Thursday, January 17, 2008

Showcase Update '08

As with Marvel, I did a list last year around this time of
the top fifteen DC titles I'd like to see released in the 'Showcase Presents' format. And as with Marvel, it's time to update that list in light of another year of releases.

So before we present the new Fine Fifteen, how did DC do in 2007? The short answer, they killed. They absolutely demolished my list, presenting me with nine of the fifteen that I most wanted to see, including my top four, plus giving collections to several of the honorable mentions. They gave us 'Batman and the Outsiders', the 'World's Finest', 'Sergeant Rock', 'Supergirl', 'The Atom', 'The Flash', 'The Metal Men', 'Adam Strange', and 'House of Secrets' has already been solicited. Really, the only way the year could have gone better is if they hadn't pulled the rug out from under us on the 'Suicide Squad' collection.

I don't really expect 2008 to have as many new series as 2007, because they're going to be putting out more volume twos and threes of existing series (which I have no complaints with; I'm very much looking forward to more 'Legion of Super-Heroes', for example.) But this is the goal to shoot for, in my eyes:

15. Kamandi. To be honest, this one is really only on here because so many of my top fifteen got knocked out from last year that there's room for "stuff I've kind of heard of that sounds vaguely interesting". I know very little about it, other than that it's about The Last Boy On Earth and animal-people. But hey, it's got to be worth a read...

14. The Demon. He's a staple character of DC's magical line-up, and it'd probably be nice to have a big thick book of his adventures just to get people up to speed on who he is and why he's always rhyming. (Plus, if the volumes go far enough, they'll hit Garth Ennis' run on the series, and that has to be good.)

13. New Gods. To be honest, I've never been that big of a fan of Kirby's DC work; I think he did his best work for Marvel, in collaboration with Stan Lee. But the Fourth World mythos are so integral to DC that they really do deserve a "reader's edition" for us poor chumps, to go along with the expensive omnibii they're released.

12. The Blackhawks. You'd have to be careful to avoid their goofy "super-hero" phase, but let's face it; DC did them some good war comics back in the day, and this would probably go very well on my shelf with 'The Haunted Tank', 'The Unknown Soldier', 'The War That Time Forgot', and 'Sergeant Rock'. (True story: I re-read 'World War Z', and when I got to the Battle of Yonkers, the big collapse against a tide of zombie forces, I found myself thinking, "This never would have happened if Sergeant Rock was there.")

11. Sugar and Spike. So far, they've done a ton of super-hero and war comics, with a smidgen of horror. But there were comedy comics around back then, too!

10. Plastic Man. Really, he's about the only major DC character left who doesn't have a 'Showcase Presents' volume. ("Major" being here defined as "If you went up to a random man or woman on the street, and asked them to name as many comic book characters as they could, Plastic Man would probably get named more than half the time.")

9. Warlord. I salivate just thinking of black-and-white Mike Grell sword-and-sorcery artwork.

8. The Question. I'm pretty sure they did release a collection of this sometime this year, but it wasn't a cheap, hefty chunk of over 500 black-and-white pages, so as far as I'm concerned, it didn't count.

7. Swamp Thing. Obviously, they've already collected Alan Moore's groundbreaking run, and part of Rick Veitch's work on the series, but that's really just the tip of the iceberg. You probably wouldn't even get to Moore's first issue in Volume One, and it'd be very nice to see exactly what led into 'The Anatomy Lesson' without having to track down back issues.

6. Doom Patrol. Probably not recognizable to the man on the street, but to DC fans, this is another really obvious hole in the line-up that needs filling.

5. Firestorm. Having read a few scattered issues, I'm really surprised at how well Gerry Conway's "Marvel-style" writing works for DC, how strong a storytelling engine this was, and I'd just like to see a lot more of it.

4. Blue Beetle. Not sure exactly which comics they'd use for this, whether they'd be able to use Steve Ditko's work, or whether they'd skip straight to his 80s series, but either one presents some fun options. There's a lot of strong nostalgia appeal for Ted Kord right now, and they'd be foolish not to take advantage of it.

3. Hawk and Dove. I cannot be the only person who adored this series. "First rule: Don't mess with Hawk." "Batgirl...doesn't exist anymore." And probably my favorite bit, "I can think of fifteen ways to stop you from firing that gun right now. Six are painful."

2. Suicide Squad. This got a bit of a bump this year because I came so close to actually holding it in my is emblematic of all of the "delayed" titles, like 'Secret Society of Super-Villains' and 'Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew'. DC said they'd be out in the second half of 2008; let's hope they don't just expect us fans to have short memories, eh?

1. MAD Magazine. Bit of a long-shot, as I'm not actually 100% sure they have the rights (Warner Brothers owns MAD, Warner Brothers owns DC, not sure if the syllogism completes, though); however, MAD Magazine is more than just a piece of DC history, it's a piece of American history. Reading MAD as a kid was a rite of passage, an education in the sometimes cynical, sometimes strange world of adults. It taught you politics, it taught you culture, and it taught you (perhaps most importantly) not to believe everything you were told. MAD Magazine has become a perfect time capsule of our nation's history for the past half-century, and it deserves to be collected in its entirety. And it deserves to be collected...for $15.99 (Cheap!)


Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I'm not too big on Silver Age DC, other than as a historical document. But I would jump at the chance to own Suicide Squad, Firestorm, The Question (will probably pick up the color trade anyway), Doom Patrol, Warlord, and even something like Blue Beetle or Booster Gold.

I'd pick up later editions of Green Lantern and the Flash too, particularly from the 70s-present.

Johnny Bacardi said...

The reluctance to re-release Sugar and Spike is a complete mystery to me. You'd think they could sell a good S&S collection (even full color, which I'd prefer) just about anywhere, especially big name bookstores. I thought for sure they'd try it when Rugrats was so popular, but no...

Somebody at DC likes the characters, though, because they put 'em on their Christmas cards this year!

Anonymous said...

You can get a CD-ROM with all the MAD magazines on it for around $50. Try Amazon. I'd get it for your birthday, but I'm too cheap. Your sis, Lib

Cuitlamiztli Carter said...

For Beetle, I'd say it'd have to be the Ditko issues. His eighties series just wasn't that good (fun at times, but generally flat), and makes more sense in light of Ditko's exciting work.

Also, Vic Sage (The Question) appears in a Blue Beetle adventure, so they could easily collect the limited Ditko work on The Question in that same showcase.