Unexpected Clonal Sentience; Weird Comic-Book Teams; Critical Mass!

The Clone’s responsible, not me. It wasn’t me, it was the Clone.

Yesss…it was the Clone

Who’s responsible for this thought:

Philip K. Dick on Spider-Man?

Okay, let’s do this. This is what we do, for God’s sake. And anyway Marvel and DC are all about the vanity-plate writers (no offense, vanity-plate writers) these days, and anyway again, it isn’t like any of this is new.


So: vanity-plate writers, from all times, all places. Can you pick the few, the precious few, who could legitimately compete with our own Comic Greats?

I have offered Dick on Spider-Man (Christ, can you imagine it? Dick and Ditko?)

And I’ll even do another:

Anne McCaffrey on Excalibur.

Oh my God, this is hilariously easy.

Way too easy.

They’re like hiccups.

A.E. Van Vogt on Shade The Changing Man.

Jesus, I think I just crapped my pants. That’s the kind of hiccup I’m talking about. The pant-crapping kind. Do I want to ever read a Shade that isn’t Ditko? No, and apologies to Mr. Milligan, but I certainly do not. No way. However there have already been many non-Ditko comics featuring Shade, so this imagining is no betrayal. No money is changing hands, after all…

James Tiptree, Jr. on Green Lantern Corps.

Isaac Asimov on The Metal Men. Un-robots, get it?

Henry Kuttner on Doom Patrol.

John Brunner on X-Men. With Neal Adams pencilling it.

None of this happened, right? It’s just a dream, right?

Poul Anderson on Weirdworld.

Harlan Ellison on Batgirl.

Bruce Stirling on Dr. Strange.


It kind of seems shocking, but it isn’t like I said “James Michener on the Hulk” or anything. These are our guys and gals, the five-cent-a-word guys and gals, genre folk. Richard Matheson on The Spectre, anybody really got a problem with that idea…?

We will talk about this later, Internet. But for now!

Give me a couple of these, or flip ’em over the other way, if you like. The new Lensman novel from Roy Thomas!

Oh, we will talk about it.

But for now!

Let’s let a hundred flowers bloom.

Come on, it’ll be fun.


43 responses to “Unexpected Clonal Sentience; Weird Comic-Book Teams; Critical Mass!

  1. I’m going to stick with the characters that I am “devoted” to.
    And I hope I’m not misconstruing your post’s objective.

    OK… what about…

    Kahlil Gibran on MAN-THING


    Richard Bach on DOCTOR STRANGE

    or …

    REVERSE them!

    A Richard Bach MAN-THING would be interesting.
    TO find the life-point of a semi-sentient empath would be a challenge.

    And Gibran on STRANGE would bring the character back to his roots of transcendent mysticism.


    OK… what about…

    Micheal Moorcock on either of those characters?
    having Strange fight against some dark entity like Antioch would be almost Lovecraftian…
    and OK…why NOT H.P. LOVECRAFT on either of these characters?

    More than a few writers have RIFFED Lovecraft (and Howard) entities into the mythos of Dr. Strange, so why not just dig up the real deal and let him have at it?
    He’s dead? Pfff… minor obstacle.


    OK. Let’s try a different one.
    This time with books that I USED to read but haven’t in years.

    Mary Stewart on Excalibur (well… duh)
    OK. Too easy? Then toss her on X-MEN.

    Just enough romance for the Rogue/Gambit crowd (are they still an “item”? Yes, I know he went “rogue” himself, haha… but the women love the bad boys). And she’d probably be able to do something good with Juggernaut (mystical Cytorrak gem and all).

    Or REALLY push the X-MEN & “teh gays” metaphor with ANNE RICE on X-MEN.
    LOTS of angst and homo-eroticism there (for those who are looking for that sort of thing – “not that there’s anything wrong with it”).
    That’ll sell better than those ANITA BLAKE books, let me tell you.

    OK, how about ANNE RICE on ANY Yaoi title.
    I don’t read them, but as I understand it they’re all kinds of popular, and ANNE RICE would pin the needle with that sort of thing.

    Somehow get Marvel to green-light a “foreign release only” X-MEN yaoi (with or without RICE) and they’ll have a license to print money.


    I dunno.
    How were those?
    I haven’t had my morning tea, and my brain isn’t quite “on” as of yet.


  2. We may have to revive a few corpses for this…

    Emily Bronte on Fantastic Four. The greatest writer of family dramas.

    James Joyce on Final Crisis. I don’t understand what the hell these DC writers are talking about most of the time. Let’s formalise it.

    I know no-one should do Howard but Gerber, but how about Laurence Sterne? Even Steve wouldn’t have minded that one.

    Philip Roth on Captain America. The all-American writer does the all-American hero.

    Martin Amis on the Punisher.

    Edgar Allen Po on Ghost Rider. Too obvious, maybe. How about TS Eliot instead?

    Thomas Hardy on Avengers. There was a writer who understood group dynamics.

    And Woody Allen on Wonder Woman. I’d shell a tenner an issue for that.

  3. Oh, crap, what have I done?


    Shit! (wipes tear away) I thought I was laughing at Anne Rice on X-Men, but Woody Allen on Wonder Woman? I honestly kind of hate to say it, but…damn if that wouldn’t work. It’s a tenner here, too, I’m afraid.

    As for Kahlil Gibran on Dr. Strange, and T.S. Eliot on Ghost Rider, well, I…


    Oh, mercy. I can’t possibly go through these one by one, I’ll never make it. Richard Bach on Man-Thi…




  4. Actually, if we’re going to veer off into the wildly unsuitable, who wouldn’t want to see J.R.R Tolkien’s take on Desolation Jones?

  5. Dear God, I can’t try to imagine that now, I have to go to bed!


    See you in a few hours! If I can even get to sleep now…

    Actually, there was a Planet Of The Apes comic in the Seventies…I’d definitely read Tolkien on that…huge giant caption boxes…tiny little pictures…hobbits everywhere…what did they say at the end of that movie? “No, you hobbits rock!”

  6. No, no; we want Jack Vance on Dr. Strange. As for Lovecraft, how about… Sandman’s too easy… no, wait! Lovecraft on the New Gods!

    Raymond Chandler on Detective Comics.

    George R.R. Martin on the Legion of Super-Heroes. It’d be great: Martin is most famous for his fantasy these days, but he’s got a science-fiction background, and his work on the Wild Cards series proves that a) he knows superheroes, and b) he can handle a large cast. And he’s great.

    Gary Wolf (look him up!) on Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew.

    Gordon Korman on Teen Titans. Yes! All of a sudden I love that idea! I’d buy ten copies a month; we must make it happen.

    Aw, man, I could do these forever.

    Alexandre Dumas (pere) on Nightcrawler.

    Arturo Perez-Reverte on Hellblazer.

    Disintegrating Clone mentioned Tolkien. I think Tolkien could do an excellent job on Aquaman.

    P.G. Wodehouse on the X-Men.

    J.D. Salinger on Spider-Man.

    Saki on Wonder Woman.

    Robert Heinlein on the Fantastic Four.

    Rafael Sabatini on the Justice League.

    William Gibson on Blue Beetle.

    Douglas Coupland on Animal-Man.

    Neal Stephenson on Watchmen.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I came back with a few more of these.

  7. Hmm, Matthew is responsible for about 80% of my traffic today, I see…

    Jack Vance on Dr. Strange? Surely not; he should be on Phantom Stranger, clearly.

    I would totally read Westlake on Catwoman. Lovecraft on Dr. Strange gets more appealing every second. But then, Rushdie on Doc…would not be bad reading at all, I’m sure.

    Oh, I think the odds are good I’m gonna think of a few more of these at coffee, today…

  8. Yes, many great writers. But who’s going to draw these masterpieces? Tis a visual medium after all. And hell, these guys in my bullpen could all handle a narrative just fine on their own.

    I already mentioned Hieronymous Bosch’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, his Qward is top notch.

    Francesco Goya’s “Batman”, so masterfully moody.

    I really get a kick out of Max Ernst’s collage “Doom Patrol”. I read in Wizard that nearly half the images he uses are from Premiani’s original run.

    Botticelli’s “Wonder Woman”, gorgeous.

    My mind reels with every new issue of M.C.Escher’s “Uncanny X-Men”, I don’t know how he does it on a monthly basis.

    Kay Nielsen’s “The Avengers” is a total blast, great textures.

    And I don’t think anyone imagined how much ethereal beauty there was in “Power Pack” until Raphael took over.

  9. I don’t have time for much of this, but there are things of perfection here, I have always thought that A.E.Van Vogt and Steve Ditko were a perfect match. Woody Allen and Renoir on Wonder Woman – gosh! My few for a start …

    P.G. Wodehouse’s Sandman.

    C.J. Cherryh’s Fantastic Four.

    Jack Vance’s The Demon.

    Lord Dunsany’s Doctor Strange.

    … and Bob Dylan’s Doom Patrol, if you can bear to pull him off Jonah Hex.

  10. Holy Shit!

    Honestly, Green Arrow needs Marquez to make it worth reading again…well, either him or William Messner-Loebs.

    And Holy Jumpin’ Catfish, a Wodehouse Sandman??? I’d take a Wodehouse Dr. Strange, as well….

    But Lord Dunsany’s pretty good…

    However Jack Vance on The Demon, sheeee-iiiiit!!!!

    You’ve hit a Woody Allen/Wonder Woman gusher there, Jonathan.

    So who’s the artist, DUDE…!

    And by the way, I don’t mean to nag, but would you leave a comment on my “Girl In The Clock” effort, please? It need not be complimentary…

    Also we’re open for business once again on the Large Hadron Collider post.

    I reply from the deep woods, here…unexpectedly, I can get a teeny bit of access. I swear to use it all up!

    And by the way, if anyone hasn’t seen the comments thread around here for “Revolution Number None”…go look at it. It’s on the SSoS sidebar as “The Supercontext”…

    Okay, cheers!

  11. Wodehouse should be on Avengers. Jarvis is Jeeves, after all.

    Bulgakov and Bosch on Son of Satan.

    Thomas Pynchon on Elektra. Picasso to illustrate.

    Salvador Dali would be perfect for Adam Warlock. Joseph Conrad could script.

    And Joe should get Michael Chabon to write the Defenders.

  12. Great!

    Iris Murdoch on the Avengers! Illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith!

    Lois McMaster Bujold on the X-Men! John Byrne/Terry Austin!

    Roger Zelazny and Gil Kane, and Bob Layton, on Iron Man!

    Richard Brautigan and Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer, on a post-Black Widow, pre-return to New York Daredevil!

    And…wait for it…Jack London and Mike Mignola Sub-Mariner. Period piece.

    Seriously, come on, those are competitive entries…

    Okay, one more…

    Doug Moench, Jack Kirby, Mike Ploog, on Moon Knight. Marshall Rogers as colourist and background inker, and clean-up hitter. I see Moon Knight in this being hired by Nick Fury to clean out SHIELD. Even Dum-Dum’s not immune from investigation. Then in the middle of Moon Knight’s investigation — GODZILLA ATTACKS…!

    Don’t even bother pretending you wouldn’t buy that comic. Don’t kid a kidder, my friend.

    Not that I think anyone’s gonna beat my Zelazny/Iron Man thing, but…

    Okay, here’s one that might beat it: Greg Egan/Jae Lee Fantastic Four.

    But gosh…that’d be a pretty downbeat FF…

    Still, if someone could make a story for that…!

  13. Have you noticed how anybody could write the X-Men? Just pick an author. George Eliot. William Burroughs. Milan Kundera. HG Wells. I’d read any of them. There’s so many of those mutants you can find something for everyone*. What would Burroughs do with Northstar?

    * Well, maybe not for Dan Brown or Barbara Cartland. There are limits.

  14. See, I wanted Wodehouse on X-Men for a couple of reasons, primarily that their setting is just where he’s at home: the School for Gifted Youngsters is halfway between Blandings Castle and Sedleigh, and the Hellfire Club is (or, in my mind, should be) just like the Drones Club. And Professor X:Magneto::Lord Emsworth:Alaric, Duke of Dunstable.

    How about Jackie Collins for Dazzler?

  15. – How about Jackie Collins for Dazzler?

    Or Jane Austen for Cyclops and Phoenix. Scott has a touch of Mr Darcy about him.

  16. Credit for Woody Allen and Auguste Renoir is due our Disintegrating Clone. I’m starting to swing round to Toulouse-Lautrec in regard to female beauty in action, but I’d buy the Allen/Renoir run at any price, for Renoir’s WWII aircraft. And what’s worth contemplation too, is Woody Allen putting himself in the position of any regular guy whose girlfriend has the power to compel him to tell the truth, no?

    On comments owing, patience please and I’ll deliver. It might be necessary for me to read The Sentry, which I’ve only skimmed but which already comes third on my list of things I’d expunge from continuity with a dirty great expunging tool (1. The Clone Saga. 2. Mephisto.). Also need to get the story straight on Leila Thingummy. I’m actually better prepared to second-guess the LHC.

    Presently I’m doing what I think you are, being in retreat from city and the online. This is until the nice broadband people negotiate their appropriation of my phoneline, and may take a couple of weeks, so access will be spotty.

    Back to topic. You know, it looks too easy with the world’s authors to choose from, but in fact it’s a subtle game. I’m satisfied just to put authors where their obvious strengths can apply – and if I would genuinely like to read the thing. I’m solid on:

    J.R.R.Tolkien – Kamandi

    Rudyard Kipling – Strikeforce Morituri

    Philip K. Dick – Longshot

    Get more equivocal after that. Try these on for size:

    Dostoevsky – Grimjack

    T.S.Elliott – Love and Rockets

    Thomas Pynchon – Black Panther

    Now I like Jack London’s Sub-Mariner a lot; but damned if I wouldn’t give him Superman, 1930’s vintage.

    And there’s more to Anne Rice than yaoi. Her real specialty is the kind of freewheeling, semi-moral protagonist who mixes in a lot of grandiose florid cultures with relish; Lestat, in a word. So:

    Ann Rice – Klarion

    Catch you all soon.

  17. Anne Rice – Klarion

    That WOULD be right in her wheelhouse, wouldn’t it.

    But, I forgot that she’s given up (mostly) her “satanic” writings for Christian book-writing.

    SO..to that end… put her on PHANTOM STRANGER (and let her mess around with his multiple possible origins – maybe even combining them somehow).

    He was, what…?
    – the Wandering Jew
    – a fallen angel
    – appointed by God to help but stand outside of humanity
    – tapped into Big Bang energies.
    – and/or more?

    Definitely a mixture of Rice’s vampire/witch stuff and her more God-centric writing.

    I’d read that.


  18. Alan Moore’s characterization is definitive, for me …

    A lonely soul who (mentioning no names)
    will not choose ‘tween the sulphur and the sky.
    Who will not serve Above nor reign Below
    but treads a path twixt Moloch and the Manger …

    And I think you’re right, Rice would be terribly good at this. The more I think about it, hmmm, yes.

    It’s not your fault that I’m suddenly thinking of Spike Milligan’s Hellblazer.

    Or Alan Moore’s Goon Show! Oh god …

  19. Ha ha! Spike Milligan’s Hellblazer!

    I see with Alan Moore’s Goon Show — can you imagine all the voices just being Alan’s voice? “Hullo, Eccles”…”Hullo, Bluebottle”…”I’ve got a magic cave under my house”…”Me, too”…”Have I ever told you about Ideaspace?”…”Have I ever told you I worship a Roman glove-puppet?”…”I thought you were a Roman glove-puppet”…”Haw, haw, haw, haw, haw…thinks: oh no, my magic rings have gotten caught in my hair”…

    Oh, never mind. Anyway I’m glad someone else has forgotten themselves, I stuck in Doug Moench up there, shoulda been Graham Greene or something…

    Oh Lord, what about Jack London on Deathlok? J.R. Williams drawing it.

    Crap, this is a fun game.

    David Eddings on X-Men!

    Stealing a bit from Jonathan: Chesterton on The Brave And The Bold!

    I’m back to broadband, by the way…

    Christ, I’ve got it.

    Joseph Conrad on Cable. Look on my works, ye mighty…

    Let’s keep this going, if we can. Meanwhile I’m gonna start another one.

  20. Ha ha ha…!

    Can’t get Spike Milligan’s Hellblazer out of my mind. Bill Sienkiewicz on art, maybe? Or Eddie Campbell.

    Kyle Baker?

    Scary stuff.

  21. There were a couple of places in LOEG that just begged for it.

    “Sapristi, an engine of galvanic levitation! But this means …”

    “Yes. The days of the horse-drawn zeppelin are numbered.

    Honestly though, I’ve been meaning to fill out a Goons script for The Call of Cthulhu for years. “It was on a rainswept night in East Acton that the first of the unspeakable events occurred, which I, Howard Phillips Seagoon, now set down in this speakproof notebook…”

    “A jolly Roodmass to you, little round Inspector!” the stranger said. “I am the Crawling Chaos Grytpype-Thynne; and I present my friend Le Comte d’Erlette, Jim Size Isn’t Everything Moriarty.” “Aaaaaooouuu.” “Jolly Roodmass, mon comte!” “You insult my avoirdupois! We must fight a duel.”

    To draw Milligan’s Constantine? Ronald Searle, mate.

  22. Actually, yeah! Where was the Goon stuff in Black Dossier? I must be blind: it had to’ve been there. Well, what more subversive kind of thought in an Orwellian world could there be, but Goonishness…?

    Weirdly, a couple of years ago, for my mother’s birthday, we went to a Goon Show Re-Enactment…I was skeptical at first. “Won’t they need twenty people on stage just to do Peter Sellers?” As it turned out, it was…well, admirable, and very funny, and actually not too bad! It was advertised as something like “It’s The Annual Six-Month GOON SHOW!”

    They did a full performance of “Napoleon’s Piano”.

    Oh, and we were all pretty drunk. That may’ve helped.

    Jonathan, did you, like me, hear all those for the first time on CBC-AM back in the Seventies? My Dad taped ’em — I’ve got a CD of “Yakabaku” right here, that we burned the other year…

    Oh Christ, I sound like Prince Charles or something, don’t I? Clone’s probably reading this and thinking, “okay, if you all start talking about Coronation Street, I’m LEAVING.” Really, it’s not like that, Clone. We listened to Fred Allen, too.

    I’m a little behind on the new game, because it was Harvey’s suggestion, and it was such a good suggestion I wrote like five thousand words on it before I realized I had to stop and regroup.

    You know, I mentioned Chesterton before, but seriously how about Chesterton on Aztek? I could see it in a photo-collage style like Kirby used to do with the Negative Zone. Vanity City…City of Suicides…

    Oh, forget photos, how about John Byrne does the figures and John Berkey does the backgrounds?

    In the Negative Zone style.

    Oh yes, you won’t find too much that’s geekier than that, will you?

  23. Nngh. Trouble is, I don’t know Aztek. I parsed that as Doug Moench’s Aztec Ace … which was moral-quandraristic enough for Chesterton, but not quite in his voice.

    It’s not easy to match him. The background, the art and above all the pace, have to be very modest; they mustn’t telegraph what the writer is going to reveal in his own good time. I think there would have to be an overt story, good enough in itself, for him to pull the switch on at the right moment. And the trick being done, the story has to be strong enough to pick itself up and keep going.

    Best shot: I’d have GKC doing Cerebus, with himself as one of the repeating characters.

    Ah, right, Aztek. Morrison and Millar. Now I see.

    You’ll get me going about the crypto-Christianity running through The Invisibles. Charity and forgiveness as the conclusive powers, yes? I think Chesterton might have liked it.

    And now I’ve checked Berkey … yes, he’d do great backgrounds for that sort of collage.

    Now me, I’m Australian, and 58. We had the ABC, now Radio National, and from the ’50s until the ’90s sometime, they had the Goon Show on weekly, religiously. I must have been listening from 1957 on, it’s just about in my genes.

    Looking over my first shot at an answer to your LHC thoughts just now. Needs salt.

  24. Poor Australian bastard, so universally reviled. On the other hand ’58 was a GREAT year in my neck of the woods. Fantastically resonant. Why if Adam Star knew the details of the great year 58, he’d do a massive post on it, I’m sure…


    I think my LHC remarks may be a tad oversalted, actually. So what do you do to get salt out? Throw red wine on it, I guess?

    I may try that tomorrow. Was going skiing Sunday, but that fell through. Blogging, though not a perfect substitute for skiing, does have the virtue of being there

  25. Did anyone suggest
    Jules Verne for Fantastic Four as of yet?

    Or maybe let him write the “1602” universe titles.


  26. Months later: good God, what a marvellous thread. This is what makes the blogging worthwhile: so many geniuses dropping in. Gosh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s