The following is a personal wishlist that we at Den of Geek hope might come to fruition in the not-so-distant future. With a medium spanning more story lines and pages than can be guessed at, comic books have a “been there, done that” tiredness to them at times. Not that we don’t both love and revere the genre. We do, for sure. But still, there is a need for some fresh ideas to be injected into this particular mix. And, instead of allowing the writers of our timeless tales to stay in the ruts they seem to have fallen into and that have been there since the first Action Comics debuted in 1938 we want to see them reach for something new, different, even, groundbreaking. We mean, why not?
1. Alternate costume choices
The cape and skintight suit thing is way overdone. What about…hey, wearing a motorcycle helmet and fire suit? Or a superhero in average, everyday clothes? We mean how uncomfortable and chafing are those skintight jumpsuits? Particularly when certain heroes appear to wear one 24/7. You could save the day wearing a sport coat or a polo shirt. Comfy jeans and tank top for the warmer weather. There’s no dress code. What about a cross-dressing superhero? Now that would fool everybody on the whole “secret identity” thing. (As Edna Mode says in The Incredibles, “NO CAPES!”)
2. More Female Characters
They should be strong, intelligent and unique individuals. We don’t like female heroes used as set dressing. We want to see developed female characters, not stereotypes with ridiculous curves. Is a cup size a superpower? We didn’t think so. Can somebody please tell Power Girl? We mean yeah, we girls here at Den of Geek believe in grooming, but we’re not heading out to chase down a bad guy in heels (and head to toe spandex).
3. Unlikely Crossovers
Some unexpected crossover stories would no doubt lead to an interesting premise. Although Batgirl and Superman met in the comics of the 1970s, we imagine an interaction between their modern day counterparts would be fascinating. We can already see these two juxtaposed together in the artwork. Other ideas: have ace archer Artemis team up with Poison Ivy for a common goal. What if Supergirl and Static Shock met? Note that we name DC characters because it seems everyone in the Marvel universe knows each other by now.
4. Different Superpowers
Or at least a twist on the classics. See, it’s hard to get away from the basic super strength, flight and elemental based-powers that we’ve all grown so accustomed to seeing. A simple twist on the usual would be a breath of fresh air to the genre. Say you have a super strong hero—but he is only strong when he is feeling confident—or there’s some other factor limiting his ability. Or perhaps you have a hero with an interesting dilemma—the more he uses his power, the shorter his lifespan becomes. Such epic drama would ensue! (Yeah, we’re having to pull from movies to come up with pics to go with this list – but hey Mystery Men is a pretty great flick.)
5. Diverse Characters
There needs to be more representation of different cultures and lifestyles. The Batman family seems to be the most diverse group so far. They’ve had a female Robin, an Asian Batgirl and a Gay Batwoman. These characters have run the gamut from rich to poor, short to tall, young and old. And note, dear artists, that not all characters need to be supermodels. Having some regular looking folks might be nice every once in a while. We want our superhero universe to look more like a Barack Obama rally and less like one for Mitt Romney (if this confuses you please refer to Election Night footage . . .).
6. More Female Writers
(This one goes without saying at this point, doesn’t it?) One cannot just demand there be more female writers—not all writers are created equal, of course. Just a little more consideration thrown out there. Think about it, “girls writing for girls,” it’s a demographic. Not so say that girls can’t write for guys, since girls have been reading comics for as long as boys have and we read guy-written/drawn books. Ladies, let’s get on the ball here. We’re thinking putting a few more girls in charge of the creative side might result in some more realistic looking female superheroes. Because guess what guys? The girls know how hard it is to run, fight and leap with super oversized mammaries that appear to be barely contained within our supersuit. Just sayin’.(Yeah we’re throwing Janeane Garafolo in Mystery Men out there – she’s smart, funny and full of the snark.)
7. New Titles (With Above Criteria)
We don’t need five variations on the same superhero—let’s get somebody new into the spotlight. It might be nice if Marvel or DC or one of the other publishers decided to run a contest to help break new sequential artists and writers into the craft. Don’t get us wrong—there are some very talented people working in the comic book industry. But we also happen to know that there are a ton of super talented writers and artists just waiting to be “discovered.” And it would simply be nice to have some fresh blood in the system. The Incredibles was a movie, but a really creatives,new look at superheroes that was smart, funny and at least a little diverse. So why only in the movies?
8. More Humor
It would be easy for all titles to transition into the modern ideal of dark and gritty. Throw in some good one-liners to lighten the mood. Hey we love, smart and snark and just, plain funny. Remember who we all are – we’re the smart, funny, snarky people who read your books. Don’t worry, we can keep up with the fun if you start throwing it out there.
9. More Subtlety
Don’t over-explain things. Comic readers are smarter than you think. “Show don’t tell” Is an oft-used phrase for other writers, it can apply here too. Having the main character narrate everything that’s going on in the scene is just an example of bad voice over. It’s too overbearing in movies, so let’s apply the same caution in comics.
10. More Pages!
Okay, okay. We think we understand the logistics and cost issues associated with this. It’s just sad to end a really great graphic novel. And we also happen to know that some houses (Marvel) have huge money behind them nowadays (Disney). We think a few more pages could probably be rustled up going forward. Don’t you agree?