Is a familiar creator enough to bring you to a new book, or do you only pick up a new title with familiar characters? The ongoing creator-owned debate is interesting in theory, but eventually it has to come down to practical application. And Kurt Busiek seriously wants to know.
Busiek posted an informal poll on his Facebook page on Tuesday after someone on Twitter said he wanted to read The Savage Land by Kurt Busiek and Steve Lieber. As that Marvel series doesn't exist, Busiek wondered whether "a comic about a lost land full of dinosaurs and primitive tribes" would necessarily have to set within the Marvel Universe for readers to buy it, or would another dinosaur-filled lost land work just as well.
"If Steve and I wanted to do a comic about a lost land full of dinosaurs and primitive tribes, would it need to be the Savage Land?" Busiek wrote. "Would Ka-Zar, Garokk, Sauron and the ability to have Spider-Man and Nick Fury show up need to be part of the deal?"
He also pointed out the availability of such lands and his experience with creating one recently: "After all, Pellucidar and The Lost World are both in the public domain at present, and it's easy to make up a new setting like that. In fact, the last time I wrote a place like that, it was The Phantom Continent, in Kirby: Genesis."
Busiek and Lieber collaborated on the much-praised autobiographical digital comic Thoughts on a Winter Morning, so it makes sense for people to want to see more from them. But what's the real urge? Any time-lost jungle story, or specifically seeing Busiek playing in the Marvel sandbox again?
I can pretty easily answer in favor of a creator-owned book. At this stage in my comics-reading life, that will always hold more interest to me even though I still, and probably always will, have a very soft spot for the Marvel Universe. Creator-owned books can add surprises and changes and twists to the concept that might otherwise be shut down because it would muddy a licensing deal or transform the characters. The book can stand out more instead of getting lost in the shuffle of 50 other titles headlined by more bankable and iconic characters getting more marketing attention.
But that's just me. I might be out-voted in this. Most of the responses to his poll have been supportive of an all-new book, too, but I would hope that people who have "liked" Kurt Busiek, as opposed to Ka-Zar, on Facebook would vote that way. Maybe there's a very quiet Savage Land fan movement that's been waiting for the right time to surge. So let's open it up to the unwashed masses and maybe, just maybe (if Kurt really does decide to do such a book), some of us will get our wish. Do you miss Zabu? Or do you want to see Busiek and Lieber create a new lost world?