This Week’s Sermon - “Right In Two”
August 1, 2006
The 2006 Summer Con has officially started out with a bang. Last weekend (just in case you’ve been rendered into a short-term memory amnesiac), San Diego Comic-Con, also known as “Nerd Prom” from some of the mainstream media, was in full swing at the same time as a motion picture sequel of an 90s indie flick directed by some auteur hit the theaters.
(By the way, don’t think that I didn’t notice that the pot-calling-the-kettle-black irony of the whole “Nerd Prom” label. Believe it or not, most of those old high school newspaper people who were just as gawky and yes, even nerdy as comic book fanboys and fangirls. Really freaking hilarious. I mean, isn’t the original part-time job of Peter Parker, nerd boy extraordinaire, that of a newspaper photographer? Stan the Man was maybe a great writer but he didn’t just come up with that vocation on his own.)
But rather than delve into the past (meaning re-hash everything that has been said about this year’s SDCC), I’d rather turn my gaze to the next stop on the summer comic book convention season, which would be WizWorld Chicago.
As I think about the so-called nerds invading the Windy City, I remember something coming out of that show a couple of years back. You might remember it since I gave a quick shout-out to it during my now-classic Top Comic Book Soundtracks column.
In his own panel, Brian Michael Bendis brought out this idea of having a Batman/Daredevil one-shot crossover; quite possibly in hopes of eliciting a massive reader uproar that it would force the hands of both Marvel and DC to patch up their bitter rivalry (at least for the time it would take to write, draw and publish said one-shot).
Well, if you’re wondering what happened, then you haven’t been following the politics of comics that closely. The possibility of any type of joint DC/Marvel cross-publication was thoroughly squashed by Paul Levitz. No ifs, ands, or buts. And you can plainly see that it has been status quo ever since. DC’s “Infinite Crisis” begat Marvel’s “House of M” which begat “52” which begat “Civil War”; each one trying to top the other in both units sold and number of monthly comic books affect by these company-wide crossovers. (I would mention “Identity Disc” as part of that equation but it ended up being just a figurative jab at DC’s “Identity Crisis” and a pretty pathetic one at that.)
Again, as always with these corporate fights, the real losers are the consumers. While the public reception for the D.G. Chichester/Scott McDaniel “Daredevil and Batman” of the late 90s (prior to this most recent embargo) was somewhat mixed, there’s no doubt how the fans would’ve clamored to see Bendis and Oeming’s take on the team-up.
So, instead of waiting until the comic industry’s version of the Cold War to thaw out, I’ve decided to honor BMB’s actions two years ago by offering what I think would be great Marvel/DC cross-publisher team-ups that would no possible way of seeing the light of day. Just consider the sub-byline of this column to be “The Theater of the Preacher’s Mind”.
(Of course, what would a PftL column be without a few disclaimers: 1 – there is no order in the team-up sequences; these ideas are represented as they came out of my brain. Yes, it is very tragic. 2 – the creative teams do not take into account current exclusivity contracts. Yes, this is my world and you should thank me for being a part of it. And 3 – if any one of these ideas see print, I’m laying claim to some residuals that should come my way. That last one is just a lame attempt into deriving some income from this column. Like I said before, these team-up won’t possibly happen.)
With that outta the way, here are:
PftL’s Five Marvel/DC Team-Ups that will never happen
Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis/Jim Lee
How the Team-Up Happens: Matt Murdock is called to Gotham to represent Two-Face, which royally pisses Batman off to the point of confronting Murdock to let him know that he’ll keep his eye on him. Misunderstandings and fisticuffs commence.
Why the Team-Up/Creative Team: Well, I can’t really have a column at all without giving some props to this potential cash cow. And like I said before, even though this team-up has been done before (to some extent), you would almost bet the farm (or at the very least a couple of your offspring) that this book, in these guys’ capable hands would blow up big time. Daredevil’s catholic guilt-laden crusade against the violence in Hell’s Kitchen is very similar to the Dark Knight’s one in Gotham (without the religious overtures and the influx of young sidekicks respectively). Creatively, Bendis knows his way around the crime drama genre about as well as anyone out there; reading his take on these two brothers from different mothers would be a treat. And I shouldn’t have to explain Jim Lee’s selection for art duties but suffice it to say that with his relatively recent change in pencil drawing technique, his characters seem to be more fluid than his old Marvel/Image days. Then again, I’m more than biased towards the man’s body of work. So, he can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.
Doom Patrol/Fantastic Four
Creative Team: Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis/Kevin Maguire
How the Team-Up Happens: The Doom Patrol is thrown into the Phantom Zone and is pulled to the Baxter Building by the FF as part of the exploration of a Weird Negative Zone phenomenon
Why the Team-Up/Creative Teams: With this creative team, they’ve done wonders for such teams like the Justice League International and the Defenders. So, instead of going to the well a second time (or third for the JLI), I would love to see them mine comedy gold from the first family of Marvel and the oddballs of the DCU. Let’s face it – a team-up featuring the Torch and the Thing bickering at each other with Reed’s pained expressions in the background played up against Robotman and Beast Boy clashing at every turn would make for a pretty good read; especially when you consider Maguire’s talent for realistic facial expressions. Plus, I would love hearing such snide remarks about the obvious comparisons between both the X-Men and Challengers of the Unknown. This one may have to be at least a two-parter.
Creative Team: Gail Simone/Ed McGuinness
How the Team-Up Happens: Deadpool is contracted out to assassinate Eel O’Brien (a.k.a. Plastic Man) and wackiness ensues
Why the Team Up/Creative Team: This selection is also caught up with the funnies. I have to concede that this one (as well as the FF/DP team-up) is probably an unconscious decision on my part due to all of the grim and ultra-serious superhero books that are out right now. Besides, who wouldn’t love to read this story? First, it’ll be written by Simone, who was criminally overlooked when she wrote DP the series was given the axe. Then, team her up with Deadpool fan fav McGuinness, whose hybrid Manga/traditional animation, bigger than life action scenes flavor are uniquely his own. A mix that would result in the comic industry getting a one-shot that would sell as well as Supernova’s first CD. Okay, I’m kidding – I would guarantee that it would sell better than this supposed “supergroup”. Now if you’re talking Army of Anyone, then all bets are off.
Creative Team: Alexandro Jodorowsky/Juan Gimenez
How the Team-Up Happens: Adam Strange is on his usual Zeta Beam journey to Rann until the Thanagarians, using technology devised by Sardath, diverts Strange to the Marvel Universe where he bumps into Nova.
Why the Team-Up/Creative Team: In the past couple of years, both publishers have gone back to some of their sci-fi pulp roots with some degree of success. So, it would make sense to capitalize on this trend by getting a couple of their hot-tempered space heroes in a by the book, classic mix-up team-up. However, if these creators were to be used, the book would be thrown out the window.
Jodorowsky is a renowned writer over on the other side of the Atlantic (ya know, in the place where comics gets their collective respect as a viable artistic medium) and has been on point with the tragic, poignant, over-the-top “Metabarons”. (By the way, if you haven’t read at least the first trade, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Plus, you can get extra cool points with your capes-and-tights friends by showing them the light. As always, I’m here to provide a service as well as entertain.)
The artist on “Metabarons”, Gimenez, knows how to draw anything that would be considered futuristic but in such a way that it looks very plausible – from guns to space ships to naked alien hoes. Plus he can do humor as his “Leo Roa” series can attest. And how these guys roll, I would love to see this one-shot be the only one to get both a Marvel MAX and DC Vertigo stamp.
Creative Team: Michael Avon Oeming/Neil Vokes
How the Team-Up Happens: A flux in the Marvel Universe’s magik realm created by the dreaded Dormammu sends Dr. Strange spiraling towards the DCU and a meeting with Zatanna to help him get back to his proper home but not without clashing on magic’s best practices.
Why the Team-Up/Creative Team: Of all of the mystics that abound at both Marvel and their Distinguished Competition, I usually gravitate towards these two. Strange is always played to be so bohemian which appeals to my interests in Eastern Philosophy. Plus, he always has the best incantations like Dread Dormammu, Hosts of Hoggoth, All-Seeing Agamotto, and Vishanti just to name a few. Then, you have Zatanna, the fanboy’s veritable wet dream all wrapped up in fishnets, a man’s tuxedo shirt, and top hat. Very nice. Then you have her backwards delivery of her enchantments, which lends to her uniqueness. It’s the Zen-like mystic meeting the Vegas performer. Let’s face it - these two are meant to cross paths at some point.
As for the creative teams, I feel that Oeming is becoming known for his writing than his artwork; a tough act to do considering his tremendous work on Powers and Hammer of the Gods. But after reading some of his Thor work (and HotG), I’m sure that he can prove that he more than a one-trick Norse pony. Or would that be steed? Then you have Mr. Vokes who has been in the biz for some time but his name never seems to come up in regards to fan popularity, which I don’t get. His line work is tight and his action scenes are solid enough that he almost never has to revert to an overuse of splash pages (a crutch used by many successful artists in this Modern Age – Mr. Lee included). If you take into account that Vokes never got his chance with his Dr. Strange pitch due to change in publishing focus (more X-titles, less everything else), he kinda deserves another shot. If you have doubts on this selection, just go check out Parliament of Justice. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be able to see that I’m so in the right with this last selection.
Now, I might be as loony as Mel Gibson on a serious bender but I can’t for the life of me figure out why DC and Marvel won’t make a way to get these books done. I mean, we, as the buyers of comics, should be the driving force in making the decisions on what books to publish. And right now, everyone is trying to streamline their universes while still trying to cover any available shelf space with as many issues as possible. However, that’s not good enough, at least for me. Right now, I’m not just talking about stopping this insane need for Dc and Marvel to make all of their books into one big company crossover. They can do that all they want since I’m not buying most of them. I’m talking about making our collective voices heard by saying we want these cross-publisher team-ups. Comics should be a place where creativity flows freely and allows ideas to come to fruition. Right now, it’s not. And that’s as sad as hearing that Eddie Van Halen has been reduced to scoring instrumentals for porn. I guess he’s gotta pay for his alimony and child support somehow and since VH is basically down the tubes, sleepwalking through a Joe Satriani/Steve Vai rip-off is about what he’s been reduced to doing. But this career turn suddenly gives a whole new meaning to “Ain`t Talkin` `Bout Love”, doesn’t it?
Alright, I’m off the Longbox this week. Tune in on August 14th as I will be doing something that I’ve never done in this column before in an all-new special. Until then, keep your bags & boards together and your continuity straight.
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