Thursday, December 14, 2017

TONY’S CLICK BAIT 15: DC COMICS

When an online blogger doesn’t have anything of substance to write about, they fall back on that most Pavlovian of concepts, a click-bait list. This time around, I give 15 answers - “15" is a sacred number for the purveyors of click-bait - to one of the questions I most frequently asked.

I’m currently finishing writing the six-issue Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands series. Now the clear answer to the question of what DC Comics book I’d like to write next would be...more Black Lightning. I created the character. He’s my favorite character. And, if I may be so immodest, I think my new version of the character is making for some really great comic books. But, as that answer makes for a really short bloggy thing, today I’m going to give you 15 other answers to the frequently asked question:

What would I most like to write next for DC Comics?

In no particular order...

1. NEW ACTION COMICS

This takes some explanation. It would be a 64-page monthly comic book featuring a modern-day Superman in the style of the original 1930s champion of the oppressed. The secondary features would all be updated versions of the original Action Comics line-up of Chuck Dawson (contemporary western), Zatanna (because I like her better than her dad) and the rest. I would write the entire first issue to set up all the characters and features and then, after that, write the Superman lead every issue.

2. THE MAN WHO KILLED THE JOKER

The premise of this graphic novel is the Joker poses such an ever-present threat that it would be self-defense to kill him anytime in any circumstances. The Joker has killed thousands of people...and that’s probably a low estimate. He can’t be held in Arkham Asylum or any prison. He always escapes and he always kills more people. This is the story of the man who kills him and the legal and public consequences of that act. I’ve been wanting to write this graphic novel for two decades.
                                                                                

3. METAMORPHO

The original Metamorpho comics by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon were a revelation to teenage Tony. Unlike virtually everyone else at DC,  Haney understood the appeal of the Marvel comic books of the 1960s and put his own spin on them. Larger-than-life characters. A hero who rarely gave in to the tragedy of his situation. (I thought of Rex Mason as DC’s Ben Grimm but happier.) Combined with my youthful fascination with the elements. I want to write Metamorpho as he was in his early days, slightly updated to fit in with our modern era.
                                                                                  

4. MULTI-MAN AND MULTI-WOMAN

Here’s where I get strange. Multi-Man was the arch-enemy of the Challengers of the Unknown. He had magic potions that would allow him to change his form, though his main form was a dwarf with a huge head. Somewhere along the line, he built a giant Multi-Woman to be his bride. I loved the heck out of this wacky idea. Which has me wondering...if they weren’t always fighting the Challengers and being imprisoned or destroyed, what would married life be for these crazy kids? I love to tell their stories.

5. BOY COMMANDOS

I have a hankering to write a World War II series. I also love the Joe Simon and Jack Kirby kid gangs. Do I have to say more.

6. THE NEWSBLOG LEGION

In the spirit of the Simon and Kirby kid gangs, but updated for our modern times. Young bloggers speaking truth to power while trying to navigate the offline world.

7. COLONEL SANDERS

Okay, the Colonel isn’t really a DC Comics character and I’m not a big fan of KFC food. But I get a kick out of these yearly specials and would love to try my hand at one.

8. APES ON THE CASE

Congorilla. Detective Chimp. Angel and the Ape. A rebellious young citizen of Gorilla City. They’re apes. They’re detectives. Except for Angel O’Day, but we’ve got to have something in this book for the male hairless apes in comics fandom.
                                                                               

9. SPACE CABBY

Most comic-book science fiction goes big. I’d like to tell smaller stories and who better to make that possible than a fun character from the 1950s and 1960s.
                                                                                 

10. THE MANIAKS

They were a hip happening mod sensation in the 1960s. They’re back together and back on the road, trying to recapture their glory days while competing with Maniaks tribute bands.
                                                                                                       
11. THE GLOBAL GUARDIANS

Writer/editor E. Nelson Bridwell has never received his due for all he brought to the DC Universe. He should get a Bill Finger Award. In the meantime, his team of super-heroes from around the world is worthy of a revival and an update. I’d keep them realistic to our times, but I’d also keep them as genuinely good and noble super-heroes. We can never have too many of those.
                                                                                

12. THE WITCHING HOUR

When this title was first published by DC Comics in 1969, each of its three witch-narrators had her own style of story. That concept was lost rather quickly, but I liked it. I would love to bring the title back as an all-ages spooky stories anthology and restore the original concept. It would be a challenge to come up with the three different stories per issue, but meeting that kind of challenge is fun for me.

13. JOHNNY EVERYMAN

Johnny Everyman was an American civil engineer who roamed the world promoting harmony and understanding. Though well-intentioned, his adventures lacked any real excitement or suspense. I’d change the title to Everyman and give him the ability (or curse) to change his gender, nationality, race and so forth. To experience the lives of  human beings from every corner of the world. Not unlike the War Is Hell series I created for Marvel in the 1970s and which predated the TV series Quantum Leap.

14. STRANGE SPORTS STORIES

I love the way that title rolls off the tongue. I see this as a 64-page anthology with contemporary stores covering every sport around the world. Besides the drama of competition, sports today involve  health issues and social issues and more. A mix of the modern with the macabre would be intriguing.

15. HEART THROBS

Though I was editor of Young Love for a hot minute in the 1970s, I never got to do “my” romance comic book. This title would feature the diversity of the human condition in stories that could break your heart or lift your spirits.

Wanna know a secret? Though one or two of the above comics titles have been on my mind for some time, I came up with most of them on the fly as I was writing this column. That’s 15 titles in under two hours. If there’s anyone out there with deep pockets who would want to hire me to create a new comics company for them, they can e-mail me with their offers. I could use a signing bonus right about now.

Do you enjoy my click-bait columns? Feel free to send suggestions for future installments. In the meantime, come back tomorrow for a new batch of Halloween ComicFest reviews.

© 2017 Tony Isabella

5 comments:

  1. The KFC guy is Colonel Sanders, not Saunders.

    Are there Colonel Sanders comics?

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    Replies
    1. oh yes! Google "DC Comics KFC".... enjoy!

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  2. METAMORPHO FOR THE WIN! I also liked him way back in the beginning. Been working on rebuilding my collection of them. Great fun and completely bonkers stuff but fun and engaging.

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  3. What strikes me immediately is how the spirit of FUN is embedded in each of these selections. Nothing leaps off the page as 'dark' or 'grim n gritty' and that's the thing that people uhhh of a certain age miss when we talk about comics not being like they used to be. The concept of fun comics is sort of like art v porn - it's sometimes hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

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  4. I'd buy 'Metamorpho'. I'd buy 'The Man who killed the Joker'. But I'd pummel my way through a pack of pit bulls to get 'Apes on the Case'! We've gotta make this comic happen!

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