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Empowered Unchained vol 1The creator of Dirty Pair and Livewires, Adam Warren has carved out a space for his manga-inspired art style and biting wit in the modern comics landscape. In the mid-2000s, Warren was approached by a fan who commissioned a series of damsel in distress bondage commissions. Though he was willing to draw the pieces, Warren’s discomfort with the dynamics of the commissions led him to give his damsel a little bit of pluck and a few years later Empowered vol. 1 hit the shelves.

Though the shrink-wrap around the book and the similarly clingy costume of its heroine have likely convinced more than a few comic store patrons that they’re looking at porn, Empowered is one of the most thoughtful and funny examinations of the superhero genre I know. Described by Warren as a “sexy superhero comedy”, the series follows Elissa Megan Powers, a low ranking member of the Super-Homeys, whose incredible powers depend on her dangerously fragile supersuit, and even more fragile self-esteem, staying intact. The series has spanned eight graphic novel volumes and a half-dozen one-shot stories.

I was very excited to meet Mr. Warren at Emerald City Comic Con and especially with the release of Empowered Unchained and the announcement of Empowered vol. 9‘s release date, it seemed like a perfect time to shine some light on one of my favorite superhero gems. View full article »

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As I’ve become more familiar with the writers working in the comics industry today and the responsibilities of an editor over the past year, I’ve been locking on to all kinds of great ideas, creators’ dream projects and the tidbits of brilliance that surpass even the best other elements of their scripts. It eventually seemed to me that I had singled out a lot of these ideas, but I, naturally, had nothing to do with them besides argue with my friends about whether they were as perfect as they seemed.

I started this blog with two main goals in mind. The first was to open the kind of interesting conversations I have with my friends to a wider audience and to hear from new and interesting perspectives. The second was to keep myself thinking critically about comics while I looked for work as an editor. It occurred to me that these concepts I kept dreaming up were a great exercise in both of the facets Reviews By Lantern’s Light was founded upon. And so I’ve put them down here as the New Year’s 52: fifty-two writers and teams paired to fifty-two books created from DC’s stable of characters and concepts.

For your convenience I’ve included links to each of the articles below, arranged in several ways to suit your preference. First is the original order the articles debuted in, largely apropos of nothing save my attempts to highlight the project. After that I’ve arranged the alphabetically by writer and title. Finally I’ve grouped the books into loose families that might be used to determine their position editorially.

I hope you enjoy them and I encourage you to comment, disagree, or try to put together a 52 of your own.

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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.

Finally we return to the very beginning, to DC’s namesake book, to close out the New Year’s 52…

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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.

One thing I’ve really learned in doing this project is the importance of the shared continuity of DC. If a book is completely divorced from the rest of DC’s characters, it probably should be handled by Vertigo or another company. That said, I’m tired of great little known books being smothered under Special Guest Stars. Especially without the ability to create new concepts to populate the line, it has been an interesting challange to try to diversify the New Year’s 52’s output beyond superheroes. It’s not easy to find room for other genres in a world of titans, but those ideas that do manage to carve a place for themselves are often among the best.

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The New Year’s 52: Wonders

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.

There is a question for DC, a question that defines eras. It is a question that seems ever to go deeper. Just when you think you’ve solved it you turn around and it’s staring you in the face again. Every iteration of the DC Universe must give an answer eventually and, with only a few days left, it’s time for the New Year’s 52 to answer four very simple words.

Who is Donna Troy?

Sins_of_Youth_Wonder_Girls_Vol_1_1

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The New Year’s 52: Aquaman

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 DC has made admirable strides in rehabilitating Aquaman’s image since they revived Arthur Curry, the King of the Seas remains a point of skepticism for many comic readers. But despite that bad reputation he’s been saddled with, Aquaman remains a personal favorite of mine and, as one of DC’s oldest heroes and a founder of the Justice League, I consider it something of a duty to give Aquaman a place at DC befitting his stature. So if that duty fell to me how would I go about carrying it out?

Well, it would take something big. And it would have to be something lasting, something that would really demonstrate the character’s potential rather than just a flash in the pan. But after three years of Geoff Johns, what writer could handle that responsibility?

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The New Year’s 52: Maya

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.

This is another book that admittedly comes from my personal bias, though maybe not the ones you might think. Though it’s not a property that has had much exposure, if you think that new characters just gain traction based purely on fan love, you’re going to be sadly disappointed in comics. This is a character I’d like to see dusted off and revived for a new continuity and positioned as a bigger part of the world, provided the fan interest can be found.

You may not have heard of her before, but, if that’s the case, allow me to introduce you to…

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The New Year’s 52: Eternity

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.

A few days ago I wrote about the importance of anthologies to a healthy DC Universe. Today we’re going to look at one of my favorite concepts introduced in one. Allow me to introduce you to…

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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.

While it largely alienated the existing fan base, if there’s one thing Brian Azzerello’s Wonder Woman did, it’s that it made Wonder Woman a major seller for DC again. Alongside books like Animal Man and Batman, Wonder Woman was one of the consistent stand outs of the New 52 for many. In considering how I would relaunch DC’s titles, I couldn’t help but think that I had to repeat that success, even if I should like to appeal a little more to long-time fans.

We need a Wonder Woman who can appeal to a mass audience while retaining what makes her unique, and we need a writer with both the skill and the reputation to ensure its success. If Wonder Woman is going to stand up with the heavy hitters of the New Year’s 52, we’re going to need a show of force.

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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.

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World epic is one of the great additions to the DC Universe. Designed as Kirby’s vision of a Post-Ragnarok Marvel cosmology, the idea was shot down by Stan Lee and Marvel editorial. When Kirby finally grew tired of Marvel’s appropriation of his work, he took the concept to DC, seeding the necessary ideas in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

But while the Fourth World characters are hugely valuable to DC, both economically and creatively, they kind of belong to their own world. Kirby connected the New Gods to the DC Universe because he and his editors saw the need to do so in order to sell the books, but, according to Kirby, he saw the Fourth World as a new kind of comic, a complete novel to be sold in bookstores rather than on newsstands. With the New Year’s 52, I think we would be wise to be cautious and not try to force the Fourth World on readers when we’re just launching the main DCU. Still, it would be wrong to completely ignore that corner of DC’s toy box and, luckily, there’s a pair of characters who bridge that divide beautifully.
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