Monday, August 22, 2011
PULPTACULAR | 10 Marvel Pulps We'd Love to See
As DC's New 52 comes closer to reality, it's got me thinking about what if Marvel did the same thing. Actually, though I wish I'd thought of this myself, it was Comics Should Be Good that came up with the idea of developing your own Marvel 52. That's a project I'm tackling at my personal blog, but as I started in on it, I realized that there are a lot of great, pulp concepts that Marvel's had over the years and I'd love to see more of. Or straight-up superheroes that would work great in a pulp setting: Westerns, jungle adventures, heroic pulp, spies, space opera...
Here are ten pulp titles that I'd love to see Marvel do; not necessarily as part of a company-wide relaunch, but just because they'd be great series. This is just fantasizing about what I'd love to see without considering things like sales or the chances of Alan Moore's ever working for Marvel again. I'd love to hear your Marvel pulp dreams in the comments.
1. Gamora by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Sam Hiti
Gamora's got a lot of history in Marvel's cosmic comics, but the focus on this would be her traveling the universe as an intergalactic bounty hunter. Gamora's extremely hard to kill and has a wicked sense of humor. Kelly Sue DeConnick (Osborn, Supergirl) can deliver the goods on funny (and excitement) while Sam Hiti (Tiempos Finales, Death-Day) knows everything about drawing beautiful women and exotic, alien landscapes.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy by Roger Langridge and Shaun Tan
As fun as a Gamora solo-title would be, we also need a book that can capture the rest of Marvel's cosmic characters like Silver Surfer, Thanos, and Rocket Raccoon. Roger Langridge (Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Snarked!) has the imagination to make that incredible, while Shaun Tan (The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia) has the ability to mix the real and the odd in a unique, believable way. He's not known for action sequences, so I'd be interested to see how he tackled that, but I can already imagine his depiction of the arrival of Galactus, and it's mind-blowing.
3. Sabra by Carla Jablonsky and Laurenn McCubbin
Sabra isn't a well-known character, but I've been fascinated by her since I first saw her in The Incredible Hulk #256. Maybe because she took her Israeli heritage so seriously, yet didn't seem to have been created specifically to fill a slot as Israel's Superhero for Contest of Champions or something. She eventually became just another of the many, international mutants running around the X-Men's corner of the Marvel Universe, but I've always thought she was better than that. I'd love to see her in a series that focused on the issues of the Middle East in a thoughtful, objective way. Not that Sabra herself should be objective about them, but that the series could explore the region and its history in a way that educates as well as entertains. Carla Jablonsky's done something similar with WWII Occupied France in her Resistance series, so I picked her to write. Laurenn McCubbin has a great, realistic style that would complement that kind of story beautifully.
4. Black Widow by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Amanda Conner
This is the second book I'd give Kelly Sue DeConnick. I promise that I haven't purposely matched up women creators with women characters, but it worked out that way in DeConnick's case. I'd love to see her write Black Widow. As for Amanda Conner: I love seeing anything she draws, but one look at her variant cover from Secret Avengers #6 above and you'll get why I want her on a Black Widow comic so badly. This would be straight-up spy stuff; maybe with an occasional guest-appearance by other Marvel characters, but focused on espionage.
5. Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD by James Turner and Luc Jacamon
If you've read James Turner's Rex Libris or Warlord of IO (and you should; they're both great pulp), you know how insanely, awesomely inventive he is. Just the guy to put the "super" back into super spy. And Luc Jacamon (The Killer) knows all about drawing deadly people in diverse settings, both urban and exotic.
6. Mystery Men by Susan Kim and Guy Davis
Let's pretend that David Liss and Patrick Zircher aren't available to continue the excellent series they created at Marvel. If that were the case, I'd give the '30s-set heroic pulp to Susan Kim, who did a great job with her adventurous City of Spies set in a similar time period. I'm also aching to see Guy Davis do some more stuff like he did on Sandman Mystery Theatre, so he has to draw it.
7. Tigra by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, and Kerry Callen
The inspiration for this book is two-fold. First, I wanted a jungle comic and Tigra would work great in that setting. She wouldn't have to stay only in that setting, but it would be a great homebase for her. The second inspiration was this description by Kerry Callen of what he wanted in a Tigra series: "a fun-loving character whose cat-like curiosity gets her into interesting predicaments." Pak and Van Lente would be perfect for that and one look at Callen's blog tells you that he's the only guy for the visual part of the job.
8. The Savage Land by Joshua Fialkov and Jeremy Bastian
It's another jungle comic, but this one's different from Tigra. Her comic would be much more versatile with lots of guest-stars from other Marvel characters. The Savage Land of course would be set exclusively in the prehistoric world beneath Antarctica. At first I thought I'd call it Ka-Zar and Shanna, but then I remembered the temptation writers have to take those two out of the Savage Land and have them interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe. Renaming it The Savage Land (which is a much cooler title anyway) removes that temptation.There's a whole world to explore there and as long as I'm fantasizing about my dream comics (as opposed to worrying about sales), I want to keep these characters out of the rest of the Marvel Universe. I don't care if other Marvel characters stop by for a visit, but I want the setting to stay consistent.
Josh Fialkov (Elk's Run, Tumor) does really well with setting and small casts of characters, so I pick him to write. Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl) draws lavishly and I'd love to see the creatures and landscapes he could fill the Savage Land with.
9. The Rangers by Alan Moore and J Bone
Based on another group of characters I once read about in The Incredible Hulk (#265 this time). The Rangers were a goofy team created by Bill Mantlo, but I liked their modern-Western concept and the sheer zaniness of it would be a great playground for Alan Moore. The team included Firebird (probably the most famous character to come out of the team) as well as modern versions of Red Wolf and the original Ghost Rider (renamed Phantom Rider to avoid confusion) and a couple of very Mantlo characters: Shooting Star (her gun shoots stars!) and Texas Twister (tornado powers). In keeping with making the series fun and versatile, J Bone can draw absolutely anything and make it look wonderful.
10. Gunslingers by John Ostrander and Leonardo Manco
Counterpoint to The Rangers, this would be a real Western set in the late 1800s. Really it's just a continuation of Ostrander and Manco's two mini-series, Blaze of Glory and Apache Skies in which they updated Marvel's classic, Western heroes for modern fans of the genre.
So that's ten Marvel pulps I'd love to see. Tell me yours in the comments!
This was more or less cross-posted - after considerable editing - from my blog.