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.

I 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’s never held his own ongoing series, the Shade brings something very different to the New Year’s 52. A touch of horror and a dash of alternate history set this title apart, and I have just the writer in mind for this one.

 

THE SHADE BY SCOTT SNYDER

James Robinson’s Starman is a rightly respected piece of comics history: a sprawling, airtight, creator-owned epic spanning an unheard of 80 issues. There are a lot of reasons people love Starman, but I don’t think that I’m speaking out of turn when I say that one significant one is the Shade.

A Golden Age Flash villain, in fact one of three that faced off with Jay Garick and Barry Allen in “Flash of Two Worlds”, The Shade was little more than a standard crook  until James Robinson got a hold of him. Reinvented as an immortal byronic gentleman thief, The Shade was the breakout character of Starman, earning two miniseries of his own. His complex morality, fascinating history, and his rather charming affection for Opal City endeared the character to plenty of fans and made him a unique figure in the DC universe.

There is, of course, some hesitance to turn one of Robinson’s creations over to a new writer, but don’t forget that the Shade existed long before Roberts and only came to prominence because DC was willing to let him alter one of their classic villains. That said, I can think of no more able steward than Scott Snyder.

Snyder is arguably the core of DC’s current line and the most important writer they have. It may seem odd to put him on a character who’s never held down an ongoing series before, but I think it’s actually perfect for him. Besides turning a middle to low tier book into a major sales draw, it’s rarely the big books where the most visionary creators shine. Books like The Atlantis Chronicles, The New Gods, Sandman, and even Starman were not core titles of the DCU names when they first hit the stands, but they opened the doors for big stories and big ideas. Sometimes you need a book that can act as a petri dish, one that can breed ideas off in a corner until it hits one that can make a brilliant Superman story or a a whole new series. Especially if we were to reboot the DC Universe, there would be value in having a book that lays down some of this new world’s history, and that would be The Shade.

Snyder’s work has frequently explored the ways the wealthy elite have shaped Gotham city, for good and ill.

Scott Snyder has demonstrated a clear fascination with history and the mark it leaves on the present, whether that’s taken the form of the alternate history of American Vampire, the century spanning exploration of The Wake, or the examinations of Gotham’s first families in Batman and Gates of Gotham. Especially with his fascinating views on Gotham as a character, it makes perfect sense to give him his own city to build a mythology for. Better yet, he has the opportunity to expand out into the rest of the world as he explores the Shade’s centuries of life in some Tales of Times Past.

It also doesn’t hurt that Snyder is not averse to some charming digressions, both in life and in fiction. As a writing professor and a published author, he’s well up to the task of penning the Shade’s verbose mannerisms and his knack for channeling mundane fears into fantastic horrors is a natural fit for a Victorian protagonist.

Combining his love of history with his penchant for horror, The Shade seems a perfect fit for Snyder. I’d love to read all of these books, but this is one that I’m honestly a little sad I don’t have access to in real life. I could easily imagine Snyder turning this book into a horror classic.

Tomorrow…Take the law into your own hands

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