James Tynion IV returns to Bat Man comics with industry legend Klaus Janson for FCDoS
Introducing TRUE WEIRD, a black and white anthology series exploring the strangest "true" stories from the world around us with some of comics most exciting creators
Wait, what Bat Man are YOU thinking I was talking about?!
No! Not the billionaire playboy who puts on a cape and cowl and punches mentally ill circus people! Why would you think that?!
I’m talking about this guy…
You know?! The strange man with leathery Bat Wings that was seen flying over the beach in Coney Island in 1880. The one that got written up in the New York Times, since he was seen by so many beachgoers that day. Heck, let me pull the first paragraph from the NYT archives for you.
Sounds pretty weird, right?
Well, that’s the idea.
My name is James Tynion IV. I write a lot of comic books for a bunch of publishers. Comics like SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH, THE NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE, and WYND. I also used to write a little-known comic called BATMAN. But ever since I started making comics here on my Substack, I’ve been focused on a genre that I’ve taken to calling “True Weird.”
I see the “True Weird” genre as the stranger cousin to “True Crime.” These are the sorts of stories that used to be told in the comics format all the time. Strange stories of encounters with UFOs, Ghosts, Cryptids, and other paranormal or inexplicable phenomena. My first work in the “True Weird” genre was BLUE BOOK, a series I co-created with Michael Avon Oeming, in which we are making long-form comics out of the real accounts of people who claim to have encountered a UFO. The goal is that by basing our work on the true accounts, we can capture a kind of deeper strangeness than you can get when you over-fictionalize these stories.
Since last fall, we’ve been running BLUE BOOK on Fridays, typically alternating with our Cryptozoological art book series THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH: WILD FICTIONS. That’s made Fridays our official “True Weird” day here on the Substack. When I realized we were going to need to find a different release schedule for BLUE BOOK in 2022, I started to think about what other kinds of stories we could tell in the comic book format.
A new project sprang to life in my head. And today, for FREE COMIC DAY ON SUBSTACK (or FCDoS), we’re releasing the first entry of that new comics project, free of charge.
Welcome to TRUE WEIRD, a monthly black and white anthology series available only for paid subscribers to my newsletter.
These anthology stories are going to follow the same rough structure that we’re using in Blue Book. Every story we tell is going to be based on a real account of an encounter with the inexplicable, with minimal fictionalization and exaggeration. The key thing we’re trying to capture is the genuine weirdness at the heart of each story, no matter how unsettling or logic-defying it might be. The anthology stories are going to be one-and-done, with a different creative team on each chapter. To help capture the feel of old-school “STRANGE BUT TRUE” comics, and to help mark this as the spiritual cousin of BLUE BOOK, we’re going to be doing these stories in black and white. Our hope is that each of these stories makes you look at the world a little differently, that they make you wonder, and that they make you eager for each new chapter.
I could not be more thrilled to be writing this first True Weird story for the absolutely legendary Klaus Janson. Klaus and I have been talking about collaborating on something together since the fall. My hope is that this will be the first of many projects we tackle together. I had the great pleasure of visiting Klaus’ studio and going over the pages as he was penciling and inking them, which is an opportunity I almost never get. I’m thrilled we got to tell a story together about our home, New York City, and one of the strangest mysteries from its past. Klaus and I are joined on the short by letterer extraordinaire, Aditya Bidikar, who will be serving as letterer for the whole larger TRUE WEIRD project. Together I think we’ve put something very special together. I hope you enjoy it.
Now, let’s get to that Bat Man I was talking about…
TRUE WEIRD was created by JAMES TYNION IV
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Klaus Janson
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar
Designed by Dylan Todd
Edited by Greg Lockard
TRUE WEIRD is an anthology project that is going to be running monthly here on The Empire of The Tiny Onion. It’s going to be available to read for all paid subscribers to my newsletter, along with the full archive of BLUE BOOK, and WILD FICTIONS. So if you want to read future entries, you should SUBSCRIBE NOW!
I should also mention that if you’re just discovering comics on Substack now, and want a better experience to keep track of the different newsletters you follow, you should download the Substack app for iOS!
Thanks for reading! We’ve got a truly rockstar list of creators on board for this project in the months to come.
James Tynion IV