Remake & Reboot: DC’s THE MANHATTAN GUARDIAN Comic Series

You’d think with 52 ongoing titles DC would have enough heroes, but with guys like Superman and Batman taking multiple titles for themselves and other titles segueing in and out as part of DC’s Second Wave there’s room for more. And it presents a unique opportunity for DC to rotate in some of it’s lesser-known characters for a chance to shine — and I’ve got just the man for the job.

Created back 1942 by the same team that did Captain America, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, DC’s Guardian was a cop-turned-crime-fighter that in addition to being a masked crusader also mentored a group of kids who called themselves the Newsboy Legion. In DC Comics he’s had an uneven record, most recently breaking out with a hero hero behind the shield in the 2005 miniseries The Manhattan Guardian as part of Grant Morrison’s “Seven Soldiers” project. Six months into DC’s New 52 and the Guardian hasn’t found a place inside DC Comics but could be if given the right chance. Here’s my idea… let me know what you think.

The Concept:

Morrison’s The Manhattan Guardian thrust Kirby & Simon’s idea of the Guardian into that of the public face of a daily newspaper, creating a new blend of reporter/hero past what was done with Clark Kent/Superman and others. I’d bring that forward in a “New 52” Manhattan Guardian, and bring along with that Jake Jordan from that series as well. The idea, fine-tuned from Morrison, would be a disgraced cop getting a second chance at doing good as the mascot for a New York daily paper — yes, New York, not a fictional city. Much like the Captain America, The First Avenger movie, Guardian’s days as a mascot would turn into real action as he hits the streets, creating an uneasy divide between him and the journalists at the paper. With than uneasy tension against his own supposed allies at the paper, having the Guardian go up against ferreting out the machinations of Intergang in NYC in a one-man version of The Wire would add even more intrigue and action to the book. In-between all that, you could have a truly independent third party with their own agenda — a group of citizen bloggers taking news-gathering into their own hands, pejoratively called by the professional newspapers as ‘the Newsboy Legion.’

It’d be a hard sell, and I’d lead up to a full-on Manhattan Guardian series with a series of back-ups in other books to really hook people on the #1 down the road.

The Cast:

The Writer – Joe Casey: Initially I had a lighter-toned writer in this spot, but after getting a better grasp on the story of Manhattan Guardian, I knew it’d take an experienced writer with an immense amount of versatility to handle it — and Joe Casey is it. Casey’s done everything from straight-up heroes to crime books and whatever you can call Butcher Baker, and as posited, Manhattan Guardian would be a special project balancing several things to create a unified concept that readers could latch onto.

Interior Artist #1 – Kano: Spanish artist Kano has become known as a reliable artist for publishers to bring on to follow-up the book’s primary illustrator as witnessed in Gotham Central, Immortal Iron Fist and the recent Daredevil, but I’d argue that Kano has stepped up his talent so much that he’s easily ready to take on a full-fledged ongoing of his own. Kano’s work on the aforementioned Daredevil really shows how he’s stepped out of the shadow of the artists he’s filled in for and has his own unique linework that would go great with a street-level book like Manhattan Guardian.

Interior Artist #2 – Mike Hawthorne: With the way comics are produced today, there’s no way you can expect a single artist to draw it month-in and month-out without skipping a beat, so I’d enlist Conan: Road of Kings artist Mike Hawthorne. Hawthorne has a bulkier style than Kano, but I think they’d deliver a unique one-two punch and Hawthorne seems tailor-made for a book like this.

Cover Artist – Mat Broome: I’m the type of fan that generally likes it when the interior artist draws the cover, but I realize that sometimes you need something different to grab the attention of readers. With that in mind, I’d list End League artist Mat Broome to step back into comics as a cover artist. Broome already works with DC in a way as he is the Art Director of Sony’s DC Comics Online MMORPG. Broome’s never really done a mainstream book like Manhattan Guardian, and I’d love to see what approach he’d take to it.

Comments

  1. How great was the Manhattan Guardian mini? How great was Morrison’s Seven Soldiers?!?!

    I loved that idea of the superhero hired by the newspaper. Morrison played with some fun ideas with that one.

  2. Would this fictional paper be more like the NY Times, The NY Post or the WSJ?

    When I originally read your synopsis, I imagined a paper like the Times, one that is (at least purportedly) committed to a journalistic ideal. Then, the more I thought about it, it might be more interesting if the paper was more of a tabloid or a a financial paper, which could create potential moral dilemmas for the Guardian if he should happen to disagree with what is being written or espoused in the paper.

    I have long thought that if there really were people with superpowers that corporations would very quickly look to hire them, either as spokespeople, executives, board members, possibly security guards, or even as office workers. Booster Gold is one thing, but someone with the speed of Flash could file an awful lot of paperwork!