The sweeping line-wide change debuts on Aug. 31, when the pubisher releases just two comics -- the final issue of "Flashpoint," and the first issue of "Justice League," under the new creative team of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. According to DC's Source blog, the premiere of "Justice League" will also mark the beginning of same-day digital release for all of the ongoing titles, "making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print."
USA Today announced that the changes include costume redesigns for more than 50 superheroes, sprearheaded by Lee, intended "to make characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old."
"We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line," Co-Publisher Dan DiDio told the newspaper. "This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today's audience."
In a letter to retailers, DC's Senior Vice President-Sales Bob Wayne explained that the new No. 1 issues "will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character's legend -- but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph."
"Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes," he wrote. "Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once."
The image that accompanied the USA Today story also holds some clues to how sweeping the post-"Flashpoint" changes will be. It appears as if Wonder Woman's costume will remain largely the same as it's been since Lee redesigned it last year. The other characters' costumes all feature the same uniform neckline, and Superman sports a new "S" symbol across his chest.
UPDATED: The following letter was sent to retailers by Bob Wayne, SVP of Sales for DC Entertainment.
To our comics retail partners,
In the time I've worked at DC Comics, I've witnessed any number of industry defining moments. But today, I bring you what is perhaps the biggest news to date.
Many of you have heard rumors that DC Comics has been working on a big publishing initiative for later this year. This is indeed an historic time for us as, come this September, we are relaunching the entire DC Universe line of comic books with all new first issues. 52 of them to be exact.
In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character's legend - but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.
This epic event will kick off on Wednesday, August 31st with the debut of a brand new JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, which pairs Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, together for the first time. (Yes, this is the same week as FLASHPOINT #5.)
We think our current fans will be excited by this evolution, and that it will make jumping into the story extremely accessible to first-time readers - giving them a chance to discover DC's characters and stories.
We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.
Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.
Dan DiDio, Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza have been working diligently to pull together some of the best creative teams in the industry. Over 50 new costumes will debut in September, many updated and designed by artist Jim Lee, ensuring that the updated images appeal to the current generation of readers.
The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 will also launch digital day-and-date for all ongoing superhero comic book titles - an industry first.
On Wednesday, June 1st, this initiative is expected to be announced in a nationwide feature article, and we're hopeful the news will be picked up by media outlets around the world. Throughout the month we'll reveal more details of our plans with articles in both the mainstream and comics press and on June 13th the Diamond catalog solicitations for all of the September titles will be released, followed by the June 29th street date of the print version of Previews.
DC Comics will support this initiative with an innovative mix of publicity, promotional efforts and retailer incentives designed to maximize your opportunity to increase your DC sales. We will discuss additional details of these incentives when we get closer to solicitation later in June.
We'll be updating you more through email as September nears. But today, I hope your share our enthusiasm for this historic news!