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.

Strange Adventures was DC comics’ first science-fiction comic. The series was well received and ran for 244 issues, though it was rebranded as a supernatural themed anthology towards the end. The series has earned its place in history, introducing characters like Captain Comet, Deadman, Animal Man, and Adam Strange, but, as with many of its anthology brethren, the ongoing format simply isn’t viable anymore. It’s sad, but perhaps there’s something we can do with the title to honor its legacy…

 

THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF JONNI THUNDER AND TRACI 13 BY CHRISTOPHER MOELLER

Yesterday I started my post by discussing how difficult it is to nail down a canon for Wonder Woman. Most fans can accept the Perez and Rucka runs, however beyond that it becomes somewhat less established. One of the more respected resources on the subject is a series called “When Wondy was Awesome”. WWwA does focus strongly on Perez and Rucka, but it does a good job of filling in the time between them and gives some important attention to one of my favorite Wonder Woman stories: A League of One.

Très beau!

I’ve already written a little about JLA: A League of One on this blog, but, in short, it’s a gorgeous graphic novel one-shot that uses a Delphic prophesy (always a good way to build tension in a Wonder Woman story) to pit Diana not only against an incredibly powerful dragon but her own teammates. The writer/artist, Christopher Moeller, created a beautiful take on Diana, providing her with flaws without weakening her as a character and playing up her relationships with her heritage and her peers.

Particularly notable to me was the addition of a pair of nymphs who aid Diana in her mission to protect/defeat the Justice League. The duo immediately expanded Wonder Woman’s world and gave the book’s version of Wonder Woman a greater connection, not just to Greek mythology but to magic.

Reading this vividly illustrated, intelligently written, universally accessible Wonder Woman story, it occurred to me that this is what we need in comics. And now I’m putting down what I think DC should be publishing. It wasn’t hard to come back to Moeller.

I strongly considered giving Wonder Woman a third title, to accommodate Moeller’s take on the character, but particularly considering the harsh cuts I made to Batman and Superman’s line of titles, it seemed weird to have that many solo-Wonder Woman books as part of the line. It also ran the risk of stretching the character too thin for a market that’s hesitant to put out even two Wonder Woman books.

I’m not sure my solution is any more financially certain, but if it worked, I think it would have long-lasting positive impact for the brand.

Using the Strange Tales title to connect to the brand’s history and give a little added focus to the book, I propose another title in our all-ages sub-line starring Joni Thunder and Traci 13.

Traci_13_006

They’re probably chocolate chip. Traci knows what’s up…

Traci 13 is the daughter of classic DC character, Dr. 13 – The Ghost Breaker. Dr. 13 actually headlined DC Comics’ Ghosts for a year, with each of his adventures designed to confront and disprove the supernatural. Unfortunately for the good doctor, his daughter is a sorceress.

The understandable tension between she and Dr. 13 after her mother died led Traci to move to Metropolis’ Suicide Slum with her coffee drinking lizard Leroy in order to make a go of it on her own. There she developed her own brand of ‘urban magic’ by tapping into the mystical essence of Metropolis, running into Kon-El along the way. At some point she was taken in by Ralph and Sue Dibny, who cared for her and trained her as a detective.

She would later begin dating fan favorite character Jaime Reyes and aid him in defeating threats such as Eclipso and the Reach invasion fleet. In the prior case she would touchingly avenge Sue Dibny for Eclipso’s role in her death.

Traci, particularly as she appeared in Blue Beetle, was a terrific character and one of DC’s most interesting Asian heroes. Drawing her powers from the same Homo Magi heritage as Zatanna, Traci seems a natural fit for a new series.

For this project, I imagine Traci as a young teenage girl living with the Dibnys. She’s maybe 14, estranged from her father, and still bearing something of a chip on her shoulder, though her adoration of Ralph and Sue is beginning to soften her. Though she’s growing into a powerful sorceress, with access to all kinds of magic, she takes special pleasure in developing her new brand of urban magic and helping other kids who don’t have a place to go with it.

On the other hand, we have Joni Thunder.

Able to wish for anything, Jakeem Thunder would summon his Thunderbolt with the magic phrase “So Cûl”

Johnny Thunder was a Golden Age character who debuted in Flash Comics #1 back in 1940. A comedic hero, Johnny Thunder, through a decidedly complicated series of events, is unknowingly imbued with a genie-like “Thunderbolt” of incredible magical power. The Thunderbolt is named Yz and can only be summoned out of Johnny by speaking the magic words, cei-u. The dim-witted Johnny repeatedly ends up summoning the Thunderbolt to save the say by casually saying the homophone “say, you”. Eventually he would figure things out and join the Justice Society.

Later attempts to revive the Johnny Thunder character would result in the character of Jonni Thunder, a hardboiled detective who could leave her body and take on an energy form she called her Thunderbolt. This Thunderbolt was named Mzzttexxal and was later revealed to be an invading alien life-form. The original Thunderbolt would eventually fall into the hands of a young man named Jakeem Johnny Williams. A latchkey kid with a tough exterior and a heart of gold, Jakeem Thunder, as he came to be known, would join the modern incarnation of the JSA and become friends with Star Girl.

In this reimagining, elements from all three would be combined into Joni Thunder, a young black girl, perhaps around 8 years-old, who comes into possession of Yz. Needing guidance to contain the cosmically powerful and utterly literal djinn inside her, Joni is encouraged by the Dibnys to spend time with Traci after they cross paths on one of their adventures.

I imagine Joni as an earnest, loving girl who just wants to do right. Though Traci likes Joni, she’s frequently frustrated, as many children are, by the younger girl’s enthusiasm and inability to think quite on her level yet.

One part magical girl fantasy, one part The Fairly OddParents, and one part superhero adventure, I think Moeller could do some incredible things with the characters. The content of the stories would be fairly universally appealing but the opportunity to feature a series starring two young women of color is fantastic. Bolstered by the Dibny’s presence, incredible fodder for an all-ages comic as it is, I think there would be real cross-over appeal, from young girls to their male counterparts to adult collectors. And if Moeller illustrated even one arc a year the series would undoubtedly sell like hotcakes.

You’d respect a ‘kid’s comic’ if it looked like this.

Moeller crafted a beautiful story in A League of One that can appeal to fans of all-ages, despite probably not being designed for that. He only solidified his connection to the child inside us all when he wrote and illustrated JLA Classified: Cold Steel a giant mecha take on the Justice League and proved his vision on the tie-in comics for the Iron Empires role-playing game. I’m very interested to see what else he has in his arsenal and, though it isn’t his traditional forte, I think this series would suit him beautifully.

Tomorrow… The last citizen of Krypton!

Advertisements