DC and Hanna-Barbera Meet Again with New Round of Unexpected Crossovers

On that note, you look at the pairings for this round and in the initial crossovers, and as outwardly wacky as they may seem, you can see the connections. There are some similarities in the properties being mashed-up -- how did these pairings come about?

In this particular case, we started with the Hanna-Barbera character first, and tried to figure out who matched up best with them. There were a couple of naturals -- Jabberjaw and Aquaman seemed like they naturally should meet. Nobody will argue that. Same thing with Flash and Speed Buggy -- it just seemed natural to get that race going. We went with Super Sons and Dynomutt, because naturally, two boys and a dog seemed to go well.

Probably my personal favorite night now is Black Lightning and Hong Kong Phooey. The idea to take a martial artist and a strong African-American character, and pair them together in a '70s setting, where they operate as private investigators -- you know, I'm surprised nobody's ever tried that before. [Laughs]

Then naturally what happened was, we had more characters that we wanted than the number of books we were able to put out. We were able to do a couple of short stories -- and again, natural pairings. Captain Caveman/Shazam, seems natural when you think about it. As does the Funky Phantom meeting characters like the Demon. As you can tell, we're just having fun, man. [Laughs]

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How did the creative teams came together for this? There are a lot of DC vets. Dan Abnett, makes sense because of his experience with Aquaman. Denys Cowan drawing Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey is exciting -- how did the talent recruitment go for this?

It went easy. Dan Abnett was working on Aquaman, so it seemed to naturally fit into his storytelling and continuity. Pete Tomasi was brought in to work on Dynomutt as soon as the Super Sons were added. Denys Cowan was the only artist we could think of for the cover, and to really bring that book to life. In Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey, the writer, Bryan Hill, has probably been the one that has been most actively petitioning for this particular book. He's a huge Hong Kong Phooey fan. To be honest, it was his perseverance that really brought all of these characters more to my attention.

Lastly, Scott Lobdell, he had me on "Reverse Speed Buggy." When he pitched the story, and said the villain was going to be Reverse Speed Buggy, it seemed liked one of the best single pitch lines I've had in quite a while.

The Flash/Speed Buggy Special cover by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

The '60s Hanna-Barbera characters are largely a little bit more recognizable and have endured more to future generations. There will be a lot of readers who don't know Jabberjaw or Speed Buggy or the Funky Phantom. What's the approach there, knowing you're introducing these characters to a portion of the audience for the first time?

And that's why we're introducing them in the crossovers first. That was the whole purpose behind the crossovers. The idea is, these guys might not be as recognizable, but they is certainly a fanbase for them. For us to help reintroduce them into the marketplace is fun, and hopefully there's enough interest in them that we can look at similar programs like we've built for our other characters with these characters. Who knows, these one-shots might also lead to standalone series, just like we had with the other Hanna-Barbera characters.

Right, and we saw that with Snagglepuss the last time around. We've touched on all of them a little bit already -- but let's go down the line of the four books and get a little more commentary from you on each one. Let's start with Aquaman/Jabberjaw, which, ad you said, is something of a natural fit -- what excites you about this story?

What excites me about this story is, it has a time travel component. If you're not familiar with Jabberjaw, Jabberjaw is the shark that's part of a rock band, the Neptunes, in the near future. So naturally we had a time difference between Aquaman and Jabberjaw, and we wanted to address that in the most serious matter possible, so we don't have to talk about the fact that the shark is a drummer in a band. [Laughs]

I don't want to tip my hand, but there is another set of Hanna-Barbera characters that guest star in there, in a cameo role that is essential to the overall story. How about that?

Then there's Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey -- which is definitely definitely '70s Black Lightning, right?

'70s Black Lightning. We embraced him with both arms on this one. Hong Kong Phooey/Black Lightning is being written very straightforward, very serious, and therefore I think it's going to really have a tone and sensibility that I think people will react in a great way to. There's a lot of fun stuff going on in that one. Hong Kong Phooey runs a detective agency, and Black Lightning is brought in to help on a particular case that takes them on a really fun adventure.

With Flash/Speed Buggy, we already know to watch out for the Reverse Speed Buggy.

We can't diminish the evil of the Reverse Speed Buggy! I think that is a threat that, honestly, if Flash cannot contain it, it has a chance to really affect all of the DC Universe. I'm glad he's able to work with Speed Buggy in keeping that contained.

And Super Sons/Dynomutt, folks first heard about that a couple weeks back -- sounds like a fun pairing, also maybe Pete Tomasi's last Super Sons story for a while?

I don't know, that sounds incorrect to me, but I only work here! [Laughs]

This is a Pete Tomasi Super Sons production. I'll tell you -- looking at the art as we're talking, Dynomutt looks like he could take on Krypto the way they'e drawing him over here. I feel like there's going to be a lot of fun with these two. There's also the potential of other canine guest stars in that book, if I'm not mistaken. So who knows who else might show up in that story.

Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special cover by Paul Pelletier and Andrew Hennessey

Are there more ideas if there's another round?

You know, to me, these are fifth week stunts that really make fifth weeks a lot of fun. I'm looking at every fifth week month as a way to find some crazy crossovers. We're sitting here going, we'd love to go back and revisit the Looney Tunes characters at some point, as well. If these things click, then you'll see more. I'm very happy to say, the last two rounds, the crossovers between DC and Hanna-Barbera and DC and Looney Tunes, have been very successful for us. I think it caught a lot of people off guard.

The best part of it is, that level of success gets people more excited, and come at us with more ideas. It's not about us generating ideas as much anymore, as it is starting to hear what people might want to bring us, and the type of crossovers they might want to see.

I can tell you one that we're thinking about already: Sylvester and Tweety and Birds of Prey. Seems like a natural to me. [Laughs]

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Now that it's out there, that has to happen.

I can almost promise you it will. [Laughs] As you can see, we have with this. That's all that maters here.

It's a mix of product. It's fun comics, it's dramatic comics, it's science-fiction adventure, it's horror, it's superhero adventure at its best, it's thoughtful, insightful character studies -- it's not just diversity of characters and creators, but also content. I think that's what we need to do right now. One size doesn't fit all anymore. So what we got to do is, we got to keep on reaching and pushing out, and we've got to create product to find the people, and hopefully when they find that, it will lead them into the DCU, and all the other types of stories we tell.

All four of the new DC and Hanna-Barbera one-shots are scheduled for release on May 30.

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