12 For 2012

As a way to celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I'm posting my comic book excitements for the coming year, sharing the titles I'll be watching, my favorite writers and artists and any other number of things. It'll be interesting to see how this stands half a year from now. Maybe I'll follow up.

My Marvel Pull List

Avengers Academy, Defenders, Thunderbolts, Uncanny X-Force, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, Wolverine & The X-Men, Wolverine & The X-Men: Alpha & Omega, X-Factor, X-Men Legacy, Astonishing X-Men, Avengers Vs. X-Men

My list at this point is obviously pretty X-Men heavy... I've had many of these highly recommended and after trying them out decided this woul dbe my start up list... the Astonishing is going on my list in March, when Marjorie Liu joins the title. Defenders and Uncanny X-Men will be evaluated at around Issue 6 to see if they are still worth the pick-up... given the shipping schedule, that point will be fast approaching. I'm not sure what exactly there is to pick up for AVX yet, so I'll approach the crossover question when we come to it. Maybe some of these others will cross themselves off to make more room.

My DC Cancellation List

This isn't my drop list... at this point, I don't plan to drop a single book... but we're well aware that cancellations are coming. These are the titles that I would see as potential candidates for cancellation, after issue 12 (to fit with the post theme):

Mister Terrific, Hawk and Dove, Captain Atom, Static Shock, Grifter, Blackhawks, Men of War, Fury of Firestorm, Savage Hawkman, Deathstroke, Blue Beetle, Resurrection Man

As a note, I'm fond of several of these, but for the most part they are the (consistently) low-selling titles with the greatest percentage drops and limited critical interest. Some others, like I, Vampire, may be lower selling but by my estimation are exceeding their expectations and hitting some good critical response.

My DC Replacement List

To maintain the balance, here are the new series that I'd like to see take the place of those making an exit:

Amethyst, Captain Marvel, Cyborg, Joker, Justice Society, Justice League Task Force, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Plastic Man, Red Robin, Secret Six and Society Girls

Cyborg should be due for it given his newly elevated status... DC, if you're not sure what to write for him, give me a call. Justice Society has been announced... fan interest spiked for Lois Lane a while ago... Amethyst made a teeny return in Flashpoint, it'd be interesting to see her fill a low-sell spot... Plastic Man might be in the works with Gail and Ethan... Captain Marvel should launch out of his Justice League backup... and Red Robin and Secret Six would be a more than welcome return in my book.

Top Writers To Watch In 2012

Paul Cornell, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Gail Simone, Peter Milligan, Josh Fialkov, Marjorie Liu, Rick Remender, Jason Aaron, Judd Winick

Paul will still be rocking Demon Knights, with a new Vertigo title... I hope Geoff keeps pumping the thrilling Aquaman... Grant will hopefully debut Multiversity... Scott and Jeff are the thrilling new stars of comics for me and I can't wait for the next chapters and hopefully new titles! Gail might've left Firestorm, but hopefully she'll replace it with something in the coming days. Milligan rocks some serious JL Dark and I'm pulling into Hellblazer for the first time in a long while, starting January 2012... Fialkov surprised the heck out of me with the vampire brilliance... Liu is a stellar writer, enough to get me to invest more in Marvel and intriguing enough to push me into her non-comic books... clearly Remender is another new shining talent, I'm starting with X-Force, we'll see where it goes from there... Aaron made quite an impact this year... it'll be fun to watch as he closes out his Wolvie chapter... and of course, Judd was as controversial as ever, but for my dime was worth the moans and groans of the internet.

Top Artists To Watch in 2012

JH Williams III, Amy Reeder, Yanick Paquette, Francis Manapul, Ivan Reis, Andrea Sorrentino, Sami Basir, Moritat, Dale Eaglesham, Nicola Scott

Batwoman has proven to be the most beautiful creation of all time, and I'm sure Amy will hold that caliber of perfection... Yanick, Ivan, Dale and Nicola all fill a similar style that I absolutely adore, while Francis really proved that he should be clumped with A-listers... Andrea took Fialkov's haunting story and raised it to a cinematic level of awesomeness... despite the controversy, Sami turned the sultry into the stunning for me, and Moritat was a wonderful discovery... can't wait to see what happens next.

My Most Anticipated Events and Storylines of 2012

Mutliversity (Hopefully), Animal Man/Swamp Thing Crossover (Deadworld), Avengers Vs. X-Men, Watchmen 2, New Vertigo Titles, The Avengers Movie, The Dark Knight Rises, The Conclusion of Batman Inc., DC's Wave Two, Morning Glories, Comic Con 2012 and the Continued Rebirth of Comic Book Potential!

What are you looking forward to?

Have a wonderful New Year!

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New 52 November Sales

So, they're lower than I was anticipating, by a somewhat marked amount... but don't mark me as losing my optimism just yet! We can still look at this in the "big picture scheme of things... particularly in comparison to the year prior to the start of the New 52. For starters, remember that in no month of that previous year did more than a single title score 100k sales, so on that alone we're still up some. In fact, aside from the Justice League #1 that shipped in September, no books at all broke 100k and the top scoring book was Batman: The Return, with 99,545 units sold. Because of that, I'm going to represent that number as the Top Sale spot. Now again, to remind how this works, I've placed these titles in "slots" meaning their position with regards to the entire monthly DC sales chart. Example: Slot 10 would be the 10th selling title of that month. Represented prior year sales indicate the best sales that slot managed to achieve the entire year. With that lens... you can see how amazingly this initiative is still performing. And I haven't even needed to represent the averages yet, I'm still working with the top sales figure! (Also, note that many of these numbers are not adjusted up to account for the automatic 10% reduction applied by Diamond)

Slot #Top Slot SalesTitleThis Month
199,545Justice League158700
295,587Batman150984
386216Action Comics134875
482,894Green Lantern122644
580,173Detective Comics100077
678,452Flash90417
776,173Batman: The Dark Knight78240
870,600Superman77747
965,212Batman and Robin77678
1058,594Wonder Woman65621
1157,448Batgirl62974
1250,887Batwoman61997
1346,319Teen Titans60758
1446,261Green Lantern: New Guardians59774
1543,891Aquaman58854
1639,701Green Lantern Corps58006
1739,575Nightwing57688
1836,941Red Lanterns54741
1935,674Swamp Thing52300
2035,504Justice League International48972
2135,483Catwoman46976
2235,328Justice League Dark46507
2335,307Supergirl45706
2434,752Red Hood and the Outlaws45126
2534,612Animal Man44266
2633,176Superboy42698
2733,053Green Arrow42209
2831,741Stormwatch39262
2930,246Birds of Prey36802
3030,121Suicide Squad36744
3128,992Savage Hawkman31659
3228,443Batwing31599
3328,367Legion of Super-Heroes31481
3428,358Demon Knights31213
3527,777Deathstroke30379
3627,581All-Star Western29498
3727,552Frankenstein28681
3827,195Fury of Firestorm28489
3926,348Huntress28377
4026,137Legion Lost28103
4125,496DC Universe Presents27917
4224,890Grifter26822
4324,811Resurrection Man26531
4424,524Blue Beetle24851
4523,037Hawk and Dove24718
4623,849Batman Odyseey Vol 224271
4723,323Captain Atom24145
4822,948I Vampire23463
4922,600Mister Terrific22754
5021,288Omac22572
5121,211Voodoo22536
5220,985Legion Secret Origin22435
5319,780Static Shock21937
5419,562Shade21431
5519104Men of War21393
5618918Penguin Pain and Prejudice21021
5718035Blackhawks20114
5817,251THUNDER AGENTS14794
5917,242My Greatest Adventure11782
Total22450702784309

So what does this mean? For instance, a low selling new 52 title like, say Blackhawks (the lowest of the ongoings) which is the 57th best selling DC title is still selling better than the 57th best comic did each month of the entire preceding year. There is a line-wide improvement all the way to the very bottom, with only Slot 58 and 59 failing to beat their best sales, and I'll note that those sales are still better than average (Average Slot 58 sales: 11,205 and Slot 59: 10,449) in case you're wondering.

So yes, the sales are lower, it is month 3 after all. Yes, some of the titles have some surprising drops and might warrant a touch of concern. But 3 months into the initiative, nearly the entire line is still better than the best of the entire year. (And really, slots 58 and 59 are not the big ones to watch anyways) So while many are sure to jump on the cancellation wagons and begin crying doom... this realistic picture shows we're still drifting in floaty clouds of new 52 wonder. Many of these will likely hold firm over their best slot sales next month, and I'm betting that they'll remain far above their average sales well into 2012.

What would constitute a failure? A title would be 'failing' their slot from my perspective if it was to drop below the average sales of the 2010-2011 year, anywhere from now until September of 2012. Again, note, the figures above are the top of the range, not the average. Any title falling below that point would be failing to live to the line's earning potential and would be marked as likely to be cancelled. Line-wide failure would be indicated by either the total sales failing to exceed the average monthly totals or a listing of 30% of titles qualifying as failing. This would not include titles that are cancelled, and would only be represented by active sales figures.

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New 52 Creator Changes

First of all, I don't think the changes occurring at or around the 6th or 7th issue of DC's new 52 are remotely problematic. I think that some news bits are overreacting with this. Creative teams switch all the time without this much fanfare, even after just 6 issues. It is cool, chillax.

Now, with that said, I'm going to run down the teams (mostly writers) that I'd like to stick firm for certain, and which (if any) of the current switches I'm currently disappointed with.

Keepers

Geoff Johns on Justice League, Aquaman and Green Lantern. (Also, Jim Lee on Justice League and Ivan Reis on Aquaman)

Scott Snyder on Batman and Swamp Thing. (Also, Yanick Paquette on Swamp Thing)

Jeff Lemire on Frankenstein and Animal Man.

Paul Cornell on Stormwatch and Demon Knights.

Palmiotti and Gray on All-Star Western.

Gail Simone on Batgirl.

Grant Morrison on Action Comics.

JH Williams on Batwoman. (Also, Amy Reeder on Batwoman)

Brian Azzarello on Wonder Woman.

Peter Milligan on Justice League Dark

Josh Fialkov on I, Vampire (Also, Andrea Sorrentino on I, Vampire)

Judd Winick on Batwing and Catwoman.

So I'm disappointed on the Cornell Stormwatch removal. I'm also sad on the Voodoo loss of Ron Marz. But I don't think it'll tank either of those books... but if the above creators are pulled before issue 12, I'll be frowny face.

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Watchmen 2: First Watch

So I thought I'd take some time to explore the rumors of an upcoming series of Watchmen prequels, evaluating some of the pros and the cons, as well as the possibilities that might arise from these titles. While many sites have had the opportunity to run rumors on the potential rebirth of Watchmen, there has been very little in the way of concrete evidence to suggest this is going to happen all that soon. With that in mind, take this all as a hypothetical, rather than a direct real world evaluation of the mini potentials.

The first reactions many fans seem to have to this concept is one of utter disdain. As with so many things in comic book fandom, the first voices are negative, and this time they bring with them the following complaints: Alan Moore isn't writing the comics. Alan Moore isn't approving the comics. It is perfect as it is, leave it untouched. Expanding the line will dilute the power of the work. Anything that will be made will be inferior to the original work.

To explore those bits for just a moment, I'd first like to address the issue of Alan Moore. While perhaps I misread the tone of those times I encounter his commentary on the modern comics community, Alan Moore is one of those creators that I find to have the most negative attitude on the whole business. While his rationale may be supported by personal opinion and even some passionate evidence, his attitudes mirror that of a basher and a troll. Certainly this allowable, however, my appreciation for Alan's past work does not make him immune to my standard reaction to such dismissive and rude behavior, which is typically to respectfully disagree and then distance myself from that commentator in search of people looking for a more creative approach. If Alan hates the community so much, he should use his apparently omnipotent powers as the God of all things to do something about it. If he finds the storytelling styles of this characters abominable, he should publish work within that sphere to provide further comparative examples. Unfortunately, Alan has given up, and has yielded his right of opinion to a road he believes was the higher path. Without intending disrespect, that move allows my evaluative processor to disregard Alan's commentary or opinion on the subject.

There are also plenty of other talented writers out there, and they can bring their own potential interpretation to these characters as has been done endlessly since the birth of comics, allowing new creators to redefine the characters and stick their name into the history of that franchise. Byrne and Claremont didn't create the X-Men, but their names are easily associated with that property. Miller didn't think up Daredevil or Batman, but his development of the work is highly regarded. Were there comics between the creation of those characters and these specific epic runs? Did their lackluster moments diminish the value of the original product or the subsequent average when factoring in the new critically acclaimed runs? Even if some of this product isn't quite as phenomenal as the original work, there is every chance that a new master of comics could tap into this world and raise elements of Watchmen to new levels.

For those who feel the classic stands as it is, then simply leave it as is yourself. Additional story should not dilute the overall power of the work. Did you love the original Star Wars film just the way it was? (First of all, you probably loved ESB more, because that seems to be a pretty common response, so how about that as a sequel that worked, eh?) Is your enjoyment truly diluted by a little time of Jar Jar Binks? If so, I'm sorry for you, and would suggest some time working on developing a mindset where you can segregate these elements of the work. Jar Jar Binks doesn't dilute the destruction of the Death Star, Han Solo's "I know" or Vader's ultimate triumph over the Emperor. If you return to a work like Kingdom Come, does the fact that there was a Kingdom mini or a continuation of the tale in Geoff Johns JSA factor into your re-reading of the text? I just don't see why it should. So, if Watchmen 2 happens, instead of complaining about the new work that you just paid money to buy... go back and read your old classic and feel content as that final page crosses over, leaving you the power to decide what happens next. That final page perfectly empowers you as a reader (hopefully we might look slightly more together in this new age) to reject or embrace an expansion of the tale. Do you publish Rorschach's journal and keep this saga going? Or do you accept the finality of the event as the definitive and exclusive version? Moore left one final open door in that final panel beyond the page.

Now the pros. Which I'll tell you for me are abundant. First, people would buy it. And those sales would be on top of the standard fare of DC's New 52. A number of well timed, well paced releases of these mini-series could do wonders financially. Storywise, there are a host of authors just chomping at the bit to get a chance to be associated with something so iconic. We've all had those moments where we wondered more about Watchmen, some have even written out their own fan fics and world expanders. Let the top of the line talent toss their hats in the ring and we'll let the big guys up top sort out the lames from the strengths. A new talent might even be able to make their first stamp on the industry with a brilliant take, while classic writers and artists could get to prove why they deserve to be in the same league as Moore. As a writing challenge, there is a lot of thrill in looking for those corners that have yet to be explored, and there could be some beautiful enlightenment into those little pieces that were dropped as mere crumbs as the story unfolded. Comics should always leave an impression that there is something more beyond the page, so now let us look to those pieces that are past the sum of the work.

So now that I've clearly shown my cards as a fan of the idea, what would I like to see in a Watchmen prequel-line, as the before element is certainly the part most suggested at this point.

The Minutemen: First, as Maria Von Trapp said, let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Their own story is so tied to the emotional core of Watchmen... sometimes I wish we had just a little more time with each of these characters. Sillhouette was one of my favorite unexplored pieces of the puzzle, strongly heightened by the expansion allowed for in her movie cameo. I'd love to see more of Mothman and Dollar Bill as well, perhaps allowing a modern author to explore the early superhero line without injecting the baggage of modernizing them as has been done to the likes of Superman, the All-Star Squadron or the early Lee/Kirby work. The Crimebusters would be an easy follow-up to this.

Nite Owl/Nite Owl: I want to see that team-up of the old days when the old man passed on to the young stallion. There was such chemistry with this pair, they could stand to have an adventure or two together. It doesn't have to be epic in scale, in fact it probably shouldn't tie to Watchmen hardly at all. Just two men, doing their superhero thing, as quasi-father and son.

Silk Spectre: Both of them could probably do well with their own series. Maybe a Sally Jupiter mini first, followed by Laurie as "Volume 2" would be some fun. Conceptually these two are the most ripe elements to me in this universe, as they stand as the (faux)-empowered women of a clearly male dominated world. The contradiction of their clear sex-appeal empowerment against the line of their own exploitation is one of the most complex unspoken tensions in the entire title.

Dr. Manhattan: Could be explored in his standard time-disjointed pattern, perhaps paving the way for an 'after' story.

Comedian: Because how could you leave him out of all this? I'd like to see the first days, the Comedian's story before the war and before the life of heroism. Who was this guy before he was a superhero, before he was even an adult? This is the one I'm least sure of in the whole mix of what to do with him, but I think it would need to be done.

Rorschach: If there was one I'd leave out, it'd be him, just because Watchmen is so much his story. Where these others are the expansion of the universe, Watchmen IS Rorschach's expanded universe for me. Nevertheless, you couldn't leave him out of the mix as the others got their day back in the sun, so perhaps a single case exploration would be manageable for him. It could also be explored with him not being the narrator, instead providing another character (perhaps a street level new creation) evaluating their thoughts on Rorschach, a meta-textual response to the publication of Watchmen in the first place.

Ozymandias: I'd like to see a tale of the 24 hours after the story's conclusion, featuring what Veidt does next, leaving a cliffhanger to that story in the same vein of the original conclusion. I don't know exactly how I'd do it, but I'd love to see the world's smartest man reflect on the apparent success and sacrifice of the story.

Watchmen 2: At the conclusion of all the prequels, I'd be game for a fully developed 12 issue mini-series detailing an entirely new saga featuring all the characters brought together once more for a new challenge. Perhaps throw in some of those new developments of the modern era in a "where are they now" form story... I'd even be game for some new creations in the sequel-verse.

So that is my rundown on the situation for now. What would you like to see? Would you watch the Watchmen once more? Or are you in the camp of Moore's singular vision? Any thoughts would be wonderful.

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The New 52: Second Wave (100 Ideas)

Another project developed in part out of boredom, I started jotting down possible series titles that could either be revived with an interesting pitch, are due for a new debut and could fill a variety of tiers, from the A-listers to the Hex-level steady fanbase. I sorted them alphabetically and am going to end up jotting down either a one-liner pitch or detail the central objective of each of the series when I have time. Which of these series strikes your fancy? How would you pitch these stories, and what hook do you think could appropriately reboot these series? What titles have I left out or would you supply to join the list?

1. Adam Strange

2. Alan Scott

3. All-Star Squadron

4. Ambush Bug

5. Amethyst

6. Angel and the Ape

7. Anthro: The First Boy

8: Arion: Sorceror of Atlantis

9. The Atom

10. Aztek the Ultimate Man

11. Batman Incorporated

12. Black Canary

13. Black Orchid

14. Blue Devil

15. Booster Gold

16. Brave and the Bold

17. Captain Carrot

18. Captain Comet

19. Captain Marvel

20. Challengers of the Unknown

21. Checkmate

22. Creeper

23. Cyborg

24. D.E.O.

25. Daily Planet

26. DC Spotlight

27. Deadman

28. Dial H For Hero

29. Doc Savage

30. Doctor fate

31. Doom Patrol

32. Elongated Man

33. Freedom Fighters

34. Gen 13

35. Ghost Detectives

36. Global Guardians

37. Gotham Central

38. Hawkgirl

39. Huntress

40. Infinity Inc.

41. John Constantine

42. Joker

43. Justice League Detroit

44. Justice League Europe

45. Justice League Task Force

46. Justice Society

47. Kamandi

48. Legends of the Dark Knight

49. Legion Academy

50. Lex Luthor

51. Lobo

52. Lois Lane

53. Manhunter

54. Martian Manhunter

55. Metal Men

56. Metamorpho

57. Mister Miracle

58. New Gods

59. Night Force

60. Omega Men

61. Outsiders

62. Phantom Stranger

63. Plastic Man

64. Power Company

65. Power Girl

66. Question

67. R.E.B.E.L.S.

68. The Ray

69. Red Robin

70. Red Tornado

71. Sargon the Sorceror

72. Scarecrow

73. Second Wave

74. Secret Six

75. Shadowpact

76. Sinestro

77. Society Girls

78. Spectre

79. The Spirt

80. Spoiler and the Black Bat

81. Stargirl

82. Steel

83. Superfriends

84. Superman/Batman

85. Superpets

86. The 99

87. Tranquility

88. Unknown Soldier

89. Vigilante

90. Vixen

91. Wally West

92. Wally West and the Speed Force

93. Warlord

94. Watchmen

95. Wildcats

96. Wonder Twins

97. Xanadu

98. Xombi

99. Young Justice

100. Zatanna

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Creator Swap, Part 4: The Finale (Full Teams)

So now that everything is all said and done... what basically boils out of all of this? Beyond the company-party lines what world do I long to see?

Batgirl: By Marjorie Liu and Adrian Alphona

Featuring the black-ops specialist of the Bat-family Cassandra Cain.

Young Justice Society: Christos Gage and Jim Cheung

Old timers Jay, Alan and Ted have their hands full training a new generation.

Justice League Detroit: By Dan Slott and Andrea Divito

A tongue in cheek team book that explores the true D-list of the superhero community.

The Avengers: By Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

The Amazing Spider-Man: By Scott Snyder and Marcus To

The Uncanny X-Men: By Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

No real explanation required for those.

And a bonus...

Society Girls: By TheOptimist and Marjorie Liu, with Nicola Scott and Marcus To!

My ever constant appeal for a book of young women in the DCU featuring basically the entire spectrum of their maidens of might.

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Creator Swap, Part 3: The Other Way Around (DC->Marvel)

So what about the reverse? What opportunities arise as DC staples check out the likes of the X-Men and Avengers?

1. Geoff Johns

I'm a GJ fanboy, clearly. Now he is clearly rooted in DC as much as most of the Marvels on my list... but aren't most people at least a tad curious what Geoff Johns's Avengers would look like? Particularly given the constant comparisons to BMB, it seemed like a choice title to stick him with in a hypothetical situation.

2. Scott Snyder

Dear Scott Snyder, do not leave DC or take this hypothetical as advice. Please. But at this point with his recent track record, I can't imagine Scott having any troubles handling any of the Marvel guys n gals. I'd say a Wolvie or Spidey solo would be particularly interesting with him on board.

3. Paul Cornell

Sure, he dabbled in Marvel some... but I put him down mostly because I think he might be one of few people I'd view as competent of handling the humor/dark reality of a title like Deadpool.

4. Gail Simone

Another already Marvel published writer... I'd go with just about anything she wrote though, so it felt fair to include her. It'd be interesting to see her handling of the X-Men titles in particular.

5. Ivan Reis

His work is so tied to Geoff's for me at this point that I can't help but envision him as the man on said suggested Avengers title.

6. Nicola Scott

She is a phenomenal talent that again I pair rather quickly with a writer's work, that being Gail. The pair of them on an X-title would be killer.

7. Marcus To

I have no idea how Marcus would operate on a Scott Snyder script, but I'd love to see him try, again on either a Wolvie or Spidey type work.

8. Jim Lee

Of course, to see Jim return to some of the characters whose very depiction he forged in my young childhood mind... I'm more than pleased with him on Justice League, but the Jim Lee X-men were absolutely definitive.

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Creator Swap, Part 2: Artists (Marvel->DC)

So now a list of somewhat recently dominantly Marvel artists that I'd enjoy seeing over in DC pages.

1. Terry Dodson

Of course, the Dodsons aren't strangers to DC work, but with the Defenders coming out, and looking so particularly stunning, it made me somewhat sad that Dodson art won't be gracing DC pages for the time being. The interpretation of Wonder Woman was stunning, it would be great to see a take on new characters in later days.

2. Dale Eaglesham

I was rather saddened when Dale went Marvel exclusive, although I still greatly enjoy his work. The feel of his art though fits much better for me in the world of DC comics. It is a shame that there is no sign that he will be making a return any time soon. For now, I'll embrace the time together we have on Alpha Flight.

3. Leinil Francis Yu

Mostly out of curiosity, I'd be intrigued to see what Yu's artistic take would be. I think that it might end up working well in a good team book, perhaps a right below A-list group. It could be interesting, I'm just not very sure.

4. Mike Choi

To my knowledge Mike hasn't really touched DC material. I made a request at a convention a while back and he seemed to be rather firmly rooted in Marvel territory. I got a beautiful Cyclops head shot out of it, but I always wondered what his work might look like channeling DC personalities.

5. Steve McNiven

I admit, I was a huge fan of the artistic depiction in Civil War. I'd absolutely adore having McNiven pull the art duties for a DC event of some form, something epic in scale.

6. Andrea Divito

Initially caught my eye in the same "The Thing" run that made me more aware of Dan Slott as a talent. I became further enamored with the WWH: X-Men mini from not long back. Divito really fits into a style type that I greatly enjoy.

7. Jim Cheung

Have you seen Children's Crusade? Then you know why this is on my list. I think Cheung would go well with Gage on a DC teen book.

8. Adrian Alphona

Okay, so I know Adrian hasn't been putting out quite as many recent pages as the others... but how could I not include one of my favorite artists on a Marvel title? Not only does Alphona have a really interesting style, he is an absolutely stellar human being.

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Creator Swap, Part 1: Writers (Marvel->DC)

So I'm going to try out a new mini-series of posts postulating on creator swaps that I'd love to see, focusing on the Big Two companies. To start off, I'm going to try out which Marvel writers I'd love to see do a little work for DC Comics. Hopefully I'll have a follow-up of the other way around not long from now, along with a bit on artists. I'll throw in a bit about why I chose them or what titles I think it would be fun to see them work.

1. Marjorie Liu

First on the list because she was the inspiration for this whole post. I would absolutely adore seeing her work a DC title or two. She seems pretty firm in the Marvel-verse at this point, but I can still hope. I could see her really excelling in some of the New 52 categories, particularly in the arena of the Dark or the Edge. It might actually be most exciting to see her bring something new to the table in those genres, a fresh start with a new creation. Seeing her work with Cassandra Cain or even Stephanie Brown could also be really neat. After a year of dabbling in these areas, it'd be absolutely stellar to see her take on a headliner, particularly an unexpected one like Superman. That would be neat mostly because it would be entirely unexpected. Marjorie was also the only person that I would've accepted as a future replacement writer on the Secret Six.

2. Dan Slott

While much of Dan's popularity (or perhaps the reverse) has come from his time working on Amazing Spider-Man (of which I am not a constant follower) I have marked Dan as a 'wish to switch' for some time, because of his incredibly abbreviated time working the rapidly cancelled "The Thing" ongoing from some ways back. I'd love to see Dan pull a fun character like that in the DC universe and play up the solo action but humor line. I'd probably slot (heh, sorry) him in the Justice League group, to tackle a few of the headliner types.

3. Greg Pak

Another potentially divisive figure that I selected mostly for a long time ago arc. I admit to having never been particularly enamored with the Hulk... until that first issue of Planet Hulk. For that feat of turning me from a 'meh, okay' Hulk reader to a near-fanboy, Pak earned some props from me. The fact that he is working with Alpha Flight, my peeps, earned him recent bonus points. I think with Greg it'd be nice to have him do the same thing for a DC character I'm not so devoted to as he did with Hulk... maybe tackle a figure like Hawkman and really bring him someplace entirely new. The more surprising a title for him the better. After he reaches a lull again, it might be nice to see his take on the Superman group.

4. Jason Aaron

Sadly one of the Vertigo writers who did not really transition over into DC proper or the New 52, I'd nevertheless like to see him take a whack at some DC work. Aaron might be really fun to play in the bat-verse or the Edge titles, again perhaps bringing a new creation in the take. Sadly it looks like chances of this happening are slim to none, but I think an Aaron Batman run could be a really stellar piece of work.

5. Christos Gage

The weakest of the groups for me at this point would have to be the Young Justice group, and a player like Gage would be a solid contributor to some work with DC's youngsters. I'd love to see him carve out a new nook in the new DC universe, in the lines of Runaways or the many other youngster teams that have proliferated throughout Marvel. I know he took an incredibly brief dabble in the Wildstorm universe, perhaps he would be able to further incorporate some of those bits that he has some past experience with into the new verse. He could even stretch into the Legion-verse, as difficult as doing so may be. The DC line could certainly use some strong work with youngsters and Gage is one of my top marks in that respect.

6. Rick Remender

One of the current goldenboys, heartily adored by his fans, and incredibly unlikely to part ways with the Marvel house, Remender would nevertheless be quite enjoyable to see in that Edge to Dark category, perhaps taking a crack at something like Justice League Dark or a new take on the world of Checkmate and the spy-ops side of the world. While unlikely to cross the line, he would certainly be welcomed particularly as those new groups become more widely embraced and expanded.

7. Jeff Parker

When I went through a brief break from a majority of titles, my LCS guy compelled me to check out Thunderbolts. He was so passionate that I broke my Marvel-fast and boy was I glad I did. Particularly at the time, Parker's work made a very strong impression and the title has been on my pull list ever since. While it seems a cop out to put him in a Thunderbolts equivalent title, a book like Suicide Squad would be really cool to see under his hand, or even some new presentation of the same form as in the vein of Secret Six. I wouldn't want to limit him to such a thing (although a Thunderbolts vs. Suicide Squad crossover would be the bee's knees) so I'd probably say a Justice League title might be a bit of fun to see with Parker at the helm.

8. Nick Spencer

I know, I know, he is writing a DC book right now and beyond that he is Marvel exclusive. But Morning Glories really rocked my world and I'd love to see Nick play around with a cross between the titles of Young Justice, The Edge and The Dark. His first volume of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was pretty darned cool and I can't wait to check out the next mini of it. Hopefully we can snake a bit more out of that loophole and get some DC Nick Spencer.

In addition to these, it'd be fun to see Peter David return to an actual 'Young Justice' title, Mark Waid on a new Wally West Flash book and Greg Rucka back with Batwoman (although the current creative team is A+ without him as well).

Those are my thoughts for now... if you have any, chime in with comments and ideas! I'll be back soon with either the reversal or the artists side of the coin.

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Inevitable Rants (The result of negative business practices)

I just needed somewhere to type and think out a bit of frustration... so if you're actually reading this, my apologies for sloppy unorganized (or critical) writing. I am incredibly fed up with the obnoxious tactics that Marvel has been using just to get a sales advantage. While the tactics themselves don't bother me, it is the deteriorative effect that their excessive focus on those tactics has on their actual product.

Before we even get started on that: Fantastic Four #600. Really? It isn't the 600th issue, I'm sorry but the FF issues do not count. It is really annoying. Stop renumbering. Second, $7.99? Ludicrous! Ridiculous. Are you kidding me? The saddest part is that the zombies will pay it, hands down. And so will the people flooding to the shop because of the (I'm sure soon to be published) press that the issue has received. Spoilers! Johnny Storm returns! omg! Probably the article feature some language like "After a lengthy time period, Marvel is incredibly pleased to announce the return of one of their classic heroes with a fresh new start!" I'm sorry, but when I saw that nonsense at the return of Captain America, it took all my delight at having the character back and threw it out the window. These fabricated moments are ruining the fun, I'm sorry to say. URG!

Then we get to the double shipping. So I took some time off from Marvel because of one of their other tactics, the negative smear tactic of ripping up 100 DC comics to get one free Marvel one. It is a tactic I loathe. Anyways, after the proscribed time off I planned to return to some Marvel titles. I have dabbled in a few samples and suggestions and am pleased to have 10 titles that will be my initial core in January. My plan, however, was to have 15 initially. But because January was a double ship month for many of the titles I planned on buying, I had to cut that down. (Speaking of cutting down, don't get me started on the cancellation business, that made me have to start all over again.) Then I re-evaluated and planned for an upgrade in February. Sure enough, they made the situation even worse. 17 titles are double-shipping in that month. 17! I get that it is a five week month and so a little doubling up might be okay, with an added buffer of minis and the like... but this is just out of control. If someone budgets for $50 in a month for titles and then suddenly has the output doubled, they're now $50 beyond their budget! I get you want our money, but those of us that mark ourselves as loyalists to the medium have already long stretched ourselves to meet your max. If you push us, we have to cut and limit. HINT: CUTTING AND LIMITING. NOT AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY. Sorry. Again, I normally like to be as optimistic as possible... but that isn't blind optimism. That isn't unrealistic positivism... and this is the backlash of that equation.

Marvel, please, stop doing everything you can to tick me off. How much clearer can I make this: I WANT TO BE YOUR CUSTOMER. But if you continue practices that treat your customers, realtors and creators like dirt, I will not tolerate it. Long has the characterization of the company relationship (particularly with regards to realtors) been noted as abusive in nature. And many have admitted that their fandom makes them submissive and purposefully blind to this negative nature. After all, it seems better to be in the club and beaten than out of it entirely. Make no mistake. I will not accept it. I may be a singular customer, and the sales losses from one fan's choices may not effect you now. But in the long run, if you keep up with this rate of standard fan attrition, as more of us become worn from this treatment, it will lose you everything. I was once a nearly blind loyalist to the company, but I woke from it. If you keep down this road, more frustration will build. Stop being the bad guys.

In terms of actual direct losses: You publish nearly $300 worth of single issue product each month. After reducing that to reflect non-universe properties (Adaptations and the like) it marks to usually around upwards of $250. At this point, my January spending limit on Marvel product is $50. I admit that I have the potential enthusiasm that I would buy your ENTIRE line, for an ENTIRE year. Don't believe me? I managed nearly every single title for DC last year. Around the time of House of M and even up to Civil War, I bought every book from you. So consider that each month you do this, each month you keep me alienated, you are losing potential profit. $200 a month. $2,400+ a year. Just food for thought.

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