Tony Isabella posted an interesting challenge on his website ( recently:

"Superman fan Jerry Seinfeld reverses his earlier decision to forego another season of his NBC show. He plans to use the obscene salary he'll be getting to purchase DC Comics. He then hires you to edit these revamped Superman titles: ACTION COMICS (featuring Superman and Supergirl), ADVENTURE COMICS (featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes), SUPERBOY (the Adventures of Supermen When He Was a Boy), SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN'S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE, SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN, WORLD'S FINEST (featuring Superman and Batman--together!)

You get to pick the creative teams of these titles. You can hire any living comics creator you want. However, you can't hire anyone who's written or drawn these characters before. Seinfeld is paying top dollar and he wants originality side-by-side with his nostalgia. Are you up to the job?"

I responded with:

ACTION COMICS (featuring Superman and Supergirl)

(Kevin Smith writing, Matt Wagner on art)

Damn. I can't use Alan Moore. Or Mark Waid. Or Kurt Busiek (he wrote an annual). Or Roger Stern. Or Scott McCloud. Or even James Robinson or John Byrne. Okay, we'll look at the Vertigo stable, since many of those creators haven't touched DC mainstream. Not Gaiman, I've got another assignment in mind for him. Not Morrison, he's handled all the biggies in JLA. Not Milligan, as I can't stand most of his work. Not Ney Rieber, because I've got another assignment for him. Not Ennis, because Superman shouldn't drink heavily and swear a lot. Jeez...this is tough.

Okay, let's pick an artist first. It needs someone iconic, less cartoony, and certainly not someone who lives for crosshatching. That leaves out most, but not all, of the Image crew. Nobody who has worked on Supes before, which leaves out Jerry Ordway, my favorite pick.

Got one. I'm not sure that he's never worked on Superman, I know he's worked on, wait, I think he's clear. Since as far as I know, he's never worked on Superman, I'll say Matt Wagner for Action Comics.

Still, that leaves us without a writer. And nearly *everyone* has handled Superman before. Wait...I've got it! Kevin Smith, of Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy, wrote what is supposed to be a damned good Superman script (but he hasn't officially written the character) and has a true love of comics.

ADVENTURE COMICS (featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes)

(Steve Seagle writing, Dev Madan on art)

Steven Seagle on writing. The man can weave together numerous plotlines and juggle multiple characters (he's slowly integrating *everyone* from prior Alpha Flight runs). It would probably feel slow starting to legion fans, but if given a chance, I think he'd do a terrific job with it, and could probably nicely balance the postboot optimism with the adult themes/gritty realism that people liked in Levitz and Giffen.

On art, we'd have Dev Madan, of Young Heroes in Love. His animated style, reminiscent of the late, great Mike Parobeck but with his own unique touches, would be perfect for this Legion.

SUPERBOY (the Adventures of Supermen When He Was a Boy)

(John Ney Reiber writing, Alan Davis on art)

For this one, we look to Vertigo writers. John Ney Reiber wrote a great series about growing up when you're destined to become very powerful in Books of Magic. I'd love to see him take on young Clark Kent and his friends. In all likelihood, what we'd get would be more of an Archie style "Clark's gang" story most of the times, with the Superboy stuff seeming unusual even to Clark, but I think it would be different and fun.

On artwork, you need someone who can do both younger faces and the weird menaces that Superboy would face. Alan Davis on art.


(Dwayne McDuffie writing, MD Bright on art)

Oh my god. We're going to have *two* Superman titles? *sob* But I already ran out of choices who hadn't worked on Superman before!

Okay, okay, pull it together. On artwork...let me put it this way, did you ever see MD Bright's work on Icon? Mark Bright is the man! He's on art.

Story's a little tougher, since there's nobody left after Kevin Smith. I'll come back to this one. Okay, I'm back. Can't believe I didn't see this before. Dwayne McDuffie and MD Bright, together again, this time on Superman.


(Neil Gaiman writing, Jill Thompson on art)

Neil Gaiman is the ideal person to write this. (Okay, Claremont is up there, too, but he had his shot with an Elseworlds and blew it, IMO.) He can take a normal person surrounded by unusual circumstances and make it real. He also has a great handle on dialogue and characterization. And on art, I want a woman drawing, and Jill Thompson is one of the most talented (and few, unfortunately for the industry) female artists I can think of. Not to mention that she and Neil have worked together very well in the past.


(Priest writing, Chriscross on art)

Priest is my first and only choice for this one. He's written Steel and Superman and a couple panels of Lois Lane, but as far as I know he's never touched Jimmy Olsen. This guy writes great character stuff, and his Steel would be much better if the editors would let him make the super powers aspect almost incidental, which in this book, they would be. Assuming this would actually be Jimmy's title and not the New Gods, that is.

Art is a little tougher. My first thought was Tim Levins of the Copybook Tales, but then I'd want J. Torres to write (he's my second choice after Priest. I know what I said. I lied. :) There are plenty of creators who would be good, but most of them have worked on the characters previously. Okay, how about Chriscross, for another creative team reunion? This guy's got clean art and can do normal as well as outlandish.

WORLD'S FINEST (featuring Superman and Batman--together!)

(Stan Lee writing, Brent Anderson on art)

There are a few caveats here. First, unless Jerry had also spent some of his money on bodyguards, I'd rough him up until he let me put Waid, Busiek, Miller, Paul Dini, or Morrison on this. Assume he has bodyguards. Then I'd try to convince him to buy Earth-2 (it can't cost much, there's nobody using it) and set this title there, with Travis Charest on art, using the greywash style he used on Wildcats/X-Men: Golden Age to set the tales in the Golden Age.

But we'll assume that this is impossible. That said, on these two characters, you need someone big. A big name who has never handled Superman and Batman. Next to impossible, unless you look to the competition. Stan Lee. I can't believe he's never handled these characters, but I'd love to see him putting them together in the Silver Age style. And you'd need someone who could handle both the gritty Gotham and bright Metropolis, not to mention all the other places these two would inevitably adventure. Brent Anderson, of Astro City (among other things) would be perfect. He's done gritty in X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills and Confession. Weird locations abound in Astro City and Ka-Zar. And you don't get much more optimistic and retro than Astro City.

So there you have it. I'd expect at least two of these titles to need tinkering later on, and at that point I'd try to convince the comedian to let me pick people with experience and serve up Busiek or Waid, possibly Moore.

Randy W. Lander

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