In the latest issue of his newsletter, superstar writer James Tynion IV dropped a bombshell: he’s leaving DC Comics, and superhero comics altogether, having signed a deal with Substack. The new deal will allow Tynion and his co-creators full ownership over what they create, including both publishing and IP rights. Tynion also revealed the first of five projects he currently has in development with Substack, a series called Blue Book with artist Michael Avon Oeming and letterer Aditya Bidikar.
You can read the full newsletter here. Here’s some pertinent info he’s shared about the deal, and about when he’ll be leaving DC:
And then I received another contract. The best I’ve ever been given in a decade as a professional comic book writer. A grant from Substack to create a new slate of original comic book properties directly on their platform, that my co-creators and I would own completely, with Substack taking none of the intellectual property rights, or even the publishing rights.
Given my bandwidth, I knew I could only pick one of two contracts sitting in front of me.
Which is a lot of preamble to say that I am going to be leaving BATMAN with Issue #117 in November, and THE JOKER with Issue #14 next April, with no immediate plans to write any other superhero comics in the near future.
Instead, I’m going to dedicate my whole brain to building a bunch of really cool stuff on my own terms, without having to get permission from any publisher to make it.
The rest of the newsletter goes on to talk about how Tynion’s career has seen him move more into creator-owned books with titles like Something is Killing the Children and The Department of Truth, an experience he says has brought him more joy than work-for-hire given the amount of creative freedom he has in creator-owned work.
Tynion’s newsletter is hosted by Substack, and it’s an audience he will bring to his new work, he says. The deal will also allow him to not worry about the financial strain that comes with developing new creator-owned books:
There are limits of what you can get away with, if you’re worried about funding issue #6 when you’re writing issue #1. This deal gives me the security to build the sort of books that I think could thrive in the comics market given the chance, but require growing in a different sort of way than monthly periodicals.
Tynion describes Blue Book as a non-fiction anthology series about “credible UFO encounters.” His other Substack projects will include a novella, a long-form horror series, and an illustrated prose series tied to one of his other current projects.
The news from James Tynion IV comes just weeks after his longtime friend and mentor Scott Snyder announced his own massive creator-owned deal, this one with Comixology. It’s also the first big news we’ve heard about Substack’s foray into comics following the announcement that writer Nick Spencer had signed with the company to head up the initiative.
This is obviously huge news, and there are sure to be more details about both Tynion’s move and Substack’s foray into comics in the coming weeks. Tynion, who recently won the Eisner for Best Writer, will leave Batman after the conclusion of the Fear State event in November’s #117. He will stay on the ongoing Joker series through issue 14, which releases in April 2022. The debut issue of Blue Book will arrive in September.