Bits and Bytes: June 29, 2011

The site will be undergoing an overhaul in the next couple of weeks. Just giving any visitors a heads up that existing formats may be a bit wonky for a time.

And with the site overhaul comes another Ormes roundup! There are so many women out there who have disregarded the mainstream and print and instead have embraced the web as a method for distributing their art. Still, remaining in small deviantArt and Tumblr clusters doesn’t help with widespread recognition! And widespread recognition helps bring steady paychecks from established companies (and a professional reputation and health insurance). If you are a black woman creating comics, I want to know about you. I want to know about you so I can yell at you and ask you why you haven’t been promoting yourself in areas of the web that editors frequent. I want to know about you so I can ask you why you are not submitting to Image. I want to know about you so that you can get picked up by Marvel or DC. I want to know about you so that you can get some damn money. You know the drill. Email. Reblog. Network. Submit. C’mon, son! It’s just five damn pages! Get out there.

It seems that I was wrong about two of the characters in my previous post! Unfortunately, the Atom shown is not Ryan Choi, but the original Atom, Ray Palmer. I’m terribly disappointed by that. I feel that Choi has a great deal of potential, not only in comics, but in television as well. The Atom would make for a wonderful children’s cartoon. Of course, I’m referring to Choi and not the aged divorcee Palmer. As for my remaining error, it seems as though the Element Woman depicted in the promotional image is a new character from Flashpoint and not the character last seen in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. So, we have lost an Asian character, but we have gained one as well. Unfortunately, we’ve gained one that is so deformed by her powers that she appears to be a bizarrely colored humanoid. We have the same issue that pops up in Teen Titans. The white characters are all clearly depicted, with no deformities that prevent one from determining their race or gender. Characters of color? Inhuman skin tones, hair hidden by power signatures, and bizarre appendages. And there’s always the occasional occurrence of being reincarnated in the body of a white guy. Comics, everybody! I was joking with Ragnell on Twitter about what the fan reaction would have been had DC randomly changed the appearance/ethnic background of its most popular characters with the reboot. I almost wish DC had done it. I’d rather have an olive-skinned, Latina Cassie Sandsmark than a new black heroine with purple skin, fire for hair, and the exact same face as the two other white girls on the team.

And finally, can I just say that I love what is being done with Batman, Inc.? And that I hate it at the very same time? The fact that this new direction is able to spotlight characters from a wide variety of cultures and also show how a difference in culture leads to very different methods of being a hero is wonderful. Fan-freaking-tastic. The fact that all these different heroes forego developing their own myths to expand and represent a myth derived from one hero (Bruce Wayne), one subculture (white, American, Christian), and one class (wealthy) just bugs. Oh, how it bugs. Oh, Batman. I love you like I love hip-hop. And though hip-hop belongs to the world now, we all know damn well who started it and where and who its roots and essence spring from.


JL: The B-List

Justice LeagueI feel rather guilty commenting on this image. After all, a character is a character is a character where a superhero is concerned. The redundancy that occurs is so rampant that a mainstream comic is only as good as the creative team attached to it. The concept? The character’s design? Well, it has all been done before, hasn’t it? Any complaints I have simply come down to a matter of personal taste. My opinion is no more valid than the opinion of any other reader.

A company only has to worry when a large number of negative opinions correspond. And even in this instance action is not necessarily needed right away. Trademarks can take quite a few blows before one is forced to assess the damage and make crucial changes. DC could have happily coasted on America’s love for Batman for several more years if need be. However, its second base, Superman, seemed to be wearing away beneath a wave of apathy and continuous court proceedings. It was clear that a change was needed. But have enough changes been made?

Aside from the addition of Cyborg, DC’s “big seven” are the same characters we have always seen. And so far, the costume designs and origins have not been altered enough to spark my interest. But on a positive note, these small changes might be the exact changes needed to rein in lapsed DC fans. Personally, I would have swapped Cyborg out for Mr. Terrific. Yes, Cyborg is a known intellectual property, but the majority of individuals familiar with the character know him as a teen. Placing him in the JLA is akin to putting Blade in a children’s cartoon. It can be done, but why? Mr. Terrific is a better fit as the JLA’s resident tech hero and a JLA placement would have helped to bolster sales of his solo series. Again, just one opinion. I would have also swapped Barry for Wally, but most Americans couldn’t care less which character is in the suit. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. All of DC’s most powerful trademarks are lined up in a neat little row—as it should be.

The second tier is where DC veers severely off course. And sadly, the second tier is more important than the first, for that is where the powerful trademarks of the future are found. Judging from this group? DC’s future looks weak and out of touch with mainstream America.

But let’s focus on the good first. The Atom. If that is a poorly rendered Ryan Choi, then I’m very impressed. Bringing an Asian American character into the “big leagues” is a great move. Bringing back a dead character that fans thought of fondly? Even better. Bringing in a character that can bring a fun Spider-manesque quality to the table that is truly unique for the crew assembled? Enjoy your home run, DC. You’ve earned it. Still, that could be Ray Palmer depicted, but I’m not even going to contemplate the possibility that DC would make such a backward-looking and uninspired choice.

Moving on, we have Deadman, Element Woman, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Mera, and an unknown woman who could be any number of DC’s light-haired heroines. The first thing that comes to my attention is how overwhelmingly white the troop is. This wouldn’t be an issue, but given the minimal ethnic and racial diversity within the “big seven” it is a troubling problem. This is supposed to be the future of the DCU. These are the intellectual properties that will be DC’s building blocks for the next several decades. And they in no way reflect the future of America visually. They in no way reflect the present of America visually. I think making this incarnation of Hawkman multi-racial/ethnic would help—especially given America’s latest crop of action heroes. However, DC’s new characters of color seem to be exclusively male. This should also be rectified. Replacing a redundant character such as Mera or Element Woman with a female character of color would be an improvement—preferably a woman who is not the same ethnicity as Atom or Cyborg and doesn’t have the same exact powers as another member of the team (Aquaman or Firestorm). Energy blasts or magical powers, perhaps?

The addition of Green Arrow is another misstep. The character’s skills are dated. A character that shoots arrows in an age of guns? The character’s appearance is dated. A Robin Hood pastiche? And there are already two white male blondes on the team. Why has a third one that brings nothing to the table and has failed consistently in connecting with fans been added? The answer to that question had better not be because the character appeared in Smallville—a show that is now cancelled.

As for Deadman, Firestorm, and Mera, being showcased in high profile events and series have not roused fan interest. Why the continual promotion of characters that fail to perform? Is it because DC is looking to place these characters in film or television? Note: What works in one medium does not always work in another. I think Hitman would work well as an HBO series. Hitman would also be a terrible addition to the JLA. Everything has its place. Research and common sense help to identify that place cheaper and faster.

And with that? The constant DC coverage comes to an end. I mean, really. DC doesn’t pay my bills and doesn’t even produce the comics I actually read!

Shout out to Dark Horse, by the way.


LOLCATS.

I was all set to ruthlessly mock DC over the latest brouhaha involving Superman #712. However, that would be too easy and would not get to the heart of the problem—that something is seriously wrong with DC’s public relations division. Either this branch is staffed by individuals who are at a complete loss when it comes to interacting with any individual who is not a white Christian heterosexual male from a suburban and fairly homogeneous community, or this division is staffed with individuals so toothless that they refuse to discuss possible public relations disasters with the creative division well before they have a chance to occur. Of course, there is the possibility that members of DC’s public relations division have no interest in actually doing their jobs properly, for that would mean having to maintain close contact with the creative and editorial divisions in order to keep tabs on output. A boring and thankless job? Yes, but it is a job. It is what one is hired to do!

A good PR man would have seen trouble on the horizon as soon as he was informed that the original story had been pulled. He would have approached an editor about it. And if he couldn’t change the editor’s mind? He sure as hell would have had something better than kittens and a Kanye shrug to present to the press and any irate fans circling.

Someday, someone at DC is bound to notice that they are continually cutting checks for people who have continually failed to get the job done, right? Right?


Voodoo dreams.

Voodoo

Ron Marz is a capable and dependable writer. Fans are familiar with him.

Still, I have no plans to read the new Voodoo series. Sadly, I don’t think many other people will either.

Of course, I’m guessing that their reasons will vary greatly from my own. Though I love the character, Pris is hardly popular with mainstream comic fans. Come September, she will be crowded out by more popular intellectual properties. There is only so much money to spend, after all. And most of it will go towards the Dark Knight and his merry band of leather-clad associates. And though Marz is capable and dependable, he is neither controversial nor novel. His interviews and output do not draw the same attention given to those featuring veteran peers such as Morrison or fresh young upstarts like Edmonson. Edmonson has an attractive, exciting reputation that has drawn fans to discuss Grifter—Grifter!—I character I adore, but one that I can easily admit is merely a slapdash mix of Gambit and Wolverine. And yet here I sit, contemplating purchasing the character’s new series—with nary an X-Men or Wolverine to be found on my pull list. Why? The mix of a character that I am fond of plus the addition of a “hot” creative team has sparked my interest.

So, why am I not picking up Voodoo? Solid creative team, a character I adore—should be right up my alley, no? No. Lackluster interviews and promotional copy that alludes to the fact that the character will be brought back to “square one” in terms of character development has put me off. I’ve read stories where this character has grown from a naïve plaything unaware of her heritage into an accomplished fighter deeply proud of who she is. I am not interested in reading a new version of that arc. I’ve read Alan Moore’s version. I’m pretty satisfied. Then again, I’m not the target audience.

Honestly, I don’t feel that there is an audience for this book. Fans of Voodoo don’t want to see a rehash of earlier stories. Fans of Marz would rather see the creator work on a character that “counts.” Witchblade fans are fans of Witchblade. I don’t see many of them following Marz to his new series.

My armchair editor rundown? Why, of course I’ll give it to you! I would have stolen Marz from Image too. However, I would have placed him with a mainstream second-tier superhero with a built-in audience. I believe that handing him a character with barely any name recognition was a mistake. As for Voodoo? I would have been on the hunt for the next Liu to take the reins of that book. I would have quietly approached YA fantasy authors and writers from popular cult shows like True Blood to pen a six-issue arc—someone who could draw as much attention as possible to the book. I might have really gone out on a limb and approached a writer like Zane. I probably wouldn’t have been pleased with the result creatively, but that writer knows how to get people to part with their dollars, and holds the attention of an audience DC could never dream of reaching. Plus, having a black writer on Voodoo might have taken the edge off of comments such as this one. I love Voodoo, and Vixen certainly doesn’t offend me in any way, but on paper DC’s only two black heroines are a stripper and a woman who can mimic wild animals. Whoo! So not a good look.


Last two.

“Hell, at least put Cassandra Cain in Stormwatch. Apollo and Midnighter can be her parents and Martian Manhunter can be her awesome uncle. Screw a Bat-symbol. They could have called her Twilight! Wrong, but funny.”

—Cheryl Lynn Eaton

I was joking at first, but…I think I might actually like that. Sure as hell beats being benched.


Social media ramblings.

“Was I right about the fifty-second book being another 52? Because that is an awesome idea and I am awesome for having it. Two five page stories each—$1.50 for ten pages featuring background information and character spotlights. Plus—plus—it’s used as a way to break new artists and writers into the industry. Aspiring creators will bring their A+ game in the hopes of moving up to the big leagues. And DC could get a nice chunky backlog of stories in case a regular artist is late…which will happen.”

—Cheryl Lynn Eaton

I still think it’s a good idea. It’s also a nice way to let long-term readers discover where the characters they once loved are now in the new DC universe. Are they heroes? Average Joes just trying to make it in the DCU? Inquiring minds want to know!


Back to the future.

Teen Titans

All I see are the same four white kids I’ve always seen and two hideous monsters.

Going by the gossip around the web, I’m assuming that the two unknown characters are POC. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it have been a good idea for the POC characters to actually be clearly visible as POC? Especially since they seem to be teenage girls of color—who have been pretty much invisible in the past at DC. Also, wouldn’t it have been a good idea to put Jamie and Static in this book as well in order to slowly build their popularity in a team setting instead of throwing them right into solo books to automatically sink or swim in a very short time frame in a very weak market?

I know I’m harping on the few negative things about this reboot, but I’m hoping that these are things that can be tweaked before everything is locked into place come September.

Oh, and while I’m complaining, let me bring something else up! DC, why aren’t these books available for preorder? People should be able to pay for these books right now while they are thinking about them! I was all set to make a big journal entry about all of the upcoming DC comics featuring black characters and post it on some of the non-comic black-focused entertainment boards I frequent. Then I realized that there would be no point. None of those readers would remember to walk into a comic shop three months from now and buy those books. And three months from now, I’m not going to feel like digging through Source blog posts for pictures and copy to repost. Wouldn’t it have been nice if I could have told people about Mr. Terrific, people could have went to Amazon or iTunes to order his comic, and the comic would have been delivered to their iPads and inboxes three months later like a fantastic little surprise? Boy, that would have been nice!

Oh, well.


Lost girls

I am going to talk about all of the wonderful things going on at DC in a minute. Right now? We’re going to talk about the bad things—bad things that are not exactly exclusive to DC. I had hoped the new focus on diversity at DC would result in a focus on different creators as well as different characters. Unfortunately, only the latter happened. I’ve got to admit that I’m a little disappointed, especially since some wonderful female and POC creators were lost in the shuffle while creators I wouldn’t have picked for projects were handed ongoing books. C’est la vie. But guys? Guys?

This is crazy. Know what else is crazy? Nicola Scott doesn’t have an ongoing.

Allow me to repeat that. Nicola Scott does not have an ongoing. DC, have you lost your mind? Nah, I’m playing. With only 52 books, certain creators are going to be lost in the shuffle. That’s just the way it is. But man, did you lose a couple of aces in that shuffle.

Meme time! And I’m tagging each and every one of you out there! Name a female or POC creator that you would have liked to see at DC who has worked for them in the past. That’s not all! Name a book that’s a perfect fit for her/him. And those books don’t have to be limited to DC, either! I’ll give you one to start off with.

Creator: Nicola Scott
Books: The Caped and the Vestless—a humor miniseries along the lines of Heroes for Hire, but focusing mostly on romantic and familial relationships with a side order of face-kicking and car-throwing. She-Hulk. Ms. Marvel. A flagship X-Book. Gen 13 (starring Static, Blue Beetle, Traci 13, Miss Martian, and Aquagirl). Power Girl. Empowered Special: Sistah Spooky Speaks!

Okay, name your own! And yes, WS creators count! Hmm, I should go ahead and make a Marc Bernardin list too.


The image.

Justice LeagueWell, everyone else is talking about it! I might as well throw my two cents in.

Aquaman: Isn’t he dreamy? Kudos for going the pretty boy route. Is Aquaman next up to get the CW treatment? I could totally see this Aquaman standing out in the rain casting lovelorn looks at some chick from a dysfunctional home near the docks. This is your heart throb, DC. Your Jax Teller. Your Thor. I want to see some epic angst-ridden romance with this dude. And then farm it all out to television and wait for the Tumblrs to start tumbling. Late 20s on this one. Noble. Brooding. Suffering in silence.

Flash: Get rid of that chin guard! So ’90s. Just stick with the classic look! And I hope that’s Wally. I don’t give a damn about Barry. Let Barry be a blissfully happy family man in his 50s. And Bart can get kicked to the future. And I know this is going to make some people mad, but I don’t want Flash married with kids either. Knock him down to his mid 20s. We don’t need a million characters with speed powers running around. Give Barry some kids and let him be a mentor to Wally. One Flash. That’s it. It’s a title that gets handed down through the family. And why does he look so serious? Flash should be fun!

Cyborg: No. No, no, no. Again, so ’90s! Technology is getting smaller and sleeker by the day. What is this? The good thing is that Cyborg’s costume should be constantly updating; you can get away with quickly changing this design. I understand that Cyborg needs to be the “big guy” on the team to keep him in line with what people remember from the Teen Titans cartoon. Fine. He can be big. The costume should be sleek. Something akin to the Engineer from The Authority. Remember Adam Warren’s take on Cyborg from his Titans one-shot? I want to see Cyborg doing crazy stuff like that too. As for the man inside the weapon? I’d like to see him look like a regular guy when off-duty. White suits. Low haircut (Google Reggie Bush or 50 Cent). Glowing eyes to let people know that something’s not quite right with this dude. Early 30s. Can be a bit abrupt or cold. There’s a danger of him getting lost in the machine.

Green Lantern: Honestly? I just don’t care. It’s fine, I guess. Mid thirties. Established. And boring—just like he’s always been.

Superman: Why so young? You need to bump his age up to early thirties. He’s the Cap of the DC universe! Plus, nobody feels like sitting through this dude’s origin again. Real talk? I’m not a long-term DC fan, so I could care less if you make him single again. But long-term fans will care. A lot. You’d better have Lois in there somewhere as a viable, likeable love interest. Learn from Marvel’s mistake on that one, baby. And don’t chain him to the paper either. Or to Metropolis. Print is dead and globalization is here to stay. Make him an investigative journalist. A younger, wilder Anderson Cooper. A Superman story should be able to take place anywhere at any time. Never mind. Just let Morrison do whatever the hell he feels like. Fans will buy it on his name alone. And there a 99.9 percent chance it will be amazing.

Batman: Mid thirties. Established. Old money. Long money. Honestly, I’d go back to basics. One Batman. Anyone else running around with a Batman symbol on is doing it without his approval or training. I’d make Cassandra Cain his Robin. He’d use her for minor jobs where he felt the risk involved was very low. She’d keep pushing for more. I like the design! But it’s fairly impossible to screw up Batman. No matter how insane the design or story, it always seems to work.

Wonder Woman: Sigh. Either use the classic design or go with the final one from the pilot! And please cut it out with the man-hating Amazons! Look, I’ll make this easy for you. Female Thor. Showed up in the late 1800s as Lady Liberty, but was so disgusted with “Man’s World” that she returned home. Popped up again in the ’20s and ’70s. Rumored to have vanished in the late ’70s to give birth to a child in secret. She doesn’t like when people bring up that rumor.

Uh, that’s it! We can sift through the other rumors later—especially any pertaining to the WS characters. You know I’ll be on those soon.


Chromatic Casting?

Rashida Jones as Lois Lane? That’s not chromatic casting. That’s just good casting. Chick looks enough like Lois to me. And I am one hell of a stickler for actors looking like the characters they portray.

That’s a bad photo of her on the Racialicious site though. She’s way hotter than that. But I’ve gotta go to work. Do your own Googling, son!


Oh, really?

“WBCP has already been exploiting its Super Girl brand to compete with Disney’s popular princesses line.”

Marc Graser

I guess we’ll get a line with Batgirl after that. And then Catwoman. Maybe even Power Girl and Wonder Girl might make the scene. Well, good luck pushing a makeup line built around your major female characters when all your major female characters have the same damn skin tone! Except for green, of course. Let me know how competing with Disney’s “royal rainbow” works out for you when it comes to marketing and brand building!

That said, I do think the makeup line is awesome and something I (and a whole host of other fangirls) asked for ages ago. And I’m glad it’s here, even if I’m sticking with plain ol’ Clinque. Boring packaging aside, Clinque is the absolute best. Hands down. I’m really surprised.


So what do I want?

Last comics post, y’all. DC and Marvel do not pay my rent and I really don’t care about the health of either company when neither is making all that much (or any) effort to entertain me or others like me. Now, that could be due to clueless marketing reps rather than complete indifference. (And if so, what are they collecting checks for?) Just in case? Here goes.

I want a Power Man webcomic called “Black and Yellow” running over at Nah Right for a few weeks. I want Luke Cage to have a bomb-ass logo to put on t-shirts and jackets. Same goes for Anya. I want Power Girl (drawn and written by Amanda Conner) to give Esquire‘s Funny Joke from a Beautiful Woman for one month. I want Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. I want a Daughters of the Dragon ongoing starring Misty, Colleen, Felicia, and Angela. I want the female Young Avengers tackling an advice column in Seventeen magazine. I want a quirky photoshoot starring Power Girl in Glamour magazine. I want Norah Winters gone. I want a giant one-shot of stories about Marvel characters set to classic rap songs. I want an adorable animated Cho giving tech reviews one day on AOTS. I want a new Young Justice comic starring Static, Blue Beetle, and Batgirl. I want Marvel-inspired exclusives from Nike. I want John to get the same face time as Guy and Kyle. I want minority characters as more than window dressing. I want a Wonder Woman television show. I want at least two of the Stepford Supers to change their hair color and style. I want consistent promotion given to minority characters over a prolonged period of time. Stop recycling your heroes of color and yanking them from the spotlight after a short time so no one hero (Cyborg, Static, Batgirl, Blue Beetle, Solstice, Aqualad) ever gets a foothold. I want diversity and good comics. And cartoons. And video games. And gear.

Make it happen—now. Or don’t. I don’t have time to waste waiting. Other companies (comics, animation, video games, etc.) are already circling.


Holding the line.

Okay, after discussing it on Twitter I’ve come to the conclusion that DC is a lost cause where diversity is concerned. Fans of established (and even not-so-established) white characters at DC do not want to give up shelf space or panel time to make room for minority heroes. And can you blame them? If you have a comic that is catering to your every need, why would you want to give it up? To provide shelf space for a book for someone else? To have a story where your favorite character has to stand in the background 50 percent of the time so someone else can save the day or get the guy/girl? No one is that altruistic when it comes to their entertainment. It’s not about keeping the Asian girl (or Black man, or Latino kid) down. That’s just a very unfortunate side effect. It’s about having that same girl you love in three different books in three different settings—and how freaking awesome is that? Well, I bet that is awesome. And, if you gave me three books I love and then took away one, I’m going to be annoyed. Yes, I still have two, but I had three. I’m not stupid. You took something away from me.

Obviously, DC doesn’t want to risk losing the dollars of its core audience in the hopes of gaining a broader selection of readers. What if those new readers don’t come? Hey, that’s a serious and valid question. Money isn’t exactly pouring in. Taking a risk is scary when a comic selling 25,000 copies is considered a solid book. And so…you do nothing. You make awkward jokes when fans ask questions at cons. You put minority characters who rarely appear in big pose down images as if they are an integral part of the story. You hope to keep complaints from both sides to a very low rumbling.

DC has fantastic brands/icons but they don’t have the diversity. There’s a weak spot. Like a dude in the ring at Wrestlemania with a bad shoulder. How come no one is slamming into that shoulder? Why is Marvel not pairing Matt with an Asian runaway of few words who fights better than he does—a sullen sidekick with a dark symbol and costume ready-made for Hot Topic tees? Why hasn’t any company provided an icon for girls who don’t want a pink S or a purple bat. Yes, I’m talking about being that damn obvious when it comes to courting the fans that DC rejects. Don’t just put Power Man out there hoping disgruntled Static fans might look over. Straight up address those fans in interviews. Tell them flat out that Marvel is willing to do what DC won’t. At Comics Alliance. In Latina magazine. In that Alonso interview over at Nah Right. (Get on that, Alonso.)

Really, what can DC PR say in response?


Ten for eleven.

Who got that dollar share? DC got that dollar share! Who got that dollar share? DC got that dollar share!

Festivities aside, now would be a good time to talk about how to keep that momentum going, no? And so I bring you…the ten things I want from DC Comics in 2011.

Cassandra Cain as Batgirl—in comics and out. So many people have blogged about this that I am not even going to bother delving into it here. Long story short, this character needs a comeback.

A Tales from the Multiverse series. I know what you’re thinking. Why the hell would we need a book like that? You need it for the times when that writer you so desperately want to keep happy has an idea for a prominent DC character that is brilliant but will surely destroy the brand that you have spent decades cultivating. That’s why. Toss it in another universe and publish it. You’re happy, the writer is happy, and that fan out in Topeka who is a supreme stickler for continuity will be happy. However, this title is not just a place for you to churn out stories pulled from some dusty pitch pile. This book ain’t for everybody. Only the sexy famous people. The title should be exclusive—top tier writers and artists only. Let them know exactly how special they are. If Neil Gaiman has a story about Wonder Woman in the Victorian era? It goes here. William Gibson thinks it might be fun to write a Batgirl one-shot? Bingo. This is not the book for Fill-in Schlub #453 (although Fill-in Schlub #453 can be very important to a company when a book is late). I see the book as a series of miniseries, not an ongoing series. In fact, you could even collect shorter stories from various creators in one book as a theme (noir, good girl, horror). And with all those popular creators, themes, and self-contained stories, the material would be just perfect to release in big, expensive hardcover trades, no?

A new Young Justice series penned by Adam Warren. We’ve talked about this, but I’m bringing it up again because…well, I really want this, damn it. Plus, I think it’s important to rebuild the popularity of neglected characters like Static, Batgirl, and Blue Beetle in a team ongoing with a strong writer who has a great ear/eye for youth culture. There’s strength in numbers. You can’t just toss these characters back out into the solo spotlight without a little nurturing (though it seems like that’s exactly what you plan to do). A strong, consistent team book can provide that nurturing. And given how poisoned and erratic the Titans brand has been of late, it’s best to use a title that can provide these characters with a fresh start while capitalizing a bit on nostalgia and stealing a wee bit of shine from the competition (Young Avengers).

A little less Blonde Ambition. Are you not embarrassed by the fact that nearly all of your prominent young heroines look and act the same? Are you not embarrassed to be embracing the most obvious of Mattel’s failures by placing all of your eggs in one genetic basket? You need to fix this. Now. Let me make it easy for you. Cassandra replaces Steph as the main Batgirl of the DC universe. One down. But I’d still dye Cassandra’s hair red and give her a cute Rihannaesque cut as a fun counter to the adorable nostalgic images of Babs all over t-shirts and other memorabilia. America will happily accept an Asian Batgirl, but my guess is that it still expects its Batgirl to be a redhead. (Keeping the red hair color will help make the rebranding process a bit easier.) Mia is slowly morphed into a nice strawberry blonde. Supergirl is kept the same. Don’t muck about with icons. Wonder Girl goes brunette and very short to keep her from looking like a clone of Donna. And for the love of God, put some of your non-white heroines front and center. If you don’t have enough, make up some!

Logos for your ladies—and the second tier. People I know who don’t even read comics still own and wear Batman and Superman t-shirts. The symbol stands for a myth that is widely known. The symbol becomes a substitute for an archetype. DC has more recognizable symbols than Marvel and this is something that you really need to capitalize on and strengthen when it comes to second-tier characters. By the time the Wonder Woman television show rolls around I hope that DC will finally decide on a decent Wonder Woman logo and push it heavily as a symbol of female empowerment. In fact, the following characters should have easily identifiable symbols associated with them: Wonder Woman (female empowerment), Power Girl (cheesecake with a big helping of irony), Black Lightning (nostalgic Blaxploitation), and Batgirl (the cutting digital edge). I’m just picking random themes, but you should really hold a meeting about this and decide what would be profitable and popular for the long term. And not only should these characters have symbols, but those symbols should stand for something. With enough repetition in a particular context it should conjure up an image or feeling in the viewer’s mind. Logos are important. Take your time with them and make sure that they are distinct.

Expand upon your houses. I’ve always seen the Marvel universe as a group of friends and the DC universe as a group of families. Unfortunately, only two families get any real attention—which leads to a universe that feels very bland and repetitive. What has been done with the Green Lantern characters needs to be repeated on a smaller scale with other sectors of the DC universe. Other families need to be fleshed out. The House of Adam (Black Adam). The House of Wonder (Wonder Woman). The House of Lightning (Black Lightning). Develop stories to make these houses a cohesive unit. You don’t need a plethora of miniseries. The ground work can be done within existing books through character interaction and development.

A Grand Theft Auto miniseries. I know that Wildstorm was once the place for comics starring IPs from popular games. Wildstorm is gone now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak one last comic in. GTA V, a guaranteed moneymaker, is coming down the pike. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a one-shot that could be pushed right along with it in stores? Perhaps a comic by the same artist doing the artwork for the promotional material? And wouldn’t it be fun to have cheat codes (phone numbers) hidden right within the stories?

DC characters embedded in different forms of entertainment. My friend, who is way more of a basketball fan than he is a comic fan, showed me the promotional work Marvel did a while back for ESPN. What a wonderful and sneaky way to get your characters in front of a new audience! Contact Glamour about doing a fun Power Girl photoshoot. Get a custom Batman cycle made by American Chopper. Get one of your youngbloods on MTV’s True Life: I’m an Intern. Have a cake made for some character’s anniversary and showcase it on the Food Network. Get out there!

Popular entertainers embedded in DC Comics. This is pretty much the inverse of the preceding category. Create a vanity project for a famous singer before Bluewater can churn out of crappy one. Let a famous actor co-write an issue of a comic that could use a small sales boost. Do a one-shot set to the lyrics of famous rap songs.

Romance. Look, I need romantic angst and scandalous affairs. Now, I can easily get that from General Hospital. However, watching General Hospital (which I started doing around the same time I stopped reading most comics) and tweeting about this show with Kalinara (also occurring about the same time I stopped reading most comics) isn’t making you one bit of money or helping to keep the names of your characters circulating in nerd circles. A romance one-shot might be a nice way to reach out to the fans who need to see a kiss or two after every three kicks to the face. Start off with mainstream superhero characters to test the waters and try a straight up romance anthology later on. How much could two comics hurt your bottom line? If it doesn’t pan out? No harm, no foul.

Next up? I’ll try and list the ten things I’d like from Marvel. No promises though.


Yo, DC!

I had to stop watching General Hospital for a moment because this is very important.

There needs to be a new Young Justice comic. It should star Cassandra Cain (as Batgirl), Static, Blue Beetle, Superboy, and Nu. (I want a Black Marvel teen who is not a hot mess. Female. Strength and water-based powers. Make it work.) A reincarnated Ted Kord can provide guidance, a base of operations, and lots of money. It should be written by Adam Warren. I am not yet sure who it should be drawn by, but I will consult others and get back to you.

Hurry up.

Okay, we’ve decided on Sara Pichelli, but Warren needs to fork over some thumbnail layouts with his scripts. Let’s get it done, people!