The award-winning retro-futurist graphic novel DC: The New Frontier will become a stylish movie, judging from this newly released trailer. This direct-to-DVD animated film, based on the Darwyn Cooke graphic novel, follows Green Lantern (voiced by David "Angel" Boreanaz) from the Korean War to the Kennedy administration. It's also part of a trend toward putting DC Comics characters back in the bygone eras that spawned them. More comic book journeys into U.S. history after the jump.
The New Frontier DVD follows Hal Jordan from the Korean War to the Kennedy era, and he becomes Green Lantern along the way. Jordan and the Martian Manhunter are the stars of the new DVD film, according to the screenwriter. Putting "Silver Age" characters back into the 1950s and 1960s makes them seem less dated, and also lets Cooke comment on issues like racism and McCarthyism. The movie hits multiple DVD formats on February 26th, 2008.
But The New Frontier isn't the only classic graphic novel to use this technique. James (Starman) Robinson won plaudits for The Golden Age, a graphic novel which followed a group of classic 1940s heroes as they coped with (once again) McCarthyism in the early 1950s. His comic starred Starman, Robotman, the original Atom and Johnny Thunder.
And then there's John Byrne's underrated Superman & Batman: Generations, which showed both heroes starting their careers in 1939, the year they originally appeared. Byrne placed the heroes in a classic setting (at the 1939 World's Fair), then showed them aging in real time. Both Superman and Batman deal with aging and handing over their responsibilities to their kids and sidekicks. (Later installments follow them into the present day and beyond.)
DC has also published several "Elseworlds" stories taking place in alternate universes, featuring Batman in the 1930s and 1940s. These include Detective 27, Citizen Wayne (a Citizen Kane riff), and Gotham Noir.