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Our Dream Comics to Write

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.

Here at Panels, we love comics. (Duh.) And, like most folks who love to read comics, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about comics we’d like to write. Here’s a few of our top choices:

dream comics green arrowThere are a hundred characters I’d like to try my hand at, but lately I’ve been missing crotchety, bearded, bleeding-heart liberal Oliver Queen, so I choose Green Arrow. I like nu!Ollie and Arrow!Ollie just fine, but I prefer an Ollie who’s just a little bit ridiculous, who started crimefighting mostly because he’d seen too many Errol Flynn movies and thought it would be fun, and kept it up because he’s too cussed ornery to quit. I’d put him back in the classic 70s outfit and cherry pick my favorite elements of past GA runs: the passion of O’Neil, the snappy dialogue of Smith, the “too old for this crap” crankiness of Grell. Star City’s never been given the kind of worldbuilding you get from a Gotham or even a Hub, so I’d put in some time making Ollie’s hometown the quirky, hipstery San Francisco of the DCU – after all, Ollie needs locally sourced ingredients for those vats of chili, right? He’d fight organized crime, shady politicians, and one percenters, because, I mean, he’s Robin Hood. (Also his Rogues pretty much universally suck.)

Most importantly, I’d bring in his supporting cast of bow-toting foundling teens and twentysomethings: Roy Harper, of course, but also Connor Hawke and Mia Dearden. Lian Harper and Cissie King-Jones too, if I can swing it. As a blustering agitator, Ollie’s built to be part of an ensemble, and his kids bring out the best in him. I have no idea how Connor would work given how young reboot Ollie is, but I will figure it out, because hellooooo, Connor Hawke. Dream Artist: Babs Tarr making everyone a babealicious hipster, plus some sweet vintage variant covers by Phil Noto. — Jessica Plummer

dream comics hawkmanThere are many characters in the various comic book universes that I love dearly, but among them are heroes so specific to a writer that I almost wouldn’t want to tread on hallowed ground. I’m looking at my statue of the Jack Knight Starman as I type this. So… it’s got to be a character that I’d really want to put my own stamp on — someone who has suffered under course corrections and editorial shifts, hell… who has been ripped apart and re-stitched by various Crises across time and space.

Yeah, I’m talking about DC’s Hawkman. There’s definitely room here for a new definitive Hawkman run, free from the baggage of shifting universes. My take would involve Katar Hol; I like the archaeologist well enough, but my love for all things Nth Metal really stems from the 80s Tim Truman Hawkworld miniseries and the subsequent ongoing from Truman and Ostrander. I like the idea of an immigrant space cop, someone trying to understand justice and the law on a foreign planet in a foreign culture. There are lots of clear metaphors applicable here, especially as we look at how globalization brings modern cultures closer and closer together — even as ideological differences threaten to tear them apart. My dream artist? It’s a tough call, but I’d go with Gabriel Hardman, who has a great knack for urban grit and far-out space-faring adventure needed to tell tales on Earth and on Thanagar. And the beauty of that choice? If I ever have to step back from the writing chores, I’d have to beg Hardman and Corinna Bechko to take over the series for me. Those two have an amazing knack for building up far-out worlds while delivering character-based stories that hit home. — Dave Accampo

dream comics zatannaMy favourite character in comics is Daredevil, and I’ve written before of my interest in Batman and John Constantine. If I was ever given the chance to write those guys? Sure. I’d have a go. Who wouldn’t? But as a writer, I’m more inetrested in the characters who tend to be off to the side in the splash pages. The supporting cast. The character actors, if you will. Now, DC has already tried a crime book featuring Jim Gordon, and I don’t see any real interest in Foggy Nelson, Attorney At Law.

But I do tend to dream that I’ll one day be given the reigns on a Zatanna book. I’m itching to do a supernatural-tinged PI series, with Zee (see, I’m changing things already) in the lead role. First things first, I’m going to want to give her some pants to wear. Actual clothes. I’d fill out the book with a cool supporting cast, a mix of the fringe rogues and oddballs of The Rockford Files and younger, fresher cast of Veronica Mars. Throw in the occasional spell, and some high word-saving stakes amid low-key crime drama, and I think it would be fun. And, since this is fantasy land where I can do anything, I’m getting Fiona Staples or Gabriel Hardman onboard for the art. — Jay Stringer

dream comics batfamilyBatman, Nightwing, Oracle, Cassandra Cain Batgirl, and a litany of the Batman rogue’s gallery. J.H. Williams III rocking the art. Everybody gets a beard. Bearded Batman. Bearded Nightwing. Bearded Joker. Bearded J.H. Williams III. Hell, if Harley and Oracle want beards, who am I to judge? Why should women be forced to conformed to society’s standards of waxing their facial hair while men can grow lengthy, blowing-in-the-wind manes from their chins? You know what, I’ll introduce a supervillain called The Bearded Lady. She’ll be like Marvel’s Doc Samson, deriving her power from her illustrious beard. I’m waiting by the phone, DC Comics. Let’s do this. — Chris Arnone

dream comics phoenixI always, always pick The Phoenix Corps.

This is the hypothetical comic in which Jean Grey, Rachel Grey, Emma Frost, Wanda Maximoff, and a rotating guest-cast of anyone else who has been a Phoenix host travel the galaxies to right wrongs, defend the weak and helpless, and right intergalactic evildoers. Along the way they work on their relationships with each other, bicker, bond, and relax by singing karaoke in alien dive bars.

– Sigrid

dream comics supermanThe other day, I finished reading Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here, which takes place in the second half of the 1930s. In this novel, for those unfamiliar, the United States has elected a depression-era president who is not FDR. This gentleman turns the United States into a fascist state that pre-dates and predicts the true horrors of Nazi Germany years before World War II even began. (I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.) My first thought as I was reading this was that Captain America would be the perfect icon to fight the power from inside. Then, I realized: Steve Rogers would have been murdered by the MMs long before the serum had ever been completed, if the new government had even let Erskine into the country. So, I turn to the man who really can’t be killed: Clark Kent.

Art that evolves from the classic bright colors of funnies to a darker, grittier sepia-toned world is the central palette for this universe, which is more a serial version of It Can’t Happen Here than a Superman story. The Man of Steel himself acts as a twentieth-century Scarlet Pimpernel, saving the persecuted when he can, and working his darnedest to keep off the radar. Maybe Wonder Woman will show up to help, too, when Clark is feeling hopeless. Ooh! And The Shadow helps, too, cause yeah. The three of them together would be incredibly entertaining. And they can’t be killed. — Jessica Pryde

dream comics green lanternGreen Lantern has always been my favorite superhero. There’s something about the ring that can do anything, the throwback sci-fi feel, and the cocky space cop feel that always appealed to the action-adventure sense in me. Now, I’m a big fan of the large-scale space opera direction that Geoff Johns took the series in as well as the social issues era of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. Even the more grounded and serious tone of Gerard Jones and M. D. Bright have their charms. Given the chance, I’d love to take the book – well, franchise as it currently exists – and redirect it a little bit. My Green Lantern would hark back to the Science Fiction of the 1950s: more utilitarian, a bigger emphasis on the space cop aspects and a little more planet of the week. Emphasis would be placed on making the stories and action relevant to today’s world, bringing in real life issues and reflecting them through metaphor — sci-fi’s greatest strength. Think of it as part police procedural, part Forbidden Planet. I’d also like to have a revolving group of Lanterns with a different team each story arc. Not just Hal, John, Guy and Kyle but some of the more obscure characters, and Tomar-Tu, too. I’d even get Alan Scott in there as the sage advisor to the Green Lantern Corps.

In an amazing world, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire would be my art team on the book. I feel Shalvey’s pencils could lend an looser, less formal superhero feel to the book while still providing for excellent superheroics and the heavy shading necessary for space opera. Plus, I can only imagine the alien designs Shalvey could come up with. As well, Jordie Bellaire’s superlative coloring and a plethora of unique alien landscapes just sounds like too good a prospect to pass up. Space cops traveling to alien worlds to keep the interstellar peace. Now there’s a concept. — Brian McNamara

dream comics wonder womanOnce upon time, there was an Allen Heinberg-helmed TV project called Amazon. Kind of a Smallville for Wonder Woman, the show was supposed to follow the adventures of teenage Diana on Themyscira. Since the project never even made it to a pilot episode, I think it should be picked up as a much needed all-ages Wonder Woman comic.

There is, obviously, a lot of room for fun adventures. But there’s also potential for the more emotional drama of growing up, trying your best to live up to your mother’s expectations, on top of the pressures of learning how to be a leader for your community. Diana, who is much more clever than she’s usually portrayed in comics, has discovered a way to sneak on and off the island. So to escape the pressures of being Amazonian royalty, she takes trips to our world where she hangs out with her new friends Etta Candy, Dinah Lance, and Lois Lane. Hijinks and patriarchy-smashing ensue.

The high-energy and wide-eyed facial expressions of Annie Wu’s art is the perfect complement for the tone of the comic; full of bright fun, fraught emotion, and bad assery. — Ali Colluccio


How about you guys? What comic would you kill to write?


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