So, 2019, what's up for superhero comics from the big boys through the year?
I am told that 'Connective Tissue' is said to be the watchword for American superhero comic books in 2019. We've started to see it in recent months but both companies seem to be doubling down.
It comes from DC and Marvel having a shared central continuity of storytelling each. But often one would never know. That is changing.
We're not talking about the big all-encompassing crossover event series such as Civil War II or Metal. Those things will of course continue as ever.
Instead, it's more having titles recognise that others exist and reflect their continuity more. Yes, even if you're Brian Bendis. Indeed at DC, Bendis has been one of the instigators of this with the Action Comics splash pages, reflecting what's been happening in other comics, and coming up in new ones – especially if they are pals of Bendis.
But it's all over the place. DC Rebirth set up a new reality and Doomsday Clock set out a nearby future for the DC Universe and slowly but slowly the other comic books have been coming round to the idea. Reflecting the idea that Dr Manhattan played around with continuity, in Batman, Flash, Action Comics, Detective Comics, Teen Titans, The Green Lantern and now the upcoming Young Justice. The different fiefdoms of DC Comics creativity have been challenged to stop their fighting out ignoring of each other and sort this out, with Bendis, Johns, Morrison, King all finally playing in the same sandbox together. Not as much visible from Scott Snyder's No Justice or Justice League as much – he's had his own plan that he's heading towards – but the Superman and Batman titles have been playing nice, and others are joining in as well. A cessation of hostilities perhaps?
Again, we're not talking stories beginning in one series and continuing in another. Just a recognition that they are all in it together and these little notes and easter eggs are what get the fanbase buzzing. And Leviathan is going to be everywhere,
There has been less of this at Marvel Comics. But recently a mention in both Captain America and in The Immortal Hulk that General Ross had died – something that had not actually been seen on panel anywhere – suggested that the books were acknowledging a shared continuity.
And I understand that there's a mandate to do more of this.
Connective tissue. Not a crossover, per se, but the suggestion that in-universe stories are connected. Somehow.
Look for more of this in 2019.