Showcase Presents... the DC Universe

With some 30 Showcase Presents and Marvel Essential collections on my shelves, I've now given up hope of reading any of them all the way through in one go (unless I'm actually doing a running feature on one). My reading strategy is to instead read one story a night, switching books every night. It's like living in a limbo time between 1958 and 1972 where comics were fun and black and white!

But what if DC's total monthly output today corresponded to the titles released under Showcase Presents? You'd be buying 23 comics a month (with more on the way):

Aquaman: A series dedicated to one of my favorite heroes, bar none (get it? bar? sandbar? ok, never mind). It's got to have Topo and plenty of finny friends. And it's gotta be the REAL Aquaman.

Atom: Search for Ray Palmer? In the Showcase universe, he never went anywhere. As per the Silver Age version, its strength would be the possibilities of size-changing and the pure evil that is Jean Loring.

Batman: What would the DCU be without the Dark Knight?

Brave and the Bold: Just like it is now, please!

Challengers of the Unknown: An adventure series that need not dip into superheroics, but that still has to be over the top. The crazier the better.

Elongated Man: A detective series starring... well, it could star the Dibny ghosts, that's fine. But make sure Ralph's ectoplasm is stretchy.

Flash: Whether Barry or Wally is wearing the mask, mad scientific concepts and an excentric rogue's gallery should be the focus.

Green Arrow: GA without trick arrows isn't GA. Bringing him back to these roots would mean playing him as Batman with a bow, and that's fine. Oliver Queen would make a nice bubbly counterpoint for Bruce Wayne.

Green Lantern: An exciting SF superhero series starring Hal Jordan and his photogenic butt. It strikes me that many of these comics had fun with different twists on the Superman/Lois relationship. Hal needs to get every girl except the one he wants (Carol).

Haunted Tank: An exciting WWII series starring everyone's favorite piece of moving artillery. Plenty of technical detail and verisimilitude tempering high action and the supernatural.

Hawkman: Reboot the Hawks once and for all as alien police and DC's sexiest couple. And you have to throw as much money at Joe Kubert as possible so he'll draw it.

House of Mystery: An horror anthology series by today's top writers and artists (maybe the Vertigo folk doing their best work for all ages audiences) with some macabre but funny gag strips as well.

Jonah Hex: We get to keep everyone's favorite western series.

Justice League of America: Make it star all the big guns, and make the stories high concept. If that sounds like Morrison's JLA, well, that's what it sounds like.

Legion of Super-Heroes: But which version? I don't really care, but a member of the Superman family should probably co-star.

Metamorpho: A funky superhero comedy reestablishing Rex as an important player in the DC Universe.

Phantom Stranger: Come on, tell me you wouldn't like the Stranger starring in his own series. And with Doctor Thirteen back-ups just like in Showcase Presents.

Shazam!: The modern equivalent is Jeff Smith's recent mini-series. It would be great.

Superman: Soap opera would give way to high concept craziness in the Silver Age mode, so it would basically be All-Star Superman. It's actually a direction I wouldn't mind the actual Superman books taking.

Superman Family: More of the same, except starring Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. The All-Star Jimmy, not Countdown Jimmy.

Teen Titans: For it to work, you really need to showcase sidekicks and younger versions of the big guns. Robin and Wonder Girl make sense. To match the original roster, how about the new Aquagirl and a resurrected Impulse? It's got to have a crazy teen-beat feel to it, not unlike the WB cartoon. And they only help teenagers.

Unknown Soldier: Another war series? Yes, this one more in the spy mode. You could even set it in the present day, or throughout the 20th century, and it would still work.

War That Time Forgot: Nazis + dinosaurs = Instant commercial success. At least in my mind. In today's market, there'd probably be recurring characters, but as long as you could reproduce Khaniger's crazy action, it wouldn't even matter.

Now, looking at this, there's a definite lack of women and minorities. Yeah, it's a problem. Though in the coming months, DC would launch Wonder Woman and Batgirl, in addition to Adam Strange, Metal Men, Martian Manhunter, Captain Carrot, Batman and the Outsiders, Atomic Knights, and Who's Who.

On Earth-47 anyway.


rob! said...

that's a great list of titles!

joncormier said...

Isn't the Suicide Squad getting a Showcase volume soon as well?

Such sweetly insane comic goodness. I've managed to temper my purchasing of these. Although I may just make a new year's resolution to only read black and white collections for all of 2008.

Siskoid said...

Yes, and according to Amazon, it looks like we'll get The Secret Society of Super-Villains in December!

I've got a full run of Suicide Squad, so that's one I needn't get. Same for Who's Who (though maybe the art will look nicer wihout the background inked in yellow or whatever.

I'm disturbed by the trend to make Showcase Presents cater to current titles no matter their worthiness though. Batman and the Outsiders sucked (I bet I could find a run in 25¢ bins for less than the cost of a trade), but since the title is relaunching, we get a Showcase. Suicide Squad did NOT suck, but it's only coming out because of recent events in Checkmate. The Great Disaster is an intriguing choice, but aren't we Counting down to something like that now? Metal Men was at least already being reprinted in Archives. Batgirl is also a little suspect. What's Captain Carrot's comeback all about though?

It's just that every time we get an 80s book, it just makes me long for a Robby Reed Dial H trade or Doom Patrol, etc.

Bill D. said...

I keep hoping we get a 60s Blackhawk Showcase one of these days. Mummy insects, War Wheels, lame superhero identities... it'd be awesome!


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