A few weeks ago, James Tynion IV, the current writer of DC’s The Joker and Batman series, announced his imminent departure from DC Comics and his intention to launch new independent projects with Substack. Tynion is well known for juggling indie projects such as Something is Killing the Children but his work with DC Comics has been his main gig for nearly a decade. The move comes somewhat as a surprise, given DC had placed Tynion on their flagship Batman title, and had shown the writer love in other aspects, such as the animated adaptation of his Batman Vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and numerous prestigious omnibus and deluxe releases of his mainstream comic work, including his lengthy run on Detective Comics from the Rebirth era.
It’s unclear as yet when Tynion’s run on Batman will end, but, as writers typically work months ahead of release, we suspect Tynion’s departure towards the end of 2021 and certainly by Batman #117.
James Tynion IV will kick off his Substack project with Blue Book, a series adapting supposed real life UFO encounters and sightings. Blue Book will feature art by Michael Avon Oeming and letters by Aditya Bidikar. Substack is a premium digital newsletter provider which provides a platform for content creators of many different types. It is a relatively new platform for comic creators, in recent months notable X-Men and Avengers veteran Jonathan Hickman announced he would be bringing original content to subscribers soon.
James Tynion IV’s newsletter, The Empire of the Tiny Onion, itself a play on Tynion’s name, will be $7 per month, or $75 per year (roughly £5 or £55 at the time of writing) and will grant subscribers Blue Book to read as each newsletter, which is a digital issue in everything but name, is published, as well as full access to Tynion’s back catalogue on his website as more content is made available.
Blue Book will explore the lives of Betty and Barney Hill (not Rubble!), who were the alleged real life abductees of what is now commonly known as the the ‘Hill Abduction‘ and will start early September of 2021. Despite leaving DC Comics, Tynion has stated he will not be leaving his other independent work with Image Comics, so ongoing projects such as The Department of Truth and Something is Killing the Children are safe and may even be included in The Empire of the Tiny Onion. Given Tynion’s reputation with Image Comics seems to be as solid as ever, it seems logical to assume The Empire of the Tony Onion projects may end up with physical releases in the future through them.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a better deal in comics than what Substack is offering. We have complete creative control, we retain all of the rights for publishing and other media with no restrictions, and we have the money to pay people the kind of rates they might expect at one of the larger corporate publishers. If the creators taking this deal play their cards right, it means that we can rewrite the rules of the entire comic book industry on our terms, not the publishers. I don’t think people are going to realize how big this can be right away, but if we’re smart about it, this could be the start of a whole new paradigm in creator-owned comics.” – James Tynion IV
James Tynion IV will be attending Thought Bubble in Harrogate, North Yorkshire in November of 2021, and his latest book, Something is Killing the Children, is receiving an oversized hardcover collection in the same month and can be found here.
Words: Graeme Small