DC Co-Publishers on Superman's 80th Birthday and Relaunching Vertigo and MAD

The Man of Steel will get two anniversary issues in 2018, while the humor brand will launch a new podcast and web presence.
Courtesy of DC

Next year is going to be a big one for DC Entertainment's Man of Steel.

In addition to being Superman's 80th anniversary — the character debuted in 1938's Action Comics No. 1 — 2018 will also see the release of the 1,000th issue of Action Comics. DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio announced at New York Comic Con on Thursday afternoon that both events will be celebrated by special issues.

Action No. 1000 will come first, in March, and will feature "some of the greatest creators who have ever touched the character," according to Didio. "The planning on this has been extensive," he teased, promising an issue that won't just touch on the fictional history of the hero, but also serve as commentary on the character's meaning in the real world, as well. (Contributors will include DC CCO Geoff Johns and Superman director Richard Donner.)

Lee joked that he had a special plan to promote the release: 1,000 covers for the issue. "Are you going to draw them all?" asked Didio, prompting Lee to joke, "I think I'm up to 27 now. He's going to be picking up a pick-up truck," referencing the iconic cover of the first Action issue. "He's going to be picking up a different car for each cover." ("We're not doing 1,000 covers," Didio cleared up.)

June will see the release of a special Superman 80th Anniversary hardcover, which will feature essays from cartoonist Jules Feiffer and former DC Publisher Paul Levitz, as well as a previously uncovered story from the 1940s, believed to be written by the character's co-creator Jerry Siegel, with art from the studio put together by Superman's other co-creator, Joe Shuster.

Didio and Lee also talked about the upcoming relaunch of two different threads of DC's publishing output. The mature-readers Vertigo imprint will be relaunched Aug. 8, with Mark Doyle as executive editor and three big-name creators — only one of whom has previously written for the imprint — writing and curating titles.

MAD will also be relaunched April 1, with former The Simpsons writer Bill Morrison taking over as executive editor. The relaunch will extend beyond the magazine, with a new podcast and increased web presence planned. Why April 1? Because, Morrison told the crowd, that's the birthday of MAD mascot Alfred E. Newman.

New York Comic Con runs at the Javits Center through Oct. 9. Keep up with all of Heat Vision's coverage here.