"Our plans regarding the EARTH ONE line of original graphic novels have not changed - they will serve as new, unique and compelling reinterpretations of our key characters in original graphic novel form, by some of the biggest names and brightest stars in the industry."
-- Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, DC Comics Co-Publishers
Then JMS contacts Robot Six to clarify:
This was the actual exchange, as I remember it.
Someone asked me on the panel if Superman Earth One was only coming out as a hardcover or as issues at the same time or afterward. I said, as near as I can remember it, "This is coming out first in hardcover, unlike B&B, which is single issues collected into a hardcover" (which I slipped in to promote the book, which is coming out I think this week or next week). So it went in both directions, which prompted the fan to note, "I'm confused," and I joked back, "So am I."
That was the entirety of the exchange. Basically, the two different subjects got conflated in the hurry to transcribe what was being said, so they got lumped into one sentence.
OK. So we've at least confirmed that the first volume will experience "retro serialization" (credit to Johanna). Beyond that, we haven't really gotten a whole heckuva lot out of anyone about this.
Some questions that still need answering:
- How are they dealing with making an OGN (which should be a seamless story from cover to cover) work with retro serialization? Which format will experience some sacrifice: the OGN by needing artificial breaks for eventual single issues or the single issues for having no natural breaks to end on?
- What exactly is/was the intended production schedule for this? Because, if you're publishing HC and then serializing afterward (and then possibly doing softcover), there'd seem to be the potential for built-in delays between new volumes. It doesn't seem likely that the second volume of the OGN will hit shelves before the last issue of the serialization does (or even softcover trade).
- Was "retro serialization" honestly part of the original plan? Because answers from the talent in their AICN interview certainly didn't seem to reflect that. They were asked whether they thought OGNs might be signaling the end of monthlies and never once brought up serialization plans, which would have been a strong, direct, silencing answer.
I'm sure there are more questions (like how DC felt their official non-answer was worth giving), but those three are a good start.