Home Artwork Artist Daniel Johnston posthumously provides Batman, Superman, and Orion Batman #121 variant covers

Artist Daniel Johnston posthumously provides Batman, Superman, and Orion Batman #121 variant covers


Batman #121 on March 1 will include three limited-edition cover variations featuring original artwork by the late singer-songwriter and visual artist Daniel Johnston, DC announced on February 14. All three covers are available for pre-order starting now.

Variant cover editions will be published by Central Texas comic book retailer Austin Books & Comics (ABC) and sold in cooperation with Electric Lady Studios, which operates the Daniel Johnston Art Catalog on behalf of Johnston’s surviving family. , The Contemporary Austin museum. Contemporary Austin is currently exhibiting the first-ever museum retrospective of his work, Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams, through March 20.

The exhibition – which includes over 200 drawings as well as handmade leaflets, home-recorded cassettes with hand-drawn covers, photographs, notebook pages, Super 8mm home movies, videos archival and audio, is described as offering visitors a window into Johnston’s “elaborate iconography, including an idiosyncratic cast of figures and symbols engaged in a perpetual struggle between good and evil”.

According to DC, Johnston – the subject of the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston – achieved cult status during this career and the “early and outspoken” endorsement of pop culture icons like Matt Groening, Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth and David Bowie.

Daniel Johnston’s Batman #121 Variant Cover (Image credit: DC)

How did the Batman variant covers come about? Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams curator Robin K. Williams found a letter Johnston wrote in the 90s or 2000s to his friend Marie Javins, now DC’s editor, asking him to help to obtain his work. in comics.

“I thought the letter was odd and touching,” Williams says in DC’s announcement, “because he was already an internationally successful musician when he wrote it. When I interviewed Marie at about it, she said: ‘Daniel had two loves, music and art, and I always wanted to be a comic book artist. It gave him the great idea to finally make it possible.’

“I’ve been an avid collector of Daniel’s artwork since I met him in 1986, but not always on purpose,” says Javins. “He drew pictures on letters he sent me over the years, and we even collaborated on artwork when I was a professional comic book colorist. I’m excited to see his Batman art, Superman and Orion come to life on these variants from ABC retailers.”

Electric Lady Studios selected the images to use for the variant covers.

“It’s the complete realization of one of Daniel’s biggest dreams: to see his designs featured on a DC cover and sold at his favorite comic book store. It just squeezes my throat,” said Lee Foster, associate director of Electric Lady in the ad. .

Orion variant cover of Daniel Johnston’s Batman #121 (Image credit: DC)

Austin Books & Comics was patronized for years by Johnston, and according to DC, he would trade his own original artwork for comic books. ABC would in turn sell the artwork to its customers, making it an early supporter of his visual works.

“Daniel has always done unconventional things, so it makes sense that this is how he finally finds himself on a comic book cover from a major publisher,” says Brandon Zuern, director at Austin Books & Comics.

Batman #121 is by Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, Mikel Janín, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles, and includes a backup story by Karl Kerschl and Dave McCaig.

Limited quantities of the trade-dressed Johnston cover featuring Batman will be sold individually while sets of all three covers, featuring DC’s Batman, Superman and New God Orion, will be packaged in unique folios and sold in limited quantities. at Contemporary Austin, Electric Lady Studios, Austin Books and Comicsand hihowareyou.comall of which will offer an exclusive colorway for the folio.

And on Wednesday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m. CST, The Contemporary Austin is hosting a launch event with Javins in Conversation with Robin K. Williams, where his Johnston Batman #121 variant cover set will be available. Tickets and information will soon be available at thecontemporaryaustin.org/events.

Cover of Batman #121 Superman by Daniel Johnston (Image credit: DC)

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