The Top Comic Books Inspiring DC Studios’ DCU Chapter One

DC Studios has a bright future!

James Gunn Peter Safran DC Studios DCU Justice League

Just a few days ago, filmmaker James Gunn, co-chairman of DC Studios, along with his co-chairman and producer Peter Safran, shared the slate for the first chapter of the new DC Universe (DCU), titled Gods and Monsters.

You’d expect this initial slate to focus primarily on the Trinity (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), along with prominent members of the Justice League, but come on, we’re talking about James Gunn here!

Gunn is known for his love for obscure comic book characters. After all, he created the Peacemaker TV series for DC films, and he was behind the Guardians of the Galaxy movies at Marvel Studios.

This is why the slate for DCU chapter one features lesser-known characters like Creature Commandos and The Authority, along with popular characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Supergirl.

So, you’re probably wondering, where is James Gunn getting his inspiration, exactly? Which DC comics is he referencing for his vision of the new DCU?

Here are the ones hinted at by Gunn himself:

1. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow

Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow DC Comics

Tom King’s 2021-2022 run of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is one of the main inspirations for Supergirl in the DCU, as explicitly stated by James Gunn.

This run of comic books focuses on how Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) — angry and vengeful — is quite different from her cousin Kal-El (Superman) — peaceful and optimistic—because of the environment she grew up in.

In this run, Supergirl grew up on a chunk of Krypton and had to watch everything she cares about perish. On the other hand, Superman was raised by two loving and caring parents in Smallville, Kansas.

We’re excited to see how James Gunn weaves this compelling storyline into the new DCU.

2. All-Star Superman

James Gunn Superman Legacy

If you’re a long-time fan of DC Comics, you know just how legendary Grant Morrison’s 2006-2008 run of All-Star Superman is, and it seems to be one of the inspirations for the upcoming Superman: Legacy movie.

It’s worth noting that All-Star Superman will likely be inspirational in terms of tone only, as Superman in this run is old, whereas the DCU’s Superman is expected to be in his early years.

If you haven’t read this 12-issue run yet, we recommend that you do so. It’s considered the quintessential Superman story, towering at #1 in most, if not all, lists of the best Superman comic book runs.  

3. The Authority

The Authority

Seeing as casual DC fans may not know much about The Authority, it seems like James Gunn is looking to shed the spotlight on this government-controlled team of cynical and violent antiheroes.

In the DCU chapter one slate reveal, Gunn used the cover of The Authority #1, created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, to tease the arrival of the original roster of the antihero team to the big screen.

Some of the most significant characters in the original roster of The Authority include Midnighter, Apollo, Jack Hawksmoor, Swift, The Doctor and The Engineer.

4. Batman and Son

Batman and Son DC Comics

James Gunn revealed that the Batman and Son comic, created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert, is the main inspiration for the upcoming Batman movie, The Brave and the Bold, which features the Damian Wayne version of Robin.

With Damian Wayne holding the mantle of Robin, we can assume that the previous Robins are, in fact, part of the new DCU. We can also assume that Dick Grayson (Nightwing) is going to appear on the big screen, along with the rest of the Bat Family.

We feel the need to point out that DCU’s Batman has nothing to do with Matt Reeves’ Batman films. The latter, as James Gunn stated, is part of DC Elseworlds, not the DCU. So, both will co-exist independently.

5. The Saga of the Swamp Thing

The Saga of the Swamp Thing DC Comics

While not as popular as the likes of Superman and Batman, Swamp Thing is a favorite among hardcore DC fans, including James Gunn himself. So, where’s Gunn going with Swamp Thing, exactly?

The co-chairman stated that the upcoming Swamp Thing movie will fall under the horror category, and it seems to be taking inspiration from Alan Moore and Steve Bissette’s The Saga of the Swamp Thing.

Long-time fans of Swamp Thing are hoping that this movie will lead to a live-action adaptation of Justice League Dark, a branch of the Justice League that features prominent characters like John Constantine and Zatanna.

6. Booster Gold

Booster Gold

Finally! Booster Gold, one of the most popular DC characters outside of the Justice League, is getting his very own live-action series, and we’re all hyped up for it.

While James Gunn hasn’t hinted at the comic books on which he’ll base his introduction of the character, we can assume that the original Booster Gold series will be used as a reference, as it covers the origin of the character.

We’re also certain that newer depictions of Booster Gold, like the one in the 52 run, will inspire Gunn’s vision, mainly because the slate announcement featured a modern image of the character.    

7. Green Lantern: Earth One

Green Lantern Earth One DC Comics

The long-in-development Green Lantern series is finally happening, featuring Hal Jordan and John Stewart, with expected appearances from other notable members of the Green Lantern Corps.

During the slate announcement, an image from the Green Lantern: Earth One series appeared on the screen, which can be taken as a hint at where Gunn is taking inspiration from.

Wrapping Up

We’re so eager to see how the above-listed comic book runs will inspire the new direction of the DC Cinematic Universe at Warner Bros. Pictures, spearheaded by James Gunn and Peter Safran.

Evidently, James Gunn is a huge DC fan. He knows what the fans want to see, and he knows how to take a not-so-popular character and make it larger than life, as he did with Peacemaker.

So, here’s to a lively and bright new chapter of DC.  

Rick Lemoine

Rick Lemoine

Raised on a hearty dose of Marvel and DC comics, Rick combines his love for superheroes with a knack for writing about Hollywood's brightest.