With Tom King, Ava DuVernay's 'New Gods' Could Be the Most Human DC Movie

DC Comics

Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay has teamed up with equally celebrated comic book writer Tom King to pen the screenplay for New Gods, her adaptation of Jack Kirby’s cosmic DC superheroes. The hiring of Tom King is one of the most exciting in recent memory because frankly, there just isn’t anyone better than the writer of Mister Miracle.

On Wednesday, TheWrap reported, and DuVernay confirmed on Twitter, that Eisner Award-winning comic book writer Tom King (Batman, The Vision) will write the screenplay for New Gods, a DC film that stars characters created by Jack Kirby after the famed creator briefly split from Marvel in 1971.

On Twitter, DuVernay shared a selfie with Tom King in a tweet that read: “Hey ⁦@TomKingTK. Ready to write NEW GODS, buddy? A. ✨✨✨” DuVernay was hired to direct New Gods for Warner Bros. in March 2018.

While Warner Bros. and DC could have hired any ol’ screenwriter with a nerd brain, it’s a big deal that the film’s screenwriter is Tom King.

Though King hasn’t yet written for film, his work in comics is indisputable. Besides The Vision for Marvel and Grayson and Batman for DC, King teamed up with Mitch Gerads for the critically-acclaimed Mister Miracle, a 12-issue series starring Scott Free, one of the main characters from Kirby’s New Gods.

The story of New Gods is about two alien civilizations at war. On one side, the idyllic New Genesis run by the benevolent Highfather, and on the other, Apokolips, a hellish planet ruled by Darkseid. In an effort to achieve peace, the two rulers traded sons, with Highfather’s son Scott Free being given to Darkseid, who brutally raised him until he escaped to Earth with his lover, Big Barda. With his powers, Scott Free became a celebrity escape artist and magician under the stage name “Mister Miracle.”

In 2017, DC began publishing Mister Miracle, a series by Tom King and Mitch Gerads that centered on Scott’s life as a father and husband on Earth while he’s forced to continue fighting on Apokolips. While the series is about actual immortals in a cosmic war, Mister Miracle is one of the most authentically human comics of the 2010s.

When Scott and Barda aren’t clashing with Darkseid’s forces, they’re dealing with L.A. traffic, taking selfies with fans, and throwing birthday parties for their infant child. For their work on Mister Miracle, King and Gerads won Eisner Awards (the Oscars for comics), for Best Writer and Best Penciler/inker respectively, at San Diego Comic-Con last year.

In an interview with Inverse at New York Comic Con in 2017, King called Mister Miracle “the most ambitious thing” he’s ever done.

“Mitch and I talked about what we want to do. We want to do Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and All-Star Superman, and we said, ‘Can we do that?’” King and Gerads realized the answer was no, but said: “But we’d be stupid not to try.”

He also described Mister Miracle as a way of making sense of a world “that does not make sense anymore.”

Black and white art from 'Mister Miracle' #1, the acclaimed series by Tom King and Mitch Gerads about one of Jack Kirby's New Gods characters.

DC Comics

“This is me trying to comment on our time period, trying to comment on the insanity,” King said. “Not to talk about politics but I know we’re all waking up every day at the news and we’re just saying, ‘What the fuck just happened?’ The world does not make sense anymore. And I wanted to write about that, that paranoia, and the responsibility of an artist in a crazy time like this is to bring that shit out, so we can deal with it a little bit.”

It is unknown if DuVernay’s New Gods will be set in the DCEU. The New Gods were teased in 2017’s Justice League, with Darkseid’s uncle Steppenwolf (a New God himself) serving as the film’s primary antagonist.

DC’s New Gods does not yet have a release date.

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