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Inside DC Comics' aborted 2019 plans that would have revolutionized superhero industry's writing practices

Former DC publisher Dan Didio planned a writers room approach to DC's comic book line

5G
Image credit: Gary Frank/DC

One of the most high-profile 'roads not taken' in mainstream US comics across the past decade or so is DC’s 5G line of titles — a mooted reboot for the company’s superhero titles that would have seen the timeline of the DC universe entirely rebuilt to include everything the publisher had ever released, with stories taking place in something approaching a real time basis.

The brainchild of former DC co-publisher Dan DiDio, 5G was a casualty when Didio left the company in 2020 just months before it was due to launch. (Plans had gotten so far that the timeline of the 5G universe was briefly shared publicly at New York Comic Con in 2019!) But, talking to hosts Jason Inman and Popverse’s own Ashley Victoria Robinson on the latest episode of the Geek History Lesson podcast, writer Tim Sheridan (Alan Scott: The Green Lantern) revealed that he’d been part of the team for it — and that there was a component to the entire plan that hadn’t gone public yet.

“I was there, I was in the room, I heard the pitch, and I thought it was bold, and exciting, and it would have done some really cool stuff. And, I would have gotten to do some of it, which would have been really cool,: Sheridan revealed. “Here’s the most important part, I think, of what Dan was trying to do. He brought in a whole roomful of TV writers, and TV writers who had experience of working with DC characters before. And he said, ‘the way I wanna approach 5G is different from the way we create story in the rest of the DC Universe right now. I want to have a group of writers who are accustomed to working in a room together — and not even just a bullpen, but a real writers’ room, where we’d all break the overarching story for a year of all the titles that would be coming out over the course of a year.’”

After collectively breaking the larger DCU story for a year, Sheridan said, the plan was that “we’d go off and write our individual comics, and we’d have connections with each other to figure out where we’d end up interweaving our stories and having them meet each other. Sort of in the way of writers who were accustomed to that system, the TV system, where we’d check our egos at the door and be excited about working together and telling the story together, too. I think that, for all of the infamy that went along with 5G, that’s the piece of it that nobody knows about, that nobody talks about… That was the way [DiDio] wanted the stories to be conceived and told, and that is really exciting.”

While writers’ retreats are a common thing in superhero comics, a writers’ room that breaks an entire year’s worth of story is a switch from the norm — and one that could have had quite the impact on the way superhero comics were made going forward, as well. File under “Comics’ Real Life What If Stories,” I guess.


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About the Author
Graeme McMillan avatar

Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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