Jonathan Hickman has joined James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder and others in launching their Substack publishing plans today. Currently the showrunner on the X-Men books, he recently dropped off writing the ongoing X-Men title in favour of the Inferno mini-series, but will he be returning to the Xbooks afterward? Or might Substack be his all, going forward? That's what I'm hearing tonight. Just as James Tynion IV is quitting Batman for The Blue Book and others, with a subscription model, so I hear Hickman may be doing the same. No one is actually saying it, per se, but I am receiving heavy, heavy hints. And he is bringing some of his Xbook colleagues with him to Substack as well.
Talking about the X-Men books (in the past tense) on his newsletter, Jonathan Hickman shared that when the pandemic hit and comic publication and distribution went down, "I sat down and wrote up a plan to take the entire X-line digital." And now, away from the X-Men, he is bringing some of those plans to fruition, including a sense of surprise, changing formats and lengths to fit the stories he want to tell, and dropping a brand new comic book on people without mentioning it to anyone first. Three Worlds Three Moons, a shared continuity universe with two of his Xbooks writers, Excalibur and X Of Swords writer Tini Howard, and SWORD writer Al Ewing as well as Catwoman/Swamp Thing/Justice League Dark's Ram V with artists Mike Del Mundo and Mike Huddleston and graphic designer Sasha E. Head who worked with Hickman on Decorum. And what is Three Worlds Three Moons?
THREE WORLDS THREE MOONS is a concept universe. And we mean this in exactly the same vein as a concept album, where all of the individual characters/stories/things we create together add up to be part a much larger whole. We also wanted this to be a completely transparent process, where each of you has a front seat — and in some cases, a good bit of input — in the primal process of creating a storytelling universe. Now, I don't want to sell this as purely a behind-the-scenes or a some kind of process blog. Sure, you can get a lot of that out of this if it's what you're looking for, but the point is to do all of this through story. Whether that's why something is designed the way it is, or how a character looks being a product of their background or environment, or why certain places are located where they are on a map, and all of it will be unveiled narratively.
And then, of course, there will be an endless number of comics adding to this unfolding mythology. This is the launch of a new universe in comics, a new and exciting place to tell the best possible stories, with no boundaries. We are going to be telling those stories right here, delivering them directly to you as they're born. A lot of this will be behind a paywall after the first week or so, and will totally be worth it. But in the meantime, we wanted to offer you something of value, and something that would maybe help you understand what this is.
- AL EWING has designed the various religious systems of each world and moon.
- TINI HOWARD has created a magic system that is, frankly, going to blow your mind.
- RAM V has done us the great favor of designing an economic model — both black markets and white — for the universe.
And just as with everyone else, there's a Jonathan Hickman subscription model. Today is going to be an expensive day for comic book fans. Annual subscription is $80 a year, or $8 a month or $250 to be a Founding Member,
- The first 500 of you who sign up as annual subscribers can receive a Collector's Card from one of the Three Worlds, signed by me, del Mundo, and Huddleston. Or you can take THE COIN and see what it gets you.
- The first 250 of you can receive a Limited Edition Print, signed by me, del Mundo, and Huddleston. Or, you can take THE MAP, and see where it leads you.
- The first 100 of you can get, when it's ready, our very first printed Ashcan, signed by me, del Mundo, and Huddleston. We will only print 100 of these, ever. Or, you can take THE KEY instead, and see what new world opens up.
- And for all you who subscribe this week, annual or monthly, you're going to get THE INVITATION. I'm going to be having a conversation with someone I very much respect and admire about all this, and I want you to be there for it.
- (Oh, and if you sign up for that founding member tier, you get all of this. And more. We'll talk about it soon. God bless you.)
It's all happening… but as for the X-Men, we will see. I understand, however, that if Hickman does indeed leave the Xbooks (which it is looking more and more like) don't expect some kind of Krakoan reversal, no big Arakkii reset button. The X-Men books will continue rolling out in the direction Hickman has set it on. Gerry Duggan writing Planet-Size X-Men and the X-Men current series with Pepe Larraz has gone over very well indeed. Neither Marvel nor Hickman responded to e-mails sent out earlier tonight, but it is getting late. Maybe I'll hear what they have to say in the morning.