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.

Though the franchise is bigger than ever, Green Lantern’s success over the past decade means that any attempt to do something different needs to fill some big shoes. But I’ve got an idea that I think could work and I know just the team to pull it off.

 

GREEN LANTERN BY FRANCIS MANAPUL AND BRIAN BUCCELLATO

If you actually go back and read early Green Lantern comics, you’ll find that they hold up a lot better than much of DC’s output from the Silver Age. Tight continuity, a universe at their feet, and an inventive premise made this reinvention of a Golden Age sentinel a winner for the company.

Since then Green Lantern has finally taken his place among the giants of DC, often replacing Wonder Woman as part of the Trinity on various merchandise. Geoff Johns utterly rebuilt the franchise and left a legacy that’s hard to stand up against, but DC needs to find a new way to utilize the Green Lantern franchise.

Going all the way back to the name of the title, the singular Green Lantern tells us that this book should be focused on an individual member of the Corps and if you look at the start of Hal Jordan’s adventures or Geoff John’s run you’ll find that the scope is smaller than what we’ve become accustomed to. That’s why I’d encourage Green Lantern to limit itself to Space Sector 2814. Green Lantern has become increasingly detached from Earth and I think it’s time we did something about that.

Following the lead of the original Hal Jordan stories, Green Lantern would see our hero policing sector 2814, splitting his time between some good old-fashioned superheroing and a dose of space opera adventure where he only has one other Lantern to call on for backup. The stories would be smaller in scope, the supporting cast a larger part of the book, and the name of our man without fear would be Kyle Rayner.

Yes, it may not seem like the wisest choice, but, while I really like this concept, I wasn’t certain it would sell on its own. I needed a ringer.

It’s not coincidence that Kyle Rayner was introduced as a struggling comic book artist. Admittedly, Kyle’s reader surrogacy did border on pandering in his early days, but it wasn’t just an attempt to connect to the readership. Artist is really the perfect job for a Green Lantern. To be an artist, particularly a comic artist, you have to be willing to think outside the box; able to visualize things without becoming stuck in your ways; and, most of all, fearless about letting others see the work that comes from the parts of you that you most want to hide. Green Lantern is such an incredibly visual concept that it deserves someone who understands the process of creating visually, and, if we’re going to give the book a writer/artist, it kind of only makes sense to give them the artist Lantern as long as they want him. Besides, I know just the writers…

The Flash's "Mob Rule" storyline was the first time readers got to see Manapul as a writer/artist and, as a result, his ability to integrate layout into his storytelling.

The Flash‘s “Mob Rule” storyline was the first time readers got to see Manapul as a writer/artist and, as a result, his ability to integrate layout into his storytelling.

Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have created some of DC’s most beautiful pages over the past few years. Manapul’s sharp, delicate lines carry movement and precision beautifully, and Buccellato’s intense, flowing colors bring them to life. Color and shape are possibly the most critical concepts to the Green Lantern mythos and Manapul and Buccellato are masters. Not only that, but Manapul’s layouts are frequently amazing. If the pair could create such strange and wonderful pages on the Flash, imagine what they could do with a power ring!

This variant cover to Green Lantern Corps #62 represents the sum of Manapul and Buccellato’s professional Green Lantern work. This should change.

 

But it’s not just their artistic ability that makes them well suited to this series. Manapul and Buccellato have brought a wonderfully old-school sensibility to both of their ongoing New 52 projects. The Flash held onto what was best about the Silver Age and modernized it, while Detective Comics, for any ups and downs, has had a delightfully Bronze Age charm about it. It’s impossible to predict exactly what tack a Green Lantern comic from the duo would take, but when a franchise becomes so thoroughly defined by one voice and one conception, something stylized is often the best option. Manapul and Buccellato, together and apart, have done well to build strong supporting casts for their books, reintroducing us to the Rogues and positively nailing Harvey Bullock’s voice and character, to name but a few.

Whether they would decide to work with Kyle or stick with Hal Jordan, it’s almost amazing that Manapul and Buccellato haven’t been offered a book in the Green Lantern line. Their unique visual and narrative sensibilities are perfect fits for the Emerald Warrior and Buccellato’s colors cry out for ring constructs. I see this book as an opportunity to add a different voice to the line and create an artist’s book for one of DC’s most profitable heroes.

Tomorrow… Meet the world’s finest detective

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