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Committed: My Fantasy Superhero Creative Teams

It being the day before Thanksgiving, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you happy holidays. I hope you have a lot of good comic books to read when you’re too full to move.

In the next few days it will not only be Thanksgiving but also my birthday, so I’ve decided to create my own unconventional creator/superhero wishlist. On previous Thanksgivings I have asked diverse comic book creators about what they’re thankful for and discussed my own gratitude for comics, but this year I’m taking a different direction and writing about what I’d like to see.

These are my fantasy teams and it is a very unlikely and impractical wishlist. These are my own personal ideas about who I believe could enrich and transform the superheroes that I’d like to see them work on. I’m sure some of you have got your own ideas about this, and I’d love to hear them, so please add your own wishlists in the comments here.

Smallville and Young Superman
Dan Clowes, art and writing.
The offbeat, out-of-continuity, one-shot stories about established superheroes are gold to me. I think that they do a fantastic job of enriching the general world of the character and in recent years I’ve read some great takes on Superman. What I’d like to see is a similar look at Smallville and Superman‘s youth. It could be an addendum to a major story (e.g. one of those things where you get to see his own journey after some major battle.)

While Clowes work always has a surreal, disturbing edge, there is often a background of small town life in his stories. With affection and care he describes communities of people living and working in a kind of uneasy harmony. Beyond the stories of the townfolk there is always a strange threat of some unspoken secret, just as for Smallville there is are secrets to tell. Whether it is the burgeoning sexuality of Ghost World or the dark mysteries of Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, something hangs over the populace in Clowes stories. My opinion on Clowes suitability for this project was cemented by issues 22 (also published as Ice Haven) and 23 of his comic: Eightball. Taking the townsfolk of Ice Haven and combining them with the young boy’s character’s comic/hero-obsession of #23 basically provides the raw ingredients of a truly offbeat take on the young Superman growing up in Smallville and I’d love to read the end result of that recipe.

New Teen Titans
JH Williams
writing. Cory Walker, art.
Teen Titans is a team that I (predictably) loved when I was little, but rarely read now. Back when George Perez and Marv Wolfman were doing their strange thing on New Teen Titans, I was an avid fan and I would very much like to see J.H. Williams and Cory Walker do something odd with this book again.

Williams doesn’t do a ton of writing, but I think he could and it would be a lot of fun to read. He’s got a very strange mind and a very interesting approach to symbolism and story telling that I think a diverse team like the Titans could benefit from. On Batman: Snow Williams and Fisher created a dysfunctional, disturbed little team who only just had time to find their feet. It reminded me a little bit of Andy Helfer’s depiction of  The Shadow‘s team in the ’80’s, but with slightly more cohesion. I’d like to see this style of writing taken to an ongoing Teen Titans comic book. Cory Walker’s qualifications are impeccable and frankly I don’t understand why he isn’t doing a ton of work. He would be ideal for this project, with his existing work on Invincible showing that he can easily draw a compelling young, diverse team in all kinds of situations, not to mention the incredible range he demonstrated in Destroyer, from epic, wild, violent action scenes to intimate, character-driven scenes. His lovely, fluid line would complement J.H. Williams organic, poetic writing.

Since both creators seem to like to take their time and I am more than willing to wait for quality work, this could either be a bi-monthly comic, or perhaps a series of larger quarterly books consisting of single stories that work in isolation as well as part of a whole. I would like it to be ongoing though, perhaps initially it could be a limited run, just to try out the project, test the waters. I can easily see it being fun to read for a very broad age range and maybe fun to work on for the creators too; I’ve met both of them and they strike me as really nice guys who share a love of the medium and the capacity for storytelling. I’d like to see how J.H. Williams would treat the characters and I’m sure that Cory Walker could give me some captivating, epic space battles, all while having the finesse to show the marvelous interactions that Williams would inevitably write.

Spectacular Spider-Man
Chris Ware
, art and writing.
This might sound strange, because the successful Spider-Man we see is pretty flashy and confident. But his confidence is always a mask, his wise-cracking a cover for his insecurities. Similarly, Chris Ware often creates characters like Rusty and Jimmy Corrigan are often shown alone, filled with self-doubt and failings. This is a side of Peter Parker which has often been examined a slightly juvenile way and the character deserves a more respectful look at his other side and how it affects his work.

Chris Ware’s ability to create funny, tragic, self-critical characters could be a perfect fit for Spider-Man. I’d love to see him take the character for a specific story, maybe a short 6-12 issue run, or maybe even a single volume released all at once in the vein of his more comprehensive Acme Novelty Library. With all of the time changes that has went on with Spider-Man when he gave up his past, he’s missing a little je ne sais quoi for me right now. I’d like to see Chris Ware take him inside of himself a little more, watch the snappy comebacks and then read the thoughts that would accompany those moments. I want a chance to see the man behind the mask again, and this time with the quirky gravitas that Ware could give him.

Wonder Woman
Mark Waid, writing. Amanda Conner, art.
Wonder Woman needs help, this is clear. Apparently JMS tried to do his thing but pulled out half way through, leaving no one happy. Many people have tried, but for me the character has rarely had the consistent appeal that she does outside of her own comic book. As one of the most recognizable and iconic comic book characters in the western world, Wonder Woman is perversely a very poorly read book. It is time to take her back to her roots, to remember the kind of Amazon goddess she was created to be when Marston originally created her to make a healthier, happier readership. I envision this project as an ongoing one and I’d like to see my team work on Wonder Woman for at least a year, signing on with a commitment to the character and her world.

From the brief glimpses we’ve had of Waid’s depiction of Wonder Woman in Kingdom Come and JLA, it is blatantly clear that he can write the hell out of this powerful, beautiful woman, giving her the grace and desire she so badly needs without sullying her name in anyway. Waid’s use of Wonder Woman in Kingdom Come is so varied; We see her as the healer, bringing Superman back to work, as the diplomat seeking peace, as the warrior forced to clean up, and even as a mother and lover. If he can do this in such a short series, imagine what he could bring to the character over a year. It is time to allow a writer with some love and respect for Wonder Woman to do the job of writing her in the way she deserves to be written.

There are a two artists that I’d like to see work with Wonder Woman: I want J.H. Williams to create covers and Amanda Conner to do interiors. Williams has crafted the most evocative and atmospheric covers ever seen on books like Promethea and Batwoman and I would like him to give the same attention and love to Wonder Woman. She deserves it. Internally, although I love J.H. Williams art, I crave a more assertive, pop-art, brash style of work. Amanda Conner has repeatedly shown that she can draw a huge variety of sexy, beautiful, strong women. When she drew Supergirl in Wednesday Comics, she created a truly youthful, pretty, determined, playful character. Her treatment of Powergirl was similarly unexpected, giving her a weight and physical substance that I’ve never experienced in the character, bold and sassy. Two entirely different female characters, teen and adult, small and large, but both sexy, both great fighters. I’ve seen myriad female characters drawn by Conner and no matter what their type, she can make them look damn good and create some truly dynamic action scenes. Amanda Conner can handle the job and more importantly, when I’ve seen her Wonder Woman drawings, she doesn’t just look strong, beautiful, confident and happy, she also looks kind. Her beauty isn’t some cold, austere thing, her Goddess-like quality is warm and inviting, just as I imagine I would feel in the presence of a loving goddess.

Catwoman
Gilbert Hernandez, art and writing.
For me, Catwoman hasn’t been crazy enough for a while, and if anyone can bring the crazy these days, it’s Beto. She needs a nice little 4-6 issue run, something thick and heavy with that lovely mat coating on the cover that makes them feel like rubber. I was going to suggest his brother Jaime for this job, but that was mostly because I desperately wanted to see him draw that feline cat burgler…

The thing is though, as much as I want to see that, her character needs a little of Gilbert’s wild freakiness right now, a little trip into some strange place. Beto could do a wild short series or one shot, something that took her to someplace she hadn’t been before. I’m tired of the whole “not-so-naughty Selena is pissing of the mob” stuff. Let’s see her do something else, something deeply unexpected. Even when he does use organized-crime references in his work, it’s all creepy and ominous, never simple or clear-cut. I want to see Catwoman peering anxiously around corners with those long shadows and creepy nights that Beto can draw and use so well in his stories. If the entire opus of Luba and her family isn’t proof enough that he can handle this, there’s bizarre early work like Errata Stigmata and his writing on the Return of Mr X to show his odd obsessions and interests.

Green Lantern
Grant Morrison
, writing. Jamie McKelvie, art.
Ever since J.M. DeMatteis and Seth Fisher’s Will World, I’ve been obsessed with the imagination and strength of will that it takes to be a Green Lantern. Combine that with the eeriness of spending years trapped inside your own ring, floating in space, as Hal Jordan did before Green Lantern: Rebirth, and I think we’ve got some serious surreal potential in this superhero.

Grant Morrison might be many things, but primarily he is a surrealist. Broad, experimental books like the Invisibles show his love of psychedelic, experimentation in comic books, while every other thing he does pushes at the boundaries of the expected and the acceptable. Who else do you think of when you want uber-surrealism but Morrison? He needs to work on the Green Lantern franchise, in any way possible, ongoing, monthly, weekly, yearly, whatever. I just want to read it. Having said that, it would have to be with a very solid artist. I want someone who can balance the potentially ungrounded nature of Morrison’s take on Green Lantern.

In books like Suburban Glamor and Phonogram McKelvie hints at worlds with more than the norm. He has proven his ability to precisely and imaginatively draw a diverse range of characters, situations and environments. Comfortable mixing magic and mundane, he imbues every frame with humanity, always hinting at an inner life and evolution. I’d like to see him work with Morrison on a Green Lantern comic book which really speaks to the qualities this hero has had to foster in order to be bizarrely creative when battling violence and mayhem. What kind of person can live this way, and how does it evolve the character?

There are so many artists and writers who I would like to see take superheroes against type, but there is only so much time that I can ask of you reading this (and this is already twice as long as I usually ramble, so thank you for bearing with me.) As I said above, it’s the time of year to ask for the impossible, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the most unlikely (and desirable) combinations of creators and characters you can come up with. In the meantime, have a very happy Thanksgiving.

41 Comments

That creative team would actually get me reading Wonder Woman, and I think Morrison is one of the few people who could adequately follow Johns on GL. Brilliant job.

Hmmm this made me think……

What I would want to see for the GL family would be Ellis and McKelvie.
I think you pretty much nailed McKelvie in you’re write up, but Ellis high-science unleashed on the GL universe could produce amazing results (then again it could totally suck too~)
I’d expect Ellis to write a sub-par Hal but make up for it with amazing villains and mind blowing new concepts.

Another I think would be interesting would be Paul Dini and Mark Bagley on Spider-Man. Kind of odd that I would be drawn to that book being that I don’t read any Spider-Man and never really followed too much of Dini’s Batman work. I would give it a shot solely based on all the love Dini gets among the die-hard Bat-fans and then throw in Bagley just too keep all the Spider-fans happy too (besides, he does do some pretty damn drawings)

Just my 2pp~

Mmm, Gilbert Hernandez on Catwoman…actually now when I think of it, he might do interesting stuff with several Batman villains. Him doing Batman or Joker don’t interest me that much, but he could probably do fascinating Penguin or Poison Ivy or Two-Face…

And you sold that Clowes on Smallville suggestion well, I’d like to read that.

Of more regular stuff, that Wonder Woman team looks good too.

“Wonder Woman
Mark Waid, writing. Amanda Conner, art.”

I would so buy that book in a heartbeat. May the PTB agree with you.

IIRC Mark Waid actually said he did a poor job with Wonder Woman in Kingdom Come.
I don’t recall if he outright apologized for it, but he seemed aware that she wasn’t well written.

For my money she was essentially a non-character, just staying around to be Clark’s new love interest.
Much like how she was in Red Son…
Or how in JLU she was just there to be Batman’s love interest.

I should point out that the Invincible art you feature isn’t by Cory Walker’s art. It’s actually Ryan Ottley.

Fixed. Thanks Misterbeaver (Misterbeaver? Really?)

Man, I am hating myself right now. I had composed an epic post analyzing your list, and then I need to look something up, and didn’t switch tabs.
Lost the whole f*cking thing.

Maybe I’ll retype it–I was being kind of a snarky p*sspot, but it did have a good pint.
For now, I’ll just put these 2 things out there:

“as the diplomat seeking peach” I think you mean peacE–at least I hope you do.
&
I notice, none of your suggestions call for mainstream superhero writers going into the indie world?
I think that shows a telling bias, don’t you?

that is a cory walker image, it even has his ‘cw’ signature in the science dog panel. ryan ottley signs his work with a ‘wya’ (because he couldn’t say ryan properly when he was a kid, i believe). walker has a much simpler style than ottley as evidenced above.

might i also suggest andi watson doing an out of continuity batgirl series with babs, ross campbell and paul dini on zatanna and geoff johns with ed mcguinness on jla.

What’s this about floating around in space trapped in a ring?

Cory Walker would be really sweet on Teen Titans but that would probably mean he would have to leave Invincible which would be terrible.

I think that Christopher Priest would be great on Batman. Mark Millar on Green Lantern would be interesting. Imagine what he could do with the red lanterns or Larfleeze.

If we are dreaming then I would love to see Alan Moore tackle Spider-Man or the X-Men. Why hasn’t Neil Gaiman writen some Thor? That sounds like something right up his alley.

I like your Wonder Woman choices. That book needs a team like that on it.

But I’d rather not see a Chris Ware Spider-man series where Pete inevitably jerks it to a photo of Gwen or something while crying. I know it’s only your fantasy list but Ware’s too much of a downer for Spidey for my tastes.

In the second Wonder Woman paragraph it says, “as the diplomat seeking peach”. Anyway great article.

I would buy all of these.

Chris Ware on Spider-Man would be incredibly depressing, as his stuff tends to be, but can you imagine the visual structure he’d give that thing? Spider-web panels…! Ahh, I can see the whole thing already.

Oooh! Now I want to be a diplomat who seeks PEACHES, that sounds like a great job…
Sorry about the Ottley/Walker mix up. I actually prefer Walker myself and wondered why those images looked so Ottley-ish, but it turns out I’d just downloaded mislabeled pics.

All fixed now, thank you.
Once more, looking for a detail-oriented proofing volunteer who stay up late on Tuesday nights. You think I’m kidding but I’m not.

JRC: Thank you for taking the time to retype. I get what you’re saying, but there are two reasons I don’t care about whether mainstream artists do indie stuff or not. First; All of the indie creators I mention write their own creations and so it would be hard to suggest that a mainstream creator go work on someone else’s creation, since they don’t work the same way that superheroes did. I could suggest they do their own thing, but that’s pretty vague and would be a really short article because I don’t know what their “own thing” would be. Second; Established mainstream creators can and do produce indie work. Because they’re established, they’re able to more easily get independent publishers like Image (who allow creators to retain the rights to their creations in exchange for lower or no pay) to publish their weirder stuff. So that’s why I didn’t write about it, but I do like it when they do it and step outside of writing established superhero titles. It’s fun.

MilkyMartin: Hal died, but then it turned out he hadn’t died but was just trapped in his ring for years. I think it was in the questionable Dark Knight 2. It always seemed a horrible kind of stasis to me and I thought it would deeply affect the character.

jccalhoun: Walker did leave Invincible, and someone called Ryan Ottley took over. I think it was around issue 67 or something, I’m sure a google search could be more specific. I’m with you on the Alan Moore thing, would LOVE to see him do that… He won’t, but we can dream.

Thanks, Sonia. Interesting piece. Other posters and you are much more attuned to styles to make these connections. I just enjoy the conversation.

Also, happy upcoming birthday!

would actully love to see Mark waid do some more dc stuff including wonder woman . for he showed in kiingdom come how wonder woman could be done right without destroying the character.and Grant Morrison doing green lantern that would be crazy and unique. and a little bit like the character is tripping something.

I would kill to see Los Bros and Colleen Coover tackle Wonder Woman. Bring her back as the sex positive matriarchal dominatrix that set her apart from all the sexpot super heroines back in the day.

“I would buy all of these” – Bill Reed

Co-signed.

Going to Man’s world/ Gonna eat a lot of peaches

Beto’s Catwoman… if only. I can just picture it, and it is amazing. I know he wrote for DC briefly (Birds of Prey between Dixon & Simone), but I never read any of it. Considering how far outside of mainstream DC sensibilities his writing is, and how quickly he was off the book, I doubt it was a good match. Catwoman, though (preferably out of continuity), the mind boggles…

I’d have Jaime do Teen Titans, or maybe Supergirl. He has a way with young people and women in his stories.

Jamie McKelvie would kill on Green Lantern, and I could see him being a good fit for Morrison’s scripting. I would love to see DC move away from their current tone and go for something more optimistic and daring. Morrison & McKelvie would be a huge change, one I would wholly embrace.

I tried coming up with other dream teams, and my mind kept going to Jason Aaron & Tim Sale on Spawn. I don’t even like Spawn, but I’d read it with that team.

Morrison would be brilliant on Green Lantern. I also agree with Waid/Connor on Wonder Woman, and Dan Clowes on Smallville/Chris Ware on Spider-Man ( not that they’d be likely to do so, but it would be a much-needed shake up for the young adult superhero formula ).

And as long as we’re going way outside the box, I’d pick Hideo Kojima ( creator/producer/writer of the Metal Gear Solid games, including the motion comic cutscenes for the PSP games ) and Ashley Wood ( artist of the Metal Gear Solid motion comics ) for Wolverine. Solid Snake is what Wolverine would be if he were freed of his many excesses and allowed to be pure awesome.

Nice Idea Sonia!

My Suggestions:

– Charles Burns drawing the Hell out of Dr. Strange

– Garth Ennis and Alan Davis on Suicide Squad

– J. T. Krul and Rob Liefeld on Michael Bay’s Transformers 3D Movie Special

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin

November 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm

@Bill Reed

“I would buy all of these.”

Most definitely agreed.

I’d like to add these:

Birds of Prey by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen.

Pet Avengers by Karl Kerschl.

Deathlok by Warren Ellis and Geof Darrow.

A Charles Burns Dr. Strange sounds great, I could also see him making a fantastic Batman story.

Chris Ware will never draw a superhero comic, but if he ever somehow found the inclination I would want to see him create a Flash story. His formal sensibilities and the way he sees time and the passings of lives makes me think he could write the best Flash story ever. Think about Kerschle’s Wednesday Comics story and think about Ware’s sensibilities and try and tell me it wouldn’t be incredible.

DC really should get on an indie anthology like Strange Tales.

Nice article, Sonia.

I too have always felt that Morrison would be a great choice for Green Lantern, and I actually thought he would take on that project after JLA. Its tremendous scope would allow him to comment on the nature of reality, one of his favorite themes, and allow him to bring out extraordinary concepts.

I vote ‘Yes’ for Ware on Spider-Man. While the others have said that it would be too depressing (and it has a good chance to be) you have pointed out that Ware should balance that out with humor while Peter’s in his Spider-Man persona. That could work I think.

Sir Manley Johnson

November 24, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I’d be much more intrigued by Clowes version of Archie and Riverdale than Superboy and Smallville, but we are dancing to the same tempo when it comes to seeing Amanda Connor do Wonder Woman and Grant Morrison do Green Lantern. Ghris Ware retelling spider-man would be veeeeeerrrrry interesting.

Wonder Woman is a catch-22 for me as a solo character – I don’t know what I want from her stories, so I don’t buy her books, but I don’t buy her books, so I don’t know what I want from her stories. But a Waid/Conner trade of Wonder Woman? Yeah, I’d buy that. Sure, Kingdom Come’s Wonder Woman was off balance but so was it’s Superman. Their story arcs ended with them finding new balances for themselves that were in keeping with their characters. I’d like to see Waid’s take on her in main DC continuity. With Conner’s art? Oh yeah, DC, take my money.

I wanna say I love that Beto/Xaime Luba/Maggie Batman/Robin sketch up top. Is that something you own?

Beto’s Birds of Prey was ok, he had Metamorpho in there, and it was ok, but nothing astonishing.

I can’t think of any other dream teams myself right now, but this list is pretty cool. (except for Ware on Spidey. I can respect Ware’s craft but his work leaves me cold.)

And, damn, I meant that’s Hopey as Robin, isn’t it. I’m a moron.

Matt Groening on Deadpool or Howard The Duck….. The fun satirist takes on the most sarcastic heroes in comics

Matt Fraction with Alan Davis on Batman…. Can you say “go nuts” on a street level?

Brian K. Vaughan with Pia Guerra on Teen Titans or JLA…. irregular given both’s hesitance for capes but the concept and personality building would be fascinating…

and in an ultimate bit of snark…

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons on Captain America….. I think this would break the internet..and we would have a controversy every 3 months….

Alan Moore and Mike Allred on Fantastic Four.

Don Rosa writing, and Brian Bolland illustrating, Uncle Scrooge. Rosa is no longer able to draw Scrooge because of vision problems.

Switch Bolland with Colan and I could die happy.

I would so totally buy a Catwoman series written & drawn by Gilbert Hernandez. He did write a six issue arc for Birds of Prey about ten years ago. It was somewhat offbeat, but I’d love to see him totally cut loose with a character like Catwoman. Really great suggestion, Sonia.

“DC really should get on an indie anthology like Strange Tales.”

There are a couple of trade collections under the name Bizarro Comics that fulfill this wish already! SOme good stuff in there, and some over-indulgent stuff, too, much like Strange Tales.

Definitely Second the Chris Ware nomination to run wild with his formlaisitc tendencies on any number of super powers – super-speed, flight, telepathy.

Yeah Travis, I love that drawing of young Luba and Maggie too, but it’s not mine, just found the scan. Only wish I’d thought to commission it. I only have regular drawings of characters from them.

Cool. Happy Birthday, btw.

I agree with Julian above, that Colleen Coover would be way cool on Wonder Woman. Someone should call in some “small favors” and make that happen. :)

And, not to be nitpicky, or nuthin’, (ok, to be very nitpicky), that Batman:Snow story that JH Williams co-wrote was in Legends of the Dark Knight, not Detective. I just read it again within the last week or so. Such a shame that Fisher died too young.

I wish Kathryn and Stuart Immonen had followed Palmiotti, Gray and Conner on Power Girl. I still hope that may happen.

Don’t have much to say about the choices here, but just wanted to correct a little detail above: that “someone called Ryan Ottley” (?) has been drawing Invincible (uninterrupted except for like a couple of issues) since issue 8, not 67. He is arguably the party most responsible for the overall look and feel of the book as it is known.

Hence, you don’t have to worry about Walker leaving the title!
Unless, of course, the qualities you guys are looking for comes from Ottley’s rather than Walker’s art.

@Alex, wasn’t Bizzaro Comics from the early aughts late nineties? There’s a fresh crop of new and now established artists that I’d like to see take on DCs properties. Why shouldn’t these things come out annually?

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