FW Presents: When We’re In Charge Ep. 3

Ryan Daly welcomes Anj and Martin Gray to share some titles they would like to see, along with the preferred writers and artists, in the fantasy world where they're in charge of publishing comics. Recorded live at the Boston Park Plaza! ALSO: listener feedback from episodes 1 and 2.

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK:

Music by Neil Daly.

Thanks for listening!

17 responses to “FW Presents: When We’re In Charge Ep. 3

  1. Great discussion guys. I’m jealous I wasn’t there to meet Anj and Martin. I’ve met Ryan before, so no big loss there.

    Some interesting thoughts there. It seems kind of weird that DC is still sticking to that godawful New 52 version of Supergirl as the basis of the current version. I think they missed an opportunity to throw all of that out with the soft Superman reboot they just did.

    Martin has some experience with comic editing, so I expect results this time. You guys go whip DC into shape. Get on it!


  2. Fine episode Ryan, I love these Nuclear Sub Summits (Submits?).

    JH Williams on Aquaman is a sure winner, the closest we’d get to seeing Craig Hamilton on the character again. I can’t speak to the work of Jason Aaron, but as long as he takes a blood oath not to make Aquaman king of Atlantis again I’d be okay with it.

    OTOH, I think I’d also like to see Aquaman stories more like the 70s Adventure run–bright, sun-dappled adventures full of superheroic derring-do. I think Evan “Doc” Shaner would be perfect for that assignment.

    Since Aquaman will be a movie star in short order, hell, let’s do both! Aquaman in a solo title AND in a new More Fun!

    –The Bald Vegetarian

  3. Good job on this one, guys. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all of those adventurous SF characters from the Silver Age that just don’t work these days. So I’d add a vanity project, one that in know will come in last in the sales charts but that I’d keep publishing anyway, because … well, I’d be in charge. Maybe use one of the old title names, like Showcase or Strange Adventures. Or just be honest, and call it Silver Age Adventures.

    Three main features that can be rotated around into first, second & third position in the book each issue, and maybe room for a fourth every now and then. That one would be for one-shots, with the other three being for longer, ongoing arcs.

    The three main features would be Adam Strange, the Challengers of the Unknown, & the Metal Men. The rotating one-off characters could include such classics as The Atomic Knights & (why now?) Space Cabby.

  4. “Great discussion guys. I’m jealous I wasn’t there to meet Anj and Martin. I’ve met Ryan before, so no big loss there.” -Frank after Franklin

    So far, this show has been about contemporary high concept elevator pitches, but if it continues into the fan-editing-talent direction, I may have to dig up the copy of an early ’90s letter I sent to Wizard Magazine with just such a wish list that I’ve got buried in a box somewhere.

    Fantastic Four: My long time problem with this book is that it seems like the only creators who can write to all four distinct personalities on the team were Lee/Kirby and John Byrne. In my admittedly limited experience, most creators write the book for one of the characters, and the rest play supporting roles. Tom DeFalco was a Thing guy, Claremont favored Sue, Waid & Hickman were Reeds… has there ever been a Johnny lad? So I’m thinking you need somebody who can be hyper-imaginative and sciencey, but also have a lot of heart and humor, while also being female friendly for the sake of the Storms (as in, could make Johnny desirable, and not render Sue simply as The Matriarch or The Girl.) That leads me to Adam Warren as writer, based on the universe he’s created in Empowered, with Nick Bradshaw on art. The latter could do big beautiful detailed cinemascope while also being friendly and accessible in a way the FF haven’t been since Wieringo.

    Supergirl: In 2017, I don’t want to be the guy who recommends another guy to write Supergirl. On the other hand, I have the same problem turning over the Maid of Might to a lady scribe as I do with Wonder Woman– the most popular options who seem interested in telling super-hero stories skew dark. I want someone who can handle writing a storied character in a shared universe who can balance sci-fi and fantasy, serious and fanciful, and ideally not be closely associated with other DC icons. That seems to be Carla Speed McNeil on story, Sara Pichelli art, Laura Martin colors and covers by Jo Chen.

    Legion of Super-Heroes: This is a book and a concept that needs heat, so no screwing around with “indy” cred or atypical picks. You need a writer who can do science fiction super-heroes in an expansive universe that can capture the heightened emotions of teenagers and deliver significant stakes plus be a name that attracts attention to move units and be willing to work on corporate comics. That is a damned tall order, but I feel like Rick Remender has been on fire in recent years, and checks off every one of my boxes. I don’t think you could secure a comparable name brand artist on a title that as big of a headache and market loser as the Legion, so I do think we’d need a less known but very talent prospect from outside the majors, and BOOM!’s Carlos Magno comes to mind as someone who could slay on this property.

    Aquaman: I’m not into barbarian Aquaman or playing him as grim n’ gritty as he’s been in recent years. My Aquaman is a grinning cowboy wandering adventurer riding a giant seahorse from Sub-Diego to Poseidonis. I feel like this is a character who should be lighter and more fun than we’ve seen in, well, modern history. I’d take it all the way back to Miller/Fradon, with Parker/Pelletier being the closest approximation this century. How about some Fred Van Lente (Incredible Hercules, Archer & Armstrong) with Mike (Revival) Norton on art and covers by David Yardin?

    Black Canary: After listening to all those episodes of Power of Flowers and Fishnets, I have my “step up to the big leagues” pitch in mind for Dinah, but for the purposes of this premise I will stick to the more familiar street level vigilante. Another boon with Black Canary is that I can go the opposite tack from Supergirl and dig her heels into darker storytelling. Marjorie Liu could go to icky Millennium Trilogy places without cries of misogyny, and pairing her with Ming Doyle could delve into the heroine’s ties to the Orient without it being tagged as appropriation (plus they could bring in more Asian characters to offset Lady Shiva’s more problematic tendencies.) Triple down with Yuko Shimizu or Sana Takeda on painted covers.

    1. So glad you’re playing the game, Frank, but what’s wrong with suggesting another man as a Supergirl writer? If you rank comic book writers and your all-time favourite happens to be a guy, wouldn’t you consider him for a character, male or female, in need of a good writer? As long as their work suggests they fit the character, they’d be worth a go… I love a lot of Gail Simone’s work, for example, but didn’t think she always fit Wonder Woman, as well as she did Secret Six or Birds of Prey, which benefited from her raunchier nature. But she did a great Superman for Action Comics, partly because her urbane ways fit the Metropolis crew. She might do a great Supergirl, but I’d not take it for granted that she’d do better than Sterling Gates, whose Kara just clicked for me, just because she’s the same gender.

  5. Forever People: I’m in the choir with regard to having little use for this lot, but I think you need someone who’ll embrace the trippy dippy hippie qualities Jack Kirby aimed for (and apparently missed at.) Let’s try J. M. DeMatteis with Paul Maybury and covers by Brendan McCarthy.

    DC Bombshells: I’m not going to break my back on these later suggestions. How about Stjepan & Linda Lukšić Šejić?

    Strange Adventures: Adam & Alanna Strange by Stuart & Kathryn Immonen; Challengers of the Unknown by Garth Ennis & Ulises Fariñas; Metal Men by Kyle Baker; Atomic Knights by Johnny Ryan & Tim Sale; Space Cabby by Kate Leth & Dave Johnson.

    1. All I know about Bombshells comes from the art that inspired it and a few reviews I’ve read or heard, including the one in this episode, but based on that, I have to say I totally agree about handing them over to the Šejić team would be awesome – if nothing else, the art would be really, really pretty.

  6. Love the suggestions — I run through similar lists all the time.

    Here’s a hypothetical for the modern market or for when you’re in charge:

    Cut the current titles by half, ban all crossovers/events, focus on the pillars of the line, and treat the creative process like TV and manga.

    You’ll make the audience take interest with a bold stance from left field, the you have to deliver the goods and make them care. If you can make them care about The Walking Dead or Attack on Titan, you can make them care about *one* Justice League story at least. One story, one title.

    Each ONE title would require a staff of writers developing the main narrative, some taking turns at full writing chores, like TV. Art would be made by a staff of specialists; figure work, backgrounds, tech, vehicles, nature, layouts, pencils, inks, etc. working as a cohesive studio while retaining a consistent aesthetic, the way manga operates.

    This approach won’t cultivate “stars”, but it will keep artists employed AND solidify a confident POV as a publisher. Avoid the obvious and simplify. Let other companies exhaust their resources with empty events. Instead, keep the titles lean and sharp. No gimmicks, no cute tricks, just tell us a story.

    1. That sounds like the original Valiant approach – no gimmicks, just meat and potatoes. There’s a lot to be said for solid and reliable, but this approach sounds like it would lead to generic stuff. Then again, Manga has various looks and voices so I’m likely misunderstanding. We’d still get quirky writers like Englehart and cartoonists like Schaffenberger?

      1. Haha that was Valiant’s marketing strategy at first, which they abandoned not that far into it. What it came across as was “this IS your daddy’s comic books!” Save for the good looking BWS stuff, their entire voice was shaped by Shooter. Textbook meat & potatoes, that one. Thematically, none of it had any sort of agency.

        No, the books don’t have to look boring. They just need singular focus with organic flexibility; no sudden crossovers to accommodate, no unpredictable “brand new direction”, no prima-donnas. I figure that these books are already made by committee, so why not take that concept to its logical conclusion. Save the auteur approach for an annual or OGN or something. Or have he auteur come in and man the ship for a stretch.

        The closest thing I can think of (in American comics) is the first few years of Marvel: tight ship, still loose and fun but relentless. It had 4 people running things. Let’s have 40 per title instead. Works in Japan.

        [“Manga” is a dirty word to the Wednesday set, I know, but the numbers don’t lie — they’ve figured it out. They can make best selling comics about *wine making*, but we can’t sell super powered teens in the future?!?]

  7. Why doesn’t Ryan take my feedback seriously?

    This was a great conversation with two of my fave comic community members (and Ryan). Could have gone for a few more hours of this.

    Plus awesome work by Ed Latorre on his Katana thoughts.

  8. So jealous!!! Ryan met Martin Gray and Dr Anj!!?!? Would have loved to have been there. Such nice fellows!! Well, not Ryan. Let’s be realistic about this. I’m talking about Martin and Dr Anj. And you could have used a translator for Martin, given he doesn’t speak English. 😉

    Loved listening to y’all’s insane ramblings! You almost had me up until Forever People. What?!?!? Unsubscribe.

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