In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

Showcase_4.jpgI tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself. First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

While he maintains a devoted following, DC has only just started to really tap the Scarlet Speedster’s potential as a mainstream hit. Let’s see if we can’t help that along…

THE FLASH BY JAMES ROBERTS

In thinking about this title, a necessity for any relaunch of the DC line, I latched onto two anchor points. First of all, the Flash, in his modern incarnation, will always be tied to the Silver Age for me. It’s not too surprising, Barry Allen’s first appearance in Showcase #4 in 1956 marks the end of the Golden Age for many and the dawning of a new era.

One of the trends that The Flash ignited was a greater interest in science. While he actually wasn’t all that more scientific in his origin than Jay Garrick, Barry Allen fit much more comfortably into the mold of science-fiction than his predecessors and kicked off the comic book pop-culture of the space age, interested in heroic scientists, nuclear villains, and a disconnect from the more pulpish stories of the Golden Age. Ever since, the Flash’s legacy has had a distinct tinge of super-science: time travel, atomic vibration, etc.  But while super science was a big part of the Silver Age revolution, it was more a jumping off point. With a city of telepathic Gorillas, giant heads, and puppet transformations gracing covers, The Flash embodied the wild creativity of the Silver Age.

The other element of the Flash that stuck out to me was his relatablity. Through all his interpretations, the Flash has almost always been one of the most personable superheroes around. Whether it was the unflinching politeness and folksy charm of Barry Allen, the honest self-doubt and heroism of Wally West, or Justice League Unlimited’s kindly jokester on a first name basis with his whole city, there’s something fun and familiar about the Flash.

So when I tried to find a writer who could handle mind-blowing super-science, honest humor, and lovable characters, it wasn’t hard to settle on James Roberts.

That one even LOOKS like the Flash!

If you haven’t read Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, you might not understand why I feel comfortable turning over one of the original seven leaguers to someone whose career could be described as professional Transformers fan-fiction author, but if you have, it will be all too clear. It’s not easy to write a comic that simultaneously recalls the “bwahaha” days while building a beautiful yet horrific myth arc into a franchise that doesn’t try to hide that it started as a giant commercial. Nonetheless, Roberts pulls it off with such aplomb that it looks nearly effortless at times. Particularly in the book’s “second season” he’s introduced all kinds of wonderful scientific ideas in really interesting and natural ways and made fantastic stories out of them that never felt forced or like they were reaching for something beyond their ability to convey.

What's his name again? He's probably Optimus Prime...

Seriously, he’s got the yellow wings and everything!

Let me put this another way.

Do you find this exchange funny?

“I’ve never seen the quantum drums outside of the quantum engines… even hidden behind all the quantum foam, they’re impressive…”
“Nautica, to be a quantum mechanic, all you have to do is put the word ‘quantum’ in front of other words. True or false?”
“Both.”
“Eh?”
“It’s both, simultaneously. True and false. It depends on the quantized energy state of each proposition.”
“Eh?”
“It’s a joke.”
“Oh. Are jokes not funny where you come from?”

Did you think that was funny?

Yes?

No?

It doesn’t really matter.

You know who thought that was hilarious?

Barry Allen.

Probably Wally West too.

Roberts sees the world in fascinating ways and if there’s any property the his unique outlook seems suited to other than Transformers, it feels like it would be The Flash.

Tell me Roberts wouldn’t have a blast with the Rogues. Tell me Tarn’s isn’t an oddly compelling voice for Gorrilla Grodd. Tell me Barry and Chromia wouldn’t be best friends.

Whether it’s Wally or Barry beneath the mask, The Flash hits Roberts’ strong suites in a way that’s actually kind of weird. I think this kind of creator/character match is exactly what the book would need to stand out and to reignite the Flash as one of DC’s premier characters.

The Flash by Cinar

Tomorrow… A little something for National Bird Day.

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