In the tectonic shifts of talent, stories and continuity known as DC Comics’ New 52, a number of creators had seemingly been lost amid the dust. However, we’ve received word that one is about to come up for air: Artist Chris Sprouse (Tom Strong, Supreme, The Midnighter) just posted news — and copious samples — from the forthcoming miniseries Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril.
Written by longtime Alan Moore associate Peter Hogan, this new series is an interesting anomaly surviving the implosion of the America’s Best Comics line and its parent imprint Wildstorm. Publishing news aside, it looks like a lot of fun.
In a blog post from earlier this month, Sprouse revealed he’s made it known to his DC editors that he’d like to do more “mainstream DC characters,” but to date the only things recently published by him in that arena have been some stray covers for The Legion of Super-Heroes, the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. Sprouse did sneak in a rare non-DC gig recently, contributing a story to IDW Publishing’s Rocketeer Adventures 2 #3, which is overseen by Sprouse’s former DC/Wildstorm editor Scott Dunbier.
In the future, however, Sprouse is doing more than just this new Tom Strong series. He’s making a rare jaunt into that mainstream DC universe — albeit still on the fringes — with a 30-page story with writer David Tischman for DC’s Batman Digital and some work for DC’s licensing department that could show up on anything from candy bars to Underoos.
In a way, Sprouse’s career at this point reminds me of that of fellow DC stalwart Cliff Chiang a few years ago. At the time, DC seemingly didn’t know quite what to do with Chiang’s talents, but after teaming up with Brian Azzarello on the under-the-radar Doctor Thirteen strip, the duo managed to pitch and score Wonder Woman just in time for the New 52. While I’m well aware Sprouse isn’t one of the fastest artists in comics, it seems he’s someone DC could do much, much more with — with Sprouse himself pining for that chance.