DC: The New Frontier
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (November 2016)
DC: The New Frontier is an Eisner, Harvey and Shuster Award-winning six-issue comic book limited series written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, and published by DC Comics in 2004. The series was collected into two trade paperback volumes in 2004 and 2005, an Absolute Edition in 2006 and a deluxe edition in 2015. The story was adapted into an animated film, Justice League: The New Frontier, which was released on February 26, 2008.
|DC: The New Frontier|
Front cover of Absolute DC: The New Frontier, with art by Darwyn Cooke
|No. of issues||6|
|Main character(s)||Hal Jordan, Martian Manhunter, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Batman, various DC characters|
|Created by||Darwyn Cooke|
The series was influenced by Kingdom Come, The Golden Age, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. Much like The Golden Age, New Frontier is set primarily in the 1950s and depicts Golden Age superheroes Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman meeting Silver Age characters The Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. The story bridges the gap between the end of the Golden Age and the beginning of the Silver Age in the DC Universe.
Set from 1953 to 1960, post-World War II sentiment and Cold War tension have pushed the Age of the Superhero into decline. However, when a threatening alien presence emerges on earth a new era of superheroes must join forces with veteran heroes and an unfriendly United States government to battle the nemesis.
The New Frontier is set in 1945, 1948 and from 1952 to 1960. Golden Age characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman meet Silver Age characters, such as Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and The Flash. Cameo appearances by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon and references to atomic testing, the civil rights movement and the Soviet Union provide historical context. The storyline is inspired by comic books and films of the period and the novel and film versions of Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. The series attempts to re-imagine the era which ushered in the presidency of John F. Kennedy. A major part of one of Kennedy's speeches is used, and the title evokes the president's New Frontier.
New Frontier includes elements of the Golden and Silver Ages which did not appear until the 1970s. Many characters appeared as they did when they were created, and were not retconned to fit the era and story. Barry Allen becomes the Flash in 1956 (the year of his first appearance in the comics) and Hal Jordan acquires the power ring and becomes Green Lantern in 1959, the same year that story was published.
Although Cooke said that New Frontier took place in the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity, he did not use the period-accurate Earth-One and Earth-Two Multiverse concepts; he used a post-Crisis continuity variant, where Golden and Silver Age heroes exist in a unified timeline rather than separate realities. The New Frontier universe was one of the 52 Earths in the DC multiverse (Earth-21).
The New Frontier's style has several influences: Jack Kirby's squared fingers, muscles and jaws; the clean lines of Golden Age-era comics; the Fleischer Superman cartoons; Batman: The Animated Series, and other shows in the DC animated universe; Cooke was an artist on many of the latter. His style resembles that of Bruce Timm.
The series received Eisner Awards for Best Limited Series, Best Coloring and Best Publication Design, Harvey Awards for Best Artist, Best Colorist and Best Continuing or Limited Series and received the Shuster Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Cartoonist (Writer-Artist). In 2007, when the series was released as an Absolute Edition, it received an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album (Reprint) and a Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work.
It was adapted as a direct-to-video animated film, written by Stan Berkowitz and produced by Bruce Timm with Darwyn Cooke a story and visual consultant. Rated PG-13, it was released in the United States on February 26, 2008 on DVD, HD DVD, Blu-ray and pay-per-view.
The series has been collected in two softcover collections, an Absolute Edition and a deluxe edition:
- DC: The New Frontier: Volume One (#1-3; ISBN 1-4012-0350-7)
- DC: The New Frontier: Volume Two (#4-6; ISBN 1-4012-0461-9)
- DC: The New Frontier: Absolute Edition (#1-6; ISBN 1-4012-1080-5)
- DC: The New Frontier: Deluxe Edition (#1-6, material from DC The New Frontier: Absolute Edition, and the Justice League: The New Frontier Special; ISBN 1401248888)
DC Direct first released a line of action figures based on the series in July 2006:
- Wave 1 - Blackhawk, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman (July 2006)
- Wave 2 - Batman, Dr. Fate, Martian Manhunter and The Flash (December 12, 2007)
A box set of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman (with a new head), including a reprint of Justice League: The New Frontier Special, was released in April, 2009.
Solo #5 (2005), written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, included a short story ("Triangulation: A New Frontier Thriller") with King Faraday set in pre-revolutionary Cuba. Justice League: The New Frontier Special was released in May 2008 as a follow-up to the Justice League: The New Frontier DVD. Stories included Batman vs. Superman, a post-New Frontier story where Robin teams up with Kid Flash for the first time and a Mad Magazine-style story with Wonder Woman and Black Canary.
- Cooke, Darwyn (2004). DC: The New Frontier: Volume One (2. printing ed.). New York: DC Comics. ISBN 1-4012-0350-7. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Cooke, Darwyn (2005). DC: The New Frontier: Volume Two (1. printing ed.). New York: DC Comics. ISBN 1-4012-0461-9. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Cooke, Darwyn (2006). DC: The New Frontier (Absolute ed.). New York: DC Comics. ISBN 1-4012-1080-5. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Cooke, Darwyn (2015). DC: The New Frontier Deluxe Edition (Deluxe ed.). New York: DC Comics. ISBN 1401248888. Retrieved 26 November 2015.