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Just for Even More Fun: Our DC 52

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In a circuitous yet inevitable piece of logic, the natural progression after doing our ideal 52 Marvel books the other week is for us to turn around do exactly the same for DC. Even though it’s DC that are actually launching 52 new books in the first place. Of course, we could argue that they deserve being given the chance to see how it works before people tell them how they think it should be done – but frankly, even among the solicitations there are editorial and creative decisions that look baffling and worrying to the long-term fan. In particular, a number of creators that have been turning in strong work for the company have found themselves – unfairly, in our view – without a regular gig, while there’s been little to no emphasis on seeking out new talent or on providing contemporary or challenging takes on the characters.

With that in mind, our DC list is a little more revolutionary than our Marvel list – we’ve had to cast our net wider when it comes to finding people to work on the books, as we don’t have as much confidence in the existing DC lineup as in the Marvel one (which we were, by and large, simply able to shuffle around). We’ve played by largely the same rules as our Marvel list, though – within reasonable expectations of workload, any writer or artist not currently bound to another company by exclusivity (or having made specific statements about not working for DC) is up for grabs. For the purposes of the “game” this roster also shouldn’t be considered as happening simultaneously with the Marvel one – i.e. any work given to a creator by that list won’t impact on their availability to us here. I mean, we can imagine being EICs of one company quite easily, but the notion that we’d get both jobs simultaneously is just sheer fancy…

Remember, in case you’ve stumbled across this blog post accidentally, this list is ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICAL and NOT ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Although if anyone at Warners likes what they see, you’ve got our email addresses.

Justice League

Justice League of America – Geoff Johns / Jim Lee
It’s the lynchpin of the line under the “real” relaunch – and there’s no real reason not to let it be so here, as well. We might as well, after all, see what Johns and Lee actually have in mind to do with it. Really, it’s unlikely anyone other than Morrison himself could match Morrison’s 1990s run – so JLA might as well be given to someone who wants it, and might as well showcase wide-scale if intellectually unchallenging stories.

Justice League International – Judd Winick / Cully Hamner
Amazingly, we’d actually want Judd Winick on a particular book. We know, crazy. But he did a surprisingly great job with Justice League: Generation Lost, with a good handle on this set of characters and their interactions/dynamic without simply trying to slavishly copy the “bwah hah hah” tone of the Giffen/deMatteis run. It’s a shame that he’s not going to be on the follow-up series in real life – so let’s rectify that here, with the character-driven expressiveness of Cully Hamner onboard to boot.

Superman Family

Superman – Grant Morrison / Frank Quitely
Well, it’s got to be, hasn’t it? We don’t know how many arcs Quitely would manage at a time, but Morrison seems to have taken on the “three-issue-arc” structure as an excellent way of doing things, so we’d continue that here – and other Mozza-friendly artists could fill in as necessary. This would be the main Superman book, focusing specifically on the character’s ongoing saga and development.

Action Comics – Mark Waid / Renato Guedes
Waid has a much better handle on Superman than he’s often given credit for - witness the excellent Birthright – and deserves a proper shot at the character at the top level. Guedes drew the character brilliantly and with a distinctive elegance for an all-too-brief period during James Robinson’s run. Our new Action would be a Superman team-up book, with an emphasis on big-budget action-orientated stories.

Superboy and the Cadmus Project – Al Ewing / Andy Clarke
It’s astonishing that Ewing, one of the most exciting and energetic of the recent crop of 2000AD creators, hasn’t been given a major work by either DC or Marvel yet. Let’s rectify that, and at the same time attempt to restore Superboy to something resembling a vaguely workable character – by returning him to his roots at the clone-producing Cadmus project (complete with Kirby-created supporting cast of the Guardian, the Newsboys etc.), and making the series something of a whacked-out sci-fi extravaganza.

Supergirl – Brian Wood / Ryan Kelly
Sorry, we know this is a bit of a bee in our bonnet. We know we already had this exact same team doing a book over at Marvel as well. But there’s a reason for that – this is a writer and artist who can actually do young characters convincingly. And that’s something that DC’s teen heroes in particular are in dire need of. Wood and Kelly would actually bother to explore what it’s like to be a young woman coming to terms with being the perpetually-shadowed cousin of the world’s most powerful and most famous hero – and, if Kelly’s wonderful character sketch is anything to go by, would give her a sharp and contemporary edge. It’s never going to happen in real life, but we’d try our damnedest to make it happen if we were in charge.

The Planet – Kelly Sue deConnick / R.B. Silva
Similar to what we’re doing with The Pulse over at Our Marvel, this would be a book focusing on Superman’s newsroom-based supporting cast – so there’d be spotlights on the likes of Lois, Jimmy, Perry White and even lower-tier support like Cat Grant, Ron Troupe, Jose Delgado and so on. It’s a shame we don’t have Nick Spencer to write it – although we’ll certainly have his Jimmy Olsen cohort R.B. Silva draw it – but Kelly Sue deConnick is one of a breed of witty, character-centric writers being fostered by Marvel at the moment, and having already written Supergirl is probably one who could be tempted over.

Steel – Sterling Gates / Jamal Igle
Well, you kind of have to have a Steel book, really. Gates and Igle were a strong team on Supergirl, but since that book’s not available to them here, let’s shift them to another S-shield wearing hero instead, where we’re sure they’ll turn in yet more solid work.

The Batbooks

Batman – Paul Cornell / Cameron Stewart
It’s a wrench taking Grant Morrison off Batman – but he can’t be everywhere, and in addition to taking over Superman we’d rather see him try his hand at invigorating somebody else after all those successful years with the Dark Knight. In a bold move, then, let’s finally give Paul Cornell his major A-list break (his recent Action Comics only sort of counts, due to only featuring Superman right at the end) and see how he’d fare on the original inspiration for his excellent Knight and Squire. Cameron Stewart’s exquisitely clean art, meanwhile, would suit the more straight-up heroics that this book would provide, in contrast to…

Detective Comics – Brian Azzarello / Frazer Irving
… the more “street-level” Batman book. As with Action Comics, this would be a Batman team-up title – and, once again, the name would have relevance as the stories featured here would be more about crime and mystery. Azzarello is an established hand at such things – although, since his last Batman-based collaboration with Eduardo Risso (in Wednesday Comics) didn’t quite come off, let’s try pairing him with the idiosyncratic and stylish Irving instead.

Nightwings – Gail Simone / Butch Guice
Here, then, is our Big Idea about how to solve the problem of various characters whose roles have been usurped or reclaimed by others. With Damian Wayne continuing as Robin, and Cass Cain as Batgirl (see below), there’s no room for Tim Drake or Steph Brown despite their being two of DC’s best characters. The whole “Red Robin” idea is something of a fiasco, so let’s ditch that entirely – and instead have Tim and Steph team up with Dick Grayson to form a new team – the Nightwings. With Dick’s acrobatics and fighting skill, Tim’s detective brain and Steph’s gung-ho inquisitiveness, there’s a good range of attributes – and a good character dynamic – for writer Gail Simone (the obvious choice, really) to play with, while the ever dependable and stylish Butch Guice would lend the book visual energy. Oh, and they’ll all have the same basic costume design – with Dick’s logo in blue, Tim’s in red and Steph’s in purple.

Batwoman – JH Williams III
Because we’ve been waiting for it too damned long to ditch it now…

Batgirl – Jamie McKelvie
We’d use the opportunity to write as well as draw Cassandra Cain, a character McKelvie has a reputed fondness for, as our way of luring him away from Marvel’s clutches and getting him working properly on a DC book for the first time. The interpretation and story would be entirely down to him – as with JH Williams, when you’ve got an artist that good working on something, you might as well let them do entirely as they wish to keep them happy. Unlike other creators with whom that policy has failed miserably, though (David Finch, anyone?), McKelvie can actually write, so this would be in safe hands.

Gotham City Sirens – Tony Bedard / Nicola Scott
There’s a decent enough concept in Gotham City Sirens, and comics about villains are always fun (as long as they’re not too unrelentingly bleak) but the actual execution of Gotham City Sirens has been weaker than we’d hoped. Tony Bedard is a solid writer with a decent sense of humour and at least one quirky team book under his belt. Let’s see him take this on. Nicola Scott’s pencils would complete the creative team.

Knight & Squire – Si Spurrier / Chris Burnham
It’s tough to follow Grant Morrison on Britain’s answer to Batman and Robin (as Paul Cornell proved with an enjoyable, if unfocused mini). We’d like to see a young British writer with everything to play for let loose on the title, and Si Spurrier is perfectly placed to bring the characters to life in a new style. Paired with artist Chris Burnham, whose Quitely-esque action would help tie the book (visually, at least) to Morrison’s writing, you’ve got a book which should appeal to all DC’s British fans – and beyond.

Catwoman – Paul Dini / Javier Pulido
A lot of the good work that Paul Dini did on Detective Comics was undone by how poor Gotham City Sirens generally was. We still think he deserves a shot at a Batbook, though, so he’s being given a second chance with Catwoman. We’re very keen to move away from having people like Guillem March draw the character, though – the playful stylings of Javier Pulido, as already demonstrated on Selina’s Marvel-based ripoff equivalent will suit our purposes just nicely.

Green Lanterns

Green Lantern – Peter Milligan / Dave Gibbons
Although DC see Green Lantern as one of the “untouchable” books in the upcoming relaunch – i.e. that, along with Batman, it’s not in need of a fresh writer or new interpretation – we reckon Geoff Johns has had a long enough crack at it that it’s about time someone else got a go. Peter Milligan might seem like an odd choice, but he’s clearly well thought of at DC, and in recent years his previously wildly divergent quality levels have settled down, as he’s become a more consistent – if slightly less idiosyncratic – writer. Having spent some time earning his stripes on C- and D-list characters, it’s about time he got a shot at something a bit more high-profile. Dave Gibbons, meanwhile, would be a massive high-profile coup on art – part of our effort to push the GL mythos even more towards the top-tier than DC have in recent years – and, as a veteran of all things Oan, could step in with co-plotting duties as well.

Green Lantern Corps – Peter Tomasi / Patrick Gleason
While Hal Jordan’s book sees a change, however, there seems to be little reason to alter the formula that made Green Lantern Corps such a winning series in the early part of Tomasi and Gleason’s run. Although recent years have seen its original cast splinter off into other series, we’d reunite the likes of Kyle, Guy, John and Soranik and make GL Corps a full-on “cops in space” team book again.

DC Heroes

Wonder Woman – Joss Whedon / John Cassaday
Before long, we’re going to reach a point where people stop claiming Wonder Woman could be great if only the right creators came along, and instead just give up entirely on ever trying. Before that, though, let’s at least give Joss Whedon a go – we’re happy for him to do a straight adaptation of whatever his movie script was going to end up like – since at the very least it’ll be nice to see a comic with a powerful female lead that actually treats her properly as a character (well, another one aside from the Palmiotti/Conner Power Girl, obviously). And although John Cassaday’s cover art over the last couple of years has felt somewhat uninspired, we’re still confident that he could be reinvigorated by working with Whedon again, and that his A-list status would be a major boost for sales.

The Flash – Grant Morrison / Dustin Nguyen
It’s about time there was a really good Flash book again. And it’s about time Morrison turned his hand to revitalising another of DC’s classic and iconic heroes (particularly since, despite the recent Green Lantern movie, arguably more people would still recognise Flash over any other DC hero outside the Big Three). Hence this. One of Morrison’s earliest and most entertaining works for DC was a short story in Secret Origins in which he riffed on “Flash of Two Worlds”, and we’d love to see something like that on a wider scale – particularly given the recent admission in his book Supergods that Flash was always his favourite hero growing up. Nguyen, meanwhile, has an effortlessly punchy and energetic style that would be perfect for a book all about speedsters and lightning and suchlike.

Timeflash – Mark Waid / Chris Batista
Long time readers may recall Seb’s “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Wally West?” article, in which various things were suggested that could be done with a character who didn’t deserve to be shunted into oblivion simply because Barry Allen had been brought back. If we go by the assumption that the Flash in Morrison’s main title will be Barry – although actually, of course,  it’ll be a multi-interpretive take that brings together everyone from Jay Garrick to Barry, Wally, Bart and beyond – then this still leaves Wally kicking around without much to do. Hence: Timeflash, in which the (now blue-suited) speedster hops forwards and backwards through time, righting wrongs in the timeline and beyond. Mark Waid, who did such good work with him on his Flash run, is the obvious choice to write, while Batista’s solid work on the likes of Booster Gold mark him out as a good fit for this kind of story.

Aquaman – Geoff Johns / Doug Mahnke
Well, look, if Geoff Johns wants to do Aquaman – and he clearly does, since he’s given himself the job – we see no reason not to let him. He’s one of those characters whom you never particularly want to read about, but it’d undoubtedly feel weird if DC weren’t publishing a comic about him. And while it’s tempting to put somebody completely “out there” on it in the hope that they’ll make the character exciting, we’re not really interested enough in him to think too hard about who that might be. So, along with his Green Lantern cohort Mahnke, let’s see what Johns has in mind to do with it.

Green Arrow – Kurt Busiek / Yanick Paquette
Given how much he used Hawkeye during his Avengers run, we’ve got a feeling that Busiek has a soft spot for archers – and while it’s tempting to put him on DC’s most iconic heroes, it’s just as tempting to put him on a B-lister and watch him work his magic – especially a B-lister brimming with as much untapped character potential as rich leftie Ollie Queen. Paired with Yanick Paquette, a solid superhero artist whose pencils are kinetic and upbeat, you can imagine Green Arrow attracting major buzz for the first time since Kevin Smith’s run.

Power Girl – Jimmy Palmiotti / Amanda Conner
Well, come on

J’onn J’onnz, The Martian Manhunter – J.M. deMatteis / Humberto Ramos
Old J’onn is another of those characters who should always have a book out – and there have been few writers who’ve had a better handle on him than deMatteis. We’re not just talking from the “bwah hah hah” side of things, either – in fact, when writing solo, deMatteis can often come up with emotionally engaging and reflective work. This would seem ideally suited to stories about the lonely last survivor of an ancient noble race trying to fit in on a planet where he looks so noticeably alien – almost as ideally suited, in fact, as Humberto Ramos (another of our catches snagged from Marvel) would be to the visuals.

Booster Gold – Eddie Argos / Dan Jurgens
Stop your laughing at the back – we’re serious. What’s the point in playing EIC if you can’t have a bit of fun bringing new writers into the field? Art Brut singer Eddie (left) – in case you’ve never heard of him – is a massive fanboy of comics, and of DC in particular – and his favourite character, based on all available evidence, is one Michael Carter. Already more conversant with the character’s history than possibly anyone bar Dan Jurgens – who, by the way, we’ll have on art but also as a possible guiding plot hand – he’d bring a unique sense of humour and genuine enthusiasm to the book. Go on, admit it – it’d be fun.

Blue Beetle – Sterling Gates / Rafael Albuquerque
Well, obviously, we’d have a Jaime Reyes series in there. But with Matthew Sturges otherwise engaged (see below) and John Rogers presumably unavailable, let’s bring in Sterling Gates. As mentioned before, his Supergirl work was strong, and showed him as someone that can handle stories about a young hero coming to terms with their powers and responsibilities. And although Rafael Albuquerque wasn’t the original run’s original artist, he took over and made the book his own with aplomb after the departure of Cully Hamner – so it’s difficult to see anybody else better qualified to take over upon its comeback.

The Impossible Atom – Bryan Q. Miller / Jesus Merino
We’ll admit that there’s nothing particular that marks out this writer and artist as a good fit for this character. It’s basically just that they’ve done good work for the company recently, and deserve a slot somewhere (it’s kind of criminal that Bryan Miller won’t be around for the relaunch after what he’s done on Batgirl). And The Atom is a good concept, even though he hasn’t really been effectively employed for quite some time. As the name suggests, the stage would be set here for some heavily science-based and somewhat good old-fashioned fun – and we’d try and find a way of making both Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi significant roles, too.

Mister Miracle and the New Gods – Dan Jurgens / Nick Dragotta
A good old-fashioned and Kirby-esque take on Scott Free, Big Barda and the other New Genesis/Apokolips characters would be a fun thing to have around. Jurgens’ sci-fi leanings (and decidedly old-fashioned – at least, if the early ’90s can now be considered “old-fashioned”, which I suppose they can – stylings) and Dragotta’s highly Kirby-inspired art would go well together here.

Animal Man – Jeff Lemire / Eduardo Risso
We’re interested in reading what Lemire’s going to do with Buddy Baker in the “real” relaunch, so it would be a touch disingenuous to boot him off it in this list for the sake of it. Risso would, however, be an interesting choice for art, and should suit the fact that an Animal Man should only partly be about superheroics, and be as much about the character and his family.

The Power of Shazam – Fabian Nicieza / Pete Woods
We can’t help but feel that DC needs a Captain Marvel book (if only because Marvel is likely to mobilise Marvelman any day now…) but here’s the thing: it’s been years since anyone got a good story out of the Marvel family, and when they did, it only worked because it rendered them unusable afterwards. If Captain Marvel is destined to be a mediocre book, why fight it? Without wanting to insult the creators, let’s bring in a pair who can be relied on to turn in work that’s solid, consistent and enjoyable, if not revolutionary. Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods are our choices. Neither is burning up the charts, but they’ve been around long enough that you can count on them to deliver decent stories, month after month.

Aztek: The Ultimate Man – Grant Morrison / Chris Weston
Well, if we’re dreaming… File this one under “comics that never really got a fair shout”, and after its hurried conclusion we reckon there’s still plenty that could be done with the character, his concept and his supporting cast. Morrison may be loath to revisit something that was, lest we forget, a co-creation with Mark Millar – but on the other hand, he might just have lots of stories still stored in that big bald head waiting to be told. Frequent collaborator Chris Weston would ensure the book looks a lot better this time out, as well.

Hawkman & Hawkgirl – Ethan van Sciver / ChrisCross
Frankly, we’re almost tempted to ditch Hawkman altogether – he’s never had anything especially interesting done with him, whereas Hawkgirl/woman has always felt like a slightly more developed character. Van Sciver’s tapped to write Hawkman for real, though, so let’s see what he can do with it – but let’s also give Shayera equal billing with Katar. The harshness of van Sciver’s art doesn’t necessarily suit a book with a female co-lead, though, so let’s see how ChrisChross’ altogether more likeable and appealing style would work.

Manhunter – Marc Andreyko / Jesus Saiz
As with Aztek, this is a series shot down before its time that we’d like to see given another chance – even though, admittedly, it’s already had about three or four. But Kate Spencer is an interesting character with a distinctive angle – and that’s something that’s rare enough for female characters in comics – and we suspect that Andreyko and Saiz still had much they wanted to do with her. So let’s see it.

Team Books

Teen Titans – Matthew Sturges / Amy Reeder
Perhaps the biggest misstep of the actual DC relaunch is that the new Titans (and, come to that, just about every other DC character under the age of 20) have been created by people who appear to have no knowledge of conception of what it’s actually like to be a young person in the 21st Century. From an art perspective, especially, there’s simply no point in putting someone on a book about teenagers who just draws them like smaller adults – and that’s something we’d immediately look to rectify with Amy Reeder’s zesty, youthful and contemporary take. Sturges, meanwhile, showed a good handle on the voices of young characters in his all-too-brief run on Blue Beetle, so let’s see how that works with a wider cast.

The Legion of Super-Heroes – Kurt Busiek / Ivan Reis
It’s tempting to write the Legion off as a lost cause with all the reboots and threeboots there have been in recent years. In our view, though, the Mark Waid relaunch – taking elements from different versions into a fresh and streamlined continuity – was the best approach to sorting the whole mess out, and that’s what we’d like to see Busiek do with yet another new version. Classic characters from across the Legion’s history given a fresh take and continuity while being recognisably the same beloved personalities. It’s been a long time since a Legion book was accessible to new readers as well as old – let’s change that.

Metal Men – Giffen / deMatteis / Maguire
Metal Men is one of those concepts which seems both incredibly versatile and a little too self-consciously comicbook-y to work. Giffen and deMatteis have worked wonders with that formula in the past – and if we’re getting them in, why not reunite the gang and bring Maguire too? We’re hoping for something with humour and intelligence that’ll show off the simple brilliance of the property.

Doom Patrol – Gerard Way / Gabriel Bá
Well, come on. Everyone knows that The Umbrella Academy is simply Gerard Way’s love letter to the Doom Patrol, and surprisingly good stuff to boot. Why not let him loose on the actual team, with Umbrella Academy artist Gabriel Bá? That’s a rhetorical question. There is no reason not to.

The Outsiders – Scott Snyder / Aaron Lopresti
Although part of the thinking behind putting Snyder on this book is his good work on Detective Comics, we won’t be maintaining an especially strong connection with Batman for these new Outsiders. Instead, this is essentially a home for assorted characters who aren’t in an existing team book and don’t have a title of their own (although in the interests of avoiding obvious artifice, some characters who do have solo books may have sometime affiliation). The notion is that the Justice League are a specific, invitation-only team for the creme de la creme of heroes – and the Outsiders (although not even going by that or any other specific name) are a wider-ranging, looser organisation of heroes gathering and teaming up as necessary.

Secret Six – Gail Simone / Rags Morales
File under “if it ain’t broke” in terms of Simone writing, although the lineup could do with freshening up – it should clearly be Deathstroke in there rather than the significantly inferior Deadshot. Indeed, this could feasibly be the same concept with an entirely new lineup – Simone has been wrapping up the story with her current characters fairly effectively, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we’d make Secret Six a DC equivalent of Thunderbolts, a concept rather than a specific set of characters.

Justice Society of America – James Robinson / George Perez / Jerry Ordway
For some reason, James Robinson seems to be brilliant at writing books that look at the past (The Golden Age, Starman) and somewhat less so when rooted in the present (er… Justice League: Cry For Justice). So a Justice Society book seems the perfect place for him – particularly as we’re planning for this to feature flashback stories (going back to the JSA’s original purpose of being a superhero team of the past rather than one still kicking around in the present), and featuring the lovely and old-fashioned art stylings of Perez and Ordway. Hopefully a book like this should bring the best out of the oft-beleagured writer.

The House of Mystery

Shadowpact – Peter Milligan / Ryan Sook
Not the Shadowpact you currently know – although we may call upon Detective Chimp – this is basically Milligan’s upcoming Justice League Dark with a less crap name. It’s the best of DC’s supernatural and/or magic-based heroes – Constantine, Zatanna, Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate, Madame Xanadu etc. – facing off against, well, the sort of threats they’re obviously designed to face. But with apologies to Mikel Janin, we just can’t bring ourselves to have a Zatanna-starring book that’s not drawn by Ryan Sook.

The Shade – James Robinson / Peter Snejbjerg
Actually, if anything’s going to bring out the best in James Robinson… it’s writing The Shade again, surely? He proved that with the excellent Starman “Blackest Night” one-off – which, rather than being about Starman, was actually basically a Shade solo issue. Something about the characters he created for that wonderful series has him firing on all cylinders, and while it’s right and proper that Jack Knight should be left alone in retirement, we’re sure there are plenty of Shade (and Hope O’Dare) stories still to be told. Snejbjerg, meanwhile, joined Starman at a time when it was in dire need of an artist to give it back an identity (following the initial, slightly failed post-Tony Harris attempts) and saw it through to its conclusion, making it his own in the process. There’s no reason not to want him firmly taking the lead on any future Opal City adventures.

Tim Hunter Investigates – Paul Cornell / Sean Murphy
Back in another, long-ago era, Seb suggested (see, we’re not new to this whole “if we were in charge of stuff” thing) that he’d really like to see a series featuring a grown-up version of Tim Hunter, the surprisingly-often-forgotten hero of The Books of Magic. That opinion hasn’t changed, although the creative team we’d put on it would – nothing against the original choice Peter Hogan (and, although we haven’t covered Vertigo in this article, we’d make damned sure he finally got a Hellblazer run once Peter Milligan was finished), but we’d just really like to see Cornell’s take on the character, his world, and the sort of fun-yet-gripping mysteries and adventures the series would involve – all lushly illustrated by the wonderful Sean Murphy, employing the same sort of off-kilter reality seen in Joe the Barbarian.

The Question – Denise Mina / Chris Samnee
The Question’s such a strong concept that it feels like there needs to be a proper home for the character. This title would unite both the original and Montoya versions under Denise Mina’s writing skills, with Chris Samnee’s versatile artwork proving that for all his reputation for humour off the back of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, it’s pure storytelling and a gift for mood that’s earning him his praise.

The Demon – Bill Willingham / Kyle Hotz
A Kyle Hotz-drawn Etrigan would be worth the cover price alone, but if you need a writer – and contrary to DC’s current philosophy, you generally do – Bill Willingham, writer of Fables (and more) has shown that he knows how to handle epic fantasy of the kind of stories we’d like to see Etrigan in. As much fun as it is to see him rubbing shoulders with the JLA, it’s much more fun when he’s off in his own world.

Swamp Thing – China Miéville / Phil Jimenez
It’s a shame we never got to see what Miéville’s Swamp Thing run was going to be like… so since we’re in charge, let’s find out. Jimenez might seem like a bit too obviously superheroey an artist for something like this, but he’s very good at creating rich and involving environments – something that would be absolutely necessary for exploring the world of The Green. And if nothing else, it’d draw in the curious…

The Dreaming – Various
Let’s give this one another shot, eh? The Sandman world is too good to leave untouched forever – although of course we have to be careful not to touch things that should be left alone for nobody but Gaiman to go near – and it’s only a shame that The Dreaming originally became so ruined by letting one solo writer turn it into their own soap opera. This wouldn’t happen here – we’d stick to its original intent of telling self-contained stories, by rotating creative teams – nabbing unconventional and surprise writer and artist coups wherever possible – tangentially related to the themes of the series rather than necessarily always being about specific characters (although the odd appearance by various Sandman characters, the Endless aside, would be allowed). And yes, this is all a part of the DC Universe. So there.

The Authority – Garth Ennis / David Finch

Everyone knows that Garth Ennis hates superheroes, and so why not put him in charge of the most violent, dysfunctional super-team ever to darken DC’s own pages? Pair him up with David Finch, whose penchant for epic visuals would at least give the series a sense of scale, and we’re sure it’d find an audience. Just not necessarily one we’d want to be in the same room as. We have doubts about Finch’s ability to string together more than three issues in a row, but then we have doubts about the likelihood of this not getting cancelled for reasons of taste in that time anyway.

Miscellany

Solo – Various
DC’s “Solo” anthology – in which comic’s greatest artists had unrestricted access to DC’s characters to use as they pleased (or didn’t please) – produced some amazing issues, not least Paul Pope, Mike Allred and Brendon McCarthy’s. Let’s see that magic back on the shelves. The only format change? Open it up to writers to curate issues as well. Comics are words and pictures, after all, let’s not pretend it’s JUST about the artists!

The Brave and the Bold – Various
Although we’ve already got a couple of specific Batman and Superman team-up books, this would be a general all-purpose DCU “pairing” series – again, following the template set out by the original “One Year Later” run, featuring writer and artist teams hopping on and off for individual arcs. And their own books elsewhere of course shouldn’t prevent the Big Two from appearing as needed…

Just Imagine Frank Miller creating…
For all the negativity thrown at Frank Miller’s recent output, it’s clear that he’s got some interest in doing DC projects, otherwise he just wouldn’t do them. Similarly, there are people out there who want to see him doing it. Given his polarising effect on fans and critics, though, why not give him his own version of the DCU to play in? Just as Stan Lee got free rein to work his magic on DC’s heroes, the same format would let Frank Miller do everything he wanted, without making fans worry that he was misinterpreting the “real” versions of their favourite heroes.

Written by Seb Patrick

July 7th, 2011 at 9:55 am

Posted in Features

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