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by editor I forgot my name

Bill Wiist just sent me a package of Detective Comics issues (I collect them for the Elongated Man appearances, as I'm the biggest fan of that character and run the only website devoted to him, "Dibny Dirt "). Detective #376 has a letter in the lettercolumn from some dopey kid in California who loudly proclaimed that if writers John Brunner and Gardner Fox weren't the same person, he'd leave the country. Not only did the editors tell him in no uncertain terms that they were two separate people and he should get his passport ready, but loudmouthed grump and national treasure Harlan Ellison wrote in a few issues later to layer insult after insult upon the letterhack for slighting his friend John Brunner.

The letterhack's name was Mark Evanier!

I LOVE finding out that great comic writers were once rabid (and sometimes a bit foot-in-mouth) comic book fans themselves. It gives me hope.

Well, Tangent week is here once again. That makes it an even year's worth of skip weeks which have met with only mixed enthusiasm. We've had two "Tangent" weeks, plus "New Year's Evil" and "Girl Frenzy." My local comic shop has been trying to get rid of the copies of all these titles for month after month!

Here's what I don't get: doesn't DC have a ton of unused characters? Couldn't these weeks be used as one-shots for characters who could actually go on to their own titles? Of course, it is nice to see a company doing something just for fun, but it would be even better to combine the fun with some actual marketing smarts.

Here are several ideas for "Skip Week" Themes:

  1. Silver Age Week: Hawkman, Atom, Zatanna, Elongated Man (by moi, 'natch!), the Metal Men, Angel and the Ape, Metamorpho and Adam Strange could each have their own titles. These could simply be modern stories of these Silver Age characters, which would certainly be more conducive to spinning them off into their own titles. That has problems, of course, such as the ways Hawkman and the Metal Men have been more or less RUINED. A cooler idea would be to do these in a Silver Age period setting with a Silver Age style (checkerboard cover headers, lots of blurbs, bizarre story ideas on the cover, x-ray spec ads on one page and plastic soldier ads on the back).
  2. Charlton Week: Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade, Judo Master, the Question, Thunderbolt (although I understand DC may not have the rights to him anymore), Peacemaker and a team-up of all the characters as the eighth book.
  3. Showcase Week(a catch-all title for one-shots): Black Lightning, Sgt. Rock, Captain Comet and the L.E.G.I.O.N., Suicide Squad, Nemesis, Global Guardians and Guy Gardner, Warrior!
  4. Humor Week: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, 'Mazing Man, Inferior Five, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, Blue Devil, Plastic Man, Heckler and Ambush Bug!!! (Unfortunately, Giffen would have to be involved with too many of them!)
These are just ideas thought of in the last few minute before I publish the latest Fanzing, but I'd buy all of these instead of waiting for the current "Skip Week" titles to go at discount price!
This column is © 1998 Michael Hutchison.