This week’s Countdown, unlike the past few week’s editions, isn’t entirely a gag. In fact, while the first three are – although we think they’d still be totally awesome – the final seven are completely 100% legitimate suggestions. There are a lot of books out there at the Big Two – especially at DC, but at both really – that are uninspired and could be replaced by something fresh from yesteryear. An old concept made new by the right creators. Our 4 Color News and Brews team of Brandon Burpee and David Harper tells you what should be brought back and how these books could be awesome again.
10. Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham
Brandon Burpee: As a parent I recognize the massive hole in the industry that are kid friendly books. Marvel has especially been lacking in recent years. Sure, they have comics based on the cartoons and they have the fantastic Skottie Young Oz books that my son loves, but how about something just off the wall and fun?! That’s where Spider-Ham by Franco and Art Baltazar would blow peoples minds. Now that they are no longer doing any of their amazing DC Kids books Marvel would be smart to make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Franco and Baltazar’s Tiny Titans as well as Superman Family Adventures will always be memorable because of the intelligence and humor of the titles. While on the surface they may just be light and fun they were also sneaky continuity lessons. There are so many things that my son knows about DC Comics that he learned from those books and stuck with him because of the fun way they were presented. Now imagine the team bringing this same thing to the Marvel Universe in a book about Spider-Man…as a pig?! I know for a fact my son would be all over this book and I imagine I would enjoy it as well.
9. Section Eight
David Harper: The New 52, as a whole, is a bit without teeth. It’s an endeavor that often either plays it safe or just is so bland it never finds an audience. Sure, Section Eight (from Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s amazing “Hitman”) isn’t something noted for its huge audience or for being particularly in need for a revamp, but it would certainly give the New 52 teeth. I would kill for an 8 issue maxi-series from Ennis and his Fury Max collaborator Goran Parlov. Sure, technically only Six Pack and Bueno Excellente are still alive, but it’s the New 52! Bring back Tommy, Natt, Dogwelder, The Defenstrator and the rest and make it all about the Cauldron, and their little slice of the universe. Hell, throw Batman in there, and maybe even another appearance by Superman, and baby, you’ve got yourself a stew goin’.
Brandon Burpee: When his career as a SuperPro made him the biggest laughing stock in the world the zero dropped the O and became the worlds best PR man, vowing to never allow the public relation mishaps of his life happen to anyone else! What happens when a fallen star must go back to being an ordinary person. Find out here, with a creative team of Matt Fraction and Dave Aja.
Think Hawkguy but with SuperPro as a PR agent. This would be greatest and most significant relaunch in the history of relaunches.
7. What If? Ongoing
David Harper: This series is starting to make a bit of a comeback, as Jimmy Palmiotti and Jorge Munoz are doing a What If? for Avengers vs. X-Men, but I want more. People forget, but there are some seriously amazing comics out there from What If?, and with the industry’s cup running over with interesting new talents, this could be a brilliant place to let people unleash their craziest ideas and for new creators to make their mark. I mean, how many of you read the “What If? Thor became the Herald of Galactus?” from Robert Kirkman and Michael Avon Oeming? That single issue was just fantastic, and I would love to see what all kinds of creators, both new and old, could do with reframing Marvel history in clever and creative ways. And I want it every month!
6. New X-Men
Brandon Burpee: I’d like to see a return of the New X-Men but interlaced with previous generations mutant teens as well. Jubilee is now back at the school and herself and Chamber could be great figureheads, along with M who is possibly now available with Peter David’s X-Factor coming to an end. The title could be written by James Asmus and have a rotating art team of Chris Bachalo and Clay Mann. It could focus on a team of kids consisting of Hellion, Anole, Pixie, Rockslide, Mercury and other great characters that have been pushed into the background.
While the Jean Grey school is not pro teen battle teams, the team could actually be training to be a new team designed to be the first contact with new mutants which are now popping up again. This would put them in conflict with Cyclops’ team and also the new mutants themselves. It would be a mission plan similar to that of the original concept behind Generation Hope.
David Harper: When “X-Statix” first arrived, it was so ahead of its game it basically could not get an audience, even with creators like Peter Milligan and Mike Allred working on it. But perhaps no book makes more sense for today’s culture, as characters like Deadgirl, The Orphan and Anarchist could channel their reality show and fame obsession into today’s 24/7/365 news cycle and social media networks. It could lead to even more fascinating and fresh ideas, and in the right hands – bizarre idea, but I’d love to see the Portland duo of Benjamin Dewey (Tragedy Series) and Jonathan Case (Batman ’66) co-writing and alternating arcs on art – this could be absolutely brilliant.
4. Dr. Strange
Brandon Burpee: With a Dr. Strange movie allegedly on the docket for Marvel it’s time to bring the character back to the forefront of the publishing side of Marvel. If you’re going to do it right though you have to go big. While I am under no illusion that this team would ever make this happen, I can dream.
So if I had a choice of a team for this book it would be Brian K. Vaughan and James Stokoe. BKV has previously written the character and did it as well as it has been done in quite sometime. Now if you add Stokoe on art things start getting insanely fitting for a Dr. Strange book. Imagine Strange going through mystic realms as presented by Stokoe’s art. This would be a book that would be in the top 10 of sales the moment it was announced. Marvel would be wise to get the whole series in the can before launching the book though, with Stokoe on art.
Granted more than 6 issues wouldn’t be very feasible but why not do 6 then bring in a new team like Savage Wolverine? Rotating teams telling top notch magic stories. I’d be all over this personally.
David Harper: Batgirl is taken as a title, so Spoiler it’d have to be when it comes to the return of Stephanie Brown. Regardless of her code name, Brown is a character who is, in the right hands, so full of spark and vitality she’s just a joy to read. She is complex, down-to-earth and fascinating in her own way, and she could bring a little heart to the increasingly dark world of Batman and Gotham City. To guide her there? I’d love to see DC take a chance on someone like Faith Erin Hicks both writing and drawing. She’s an impressive talent in both, and while she’s never really touched on superhero works – save for perhaps the greatest breakfast oriented Wolverine story ever – I think she’d make Brown an even greater character than before while paying homage to what preceded her work (unless it has been annihilated along with the rest of the previous DCU).
2. Young Justice
Brandon Burpee: I personally have not enjoyed the new iteration of Teen Titans. It just doesn’t feel unique or special like the Johns or Wolfman stuff did. With Peter David finishing up his epic X-Factor run why not have him go back to DC and relaunch yet another one of his previous hit titles! Add Greg Capullo for his dark animated approach of sorts and you’ve got an awesome Young Justice creative team. This could be a book where you could introduce some great characters that seem to have been left out of the New 52. My cast would consist of Spoiler, Miss Martian, Cyclone, Aqualad (Kaldur’ahm), Speedy (Mia), Static Shock and I’d bring in Cyborg to mentor them or be the Justice League liaison. It would be great to have a book that could be lighter in tone much like PAD’s previous YJ run and could even have a friendly rivalry of sorts with TT.
1. Wally West
David Harper: Wally West, alongside Bart Allen (in the form of Impulse from Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos’ run), has long been my favorite superhero. He’s a character that has always been a lot more heart than anything else, and no matter what, he was never a character defined by what he says, rather than by what he does. Sure, he could be brash at times, but in my opinion, he’s a perfect encapsulation of everything the New 52 is missing. Heart. Fire. Assuredly other elements that form Captain Planet.
He’s someone that’s sorely missing from the New 52, and in the hands of writer Jeff Parker (a guy who can do heart and humor with the greatest of ease) and artist Mahmud Asrar (who counts all-time great Wally West artist Mike Wieringo as an influence), I think we could get back a little bit of what is missing one character at a time. There’s always room for one more speedster in my book, and the return of Wally West is long overdue.