Wednesday Comments – More Comic Book Pilots

There’s been a lot of about pilots lately. Amazon has released it’s latest group of shows that it hopes will allow it to make it’s mark as a media maker. We’ve also seen the long anticipated release of Top Cow’s Genius, a product of it’s own Pilot Season.

I guess it’s those two examples that made me wish that comics had more opportunities like that, where a pilot issue was created and released and the public can decide it’s fate. Yeah, you can say that exactly that happens on a weekly basis, because many comics are month to month, but I’m talking about something that’s literally a dipping of the toe into the water to gauge how the readership feels.

I mean a book like DC’s original Showcase. That’s the book where both Barry Allen and Hal Jordan got their start. Adam Strange, Rip Hunter, The Creeper and Hawk & Dove also debuted on it’s pages. In fact Showcase was pretty much the launching pad for most of DC’s memorable Silver Age characters.

But Showcase was awesome that way. It was where new characters and revamped concepts. It was an opportunity for comic book writers and artists to be creative and add to the DCU. And as I pointed out, some of those who debuted in Showcase ended up being long lasting DC concepts.

DC also had another pilot-y series called 1st Issue Special, which was essentially a series that was composed only of pilots. As you may have guessed from the title, every issue was the “first issue” of a story. Some featured brand new characters and concepts, like Manhunter, The Warlord and Green Team, while others were a shot for an established character to make a splash, like Metamorpho, The New Gods and Doctor Fate.

And while not everything was a home run, James Robinson was clearly a fan as he incorporated the characters Atlas, Codename: Assassin and Starman into his various runs during his time writing for DC. Also, The Creeper got another shot at stardom in 1st Issue Special.

In the 1990’s DC brought Showcase back in a revamped form. The 90’s version of Showcase was still an anthology book, but it featured multiple stories per issue, with many stories lasting more than one issue. Furthermore, Showcase was set up as a yearly limited series (Showcast ’93) with every year having an anchor of either Batman supporting characters or Superman supporting characters.

Now the 1990’s Showcase might not be the best example, as in the 90’s every comic company was throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck. But there were some good stories there and even some young creators got some important exposure via that title.

But now, there’s nothing. DC Universe Presents was The New 52’s anthology book, but that was fleshing out out of necessity rather than out of a creative endeavor.

A new Showcase-esque book would be very beneficial for DC. First off, there are a ton of characters and concepts that could be dusted off and deserve a fresh look. Clearly DC isn’t opposed to that as they gave The Green Team a second look.

DC could also use the 90’s Showcase approach and use the new book as a talent search. So not only could they give characters a tryout, but also up and coming creators.

Eh, maybe I’m putting too much thought into it. But that’s how I feel.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday so go out and buy some fresh new comics from your local comic shop.

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