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.

Did you know that DC has a character who’s been in continuous publication since 1939 and has headlined over 100 issues of an ongoing series? Would you believe that DC seemingly has no plans to give this character another ongoing? I think there’s room in the New Years 52 to correct that…

 

LOIS LANE, WOMAN OF STEEL BY MAIRGHREAD SCOTT

Not long ago I probably would have written a Lois Lane ongoing off as a well-intentioned but unrealistic dream, then Marguerite Bennett released a great one-shot that proved that the mainline Lois had what it takes to hold the audience’s attention. So when I started formulating this list the question wasn’t can the line support a Lois Lane comic, but how do we go about it to maximize its effectiveness.

Leaping off a building when you can fly is one thing. Leaping off a building because there’s a story out there, that’s Lois Lane.

One of my principles in planning this line was to reject the concept of a title being ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ without ignoring the framework of gender division that is built into our public consciousness. We can’t just pretend that the stigmas attached to Lois and female protagonists won’t come into play but we can ensure that we neither flee from femininity in an attempt to woo the male market nor allow our views of it to limit female readers. Lois Lane may have been put into a box called the damsel in distress, but in my view, ‘just’ treating her as another strong female character is still not giving her her due. One thing that people forget about Lois is that she is the DC universe’s first regular person hero. You could argue that Batman better fills that position (though you’d be wrong since Lois predates him by nearly a year), but we all know that Batman really is superhuman in most of the ways that count. While Lois’ detemination is actually similarly legendary, they’re portrayed entirely differently and that essential humanity is what makes Lois such a compelling protagonist.

Lois Lane is the everyman hero of the DC Universe. She’s their Tintin; their John Henry (yes, I know Steel is more literally their John Henry, but the point stands.) This is the woman who inspires Superman. I think there’s more than enough to build mass appeal there.

Did I mention she’s a badass?

Is it any wonder she ended up working the same job as Superman?

My conception, which would obviously change significantly once the writer got their hands on it, follows Lois Lane, ace reporter for the Daily Planet, as she fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice. Lois has almost certainly spent plenty of time in war zones, but she’s come back to Metropolis to document and reveal the quieter evils, the ones closer to home.

Over the course of the series she’ll tackle the challenges of the unheard, run up against the mob (particularly a new faction known as Intergang), and move ever closer to discovering who’s the power behind Metropolis’ crime.

Some readers will probably wonder how invested we can get when Superman is always lurking off panel, ready to clean up Lois’ messes, but I think it will be easy enough to leave him out of the series for the most part. It won’t be difficult to give Lois practical reasons for not calling him in or have him away on other matters. While some readers may feel that the mere possibility of his interference limits the drama of the series, it allows us to create situations where Superman seems to be the only way out and then subvert that expectation by having Lois manage on her own. Besides, all that suspense will make his rare appearances feel as impressive as Superman ought to be.

Though I’d be happy to see Marguerite Bennett continue her work with Lois, I chose Mairghread Scott to handle this series. Scott is something of a newcomer to comics, having worked almost exclusively on IDW’s Transformers comics, however not only does she have additional experience writing for television, but she also knocked her breakout miniseries, Transformers: Windblade, out of the park and quickly found herself writing the third mainline Transformers ongoing from IDW.

Faces! Colors! Vulnerabilities!

Transformers: Windblade is almost certainly in my top five favorite comics of this past year. Scott’s sensibility beautifully captured a sense of normalcy and realism that is frequently missing in comics and in no way conflicts with her series starring a series of divinely created transforming robots, but actually enhances it. So many comics aim to be dark and gritty, but Windblade, in nearly every way, one ups them by being bright and real.

Though Lois and Windblade couldn’t be more different in many ways, the same compassion, determination, and humanity motivate them. They could really be seen as the passive and active representations of the same concept. It doesn’t hurt that Chromia has some of Lois’ chutzpah. To me Windblade was a celebration of an outsider, a normal person, finding the strength to be a hero. That’s what I want from Woman of Steel.

It’s also nice to know that Scott is not only interested in investigating issues of representation and social justice but able to do so in a tasteful and engaging manner. And there’s the fact that Scott writes the most incredible Starscream and his intimidating realpolitik does seem a fine resume for the major villain of Lois’ story.

When no one was looking, Starscream took forty cakes. He took 40 cakes. That’s as many as four tens. And that’s terrible.

It would be interesting to see how Scott handled her first venture into Big Two comics, but her strength at writing female characters, gripping sense of pace, and appreciation for badass women getting things done seems certain to deliver a strong take on the first lady of comics.

Tomorrow… Rewrite history with…Green Lantern?

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