Recently, an off-hand tweet by Kurt Busiek brought something interesting to mind. First, the tweet: “There are SUPERMAN BY GARCIA-LOPEZ and BATMAN BY ARCHIE GOODWIN hardcovers coming. Life is good.”
The two books he’s talking about are Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Tales of the Batman: Archie Goodwin, both hardcovers and both scheduled for release in April. It’s interesting because, by and large, DC Comics hasn’t released a lot of books focusing on a creator. Sure, the publisher has made exceptions for Alan Moore (DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore), Jack Kirby (Jack Kirby Omnibus) and Geoff Johns (The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus), but seeing it done for creators like Goodwin and Garcia-Lopez feels different somehow. While Goodwin was a positively epic force during his time in comics, he’s not exactly a household name in the modern parlance of comics fans (unfortunately), and Garcia-Lopez was an artist, not a writer like all of those listed above. DC, and comics in general, has shown itself to be very writer-centric in terms of the attribution of works, so for me this is a breakthrough — or at least a crack in the wall.
Spurred on by these ideas, I’m beginning to think of what else, and who else, DC could capitalize on with its massive library of work created in the past 78 years. Here are some ideas:
Alex Toth: Although Toth never had a legendary run on a major title, this journeyman is held up as an artist’s artist, and rightly so. He did a handful of Justice Society-related stories, Supergirl stories in Adventure Comics, an issue of Blackhawk, a handful of Green Lantern issues, and the piece for Batman: Black & White. A whole book could be dedicated to Toth’s war and Western comics at DC, collecting his work in Our Fighting Forces, Our Army At War, Star Spangled War Stories, Weird Western War Tales and Weird Western Tales.
Seth Fisher: Taken from us well before his time, the young artist still contributed a great chunk of work for comics, especially for DC. There’s the great, never-collected, two-issue Vertigo series Happydale he did with Andrew Dabb, and his Green Lantern: Willworld and Flash: Time Flies one-shots. They could also gather the shorts he contributed to DC’s Big Book Of titles, and the great Batman four-parter “Snow.”
Frank Miller: Miller did more at DC than just The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman & Robin. From interesting early work in Weird War Tales and Unknown Soldier to one-offs like a story with Walt Simonson for an issue of Orion, there’s enough there to make a nice little book. As a bonus, you could put the great number of covers he produced for various DC titles.
Mark Millar: Although he famously fell out with DC over The Authority, Millar still racked up a great body of work for the publisher (not even counting the Wildstorm imprint). He did a great four-issue stint on Action Comics with Stuart Immonen that today would sell like hotcakes, a brief Secret Society of Super Villains short with Chris Jones that went on to inspire Wanted, a run on The Flash and even a little known-issue of Batman. Sure. you might be making money off Millar’s name, but DC paid for those stories … so why not?