Robot 6

Five talents I’d like to see on projects for Marvel and DC

Although mainstream comic publishing is built on characters and brand names, the importance of creators has been one of the keys to its success. Since the early 1990s, talented creators have served as fonts of ideas as well as big draws for sales. And with the competition between DC and Marvel reaching to new heights in the build-up to “The New 52,” comic creators are being snapped up left and right into exclusive agreements and put to work. But amidst all of this, there remains a number of talents that haven’t been drafted. They might simply prefer to work on their own outside the Big Two or are just waiting for the right offer. I’m going to list creators who could make a big difference if they chose to go to Marvel or DC.

Let me preface this to say that I’m avoiding mentioning some creators due to the fact that they’re generally considered as not looking for work from Marvel or DC. I’m talking about creators like Alan Moore, Brian K. Vaughn, Robert Kirkman, Mike Mignola, Joss Whedon and the like.

Joe Hill: Joe Hill is many things to many people. For comics readers he’s the co-creator of the IDW epic Locke & Key; for novel readers he’s the writer of Horns and Heart-Shaped Box; for Stephen King, he’s his son. With all of that, Joe Hill could be a potent force if DC or Marvel would choose to go the lengths to get him on board. Hill is no stranger to super-heroes; he wrote a story for Marvel’s Spider-Man Unlimited years ago, and did the recent series The Cape for IDW. Imagine him in the city limits of Gotham or perhaps showing up in Marvel’s version of Hell’s Kitchen.

Cosmo White: Although his name is unknown to most audiences, the advance art from Com.X’s Blue Spear has drawn me back multiple times for repeat viewings. He’s done a handful of British small press comics, as well as some issues of Titan’s Transformers series but he’s yet to make a name for himself. Check out this interview I did with him and the writers of Blue Spear for a preview of his work.

Nate Simpson: An overnight sensation if there is one, Nate Simpson’s Nonplayer series was one of the quickest sellouts in recent memory when you consider his lack of prior published comics work. His gamer comic was sold as a potential movie franchise, but speaking to the comics itself Simpson could be a viable player for both the Big Two as both a writer and artist.

John Byrne: He’s arguably one of the biggest comic creators of the past 50 years, but after turning his back on Marvel and finding few options at DC he’s staked out new territory at IDW doing licensed books like Star Trek and Angel as well as reviving his own creator-owned series Next Men. But if behind-the-scenes turmoil could be put aside, a return to the Big Two for John Byrne could be bigger than Neal Adams’ Batman: Odyssey and Howard Chaykin’s return to Marvel combined.

Brian Wood: He’s one of the strongest independent voices that’s emerged from comics in the past 10 years, but also one that’s largely avoided work-for-hire and licensed comics until recently. After he was famously dropped from writing Supergirl for “The New 52,” he’s announced himself as a free agent and has announced new creator-owned projects as well as licensed comics work for Lord of the Rings as well as Supernatural. Wood himself says he’s in a new place for his career and open to work-for-hire possibilities, and did an amazing job revitalizing Wildstorm’s DV8 series. What could he do next?

What about you — who are some comics talent that Marvel and DC haven’t pulled into their orbit but should?



Sadly, these five all fall inside of the “traditional” comic book creators column.

If DC and Marvel are looking to attract new readers they need to be looking to comic book creators working outside the traditional business models. People like Dan Goldman who has done comics from book publishers and is currently rocking web comics with Red Light Properties. Read Red Light Properties and you get a feel for what someone like Goldman could do on a DC “Edge” book or say a Marvel Fear Itself tie-in and really pull in those new readers.

Norm Breyfogle.

Heck the only ‘retroactive’ book I’m picking up is his.

Mike Baron, Steve Rude, Bill Messner-Loebs, Christopher Priest, Brendan McCarthy, Duncan Fegredo, the Frank Miller that was alive in the 1980s.

Batton Lash!

This is something I always think about, but I can’t ever come up with a definitive answer. Part of the problem lies with whether the creators I list would have any interest in working for these companies, or even if the stories they are interested in telling could be told with someone else’s characters.

Brian Wood is easily one of the best writers in comics right now. DMZ, Northlanders, DEMO… The man is a gold mine of brilliance.

“Norm Breyfogle”

Seconded. His Batman is my favorite. Athletic but not overly muscular, and I loved his use of color holds, Batman’s cowl often appeared solid black with only his eyes and mouth visible.

I’d love to see a big collection of the Grant/Breyfogle runs on Detective, Batman, and Shadow. I love them as a team, and Breyfogle’s absence from Marvel and DC is a shame.

I’d love to see Breyfogle draw Spider-Man, I think he’d really do something with those contortions and the webbing, and he could play up the shadowy elements of Spider-Man’s world, dark alleyways, rooftops.

I’ll third Breyfogle. Preferably with Alan Grant writing. Theirs is *THE* definitive version of Batman for a lot of people.

Has anyone suggested Brian Wood for Runaways? Just curious because I really enjoyed Gods and Monsters.

David Gallaher & Steve Ellis — probably the biggest digital advocates. BOX 13 and HIGH MOON were unique, different and exciting.

Kevin Colden – Man, can we put that guy on The Question? Please? Did any of you read Fishtown? OMG!

They dropped Brian Wood from Supergirl? Why couldn’t they let him take over the relaunch. Missed opportunity DC.

Brian Wood on Runaways? Seconded. I’d buy that in a heartbeat. Ditto Breyfogle back on Batman.

John Byrne getting a big Marvel book again would be amazing (for all his faults, the man can draw like nobody’s business), but I think his ever-flappin’ big mouth, his huge ego and his massive sense of entitlement preclude it from ever happening. A shame, really. Now, Steve Rude on the other hand…

Why would Nate Simpson stop doing his own sold-out series to do work for hire?

David Mack. I know he’s done some variant covers for DC, but his writing is so underrated. Would have loved for DC to have given him his pick of the New 52.

I_Captain Blanco

August 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I echo Rude, Messner-Loebs, and Priest. It’d be nice to see Byrne back at one of the Big Two, but at this point I can’t imagine an editor who’d be willing to work with him. Also, I don’t think John Ostrander is doing anything for DC at the moment – I’d love to have him back.

I’d kill for a John Byrne JLA cosmic miniseries!

Steven Grant and Vince Giarrano. I discovered their work on the title Whisper for First Comics, and Grant did the Punisher storyline “Circle of Blood”. The only exception may be the attempt they did at Manhunter after Zero Hour, unless someone proves me wrong on that one.

Let me second the call for John Ostrander. Clearly Gail Simone is in his corner, so hopefully it’s feasible down the road.

Bring back Chuck Dixon and Breyfogle!!!

Jason McNamara and Tony Talbert.
Breyfogle? Dry and flat, last time I saw.

Old school, but how about Berni Wrightson? He’s done some IDW stuff lately…

I’ve lost track of the number of big name talents who have expressed an interest in working with John Byrne. High profile writers who sell books in the top 10. Yet it will never happen because of his ego and bitterness. He still brings up being “lied” to about Hidden Years and it’s been how many years later?

The last person he collaborated with was Gail Simone who only ever spoke highly of him. Then she made 1 post he didn’t like on his board and she recently said he will no longer answer her attempts to contact him.

He could have a top 10 book now from either Marvel or DC. Instead only IDW will take him and he’s complained enough about them in the last year I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Ryall get’s sick of him in the next year. I wonder if Image would take him then?

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