It's been quite awhile since we first heard word that Marvel Comics had an anthology in the works featuring some of the best independent creators around, and a recent MyCup 'O Joe column revealed several of the creators involved -- Jim Rugg, Paul Pope, Dash Shaw, Stan Sakai, Paul Hornschemeier and Jason, just to name a few.
The lineup of talent is impressive, and many of the stories they'll be working on are inspired -- Jim Rugg's Machine Man-turned-motorcycle is hot, while Dash Shaw's Dr. Strange is such a nature pairing it seems like they should just launch it as an ongoing. But it also got me thinking -- who else would I want to see featured in this book? I started my list with a couple of creators who I remembered already had story ideas ripe for the picking, then asked my fellow Robot 6ers to help me come up with a few more. I should probably mention that I avoided any creators who have already been announced for the book.
So without further ado ...
1. Jeffrey Brown's "Wolverine: Dying Time" story -- A few years back Jeffrey Brown (Clumsy, The Incredible Change-Bots) shared his love for a certain Canadian mutant in a non-commissioned story that featured Wolverine taking on an army of zombies. Honestly, when I first heard about this anthology, this was the first thing that came to mind, as it seems to me that the one overriding reason why Marvel would want to do an anthology like this is to publish this story. Brown's loose art style fits the subject matter perfectly, and heck -- the story's almost done already.
It's practically the patron saint of this list.
2. Runaways by Ted Naifeh -- This one was simple, really ... in the words of Michael May, Naifeh "draws such great kids." Add in his keen sense for adventure stories, and Marvel's premiere teenage troublemakers are a natural for the creator of Polly and the Pirates and Courtney Crumrin.
3. Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu by Brian Ralph -- I've been a fan of Brian Ralph since seeing his stuff in the Stalagmite anthology many years back. If you haven't read his Daybreak series, Reggie 12 or Climbing Out, they're worth seeking out.
So why Shang Chi, instead of, say, Marvel Zombies or one of Marvel's robot characters or, um, the Mole Man? Well, I was pretty much inspired by this cover at the Covered blog. Ralph has a fun style that seems to fit Shang Chi very well, so I'd love to see him tackle more than just a cover.
4. Teen Silver Surfer by Becky Cloonan -- Back when Robot 6 wasn't a glimmer in anyone's eye and a few of us associated with it were cutting our teeth at The Great Curve, one of the first interviews I conducted during my tenure there was with Becky Cloonan, who was fresh off of Demo and was working on Vertigo's American Virgin. Although it's been a few years, I remember asking her if there was a "dream book" she'd like to do – any company, any writer, any genre.
"I want to make a teenage Silver Surfer comic. It'd totally be the power cosmic!" she said. "Either that or I'd like to do an X-Men book, with my friend Risa Cho writing. We both have some deep love for the X (I'm reading House of M right now—-oh my God, so awesome!), and both books I've enjoyed since I was a kid."
Cloonan, of course, is now fairly entrenched at Vertigo, what with the second Demo series in production, but I wonder if she could be persuaded to share her Teen Silver Surfer story -- I can only assume it would be five kinds of awesome, as the Surfer flies through the galaxy listening to the latest hit music, avoiding a trip to Principal Galactus' office and trying to get a date for homecoming.
5. Legion of Monsters vs. Godzilla by Brandon Graham and James Stokoe -- The idea for this one started via Kevin Melrose, who suggested Graham (King City, Multiple Warheads) for a Werewolf by Night tale. I started looking around Graham's LiveJournal for a possible werewolf picture I could include in this post, when I came across this post, which I've linked to before, featuring a few incredible-looking pages of a Godzilla comic by James Stokoe (Wonton Soup). So I thought, "Hey, Marvel used to have the license for Godzilla comics, and it used to feature the big green monster stomping around in the Marvel U., and since this is a 'What if?' exercise and I don't need to be concerned with things like expired licenses and whatnot, why not suggest Graham and Stokoe team up for a Werewolf by Night vs. Godzilla comic?"
But Godzilla's a pretty big guy, so I thought Werewolf by Night could use a little help from his former colleagues in the Legion of Monsters -- Man-Thing, Ghost Rider and Morbius. Graham could draw the Legion, while Stokoe draws Godzilla. That's a win-win right there.
6. Iron Man by Chris Ware -- Occasionally I receive emails from folks who want to share a press release or point us to an interesting blog post. And even more occasionally, I receive emails that are just kind of random (I got one this week from someone claiming Scarlett Johansson is actually a clone). Some months back I received one that suggested Chris Ware should be drawing The Flash. Which made me chuckle. Then I started thinking about the possibilities and imagining Ware drawing one of his trademark 10,000 tiny panel pages, with each panel showing everything the Flash could do in the span of, say, 30 seconds. Y'know, running around the world, stopping a mugging, picking up his dry cleaning, washing the car ... stuff like that.
Well, Flash obviously isn't a Marvel character, so I thought about substituting Quicksilver, but Chris Mautner suggested Ware for Iron Man. "It would allow him to really do that whole flowchart/diagram thing he does so well," Chris said. Which sounds pretty cool to me.
So there you have it -- six potential pairings for Marvel's indie anthology (or the eventual sequel). We had several other ideas, like Seth doing the X-Men or Jeff Lemire doing Rocket Raccoon, but I'll save those for the next time I want to play fantasy editor. So now it's your turn -- what creators would you like to see tackle a Marvel character?
(A tip of the hat to Kevin Melrose, Michael May, Chris Mautner and Tim O'Shea for their ideas and assistance).