators, including the creature that spawned her.


  1. Super excited for this. Especially if the remaining teams are as strong as Lemire/Hamner

  2. Avatar photo Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    This is totally up my alley. Looks great.

  3. Sounds like a great idea, I kind of wish DC Universe presents was more one and done or two issue arcs. I will definitely be picking up the first issue. eternity… Any relation to Kid Eternity?

  4. Yeah! Finally a book that demands a single issue purchase, rather than tradewaiting. I’ve been noticing recently that most of my favorite books have shifted to shorter story arcs, so I’m happy to see something like this. I’m on board on an issue-by-issue basis (of course).

    I wonder if it will be a 20-page $2.99 book, or if DC will make it 28 pages for $3.99?

  5. i am super excited, i really hope this lasts

  6. Yes yes yes. This is what I want!

  7. The elevator pitch for Lemire story is good I want an on going

  8. I’m intrigued but not sure if I’m fully committed to the idea yet. Although Jeff Lemire and Cully Hamner is a might fine creative team. We’ll see how my finances and interests level go in the next few months.

    Although with this being scheduled a lot of people online think this means more books are going to cancelled. Since the last time a new mini-series was announced DC did get rid of a few titles. So we’ll see what happens….Bleeding Cool says 12 titles are on the chopping block but I doubt they’ll get rid of that many titles in one year.

    • I don’t know — if close to a third of the New 52 get cancelled and replaced with new books every year, I think that will help keep things fresh and allow DC to try some new things while maintaining a consistent volume of output. Some properties could cycle out when a storyline wraps up (hooray for third acts!) and cancelled books might even cycle back in if there’s a fresh take by a new creative team.

  9. This sounds very cool. I love the idea of one and done issues with new (to us) characters. I hope its as fun as Brave and the Bold used to be. Seems like a great way for DC to do some beta testing with some obscure characters.

  10. Also, why can’t these comics like DCU Presents survive? Okay maybe 6 issues of Deadman was a bad idea. But a series that changes the main characters every couple of issues has always sounded like a great idea to me. That’s why old Brave and the Bold or Marvel Team Up issues are some of my favorite comics to read.

    Heck even before JMS went on Brave and the Bold I was loving that title…and there were some stinkers in that run.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Because readers try one story and creative team and if they don’t like it, they potentially write off the entire series. Readers are more likely to try a new story listed as #1 than that same issue were it labeled #7.

    • Well it’s weird it worked back in the day and not now. I’m sure there were a bunch of terrible stories back then and yet Brave and Team Up lasted for a long time.

    • @TNC: It may be weird, but it shouldn’t be unexpected. Comics was a pretty different industry when the team-up books had their hey-day. It’s kind of like asking why people aren’t crazy about horse-drawn carriages when they were all the rage for centuries.

    • the obvious solution is the make every comic book published from here on out be numbered as a #1. Every month, every issue, #1. Marketing genius i tells ya!

    • brave and the bold and team up were team up books that featured batman and spiderman (at least brave and bold eventually became that) so there was a consistent very popular character in the book. This seems more like the original showcase book or the marvel premiere, marvel feature and marvel spotlight books.

      Keep in mind that in the past there were far fewer comics from far fewer publishers. in the bronze age you werent as picky, you read what you could as long as it didnt suck. just like having 3 channels on TV. the showcase books and the team up books pretty much all died out by the mid 80’s when the direct market made a variety of publishers accessible and marvel and dc started creating large amounts of new product aimed at that market. Now there are so many comics, people have to be picky about what they get. some cut by price, some by publisher, some by creator or character. if you are part of the latter two categories, a rotating anthology is a touch sell.

      just looking at this list, id skip rose & thorn and looker. already half the issues announced dont make my cut.

  11. DC and Image are just robbing me of all my hard earned money, this sounds fantastic.

  12. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Okay, the initial announcement was slightly vague. My initial understanding was National Comics was a numbered ongoing with new one-and-done issues at #2, #3, #4 and so on. Based on Lemire’s comments it’s a “series” of one-shots, each branded National Comics. Was hoping for the former, but the reality remains compelling.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      And when I say “slightly vague” I mean contradictory from post to post.

    • Lemire’s blog lists the title as “NATIONAL COMICS #1: KID ETERNITY.” That makes it sound like it is in fact a series called National Comics that is also a series of one shots and each will have a subtitle. The other way around would be “NATIONAL COMICS: KID ETERNITY #1.” I think?

      Either way, this sounds great and way better than DCU Presents in terms of story ideas and length.

  13. That is kind of awesome.

  14. a new creative team every issue. that sounds awesome. and smart.
    there should be a book up in the air where writers are free to do one and done issues, especially if they have an idea for a character that has no business being in their monthly titles.
    can you imagine having writers like snyder, johns and morrison doing off beat stories with characters they might otherwise never have a chance to tinker with. no long term commitment or pressure to do a great run. just one and done.

  15. I love the idea, whether it’s a single series or a bunch of one-shots. Mind, if every issue is $4.99 National Comics is scuppered from the off.

    @abstractgeek I think people meant the several years pre-Batman, when Brave and Bold was a Showcase-style title.

  16. This sounds like a lot of fun! Great way to explore the DCU!

  17. Sounds fun.

  18. Very cool

  19. DHP works. Lemire and Cully Hamner is a great team up, I’d love to see an ongoing with them.

  20. Eternity #1 has been listed as 40 pages for $3.99. Don’t know if that’s a mistake or not.

  21. Let’s hope they can capture some of the magic of the original kid eternity. I am super excited about what kind of potential this series can have and this would be a great way to try to user in new talent as well.

  22. Definitely trade-waiting.

    • I definitely like the idea. I really think DC is on the ball with their ideas lately. Sure, not every one is gonna fly, but the diversity of the titles they publish should give everyone more than a few choices of what to read every month.

  23. Anyone else notice that Rose and Thorn are written by the character from The Unwritten?

  24. This is a great concept. The industry could really benefit from more “one and done” stories. I’m also a fan of Mike S. Miller’s art, so I’ll be looking forward to Looker.

  25. At first glance, this series appears to be heavily slanted toward female characters (not that theres anything wrong with that).

    Historically, how well have female lead series faired over the long term? We have Batgirl, Birds of Prey, Batwoman, Supergirl and of course Wonder Woman, but these are A/upper B-list characters.

  26. I smell a team book.

  27. Isn’t Tom Taylor a character in Unwritten?