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.

Supergirl is a character that DC has tried to push but rarely known what to do with. Just look at the number of characters and series to hold the name and you’ll find ample evidence of that. Just looking at her history in the New 52 you’ll find five separate runs with entirely different directions scattered around a number of editorially mandated crossovers. What’s even more amazing is that I’ve personally found every one of those interpretations to be quite strong. And, of course, that’s nothing compared to being Kara Zor-El, Matrix, Kara Zor-L, Linda Danvers (the human), Linda Danvers (the angel), and Kara Zor-El again. Needless to say, there are a lot of ways to go with this character, but what’s the best way to introduce her to the New Year’s 52?

 

SUPERGIRL BY KATHRYN IMMONEN

As I mentioned, I actually really like what the various writers assigned to her have tried to do with Supergirl in the New 52, though I think of that as something similar but distinct from what they were able to put to paper. I like the idea of Kara’s resistance to Earth being a part of her character, her longing for Krypton. The idea of a Kryptonian who knew their home is a significant and interesting deviation from the Superman myth and looking at the resulting culture shock has enormous potential in my eyes.

That in mind, I think we should go with the Kara Zor-El version of Supergirl. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the other Supergirls, but it just feels like if you’re going to call her Supergirl she might as well be Supergirl, not another hero who could be a new and interesting character in their own right.

Similarly we can’t half-ass it. Supergirl’s existence can’t be woven around Superman’s ego (or the egos of his fans). If there’s going to be another Kryptonian, she needs to be the best at what she does. ‘Like Superman but less’, isn’t a character worth devoting a series to and it doesn’t send a message I want to be associated with. But just because Kara’s going to need to have a distinct niche and set of skills doesn’t mean she has to be the world’s greatest scientist. In fact, one relationship I think might be interesting to explore is Kara’s relation to Power Girl.

Power Girl is Kara Zor-L, the Supergirl of Earth-2. Older, more confident, and already finding her place in the world, PeeG is an obvious foil for Kara. I’d love to see the effect it has on Kara to desperately miss Krypton but the only two Kryptonians around not only seem happy enough to forget it but are Superman and a smarter, stronger, sexier version of her. How do you build your own identity when you already exist and are kind of perfect? I don’t feel set enough on those questions to really push a writer to explore them, but I think having Power Girl as an occasional guest star would open up interesting avenues and help sell the book.

I want readers to get to know Kara Zor-El.

I want readers to get to know Kara Zor-El.

Other than that, I’d rather see Kara make her own world. I’m not really interested in seeing her in Smallville or Metropolis; let Kara find her own place. Maybe she discovers she likes a smaller city. It’s not like she can’t get to where the action is even if she doesn’t live there. I think that Supergirl is fairly weakly defined to most people and, while a comic is never going to transform the perception of the general public, I think this series should strive to get Kara to a place where at least one person in every group who hears someone dismiss her knows that they’ve never read a Supergirl comic.

More than most heroes, I think the way to success for Supergirl is to write a book that gets people to relate to Kara (and if they’re teenage girls, all the better). I think that Kathryn Immonen is an excellent choice to realize that goal. While she’s only really escaped the fringes of Marvel in the past few years, Immonen has defined her brand of writing rather clearly. With comics like Wolverine and Jubilee, Heralds, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, and Sif’s feature in Journey into Mystery, Immonen has tapped into the confidence required to acknowledge one’s flaws and be human.

This is totally not an Emma Frost moment but that's definitely Emma Frost...

This is totally not an Emma Frost moment but that’s definitely Emma Frost…

It’s also great that she’s not limited to comedy. Immonen is certainly funny, but she can handle an action sequence. And while her books tend towards the lighter side of the superhero spectrum, that allows the quiet, serious moments to stand out all the more.

You can hear that silence.

Immonen’s characters feel natural, varied, and interesting. I don’t know that I’ve met a protagonist of hers who wasn’t charming and relatable. It doesn’t hurt that she tends to write women, either, as female superheroes frequently have to be perfect to be considered strong. Particularly in a character like Kara who has baggage and does have flaws, it’s essential to have a writer who can respect that while keeping her a happy, well-adjusted person and Immonen seems perfect for the job.

Tomorrow… Da Ba Dee Da Ba Di

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