Comics/Graphic Novels

Our Dream Comics to Write: Non-Comics Characters Edition

Jessica Plummer

Contributing Editor

Jessica Plummer has lived her whole life in New York City, but she prefers to think of it as Metropolis. Her day job is in books, her side hustle is in books, and she writes books on the side (including a short story in Sword Stone Table from Vintage). She loves running, knitting, and thinking about superheroes, and knows an unnecessary amount of things about Donald Duck. Follow her on Twitter at @jess_plummer.

Last week your beloved Panelteers told you about some comics characters we’d love to write. But sometimes we look at a character from a movie or TV show – or a real life historical badass – and think, “That would make a great comic.” So here’s some non-comics characters we’d like to bring into the four-color world:

dream comics sally draper mad menMad Men might not be the most obvious television property for a comic book spinoff, but I bet there are a lot of artists who would want to take a crack at capturing its visual style. As for plotlines, the show has so many interesting characters that there are bound to be unanswered questions, and storylines left hanging, when the show comes to an end this year. Even if the show ties Don Draper’s story up in a bow, there are plenty of side characters who could support their own miniseries. (Our own Paul Montgomery must be dying to take on a Paul Kinsey tale, just for starters.) What I’d love to write is the tale of Sally Draper, Don’s young daughter who has grown into such a complex character over the years. Scrapping around 70s New York, discovering feminism, having awkward lunches with Peggy, looking for clues about what the actual deal was with her enigmatic dad, anyway. Mostly, I want an excuse to research a lot of geeky minutiae about decades I’m too young to remember, and figure out how Sally could go on to forge her own path. — Caroline Pruett

dream comics zheng heFrom 1405 to 1433, the eunuch admiral Zheng He ruled Ming China’s treasure fleets. He led expeditions to Brunei, Java, Arabia, and Madagascar. The treasure junks were marvels of engineering, outstripping European technology at the time and for the next three hundred years. Zheng was not only a great sailor and admiral, he negotiated his way through the high-wire politics of the Ming court, using intellect and connections to garner funds and manpower for his ships. I want a comic book about Zheng He. — Sigrid



dream comics lucy mcclane die hardDie Hard. But – I’m gonna say something controversial here – I think John McClane has yippie-kay-yayed enough. No, I want to write the adventures of his daughter, Lucy McClane, whose biggest role in the franchise was in the fourth movie, Live Free or Die Hard, where she delighted me with her resourcefulness and just plain pissiness. I’d make her an FBI agent with all of her dad’s bad habits: a stubborn temper, terrible relationship skills, and a tendency to be the right person in the wrong place at the wrong time. Occasionally she’ll team up with her sort-of boyfriend Matt, a former hacker now working for the Man at the NSA, or her equally emotionally stunted brother, CIA agent Jack, who desperately needs some narrative rehab after the disaster that was A Good Day to Die Hard. And yeah, every so often I guess John can come out of retirement to help, along with cameos from “Uncle” Al Powell or a very grudgingly involved Zeus Carver. It’s probably too cheesy to have a Gruber daughter come crawling out of the woodwork looking for revenge, but I’m thinking Dick Thornburg is still around as a cable news talking head with a bone to pick with the McClanes. Which of course means that Lucy’s going to have to save his life a comically frequent number of times, right? Anyway, let’s get Pia Guerra on the art because she not only does gorgeous work, but is great at evoking actors’ faces without veering into Uncanny Valley territory. Gonna need some sharp Kevin Wada variant covers, though. — Jessica Plummer

dream comics dr ruthDr. Ruth and Julia Child Super Spy Team-up! Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Julia Child are most well-known as media personalities and experts in their respective fields of sex therapy and French culinary arts. What people should know is both of these women are World War II-era bad-asses. Julia worked primarily in communications for the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, Sri Lanka, and China. After escaping Nazi Germany, Ruth emigrated to Palestine where she became a sniper for the Israeli forces during their War of Independance. By 1950 both women had moved to Paris to start new lives; Julia enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu and Ruth went to the Sorbonne.

dream comics julia childAnd I’ve always thought it would be an amazing story to have Ruth and Julia team-up for secret missions hunting Nazis or preventing the Russians from claiming more of Europe or helping people reunite with loved ones after the war. So that’s the comic. At least, that’s the first part of the comic. In the second part it’s 1990 and Dr. Ruth and Julia Child are household names. They use their celebrity as a cover and reunite for one last secret mission to end the Cold War.

The 1950s adventures and the 1990 mission would be told in parallel with a different artist for each story. I really love what Doc Shaner and Jordie Bellaire are doing with the Flash Gordon series that’s just wrapped up. The early Ruth and Julia missions would have a pulpy feel, and I think Shaner and Bellaire’s work together would be a perfect fit. The Cold War story would have a bit more grit and higher stakes. I’d keep Jordie Bellaire on colors and pull in Pia Guerra for pencils and inks. Because Guerra is a big reason why I love Y: The Last Man as much as I do. Also, I know my strengths. I am much better suited to edit this thing. So I’d call in Greg Rucka and his lady spy expertise to write this comic. — Ali Colluccio

dream comics archerEvery time I watch Archer, I wish the show was a comic. Yes, the voice acting is crucial to the show, and it’s a huge part of what makes it worth watching. But now that I’m all so familiar with the characters that I hear them inside my head (even when I’m doing something that is completely not related to Archer), the time seems ripe for an Archer comic. And I want to write it, dammit. — Swapna



dream comics horatio hornblowerI’ve always been enamored with the golden age of British sea power. From Sir Francis Drake to Lord Horatio Nelson, it’s my favorite era of history. As such, I was drawn to the Horatio Hornblower novels. High seas adventure, a character rising through the ranks, and incredibly detailed descriptions of whist. I’d love to do a run of Hornblower adaptations and some new adventures sprinkled in between. I’d love to be paired with Dave Gibbons with those realistic yet firmly comic book pencils, maybe even get Richard Corben to lend a certain amount of dreariness to the life of hard tack and maggoty meat below decks. Hornblower is a classic hero whose exploits seem primed to the comics page.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention my idea for a Cleopatra 2525 reboot with Amanda Conner on art. The comic medium could use more badass Gina Torres. — Brian McNamara

dream comics highlanderIn childhood, I think nothing excited my imagination like Star Wars. But if I got the chance to write something based on a movie, I feel like those depths have already been plumbed. And so… my very next thought is Highlander. I have a deep and abiding love for the 1986 film. It so immediately establishes a world. With rules! Immortals creeping through history, lopping off one another’s heads with big ol’ swords… all headed toward something even they don’t understand: The Gathering. There’s so much potential there. The subsequent films are all pretty terrible, but there was a bit of the spark in the TV series that ran for a few years back in the ‘90s. Comics would be the PERFECT home for Highlander — with a production budget limited only by the artist’s imagination, comics are the perfect platform for stories set across all of human history. I’d probably tackle it Sandman style — mixing larger arcs with shorter stories set in different time periods. Eventually I’d want to dig into the unanswered mysteries of the first film, like — Why is there a gathering? Why can there ‘be only one’? What exactly is ‘The Quickening’? For art — I’ve been thinking a lot about Denys Cowan lately. He captured fantastic martial arts action back when he was drawing The Question, and he also draws people in coats really, really well… a necessity for those immortals and their penchant for hiding swords in overcoats. Pair him with Bill Sienkiewicz on inks — my favorite ever inker for Cowan, and I’ve got at least 100 issues of comic book storytelling that have been sitting somewhere in a vault in my brain since I was 14 years old. My only sadness is that I can’t have a Queen soundtrack in the comic books. — Dave Accampo

dream comics louise brooksLouise Brooks was one of the most fascinating people to ever grace the silver screen. Even if you’ve never seen any of her films, you know of her flapper style that she was so closely associated with. She was a dancer and an actress, featured in a number of silent film classics in the 1920’s before she was forced out of the industry due to her struggles with alcohol and the butting of heads with film execs. Refusing help with battling her addiction, she turned to a life of isolation where she transformed into a brilliant writer and film critic before she passed away in 1985. The fact that her story has largely gone untold seems criminal to me. She had such an impact on the film industry and seems to be unknown to most of today’s generation. There is no way any actress could do her justice in a biopic, no one could touch the magic that she radiated every time she was on a screen. Comics would be the perfect place to tell her story. Sean Phillips has done some amazing works in comics, and after digging into The Fade Out, he could totally do Lulu justice. — Eric Margolis


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