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CSBG Archive

She Has No Head! – Yet Another Pass At A DC 52…

So one of the silver linings to re-launches and re-boots is that it spawns some interesting discussion, and one of my favorite things which is fan and critic “what I would do differently” conversations and columns.  On CSBG we saw some really great ones this week (Bill Reed and Greg Burgas’ attempts as well as CSBG reader Travis Pelkie’s Marvel version via Brian Cronin on CSBG).  Inspired by these gents own thoughts I decided to jump on the bandwagon for this week’s She Has No Head.

Since this weekend on my personal blog 1979 Semi-Finalist was also “Drunk Cover Solicits In Three Sentences Or Less”, I was inspired to try to do my version – as close as possible – to what a month of my own DC Solicits would look like including images.

What follows is not actually my “perfect comics world”, because in truth, I don’t care about say…Green Lantern (I know, I know, string her up!), so a Green Lantern book probably wouldn’t actually exist in my “perfect world”, however, as I’ve talked about a lot on She Has No Head, there’s little I believe you actually have to change with some of these books to open things up a little bit.  So what I decided to do was look at the line and institute the smaller tweaks I’m always saying I think we need to make things more accessible.  The following is far less “revolutionary” than someone like Greg’s list (which was awesome and would have me broke as all get out and picking up a massive 30+ of his 52 books) but it’s representative of the smaller changes I think that could really change the readership. My list also has all the flaws of a list created by one person (i.e. it’s full of blindspots and favorites).  However,  I used a few basic rules to help create my line, they are as follows:

1.     Fewer multiple titles per character to eliminate the massive confusion a new reader has when confronted with 28 Wolverine books, or 12 Green Lantern books.  There are still a high number of Bat Books on my list, but for the most part they each feature different characters.

2.     More diversity in both character and talent whenever possible.  I’m sad to say my talent lineup is still very white, which is probably in part due to my own blindspots.  I’d love suggestions of great creators of color to help diversify further.

3.     A larger variety of “age levels”.  More YA (Young Adult) titles to bring in young readers, and especially some strong female focused YA titles since girls read fiction in such high numbers, we should try to get a piece of that pie.  A handful of “Mature” titles, to allow the line room to breathe on the other end of the spectrum.  Having some “mature” books where darker material can be explored, helps to keep the “Adult” material more reasonable for the 13 and up set.  And that’s the rating breakdown I used – YA would be up to age 12, but hopefully “fun for all ages”.  Adult would be 13 and up.  Mature would be considered 17 and up.

One caveat, before we get to the list.  I’m not claiming that my list would be some best-seller that would save all of comics.  Quite the contrary, many of my favorite books are low sellers or have been cancelled for being low sellers and “critical darlings”.  And kids books, which I think are vitally important to grow the business, are generally considered “loss leaders”.  So I’m not making some big play that my line-up would mean big sales, quite the opposite I suspect, especially at first.  However, from my seat, we’re dying anyway and a shake up is needed in order to drum up any significant and lasting interest from the rest of the world that doesn’t bother with comics.  This doesn’t just mean content of course, it means getting books into more places that non-comics readers actually go; it means advancing digital books and keeping pace with the technology; it means doing more cross promotion that reaches out to non-fans along with fans.  But the content has to be there if you actually get them.  You’ve got to have something that speaks to them once we get them there.  And I just don’t think we have it yet.  This would be my attempt to step in that direction…

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01.  ACTION COMICS #1 (Adult)

Written by: Nick Spencer

Art by: Tonci Zonjic

Cover by: Alex Ross

This is the Superman “family” title – revolving around Metropolis, the Daily Planet and all its related characters.  Superman/Clark, Lex, Lois, Jimmy, Perry, Supergirl et al.  Pretty traditional for the traditionalists.

02.  AQUAMAN #1 (Adult)

Written by: Bryan Q. Miller

Art & Covers by:  Alan Davis

This should skew more adventure and fantasy, a bit less toward superhero.  He’s king of the sea…have fun!

Less like Broken City and more like 100 Bullets...


Written by: Brian Azzarello

Art by: Eduardo Risso

Covers by: Dave Johnson

A book about the villains of Gotham based on the theory that your heroes are only as good as your villains.  Not necessarily focused on Arkham itself, but you can assume that every lead in the book has spent some time there.  Stars a rotating cast that would include the traditional villains like The Joker, Two-Face, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy, as well as newer and less well known villains.  From the team that brought us 100 Bullets in the hopes that they can hit gold twice.

04.  THE AUTHORITY (Mature)

Written by:  Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

Art & Covers by: Bryan Hitch

Bring it back baby.  Starring: Jenny Sparks, Apollo, The Midnighter, Swift, Jack Hawskmoor, The Engineer, and The Doctor. Woo!

Batmans: Mignola Batman, Mazzucchelli Batman

05.  BATMAN #1 (Adult)

Writing, Art & Cover by:  Mike Mignola (sure, sure, I know he’s busy, so what?!)

Writing, Art, & Cover by: David Mazzucchelli (okay he’s NEVER going to do it, but still!)

This is the Bruce Wayne Batman title, as it should be.  It’s quintessential Batman – i.e. all the best things about superhero comics, and all the best things about detective comics rolled into one.  He’s the goddamn Batman people. I know Mignola and Mazzucchelli are busy guys with lots of important non-Batman things to do, but if they alternate arcs, and I give them carte blanche and dump trucks full of money…maybe they’ll do it.

06.  BATMAN & ROBIN #1 (Adult)

Written by: Grant Morrison

Art & Cover by:  Frank Quitely

Alternate Art & Cover arcs by: Frazer Irving

Pretty much exactly what they were doing at the start of Batman & Robin before the wheels came off.  It’s still Dick and Damian, and it’s still completely awesome.  Quitely and Irving alternate arcs so that nobody gets tired and I never have to see a Tan arc. EVER.

07.  BATWOMAN #1 (Adult)

Written by: Greg Rucka

Art & Cover by: J.H. Williams III

Batwoman as it was originally intended, with Rucka and Williams III at the helm, doing what made their Batwoman Elegy story in Detective Comics in 2009 one of my favorite books of all time.

08.  BIRDS OF PREY #1 (Adult)

Written by: Gail Simone

Art & Cover by:  Cliff Chiang

The Birds of Prey as I wanted to see them a year ago, and as they should have been from the beginning, with an artist worthy of them.  Has a smaller more manageable cast, which allows more fun guest stars.  Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress, and Katana.  Guest-stars will include: Big Barda, Nightwing (Cass), Zinda, Zatanna, Supergirl, Spoiler, Renee Montoya, Manhunter, Chase, even Power Girl.  A couple dudes sometimes show up, they’ll be awesome too.

09.  BLUE BEETLE #1 (Adult)

Written by:  John Rogers

Art & Covers by:  Rafael Albuquerque

Jaime Reyes is Blue Beetle.  Second chances!  His family and friends (especially Milagro Reyes) would show up regularly, and Traci 13 would likely guest-star.

10.  CATWOMAN #1 (Adult)

Written by: Jen Van Meter

Art & Cover by:  Chris Bachalo

Jen Van Meter does a great Black Cat over at Marvel, so I’d like to see her take on DC’s thieving cat, Selina Kyle.  This would be quintessential Catwoman anti-hero stuff.  Being a thief, being a hero, answering to nobody but herself and her own principles.  Guest stars would include the usual Gotham suspects including the Goddamn Batman himself.


Written by:  Various

Art by:  Various

Covers by:  Various

48 Pages. An extravaganza of indie artists telling awesome offbeat tales not unlike Marvel’s exceptional Strange Tales this past year.  It would be full of stuff like the Kate Beaton Aquaman above.

12.  DETECTIVE COMICS #1 (Adult)

Written by: Scott Snyder

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Art & Cover by: Jock

This is the Dick Grayson title. Let Snyder and Jock do exactly what they’re doing now, because it’s wonderful.

13.  DV8 #1 (Mature)

Written by: Brian Wood

Art by:  Rebekah Isaacs

Covers by: Fiona Staples

This picks up directly where Brian Wood’s DV8 Gods & Monsters mini-series left off.  It continues being brilliant.

14.  FLASH #1 (Adult)

Written by: Brenden Fletcher

Art & Cover by: Karl Kerschl

I loved their Wednesday Comics Flash story, here’s a chance for them to take it even further.  Starring Barry and Iris.  Guest starring The Abominable Charles Christopher. Just kidding. Probably.

15.  GOTHAM NIGHTS #1 (Mature)

Written by:  Greg Rucka

Art & Cover by: Francesco Francavilla

Greg Rucka doing what he does best – great detective stories, with a female lead.  This book would focus on Gotham in a less superhero way, though stories will obviously touch superheroes and specifically the Bat-universe.  Will star Renee Montoya and guest star Jim Gordon and various members of the police force and Gotham in general – including Manhunter (Kate Spencer) and Chase.  I haven’t decided if Renee is still The Question or will still become The Question, so don’t ask.

This isn't Foreman but this is one of the few GA covers I found that I liked...so up it goes.

16. GREEN ARROW #1 (Adult)

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis

Art by: David Lopez

Covers by:  Travel Foreman

Green Arrow’s never been a title I could quite figure out, and that seems to hold true now.  I think I’d go the political angle, since he’s such a well-known liberal and see where that could take you.  But it should be funny.  I went outside the box (and deep into Marvel on this one) with Bendis…but I think the voice might actually be a good fit in the long run. David Lopez did great work with Hawkeye over on the Marvel side, so maybe he could do equally well for Green Arrow on the DC side…?  Worth a try!  Speedy (Mia Deardon) would guest-star, as would Black Canary occasionally (though they’re not together).

17.  GREEN LANTERN #1 (Adult)

Written by: Rick Remender

Art by:  Brad Walker

Covers by:  Dave Johnson

In my world, the premiere Green Lantern is John Stewart as he’s always been my favorite.  This book can be whatever a Green Lantern book should be, I’ll leave that up to my crack creative team.  In the suggestion box from me though, is bringing in Hawkgirl as a potential love interest/guest star.  I always thought those two kids could make it work.  Brad Walker’s work on Heroes for Hire and specifically his take on Falcon makes me think he’d be a good fit for a book starring John Stewart.

Sidenote: It is EMBARRASSING how difficult it is to find a decent John Stewart GL cover…dude has been screwed for far too long.

This is Sciver, who is not my artist pick, but it's the best cover of all the GL dudes I could find...


Written by: Geoff Johns

Art & Cover by: Jonathan Hickman

In theory this is a rotating cast of Green Lanterns, under Johns hands I suppose it will be the Hal Jordan show, but that’s okay.  I’ve come to terms with it.

19.  INFERIOR FIVE #1 (Adult)

Written by: Evan Dorkin

Art & Cover by: Jesus Saiz

Superhero parody fun courtesy of Merryman, Awkwardman, Dumb Bunny, The Blimp, and White Feather.  Win!

20.  JONAH HEX #1 (Mature)

Written by:  Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray

Art & Cover by: Fiona Staples

This will skew more western and period and less “superhero-ish”. I think the artists on this should probably change over time, but we’ll start out with an arc or two from the fantastic Fiona Staples.

Supes, Wondy, and Bats by Lopresti

21.  JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 (Adult)

Written by: Jason Aaron (I know it’s a weird choice, but maybe it’s inspired!)

Art & Cover by: Aaron Lopresti

Primarily features: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Black Canary, and Hawkgirl .  Guest appearances by Zatanna, and Green Arrow.  Note to artists: Wonder Woman is the tallest person this team (see below for guideline).  Always.

Please note artists, that Wonder Woman is taller than everyone. That is all.

Great stuff like this will happen!


Written by: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis

Art & Cover by: Kevin Maguire

Primarily features: Mr. Terrific, Booster Gold, Dr. Fate, Captain Atom, Plastic Man, Mr. Miracle, Big Barda, Fire, Ice, and Blue Beetle.  Guest appearances by Vixen and Power Girl.  This is the lighter, but more crazy version of the Justice League franchise.

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This isn't Rios, but is the look I'd push for the book. A very young Wally, cool very simplified design

23.  KID FLASH #1 (YA)

Written by: Roger Landridge

Art & Cover by: Emma Rios

A kid-friendly tale of Kid Flash.  Nothing too flashy.  Ha! Puns!  Wally West is Kid Flash.


Written by: Dean Trippe

Art by: Daniel Krall

Covers by Trippe and Krall

This will essentially be exactly what Trippe wanted to do but as a monthly comic.  A YA tale about Lois Lane, with heavy roles for both young Clark Kent and young Bruce Wayne, among others.  Girls everywhere will embrace the renaissance of a new “Nancy Drew” they can relate to.


Written by:  Bryan Q. Miller & Caanan Grall

Art & Covers by:  Caanan Grall

A kid-friendly look at the bat family adventures.  Will feature a rotating cast of the current core bat-family (Bruce, Dick, Barbara, Tim, Cass, and Damian).  Guest stars from the extended bat-family (Stephanie Brown/Spoiler, Jason Todd, Zatanna, Huntress, Catwoman, etc.).

Couldn't find a Reeder cover with Zatanna and Madame Xanadu so you'll have to use your imagination, but you're good at that, right?

26.  MADAME XANADU & ZATANNA #1 (Mature)

Written by: Kathryn Immonen

Art & Cover by: Amy Reeder

The two premiere ladies of magic in the DCU by two brilliant female creators.  Sometimes Xanadu and Zatanna work together as a team, sometimes the book is about one or the other of them.  It’s always smart and creative and beautifully drawn by Amy Reeder.

How would you not want to read a book like this about Martian Manhunter?!


Writing, Art, & Cover by: Darwyn Cooke.

J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter in his role as a detective and superhero. I think is is probably a period book, old school superhero and detective noir, chronicling J’onn’s early years on earth, which will give Cooke lots of out of continuity freedom and ability to play with real history if he likes.

Sorry Scott, couldn't find an Amanda Conner sketch of you!

28.  MR. MIRACLE & BIG BARDA #1 (Adult)

Written by: Tony Bedard

Art & Cover by: Amanda Conner

Exactly what it sounds like, the super terrific adventures of the best couple in the DCU, drawn by one of the best artists in the business and written by the guy that gave me one of my favorite Big Barda moment of all time.

29.  MR. TERRIFIC #1 (Adult)

Written by: Eric Wallace

Art by: Roger Robinson

Covers by: J.G. Jones

Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt) just about the way DC’s trying to do it.  I hope this book can make it, it looks great.

Damian Scott's Cass Cain as Batgirl...soon to be NIGHTWING!

30.  NIGHTWING #1 (Adult)

Written by:  Kelly Puckett

Art by: Damian Scott

Covers by: Dustin Nguyen

Cassandra Cain returns to the Bat universe and takes up the vacant mantle of Nightwing.  This will be the wonderful Puckett and Scott doing what they did so well nearly 10 years ago now, but for the next phase in Cassandra Cain’s life.  There will be some (very necessary) ret-conning here.  And I don’t care if that’s problematic.  These two guys can figure it out, I know they can.  Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) will be a frequent guest star as Cass’ BFF.  Oracle will play a strong role here, and the rest of the Bat-Family will show up from time to time, including dear old dad, The Goddamn Batman.

Daniel Acuna's Grace Choi from Outsiders

31.  OUTSIDERS #1 (Mature)

Written by: Warren Ellis

Art & Covers by: Daniel Acuna

The darker side of sears…er, The JLA.  Starring Grace Choi, Thunder, Metamorpho,  Black Lightning, Jade, Faust, and Geo Force.  Maybe some Halo, and Eradicator.  Batman (Bruce) – the money behind the organization – shows up sometimes to be broody and boss them around.

32.  PLANETARY #1 (Mature)

Written by: Warren Ellis

Art & Covers by:  John Cassaday

Why mess with perfection?  This is the continued adventures of Planetary – Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, and The Drummer.

Mike Maihack's Power Girl

33.  POWER GIRL #1 (Adult)

Alternating Arcs:

Writing & Art by: Faith Erin Hicks

Writing & Art by: Mike Maihack

Covers by: Hicks and Maihack

Yeah, so I’m going a WHOLE other direction with this.  It should be cartoony and fun, light and full of jokes.  And by going with a totally cartoony de-sexualized style we’ll magically undo all the boob-y baggage Power Girl has been lugging around since just about ever (both literally and metaphorically).  It’s going to be AWESOME.

34.  SPIRIT #1 (Adult)

Written by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray

Art by: Chris Sprouse

Covers by: Sprouse and Darwyn Cooke

You know the drill.  Look at the image above to understand how fun it will be.  FUN!

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35.  SUICIDE SQUAD #1 (Mature)

Written by: Gail Simone

Art & Cover by: Jae Lee (he’s maybe too dark for such a dark book…but it also might be my most brilliant plan ever!)

A Suicide Squad/Secret Six combo, that is really more Secret Six, but gets renamed to Suicide Squad because I prefer that name.  How do you like them apples?!  Cast is much the same: Scandal Savage, Bane, Deadshot, Catman, Ragdoll, King Shark, and Manhunter (oh yeah, there’s a story there). Oh, and Amanda Waller is back in the mix.

36.  SUPERMAN #1 (Adult)

Written by: Grant Morrison

Art & Cover by:  Stuart Immonen

God of all comics can still try it out.  I’m interested to see what he’ll do with it.  I’m also not very attached to Superman, so don’t feel too protective.  The Clark/Lois marriage stays in though.  I feel like Stuart Immonen would KILL on a Superman book.  It would be so damn beautiful.

37.  SUPERGIRL #1 (Adult)

Written by:  Brian Wood

Art & Cover by:  Ryan Kelly

Would love to see what Wood and Kelly could do to update Supergirl and make her modern and relevant.  First things first of course is that the cheerleading uniform is gone.  Other than that I’d be interested in a more modern urban take (like the above feels) or even a more ‘stranger in a strange land’ take, where Kara is more Kryptonian than she feels now.  She should feel very different than and perhaps even at odds with Superman/Clark.

My Superboy would be about a young Clark Kent, not Conner. Sorry kid.

38.  SUPERBOY #1 (Adult)

Written by: Kieron Gillen

Art & Covers by: Phil Noto

This is not Conner (sorry Conner), but the story of young Clark Kent…taking a page from the massive (against all odds) success of Smallville (on for 10 years! shocking!).  This should follow the Smallville adventures of Clark Kent and focus on his friends and family, and coming to terms with his powers and responsibility…becoming the man he’s going to one day be.

39.  SWAMP THINGS #1 (Mature)

Writing, Art, & Covers by: Ross Campbell

We actually almost got this series from Campbell a while back and I’ve always wanted to know what it would be like.  Let’s find out!

Only about half these kids would make my roster, but it would still be that gorgeous Nicola Scott artwork

40.  TEEN TITANS #1 (Adult)

Written by: Christos Gage

Art & Covers by: Nicola Scott

Your basic Teen Titans with a great creative team.  Cast is: Red Robin (Tim Drake) as the leader, Raven, Beast Boy, Static Shock, Jesse Quick, Solstice, Ravager (Rose Wilson) and Speedy (Mia Deardon).  I just picked my favorite Teen Titans and added in Solstice for that new car smell…deal with it.

41.  TINY TITANS #1 (YA)

Written & Drawn by: Art Baltazar

Written & Drawn by: Stephanie Buscema

Written & Drawn by: Dustin Nguyen

Rotating Cover Art between Baltazar, Buscema, and Nguyen

30 pages – 3 Short stories per issue, focusing on all the great heroes of the DCU as kids.

This is Becky Cloonan on Demo Volume 1...but I can see a Traci 13 Book in there...an awesome one.

42.  TRACI 13 #1 (Adult)

Written by: Kelly Sue DeConnick

Art & Covers by:  Becky Cloonan

Highschool student Traci 13 tries to deal with all the trials of being a teenager with incredible power.  Guest stars include various Teen Titans and of course Blue Beetle, sometimes boyfriend at large.

43.  VIXEN #1 (Adult)

Written by: Joshua Dysart

Art by: Jamal Igle

Cover by: Joshua Middleton

Vixen has given up the whole “modeling thing” (cause I find that boooring).  She’s become involved instead in a variety of international charities and world organizations, but she can’t quite manage to hang up the superhero gig and does a lot of good and meets a lot of amazing people (superhero and not) all over the world.  She’s basically Angelina Jolie with superpowers.  She also gets a new costume so that she doesn’t have to worry about her boobs falling out everywhere she goes.  She occasionally helps out with the JLI.

44.  WONDER WOMAN #1 (Adult)

Written by:  Gail Simone

Art & Cover by: Terry & Rachael Dodson

Alternate Art & Cover by:  Bernard Chang

I know this didn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me like gangbusters.  It was the first time I really fell in love with Diana, largely thanks to Simone’s ability to find her sense of humor and bring it to the forefront.  All the arcs didn’t work for me equally, but I’d like to see Simone give it another try.  The gorillas can come back too, but we ditch the “Diana Prince” persona.  She’s just Wonder Woman.  I like Nemesis, so we can see where that goes too.  No promises though.  The Dodson’s do a beautiful powerful Diana and they’re wonderfully consistent in their work so they take the lead, and Chang has a completely different take that I like almost as much, so they can alternate arcs.

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Written by: Ben Caldwell

Art & Cover by:  Ben Caldwell

Exactly what Ben Caldwell wanted to do, exactly as he wanted to do it.


Written by: Various

Art & Cover by: Various

Editor/Mastermind: Mark Chiarello

Duplicate the brilliance that was Wednesday Comics every June.  Weekly in June this awesome extravaganza would kick off each summer, with its oversized talent loaded brilliance.  New creators and characters every year.

47.  ZEALOT & GRIFTER #1 (Mature)

Written by: Ed Brubaker

Art & Cover by: Sean Phillips

It won’t be all sexy romance as the cover suggests, in fact the “will they, won’t they-ness” will mean it’s actually very little romance.  It will mostly be running around, saving the world, while being badass and looking awesome.  Sometimes they’ll make out.


Well…that’s only 47 books you say!  Say, you’re right!  You know what I do with the other 5?  Hold onto your hats folks, I would do ALL NEW BOOKS.  Crazy, right?  No built in audience, just ground up new ideas, characters, and stories.  They can meld beautifully into the DCU existing continuity or not.  Brilliant books (both prose and graphic) are written every single day.  New movies and television shows (some that aren’t even based off of comic books! shock of all shocks!) are created every day, and we have to have room in our medium for these things…and I don’t know why they can’t exist (and flourish) with the backing of the biggest comic book companies around.  Great material is great material.  Scott Pilgrim became MASSIVE all while being published by the always impressive but diminutive by big two standards, ONI.  So what I’d like to see are NEW ideas, new stories.  We can keep the old and still forge forward with new.  What’s that song about making friends…one being silver and one being gold…making new and keeping the old?  Yeah, we’re going to do that.  There’s nothing revolutionary here.  You know the comic book that brought me back to comics after a many year hiatus that I was ever looking to break?  The Walking Dead.  It also happens to be (by my own small research sampling) one of the most read books by non-comics fans…a book that turns non-comics readers into comics readers…?  The Walking Dead was a whole new idea, a whole new book.  It wasn’t Superman re-invented, it was just itself, and now…well, now it might as well be Superman.  And we can have that if we just empower brilliant people to create.  So I would hand pick some of those brilliant people and give them each carte blanche on a book…not all of them would work, not all of them would be brilliant, but it sure would be fun.


[…] This week on She Has No Head! I take a swing at my own DC 52 line up.  It was fun, but exhausting…take a look! […]

I would read the hell out of an Inferior Five book (if it was good).

Sugar & Spike #1; Trapped in a world they never made. Alex Ross heading the revamp.

No comic for the fridge? *ducks*

I’d buy Detective, Arkham, Gotham Nights, Nightwing, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad BoP, Vixen (I still hear Gina Torres every time I read her!) and maybe Wonder Woman.

Your Suicide Squad idea is exactly what I was hoping for and it’s lack of existence is my single biggest disappointment with the entire DC relaunch. It lets me keep reading the Six, but with King Shark since he’s funny, and Amanda Waller because she’s awesome. I hadn’t thought of putting Kate in the mix, but that is so perfect, especially to see her and Bane together since she was the one who blew the story of how Venom was tested on kidnapped women that caused Bane to kick his habit.
The only book on your list I have reservations about is Caldwell’s Wonder Woman. He can’t try to cram 20-30 panels per page again. His Wednesday Comics bit was almost literally unreadable. I wanted to like it, but it was just too crammed in.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 20, 2011 at 10:53 am

No Vertigo make-overs?

Some interesting ideas. I think building a new DCU out of the DC animated Timm-verse (JLU, BTAS, etc.) would have been a great move years ago, but too much time may have passed to make that move really stick. Although, I do think DC could learn a lot from asking themselves why those stories worked so well and how that might inform their approach to comics.

One little thing I have to disagree with, however. You wrote:
“What follows is not actually my ‘perfect comics world’, because in truth, I don’t care about say…Green Lantern (I know, I know, string her up!), so a Green Lantern book probably wouldn’t actually exist in my ‘perfect world'”

Just because it isn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist in your “perfect world.” Honestly, I’m no fan of “All Ages” or “Young Adult” titles (I think they underestimate the sophistication of young readers), but I would still have them exist in a my “perfect world” to provide a multi-tiered approach to those who enjoy a different type of storytelling (regardless of age). While I may not be into many of the genres touched on in the DCnU launch (western, horror, ultraviolence), I still applaud the effort. Let’s give other genres and styles a shot and see if there is an audience for it.

Something you touched on that I’d really love to see more of is a general philosophy of one title per character. It would certainly make following characters easier and provide a better entryway for new readers, IMHO.

stuart immonen has already done superman. he drew adventures of superman, and wrote/drew action comics back in the mid-nineties.


Hmmmm…..not too shabby with these.

Currently, I’m constantly brainstorming ideas for this fanfic comic of mine (though I’ve never gotten to a script yet), but it takes its cues from probably the most consistent and accessable take on the DCU: the DC Animated Universe. I grew up with it, it’s the one I prefer to the regular one, AND, I’m continuing it, in a sense. BUT, this little U of mine is vastly different in that it is the same one as….the MARVEL animated universe!

I’m thinking that since I’ll be avoiding most DC and Marvel titles for the time being, I’ll have more time to get a few scripts up and running. I plan to do three different series: one main title (whose name has yet to be finalized), a team-up series (“Brave and the Bold Team-Up: Missions Spotlight”, a merger of The Brave and the Bold, Marvel Team-Up, Transformers: Spotlight, and GI Joe: Special Missions), and a future-scape series (shares name with the flagship title, with the year 2040 added; features both Terry McGinnis and the MC2 Spider-Girl, among others). Best part about all three: no drawing required, it’s all done with photographing toys! If you want to see an example of this kind of storytelling, generalsjoes.com has probably one of the most cohesive GI Joe fan fiction stories ever.

I love it!! I get to work with Jamal and get fantastic Middleton covers! I’m in! ; )

@Double-Wide: Sugar & Spike could definitely pop up in my DC Showcase book :)

@Dalarsco: I like to believe that the very talented Caldwell has learned from his mistakes on the beautiful but far too difficult to read Wonder Woman Wednesday Comics effort. I think the format was too unfamiliar and he tried to do too much. Judging by his WW YA pitch I think he’d be right on point.

@Tom Fitzpatrick: My only notes for the Vertigo line are “quit canceling good books” and “make even more of them”.

@Spidermaniac: You’re totally right…and maybe I wasn’t clear in my explanation. I meant it more as a “these aren’t really books for me” but I’d put them out anyway, because not everyone is “me”. Maybe I’ll edit the above to better reflect that. I think fewer characters in multiple titles is key…it gets very confusing as a new reader – or even a regular reader trying to branch out – to figure out what to read. It’s too much work and we need to make it easier. It’s not hard to figure out what TV show to watch, what movie to see, or even what novel to read…comics are a labyrinth though. It’s all kinds of cool sometimes, but it’s also really off-putting I think.

m!ke: Right you are. And look how good it looks! And he’s gotten even better since then, imagine how good it will look now?!

@Nick: Bat-Mite can show up in BATS! as well as DC Showcase and TIny Titans. :)

@Joshua Dysart: Glad you’re pleased, would love to have you on a regular book, especially with a female lead after your fine work on Greendale.

Stop blocking my comment, bitch

Meh another dumb fangirl list

It’s too bad dumb fanboys won’t give new writers like Kyle Higgins, Adam Glass and many more a try.

This looks fantastic, awesome job. I’d be especially excited about the Power Girl, Martian Manhunter, and Catwoman titles; and would be blown away by Nightwing.

Any list of essential DC characters is going to start out pretty white; not from anyone’s current racial bias, but because there are so many iconic characters that were created in less enlightened times.

Thanks for handing me the keys to the Bat Universe, Kelly!

Though, I’d have to take one of your empty slots and reboot Shazam, because it’s a property that’s tailor-made for kids. And I would call him Shazam, (not Captain Marvel, because that’s just confusing), and it wouldn’t be Billy Batson any more. I’d give the powers to a young Sri Lankan boy at an orphanage who was fostered as a baby but left for dead by the parents who couldn’t handle it. This way, you could wrap up a fun kids comic with comment on all kinds of issues, including race, by having this little kid, who gets called names and beaten up, find out what it’s like not just to be a superhero, but a giant white guy superhero. ;)

And I’d make it an OGN and only make a sequel if it sold kajillions. :D

I would read that Catwoman. Actually I would love to read a “Batman and Catwoman” title that focuses on their relationship, especially how they interacted in Inc.


you could still make him Billy Batson, just make him the son of an (American?) GI and a ‘local girl’. Then when he becomes Shazam, he could find out about his half sister Mary who lives stateside. :-)

Lots of really cool ideas here with Inferior 5, Supergirl, Suicide Squad, but some of my favorites are Vixen, Wonde Woman Princess, Power Girl, and the two best of all Catwoman and Lois Lane, Girl Reporter!!

I like your ideas for Action Comics and Arkham. I’m surprised they don’t have the latter already.

As for getting Chris Bachalo to draw Catwoman, you’ve got my vote. Hell, just get him drawing anything!

Oh, and Caanan Grall drawing a Bat book? Again, sign me up!

Boy, Kelly if you were running DC I’d be spending MUCHO cash come September. I can’t decide if I love Gotham Nights or the Barda/Mr. Miracle book best.

Stuart Immonen already did the best Superman book that wasn’t Superman book – Secret Identity.I would gladly push Morrison aside to have Stuart rejoin the writer he worked with on that Kurt Busiek.

The only book I have a complete pass on is Inferior Five. I think you need a LoSH book.

Hmmm … not much place for gay men in your ideal DC. No Andreyko and no Jimenez. No Hero Cruz (also a person of color) in your Titans, no Tasmanian Devil in your JLI, no Starman, no Pied Piper, no Obsidian, etc., etc. At least Apollo and Midnighter made the list (which is far as as DC has gone in the real September solicits.) I guess I can hope for something in 48-52!

I like quite a few of these, but I’m always wary of getting the band back together for a second go-around. Planetary is brilliant as it is; why try to recapture it? I notice your Martian Manhunter is pretty much exactly like mine, with the same person writing/drawing it. Come on, DC – two such brilliant minds can’t be wrong!

John Stewart was on every cover of Green Lantern: Mosaic. Not all of them are good, but Stelfreeze’s cover to #1 is very nice.

Mike Loughlin

June 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Great list! David Lopez is a good choice to draw Green Arrow, and I think Bendis could make the “urban hunter” motif work. He just needs an editor to get him to cut down on splash pages. In my fantasy world, Matt Wagner writes and draws the series.

My own preference would be make Superman an all-ages book. Every kid gets him, he’s the best know super-hero, and I feel Superman stories should be relatively non-violent (i.e. not much bloodshed).

While I like the fact that DC is giving Mr. Terrific a book, I hate that they are seemingly cutting out the traits, aside from the intelligence, that made Mr. Terrific stand out as a strong black character to me. (Fair Play tatt? shaved head? huh?)

Another commenter brought up Hero Cruz and I will say that one of the books I found myself deeply loving was Superboy and The Ravers from the 90s… That book was fun and characters had surprising depth….

I would find a place for the DC/WB television properties like Ben 10, Batman Beyond, JLU, and others…

Good List Kelly…. It actually proves out that this isn’t easy to frame and carry out a line wide launch/re-imagining

thanks again for the inclusion! ;)

suggestions for more great creators of color off the top of my head: Marc Bernardin, Ming Doyle, Afua Richardson, Ananth Panagariya, Yuko Ota, Jen Wang, Spike Trotman, Khary Randolph, J. Torres, Dave Crosland, John Jennings, Denys Cowan, Ivan Velez Jr., Lamar Abrams, Derek Kirk Kim, and i’m pretty sure my pal Nnedi Okorafor would love to do some comics, hehheh.

i’d also suggest more LGBT creators, like Marc Andreyko (give him back Manhunter for chrissake, haha), Megan Rose Gedris, Ivan Velez Jr. again, Colleen Coover, Erika Moen, Phil Jimenez, and if we could somehow lure Ariel Schrag to mainstream superhero comics… XD

i love your suggestion of all new books (I KNOW RIGHT, GASP, GOD FORBID), but even with existing characters if you want more racial and ethnic diversity don’t cut out Voodoo or Static (he needs his own book rather than being on Teen Titans or whatever), and despite any blindspots you gotta know about the Milestone characters, right??? how about Icon, Rocket, Hardware, Deathwish (the only real-deal transsexual hero i can think of at a big company, even written by a trans writer, Maddie Blaustein (RIP, sadly)), and some friggin’ Blood Syndicate, the most diverse, and most badass, superteam/gang ever created! :D

Too many safe choices outside of a few interesting picks, (Ross Campbell on Swamp Thing would be something, though I can’t say I’m at all unhappy with the current team). I don’t really feel the need to read another Gail Simone arc of Wonder Woman or Birds of Prey. I don’t really see the need for more Planetary out of Ellis, and I would much rather see Azzarello make his mark on Wonder Woman than see him write yet another Batman story.

I understand where you’re coming from and your list definitely has more quality than the DC relaunch, but it just feels so roundabout.

Actually, I rather like the “boob-y baggage”…it stays.

Kelly, just like Greg, no love for the Question? Milligan and Nguyen would crack that. At least a book with Zealot and Grifter, even though no Wildcats. :p

Great choices, btw.

me again. i realize i both fell into the trap of the usual “why isn’t your list like this, you forgot so-and-so!” and probably came off overly negative, i’m sorry! anyway, great list, i’d totally read that Catwoman, Nightwing, Vixen, and Zealot & Grifter (they really are the best when together!). and damn, who is this Grace Choi character?? never heard of her but she looks awesome!

But, this reboot and renumbering would be a perfect place for fans to start again.

The writers won’t be writing terrible stories cause they will be returning to the Iconic characters we have always known and loved. By Reintroducing the same Beats we have seen before, we would be able to avoid all these High Concepts. Remember a new Action Comics #1 will be worth Millions of $$$ to collectors. And when the issues reach #1000 we can return to the Iconic numbering system and Reboot again. Imagine all the Bubbling money everyone will make.

@ross: But you gave me some great names to check out – some of them I know but am not familiar enough to put on a book as a creative team – others I’ve never heard of but will absolutely be checking out.

@roos/Dean: I feel like sometimes it’s hard to make sure to get in as many LGBT creators as I’d like because it’s not always clear what a creator’s sexual orientation is. McCann for example is gay, but I don’t know how commonly known that is…? I also didn’t want to pick creators BECAUSE they were female, or gay, black, etc. I had to feel like they were the right fit – and that’s where the blindspot I mentioned comes in – I’m just not familiar diverse creators as many as I’d like…I’m pretty well versed when it comes to female creators – in large part thanks to writing this column – but I’ve definitely got blind spots, which is why I tried to address that upfront. Andreyko is a definite miss though. I definitely should have put him on a book as I’m a big fan of his Manhunter.

@Dean: For the characters you mention – that’s just straight up blindspot again – and not just to gay male characters – but to the depth of my DC reading in general. I didn’t grow up reading DC and so sometimes my experience is shallow. Of your list I’m actually only familiar with Obsidian and Starman. I’m sure it’s no consolation but in my Authority Apollo and Midnighter would basically be the stars of that book, and I initially called it “Apollo & Midnighter” maybe I should have kept it as is. Additionally, I would hope thanks to some of the creators that I picked that a lot of books would have more LGBT characters and themes explored in general, as well as the 5 new books, which I would expect to feel quite diverse on both the creator and character side.

@madcattv2: I humbly suggest you create your own line then. :)

@Lierson: I didn’t give The Question a book, because I’m still on the fence (per my comments on my Gotham Nights book) as to whether The Question should be Renee or not. I see both sides and have conflict. It gives me a tummyache.

@Debaser: In general I agree with you that I was too safe. It’s harder to do than it looks though. I like Azzarello and will be interested to see what he does with Wonder Woman, but I suspect it might be a bit dark for my tastes with Wonder Woman. I don’t want one of the only headlining female books out there to be super dark…if we had more variety of female led titles (like my list) I don’t think I’d mind so much…but we’ll see!

@Greg: Thanks Greg – you set the bar pretty high from a creativity standpoint. I agree that I went too much back to old stuff I loved. Hindsight and all that. That Stelfreeze cover IS good.

@Mike Loughlin: I think my Superboy book would be pretty close to YA/All-Ages book. I’d want to keep that pretty young and light and not dark. I also think maybe I should just call it Smallville…ah that hindsight! This is why teams of people do this, and not just one chick in a room.

@Sue: Thanks! No love for awesome superhero parody drawn by Jesus Saiz?! You crazy!

@Zach/catsmeow12/OBrienTallent/Scot: Thanks!

@The Mutt: You’re right and because I didn’t go as revolutionary as I maybe should have with books and characters…that did limit me a bit.

@Caanan: Anytime. Your Shazam sounds fantastic. Have a treatment on my desk tomorrow!

@Daryll B: Thanks. I don’t love the Mr. Terrific tat, but I like the shaved head. Plus that cover is just so cool overall. I’m exited! Don’t talk me out of it! ;)

so pretty much keep everything the way it is, except DC should grab a few marvel exclusives to rehash their marvel work. Some of the stuff I’d read though!! The Jason Aaron stuff for one!

Travis Pelkie

June 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I…I…I would read almost all of these. Yowza. Me want Inferior Five.

(Actually, I want a trade of the original, dammit! Or is one out?)

Like Greg, I would say that there’s a lot of the “getting the band back together”, and that doesn’t work a lot of times. But overall, great list.

Do I have to do a DC one, too, now? My Marvel one was hard enough. Thanks for the shoutout, btw.

No doubt I would read a lot of these.

And speaking of female artists, Emma Rios and Rebekah Isaacs are fantastic, I don’t know if readers are seeing that. In my Marvel relaunch, I have Gillen and Isaacs doing Uncanny X-men.

Why limit Cooke to Martian Manhunter?

New Frontiers #1, just like the first series, set in the past.

Mike Loughlin

June 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

If you want creators of color with proven track records, Kyle Baker, Christopher Priest, Mark Bright, Trevor Von Eeden, and ChrisCross have all made top-notch comics. In fact, I’d love a Priest & Bright Suicide Squad, Von Eeden Vertigo book (maybe Hellblazer), ChrisCross-illustrated Flash, and Kyle Baker anything.

@Mike Loughlin: Just to be clear I didn’t say “proven track records” – I said “that I have enough familiarity with”. Not trying to be a pain, just trying to make it clear that I’m not doubting that these creators exist and have proven track records but that my familiarity with them is sometimes limited. That said, thanks for the suggestions – a few I don’t know on that list. Though Kyle Baker is great, and CrissCross would have been a good choice – and Flash would have been a good fit given his great covers for Velocity and his cool work on Supergirl this past week.

These all look very cool. I especially like where you put indie creators. These would be fun comics.

One issue I could see being problematic is your call for the final five relaunch books to be used for all new concepts. Unless they’re derivative of larger ideas like the Justice League or Batman, I think you’d struggle to find comics pros necessarily interested in creating all new characters and titles for DC under work for hire. At the very least you’d think they’d need to have a creator participation deal in place to entice pros or otherwise they’d need to be new characters developed by DC editorial and then hiring writers and artists to develop the character.

daniel the demon cleaner

June 21, 2011 at 5:02 am

I don’t get all the love for John Stewart. I mean, sure, he’s fine in the cartoons, but whenever I read Green Lantern comics, which is granted not that often, he’s always angry or sad and annoying.

To be fair, I have a problem with all the Green Lanterns.
Hal’s kind of a penis. Same thing with Guy and Kyle is ok, but “replacing the old guy with the new guy” has been done to death.

Personally, I would like Alan Scott as the star, he’s cool and I like his costume. Plus, he’s old. There’s not many superhero comics starring old people, so it’ll fit with the “diversity” motive.

I’ve said it before, but you would make a terrific editor. 90% of these are ‘Buys’ for me.

John Stewart is “the Green Lantern” for me. He has been ever since Wein & Gibbons subbed him in for Hal Jordan in the ’80s. There is just something so admirable about the guy that I was bummed when Hal came back. The plus of a reboot is that it would allow you to integrate John into the more interesting stuff from the jump. The best part about Hal Jordan is the setting of Ferris Aircraft, the mentor turned antagonist and the characters (i.e. carol Ferris, Hector Hammond) related to those things. All of it is easily portable to a more likable protagonist in a smart re-boot. You could even move pilot Hal Jordan into a sidekick role, where his personality might be kinda funny.


Terrific idea.

The Marvel Family feels very Asian to me for some reason. I’d love to turn Billy and Mary into Chinese kids living in an analog of Vancouver. Somehow, I think American readers would swallow the relatively safe “Fawcett City” as being in Canada.

Use Captain Marvel, Jr. as the gateway character that you journey with to this magical world and I think it might be the right mix of modern with wholesome.

please be an editor at dc.

i don’t agree with all the choices, but it certainly seems more thought out than anything that has been announced.
ergo i would give it a chance.

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