James Gunn Shares the Comic Books Inspiring the DCU

Time to update your library!

DC Studios co-head James Gunn has shared the comic book storylines he’s using as inspiration to build the new DCU. Earlier this week, Gunn and Peter Safran unveiled their ambitious plan for the future of DC Studios, revealing ten new films and TV shows already in development.

During a press conference held to reveal Gunn and Safran’s plan to the DCU, the new co-CEOs of DC Studios underlined how they were investing all their energies into building a two-chapter storyline across film, TV, and even games. The first chapter of their story, “Gods and Monsters,” will focus both on widely recognizable characters such as Superman and Green Lantern and fairly unknown teams like the Creature Commandos and The Authority. There’s even some love spread toward fan-favorite comic book characters such as Swamp Thing and Booster Gold.

Yes, the DCU’s slate is packed with interesting ideas. But Gunn and Safran are not alone in developing this universe. For instance, Gunn revealed he brought Tom King on board to help adapt his Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow storyline. And Grant Morrison’s Batman comic book run was referred to as the main inspiration for The Brave and the Bold, a movie focused on Damian Wayne. Now, the mastermind behind the new DCU went on Twitter to share some more comic books he’s using as inspiration for the upcoming films and TV shows.

Image via Bryan Hitch/DC Comics

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Which Comic Book James Gunn Is Using for the DCU?

On Twitter, Gunn shared four comic book covers to help fans understand where he’s taking the DCU for the next decade. As Gunn explains, “That doesn’t mean we’re adapting all these comics, but that the feel, the look, or the tone of them are touchstones for our team.” So, while these comics are not direct adaptations, they can give hints about some upcoming projects.

For starters, we have an issue from Morrison’s Batman run. Morrison was the man behind the creation of Damian Wayne, one of the most influential members of the Bat Family. Morrison also developed the idea of Batman Incorporated, a company publicly funded by Bruce Wayne to support Batman and his allies. Finally, Morrison has figured out how to make every Batman story canon, bringing together multiple beloved one-shots written by authors such as Alan Moore and Frank Miller.

Speaking of Moore, no one understands Swamp Thing like him. Moore took over the character and gave him a new origin story, diving deep into existential horror to create one of the most beloved storylines in the history of DC Comics. We bet before the upcoming Swamp Thing movie would use Moore as a source of inspiration, and we weren’t wrong.

The third cover Gunn shared on Twitter is from All-Star Superman, another fan-favorite Morrison storyline. The story follows Superman during his last days on Earth after the hero finds out he’s dying from exposure to the Sun. Before dying, Superman decides he’ll bring world peace to Earth, making him tackle complex social issues while he reflects on his life achievements. While the concept might seem grim, this is actually a hopeful storyline filled with wonder, which seems like a good direction to take Superman next.

Finally, the final cover Gunn shared on Twitter is for The Authority Omnibus, a collection of stories led by groundbreaking comic book writer Warren Ellis. Since The Authority is the least-known IP Gunn and Safran will explore in the DCU, becoming familiar with the definitive collection of the superhero team seems like the right move.

Check out Gunn’s original tweet below.

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