(DC Entertainment)

DC Comics is taking an old-school approach in a new imprint.

DC Black Label will be tasked with producing new tales about classic heroes from some of the comic book industry’s top writing and artistic talent.

The idea, announced Thursday by DC, is that some of DC’s most iconic stories — “Watchmen,” “The New Frontier,” “Batman: The Killing Joke” — were created outside of DC’s standard comic book continuity. DC Black Label will give top creators the chance to repeat that type of storytelling magic without having to adhere to whatever plot twists or story lines are happening with a particular character in DC’s main comic book universe.

Some of the biggest names in comics are already on board with DC Black Label.

The first story to debut for the new imprint will be “Superman: Year One,” a three-part series arriving in August, written by comic book legend Frank Miller and illustrated by John Romita Jr.

12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley, known for his work at another DC imprint, “The American Way” at Vertigo Comics, will pen “The Other History of the DC Universe,” a literary series that will explore sociopolitical aspects of DC heroes who come from traditionally disenfranchised groups, including John Stewart/Green Lantern, Vixen, Katana and Supergirl.

Kelly Sue DeConnick, known for her defining run writing Marvel Comics’ Captain Marvel and her creator-owned Image Comics hit “Bitch Planet,” now gets to be the words behind one of the industry’s greatest legends, Wonder Woman.

DeConnick will write “Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons,” with Phil Jimenez illustrating. The story will focus on a lost history of the Amazonian culture and the rise to power of Wonder Woman’s mother, Queen Hippolyta.


A lost history of the Amazons will be told in the DC Black Label Wonder Woman tale “Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons” by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez. (DC Entertainment)

The dynamic fan-favorite Batman creative duo of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, currently wrapping up their “Metal” miniseries at DC, will get a chance to tell another Batman tale, “Batman: Last Knight on Earth,” which sees the Dark Knight in a desert, unaware of what year it is, with the head of his all-time villain the Joker alive, inside a jar.


Batman and John Constantine investigate the potential murder of the Joker in “Batman: Damned” by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. (DC Entertainment)

On social media, Snyder expressed excitement to be a part of something new and not being bound to a monthly publishing schedule.

Other DC Black Label stories planned include “Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter,” by Greg Rucka, and “Batman: Damned” by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo (the creative duo behind “Joker”).

In a statement released by DC Entertainment, DC co-publisher Jim Lee says the new imprint will allow DC’s top talent to take their creativity to new heights, mentioning Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” as an example of what can happen with such creative freedom.

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