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My DC: Brainiac September 18, 2011

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My conception for Brainiac is a compilation of several of the different incarnations we have seen throughout the years.

In appearance he would be like the Bronze Age version, metal body with the honeycomb brain case.  His signature three diodes would be a symbol embossed onto the metal forehead.  He would command a fleet of skull ships.

My idea, rather than being a scientist who opposed the computer tyrants of Kolu . . . he would have been one of the computer tyrants.  Kolu would have been ruled by a council of AI’s that reached logical consensus.  Brainiac wound up seeking more, seized control of the council, and had his rivals destroyed.  His obsession is perfection, and perfection in a machine mind is to know all.  He sends his fleets out from Kolu on missions of learning (which take the form of conquest).

My DC: Bizarro September 17, 2011

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I have made no bones in the past about my dislike for how Bizarro Superman has been handled most of the time.  I don’t like the idea of a segmented crystal doppelganger from space, and I absolutely loathe bizarro speak.

John Byrne came closest.  Bizarro should be a failed attempt at cloning Superman, who becomes twisted and monstrous.  He would have all of the power of Superman with none of the finesse or true understanding of what he is.

He would not be fully evil, but rather a sort of modern day Frankenstein, victim of the science that created him.  Easily manipulated, he would be like a child lashing out at a world he doesn’t fully understand.  He should be as pitiable as he is terrible.

We should be rooting for him to finally find a life of peace, but sadly, that is likely never to happen.

And he wouldn’t wear a backwards S.

My DC: Superman September 15, 2011

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Much has been made of the new Superman in the relaunched Action Comics. I don’t totally hate it. There are actually a few things that I would take for my own version, and some things that would have to go.

For example, I like the idea of a Superman that is less powerful. It gives him a challenge and makes for better storytelling.

That said, the cocky thug version of Superman just won’t do. I know they were trying to channel Golden Age stick-it-to-the-man, but Superman needs to be a symbol of apple pie ideals of a man trying to be the best person he can be.

The sort of man who loves Thanksgiving dinners with his folks in Smallville. The sort of man who, as he said in Superman for All Seasons, would always think, “I could have done more.”

One of the things that worried me about the relaunch of Action was the size of Superman’s supporting cast. It seems to have been reduced down to Perry White, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen. That won’t do. Brooding loners rarely make for compelling worlds (unless you’re Batman).

His supporting cast should be huge! Ma and Pa Kent should be alive. He should have Perry, and Lois, and Jimmy, and Cat Grant, and Pete Ross, and Lana Lang and a million other Daily Planet employees (although I will admit I dug how Morrison had him working for a rival paper). In addition, new characters should be added into his world like they did with Spider-Man’s cast in Brand New Day. Draw from the other Superman media as they did in the past for characters that have become staples. Chloe Sullivan from Smallville proved popular enough that she should be a real part of the entire Superman world from now on (a feisty blogger, perhaps). Pastor Linquist back in Smallville from Superman For All Seasons could serve as a source of wisdom for Clark Kent. This is just spit balling ideas. My point is supporting cast!

Powers
Obviously Superman can fly.
He’s strong, able to fling cards and rend steal with his hands.
He can take a bullet without flinching, but he can still be hurt. A howitzer blast to the face would surely knock him for a loop though.  Enough of them?  Dead man.
He can hear really good (NOT, however, across the entire span of the globe).
Heat vision.
X-Ray vision (except through lead).
No polar breath, that’s just silly.
He has powerful lungs but he still needs to breathe eventually.  He still needs to eat, and drink, and sleep.  He cannot survive in the furthest depths of space unassisted.
His hair is NOT as strong as he is. You can cut it with scissors. Let’s be serious.

Clothes make the man.
No Kryptonian armor. The costume he would hear is the classic costume that is so deeply embedded in our collective unconscious. It would have been made by his mother for him. The S-crest was a symbol that was inside the rocket they found him in as a baby . . . the Kryptonian word for hope.

One final thought . . . Superman truly needs to be the last son of Krypton. Having all of these other Kryptonians who someone managed to survive dilutes him.

My DC: Creative Teams September 14, 2011

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Some people asked me who I would put on as the creative teams for the books I mentioned in my “Launch Titles” post. My response was something along the lines of, “You mean I wouldn’t be writing them all?”

But then I got to thinking about it, and I did come up with some ideas. Here they are.

Action Comics, Detective Comics, War Stories, Western Stories, and House of Secrets would all be rotating creative teams depending on the stories at the time.

Batman – Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark

Batman and Robin – Paul Dini and Freddie Williams II

Superman – Mark Waid and Dale Keown

Wonder Woman – Gail Simone and The Dodsons

Flash – Fred Van Lente and Khary Randolph

Green Lantern – Christopher Priest and Joe Madureia

Green Lantern Corps – Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and Carlos Pagulayan

Green Arrow – Judd Winnick & Gail Simone and Phil Hester

Justice League – Joe Kelly & Jeff Parker and Rags Morales

Teen Titans – Sean McKeever and Joshua Middleton

Justice Society – James Robinson & Geoff Johns and Nicola Scott

Aquaman – Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord

Shazam! – Art Balthazar & Franco and Ed McGuiness

Blue and Gold – Dan Slott and Mike Norton

Adam Strange – Greg Pak and Pascal Ferry

Legion of Superheroes – Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

The Question – Greg Rucka and Dennis Calero

My DC: Secret Origin September 13, 2011

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Much has been made lately about the freshly rebooted DC comics. Except that it’s not a reboot. Except that it is.

Some of the books are good. Some are awful. Most are middling. In a lot of ways the universe is pretty much just like it was before the not-but-really-is-reboot, only more confusing cause of time compression and a question of what is and what isn’t in continuity.

For example, Death of Superman apparently still happened, but if you’re reading Action Comics that would definitely be a confusing issue.

Flashpoint was not a reboot. Technically neither was Crisis on Infinite Earths.

My question isn’t did they go to far, but did they go far enough? What I am proposing is a true hard reboot . . . completely devoid of any continuity whatsoever in any way. What would that universe look like?

What would my ideal DC Universe look like?

Over the next few days I will be doing a series of blog posts discussing just that. Please join me on this little thought experiment, won’t you?

The DC Announcement May 31, 2011

Posted by vorpalkeith in Comic News.
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Hold on to your underwear, kids.  It’s getting all Crisis of Infinite Crises up in this piece.

It was announced today that beginning in September DC comics will apparently be rebooting nearly their entire line and putting out fifty new number one issues with younger versions of our heroes in revamped costumes designed by Jim Lee.  And I can’t shake the feeling that haven’t we done all this before?  At least twice?

There hasn’t been much announced yet (all we know is that Justice League of America will relaunch in September with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, and that the team will be composed of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Flash), so I’ll reserve any real judgement.  Rather this blog post will detail a list of questions I have.

1) How far backwards in age are we taking the characters?  Are they all literally going to be at the start of their careers again, or will the main heroes have been around a bit?

2) What about older heroes like the Justice Society?  Do they vanish from existence?  Best case scenario I see here is if we get a period piece JSA book set in the thirties.

3) I guess Superman is American again?  Fox News can relax, at least.

4) More important . . . is Superman going to once again indeed be the last Kryptonian?  As much love as so many people have for Supergirl, Connor Kent, Kandor, and hundreds of Phantom Zone prisoners . . . it certainly does take something away from the whole “Last Son of Krypton” angle.

5) Apparently dead only means dead until the whole of reality gets rebooted?  So much for the promise at the end of Blackest Night.  Who are we going to see come back, and if they’re rebooting everything so soon afterwards, what was the point of there being a select few resurrectees in Brightest Day?

6) Can Ted Kord be around now?  How about Ryan Choi?  Please?

7) I guess all of the horrible crap that went down with Red Arrow/Arsenal is now a moot point.  I can’t help but feel good about that.  But then again, will there even be such a character in this world, or will Roy Harper be Speedy in the Teen Titans?

8 ) The thing I’m most excited about is the prospect of the changes Grant Morrison made to Batman being undone.  No more psychotic brat Damien Wayne, please?

9 ) Then again, if Damien is gone and we’re going back to square one, I guess that means that my favorite Robin Tim Drake ceases to be as well?  If we’re back at the beginning Dick Grayson is Robin, and while that’s okay, I don’t wanna see Tim not exist.  Some kind of roll for him in the universe, at least eventually please?

10 ) Will there be a Batgirl book?  Will it be Barbara Gordon?  Does it take something away from the character to pull her out of the wheelchair?  I don’t know.

11) What’s up with the collar on Superman’s costume, yo?

12) Is this Earth-1, Earth-2, New Earth, Newer Earth?

13) Billy Batson as Captain Marvel?  Yes?  Please?

I guess the most that I can hope for is good stuff to come out of this.  I’m curious, but also worried.  Don’t burn us, DC, please. 

I really want to read an awesome Batman book . . . .

Comic Dreams for 2011 December 20, 2010

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These are the things that I want to see in the world of comics in 2011, in no particular order, and probably quite a bit rambly as I’m tired after a long work shift.

– More all ages books. We need them. The industry needs them. And I mean truly for all ages, multi-generational reading.

– Less comics optioned as movies. This may seem to be a bit hypocritical coming from me, and sure, it probably is. I just think there needs to be a bare minimum amount of time before something gets adapted. I believe Mark Millar’s Nemesis was in pre-production before the first issue had shipped? That is not a good situation.

– DC needs to do a quick reversal about what they’re doing to Roy Harper. Really. SERIOUSLY.

– The return of Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona to Runaways? Please?

– If the above is not possible can we get Brian K. Vaughn writing ANY comic again? Now that Ex Machina is over he has nothing hitting the stands and I’d hate to think we have lost him to Hollywood.

– Series’ need to be given more time before cancellation. It happens far too quickly, before a series even gets a chance to build its audience.

– More Rocket Raccoon please.

– The promise of new discovery. Some of my very favorite comics have been things that I didn’t expect. This is what I love. Finding treasures I didn’t know about before.

– No more so-called comic fans who don’t actually read comics. Yeah, I get that you watched the Iron Man movie, and that’s cool . . . but don’t go turning something I love into ironic fashion because it’s trendy at the moment.

– Most of all, seeing all of my comic book friends. ‘Nuff said.