Thursday, February 10, 2011

Open Letter to DC: Captain Marvel Rebirth

Gil Kane artwork
The last few years for Captain Marvel in the comic books have been horrendous.  I won't waste my time and yours recapping it, but in the latest issue of Titans (#32), the end result is a clean slate that could result in a rebirth for Captain Marvel.

So, DC is at a crossroads.  Here's what should be done.

Justice by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Doug Braithwaite.  This series portrayed Captain Marvel perfectly.  This is the way Captain Marvel should always be portrayed.  DC needs to start a new, on going comic book series that uses the Justice version of Captain Marvel.  No ifs, ands, or buts, no excuses, no exceptions.  This is the bottom line.  The Justice version of Captain Marvel.  Is that clear enough?

DC should bring Alex Ross on board to be the cover artist and to have creative control over the series by contributing plots, and even full scripts.  Perhaps they should even consider making him the editor, or at least a co-editor with Joey Cavalieri.

To write the finished scripts, one of Ross' collaborators, Jim Krueger, Mark Waid, or perhaps Paul Dini should be brought in. Another possibility is Gail Simone, who had often said she wants to write a Captain Marvel book. The stories need to be serious yet fun; have drama and pathos, yet also some humor; have a magical element, but not turn into a Harry Potter or Narnia wannabe.  A good blueprint to follow would be E. Nelson Bridwell's stories from the final issues of the 1970s Shazam! series and the Dollar Comics editions of World's Finest. The whole "Big in tights" concept needs to be dropped, or at least be executed in a far more subtle manner. To have a Captain Marvel who runs around acting like a child is what has kept the character in the minor leagues for the last twenty-odd years.


Steve Rude artwork
For the artwork, DC needs to get an A-list artist who has a style that suits Captain Marvel. Steve Rude would be the best pick.  Other good choices would be Mike Allred (though its doubtful he would find the time for an on going series), Darwyn Cooke, Matt Wagner, Cliff Chiang, or possibly even Amanda Conner.

The focus of the series needs to be on Billy Batson and Captain Marvel.  Billy must not be the whiny kid Jerry Ordway portrayed in the Power Of Shazam series of the 1990s, but a likable, street smart, resourceful kid who can be both mature and fun loving.

Freddy and Mary should remain without their powers for the immediate future, and be supporting characters, so that Captain Marvel and Billy Batson can remain undiluted.  Likewise, the spotlight-hogging Black Adam Family needs to go away.  Osiris and Isis need to be destroyed permanently, while Black Adam needs to be banished.  He can make a return in three or four years in a big epic story arc that will also see the return of Freddy and Mary's powers.  But for now, Captain Marvel and Billy Batson need to develop as characters and build their fan base without Black Adam siphoning off any popularity.

Dr. Sivana needs to reemerge as Captain Marvel's main adversary.  Read the Shazam Archives volumes.  Sivana was present in almost every story masterminding some scheme or scientific evil.  Likewise, the character of Beautia needs to be reestablished as she was in those early stories, as being naughty but not evil... loyal to her father, but in love with Captain Marvel (while Billy crushes on Beautia).  Also, Billy's Fawcett era girlfriend, Cissy Sommerly, has not appeared in a DC comic since the very early 1980s.  She is another character that needs to be reestablished.  Ibac is an evil counterpart to Captain Marvel that could fill the void left by Black Adam perfectly.

As for the title of the new Captain Marvel comic book, I think it may be time to set aside the name Shazam. I won't go as far as to say that name as a title is cursed, but ever since DC started publishing Captain Marvel in the 1970s, they have used the title Shazam, and the popularity of the the comics have always been weak.  Perhaps its time to use a new title, like World's Mightiest Mortal. Using the old Whiz Comics font, it could make an eye-catching logo.  Another, more whimsical idea would be to revive the classic DC anthology title  More Fun Comics and make Captain Marvel the starring feature.  While true, Captain Marvel has no history with that title, the name does fit the character, as he is certainly more fun than your average, generic, angst-ridden superhero.

So there you have it DC.  This is what the fans want. This is what will make Captain Marvel a top seller.  Give us the Justice version of Captain Marvel.  The solution seems so simple, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good idea