My cousin Aaron is an amazing comic book illustrator. This morning, I woke up and was excited because, a while back, he announced that he’s doing a three issue run of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, and part 1 dropped today. Batman’s my favorite DC character, so to have my cousin doing it was pretty awesome to find out. You can check it out here.
I blame Aaron for getting into comics in the first place. I remember having him sign an issue of Spider-Man as a kid, a memory that clearly impacted my favorite comic book character for the rest of my life (Spider-Man). And to a certain extent, I’m envious of his job. He’ll be the first to tell you, working in comics isn’t as glamorous as it sounds, but being a nerd, it has to be a pretty cool feeling to be able to determine the stories of characters you grew up reading, to play in the proverbial sandbox.
Which is why, ultimately, I would be terrible at it.
Disregarding my utter lack of artistic ability, I don’t think I could even be trusted with the storyline. I’m too much of a geek, and to an extent I would be too tempted to try and live out every geek fantasy I’d ever had in one story. A creative meeting with an editor would likely go something like this:
Editor: So, what’s your idea for doing Batman?
Me: so it’s the middle of the night, and Batman catches joker trying to steal jewels from a museum…
Me: …but it turns out its not actually Joker, it’s Superman in a Joker costume!
Editor: why is Superman in a Joker costume?
Me: because Joker borrowed a kryptonian mind control device from Lex Luthor and is using Supes as his puppet!
Editor: wait, what?
Me: I know! Mind blown, right? So then, Green Lantern shows up to help Bats, when…
Editor: Hang on, when did Green Lantern become involved?
Me: He was searching for Superman when he went missing. Focus.
Me: So then this epic battle ensues between Bats/Lantern and Supes/Joker, when out of nowhere Captain America shows up…
Editor: You know the JLA/Avengers crossover was a one time deal, right?
Me: Psssh. Details. Anyway, Cap shows up with the X-Men, but the fight is interfered with by Sentinels sent back from the future with Nimrod, and…
You see, my fanboy mentality would overtake me. I’d be like myself at age 10, playing with action figures. I wouldn’t even care that my story having Wolverine square off against Batman made no logical sense whatsoever. There would probably be a whole lot of heroes and villains beating each other up, and very little character development. I think with Aaron’s vetran experience in the comic book industry, he possesses a modicum of control that I, quite honestly, wouldn’t.
Would I love to tell a great story using established characters? Sure. I’d love to write a Star Wars novel someday, as random as that may seem (Humor writing to Science Fiction seems like a bit of a jump, but if Grisham can go from legal thrillers to Skipping Christmas, I have SOME hope) But comic book heroes are likely not be the best characters for me to play with. I’m too big of a nerd.