“The World’s Greatest Heroes! The World’s Greatest Comics!”: How Wednesday Comics Went from a Wild Idea to an All-Time Great

When you look back through comic book history, the most iconic works often have one key characteristic in common, and that’s that they strived to do something different. Whether you’re talking The Dark Knight Returns and its out-of-continuity yet quintessential take on Batman or something like Maus and its fierce confrontation of an atypical subject matter for the medium, comics are often more interesting when they zig while everyone else zags.

That’s not to say there isn’t huge downside to that approach – please see Marvel’s Trouble and the failings that come with exploring the sexy early years of Aunt May and Peter Parker’s parents – but at the very least, it’s a path to being memorable, even if it’s more “infamous” than famous. And the upside is worth all of those notable misses. With greater risks come greater rewards, and the history of the comic book medium is littered with proof of that idea. 3

A perfect example of this turned ten years old this year. Like other luminaries, it was a bold, abnormal premise for the often risk-averse comics industry. It was a throwback to yesteryear that married some of the greatest creators in the history of the medium with exciting newcomers in a format that was decidedly antiquated, yet charmingly so. It was the definition of a passion project by one of the most impressive and underrated comic book minds of the past 30 years, and it was all the better for it.

It was Wednesday Comics, a 2009 anthology title at DC Comics. Published in broadsheet, newspaper format to simulate the experience of reading the Sunday funnies of the past, it was a risky move, and one that never became a giant hit or even an awards season giant. But those that did read it recognize it for what it is: one of the most interesting and iconic works of this century, and one that stands tall amongst the legendary efforts its brilliant ringleader edited. This is the story of how a mad idea became something real and magnificent, thanks to the efforts of a particularly driven man and the exceptional creators he recruited.

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  1. Additional note: there are many examples of comics from the usual methods that are legendary as well, but I’d wager that the hit ratio for that method is lower than you’d see with the riskier endeavors.

  2. Additional note: there are many examples of comics from the usual methods that are legendary as well, but I’d wager that the hit ratio for that method is lower than you’d see with the riskier endeavors.

  3. Additional note: there are many examples of comics from the usual methods that are legendary as well, but I’d wager that the hit ratio for that method is lower than you’d see with the riskier endeavors.