Note: This post was originally published in 2015 but got mangled in my transition from the ever-ailing Blogger to WordPress. As I’m fond of the idea, I’m republishing. It’s just a shame I can’t add in the original responses.
It’s hard to believe that it’s six years since DC treated us to Wednesday Comics, a 12-week, 16-page series reproducing the Sunday funnies sections of yore. Formatted as a broadsheet newsprint paper, the brainchild of DC art director Mark Chiarello featured the likes of Hawkman, Metamorpho, Deadman, Supergirl and big tickets Superman and Batman. With the involvement of Paul Pope, Joe Kubert, Kyle Baker and Dave Gibbons it was a visual feast, while writers including Kurt Busiek, Brian Azzarello and Jimmy Palmiotti kept the scripts fresh and fun. It was a creative and sales success, won a Harvey Award and spun off into a gorgeous hardback collection. A second ‘season’ had to follow soon, surely?
Well, we’ve waited and waited and it seems the sequel volume isn’t appearing anytime soon, so my chum Anj and I are attempting to will one into being. Today, here and at Anj’s blog, Supergirl Comic Box Commentary, we’re laying out some of our dream characters and creative teams. Avoiding repetition from the first run is good, but it’s a fact of life that Batman and Superman help sales, so don’t be surprised to find them in there.
BATMAN by Alan Grant and Walt Simonson
Having written Batman for years, Grant knows how to present a Darknight Detective who resonates, a human hero fighting to clean up Gotham. He’s one of the only DC writers of the last few decades to create new villains with sticking power, including The Ventriloquist and Mr Zsazs. Plus, as a 2000AD veteran, he knows how to pace a weekly serial. Walt Simonson has been working on Batman even longer than Grant, first tackling him in the Seventies, but his visuals have only gotten stronger; I’d love to see his liquid line back on the character for a tight run.
LOIS LANE by Dan Jurgens and Matthew Dow Smith
Superman’s partner in crime and life, Lois has been sidelined in the comics for the last few years, so let’s give her the spotlight she deserves. She’d not be billed as Superman’s Girlfriend, as in her long-running Silver Age series, but she would be in a relationship with him. I’d be OK for him to appear in the strip as Clark Kent, but this is Lois’s show, with her investigating the nuttier corners of the DC Universe guided by writer Jurgens, who has proven again and again that he understands what makes Lois great, and Dow Smith, whose quirky line – seen on Dr Who and Sandman Mystery Theatre – would bring Lois to life with style.
ADAM STRANGE by Al Ewing and Rick Burchett
DC’s most famous space ranger, Adam Strange is set to lose his berth in the excellent Justice League United comic, so let’s grab him for some classic sci-if adventures on Rann, partnered by wife Alanna and father-in-law Sardath. The guy has rocket power to spare, but it’s his brains that always save the day, and Ewing – especially on Mighty Avengers – has shown he’s great at getting characters out of jams with their imagination. Rick Burchett’s clean, classic, but never dull lines would be perfect for the feature.
‘MAZING MAN by Bob Rozakis and Stephen DeStefano
Every comics section needs humour and ‘Mazing Man could provide that in spades. His Eighties DC series was a delight, mixing social comedy and whimsy, and I’ve no doubt writer Rozakis and cartoonist DeStefano could bring their satirical talents to today’s world. The warmth of the original series was immense and it’s something I’d like to see bought back to comics.
A RENEE MONTOYA MINUTE MYSTERY by Mike W Barr and Chris Samnee
Gotham PD’s most popular cop this side of Commissioner Gordon was latterly shoehorned into the role of superhero, as a new version of the Question. That never took, so let’s have her back solving mysteries on the streets of Gotham, with her pragmatism, wit and humanity. Barr wrote puzzle series The Maze Agency for years, and his Batman stories with Alan Davis were classics – he’d write splendid little done-in-ones … maybe he could even include a Spot The Clue gimmick. Chris Samnee draws great regular people and his urban illustrations have a wonderful vibe, I think he’d be a fantastic fit.
DC COMICS PRESENTS SUPERMAN AND … by Sholly Fisch and Nicola Scott
You know the score, team-ups between a classic Man of Steel and anyone from anywhere in DC history. Fisch has been providing fantastically clever and entertaining stories for the likes of TV tie-ins the Brave & the Bold and Scooby-Doo Team-Up and he could do the same here. Nicola Scott can draw anybody, and deliciously too, so I want her on board.
RIP HUNTER, TIME MASTER by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Tom Grummett
Zooming through Earth’s history in the Time Sphere, Rip and friends encounter all sorts of amazing people and beasts while delivering a bit of education, courtesy of Palmiotti and Gray. They gave us high adventure in Hawkman and urban drama in Monolith, so have the range to produce memorable, multi-genre time travel tales, all drawn by Tom Grummett, whose strong, vivid storytelling would be a huge asset.
SGT ROCK’S PRIZE BATTLE TALES by Garth Ennis and Paul Pelletier
Blazing war action featuring DC’s cast of fighting men, women, dogs and dinosaurs, singly or teamed up by expert writer Garth Ennis. Paul Pelletier, who drew the Rock of Easy Company, along with Enemy Ace and (only just) the Unknown Soldier so brilliantly in the latest JLU, #13, is the man to put in charge of the art.
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES by Sterling Gates and Yishan Li
How do you get more than two dozen characters into a single page strip and make it coherent and compelling? Call Gates, whose always enjoyable DC work – including Vibe and Forever Evil: ARGUS – shows enormous knowledge of the comics universe. He even managed to sneak the 31st century’s greatest super-team into his unmissable Supergirl run. Team him up with Yishan Li, who produced spiffing work on the team in the recent Blue Beetle: Convergence micro-series, and you could have comics gold.
THE WITCHING HOUR by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy
Sinister sisters Cynthia, Mordred and Mildred made quite the impression on me as a kid and I’d love to see them back in the spotlight, telling one-off tales of ghoulishness or, even better, starring in a serial encompassing such incidents. Snyder and Murphy told a tale of stylish dread in The Wake, and Snyder has also shown his terrifying chops in American Vampire, Severed and – rather pertinently – Wytches. Let’s book ’em for a spell.
CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN by Karl Kesel and Chris Weston
Kesel, whose brainy, brash writing is too little seen these days, is a big fan of Jack Kirby’s adventurers who live on borrowed time, and used them during his time as a Superman writer. Give the man a strip, and give him a partner in Chris Weston, whose super-clean stylings would suit Rocky, Prof, Ace, Red and June as they uncover the secrets of the unknown.
DIAL H FOR HERO by Jeff Parker and Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner
Before Ben 10 there was Dial H for Hero, with first Robbie Reed, then Chris King and Vicki Grant gaining ever-changing super-powers and identities thanks to alien dials. The concept is as exciting to a comics fan today as it was in the Silver and Bronze Ages, and while a recent take on it proved too off-centre to prosper, a classically styled update could make for a fun reading experience. And Parker and Shaner, who worked so wonderfully well together on Flash Gordon and Convergence: Shazam are the people to do it.
ZATANNA by Paul Dini and Brian Bolland
DC’s Mistress of Magic had quite the wonderful series before DC’s 2011 line wide revamp kicked it to the kerb. I want it back, with magical chapters of a quest sequence written by that series’ writer, Dini, whose playful, yet focused, Zee, was hugely appealing, and Bolland, whose version of the magician has never been bettered.
THE DOOM PATROL by David Mandel and Mike Allred
If you missed Mandel’s sublimely witty Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra one-shot, grab this Marvel book at once, then imagine what he could do with Comics’ Strangest Heroes. Then imagine new stories of Elasti-Girl, Robotman, Negative Man and the chief by retro-master Mike Allred, who drew them in his issue of Dc’s Solo series. Petty amazing, wot?
SECRETS OF THE DC UNIVERSE by Eliot Brown
The back cover goes not to a strip, but to a cutaway showing a famous DC headquarters, vehicle or piece of equipment. Who doesn’t enjoy the wonders of the Batcave or Fortress of Solitude laid bare? And Eliot Brown, who contributed dozens of such schemetics to Marvel’s various Handbooks, is the maestro we need.
So that’s my take. Head over to Supergirl Comic Box Commentary for Anj’s. Give us your own suggestions. And be sure to tell @DCComics on Twitter if you’d like Wednesday Comics to come back.