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.

Not only is he one of longest legacies at DC, but Green Arrow is experiencing something of a renascence period, thanks largely to the success of the CW’s Arrow. Of course, Arrow is a very different take from the character fans of the comics love. The question will be how to respectfully integrate some of the things viewers love about Arrow into the comics without losing the original character.

 

GREEN ARROW BY ALAN GRANT

When looking for the golden age of Green Arrow one tends to look closer in time to the present than one would imagine in the history of a hero that debuted in 1941. Green Arrow’s first miniseries wouldn’t arrive until 1983 and he wouldn’t graduate to an ongoing until 1988, a few months after the success of Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. Nonetheless, if we’re looking to define the quintessential Green Arrow, I’d argue that we can’t overlook his first leading role, 1970’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow.

At his best, Green Arrow reminds us not to forget about the big picture and the little guy...

At his best, Green Arrow reminds us not to forget about the big picture or the little guy…

An undeniable classic, Green Lantern/Green Arrow defined Green Arrow going forward as a voice of the people, willing to speak truth to (super)power. However, despite the strength of the series and the revolutionary level of overt social commentary in a mainstream comic book, the run also did a lot to establish Oliver Queen as something of a blowhard and a hypocrite, traits that quickly grew to eclipse the benefits of having a superhero with some awareness of social justice.

At his worst, he’s kind of just that crazy uncle whose protest stories are starting to contradict each other…

Later interpretations would run with this, trying, with some success, to turn Oliver Queen into DC’s Tony Stark. I think this is an interesting idea, to acknowledge Ollie’s flaws even as he strives to be better, but the character frequently found himself caught between extremes; too self-righteous to truly acknowledge his flaws but too flawed to be a respectable voice of reason.

Green Arrow also lacked a strong supporting characters. Partially due to the attempt to reinvent him as a Mature-Readers hero in the early 90s Ollie’s major ties in the DCU tend to be his JLA teammates, and therefore are poor options to be support characters for him. Most of his recent allies have been original creations or borrowed from his longtime girlfriend, Black Canary.

So which way do we go with Green Arrow? Well, I think that the basic formula of the modern character is fairly sound, but his humors are rather out of wack. If we’re revamping Green Arrow I think the first priority is to establish what makes him unique and who he is. I think reviving and modernizing the social crusader aspect of his character would be a great direction to go. Perhaps we could go so far as to see Green Arrow making his name by not only being a superhero but also a thief, who prevents those bankrolling corruption from further hurting the public and sharing the wealth with the city’s poor.

I think having a legitimately liberal hero, even an occasionally obnoxiously liberal hero, could be a great thing and would help Green Arrow stand out as he tries to avoid the somewhat conservative ideology that often follows the superhero genre.

One other thing that I think Arrow has done a spectacular job of is giving viewers a sense of progress within Star(ling) city. You can watch Oliver and the Vigilante/Hood/Arrow rooting out corruption and forcing his enemies into a corner. It’s a great way to build involvement and I think defining individual threads of corruption that Ollie’s adventures tie into would be a boon to the series. That would allow many arcs to tie together and encourage viewers who enjoy the serialized nature of Arrow to find something similar if they decided to give monthly comics a chance.

Yes, rest easy. Those children are in the hands of the American educational system now…

I think Alan Grant would do a fine job at all of this. A highly experienced writer, Grant is by no means a big name anymore, but I think that this is a rather unfortunate oversight. Best known to Americans for his Batman work from the 80s and 90s, Grant proved that he can write well crafted and intelligent superhero yarns.

Predating but very much in the tradition of Batman: The Animated Series, Grant’s stories frequently tackled topics of philosophy, culpability, and justice. His villains were people with motives and sorrows and his heroes were sympathetic but firm.

Grant also launched L.E.G.I.O.N, revamped Lobo into the fraggin’ bastich we know and love today, and wrote two-thirds of the longest Etrigan the Demon series (his issues alone eclipsing every other series the character has had).

It’s also impressive to note that Grant was noted for creating new characters. Especially for a character who lacks a familiar supporting cast and rogues gallery, I think it would be beneficial to add some new blood to the DCU. Grant is known for introducing long running characters like the Ventriloquist, Mr. Zsasz, and Amadeus Arkham.

But even more than these heavy hitters, Grant is associated with Anarky. Anarky was created as an alternate vigilante who would come into conflict with Batman and allow Grant to further explore and espouse his recent adoption of anarchism. However, Grant would later undergo further philosophical development and adopt Neo-Tech, an off-shoot of objectivist thought and Anarky would make the transition with him. While I’d need to feel confident that Grant could still find the heroism in Green Arrow, I think that some distance from the ideology could be good for the writing of the book and his time on both sides of the argument might lead to an interesting look at a character who fights for the rights of the people but remains one of the One Percent.

Free to be a little more radical and a little more natural in the integration of his flaws, I think that Green Arrow could become a much stronger character than he has been in the past. His name recognition has never been higher and the political climate has never been more poised for a Robin Hood figure, as hero or radical.

Tomorrow…Happy National Freedom Day!

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