SIX COMICS I WANT BACK!
Last month saw the return of a comic character I never thought I’d see again: Grizzly Shark. Back in 2010, Image published a 48-page black-and-white one-shot called Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark (they got mixed up!). Ryan Ottley did Grizzly Shark and Jason Howard did Sea Bear. And a couple Wednesdays ago, the first of three new issues of Ottley’s Grizzly Shark (solo this time around) hit comic shops. The first issue may be a colorized reprint of the GZ half of the one-shot, but either way, new material is forthcoming. So in honor of that, and since it seems dreams can come true (especially if your dreams involve more drawings of a shark roaming the woods and chomping on humans), I thought I’d throw out a few more comics I’d like back. Some of these were cancelled too early by their publishers, while others were either abandoned by their creators or just unintentionally left unfinished.
Gotham Central. Now, GC definitely ran much longer than anything else on this list, but 40 issues is still not enough. This book was seriously good. Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka co-wrote with art by Michael Lark, and the title centered on the GCPD and what it’s like to have to be the police force in Batman’s city. Batman is hardly in the book at all, and instead the spotlight is shown on the officers who work alongside (and often against) the Bat. While I’m at it, I’ll just throw out that, in my opinion, the Brubaker/Rucka years of the Bat-verse were just some of the best comics, period. That vibe can’t be replicated for me.
Bathroom Girls. Yvonne Mojica’s 5-issue indie comic Bathroom Girls was fun as hell. It appears she’s been working in TV, including 30 Rock…but I’m not sure what she’s doing at the moment. I can’t tell how up to date her website is, but I’d enjoy some more brash, irreverent Bathroom Girls tales. BG were originally self-published mini comics that got picked up and re-released with a bunch of extra stuff included from Mojica.
Halo & Sprocket. Kerry Callen released a 4-issue mini-series through Slave Labor Graphics and then a little graphic novel a few years later of his cutesy comic strip about a girl (one who would be deemed “basic” by 2016—or maybe 2014—standards) who is tasked with teaching an angel and a robot about humanity. It’s light as hell and funny and the art reflects that and suits the comic. It’s broken down into strips, some one-page long and others that are several pages, with a punchline generally. The book was just fun and I loved it. Digging around before writing this, I did learn that he has colorized the original strips and they are being released on Comixology, seemingly with different numbering (considering issue 5 was just released—and there was no issue 5 before). Hopefully, this will yield some new H&S stories!
Battle Pope. Back around the turn of the millennium, Robert Kirkman had not yet created The Walking Dead or Invincible. He was just a dude peddling his black-and-white indie book called Battle Pope, published through his own Funk-O-Tron, on message boards. At the time, Kirkman had said he envisioned the series sitting on someone’s shelf in a multi-volume TPB collection, similar to Preacher. Well, the tides changed a little and understandably Kirkman ended up not completing his saga about a pope who is called on to be the savior of the dregs of Earth after judgment day takes those worthy to Heaven. But I’ve always hoped he’d go back to it.
All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder. Frank Miller’s ASBAR, with art by Jim Lee, only lasted 10 issues, published from 2005 to 2008. But what a glorious, if incomplete, 10-issue run it was (depending on who you ask). ASBAR was kinda like the four-color equivalent of Batman v Superman, in that it was divisive as hell. There was a clear line drawn in the sand, with fans on one side screaming and those who hated it on the other, screaming just as loud. I loved the book, and had no problem with the sometimes year wait between issues. And while I do understand how the characterization of Batman would seem a bit off in this book, it makes perfect sense to me based on Miller’s quote that he viewed it as a young version of the Batman who would one day be the Batman in The Dark Knight Returns.
Franken-Castle. Yes, The Punisher is still around and will always be kicking around the Marvel Universe. But in the 2009 series, which was part of Marvel’s then universe-altering status quo storyline Dark Reign, ol’ Frank Castle became the coolest creation to come out of the House of Ideas for decades, in my opinion. Basically, Daken (who is Wolverine’s son or some such business) dismembers The Punisher after Pun’ tries to assassinate Norman Osborn. Morbius, with help from the Legion of Monsters, collects the remains and rebuilds him as Franken-Castle. This storyline ran for about 10 issues, from Punisher 11 through 21 (retitled fittingly to Franken-Castle at issue 17), plus a couple one-shots and stuff. You knew that, inevitably, he would become The Punisher again, and he did. In a very unceremonious, anti-climactic way. But I’d love to see some one-shots or minis that take place during the time Castle was more monster than man.
Gotham Central is one of the best comics I’ve read. That entire run is amazing. They just released an omnibus of it that I will be picking up, hopefully sooner than later.