Robot 6

A closer look at those Fringe “alternate reality” covers

As noted earlier this week, last night’s season finale of Fox’s Fringe featured an alternate reality where everything was topsy-turvy — including the comics. Over at DC’s the Source blog, DC’s Geoff Johns and Wildstorm’s Hank Kanalz talks about how the mock covers used on the show came about.

“A month or so ago, I was fortunate enough to take on the job of Chief Creative Officer. That meant I was charged with bringing out characters out of the comic book pages and into the vast world of television, film, animation and video games that is DC Entertainment,” Johns said. “One of the first calls I got was from the director of the Fringe season finale – writer/producer/director Akiva Goldsman. He was shooting a scene in an alternate world where things weren’t exactly like ours. Where even the smallest details were somewhat off. Including the comics. Together with executive producer Jeff Pinker, Akiva wanted to showcase an array of DC Comics that could’ve been including the ones you can see below. He wanted them to be as authentic as possible. Something only the hardcore would really recognize. We all came up with some ideas. That’s when Hank Kanalz came in…”

“We mobilized Batman: Arkham Asylum artist Carlos D’Anda, The Authority: Lost Year artists JJ Kirby, Michael Lopez, and Oliver Nome, and art directors extraordinaire Larry Berry and Ed Roeder to create these fun alternate reality covers,” Kanalz said. “We assembled the first four covers quickly…but we really wanted to exceed all expectations for the fifth cover. With the concept of RED LANTERN/RED ARROW we had only one choice – Ivan Reis. Geez, did he and Oclair Albert deliver, or what?”

In addition to the Red Lantern/Red Arrow cover, there were several other classic DC Comics covers that got a little twist of their own. For instance, Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 featured the classic Superman holding a lifeless Supergirl … but on the show last night, the roles were reversed:

"Mock" Crisis #7 cover

"Mock" Crisis #7 cover


And many fans remember the classic “Death of Superman” story from the 1990s … in alternate Fringe world, it was a different superhero who died:

Mock Death of Batman cover

Mock Death of Batman cover

I’m not sure if that means Bane ended up breaking Superman’s back instead, but I do know that in alternate Fringe world, it wasn’t the Dark Knight who got to return at Frank Miller’s hands:

Superman: The Man of Steel Returns

Superman: The Man of Steel Returns

And finally, it looks like a certain scar-faced cowboy who has his own movie coming out this summer was a member of the JLA at one point:

Jonah League?

Jonah League?



Pretty cool! Wonder who ended up with the mock covers.

That Batman cover is AWESOME! I’m honestly really surprised DC never did any big homages to that Superman cover, it’s one of the most enduring iconic images of the era, for better or worse.

I think it’s wrong that they robbed DeMatteis, Giffen and MacGuire of the proper credit with the Justice League cover.

Yet, they give Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding credit for the bloody Batman logo.

BTW, the Superman shadow image for The Man of Steel Returns cover is directly taken from a panel in The Dark Knight Returns – Book Three, though they did add the logo.

Modern Supergirl with a detachable S-shield.

Also completely re-done JLI with Jonah Hex instead of Guy Gardner is awesome.

Fir $#!+s and giggles, Jonah Hex should be added to a team book like Lady Blackhawk was added to Birds of Prey. It would give some sort of Congorilla-cred to the book.

Hmm… for the Death of Batman and Crisis, the books are cheaper in Canada! Nice alternate reality touch.

I would love to read the Man of Steel Returns.

Jonah Hex on a JLI style cover of a JL team has been done before…

The technology in the alternate world is supposed to be more advanced that the technology here.

That explains the computer coloring in the 1980s.

Hey! You forgot the Red Lantern! It’s the one that called more my attention!

It was posted twice earlier in the week.

If the good folks at DC are smart they should do a month long “Fringe” event tying all of this cool stuff together. I would be more than happy to pitch a few ideas :) I would love to see more of a rage fueled Hal Jordan and the “Death of Batman”

I’d like to know if there where four Batmen in the Return of Batman. Batboy (later to be Robin) Azbats (later to be forgotten about) Cyborg Batman (later revealed as a life model decoy [borrowed concept] gone wrong) and Orpheus as the black Batman just trying to keep the streets safe.

Due to the unique nature of Batmans death though (Bane threw him of a roof after delivering a pounding that would have reduced most mentally and physically fatigued men to a meringue) it turns out he was just in a coma being looked after by Alfred in a tank full of ‘borrowed’ lazarus chemicals for just such an emergency. And low he returns! But he has no powers! Which is fine.

Bludhaven gets blown up by the life model decoy (…) Nightwing goes on a REALLY ineffective rampage to destroy the universe and winds up in Arkham while Batman presses the self destruct on the LMD, employs Batboy as Robin, Orpheus becomes the new Nightwong and everyone lives happily ever after.

Did I forget someone?


May 23, 2010 at 9:44 am

lead sharp, that was pure awesome! I love it!!!

The covers are nice but that alternate universe must be really sucky in order to give birth to such crappy stories. :p

Come on DC give us an Elseworlds with Jonah Hex in the JL and Carlos D’Anda’s art looks fantastic.

Cheers dazzler_slave.

To echo Pink Eye, the Man of Steel Returns Elseworlds would be cool, but maybe we got that with All Star Superman?

If DC produces one shots of these books I will buy them. If they’re good enough I might even check out an ongoing. I love alternate reality stuff so these look like lots of fun.

Pretty awesome, but I would have liked the art styles of the “Fringe” version to be pegged a bit more closely to the real deals. That would mean no computer coloring and Headband Supergirl, among other nit-pickery.

So as we are talking about paralel earths here, there would be an Earth-Fringe in the actual multiverse?
And which other changes there could had been?
Did Alan Moore used the Quality Characters instead of the Charlton’s as inspiration for Watchmen? Or he used the original characters?
Did Barry Allen died in Crisis 8? Or another Flash make the sacrifice? Wally? Jay? (And which color was his uniform?)
Did Jason Todd died in Death in the family?
Did John Byrne revamped Batman in his six issue mini The Dark Knight?
Was Hawkman a continuity mess in this universe too? Donna? Power girl?
How much time was Hal Jordan Parallax after Crimson Twlight? (or was Scarlet Twlight?) Or that was Oliver?
Etc. etc.

In the Fringeyverse is Wonder Woman a popular comic?

Imagine Batman Returns…Directed by Bryan Singer staring Brandon Routh and a highly successful pair of movies Superman Begins and The Man Of Steel…

A universe where there’s a great Punisher movie, where Grant Morrison hasn’t lost his mainstream mojo… A universe where we finally get a comic movie trilogy worth a damn.

Excuse me it’s all too much, I’m sorry *sob*

Captain Doctor Master

May 23, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Some want Jonah Hex in the Justice League, for real? That’s mere imitation of when Two Gun Kid was hanging out with the Avengers.

so… i guess they did only DC covers ’cause in an alternate universe DC sells better than Marvel???

ZING! just kidding. seriously, these are really fun. i think then Death of Batman and Man of Steel Returns are my fav.

Excuse me, but I believe THAT particular title should have been “Superman: The Last Son of Krypton Returns”.

Unfourtantly Jeff They used Jonah Hex image from the Hex series and if I’m not mistaken the other western fellow is Batlash .
Maybe DC will publish those stories it be a cool read if they did . my deal is how they would deal with Jonah Hex in the new Justice Leauge and how he managed to get in that time frame.

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