John Ridley — Academy Award-winner, lauded comic book writer, TV showrunner — does love to tease, as Comic Book Club found out when we hosted the multi-hyphenate on our live show this past Tuesday (January 2). And in fact, he dropped a big tease for an upcoming 2024 comic book project that is something old, and something new. But is it borrowed and blue? Let’s discuss.
“I am really excited because 2024… Can’t quite say [what] yet, but this is the year in comic books I’m going to revisit a character that I’ve been away from for a little bit,” Ridley teased towards the end of his interview. “I’m so excited. And what I’m really excited about, we’re digging a little bit more deeply into a… Not my universe, but a universe… I’m always leery about when people throw around universe. Not my universe, but a universe of characters who I love and a new character who’s going to be coming out of this fully formed.”
While Ridley has written dozens of comic books, the subjects of his books have been relatively limited. He’s well known for his long run on Marvel’s Black Panther and spinoff series Wakanda so that’s a possibility. But otherwise from the House of Ideas, he only wrote one short about Wolverine, and another one-shot about Miles Morales becoming Wolverine.
Ridley has been more prolific at DC Comics, but again, relatively narrow in his purview. His biggest contribution to the universe has been Jace Fox, aka The Next Batman, whom Ridley has followed through various titles. Also for DC, he’s written a Superman story, and two stories that are Batman adjacent: a Penguin one-shot, and GCPD: The Blue Wall, which zeroed in on the Gotham City police department.
Other possibilities from DC include Wildstorm titled, as Ridley kicked off his comics career with The Authority in The Authority: Human on the Inside, and continued with The American Way, and The Razor’s Edge: Warblade. And back to DC, in 2021 he released the universe-spanning The Other History of the DC Universe.
“I love all the artists I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” Ridley further teased, indicating it was possibly someone new he’s collaborating with. “This one, off the hook, just great. And it’s going to be a terrific series, but more than anything, it’s just great to come back and revisit and be with and spend time with some of these characters.”
Earlier in the show, Ridley had been joking about how he was giving up “everything” and this podcast was his final hurrah. However, it turns out that’s sort of a half-joke, as Ridley is committing himself to his comic book work over the next year (despite a new movie, Shirley, which will premiere on a TBD date on Netflix).
“And I’m telling you, man, when I said I’m giving everything up, I’m giving up everything except writing comic books,” Ridley continued. “As long as you guys are around and folks like you, I’m writing comic books. So when this other one finally comes out this year, I’d love to come back and talk about it because it’s like talking about your kids. I love them all, but this one may be one of my favorites. This will be the kid. He’s going to get into NYU. That’s how good this is.”
There is one other possibility for the subject matter of this comic, if Ridley wanted to throw fans off the scent by only looking at his prior comic book work. In 2003, right after Ridley released Undercover Brother, and a decade before 12 Years a Slave, he wrote one episode of Static Shock, titled “Toys in the Hood.” However, as far as I’m aware he’s never written a Static comic book, or anything for Milestone at all. And not only has Milestone been revived in the past few years, it’s also publishing books through DC Comics — Ridley’s most consistent home in the industry. So could he be referring to a Static, or Static-related book coming up in 2024?
When asked if he could tease the publisher, Hudlin stayed mum.
“If I say which, then people won’t dive into the internet and dig around and play this clip back for clues,” Hudlin said. “He, she, or they, what did he say? Can’t quite give that formal announcement yet, but it is at a comic book publisher that publishes comic books.”
That narrows it down! We’ll know more as the year unfolds. In the meantime, you can listen to the full interview on Ridley’s comic book work, including the currently running IDW title The Ministry of Compliance, below.
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