Tuesday, May 15, 2007

She-Hulk

In a lot of ways these are two of the worst books that could've been assigned for me because I love their current incarnations so much that I don't want to change a thing.

So, She-Hulk's got Dan Slott and Rick Burchett.

I think that I am physically and pathologically incapble of removing Dan Slott from this title, so complete is his grasp on the character. Sure, I understand and agree with Mike's description of how the title could benefit its sales from putting Metlzer on it and morphing it into a Law & Order type series, but I don't think Tom would say Meltzer would do it.

I'm a little less hesitant to pull Rick Burchett; he's got a unique, cartoony look that suits this title well but may put some people off. Dang it. I'll start thinking of people to replace him, as much as it pains me to do so. Amanda Conner rings a somewhat interesting bell, but she may be DC exclusive...

As for the title's direction...

I'll be frank. This book is the main reason I feel like we need a huge crossover. She-Hulk's an extremely interesting and well-handled character, and Dan's been slowly delving into her psyche and exploring why she chooses to stay She-Hulk all the time and why she's so disinterested in her life at the law firm or having a normal relationship and that's all well and good for those of us who already love the book, but there's going to have to be some kind of crossover event (I'm open to ideas from the other guys if you've got She-Hulk/Spidey or She-Hulk/Wolvie thoughts in your heads) in order to boost her sales and get Dan's fabulous work out in front of as many people as possible. The caveat is they did that with She-Hulk during Civil War and while it helped sell a few more copies, it didn't blow the lid off anything.

Shoot. Tell you what, Sean, I'll wait for your approval before making this my official position, but I'd really like to stay the course on this book, tying it into whatever more line-wide stories I can to give Shulkie a more prominent place in the Marvelverse, and hope that it makes modest progress. I understand you're the EIC and you've got goals you have to reach, but I don't think this is the book that's going to cover the most ground. And to a certain extent I'd almost rather you cancelled this title and we launched a new ongoing or miniseries rather than possibly (and it's a big possibly) sell a few extra copies with a foolish change in direction.

Which leads me to marketing...

As UPN said of Veronica Mars a couple seasons ago, "Look, this show's not great in the ratings, but the product we're being provided with is exactly what we want. It's our job to get more people watching." To that end, in addition to shamelessly sticking She-Hulk into every title I can (Final Issue of Irredeemable Ant-Man: Eric O'Grady watches She-Hulk take a shower and she squashes him), I'd like to see if we've got the budget for some shameless She-Hulk promotional material (book marks die cut to her curvaceous figure, saying "She-Hulk likes a man who reads" etc.). Of course we probably don't for a character that's so unpopular. I'd love to feature her in a commerical for soda or cars or insurance or something, she's certainly a great visual, but again I doubt that would fly. The main thing I'm trying to get at here is that I want to raise people's awareness of the character, in the hopes that maybe they'll try the book.

I'm sure you were hoping for a bigger move on my part here. As you said, this title requires a delicate hand (and perhaps a slower burn). I'd also like to consider perhaps bringing aboard a couple of supporting players who themselves have big followings but haven't been seen in their own titles in a while (and, Sean, if you've got any suggestions for that, it would be awesome). To that end (again, I could use your input here) I might even consider having She-Hulk form a Fantastic Four West in Los Angeles with She-Thing, Lyjaa (did I spell that at all right?) and some of the other notable former members to tie in with FF mania.

***

With a little time passed, I definitely want to move this in a FFWest direction, renaming the book but not renumbering (unless that's stupid because the #1s would sell a lot). I feel like this could be a natural progression for She-Hulk, as she starts over in a new place with a new team trying to start her life over. And I really like Amanda Conner on this. So if it's okay with you, Sean, that's what I'd like to pitch to Tom and see if imaginary Dan Slott would be game for it.

Oh, and do you have suggestions for other former FFers to fill out the ranks?

13 comments:

Michael Heide said...

If the New Avengers editor is okay with this, you can use Wolverine for your second FF team. Remember the New Fantastic Four? They were Hulk, Spider-Man (ask Patrick if you can use him), Ghost Rider and Hulk, who hasn't been much of a team player lately. If Tom grants you Ghost Rider, you could do a New Fantastic Four revival with She-Hulk taking her cousin's place. That could in turn lead to a crossover (or evolve from a crossover) with Wolverine.

Philip Schaeffer said...

Oh yeah I do remember that. And in the past few minutes I have decided that I am pretty sure about FF West. I'm not sure I'll go the New FF direction (cause there's weirder characters like Medusa who are more suited to be backup singers), or maybe if the EIC thought we should relaunch this title as She-Hulk and the Fantastic Four L.A. or something (new number one or not).

Sean, let me know, but this is my direction.

And I think I'd want it to be drawn by Amanda Conner, exclusivity contingent.

Michael Heide said...

A new title would probably make sense, but I wouldn't give it yet again a new #1. Didn't we have this just over a year ago? I think if you want to keep the current readers (since you are already drastically changing the direction by turning it into a team book), you should keep the numbering intact.

Michael Heide said...

Hmmm... I really like my pitches for Fantastic Four and She-Hulk. I just read your post again and stumbled over this:
"In a lot of ways these are two of the worst books that could've been assigned for me because I love their current incarnations so much that I don't want to change a thing."

Do you perhaps would like to swap books?

Philip Schaeffer said...

I agree, I wouldn't renumber a She-Hulk and Fantastic Four book.

Sorry my man, but I also really like my pitches for the books I've been assigned. I was mainly expressing that it's a good problem to have that you really like what you're working with.

And as I said before I wouldn't know where to start if I had to edit Uncanny X-Men.

But don't worry. I'm sure we'll all screw up enough that everything will be jumbled within a couple of days.

Michael Heide said...

Good point. And I'm starting to fall in love with my Wolverine pitch.

As for Uncanny, I'll have to return a DVD to the video store, I'll think about Uncanny X-Men on the subway. So see you later, I guess.

Philip Schaeffer said...

Dude, I'm falling in love with your Wolverine pitch.

Anonymous said...

As someone who watched one of his favorite series get gutted and die last simulation (Exiles) I find it mildly ironic that it's happening again.

I love she hulk, or at least I did. I picked the book up for precisely the reason you hate to go in: Super Hero Law. As far as I'm concerned those were the best issues, not to say that the action issues weren't fun, but the real fun of the title was the crazy hi-jinks that happened every case. Maybe a cut and dry Law and Order style would die, but I think that removing She-Hulk from the law offices would hurt readership and turn off many people. It's a great comedy title out there, there are enough action titles, let some comics be about the funny.

Also on a side note, I do read lots of blogs that had been very angry with the way Dan Slott has been writing She Hulk as of late. I'm not saying that he should be switched out, but I am suggesting that the She Hulk be used as a title to try and draw in new readership: girls. I know plenty of girls that read the title, and many that are dropping it because of the handling of She Hulk as of late. She Hulk is on of the few really well done female characters in the marvel universe (in my opinion) and as such serves as a role model for many girls, and can serve as one to even more if the title is geared down the middle of the road, not just down the side that has her fighting in her nighty for 20 pages (Seriously Slott? Shacking up with everyone? I can understand a rebound, but how many are we going to have to go through?).

Any way, just my thoughts, I'll be reading and following you guys and gal as much as I can.

Michael Heide said...

Gal?

Philip Schaeffer said...

Thanks very much for your comments. It is important to remember that not everybody thinks Dan Slott is as awesome as I do.

I will say that She-Hulk hasn't been in a law office in several issues, and it would probably be a good thing to have her work at a law firm in L.A. since that, as you said, would take things back to the core of the character.

I have no intention of taking the book in an unfunny direction. And, in fact, I was hoping that the L.A. Fantastic Four would be a primarily female group of heroes, with the only male being Johnny Storm. Perhaps I should consider going after a female audience with this book (though that's not been a very successful venture in the past) with a vibe of a bunch of gals starting over in a new city, and Johnny Storm serving as McLiterallyonfire (yes I watch Grey's Anatomy. Sorry. Go ahead and judge me.)

You anonymous commenter, whoever you are, does that interest you more than the idea I'd originally described? Cause to be perfectly honest, it interests me more.

I just don't think it would sell.

Tom 'Fetsur' Daylight said...

As much as I agree with you about Dan on She-Hulk, ultimately it might not be a choice you get to make - Dan might have decided that now is the time to go, that he wants to spend the time writing something else (he has, after all, now written more issues than Byrne did at this point). And if you force the issue, he might decide to switch over to DC - and you wouldn't want THAT to happen. But who knows, Tom might let you put him back. I wonder what he'd make of getting Meltzer on the book, too (seems a bit unlikely, but we see Whedon on Runaways...).

Philip Schaeffer said...

I... really don't think that Meltzer would write She-Hulk.

Aside from his clear and proclaimed DCphilia, I doubt he'd write anything for Marvel other than Avengers.

However, regarding Dan Slott... You make a good point. I think part of the reason I want him to remain on the book is that I credit him with so much of what makes it an entertaining read. If simSlott wanted to depart, I'd wish him the best of luck, but I don't know that I could really see it beneficial to the book to let him go.

Tell me, Fetsur, how do you feel about the FF West idea? Is this another example of Exiles, in which I'm shifting too far away from the core concept of the book, or am I building from the foundation of the title into something with broader appeal (I'm trying for and hoping that it's the latter).

Sean Kleefeld said...

First, a heads-up that I'm reading the posts in order here WITH the comments so I haven't read your FF pitch yet.

I'm fine with leaving Slott on SheHulk, if he's willing, natch. I also like seeing her going back out to LA. What I'd be leary of, though, is the how/why of getting her out there. I don't like having her go out there specifically to form a FFWest (or whatever). I'd want to see her move be a more organic one. Should be easy enough since I think her Dad still lives out there, doesn't he? Old friends, perhaps. Possibly further urged by some negative events in NYC. (Which might actually tie into a crossover idea I've had ... but I'll get to that later.)

Along the same lines, if she were to form a super group out there, why? Why would she suddenly decide to form her own group? I can see her working with several other female heroes, but why would she gather them together? In my mind, it would make more sense for her to just HANG OUT with a group of folks who HAPPENED to have super powers and HAPPENED to be women.

I think the key here is that any story/direction changes should be as organic as possible. I don't want to pull a "One Year Later" thing and just drop characters into new situations willynilly.

Artist suggestions? Frank Cho immediately springs to mind, but I don't know if he'd do it. Maybe Steven Cummings, who's doing Sheena over at Devil's Due.