This week saw the conclusion of The Other History of the DC Universe, a blockbuster miniseries that has brought wide-ranging approaches to characters from across DC Comics canon. The five-issue run has helped fans look at characters like Black Lightning, The Question, Katana, and Thunder in a whole new way. While the series has been a smash hit (and even helped writer John Ridley earn an Eisner nomination), a sequel or continuation has not officially been announced — but it definitely sounds like there are more characters that could be explored. During a recent virtual press conference, Ridley was asked if there are any additional characters whose stories he’d like to tackle in a similar sort of way.
“Too many to list,” Ridley explained. “And there were characters initially that I thought maybe we could get in, but we didn’t get in. And I think, whether they’re characters from reflective backgrounds, different backgrounds, or whether they’re just characters… I just have really enjoyed seeing these individuals as people. And I would, if The Other History became a thing, and there were just other people who wanted to add their perspectives and their voices and their points of views [to] characters that they loved. These were characters that not were just reflective characters. I mean, if you were going to ask me, what my favorite characters were? And people do. I just feel so close to every one of them in so many different ways.”
“But yeah, there are tons of characters, and I couldn’t name check them all in a sitting,” Ridley continued. “But almost any character, to me, there is something there. In some of my favorite stories, some of my favorite heroes, even Superman [and] Batman, are the stories where they are less about being heroics and just about the struggles. It’s hard, it ain’t easy. It’s not easy for any of them. But [those] to me, are the really human stories, the really interesting stories.”
That notion of characters who “didn’t get in” might be familiar to those who have followed Other History since it was first announced, as the initial wave of characters mentioned Supergirl, Extrano, and more. For the characters that the series did cover, Ridley dove further into his approach of condensing their respective histories in an authentic and human way.
“I literally had a conversation with Jim Lee yesterday, and he was talking about one of the things he really appreciated about The Other History is that in some ways, if not explicitly, implicitly acknowledges that some elements of storytelling have not aged well,” Ridley explained. “And rather than hiding from it or bearing it, you acknowledge it. And I do think that’s a lot like life is that you look back at, not you, but a person who matures, looks back on their life and can say, ‘I wish I had done this differently. I wish I had engaged differently to the positive, to the negative.’ So I really think it was the totality of the support that we have, the latitude that we have. You look at the art, Giuseppe what he did, it was all of that, everything down to the coloring, down to the lettering and how it laid where it was just an emotional factor. It wasn’t as though we felt like well, we have to approach it intellectually, and it’s going to land this way or that way. I think if anything, if it feels like life well lived, it’s because we really wanted to treat these characters as characters. Jefferson, not Black Lightning. Tatsu not Katana. Renee, not just The Question.”
“That’s what really made the difference, to treat these characters really like characters, like humans,” Ridley continued. “And examine the human dynamic, rather than just and I don’t say this as an indictment of superhero stories, but rather than just say, ‘Hey, this is a superhero story.’ This was meant to be a very human story. And I think and believe by the reactions we were able to achieve what we want it to do.”
The Other History of the DC Universe #5 is currently available wherever comic books are sold.