Substack is launching its own line of web comics, and they’ve just enlisted a cadre of well-known creators to pull this off. At the top of this list is James Tynion IV, whose acclaimed runs on several DC titles and creator-owned books has made him one of the industry’s most in-demand writers. Unfortunately, his new deal with the newsletter platform means he’s leaving the DC Universe entirely. In a new message to fans, Tynion announced that he’s stepping down from DC’s Batman and The Joker series in order to concentrate on new indie projects.
According to Tynion, DC offered to renew his exclusivity contract for another three years. But at the same time, Substack offered him a grant to create new comics where they take none of the I.P. or publishing rights. Given the success of Tynion’s creator-owned slate, which includes BOOM! Studios’ Something is Killing the Children and Image’s The Department of Truth, the choice was a no-brainer.
“For most of the last decade, DC Comics was effectively my day-job,” explained Tynion. “It paid the bills, and was pretty creatively fulfilling… But a few years ago I realized something big was missing from my life. While I had always loved Superheroes, they were only a small fraction of what I loved about the comic book medium. I had grown up on independent comics, manga, webcomics, newspaper strips, and literary graphic novels… And there was this whole larger world of my interests I wasn’t getting to explore creatively. It felt like I was only stretching one group of muscles and I was starting to feel burnt out by the limitations of superheroes.”
Aside from Tynion, Substack is planning to release new comics from Saladin Ahmed, Jonathan Hickman, Molly Osterag, and Scott Snyder. Nick Spencer, who’s currently ending his run on The Amazing Spider-Man, served as the liaison between Substack and these creators. Readers have three different payment options. They can pay $7 a month for full access, a discounted rate of $75 a year for the same thing, or $250 a year for what’s called The Founder’s Tier. This gives subscribers full access plus six “extremely exclusive” covers from six different upcoming projects. As Tynion tells it, this new release model marks “day one of a whole new paradigm.”
“We’ve been given grants with no strings attached,” added Tynion. “There are no rules. There is nobody you need to get permission from to do what you want to do. Make the books you most want to make, the books you think should exist, the ones that it has driven you crazy that nobody is making. Make them yourself. Produce works by people whose work you absolutely love. Will them into the world.”
Tynion’s Batman run will come to an end with issue #117 in November. His final issue of The Joker (#14) will hit stores in April 2022.
Are you looking forward to reading Tynion’s comics on Substack? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1
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