Time for a new game—as many of us know, in recent years, many comic fans have expressed frustration at some of the creative decisions and editorial mandates that have overtaken various books.
Now, a lot of people have said how they could do better. But I’ve got a little turnabout in mind: how could you do worse?
The setup: You’ve become the Editor in Chief of your comic company of choice. You’re basically the god, now.
So, your assignment: piss the fans off. Break the characters, drive the plotlines before you, and hear the lamentations of the canon. Stop short of completely driving the company out of business. If you can.
Do this either by A) Enforcing changes that you, personally, would actually like to see, but know would never float with the critics and reader base. (Deliberately botching a potential good idea works, too, if you say how you’d do it), or B) doing something stupid or awful on purpose. I’ll leave the details of that to your imaginations.
The only major limitation, for this project? Whatever goes into the comics, it has to be something you can plausibly get away with publishing in the United States. So you can’t just have Detective Comics consist of nothing but photos of you throwing puppies into the ink vats and the publishing house (including the front cover, which now includes the “F,” “C,” and “J” words ringing it like a National Geographic border).
Extra points to whoever can do the most damage with the subtlest amount of changes. Try me.
The Flash gets winded easy. Wonder Woman reveals she’s a lesbian, stops shaving her armpits and gives long anti-guy speeches. Superman shaves his head and becomes Lex Luthor’s gay lover and partner in crime. Thor kills all of the Norse gods and then himself. Batman decides nothing can be done to avert Gotham City’s descent into squalor and becomes an alcoholic, drinking himself into a stupor every night, ignoring the Bat Signal.
Version a) Kill Batman off without setting up an obvious way to bring him back. Refuse to allow any writers to introduce one. Require all writers on Gotham-based books to have the city going on without problem, despite the lack of Batman, because they have a functional police force, and network of capes who don’t need the Bat to keep them on task. Maintain this status quo for my entire tenure. Eventually allow writers to introduce a new Batman, but refuse to let them use Dick Grayson in the role. Possibly make him non-white. (Lucius Fox jr! There’s an idea!)
Version b) Have Wonder Girl raped and murdered…Wonder Woman becomes a misandrist avenger, breaking all contact with the JLA, starting an all-female team, and savagely beating/killing exclusively male villains.
A large team of mutants from all the X-books and their traditional enemies team up in a year-long crossover arc to defeat Apocalypse. Midway through the last book, in a climactic battle, the villain is accidentally killed by the simultaneous impact of an optic blast, a magnetic bolt, and the effect of Shadowcat phasing through Apocalypse’ armor.
At that point, all mutant powers cease to operate. It turns out there never were any mutants at all. Their powers were induced and maintained by Apocalypse, who turns out to have been a Skrull.
Krok, you do know that Wendy & Marvin -did- recently go through some serious grim-n-gritty, with one of them ending up in the hospital, and the other (IIRC) dead? It was actually sort-of an interresting plot twist, considering who did it…
Revert Superman to his late-1950s version. Lois Lane is back to being a brunette Lucy Ricardo. Lex Luthor is a mobster who uses his inventions to rob banks. And every third issue is a Red Kryptonite story.
I, as editor, have undergone a Jack-Chick-rebirth of my spirit. Every Batman story will focus on Batman delivering, with scriptural footnotes every second panel, evidence that the Second Coming of Jesus is nigh, and that the religions practiced by various other characters will ensure their eternal damnation.
The Joker will act at the beck and call of Pope Benedict XVI.