Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why The New DC Universe?

Well, the why is rather obvious this week, isn’t it?

If you’re a fan of Thoughtballoons you’re a fan of comics. If you’re a fan of comics you know DC Comics launched their new universe last week with Justice League #1. Not a relaunch, per se. The universe isn’t rebooting from scratch. Decades of continuity has not dissipated in a flash. Not entirely, anyway. Rather, the folks over at DC are refreshing their line. Making a few edits. Erasing some things; adding others. We’re not going to know the full extent of the changes for a while yet. But this is an exciting time to be a DC reader. Nay; to be just a comics reader.

So it’s only right that Thoughtballoons jumps in on the action.

But this week we’re doing things a little differently. Shakin’ things up. Breaking new ground.

This week, we – and you, faithful Thoughtballooner – are pitching an idea for a DC character in this New Universe. And blatantly piggyback off the amazingly talented comics-scribe Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man proposal - because if you’re going to learn from someone, learn from the best.

All of us Tenured Writers here at Thoughtballoons are aspiring creators. Some of us are further along in our prospective comics careers than others. And that’s fine. That’s great. That’s what makes us such a diverse bunch. And we’ve all proven, time and time again: we can write scripts damn well. We have our good days and our great days, but very rarely – unless it’s one of mine - will you a read a script on this site and think, that’s garbage.

But if we – or you – are going to get our writing careers off the ground, we’re going to have to learn how to pitch. And witch well. It’s an art, guys. One we’ve got to master.

It starts now.

The New DC Universe is at your disposal.

You’re got Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man proposal as a blueprint.

All you need now is an idea.

And,Thoughtballooner, I know you’ve got many.


  1. I have a good feeling this week is going to be a lot of fun. As in, even more fun than most weeks. :-)

  2. by: zu

    A six issue miniseries about Amanda Waller called Brick By Brick.

    zu, writer.
    belano, artist.

    "When Braniac first mind-controlled Superman, I was nineteen and I was there."

    Elevator Pitch:
    Amanda Waller's Global Frequency.

    High Concept:
    Stormwatch entrance interview conducted by J'onn J'ozz. Done in one-shots, this limited series highlights six of the biggest crises in Ms. Waller's short but already remarkable tenure in metahuman detente. The form allows me to focus on Amanda Waller at a couple thousand times magnification, by virtue of J'onn's mind-reading.

    The Cast:
    Amanda Waller: John Ostander's a smart guy, so I want to leave as much as I can intact. I'm taking most, if not all his ideas, (born in a bad part of Chicago, through hard work, gets out) and merely adding a moment of superhero crucible, hopefully from an altitude that he wouldn't disown immediately.
    J'onn J'ozz: Telepathic Martian, massively intelligent and able to read situations but not necessarily people, trying to get the contours of Waller's allegiances and core beliefs.

    The six one-shots are meant to show Ms. Waller's increasing dexterity not only with single superheroes who are willing to talk and with few accumulated interests, but also to well-entrenched and outfitted squads with leaders, multiple, divergent interests and radiuses of command. By the end of this series, she's revealed as a shrewd and impassive manipulator, not just for the Justice League, but for most, if not all Earth-based supervillians and some of the more chatty or returning galactic tourists.

    Using this framework, I can dance between the raindrops of continuity, transition from art teams on the series should the need arise and tell done in one stories with finality and consequence.

    Issue One: Origin/Superman.
    Issue Two: Captain Cold.
    Issue Three: Wonder Woman.
    Issue Four: Lex Luthor.
    Issue Five: The Batman Family.
    Issue Six: Green Lantern Corps, as marshalled by John Stewart/ J'ozz Reveal.

    Amanda Waller was an art student, with a concentration in landmarks.

    She studied in Metropolis U for a summer session early in her college career, involving the post-superhero style, but really, post-Superman. (His effect on art, generally, I think, would be seismic.)

    Then the first Brainiac Mind Control happens.

    As Superman flies overhead, firing eye lasers at anything that comes across his path, she looked up. What she saw was the apocalypse. A blindly firing alien god is destroying the city, causing bricks to rain on citizens from the collapsing buildings Superman's eyes have pierced. She hides and stays alive. This is her superhero moment: She is made by metaperson collateral damage.

    She changes majors with a private vow: I will not hide again. A decade later, she leaves Stanford at the top of her class with a Ph.D in political science, a chip on her shoulder the size of a granite gargoyle and job offers from the best security firms you've heard of and all of the ones you haven't.

    This is the foundation of the Wall.

  3. It took me so long to come up with any kind of idea and now its done I am not sure it's even any good. However I didn't wanna miss a week so this is what I came up with...

    Mia Dearden. Mini Series 3 issues. September 2011.

    Mia Dearden created by Kevin Smith and Phil Hester.

    Shaun Richens, writer.
    Ryan Ottley artist (That would be the dream)

    The high concept:
    When prostitutes start disappearing it isn’t the highest priority for the police, for Mia Dearden it is the only priority. Diving back into her darker past, Mia sets out under the hood of Speedy to find out what is really happening on the streets of Star City after dark.

    The Cast:
    Mia Dearden aka Speedy


    We open with a shadowy figure attacking a young girl walking the streets late at night. She screams then all is black. We see newspapers articles talking about the spat of missing prostitutes; they are small sections not even on the front page. No one notices them when they are there let alone when they have gone.

    Mia Dearden notices.

    Mia is back out on the streets of Star City; she has taken it upon herself to go undercover as a street-walking hooker in the hopes of getting a lead or two on the string of disappearances.

    Other than old men and school boys looking for a bit of late night fun nothing unusual happens. Just as she is about to give up and call it a night a fight down a side alley catches her attention.

    A figure in the shadows throws a girl to the floor and makes his escape. Mia comes over to the young girl who explains that she was pulled down here and dreads to think what would have happened if Mia hadn’t turned up when she had.

    During this conversation the same figure in the shadows that attacked the girls listens into the entire conversation from the rooftop. As the girls leave the alley they make a noise, the shadowy figure repeats it.

    The next night Mia does back to the streets this time hoping to the target for that shadowy figure, and she is.

    Attacking her from behind and knocking her out the shadowy figure takes her. She wakes up bond and gagged onboard a boat just over the shoreline of Star City. Woman’s bloodstained clothes, those of the missing prostitutes by the looks of it lay across the floor. Mia hears footsteps behind her. It sounds like two men, it is just one. The man is repeating the sound of his own steps as he walks.

    Onomatopoeia steps out in front of Mia; he throws her speedy costume in front of her. He then pulls a gun from his jacket, making a clicking noise as he loads it. Mia has freed her hands. She knocks the gun from his hand. A fight unfolds between them. Onomatopoeia makes his escape. Mia calls in what she has seen and found, she watches the police boats head out to those poor girls death boat.

    In the final few pages we see Onomatopoeia entering into a suburban home as a mother and daughter play in the garden. He stalks through the garage towards the back garden. He throws him mask into a cupboard, it makes a SLAM as it shuts, he does not repeat the noise. Entering the garden the young girl sees him and simply says DADDY.


    @Zu I thought your pitch has a really great concept to it. I think you could do much with it. Good work.

  4. @zu - I love that your concept is something so very different. I think that would draw appeal from many readers. You've got good characterisation and I'm really a fan. Great job.

    @Shaun - I'm sure Kevin Smith would be proud of all the street walkers you've dropped into your tale. He'd surely have a blast writing their dialogue, for good or bad. This story isn't bad, I wouldn't call it exceptional, but that end gave me goosebumps. That end was awesome and yet so simple. Very cool.

  5. @zu - I like the focus on a specific character. It's clear that you have a strong idea of who Amanda Waller is and what she's all about, and I imagine those six-issues would go a long way to sharing that with readers. I'd be in, for sure.

    @Shaun - Certainly a good use of what's come before for the character (and other Kevin Smith creations). It doesn't really change all that much from before the reboot, but judging from some of the titles we've already seen, that's clearly not a big problem. On the plus side, you have a clear and complete idea of where you'd like to take things, which is sadly lacking from a lot of current books. I'd definitely give this a look.


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