Monday, April 16, 2018

I can dream, can't I...?

You've probably already seen this, right? It's a checklist of various tie-ins to the upcoming Batman event that writer Tom King has been working towards since somewhere around his second story arc on the "Rebirth" relaunch of Batman. The hero vs. villains one-shots, the titles of which all start with the words Batman: Prelude to the Wedding, didn't really sound all that promising to me upon their solicitation.

They are all written by Tim Seeley, who is a pretty good writer, they all have covers by Rafael Albuquerque, who is a very good artist, and none of the interior artists strike me as particularly poor ones whose work I might seek to avoid. They all just sound kind of...uninteresting. I'm not sure how many times and in how many different comic books we need to see Robin fight his grandfather Ra's al Ghul, you know? And besides, the stuff I am most interested in would be the stuff that Tom King will either cover in the Batman title proper, or will be left to our imaginations: Basically, all the non-fighting business involved in the wedding, like how characters react to their invitations, who brings who to the wedding as their date, where the ceremony will be, who's in the wedding party, that kinda stuff.

Anyway, when I saw the above checklist, it reminded me of how ho-hum the tie-ins seemed to me, and I got to day-dreaming. Some people write fan-fiction, and some of us--apparently!--write fan-fictive solicitations for DC comics.

For the creators I listed to make these more solicitation-like, I tried to choose ones that either currently work for DC and/or the Bat-office, have in the past, or conceivably might; other than that, I just picked creators I like a whole lot and who felt appropriate to me.

So here are the titles I wish were on that checklist, along with what I wish the solicitations for them were...

Written by SCOTT BEATTY • Art and cover by KELLEY JONES
Variant cover by DAN BRERETON
Interlocking Wedding Party variant by BRIAN BOLLAND
A successful marriage takes a lot of hard work, especially when one party spends nights in the skies and on the rooftops of Gotham, making passersby point and scream, "Aaa! A giant bat!" That's the point that Kirk and Francine Langstrom want to drive home during their dinner date with Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle as their own nuptials approach. But before dessert is served, Kirk is forced into a relapse by a villain who has found a way to use his Man-Bat serum for ill. (Well, even worse ill than Kirk did, as it's not like anything good ever came out of Man-Bat serum). It's Man-Bat, She-Bat, Catwoman-Bat and Batman-Bat vs the new and improved Otis Flanegan, Batcatcher!

Variant cover by LESLIE HUNG
Interlocking Wedding Party variant by BRIAN BOLLAND
As their mentor's marriage nears, Batman's two oldest protegees find themselves re-examining their own tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship. Will either of them ever settle down, and, if and when they do, will it be with one another? Or are they always going to be just friends/allies in Batman's war on crime? As always, they are saved from having to ever really have that talk by a villain attack. The Scarecrow is back, and Gotham's master of fear has an entire arsenal of phobias at his disposal: Fear of heights! Fear of masks! Fear of fights! Fear of...commitment?

Written by EVAN DORKIN • Art and cover by STEPHEN DESTEFANO
Variant cover by KYLE BAKER
Interlocking Wedding Party variant by BRIAN BOLLAND
"BAT-MITE AND ROBIN WILL NEVER DIE!" What, you thought Batman was going to forever change his status quo by getting hitched to one of his oldest villains without the Caped Crusader's number one fan in all the Multiverse weighing in? Unfortunately for Bat-Mite, Batman's not in when he visits the Batcave, so he'll have to settle for the grimmest, grittiest Robin yet, Damian Wayne, who has even less time for imps that his dad does. World's Funnest writer Evan Dorkin and Bizarro Comics artist Stephen DeStefano join forces to present the first ever meeting of Bat-Mite and Damian! And if that's not enough, this issue includes the sure-to-be-worth-something-someday first appearance of...Cat-Mite...?

Written by PETER TOMASI • Art and cover by JOHN MCCREA
Variant cover by JIM BALENT and KEVIN NOWLAN
Interlocking Wedding Party variant by BRIAN BOLLAND
Hellhound and Catwoman go way, all the way back to "Catwoman: Year One". With the woman who ruined his life distracted by her upcoming wedding, it's the perfect time for Gotham's most deadly dog-themed mercenary to pay his old friend a little visit. In order to stop a deadly plot by the closest thing Catwoman has to an archenemy, Ace The Bat-Hound will have to go deep undercover. With Alfred Pennyworth, dog's best friend at his side, Ace is going to prove once and for all who's a good boy.

Written and drawn by PHIL JIMENEZ
Variant cover by KEVIN MAGUIRE
Interlocking Wedding Party variant by BRIAN BOLLAND
Crime doesn't take the night off to enjoy a fancy wedding and reception, so in order to make sure that Batman, Catwoman and the Bat-Family are free to take a night off, the Justice League comes to Gotham. But are even the World's Greatest Heroes enough to handle The Penguin and the Other Black and Whites, a riot at Arkham Asylum, a break out at Blackgate and every Bat-villain we could convince Phil to draw? Not if they want to enjoy the party, too, so they're going to need some back-up from the Teen Titans, the Titans, Red Hood's Outlaws and every hero who's ever teamed up with Batman that we could convince Phil to draw. It's everyone vs. everyone, as only Phil--and, okay, sure George Perez--could bring you!

...Okay, that's five, which is the number of sidekicks-vs-villains one-shot specials listed above, but Batman's got a big family, and that hardly scratches the surface of his allies.

So let's see...

Written by CHUCK DIXON • Art and cover by TOM GRUMMETT
Variant cover by JAMES HARVEY
Interlocking Bachelor Party variant by KEVIN WADA
Someone seems to have left Thomas Wayne Jr. off the guest-list, but he has plans to attend the wedding anyway. After all, he is Bruce Wayne's brother, from an alternate earth, once removed. As Owlman returns to this world's Gotham City, intent on infiltrating Bruce's life by day and Batman's life by night, Batman's second-greatest partner takes it upon himself to shut down Earth-3's evil answer to Batman. Owlman's going to need a sidekick of his own if he stands a chance against a sufficiently motivated and angry master-planner like Tim Drake. Good thing he's just recruited one--are you read for The Red Bat?

Written by KEITH GIFFEN • Art and cover by BILQUIS EVELY
Variant cover by TIM SALE
Interlocking Bachelor Party variant by KEVIN WADA
Drury Walker isn't just Gotham City's most notorious insect-themed villain. Of late, he's developed a rather weird habit: He enjoys eating clothing associated with Batman. Is it a form of pica, or is he just taking this whole moth thing way too far? (Er, even more way too far than he already has, of course). In either case, when he hears Catwoman Selina Kyle is engaged to marry Batman, Inc founder and financier Bruce Wayne, his mouth starts to water thinking of that delicious tuxedo and the sure-to-be-ridiculously-expensive dress. It's a once-in-a-life time meal, and as long as he strikes when Catwoman is out, who's going to stop him? A crusty old butler? Too bad Killer Moth didn't do his research, or he'd know that crusty old butler is ex-SAS, and is more of a killer than he'll ever be...

Written by MARC ANDREYKO • Art and cover by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Variant cover by J.G. JONES
Interlocking Bachelorette Party variant by SOPHIE CAMPBELL
Long ago, Kate Kane promised her then-girlfriend Maggie Sawyer that if her cousin Bruce ever gets married, then of course she'll take her to the wedding as her date. That was a few years and a bad break-up ago, though, and now that Bruce actually is getting married, Kate's not entirely sure Maggie even remembers the promise, or would actually hold her to it. The only way to find out, of course, is to ask, but that could be...awkward. Thank heavens Sawyer is so preoccupied trying to stop Magpie's latest crime spree in Metropolis that she's actually relieved to see her ex arrive in town dressed like a bat.

Written by KELLEY PUCKETT • Art and cover by DAMION SCOTT and KLAUS JANSON
Variant cover by JOHN ROMITA JR
Interlocking Bachelorette Party variant by SOPHIE CAMPBELL
"Best Man/Worst Man!" The so-called Gotham Knights have all been assigned a major supervillain to monitor in the days leading up to the wedding, and Cassandra Cain, The Black Bat, got a doozy: Bruce Wayne's former friend and Batman's perennial enemy, Two-Face. When it comes to the Bat/Cat nuptials, it's safe to say Two-Face has...mixed feelings. When he makes his move, Cass is there to take him out before he can even flip his coin, but Two-Face was anticipating having to take on all the Bats, and so he hired some muscle in the form of The League of Assassins. And not just a bunch of generic ninjas. No, the whole League. Like, everyone of them with a Wikipedia entry. There's only one Bat who could even hope to fight them all solo, and it's her name on the front of the comic.

Written by SCOTT SNYDER • Art and cover by DECLAN SHALVEY
Variant cover by CULLY HAMNER
Interlocking Bachelor Party variant by KEVIN WADA
It had to happen!

Written by JEFF PARKER • Art and cover by MIKE ALLRED
Variant cover by DAVID HAHN
Interlocking Bachelor Party variant by KEVIN WADA
As the scion of one of the oldest, wealthiest and most influential families in Gotham City history, Oswald Cobblepot expected to receive an invitation to the marriage of another scion of one of the oldest, wealthiest and most influential families in Gotham City history. Instead he was snubbed, while Wayne's hired help like Lucius Fox is invited. And why? Because of un-confirmed rumors that he may have consorted with criminals in the past? Should that really disqualify him from an invite, especially when the bride is a notorious cat burglar? Well, if Cobblepot's not invited, than The Penguin is going to crash. It's up to Luke Fox to don his BAT-tle armor and stop the one Batman villain who is always dressed for wedding.

Variant cover by RICHARD SALA
Interlocking Bachelorette Party variant by SOPHIE CAMPBELL
The Bat/Cat wedding is the social event of the century, at least among Gotham City's crimefighting vigilantes. Stephanie Brown assumes she will be going as Tim Drake's date, but lately he's been so distracted by trying to take down King Snake, the new crime lord trying to make in-roads in Gotham, and his army of enforcers The Ghost Dragons, that she worries he might miss the ceremony altogether. What's a girl to do, but take matters into her own hands and bring down The Ghost Dragons all by her self, by going straight at King Snake's lieutenant, Lynx. But little does Steph know that the one-eyed gangster has history with her on-again, off-again boyfriend.

Written by TOM PEYER • Art and cover by RAGS MORALES
Variant cover by BECKY CLOONAN
Interlocking Bachelorette Party variant by SOPHIE CAMPBELL
"Save The Date!" Being sane has never been a pre-requisite for being a Batman villain, but the date-obsessed Julian Day is even less so than most, and he's just launched what may be his most insane plot yet. He's threatening to steal the date of Bruce Wane and Selina Kyle's wedding, removing it from the calendar forever, unless he is paid the ransom of the entire Wayne fortune. Is this just Calendar Man being Calendar Man, or has he really found a way to exploit bleeding edge super-physics? And why does Harper Row have to deal with this, when she and Cullen have tuxes to rent and a wedding present for one of the richest men in the world to figure out? She's supposed to be in supehero semi-retirement, but perhaps catching Calendar Man before he hurts anyone and/or the time space continuum will make for an ideal wedding gift for Batman...?

Variant cover by BRET BLEVINS
So who has the honor of officiating the Bruce Wayne/Selina Kyle wedding? Certainly not Deacon Blackfire, the one-time cult leader who once gave Batman and his then-Robin Jason Todd such a hard time, and not just because he's dead (not that death has stopped him from returning before, of course). When Gotham City's homeless population rises up and begins to march on Wayne Manor, site of the extravagant wedding of the city's richest man, claiming to be lead by their resurrected messiah figure, Gotham City's Avenging Angel is only too happy to discuss theology with long as he's holding a flaming sword in his metal claws, of course.

*I thought Magpie because she was the villain of the issue of Man of Steel that served as the post-Crisis first meeting of Batman and Superman, and therefore seemed like a good villain for any story involving crimefighters from Gotham and Metropolis. Given her affinity for shiny objects though, I guess a better use for the character in any wedding-related story would be to have her trying to steal the wedding ring, huh?

**Well, it's my daydream, so I'm going to just call her Black Bat instead of Orphan, since "Black Bat" is the second best codename for Cassandra Cain, after "Batgirl," whereas "Orphan" is maybe the absolute worst one. I'd change The Signal's name in here too, as I also hate that codename, except for the fact that the whole gag for his one-shot revolves around his name.

***Originally, this was gonna be AZRAEL VS CARDINAL SIN, using the New Blood character that appeared in 1993's Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #3 by Denny O'Neil, Mike Manley and company. The angel vs. priest thing is kind of appealing, and O'Neil created both Azrael and Sin, so there's that. But when I was trying to remember Sin's powers, I looked him up and saw that he had actually lost his powers at the end of that story--which I'm fairly certain I haven't reread since 1993--so I guess he'd be a rather lame villain. So then I naturally thought of the other evil priest character, and figured "The Cult" is more appealing in a title than "DEACON BLACKFIRE."

****Rossmo would draw the bulk of the issue, while Jones would draw the flashbacks to the events of the original series, Batman: The Cult. Kevin Nolwan would ink the pencils of both; he's a distinctive enough inker that you'd see his presence over both radically different pencil artists' styles. Also, how great would it be to get a single issue drawn by Rossmo and Jones, who draw the shortest Batman ears and the longest Batman ears, respectively...?


If you are unfamiliar with any of those creators I was daydreaming about, I'd be more than happy to introduce you to their work.Scott Beatty co-wrote Robin: Year One and Batgirl: Year One, and wrote "Nightwing: Year One" (he was big on Year Ones) and had a solid run on Batman: Gotham Knights, among a whole bunch of other stuff. Kelley Jones may or may not be one of the best Batman artists of all-time, but he is definitely the most awesome; after doing Batman covers around the time of "Knightfall," he was the interior artist for the Batman title from around #516 to #552 or thereabouts. Read everything of his you can find in trade, particular his collaborations with Dough Moench and John Beatty. Dan Brereton's Batman comics are mostly limited to some Elseworlds projects and works for other writers (Thrillkiller, Thrillkiller '62, Legends of the World's Finest), but he's also a writer. Check out all of his Nocturnals comics you can get your hands on, and, if you can find it, his Giantkiller series for DC; I think about that series just about every time I see an American-made giant monster movie. Brian Bolland is an amazing artist who is responsible for some of the best covers DC has ever published; in addition to runs as cover artist on Wonder Woman, Animal Man and The Invisibles, he handled the covers of Batman: Gotham Knights for a while, and drew the cover of 1989's Secret Origins Special #1, which is an all-time classic.Oh, and he also drew a Joker comic of some notoriety once. Devin Grayson is one of my all-time favorite Batman writers, and she showed a particular proclivity for Dick Grayson and his Titans peers. She wrote the first 32 issues of Batman: Gotham Knights, had a less creatively successful run on Nightwing and co-wrote JLA/Titans, one of the best non-Morrison JLA stories of the Morrison era. More of her work should be available in trade. Babs Tarr was the artist who helped make Batgirl good, and she's currently drawing Motor Crush for Image. She draws the best Babs Gordon, and a super-sexy Dick Grayson. Leslie Hung draws Snotgirl for Image. She is great at drawing sexy young people and fashion. Evan Dorkin has written and drawn so many comics, and all of them that I've read have been good. Best known for The Eltingville Club, Milk and Cheese and Dork, I thought of him here because his World's Funnest comic featuring Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite battling through the Multiverse lived up to its name. Stephen DeStefano is one of my favorite comics artists who doesn't much draw comics anymore (he does a lot of work in animation, and if you're interested in that field at all, I'd definitely recommend his Twitter). He drew Lucky In Love for Fantagraphics back in 2010, has done some Jingle Belle and Hellboy and SpongeBob Comics stuff, but I was thinking specifically of his framing sequence for the 2003 Bizarro Comics anthology. He draws both the best Bizarro and the best Mxy ever. Ever, I say! Kyle Baker has never written and drawn a comic that wasn't somewhere between really good and unbelievably great (some of the comics he's drawn but other people write though? Those can be hit-or-miss). For DC's superhero universe, he's the first person who made a Plastic Man comic work since, I don't know, the Golden Age? Check out his On The Lam and Rubber Bandits, if and when you can. He's also responsible for one of the most controversial Superman stories of all time ("Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter"). Peter Tomasi is an editor-of-pretty-dang-good comics turned better-than-average super-comics writer, and his Bat-work has included a healthy run on Batman and Robin. John McCrea is one of my favorite artists, and is best-known for Hitman, with long-time creative partner Garth Ennis. He draws a pretty great Batman, too. Jim Balent spent a long time on the first Catwoman ongoing monthly, where he co-created the Hellhound character, before leaving DC to pursue his creator-owned book Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose. I used to really like his Batman and Catwoman art, but I didn't care for a recent cover he did for DC. I think if he had a solid inker, like Kevin Nowlan (one of the solid-est inkers!), his work would have the harder, more-present, more drawn look that I prefer. Phil Jimenez is the artist you call when you want a million heroes on the page. His most recent work for DC was the ill-starred "Rebirth" book Superwoman, but he also had a great run on Wonder Woman (including a very fun Batman crossover arc), wrote and drew Tempest, co-wrote and drew the aforementioned JLA/Titans and drew much of Infinite Crisis. His Vertigo series Otherworld is also worth a look. I always liked the way he drew Batman's cape. If I were able to assign anyone to Justice League, it would be Jimenez. Kevin Maguire is one of the all-time greatest Justice League artist, and is responsible for the iconic Justice League posed shot. You can find much of his work in the Justice League International collections, and he'll be drawing some Superman comics for DC soon. Chuck Dixon is one of the most productive, prolific and all-around best Batman comics writers of all-time. He has some pretty odious politics, though, and has taken on some pretty objectionable work in the last decade or so. If you read Batman comics anytime after, say, 1992 or so, chances are he created and/or redefined like half your favorite characters. He's currently wrapping up a Bane maxiseries with pencil artist Graham Nolan. Tom Grummett was the first artist on Robin. James Harvey drew We Are Robin #4, like two issues of Batgirl and...that's about it, really. At least as far as I can tell. He's super good, though and, along with Ian Bertram, who I didn't put in here anywhere, is someone who I hope gets to draw all the Bat-comics he could hope for. Kevin Wada seems to mostly work for Marvel, and I'm not sure if he's exclusive there or not. He's really good and drawing sexy dudes, sexy ladies and fashionable people in general; you should follow him on Twitter. Keith Giffen and Bilquis Evely are responsible for that weird "Sugar and Spike" feature that  ran in that weird Legends of Tomorrow anthology that had nothing to do with the TV show of the same name and was later collected as Sugar and Spike: Metahuman Investigations. You should check out that trade; I was obviously thinking about their story when it came to Killer Moth here. Tim Sale may be the best Batman artist to never actually have a run on Batman or Detective Comics; you should read all of his Batman comics, although if you're afraid of the name "Jeph Loeb" on the cover of some of the best-known stuff, you could always start with Tales of The Batman: Tim Sale. Sale, by the way, drew one of my favorite sequences in all of comics. Marc Andreyko had the garbage assignment of writing Batwoman after that book's creative team left in a huff. He also wrote Manhunter for DC, starring the Kate Spencer version of the character. (Confession: Every time I hear Andreyko's name, I think of that comic book title in the background of a panel of Brian Michael Bendis' Fortune & Glory. Sorry, Marc Andreyko! Blame Bendis!). Marguerite Sauvage is so good. She contributed to the first issues of DC Comics Bombshells, and drawn a lot of dynamite covers for DC, Archie and others. J.G. Jones drew the covers of 52, the series that first introduced the current Batwoman character. Sophie Campbell is one of my favorite comics artists, period. I like just about everything she's ever drawn, but would recommend you start with her Wet Moon and Shadoweyes series. She's a hell of a character designer, and, based on her Jem work, I'd love to see her dress the women of Gotham City. Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott are the writer and artist of the first Batgirl ongoing series, the one starring Cassandra Cain. Klaus Janson is a legendary artist in his own right, with an incredibly distinctive inking style I would love to see applied to Scott's pencils, out of sheer curiosity. John Romita JR drew "My Own Worst Enemy," the first story arc of the short-lived, post-Batman Scott Snyder series, All-Star Batman. I think he might have drawn a book or two thousand for Marvel Comics too. Scott Snyder wrote all the good post-Flashpoint DC Universe comics; he also wrote a damn good run on Detective Comics starring the Dick Grayson Batman, but no one ever talks about that anymore. Declan Shalvey drew the Duke Thomas back-ups in the first arc of All-Star Batman, and he knocked them out of the park; Shalvey's a person everyone should keep an eye on. Cully Hamner is drawing Batman and The Signal. Jeff Parker wrote many of my favorite Marvel Comics--Agents of Atlas, X-Men: First Class, Marvel Adventures Avengers--but the Batman work he is best-known for his Batman '66 (although he also drew 2003's Batgirl #38. Did you know that? I bet you didn't even know that). Mike Allred is one of the all-around best comic book artists there is and may, in fact, be the comic book-iest comic book artist. He was the cover artist for Batman '66, and drew the interior art for last year's one-shot special Batman '66 Meets The Legion of Super-Heroes. I first became aware of David Hahn's work through his book Private  Beach, but he's done a surprisingly wide variety of work for the Big Two since, including several Batman '66 stories. Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart co-wrote the New 52  Batgirl when it was really good, and I'm pretty confident they were going to introduce Spoiler into their version of the Birds of Prey (Stewart is also a hell of an artist). David LaFuente has done a bunch of work for Marvel and, more recently, Valiant; he drew Spoiler-centric passages of Batgirl Annual #3 and Batman Eternal. Richard Sala has never drawn anything Batman-related for DC, and is actually a long-shot here. He's one of my favorite artists though, and his areas of expertise include cute young girls, hideous monster men, and people in capes and masks. I don't want to tell you what to do or anything, but the absolute best use of your time and money right now would probably be to go to, search "Richard Sala" and buy a copy of everyone of his books (Peculia, Peculia and The Groon Grove Vampires, The Grave Robber's Daughter and The Hidden are among my favorites). Tom Peyer wrote the short-lived Hourman series, one of my favorite DC Comics that wasn't JLA or Hitman. Rags Morales drew Hourman. Becky Cloonan is a writer, artist and cartoonist who has the peculiar distinction of being the first woman to ever drawn an issue of Batman; she drew Harper Row's first appearance (Since then, Joelle Jones has had a run on Batman). Jim Starlin has written a billion comics, several hundred million of them for Marvel, but among his DC work was a late 1980s run on Batman and the prestige format mini-series Batman: The Cult. Riley Rossmo is one of the better artists to draw Batman of late; check out his work on Batman: Night of The Monster Men and Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses. Bret Blevins is an artist who drew many, many comics; when it comes to Batman business, he was the primary artist on Batman: Shadow of The Bat between 1993 and 1996 (and therefore during Jean-Paul Valley's stint as Batman) and, more recently, he drew the Harley Quinn: Road Trip Special in 2015.


redguard1971 said...

Dear glob, why aren't you editor of the Batman line? This sounds amazing.

Medraut said...

A lot of fun team ups here, but I really, really wish the Robin / Bat-Mite one was a reality.

Jose Gregorio Bencomo Gomez said...

Harley Quinn vs. The Joker AGAIN. Oboy, how thrilled I am. What a novelty piece. Yes, DC, we get it, Harley is her own awesome indepedent woman now, so there's no freaking need to go back to the well over and over to have her kick the Joker in the nuts for the umpteenth time while waxing on how much she hates him now. Listen, I'm all for her being away from him now if that's how you want it, but then there's no need to keep hitting this dead horse anymore (but then, WHICH dead horse aren't you willing to keep on beating, Mainstream Comics?)

Just... Just let it go already and keep them their separate ways, please. By now it's kinda pitiful and does both characters a disservice.

Kevin McHugh said...

this is good content.