Have you ever ever thought of what it takes to run a comic book e-book writer? It may be difficult work. Dozens of books, all with totally different inventive groups, are launched on an evenly distributed month-to-month schedule to make sure there’s high quality materials on the cabinets each week. Publishers accomplish this by dividing their line into scheduled quadrants, so each week of the month brings with it a wholesome new crop of comics. This method presents one inconvenient drawback, although—generally, you get 5 weeks in a month.
So, what’s a comic book writer to do on that fifth week? Let the shop cabinets lay empty? Sorry, people, come again subsequent week? In 1995, DC determined that wasn’t a ok reply and so they started creating particular comics and storylines for these final fractional weeks. This was the delivery of the Fifth Week Occasion.
1995: Superman: Man of Tomorrow
Because of expertise like John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson and Dan Jurgens, and headline making tales like The Dying of Superman and Reign of the Supermen, to not point out each a extremely well-liked stay motion and animated tv collection, the ’90s have been a excessive watermark for Superman’s recognition. This was represented within the comics by what followers would dub the “Triangle Period,” for a triangular image discovered on ’90s-era Superman titles that served as a information to following storylines that ran by a number of titles. By the mid-‘90s, the Triangle Period wound by 4 totally different comics—Superman, Adventures of Superman: Superman: The Man of Metal and Motion Comics—making certain a brand new Superman story each week.
DC’s first foray into fifth week capitalization was to create a fifth Superman title: Superman: The Man of Tomorrow. Written by Roger Stern, and later Louise Simonson, the problems of Man of Tomorrow represented main turning factors in ongoing storylines, important to Superman’s ongoing adventures which couldn’t be missed. However this was fairly much like quarterly comics that DC had revealed previously, like Justice League Quarterly. The Occasion issue, one which displayed a whole boutique line of comics for one week solely, was but to return.
1996: Amalgam Comics
DC’s most legendary Fifth Week Occasion was by some measures its very first: a uncommon collaboration with rival writer Marvel Comics. Within the wake of their most formidable crossover thus far, the DC vs. Marvel occasion, each publishers introduced a joint line of Amalgam Comics, imagining a wholly new superhero universe the place each character was a mash-up of a DC and a Marvel icon. Superman and Captain America have been now Tremendous-Soldier. Batman and Wolverine turned Darkish Claw. Surprise Girl and Storm mixed right into a hero recognized solely as Amazon. Some amalgams have been a comparability of themes, others a easy play on phrases (take, for example, Physician Doomsday). However the line proved so well-liked amongst followers and creators alike that it got here again for a return efficiency the next yr. These tales may be laborious to trace down now, however these of us who have been there keep in mind effectively when the Large Two performed collectively on the identical subject.
1997: Tangent Comics
We coated Tangent earlier this month, however failed to say the Amalgam facet. Having already set a precedent for the Fifth Week Occasion, which established a remix of acquainted ideas, Dan Jurgens questioned what that may appear like if we eliminated Marvel from the equation. How radically may you reinvent the DC Universe if you happen to modified completely every part concerning the characters however their names? With that, Tangent Comics was born. Like Amalgam, Tangent would return for an encore efficiency within the following yr and to this present day stays a fixture within the DC Multiverse as Earth-9.
1998: Heroines and Hypertime
1998 is basically when the Fifth Week Occasion turned a daily, reliable phenomenon, and one thing readers got here to anticipate with every longer month of the yr. Along with a second batch of Tangent, DC used its Fifth Weeks to return to a different legendary alternate universe: Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s apocalyptic Kingdom Come. With The Kingdom, followers of the hit authentic Elseworlds collection may verify in to see how the world was faring after the ultimate battle between the world’s heroes of yesterday and its anti-heroes of tomorrow.
Two different occasions, “GirlFrenzy!” and “New Yr’s Evil,” have been revealed as a collection of one-shots that includes new characters or ones who hardly ever bought an opportunity within the highlight. Some highlights of “GirlFrenzy!” would have an enduring legacy, like The Secret launching as a smooth launch for Peter David’s Younger Justice, and Batgirl setting the stage for author Kelley Puckett to finally take the reins for the primary Batgirl ongoing comedian—albeit, with a really totally different Batgirl within the function. “New Yr’s Evil,” for its half, would most notably introduce one of many definitive villains of Grant Morrison’s JLA collection, the hero-hunting Prometheus.
1999: Outdated Pals and New
DC’s plans for the shut of the twentieth century have been a celebration of the primary superhero staff and an opportunity to take the Fifth Week Occasion outdoors of the DCU. Spring’s “The Justice Society Returns!” was a nine-issue crossover story that includes the JSA, setting the stage for his or her first ongoing collection practically fifty years since their creation. The story was instructed in a collection of one-shots all bearing the identify of a basic Golden Age collection, from All-Star to Star-Spangled Comics.
In the summertime, DC’s current acquisition of WildStorm was given their second within the fifth week highlight. “Wild Instances” was a collection of one-shots which reimagined core WildStorm characters and groups in numerous eras and settings, a lot akin to DC’s Elseworld idea. Every WildStorm e-book even paired its hero with a temporally applicable DC character for his or her hassle: Deathblow met Bat-Lash, DV8 met Sgt. Rock and Simple Firm, Gen 13 met the Teen Titans, and Wetworks met Superman.
Organizing an occasion for Vertigo on the finish of the yr was a taller order, because the idea of a shared universe amongst its titles was all the time a decrease precedence than telling nice tales by uninhibited creators. As an alternative, Vertigo opted to construction its winter Fifth Week Occasion round a theme. Dubbed “V2K,” the final Vertigo titles of the ’90s all instructed tales invoking the looming apocalyptic dread which everybody felt with the method of the brand new century.
The twenty first Century
Talking of that century, the Fifth Week Occasions would proceed into the early 2000s, with occasions like “Sins of Youth,” which swapped the ages of DC’s grownup and youngster heroes; “Silver Age,” which recontextualized tales and ideas from the Nineteen Fifties and ’60s for contemporary continuity; and “Justice Leagues,” which noticed every core member of the JLA type a League of their very own. (I already made that joke this month. That’s strike two.) The spirit of the Fifth Week Occasion even continues right now, albeit in a unique type, with quarterly anthologies that carry inventive groups collectively to collaborate on a theme—horror within the fall, holidays within the winter (together with right now’s Grifter Obtained Run Over by a Reindeer), romance within the spring, and something from animals to cyborgs in the summertime.
Within the DC Universe, you see, there’s no such factor as further time. A fifth week is simply one other alternative to point out you what we’ve bought.
Alex Jaffe is the writer of our month-to-month “Ask the Query” column and writes about TV, motion pictures, comics and superhero historical past for DC.com. Observe him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and discover him within the DC Neighborhood as HubCityQuestion.