- Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. "But Jack's dead," you say. Any time I play these hypothetical games, I figure that it's all just blowing smoke anyway. I mean, what really are the odds that I will ever be in a position to hand-pick the only fifteen comic titles produced in America and who's working on them? It's a total pipe dream. So, if I'm pipe-dreaming anyway, I'm going to whip out the bring-em-back-from-the-dead machine I whipped up last night. Stan and Jack on the FF forever. Nuff said.
- The Spirit by Will Eisner. C'mon, that's just incredible stuff; how could you not want to see more of it?
- The Fourth World by Jack Kirby. Okay, I'm technically breaking one of Jake's ground rules by having Jack draw two titles, but he was cranking out four or five titles a month for several years there. I figure he can handle two books easily enough. Even if he is dead.
Fine. If Jack can't draw it, I'll have him supply plots and broad direction to Walt Simonson. Almost an editorship position. Walt writing and drawing, though, with direct input from Jack.
- Brave and the Bold by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams. The title would cycle mainly through Green Arrow, Flash, Green Lantern, and Black Canary stories. Some team-ups, some solo bits. Something not unlike what Mark Waid and Tom Peyer did a few years back, but with that classic O'Neil/Adams collaboration.
- Marvel Team-Up by Dan Slott and George Perez. First of all, we need a team-up style book to be able to cycle through Marvel's cache of characters. Secondly, we need some really versitile talent who can tackle any character with relative ease. Since Slott is proving to do such a dynamite job on Thing with all that, I'm going to put him here. (Hey, add The Thing to your pull list if you haven't already!) And by making Perez the artist, that just means we can pack in that many more heroes into one book!
- World's Finest by Mark Waid and Jim Aparo. You know, I've never been that keen on Superman or Batman as characters, but I think you'd almost NEED to have them in print. So, I'm taking a tip from the Golden Age and throwing them in the same book together. As for the creative pairing, I'd be curious to see what a great Superman writer would do when working with a great Batman artist.
- Groo by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier. First off, I don't think it'd be wise to do just superheroes. We need some humor books as well. And anyone who can take a one note gag and keep making it funny for over 100 issues deserves to keep doing it, in my opinion.
- American Frontier by John Ostrander and John Severin. This would be a Western book that touches on all the great Western heroes. Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Jonah Hex, Two-Gun Kid, Lone Ranger... everyone. (Hey, it's my fantasy world; I can assume that all the legal issues are easily overcome.) Ostrander has proved several times over that he writes a darn fine Western, and Severin... well, I'll be damned if he doesn't draw some of the grittiest, earthiest characters I've ever seen. I'd love to see this especially if Ostrander created a new character to hook the series on, and have him meet up with all the classics in one serial novella.
- Archie by Dan DeCarlo. I'm not partial to the character myself, but I think he is a necessary part of the comic book landscape. And DeCarlo... well, he is the guy who really defined the Archie look.
- Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassady. Need I say more?
- Spider-Man by Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr. I almost forgot that, by my own thinking noted earlier, I should probably be sure to include a Spidey book somewhere. Who better to work on it than the definitive Spider-Man artist and the guy who killed Gwen Stacy?
- Steve Ditko Showcase by Steve Ditko. Okay, for those of you who want to complain that Ditko is "the definitive Spider-Man artist" I'm giving him his own book. Everything by Ditko. Whatever he feels like doing. Guaranteed great material.
Crap. Only three titles left!
- Romance by Trina Robbins and Dave Stevens. I need a romance genre book, so that's why this is here. Robbins doing classicly inspired but modern "girlie books" and Stevens drawing gorgeous women. What's not to love?
- In Times of War by Joe Kubert and Jim Steranko. This would be similar to my Western book in that it would include all the great modern war heroes: Gen. George Patton, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Sgt. Frank Rock, Sgt. Nick Fury, Col. Robert Hogan (Hogan's Heroes), etc. Mostly WWII stuff, but forays into Vietnam, Korea, etc. Both Kubert and Steranko would write and draw their own stuff, either doing half-issue stories each, or alternating storylines.
- Heavy Metal by everyone else. Something of a cop-out answer for a finale, but this would be much like the classic Heavy Metal -- somewhat oversized and an anthology format. That way, we can still keep seeing work by all the great writers and artists who I couldn't give their own book to! We could squeeze in here a Roy Thomas/John Buscema Avengers story. Or a Karl Kesel/Tom Grummett Legion of the Superheroes one. A Fabian Nicieza/Mark Bagley New Warriors. A Marv Wolfman/Gene Colan Dracula. A Doug Moench/Bill Sienkiewicz Moon Knight. Mobius' Blueberry. Frank Miller anything. Richard Corben anything. Philippe Druillet, Paolo Serpieri, Bernie Wrightson, Wendy Pini, Roger Stern, Kurt Busiek, John Byrne, Alex Ross... The list goes on and on...
So, anyway, that's my list. With only fifteen books to work with, I obviously have to leave a lot of great material out, but I would hope my Heavy Metal would pick up some of the slack there.
* I've got a good excuse, though. I was doing some work for Marvel that will show up in an extra special FF Masterworks. More on that later, though.