Wednesday, March 11, 2009

After Watchmen, What's Next?

No, I don't specifically mean this site.

I mean: after Watchmen, what future classics that will stand the test of time has DC Comics produced over the past 5 years?

Here is a couple to start:
  • DC: The New Frontier
  • All-Star Superman
And what future classics is DC producing right now?


  1. In order to stand the test of time, a story must be a coherent, discrete whole, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. This eliminates most of what DC is producing these days, as almost everything exists just to set-up something else.

    I agree that "New Frontier" is, or should be, such a work. I honestly don't see what's the big deal about "All-Star Superman".

  2. Kingdom Come - a bonifide classic!

    What do you mean 'Wasn't in the last 5 years?!' How OLD do you think that would make me?!

    wait... ah.

  3. Just on overall goodness and longevity, not impact. Nothing IMO will match the impact Watchmen as a single work had on this industry or others.

    Not DCU, but since it's Vertigo -
    I think Y The Last Man is a good one that will endure.

    I'd say Ex Machina also under Wildstorm, but it's so left-leaning that its overt politics might stand in the way for some.

    Personally, I think the entire collected Starman run is on par with All-Star Superman and New Frontier (both of which I love).

  4. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Green Lantern Arcs? Kingdom Come.

    Justice? (I'm liking that one a lot, currently.)

    I mean, that which stands as a "classic" to me tends not to impress people years later. "JSA: The Golden Age" comes to mind. I liked that one a LOT, for the same reasons I like New Frontier, I think.

  5. "I honestly don't see what's the big deal about "All-Star Superman"."

    Though this title was okay, I personally don't find it the most groundbreaking book ever. But I guess it's sort of timeless, and something that can be pointed to as a "definitive" Superman story.

    I don't think All-Star Batman will stand up to the test of time, however.

    New Frontier definitely will.

  6. Whoops. Realized the Starman series probably doesn't fit the timeframe, but I still stand by its inclusion.

  7. I don't see either as being a timeless tale. I found both to be lacking and mostly boring. Ok, sure, that's kind of how I see Watchmen, too. I mean, the movie actually made me excited about the story again and when I sat down to re-read it, I barely made it past the first issue before moving on. New Frontier was too bloated and needed to be streamlined down to maybe 6 issues. All Star Superman was the Superman of the 60's but just took longer to tell a story and didn't leave as lasting an impression.
    Anything from the last 5 years that would be referenced 20 years from now in the same way watchmen and DKR are today? Nothing actually comes to mind. It'll be like asking "what Xmen storyline from the 90's is on par with Days of Future Past or Death of Phoenix?"
    The only titles I can come up with... Y:The Last Man and Fables. I would've suggested 100 Bullets but I really don't think it will be remembered like Y will.

  8. I think the next comic book projects that might end up being on the level of Watchmen have to be "grown," nurtured. They need to have "room." They can't really be purposely "created," but the talented creators and their vision need to be nurtured. And there needs to be an appropriate atmosphere to "grow" this.

    The decade of the 1980s (and part of the early/mid 1990s) contained much fertile soil to grow these classics. In order to produce the (and I hate this term, but for lack of a better one) "new classics," the environment that produced these books needs to be studied.

  9. Here's a question.

    Do you think the next Watchmen could be an online comic?

    One of the things about Watchmen is that, for many, it either was the "gateway drug" that made them get into comics, or it was the ideal that cemented interest.

    I think the same could be said about Fishtown, and maybe others.

    I know it's not DC, and, therefore, outside the boundaries of your question, but it's an interesting trend.

  10. Sandman, as in Neil Gaiman's. One of his story arcs could be definitely done within one movie, and could even be set up as a franchise as several movies, a la James Bond or Harry Potter. (Although he would be the oddest franchise character ever.) The SANDMAN: Key to Hell, for instance...

  11. Anonymous1:43 PM

    the next 'classics' won't come from DC or Marvel... they'll be put up on the web by some schlub who works a 9 to 5... It'll be brilliant and get read by 5 people.

  12. "Do you think the next Watchmen could be an online comic?"

    It very well might be.

    Here's the thing -- the moment it becomes self-conscious about being a "classic," the whole thing is lost.

    the original "Star Wars" is a classic.

    The new Star Wars trilogy, though more expensive and heavily licensed, were not classics. That's in part because they were purposely trying to make an "instant classic."

    A webcomic creator who has the time and freedom to produce something fresh and fun has, in my opinion, a bigger shot at creating a future classic than something that was created by "committee."

    If Alan Moore was just starting his career now, his landmark works might very likely have come out as independent webcomics.

  13. Racking my mind for any "new classics" make me realize just how many of the ones that might even come close are already more than 10 years old. Superman: For All Seasons, Batman: Long Halloween, Starman, etc.

    Everything they are putting out right now (with the wonderful exception of New Frontier) is so tangled up in continuity and the rest of the DC entity, I'd be reluctant to give it to a non-comics fan to start with. I think this above all else is my criteria for "classic" - how approachable is it to the general public? I think writing to and for the fanboys has been a DC MO for a while now and it's hurting more than helping. I think the other downfall has been the "writing it with the intent of creating a classic" you already mentioned (See Seven Soldiers & all of the Crisis sagas).

    Gotham Central still holds up in my eyes and is an easy pitch (NYPD Blue in Gotham City)to the uninitiated but is it a classic? Not so sure.

    Outside of DC proper there are plenty by Vertigo and Wildstorm - Y: The Last Man stands out for me, as does Vaughan's Pride of Baghdad.

  14. I'm going to go out a limb and say in 20 years, people will appreciate Final Crisis.

    I love looking at Justice. It has a great little twist at the end. I enjoyed it a lot. I don't know about classic though.

  15. Hrm, good question.

    I'd agree with New Frontier and All Star Superman, both were fantastic.

    Most of the really good self-contained stories I keep thinking of are too deep in continuity stuff. Agents of Atlas was really good, but it works as a small part of the Marvel universe. Classics I guess almost have to be out of continuity.

    Maybe that new Joker story? I haven't read it yet.

  16. If you mean what comics DC publishes will still be talked about 25 years from now the way Watchmen is now, nothing from the DCU will make it, probably not even NF and ASS (giggle).

    If anything, it'll be Sandman, Preacher, Transmet, Fables, Y--the ususal Vertigo suspects.

  17. "Maybe that new Joker story? I haven't read it yet."

    If you mean the new Joker graphic novel, I think it makes a good introduction to Batman comic books for on-comic book reading fans of "The Dark Knight" movie. It is more or less free of continuity and features a Joker that at the very least resonates with the movie version. I'm not sure if it would be considered a "new classic" -- only time can tell.

  18. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Y-The Last Man! Kinda forgot, as I got stuck thinking "Super Heroes". My bad. And I've been a huge evangelist of that book to many a friend, too...

    That said, it's hard to know if it'll be considered a classic. Other than the interesting plot, I wonder if it did anything new or radical enough to leave an indelible mark for years to come. Obviously, time will tell. I need to read it through again for sure.

  19. I would like to make a case for PLANETARY by Ellis and Cassidy. Not traditional superheroes but complex interesting stuff without enough good story ideas for a franchise. And it has enough superhero moments to appease the non fanboys but also deconstructs what we know or think about a world were people have powers.

  20. "I would like to make a case for PLANETARY by Ellis and Cassidy. "

    I agree; it's something that I think when people look back on it, will be appreciated more.

  21. Not mentioning what others have suggested. So...



    Some I would like to see:
    It's a Bird...
    Superman: Red Son
    Superman: Secret Identity
    Astro City
    Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade

    Cheating by using
    100 Bullets ?
    Madame Xanadu ?

    Eisner Award winners...
    Solo (not collected, but great stuff)
    Seven Soldiers
    America's Best Comics ?

  22. The Seven Soldiers, all taken together, maybe. They actually made a much bigger impact on me than Final Crisis.

  23. "I would like to make a case for PLANETARY by Ellis and Cassidy. "

    I agree; it's something that I think when people look back on it, will be appreciated more.

    Particularly when Cassaday gets around to finishing the damned thing. (grumble)

  24. All-Star Superman may not be a "classic" in the sense that Watchmen is, but it's the finest Superman story told in a loonnnnnng time and elements of it would've made a better movie than anything in Superman Returns. It really had the Superman spirit.

    I haven't read New Frontier yet, but I'll get around to it one day.

    I thought Kingdom Come was overwrought and in the end, kind of silly and left me going, "So?" Beautifully painted, though. I don't know how filmable it is. They don't seem to be able to get the JLA movie off the ground. Too many characters, too much story or something. So that would probably doom Kingdom Come to a similar development hell.

    I'd see a Y- the Last Man movie.

    It's not remotely a classic, but I'd also see a Cassandra Cain Batgirl movie... but only if they went the badass route a la Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction with some Crouching Tiger emotional depth... and avoided anything remotely like camp or Zack Snyder. Not gonna happen, though.

    Other than that... nothing really stands out for me. I kind of feel the same way as Daniel up there.

  25. All-Star Superman has been referred to as a gateway comic into the superheroe genre. Its like maurijuana to Watchmen's black tar heroin. It also accomplishes the unenviable task of making Superman interesting without making him "gritty" or flawed.

  26. I have high hopes for Keith Giffen's Doom Patrol. People are still talking about "One punch!" and it was even animated.

  27. I would like to see the Sandman as well.

    Tom Strong, and 100 Bullets.

  28. secret six

    best team book being published today

  29. Planetary and Scalped would get my vote.

  30. Some thoughts,

    Planetary - I believe it would be difficult to turn into a coherent movie. Seems more like a weekly show. However, will be remembered as a classic and some of Ellis's better work.

    Kingdom Come - "overwrought" as another poster stated kind of sums it up.

    From Vertigo, Scalped, Y, the Last Man, and Fables could all be great as films or series of films. All are great series.

    Ex Machina is good, but not a classic, BUT could be easily translated to film.

    Alan Moore's ABC comics are all great, and Promethea and Tom Strong could be interesting movie properties.

    As for filmable works, I believe Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, and Shade the Changing Man could all work. Kill Your Boyfriend would be great, but might have limited appeal

    I personally want to see Green Lantern film series with a Sinestro Corp. War in the second or third film.

  31. Anonymous2:50 PM

    The New Frontier was a great animated film, and would work so well as a stand-alone movie.

    ... I liked The New Frontier better than Watchmen....