Sunday, April 20, 2008

The New New New Titans


That rascal plok tagged me with this nifty meme:

"What creators who are usually associated with a certain company (or, indeed, medium) would you like to see writing some else's title?"

Plok's suggestions are, as you would expect, big and of the "it's so obvious, why has no one thought of that?" variety. The world would be a better place if you ran Marvel and DC, sir!

My own thoughts on the matter of talent-swapping address a smaller issue: how to fix the goddamn Titans series that DC has just launched--and doomed--under the stewardship of Judd Winick and Ian Churchill. Not exactly the creative team of my fanboyish dreams, as I've already mentioned about several million times. Who is?

1. Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Well, obviously. I mean, there's no point in pussy-footing around it: Titans is a nostalgia book to its core. Might as well go all the way. Hell, set the damn book in 1984 and slap an Elseworlds label on the cover for all I care! And while you're at it guys, could you just finish Games already? Sheesh. (I realize that this one may violate the spirit of the meme, but...)

2. Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Paul Pelletier. These guys are going to tear up the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy series they're doing for Marvel, but they would be perfect for a Titans book with a classic feel. I'd love to read a DnA Titans space epic, given the duo's flare for superheroic science fiction. Plus, this piece of promo art by Pelletier for Guardians reminds me of a similar two-page spread from the original New Teen Titans series when the team breaks into one of Brother Blood's compounds:


Nice, huh?

3. Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham. They're both great on team books, and, like Grummett (the best Titans artist post-Perez--if only he would come back), Eaglesham is a details guy, which is something that this book sorely needs. Gail's Titans would be awesome, obviously. Plus, she's perhaps the only person currently writing comics who could fix Donna Troy. (Damn you, Countdown!)

4. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. Wait, wait...really! Remember "Runaways"? Remember NTT Annual 2? Under Bru, the book would focus on Nightwing, there'd be plenty of gritty urban crime stories with flashes of superheroics; lots of moody settings; bucketloads of drama, anguish, and soapy goodness; oh yeah!! It would be so great!!! Imagine Brubaker and Epting's Church of Blood! Or their H.I.V.E.!!! Or, for that matter their Trigon!!! Okay, okay, I'm sold...THIS is the creative team I want on Titans. Sorry Marv and George; sorry DnA, Paul, Gail, Dale! Ed? Steve? Are you done noodling around with Captain America yet?

10 comments:

plok said...

Oh, Jim...

Hmm, this is really a meme of its own, isn't it? Which means I should get to play too!

The thought of Brubaker's Trigon seems...like a really good idea. A scary and really super-dangerous Trigon? Possibly they could even correct some of the degradation of Deathstroke that's set in over the last little while...and while I'm not too familiar with the DnA team, from what I hear when they're on, they're really on. But, here's what I'd do:

Giffen/DeMatteis/Macguire. The Titans have a bad reputation for being too soapy, too melodramatic, and too scattershot in terms of how the characters are handled. This is a reputation not entirely undeserved, and yet not wholly deserved, either. But the G/DM/MCG team does melodrama too, and in their own skewed way they even do soap. And character is really their strong point. As an editor, I'd tell them "okay, this is not primarily a humour book, this is not the recent Defenders thing...this is like that first year of Justice League. Make the characters snap, make the old Wolfman/Perez fans happy, and make the humour serve the plot...and see if you can't make me like Deathstroke again." I think they'd be up to the task.

Steve Englehart/Neal Adams/Tom Palmer. But as long as I'm talking about balance, what could be better than Englehart on this book? Soap, drama, characters, action, and a nice pace. Of course wishing for Adams is like wishing for the moon, but then again so is wishing for Wolfman/Perez...and if you can't have Perez (and how great would it be to have him now, when in my opinion he's turning out some of his best work ever?), then you might as well have another of the giants. Palmer for the Zip-A-Tone (do they still use that?), and suddenly you've got something that reads like overloaded-cast Avengers, and looks like Thomas-era X-Men. At the very least, it'd keep the book selling.

Last one. Jeff Parker/Mike McKone. McKone's got the detail thing happening -- he draws nice rubble, too. And Parker's one of the new crop of "I-can-do-this" kids...I don't know who these new writers are, or where they come from, or why they know how to tell a balanced story when so many bigger names seem not to be capable of it anymore...and with the decline of the comics midlist, they seem to be struggling to get onto the titles one senses they could revivify with such grace. If Marvel and DC were sports franchises, anyone would have to admit that Marvel's drafted well, as far as these guys go...and yet they're stuck on the fourth line. I think Parker with anybody could probably make Titans a top seller, but add in McKone and you'd really have something, I believe.

What an interesting idea this is, Jim! We should really all be doing this sort of meme in a title-specific way, wouldn't that be interesting? Like: next up, the Hulk, or something.

Personally I'd let Ang Lee write it. I really would.

Oh, what about this? "What vanity-plate movie writer or director, that neither Marvel nor DC could EVER EVER EVER hope to get in real life, should go on what series?" I mean, I like Joss Whedon, and I enjoy seeing his name on an X-Men comic, but I'd freak out if I saw Charlie Kaufman's name on Deathlok, or something...

Hmm, could he write a good comic, though? Dunno. Kurosawa could, though!

Okay, I've rambled enough for one day...

Jim Roeg said...

Haha--yeah, I know. Leave it to Roeg to turn this perfectly great idea into an all Teen Titans meme. GROAN! But how could I resist?

I love those matchups, plok, particularly the Englehart/Adams/Palmer book. Oh GOD that sounds nice. As you know, I'm a huge Englehart fan, so that would pretty much make my day. The Giffen/DeMatteis/McGuire Titans is one that I never would have thought of, but with those editorial directions it would be a ton-ten book, I'll bet. At least top twenty!

About doing this as a title-specific meme--I like it! (Whoops, gotta go see about a baby...back soon).

Jim Roeg said...

Okay...I'm back. And thinking about my ideal creative team for...THE HULK!

plok said...

Moore/Bissette?

Jim Roeg said...

No brainer!

plok said...

I was thinking you might go Grant Morrison and Jae Lee...

plok said...

Okay, lemme throw one at ya. Actually let me throw two:

Suppose you're an editor at Marvel. One day you get called into Joe Q.'s office, and he's all jazzed up about "this Hank Pym thing". You don't know what he's talking about. He shows you an EW issue with Hank Pym on the cover in all his various incarnations: someone's done a big story on how Hank exemplifies the Escape From Personality at the heart of all superhero reading, how Hank represents the race toward totally generic identity. It's not a very complimentary article. But Joe senses interest, and cash; he gives you the job. An ongoing Hank Pym book, eighteen issues guaranteed without any crossover nonsense, build the brand, do the thing, get whoever you want, only one catch: he wants to see Hank Pym wear all his super-suits during that year. "What, all of them?" you protest. "He had like six different Giant-Man costumes!" Okay, okay, Joe says. Don't get all bogged down. Just use all the identities. The costumes don't matter. Heck (he says blithely), use new costumes. Go nuts! Pretend you're Bendis, and you can do whatever you want! But I need Ant-Man in the old costume, I need some kind of Giant-Man somehow, and I need Goliath in the blue-and-yellow, and I need Yellowjacket in the black-and-yellow. But otherwise, do what you want. Get who you need. Get Steve Ditko and Alan Moore if you want. Just make people sit up and say "hey, Hank Pym! Awesome character!" Because one year from now we're having "Escape From Wundagore Mountain!" or whatever, and we want Hank to be a major player, because he dies sacrificing himself to defeat Chthon, or something. Haven't quite decided yet, but we'll let you know...

Okay: task! Make a year-and-a half-long Hank Pym book to those specifications!

And, okay, second task: Nightwing's just been killed by editorial fiat in Infinite Crisis (this is a parallel universe). Bludhaven, too -- it's a wasteland. But fan uproar says Dick Grayson has to come back, and as Nightwing. We'll give you twenty-four issues and a decent (though not crazy) budget, see who you can get, and we want Nightwing to be BIG...because two years from now we're having a crossover called "Titans' Fall" where we're killing him off again, and we want people to care. See, this last time nobody really noticed, we mishandled it, it stunk, he died off-panel. Two years from now it's gonna be on CNN: "Robin Dead; Batman Freaks Out." So we need people to give a shit. So make it great. Just don't go over a midrange-budget...otherwise, sky's the limit! We were thinking about hiring Bendis away from Marvel, but he costs too much. But we want THAT level of interest, we want people BUYING...!

So go nuts.

And that's task two.

Actually, holy cow, Jim, I just had an awesome idea! Here, do these two things, and then let's talk! I have an idea for a mega-meme...

Oh! And when you're done you can give me two kinds of nutty stuff back, like Hulk and Captain Mar-Vell, or Sub-Mariner and Blue Diamond,or something. Or, if you like, Metamorpho and Anarky. Or something like that. And while I'm concocting, we;ll discuss my brilliant mega-meme idea!

Okay great! Get to work!

Actually email me privately, and let's talk now!

Jim Roeg said...

Plok!!!!

plok said...

Okay, I admit it...that was me being manic after a few beers.

Kind of fun making up the scenarios, though: "Because we're gonna kill him in our next crossover two years from now, and we want people to feel it." Heh heh...it's got some verisimilitude, eh?

Okay, as you were, then..

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