After months of providing a new spin on some of the best (and worst) comics-to-film adaptations, we’re taking iFanboy’s Remake & Reboot weekly series in a new direction: comics. With DC’s “New 52″ upon us, it brings to light just how often comic characters and their titles are remade, refashioned and rejiggered. With that in mind, Remake & Reboot will be offering up my own ideas on comic characters and titles that Marvel, DC, or any comic companies could revive.
First up, one of the biggest M.I.A. characters in DC’s “New 52″: Captain Marvel. Whether you call him Billy Batson, Freddy Freeman or even Shazam, DC’s Captain Marvel has been left out of the mix for DC’s line-wide relaunch. Last seen in the pages of Flashpoint as a team of characters calling out his phrase of power, the Big Red Cheese’s absence this fall is conspicuous given that he had 52 chances for his own title. Is it because the character is too idealistic? Or is it because his powers are rooted in magic? Maybe DC is simply trying to avoid complicated copyright/trademark quagmire that forces them not to use his name in a title thanks to Marvel’s ownership of the name? Take your pick; it could be any of those, or simply that no one inside DC had a pitch good enough for the publisher to give it a chance.
That’s where we come in.
Boiling down the Captain Marvel concept to its essence and it’s Big meets superheroes. Boy’s Adventure meets Escapism, in uppercase letters. But how does that work in the varying degrees of cynicism that is present in modern comic, where DC is even getting the big blue boy scout Superman dirty in Action Comics in an attempt to make him more relevant? But in the age of PIXAR expanding the idea of an “all ages” epic, does relevant even matter if it’s done right?
Be that as it may, the Shazam! title would need to work within the existing/expanding superstructure of DCU continuity. Maybe he’s re-introduced in an arc of Geoff Johns & Jim Lee’s Justice League, showing just how contrasting he would be to heavyweights like Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman. Remember he’s a kid in a grown man’s superhero body. Remember the great episode of Justice League Unlimited called “Clash” where Marvel’ childlike ideas clash with Superman’s sense of reality? That episode, written by Dwayne McDuffie and J.M. DeMatteis was something, and so could a new Shazam! series.
Writer – Mark Waid: Although he’s bounced around comics for over 25 years as a writer, Mark Waid has yet to settle in with the Captain Marvel character except for some glancing moments in Kingdom Come and other books. He’s touched upon some of the issues with the character in books like Irredeemable and The Flash. Having an encyclopedic memory for the ins and outs of DC Continuity doesn’t hurt either.
Artist – Daniel Acuna: Acuna’s no stranger to DC; he worked in the mid 00s for two years as an exclusive artist, but jumped ship to Marvel in 2008 for an exclusive with them. But Acuna gets Captain Marvel, and with most exclusive contracts going two or three years, Acuna could be a big ‘get’ for DC.
Artist – Evan Shaner: Acuna’s a powerhouse, but when it comes to doing 12 issues a year he’s no Mark Bagley. Instead I would have a rotating artist pool comprised of Acuna and artist Evan Shaner. His style is far removed from that of Acuna’s, but that difference could be symbolic of the dual nature of Captain Marvel and his human counterpart. Perhaps even Acuna & Shaner could share certain issues, with them being called in for different scenes in the book.
Special Guest Artist – Steve Rude: Every once in a while you need to pop up with a nice done-in-one special issue; I’m not talking for an anniversary issue, but just something nice and surprising. Imagine Waid and Rude going at it on a standalone Captain Marvel story; maybe the origins of the original wizard, Shazam?
Colorist – José Villarrubia: In an effort to bring together the alternating styles of the different artists on-board and to bring in some signature style, I’d nominate José Villarrubia to color over the work of Acuna, Shaner and Rude. He could really bring together the book the same way Dean White does on Uncanny X-Force, and Villarrubia’s coloring style would be tailor made for the book.
Letterer – Todd Klein: 16-time Eisner award winner for lettering; just imagine what the guy who lettered The Sandman could do on a book like this?