Thursday, September 29, 2011

My DC 52-Title Relaunch - pt. 4

#43 Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. A 48-page book with one main, 22-page adventure featuring Superboy and a rotating group of 3-7 Legionnaires tackling cosmic menaces through time and space (but mostly the Legion’s own 30th century), and then two 13-page solo adventures of Legionnaires (any ones who debuted by 1979). Because Superboy/Superman II is time-traveling to work with the Legion, he can show up at any age out of order, but the Legionaires are from 2979 ($3.75 book).
#44 Unknown Soldier. A 30-page book with two 15-page stories in an adventure serial featuring the Unknown Soldier, as he wanders internationally from war to war in 1982 ($3 book).
#45 Brave and the Bold. A 36-page book featuring one 22-page adventure serial starring Jason Todd, the brand new Robin without a Batman, but looking to sidekick himself with a new partner each month, starting in 1983. The back-up feature is a 14-page solo outing of the guest hero, either independent of the main story or somehow tied into the main story, but without Robin ($3.25 book).
#46 Green Lantern. A 36-page book featuring one 22-page sci-fi/adventure serial starring Guy Gardner as the new Green Lantern, being advised by a close-to-retiring Hal Jordan in 1986, battling alien menaces that seek to or have entered our solar system. The back-up feature is a 14-page solo story of Guy going solo, either independent or somehow tied into the main story ($3.25 book).
#47 Jonah Hex. A 30-page book featuring two 15-page adventures of an old, scarred cowboy, Jonah Hex, as he travels through the last of the Old West in 1899 ($3 book).
#48 Warlord. A 30-page book featuring Col. Travis Morgan as he explores a hollow Earth-world called Skartaris in the lead 20-page adventure, with a 10-page back-up of his supporting cast -- Tara, Machiste, Shakira, Mariah, or Jennifer -- having adventures on the same world, all in the year 1988 ($3 book).
#49 DC Comics Presents. A 36-page book featuring one 22-page adventure serial starring Superman II (now 38 and able to lift 100 tons) and one other, random hero in 1986 (or possibly time traveling). The back-up feature is a 14-page solo outing of the guest hero, either independent of the main story or somehow tied into the main story ($3.25 book).
#50 Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes. A 48-page book with three 16-page sci-fi/adventure stories featuring 1-3 of the Legion in each, all set in 2987 ($3.75 book).
#51 Adventures of Superman. A 36-page book featuring 2 18-page adventures of Superman III (age 14, grandson of the original - or is he a clone? - able to lift 9 tons) in 1989, battling modern versions of classic Superman foes ($3.25 book).
#52 Green Lantern Corps. A 36-page book featuring 2 Green Lantern sci-fi/adventure stories. The first 20-page story stars John Stewart, the Green Lantern charged with supervising the Green Lanterns of this sector of the galaxy in 1988 with up to 2 other (possibly alien Green Lanterns), while the 16-page back-up story features 1-3 other Green Lanterns without John Stewart, rotating between all Green Lanterns introduced by 1988.

Once each title starts, it will progress in real time from month to month. Characters will grow, age, and rotate out of the spotlight. Lastly, imagine these titles being created, not by unknown and untested writers, but by true masters like Jerry Ordway, John Byrne, Walt Simonson, Roger Stern, and David Micheline. Unpopular back-up stories (or just to beat a deadline) can always be reprints from DC's glory days.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Dr. Who Theories

I interrupt my recent "spate" of DC Comics-related posts to deal with Doctor Who, which is almost up to its last episode of the season (or series, as they call it in England). So, before the big finale answers any of my nagging suspicions, here are my own theories as to what might be going on. Bear in mind that only some of these can even be true, as they are not all compatible theories.


1. River Song could become the new Doctor. River Song is, apparently, a popular companion as well as beloved creation of the executive producer from back when he was only writing scripts in the Tennant years. The big reveal at mid-season was that River Song is a Time Lord. We've also had repeated reminders this season that River is a doctor in archaeology. So could she become The Doctor? We've been thinking ever since episode 1 this season that there has to be some way around the Doctor's demise, but if there isn't, than this is the way the series would continue. The hang-up here is that Matt Smith is also very popular, if not the most popular Doctor yet, so it would seem foolish to replace him...

2. The Silence (Silents?) are actually on the Doctor's side. Yes, we've been told these were the new villains, they look like villains, but what have they really done to menace our heroes other than a lot of posturing? They even tipped off the Doctor to their plans by alerting Amy. What did that accomplish, but to allow the Doctor to free baby Melody from them? And can it be only coincidence that Melody goes on to become River and almost kill the Doctor in 1943 only after escaping from the Silents? It seems they weren't incubating her in that spacesuit so much as holding her prisoner so she couldn't carry out her destiny.

I particularly like this theory because, not only is it such a big twist, but it kind of explains how the Doctor has always been able to use coincidence and luck to defeat his enemies over the years -- he's had a secret society of the Silents aiding him all this time that he can't remember having encountered after they help him. The downside of this theory, of course, is that it robs the Doctor of some of his glory by suggesting he's always had more companions than we knew.

3. The Doctor has been behind this all along. Remember River warning the Doctor that, if he didn't change his ways, that the universe would fear him as its greatest warrior? Well, what if the Doctor agrees and has been secretly arranging events so that he can fake his own death? With everyone thinking he's irrevocably dead, he can go back to helping people anonymously through time and space. Of course, the hang-up of this theory is that it still doesn't explain how he possibly faked being shot and then incinerated. And yet...

4. River was lying at the scene of the Doctor's death. River told Amy and Rory that the Doctor died because he was shot while regenerating. But "later", in 1943, River is shot multiple times after a mortal wound and still regenerates. So, is it the nature of the weapon, rather than the timing of the shots, that matters, or was she just lying about how you can kill a Time Lord...?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My DC 52-Title Relaunch -pt. 3

#25 Our Army at War. A 30-page book with two 15-page war stories featuring Sgt. Rock and Easy Company in WWII ($3 book).
#26 Star Spangled War Stories. A 30-page book with two 15-page war stories set during the Korean War. The lead feature is a serial, always “The War that Time Forgot”, about 8 U.S. soldiers (Larry, Charlie, Henry, Steve, Tommy Frank, PT, Prof, and “Brother”) who crash land on Dinosaur Island in 1951, encounter a robot they recruit to become G.I. Robot, and battle dinosaurs while trying to survive and escape the island. The second feature is for unconnected stories about the Korean War ($3 book).
#27 G.I. Combat. A 30-page book with two 15-page war stories set during the Vietnam War. The lead feature is a serial, always “Haunted Tank”, about a tank crew working a M48 Patton tank that is haunted by the ancestor of the driver and aids them as they lend infantry support against the Viet Cong. The second feature is for unconnected stories about the Vietnam War ($3 book).
#28 Young Romance. A 30-page book with two 15-page PG-rated love stories set in 1964. The lead feature is a serial, always “Bonnie Taylor”, about an airline stewardess who helps couples find love, but can never hold it for herself. The second feature is for unconnected stories about love and romance in the range of 17-25 year olds ($3 book).
#29 Girls’ Love Stories. A 30-page book with two 15-page PG-rated love stories set in 1965. The lead feature is a serial, always “April O’Day”, about a Hollywood starlet who tries to find love without fame and money getting in the way. The second feature is for unconnected stories about love and romance, always from the girl’s perspective, for ages 16-24 ($3 book).
#30 Doom Patrol. A 36-page book with two adventure serials starring Doom Patrol and set in 1966. In the lead, 22-page feature, Robotman II, Elasti-Girl, Negative Man, Mento, and Beast Boy battle, sometimes with the help of the Challengers of the Unknown, weird menaces like Kranus, Multi-Man, and Meteor Man. The second feature rotates between the cast for 14-page solo stories ($3.25 book).
#31 Heart Throbs. A 36-page book with three PG-rated 12-page love serials set in 1967. Each story features one of three 21-year old women, all of whom know each other and appear in each other’s stories, as she pursues a new romance or tries to keep a relationship going ($3.25 book).
#32 Fox and the Crow. A 30-page book with three 10-page comedy stories. The first and third stories are about Fox and Crow, anthropomorphic animals in a cartoon world. The second story is about Stanley and his Monster, a 6-year old boy and the big, furry, talking monster he has for a pet instead of a dog. This story takes place in the real world (albeit with a light-hearted take on it) in 1968 ($3 book).
#33 The Unexpected. A 36-page book with three 12-page PG-rated horror or suspense stories set in 1969. The lead feature is an adventure/suspense serial about Johnny Peril, a newspaper reporter whose investigations always land him in danger. The second two features are unconnected horror or suspense stories ($3.25 book).
#34 Superman’s Girl. A 36-page book with two 18-page adventure serials set in 1970. The lead feature is a solo story featuring Supergirl, Superman’s 11-year old daughter Kara (able to lift 6 tons) as she balances lite super-heroics with junior high school. The second story features the larger Superman family, usually her older brother Superman II (formerly Superboy, now able to lift 17 tons), and/or his friend Batman II (both 6 years older than their World’s Finest appearances).
Bronze Age Titles
#35 Falling in Love. A 30-page book with two 15-page PG-13-rated love stories set in 1971. Both stories are narrated by columnist Carol Andrews, but feature unconnected love stories between characters aged 19-35 ($3 book).
#36 Superboy. A 42-page book with two 21-page adventure serials, featuring Superman II in 1972 and, in the second feature, teamed with Batman II. Clark Jr. can now lift 25 tons and Dick, slowed by age, now wears hi-tech armor. They have a mix of ordinary and exotic adventures, like battling mobsters in New York or wild apes in Africa, while also meeting new heroes like Gravity Girl
#37 Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. A 36-page book with two 18-page adventure serials, featuring Jimmy Olsen, Jr. set in 1973. Jimmy is a 23-year old globe-trotting reporter ala Tintin, only with Superman II for back-up, as he tackles skyjackers, solves mysteries, or thwarting super-criminals like the Jaguar (a $3.25 book).
#38 House of Secrets. A 30-page book with two 15-page PG-13-rated horror stories set in 1974 (a $3 book).
#39 Superman Family. A 48-page book with three adventure serials set in 1975. All members of the Superman Family might be features in each story, but the first story will focus on the original Superman, now 60 years old, but able to lift 175 tons. The second story will focus on Superman II, now 27 and able to lift 40 tons. The third story will focus on Supergirl, now 16 and able to lift 13 tons. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and the Justice League of America will be frequent guest-stars as the heroes battle the likes of the Tarantula, super-criminals from Kandor, and the League of Super-Villains ($3.75 book).
#40 Our Fighting Forces. A 30-page book with two 15-page PG-13-rated war stories set in 1975 towards the close of the Vietnam War. The first story features the Losers – Capt. Storm, Johnny Cloud, Gunner, and Sarge – as they face the increasing likelihood that they will be stranded in Vietnam past the war’s end, and possibly intentionally. The second feature will be for unconnected stand-alone war stories in Vietnam with the same rating ($3 book).
#41 Justice League of America. A 48-page book adventure serial set in 1976 and featuring the JLA – Superman II, Batman II (Dick is now 44 and still wearing hi-tech armor), Wonder Woman II (Donna, now age 20 and able to lift 2 tons), Flash (Barry, now 38 and able to run at Mach 6), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Aquaman (King Arthur Curry of Atlantis; this silver age version – the golden age version never existed – has been around behind the scenes for 17 years, is 38, and is able to lift 2 tons), Green Arrow II (formerly Speedy, now age 32 and bearded), Hawkman (Katar Hal, the silver age version, who has been on Earth for 6 years), and Black Canary II (Dinah, age 23, daughter of the original with a sonic scream). Rotating in as unofficial members are Adam Strange, Atom II (Ray Palmer, able to shrink to 1/2” tall), Elongated Man, and the Phantom Stranger, they defend Earth from the likes of Kanjar Ro, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and the Manhunters. Twenty-four pages will be devoted to the main group of heroes all working together, while the middle twenty-four pages will be devoted to six heroes working individually for at least four pages each ($3.75 book).
#42 Sgt. Rock. A 30-page book with two 15-page PG-13 rated adventure/war stories set in 1985 featuring Sgt. Adam Rock, nephew of the WWII Sgt. Rock and the original “Bulldozer” of Easy Company, now serving as covert Army operatives in South America with the cover of working for embassy security ($3 book).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My DC 52-Title Relaunch - pt. 2

What you're seeing is what my DC Comics universe would look like for at least the first six months. Length, pricing, and creators will all be subject to change over time, looking for just the right combination, but creators will be guaranteed six months to work on building an audience. Read this post about how I would manage transitioning comic books to cheaper formats or online if they fail to build an audience. If a title failed to sell at least 60,000 copies once in a year, the title will be downgraded to a lower tier. If the lower grade format sold 120,000 copies for one issue, it would be upgraded the following year.

On this page, we move from a re-imagining of the Golden Age to a re-imagining of the Silver Age. When a title features characters that were still being published before in the time that these stories are now set, the authors will have the leeway to use as much or as little of the earlier stories as desired. Note the legacy characters! No more would DC pretend that the Bruce Wayne of 2011 is the same Bruce Wayne as was published in 1939.

#10 Star Spangled Comics. A 36-page book of three 12-page adventure story serials, all set in 1947. The first features the Newsboy Legion – Tommy, Big Words, Gabby, and Scrapper, who are now all 13-year old boys supervising a boys town run by the Guardian, and frequently accompany the costumed adventurer as he travels the world. The second features Robotman, Dr. Robert Crane’s brain in a robot body, and his robot dog Robbie. He has finally told his old girlfriend Joan Carter what really happened to him and waits for her reaction while fighting crime and trying to lead a good “human” life. The third features Star Spangled Kid, Sylvester Pemberton, who is still a 14-year old rich kid fighting crime beside his chaffeur and mechanic, Stripsey, and riding around in the Star Rocket Racer (this title would be $3.25).
#11 Police Comics. A 36-page book of three 12-page adventure story serials, all set in 1950. The first features Plastic Man, ex-criminal and now-impossibly pliable FBI agent “Eel” O’Brian, and his comic sidekick “Woozy” Winks, as they encounter counterfeiters, android-creating mad scientists, and time-displaced cavemen. The second features the Spirit, Denny Colt, who has for almost 10 years battled crime while pretending to be dead. Weary and feeling his many injuries catching up to him, Denny wonders if he will live to see crime eradicated and if he can ever choose a woman to love with all his heart. The third features Manhunter, Dan Richards, now a police chief in a town in the Midwest, and his amazing dog sidekick Thor as they skirt the law to solve problems in their county (this title would be $3.25).
#12 Sensation Comics. This is a 30-page book with three adventure serials, all set in 1948. The first features Wonder Woman, the 12-page adventures of Princess Diana as she tries to spread the word of love, bondage, and submission to the world as an ambassador of Paradise Island. She is engaged to Colonel Steve Trevor and her original Holliday Girls have all graduated college and gone on to fill important jobs (judges, state representatives) from which they can help Diana deal with criminals and weird happenings. The second features Sargon the Sorceror, the 9-page adventures of a turbaned wizard as he tours the U.S., fighting crime and injustice wherever he goes. The third features Wildcat, the 9-page adventures of Ted Grant, one of the world’s greatest fighters, and his sidekick “Stretch” Skinner, as they continue their long campaign of punching their way through crime (this title would be $3).
#13 Batman. A 36-page book with two 18-page Batman stories, both set in 1947. Batman is still fighting bad guys in Gotham City like the Penguin and the Joker when not fighting Martians, but Robin has grown into long pants and is 15 years old. Batman and Catwoman are in a serious relationship (this title is $3.25).
#14 All-Star Comics. A 42-page book with the ongoing adventures of the Justice Society of America, set in 1951. Of the seven members -- Hawkman, Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wonder Woman, and Black Canary – at least six of them will get up to five pages of solo spotlight per issue, with the rest devoted to working together against a common foe (this title is $3.25).
#15 Marvel Family. A 42-page book adventure-family story serial, set in 1954. Usually, the first 11 pages will feature Captain Marvel (Billy, age 22), Captain Marvel Jr. (Freddy, age 24), and Mary Marvel (Mary, age 23), while the remaining pages will be split 11, 10, and 10 pages respectively per hero. Stories might guest-star the Lieutenant Marvels, Uncle Marvel, or Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. By this time, the Marvels are all able to lift 110 tons each and have truly unearthly power.
#16 Superman. A 36-page book adventure story serial, set in 1949. Set five years after his Action Comics stories, these are the adventures of a Superman in his 30s, able to lift 65 tons now, is married to Lois, and they have an infant son, Clark Jr. Each issue is divided into two 18-page stories, wherein Superman deals with the likes of the Prankster, Luthor, and Mr. Mxyztplk ($3.25 book).
#17 Blackhawk. A 30-page book with two 15-page Blackhawk stories, both set in 1945. As WWII winds down but new threats arise around the globe, this multi-ethnic band of freedom fighters will use only their wits and the technology at hand to stop any menace, whether it’s the Japanese Air Force or the Cult of the Wailing Tiger ($3 book).
#18 All-Star Western. A 30-page book with two 15-page western serials, both set in 1895. The first features “Johnny Thunder”, or John Taine, a schoolteacher who leads a double life as a rugged cowboy. The second features The Trigger Twins, Walt and Wayne, wherein Walt is the famous gunslinger but Wayne is secretly the better gunslinger and helps out his brother without anyone else knowing ($3 book).
Silver Age Titles
#19 Mystery in Space. A 30-page book with two 15-page science fiction, unconnected stories, set some time in Earth’s future or on alien planets now. A chance to attract some big name sci fi authors and another “bridge” book ($3 book).
#20 Strange Adventures. A 30-page book with two 15-page science fiction, unconnected stories, with the focus of this sister title being set on Earth now or in the near-future ($3 book).
#21 House of Mystery. A 30-page book with two 15-page fantasy or PG-13 horror, unconnected stories, hopefully attracting some big name fantasy authors ($3 book).
#22 Wonder Woman. A 30-page book with two 15-page stories featuring Wonder Woman, both set in 1963. Diana is still young-looking, but travels the world learning martial arts from various masters to enhance her failing natural abilities. Her two daughters, Donna and Diana, are 7 and 3 (known as Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot respectively). Gen. Trevor is approaching 50, but is gifted with longevity from his stays at Paradise Island and seems 40. Separately or as a family, they have adventures battling weird menaces like the Human Iceberg, Wonder Woman mysteriously growing in size, or robot doubles ($3 book).
#23 Flash. A 36-page book with two 14-page stories and one 8-page back-up feature, all set in 1963. The new Flash is Barry Allen, police scientist. While Jay Garrick is still around and spry at 48 (and still able to run just under MACH 1), Barry can run at MACH 5. Aided by his sidekick Kid Flash (12-year old Wally West) and his friend, Elongated Man (Ralph Digby, often accompanied by his girlfriend Sue), the Flash II will battle a rogues gallery with the likes of Captain Cold, Mirror Master, and Vandal Savage in the first serial. The second serial will focus on the supporting cast with or without the Flash II, with the third serial highlighting the rogues themselves ($3.25 book).
#24 World’s Finest. A 36-page book with one 22-page adventure serial and one 14-page adventure serial, both set in 1964. The first features Superboy (Clark Kent Jr., now age 16 and able to lift 11 tons) and the second Batman (Dick Grayson, now age 31) and their adventures being turned into ghosts, tackling Clayface, and battling the Composite Superman. The back-up features Green Arrow, a still clean-shaven Oliver Queen (age 37), and his sidekick Speedy (Roy Harper, age 20), who have been quietly battling crime for the past 12 years with bows and arrows. This feature tracks their efforts at combating street crime while staying off the radar and appearing to be urban legends ($3.25 book).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Should Have Been DC’s 52 Title Relaunch

As some may know, DC Comics has recently launched or relaunched 52 titles in an attempt to attract new readers. It is an effort, sadly, destined to fail. The new comics have several important failings. One – and this is the problem DC has perennially had – is cutting away too much past continuity. Suggesting that 60+ years of comic books never happened is just bad business. The second biggest problem is not enough comic book pros are involved. With a few recognizable exceptions, most of the talent involved on titles is new and no one has been in the industry for more than 20 years. There is a lot of untapped veteran talent out there DC chose to ignore. The third biggest problem has been a focus on promoting new minority heroes, while ignoring a significant number of characters who are proven sellers. The fourth biggest problem is that comic books are still too expensive. Just accept that you’re never going to make money off of comic books again and deal with them as they truly are – copyright-protected treatments for future blockbuster movie characters. Drop those prices back down to $3.50, while adding some more pages. The fifth biggest problem is over-reliance on crossovers and big multi-part events to sell comics. Good stories, art, and characters should sell comics. Splitting up the 52 titles throughout DC’s history would show fans that the days of big company-wide events are over now.

If I was put in charge of this project, the relaunch would have gone something like this…

Golden Age Titles
#1 More Fun Comics. This book will be a little different from the others. It will be a 30-page book selling for just $3, headlined by a 7-page Dr. Occult serial set in 1938, and followed by 6-8 3-4 page brand new humor strips. The newspaper comics are disappearing, so attract some of that talent to comic books. This is your “bridge” comic to get people reading who don’t normally buy comic books and aren’t interested in superheroes.
#2 Detective Comics. A 42-page book of three 14-page detective story serials, all set in 1940. Speed Saunders, Bruce Nelson, and Slam Bradley all tracking investigating crimes, solving mysteries, or just exploring the criminal underworld.
#3 Action Comics. A 42-page book of three 14-page adventure story serials, all set in 1944. The first serial features Superman (in his late 20s, able to lift 50 tons, nigh-invulnerable, able to run 100 MPH or make 300’ standing high jumps) crusading against criminals like Johnny Aesop, Black Patch, and the Trickster while dealing with the fact that Lois Lane now knows his secret identity. The second serial features Tex Thompson, alias Americommando (with his flying cape) fighting with the U.S. Armed Forces in the Pacific Theater. The third serial features Zatara the tuxedoed magician, battling occult forces at home, or confronting the awakening god Pan abroad.
#4 Smash Comics. A 42-page book of three 14-page adventure story serials, all set in 1942. The first serial is Espionage, starring Black X, a secret agent rooting out enemy agents in the Orient. The second serial is Hugh Hazzard & Bozo the Robot, repelling Nazi attacks on the Americas. The third serial is Invisible Justice, with Kent Thurston using his magic invisibility hood to exact justice against Nazi spies.
#5 All-American Comics. A 42-page book with two 15-page adventure story serials and 1 12-page humor serial, all set in 1944. The first serial features Green Lantern, with Alan Scott using his magic ring to fight mobsters in New York City, or to fight monsters like Solomon Grundy, with the help of his sidekick “Doiby” Dickles. The second serial features Atom, with Al Pratt using his fighting prowess and extraordinarily (though not superhuman) strong punches to fight crime and solve mysteries in New Haven, Massachusetts. Because both heroes are members of the Justice Society of America, they may even be working together or separately on the same case. The third serial is Scribbly & the Red Tornado, about a 13-year old cartoonist, trying to balance work, school, and the knowledge that his crazy landlady thinks she’s a superhero.
#6 Adventure Comics. A 42-page book of three 14-page adventure story serials, all set in 1943. The first serial features Sandman (Wesley Dodds in his yellow and purple fighting togs) and his sidekick Sandy thwarting unusual crimes in unusual settings like Mammoth Circus, Gentleman Jack’s prison hideout, or Little Joe Grolich’s pants-making sweatshop. The second serial features Starman, Ted Knight, using his Gravity Rod to stop criminals throughout the U.S. using a hi-tech advantage over the police. The third serial features Hourman, Rex Tyler, using his strength-enhancing Miraclo pills and the aid of the Minute Men of America radio club for kids to battle mobsters throughout New England. All three heroes are members of the Justice Society of America and may be working together or separately on the same cases.
#7 Whiz Comics. A 42-page book of two 21-page adventure story serials, both set in 1953. The first serial features Captain Marvel, but now Billy Batson is 21 years old, studying journalism in college, but distracted by being an already-world-famous radio celebrity, having Beautia Sivana back in his life as a love interest for both Billy and Captain Marvel, Spy Smasher showing up to recruit Captain Marvel for spy missions in the Cold War, trolls making mischief, and old enemies like the Black Magician showing up for revenge. The second serial features Ibis the Invincible, ancient Egyptian arch-mage, defending our world from an inter-dimensional war.
#8 Flash Comics. A 42-page book of two 15-page adventure story serials and one 12-page humor serial, all set in 1948. The first serial features the Flash, a battle-weary Jay Garrick hoping to settle down with his pregnant wife Joan, but has too dangerous and active a rogues gallery, with the likes of the Black Templar, the Fiddler, and Dr. Lexon. The second serial features Hawkman, Carter Hall, and Hawkwoman, his wife Shiera, as they split their time between encountering magical dangers while pursuing archaeology across the Americas and engaging in a running conflict with their archenemy, the Ghost. Because Flash and Hawkman are both members of the Justice Society of America, they may be working together or separately on the same case. The third serial features Johnny Thunder. Recently dumped both by the Justice Society of America and the Black Canary, Johnny is on the rebound and proposes to his old girlfriend Daisy Darling. Can Daisy accept Johnny’s unusual baggage, a 7-year old adopted daughter named Peachy and a magical thunderbolt that makes Johnny’s wishes come true?
#9 Master Comics. A 42-page book of two 21-page adventure story serials, both set in 1949. The first features Captain Marvel Jr. Freddy Freeman is now 17-years old, back in school, earning money as a copyboy at a newspaper, and taking a romantic interest in fellow superhero Mary Marvel. As Captain Marvel Jr., Freddy does good deeds and thwarts the schemes of Sivana Jr. The second features Bulletman, Jim Barr, veteran crime-fighter who has tried to settle down and become a police captain, while his wife Susan has given up being Bulletgirl to raise their infant daughter and adopted 6-year old son and care for the family dog. But Jim keeps finding it easier to solve police matters by donning his old hi-tech helmet that enhances his strength, magnetically protects him from harm, and propels him through the air at the speed of sound.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Fantastic Four movie

How I would film a Fantastic Four movie (or at least the first few scenes!)...

Fantastic Four: the Movie

August 1948. Black screen. A baby cries. A woman is calling for Susan. The woman opens a closet and finds Sue Storm, age 15, curled up inside reading a girls' magazine with a flashlight. The woman berates Sue for always hiding and tells her to watch her baby brother. Just then the doorbell rings. The baby has stopped crying. Sue's aunt gets the door and it's a 28-year old Reed Richards at the door. Sue, curious, has left her baby brother alone again and crept to the upstairs landing to observe Reed thanking her aunt for giving him a place to stay here in Central City while his inheritance is all tied up. While they talk, Sue looks at the article her magazine is open to about "How to recognize the man you're going to marry."

December 1956. The Pacific Ocean. A tiny ship pitches and rolls through a violent storm as a single, fat, ugly man fights to control his vessel. Within moments, the ship crashes onto the shore of an island. The man, tossed onto the beach, picks up his head and looks around. The rushing sound of the surf segues into…

October 1961. The launch of the Saturn-1 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The bright lights of the rocket segue into…

November 1961. Central City, California.

…the bright flash from cameras as Reed Richards, age 40, in a nice suit, walks out of City Hall in front of reporters who ask him questions like, “What does the success of the Saturn program mean for the rocket industry here in Central City?” and “Was this meeting about cutting funding for your space launch?” Reed turns and flashes them a defiant smile, saying all he’s worried about now is being on time for his date.

Elsewhere, 16-year old Johnny Storm is dancing to Bobby Lewis’ “Tossin’ and Turnin’” while his 27-year old sister Sue Storm is running around the house trying to get ready for her big date. Johnny is bored enough that he abandons dancing to torment Sue while she struggles to get the rollers out of her hair. Finally they hear a car out front and Sue exclaims that “Reed’s here!”

Sue comes running to the front door, jumpy and nervous like Reed is the best thing since sliced bread. But she’s all calm and composure by the time he answers the door. As they go driving off to see a movie, Sue can tell Reed is sulking about something so she sighs and resigns herself to letting him talk about it. She knows she’ll never get to see the movie now, as Reed pulls over and launches into a long, boring lecture about how the Russians have Voskhod 1, the first multi-person spacecraft, how far behind NASA’s Saturn rocket program is, and how Reed needs more funding to top the Russians, not less, and the importance of space exploration (luckily we are just treated to snippets of this lecture, delivered in the car, in the street, and inside a nearby malt shop where Sue tries to enjoy a malt while Reed can’t stop talking). Finally, Sue interrupts and says Reed is going to have to do something fantastic to show the government how close his moon rocket is to being ready. Reed says that’s brilliant and gives Sue a kiss that surprises her, but makes all that waiting worthwhile for her. But then he rushes off to the payphone to call Ben Grimm.

Cut to Sue, Reed, and Ben together somewhere else. Ben is also 40. Ben is saying there’s no way he is breaking into an air force base, stealing a rocket, and flying it into orbit. Reed says it’s really just borrowing and that he financed much of the rocket himself with his own fortune. Reed can’t pull this off without his best friend and the best pilot he knows, piling on the buttering up, but what really cuts Ben to the quick is when Sue says she never thought Ben was such a coward. Ben is flummoxed and changes his position on the spot. Reed begins to explain what they have to do (which is voice-overed into the next scene).

Cut to Ben, at home, dressing all in black and smearing black face paint under his eyes. Sue is dressing up like for a party, but also tries on a black coat and ties a black scarf over her hair. Reed’s voiceover is talking about the risk they are putting themselves into and how they can’t tell anyone where they are going when Sue, carrying her coat and scarf, finds Johnny blocking her from leaving the house and the voiceover goes scratchy like a needle being lifted off a record.

Cut to Johnny, Sue, Reed, and Ben all together and Reed is trying to convince Sue that Johnny is too young to come and Ben is trying to convince Reed that Sue is too young to come to and Sue explaining that if she left Johnny at home he was going to blab to everyone and they are all talking at once until Sue asks, if the rocket is so safe, why can’t Johnny come? Reed can’t answer that. He and Ben just look at each other, knowing they’re licked.

Later that same night, Reed and Sue pull up in a car at the Edwards Air Force base. They both step out and Reed talks to the guards about how he needs to get in to retrieve his lab notes. The sentries confirm that Reed has clearance to enter, but warn him to stay away from the rocket. Sue, as planned, notices a run in her stocking and lifts her skirt to check it, distracting the guards so Reed can snatch a higher clearance pass card from the guard booth. A moment later, the guards just wave to Sue as Reed drives in. The camera pans past Reed’s car, across the base, to show Reed’s rocket standing over some buildings and lit from below by flood lights, in the background.

Shortly, Reed pulls his car up between two buildings on the base and Reed pops the trunk. Ben and Johnny are wedged in tight and need help climbing out. “I don’t ever wanna be that close to you again, squirt!” Ben complains. Both Ben and Johnny are dressed all in black, with black make-up on their faces. Sue has already changed into her black coat and scarf. Reed starts to leave them, but Sue stops him and gives him a kiss on the cheek for luck first.

Reed uses the pass card he stole to get into the control room, then hands the card to Ben before they leave him. Its empty inside, so, after glancing out the large windows at the distant rocket, he picks up a screwdriver and begins unscrewing a panel on a machine.

Outside, Ben, Johnny, and Sue sneak on foot through the dark, coming across another fence and use the pass card at an unmanned gate. As they approach the rocket, Sue asks Ben for some light. Johnny flicks on a cigarette lighter and Sue, shocked, asks him where he got that. Ben (who was holding a flashlight) interrupts, takes a piece of paper out of Sue's hands, and holds it to the light. It's a diagram of the rocket. Ben explains that if they don't find the alarm and cut the wires to it, it'll go off the moment they turn anything on at the launch tower.

A quick cut later, Reed runs to join them as they wait on the launch tower's elevator platform to go up. Reed, out of breath, says that everything is ready. Before they go up, Ben flashes his light on the cut wires at the alarm box and Reed races over and holds the wires together.

My early Christmas wishlist

One of my coworkers is heading to Borders tonight to pick up some cheap early Christmas presents and asked for a list. How was I supposed to resist making a list?

Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series
Any packs of D&D Miniatures
The Muppet Show Comic Book: Family Reunion
Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic-book Heroes 1939-1941
Carl Barks and the Disney Comic Book: Unmasking the Myth of Modernity
Justice Society of America 1: Thy Kingdom Come
Justice Society of America 2: Thy Kingdom Come
Justice Society of America 3: Thy Kingdom Come
Justice Society of America: Black Adam and Isis
Quest for the Spark 1
Little Mouse Get Ready
Bone: Tall Tales
The Incredibles: Truth & Consequences
Tiny Titans: Field Trippin
Tiny Titans: First Rule of Pet Club
Tiny Titans Go Camping!
Tiny Titans: Sidekickin’ It!
Tiny Titans: Adventures in Awesomeness
Tiny Titans1: Welcome to the Treehouse
Owly: Flying Lessons
Owly 4: a Time to Be Brave
Owly & Wormy: Friends All A-Flutter

Rave On: Buddy Holly tribute album