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If I Ran DC Comics(Part One)

Posted 05-24-2009 at 07:18 PM by W.West
Updated 08-02-2009 at 03:34 PM by W.West

It seems every 6 months I find a new thread on a comic book forum that says "What Dan/Joe are doing wrong?" or "If You Could Change The Big Two..." Both of which are always very interesting reads. They usually tend to vent ALL of the frustrations that fans have with their favorite company. Now, after much scrutiny(and boredom), I will now do the same. This is simply a fan venting on what he would or subtract from his favorite company. Of course looking at the industry from the other side of the glass makes everything look easy, so before I start I'd like you all to know that I'm sorry if you are offended by the following statements. Now enjoy.

First Things First: Organization

One of the first things I would do is sit every writer down in a room(or conference call) along with the editors. I would hand out a DC Encyclopedia for everyone. It will be homework. LEARN YOUR CHARACTERS. You don't have to write like the writer before you, but you have to know the character.

I'd also do the same for the artists. I'd reassure them that they have artistic freedom, but coloring and costume mistakes will not be tolerated. And while some artists prefer their personal colorists, my staff will decide whether he/she has the look we want for your art. Too long have some artists been held back by lackluster coloring(TONY DANIEL).

Before these meetings take place, I would make sure my editors knew exactly what we are doing. I want them to be breathing down the creative teams necks. I don't want them harassing the creators over deadlines, but I want absolutely no word bubble problems. I don't want any unnecessary/unplanned retcons to ANY story that hasn't received the go ahead from our staff. While fans generally hate the word and usage of "retcon", I can not say that they should never be used. However, under my administration, it would be used very sparsely.

Variants, Deluxe Editions and Absolutes, Oh My!

There are still many people out there who COLLECT comic books. Let's not forget them. Let's make sure when we release variant covers, its only for special occasions. There will be no variants for issue #16, #25, #160...NONE. Most(but not all)Mini-series, #1's, #50, Every hundred mark, and Events will have variant covers. If a line of titles are featuring a crossover story, then the chances of those titles receiving variant covers rise, but they will always be monitored. I love Alex Ross' & JG Jones' painted artwork of my favorite characters, but there's less amazement when we see these variants every issue on every title.

I understand that people want variant covers every time a new creative team is announced for a title, and while I too enjoy seeing more artwork from the talented artists of the world, there would be very limited releases for variant covers in that situation.

Triple Threat: Editorial vs Creators vs New Creators

As EiC, I would make sure if a writer is not happy with the direction we want to take with a certain character/book that we would talk personally about why this is the right direction and how to get him/her to enjoy and understand. DC Comics would indeed be a majorly editorial ran company, but of course would be an open door policy for creator input. We realize that as writers/artists come into the DC offices, that they may have some outstanding ideas for our equally outstanding characters. I would certainly welcome these ideas and plans.

As many have mentioned before me, I would use the "WildStorm" imprint as a testing ground for new writers. Its that simple.


PRIORITY: Making sure EVERY WRITER/ARTIST was aware of other titles continuity. There would be little guessing where a story fits. It would straightforward and linear. Every month we will send out the updated continuity story to the staff. Call it a continuity memo, if you will. Every 4 months, we will release "The DCU" which will be written by myself that gives you a brief overview of every book in continuity. It would feature art by different artists each release. This book would be cost effective and unfortunately might be subject to delay depending on the status of other titles. EVERY book in the DCU would be covered, obviously some more than others. It will serve as the perfect starting point for new readers who aren't accustomed to the DCU and its characters and continuity.

Digital Comics: One month after the newest issue of "The DCU" is released, there would be a page for our most well known characters. Of course, there are too many characters to feature in both "The DCU" every 4 months and even online, so for the lesser known characters that have a fanbase wanting to know their whereabouts, we will feature an idea similar to Pax's stated above. "DCU: Global" where you'll find digital comics of some the more "obscure" characters that don't appear in monthly, weekly, or mini-series books. These titles would also be written by newer talent, and the stories would be subtly linked together but completely unnecessary for you to read every title. "DCU: Global" would also be released in trade somewhere down the line. Most likely when each title reaches 10 issues each, so its not just the first issue of each book.

Elseworlds & All-Stars

No More "All Star" Titles...after Wonder Woman. Instead of these out of continuity adventures, my staff would implement "DC Comics: Original" series that will be similar to Elseworlds in its approach, but its management is vastly better. The titles under this would only be announced once the majority of the first volume is written, and ready to be solicited. These are NOT priority titles, and cater to the smaller percentage of our audience that are not enjoying the ongoing continuity story of a certain character. "DC Comics: Original stories are strictly creator driven and will only be marketed as such.

Out with the Old, In with the New

New Teams:

The Flash: Obvious choice from me. If I could pick a team to replace the rotation that we've had recently(ignoring upcoming projects like that whole Rebirth thing). I would choice Geoff Johns and Scott Kollins. Geoff isn't an obvious choice but he was close. I want to see him write more Flash despite the downward spiral writers seem to have after returning to a book that they'd success with. Freddie Williams 3 is a fantastic artist and proof is surely in the pages of the final Robin issues. Great stuff. Great fucking stuff. He would surely be my second choice. His style should work very well with Geoff.

Wonder Woman: Time's up Gail. You didn't do anything overly impressive and now its time to vacate. Diana needs a writer who can bring about a great mixture of power,intellect, and feminism. The clear answer here is Grant Morrison. Yes, with all bias and "fanboyism" on the table, I believe in Grant. I can see him doing an amazing job with Diana. I can already see this crazy dark storyline with Wonder Woman eventually battling Circe for all the marbles and Ethan Van Sciver's art would make this CLASSIC. Why hasn't this happened yet? And don't tell me EVS can't handle a monthly title. Because I have faith.

JLA: Dwayne McDuffie can't seem to make a storyline interesting, whether it involves a tie-in or not. I want JLA to be DC's best book and in order for that to happen, JLA must tell great stories. With that being said, with Grant Morrison already taking up Batman and now Wonder Woman, my replacement for McDuffie would be Geoff Johns. I have a love/hate relationship with Geoff, but I surely know talent when I see it. I'm extremely curious to know what Geoff can do with a (potentially huge) cast of characters. Most of which will probably not feature the big 7. Art? Well, is there anyone disliking Philip Tan's art in Green Lantern right now? Nope. There you go. As long as he can keep a monthly schedule then its a win-win.

New Books

All Flash: Yep. All Flash would be the GLC to The Flash. It would feature the adventures of Jai & Iris, Jay Garrick, Wally West or Barry Allen or ALL!!!! All Flash is what we need after Rebirth. Point,Blank,Period. Give the writing credits to Fabian Nicieza(who's writing Robin) and let Scott Kollins reign supreme on this book again.

Gotham Central: BRING IT BACK. Rucka and some new artist. I loved Michael Lark with those characters but I'm trying to build upon those characters and keep the same feel it once had. How does teaming Greg Rucka with Eduardo Risso sound? Exactly.

Aquaman: Here's where I might lose some people. I want Peter David writing Aquaman. In fact, I'd love for Jim Calafiore to draw him. This time, no gimmicks. No water hand, no hook. No beard and no random anger problems. This is SuperFriends Aquaman with a personality that's less....whatever that was. Trust me, Peter and Jim would do an excellent job on the character.

Canceled Books:

Green Arrow/Black Canary: Take BC out and have her just do cameos or find a better way to incorporate the two together, because this is another book that should have been amazing but just isn't.

Batman/Superman: No one wants to read the same Batman/Superman stories time and time again. We get it, they are the backbone of the business. They make your business survive but they aren't the most interested team together month in and month out.

So until Part Two, that its. Those are the stepping stones in which I would improve DC Comics. A fan can dream, and I do so every week...Thank you for reading.
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  1. Old Comment
    FrEaKjOkErXXX's Avatar
    This is great man! I would LOVE to have a book like The DCU, since I only pick up about 2-3 comics a month but will still like to see whats going on in with the rest of the DCU. I agree with all your points especially the artists being consistant. The Joker goes through new looks like Magic Johnson goes through HIV treatments.
    Posted 05-25-2009 at 07:56 AM by FrEaKjOkErXXX FrEaKjOkErXXX is offline
  2. Old Comment
    DEMONXER0's Avatar
    Very well put West. Consistency would be a blessing that I think the DC Universe sorely needs. And thanks for remembering us that do actually collect still.
    Posted 05-27-2009 at 04:21 PM by DEMONXER0 DEMONXER0 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Andrew NDB's Avatar
    Just great!

    But what's that about Morrison on WW? Huh?
    Posted 05-28-2009 at 07:46 PM by Andrew NDB Andrew NDB is offline
  4. Old Comment
    W.West's Avatar
    Grant/EVS on Wonder Woman would be the greatest story ever told.
    Posted 05-29-2009 at 03:05 PM by W.West W.West is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Andrew NDB's Avatar
    I'm not sure I like Grant's "take" on WW, from what I've read on interviews. I'm kind of nervous how he'd treat her.
    Posted 05-29-2009 at 11:23 PM by Andrew NDB Andrew NDB is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Kuhan's Avatar
    Posted 06-03-2009 at 05:19 PM by Kuhan Kuhan is offline
  7. Old Comment
    DougG_ATL's Avatar
    Interesting takes all around, West. I think your concepts for holding the creative talent accountable are spot-on. I want these people to be maximally creative, but a serial medium requires respect for deadlines. DC (and Marvel) editorial have grown so loose about deadlines that they're slowly tolling the death bell for monthly comics.

    • I agree about the All-Star titles. Superman was spectacular, but could've been its own mini-series. We know how dismal the Batman one is and we probably won't ever see the Wonder Woman version.

    •*I like your idea for "The DCU," but wouldn't the Internet be a perfect place for that sort of continuity log (isn't it already?)? Whether it's a separately printed title or backups to other books, it would cost us as readers. I don't want to pay an extra dollar per book for continuity updates.
    Posted 07-14-2009 at 08:08 PM by DougG_ATL DougG_ATL is offline
  8. Old Comment
    W.West's Avatar
    I figure it would be for new readers to pick up, diehards, and collectors. If you want to enjoy the stories in it, buy it. If you just want the continuity facts, I'd probably present it online as well at a later(but timely) date; similar to what DC did with Origins & Omens.

    Thanks though.
    Posted 07-15-2009 at 02:26 AM by W.West W.West is offline

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