John Ridley, Luke Fox Batman, 5G, No More?

If I were John Ridley, I would begin to suspect that I was under some kind of curse. Admittedly, I would have won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for 12 Years A Slave. But when I returned to my true love, writing comic books, things seemed to fall apart. I got to revisit and finish my Wildstorm comic book The American Way, but that was meant to be an appetiser for the main course.

John Ridley, Luke Fox Batman, 5G, No More?
John Ridley, Luke Fox Batman, 5G, No More? Art from DC.

Former DC President Diane Nelson used an entire event, The Many Shades of Heroism: DC Heroes Through the African-American Lens, laid on at the Newseum on Martin Luther King Day, to announce John Ridley's The Other History Of The DC Universe, also placed on the cover of Diamond Previews. Solicited, but then disappeared, amounts rumours of legal wrangling over another, seemingly identical project that had been previously greenlit. However, its disappearance has not been addressed by DC, of by Ridley, in the months – years – since.

But that was okay, because John Ridley had an even higher profile gig lined up for DC Comics. As Bleeding Cool reported, courtesy of publisher Dan DiDio, he was to take over the Batman ongoing comic book with Batman #100, relaunching it with a new #1 to follow, and as part of the 5G relaunch recasting the lead character from Bruce Wayne to Luke Fox, a new Batman working with an elderly Bruce Wayne, with all of the eyes of the industry upon him.

Then Dan DiDio was fired and the industry went into shutdown. We heard that some 5G work had been put on the back burner but this takes it further. Bleeding Cool has now been informed that high profile creators working on or alongside this Batman relaunch have been told to stop work, and have received kill fees for completed work. A kill fee is usually a payment made when a publisher decides they will no longer publish completed work.

Unlike The Other History, Batman 5G and John Ridley's part in it were never announced by DC Comics, that was originally the plan for San Diego Comic-Con. Now, it seems they will no longer be. Possibly the work may reappear in another form. What this means for the other planned tiles is not clarified, maybe Brian Bendis will still see Jonathan Kent as the new Superman, but a line-wide fifth generation of DC Comics heroes, featuring a new line-up of lead characters is no more. And for some, that will mean it never was, and was just Bleeding Cool making it all up.

The crumbs left on the table do suggest otherwise, however… but this change of heart may be good news for one creator, whose work has gone down rather well on the title…


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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