Just An Old-Fashioned MEME Song…

Oh, hi there!

No, no…come on in!

I was just putting the finishing touches on my Cryogenic Comics-Creator Cybernetic-Collaboration Coercion Machine!

Yes, it allows me to take any writer and any penciller I want (who are still among the living — you understand — rather bad form to use the dead) and force them to collaborate on some comic or other!

Although I confess I don’t know exactly what type of comic they should work on together…sort of forgot that bit…

Hey, maybe you could help me out, and suggest what they should do!

So far I’ve got (and sure, these all might have happened, conceivably — but this way I made sure):

“Story and Art by Steve Ditko;  Script by Grant Morrison”

“Writer, Neil Gaiman;  Artist, James Kochalka”

“Writer, Rick Veitch;  Artist, Jim Steranko”

“Writer, John Byrne;  Artist, Dave Sim”

“Writer, Steve Englehart;  Artist Neal Adams”

“Story and Breakdowns by Frank Miller;  Finished Art by Brendan McCarthy;  Script by Gerry Conway”

Say, forgot to mention…kind of important these guys don’t wake up where they remember going to sleep, savvy?  So listen, fill in the blanks for me and I’ll lend you the machine…you can kidnap your own comics folk and have them collaborate for you.

Just don’t mention my name.


20 responses to “Just An Old-Fashioned MEME Song…

  1. It is, ain’t it?

    But let me just DO IT WRONG, so you can correct me, James:

    Ditko/Morrison: Historical drama – suggestion: life of Julius Caesar.

    Gaiman/Kochalka: super hero stuff, preferably something with the Black Cat so she’ll look cartoony-good instead of cartoony-bad.

    Veitch/Steranko: Cold War spy story. Misbegotten love affair. Every action movie’s plot for the last thirty years. Richard Burton at Checkpoint Charlie on acid.

    Byrne/Sim: Adventure: story about men making the DEW-line in the high North. No love whatsoever.

    Englehart/Adams: Political SF: UFOs come down, and choose to make contact exclusively with Russia.

    Miller/McCarthy/Conway: MAN-THING.

  2. I remember a conversation, in the days of yore when I used to blog, suggesting a Jim Woodring and Gene Colan Tomb of Dracula. So I’m going to say that. Of course, Woodring/Colan anything would be incredible, in every sense of the word.

  3. Now who in their right mind wouldn’t read THAT?

    I’d go for a Woodring/Colan Dracula/Dr. Strange rematch, too. In a BIG way.

    Madeley, good to hear from you! More horror stories, please.

  4. Hah, funny you should mention that, because part of the blogging absence for the better part of the year has been due to working on what I like to refer to as the World’s Next Great Horror Novel. Sure, it’s reached about 1,000 words in six months months but damn if those words aren’t correctly spelled.

  5. I hope that these will all speak for themselves.

    Greg Rucka and Gene Colan on Doonesbury.

    Geoff Johns and Rob Liefeld adapting the Iliad.

    Gerard Way and Cathy Guisewite on Dazzler.

    Jack Chick and Scott Kolins on The Spectre.

    More later, maybe.

  6. Ditko/Morrison: A highly moralistic horror story in which a werewolf represents some societal ill (even though, or perhaps especially because, Ditko and Morrison would probably be working at cross-purposes).

    Gaiman/Kochalka: “Rorschach Mystery Theatre.”

    Veitch/Steranko: A story in which Thomas Pynchon finds himself trapped in the world of “Gravity’s Rainbow,” which results in him critiquing the work as he’s forced to see it played out in front of him.

    Byrne/Sim: An update/ripoff of “Welcome Back, Kotter” played as a dramedy.

    Englehart/Adams: A dramatization of the life of William Henry Harrison, who I swear is actually a fascinating historical figure. Second choice: Errol Flynn-style Robin Hood.

    Miller/McCarthy/Conway: “Wild Wild West,” including the giant mechanical spider.

  7. You need an infernal device for this? I just pretend I’m the heir to the Lost Fortune of the Medicis, and comport myself accordlingly.

    “Story and Art by Steve Ditko; Script by Grant Morrison”

    Gentlemen, I undertake to publish whatever you see fit to create. Payment shall be in gold. I say “whatever” and mean it; but I would dearly like to see Mr Morrison write Shade the Changing Man, and Mr Ditko to illustrate the further adventures of the Seven Soldiers. I would expect his Frankenstein to be especially toothsome, and his Bulleteer would cut to the quick.

    “Writer, Neil Gaiman; Artist, James Kochalka”

    Well, I cannot guess which way your cats will jump, signori. I think I’d suggest that Mr Gaiman take some of his Sandman/House of Mystery sensibility, and start afresh. Say we have two children trapped in a department store by a big flood, with nothing to do but tell stories …

    “Writer, Rick Veitch; Artist, Jim Steranko”

    Genius: an infinite capacity for taking pains. Such work cannot be hurried, although I must confess some sorrow that Mr Steranko could not have been more prolific over the years. I disdain to employ you two at anything less than full capacity, however long I have to wait for results.

    So, gentlemen, I bid you address the big one: The Singularity. In the vein of the Italian Renaissance. A story or stories following the trope of “the Clarke Police”, or “Ascension Chasers”. The idea being that a Singularity has been and gone, and the Transcendenta have disappeared up their own event horizon, leaving us common mugs to fight over their incomprehensible litter, or set guards over it. There is forbidden knowledge now, and the Clarke Office is there to keep it that way.

    SF readers have seen this done before, from Algis Budrys through Stanislav Lem. But we have not seen it drawn by Steranko, while written by Rick Veitch doing a Raphael Sabatini costume drama.

    “Writer, John Byrne; Artist, Dave Sim”

    I can hardly improve on Mr Pillock’s suggestion, maestros. Have at it! However, if you would like to season the pie with a little lunacy, I recall that in the letters pages of that thing with the aardvark, Mr Sim mentioned that he was considering branching out with a companion title, to be set in WWII and entitled Front Line Wombat. I would have bought that when I was a far poorer man.

    “Writer, Steve Englehart; Artist Neal Adams”

    What is magic for? Mr Englehart has tended toward various answers, and Mr Adams too has essayed his Ms Mystic and others.

    One wishes to see a cast of good-looking people performing miracles. But one also wants to see a philosophy behind it all. Amaze me, gentlemen!

    Although that UFO idea isn’t bad either.

    “Story and Breakdowns by Frank Miller; Finished Art by Brendan McCarthy; Script by Gerry Conway”

    My aim is to play to the strengths of my adepts, signori.

    There was this book once, a slim SF thriller by Colin Kapp, The Dark Mind. In a run-down, bombed-out Europe, the dominant business sells holiday tours in a series of luxury theme parks, built in sub-spaces reached via transdimensional railways. Enter Ivan Dalroi, street kid grown up, tougher than Conan and meaner than a junkyard dog. He is invulnerable! The love of his life left him to become a theme-park hostess, and now Dalroi has a real grudge against the company. When I lent the book around my uni friends, “Dalroi!” became our catchword for “unstoppable”.

    But it got better. It emerges that there was once this race of beings so insensately vicious, they ravaged whole galaxies and it took an alliance of universes to stop them,. and confine them in sedation in an isolated universe of a mere three dimensions. They’re us! And Dalroi is the first of us to get our groove back.

    Let’s see what you can do with the idea, Mr Conway. You could pretty well adapt it straight. And Mr Miller, I know you won’t let me down.

  8. Sorry; I neglected to answer the initial question. (Some of these I’m kind of faking my way through on. I hope the results are felicitous.)

    Ditko/Morrison: Sgt. Rock.

    Gaiman/Kochalka: Maybe they should do Calvin & Hobbes.

    Veitch/Steranko: Shade the Changing Man.

    Byrne/Sim: Popeye.

    Englehart/Adams: Aquaman.

    Miller/McCarthy/Conway: Dick Tracy.

  9. These suggestions are all wet dreams!!!

    Matthew, I can’t get the Liefeld Illiad out of my head. I’d never have thought of it, but I see how it works.

    Justin. Veitch/Steranko Gravity’s Rainbow is jaw-dropping. Better than mine. But I do so want Steranko to do his perspective-shattering hallucinatory draftsmanship again.

  10. Not until just now did I clue into what plok was going for: that Byrne and Sim are both Canadian. So let me change my answer. They should do a comic about Trudeau and the FLQ crisis.

  11. Ditko & Morrison: Ditko WILL NOT BUDGE from what Ditko wants to do. He’s good with monsters and morality. Morrison wants to blow our minds while paying homage to the things he loved as a kid. Their sensibilities meet… at the Twilight Zone.

    Gaiman & Kolchalka: Hmm… whimsy and sentiment, but with adult sensibilities and foul language, plus art that looks like it was drawn by really, really talented 9 year-olds. I see a modern day fairy tale, set in the big city, featuring abrasive kids and overworked fairies who decide to grant the little brats three wishes. Wackiness ensues.

    Veitch & Steranko: Pulpy retro-future sci-fi, with jetpacks & flying cars, and a society gleaming with corruption.

    Byrne & Sim: Challengers of the Unknown. I know Byrne would be up for it, and I’d be curious to see what Sim does with a straight adventure strip.

    Englehart & Adams: Batma… no, too easy. Adams excels at realism, and does kick-ass sword & sorcery. Englehart can incorporate current events into his work in an organic fashion, and seems to be interested in magic. Okay: there’s a secret cabal of mystics running the Earth, like the Illuminati but into magic rather than science. Things have gotten away from them, their spells aren’t quite working. They try harder, a little too hard, and America ends up mirroring the Hyborian Age. What will happen to our society? Who will rise to rule? Can a Conan-type have any effect on a society gone backwards? Can the Mystics restore civilization, and what will happen when a society goes back from prehistoric to modern?

    Or, they could do Batm…. STOP THAT!

    Miller, McCarthy, & Conway: Las Vegas comics. Casinos, gangsters, chicks, glitz, glitter, failure, & ruin. Nothing gets in that doesn’t go over the top.

  12. I was going to hold off from doing this, but it’s too much fun!

    Let’s take this too far, shall we?

    Ditko/Morrison – a psychotic early 60s New York period piece starring a lousy, fourth rate Jackson Pollok rip-off artist. Ditko would think of it as being a brutal morality tale wherein his protagonist’s gloopy, technicolour amorality is crushed by a series of encounters with the AA-Agents, who break him down and make him see the world AS IT REALLY IS (i.e. in harsh, jagged black & white). Morrison’s scripting would subtly amplify the horrific absurdity implicit in this premise — the queasy nature of which is already clear in every line of the artwork.

    Unfortunately, Ditko would soon clock Morrison’s agenda, and the work would most likely remain unfinished, never to be reprinted again.

    Gaiman/Kochalka – this requires a little bit of that “what if?” flavour, I think.

    What if Gaiman’s post Sandman career had been one slow trip round the u-bend?

    What if his attempts at becoming Neil Gaiman: Gentleman Novelist had been if not a complete disaster then something close to one? And what if his return to comics had been even less successful, to the extent that Marvel and DC were unsure if they wanted to touch his work, Image were weary of him, and even Avatar were starting to feel burned after a couple of quiet failures.

    This is fantastical stuff, I know, but bear with me while I make it even more fantastical!

    Let’s say that while all of this has been going on, James Kochalka has become a genuine, massively unlikely SUPERSTAR, and that his TV show (James Kochalka Superstar) is pulling in Hannah Montana numbers. Yeah, madness, I know, but let’s all just keep going and see where it takes us. (Count yourselves lucky that I’ve not described the Richard Linklater directed feature movie — which would be the missing link between School of Rock and Waking Life, naturally!)

    Despite his newfound fame, Kochalka’s still churning out those sketchbook diaries, and he still has some pals in the comics world, including Eddie Campbell, who lets him know about Neil’s plight.

    Kochalka’s sympathetic, but there’s an evil whimsy in him, so this is what he proposes: Marvel will publish a comic written by Gaiman and drawn by him: this comic will be a potential big seller, due to his name and fame, but it will also be a hard sell, because Kochalka will insist that it’s called CUNTS!.

    The story itself will be pretty fucking Gaiman, but with a twist: it takes place in a city within a glass bottle that’s tucked into the back pocket of a Glasgow youth, a magical world of freedom and possibility, where everyone poos out sentient clouds of purest hate. It will star George Bush and Tony Blair in exile, but will eschew direct political satire in favour of scatological excess.

    Every issue will end with one of the two exiles saying of the other: “Fuck me, what a CUNT!”

    Biggest comic of all time? I think so.

    Shame I needed to push past the guidelines to make it happen!

    These next few are a little less filled out, because my batteries are draining fast today:

    Veitch/Steranko – these chaps could collaborate on creepy modern spy story called Ghost World, in which a cute, disaffected young woman carries out vicious, horrible acts in the name of her masters and tries (half-successfully) to stave off the rapprochements offered by friends and family members from her previous civilian life. Think Grosse Pointe Blank crossed with Spook Country, but with lots of unnecessary formal pyrotechnics going off all over the page.

    Byrne/Sim — yeah, I think this pair could have a blast disrespectfully adapting China Mieville’s Iron Council. Or, shit… could I handle their version of The Left Hand of Darkness? Could I handle Dave Sim’s post-comic essays on the topic? Probably not, but the evil part of me would like to see how it turned out.

    Englehart/Adams — I’ve got to admit, this one has me stumped, probably because I’m not too familiar with their work.

    Can I suggest that Steve Aylett and Duncan Fegredo’s Kafka biography instead? Or how about Mike Allred and Ursula LeGuin’s Wonder Woman? Too obvious? Maybe, but I’d still read ‘em!

    Miller/McCarthy/Conway — this trio could happily butcher Moorcock’s multiverse of fantasy characters, I’m sure. It’d be a mess, naturally, but it would have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more life in it than any comic book universe out there at the moment.

    Plus the existence of a Miller/McCarthy Elric would echo back through time and make an eleven-year-old David very, very happy indeed!

  13. Sorry for colouring outside the lines with that comment Plok — I couldn’t help myself!

    What can I say: Ditko only seemed to be only coercible up to a point, and the Gaiman/Kochalka story seemed to fabricate its own context as I imagined it.

  14. Louise Simonson and Don Perlin on the Human Fly.

    Oh, all right, I’ll be serious.

    Warren Ellis and Bill Sienkiewicz on Werewolf by Night
    Gail Simone and David Mack on Amazing Spider-Man
    Neil Gaiman and Jim Steranko on Moonknight

  15. Colour outside away, David!

    Just getting back to the computer. And folks: wow. I can’t possibly go through all of these, they’re too mental — I can’t list a single favourite without basically listing all of them. Holy YIKES there’s some mad, mad, mad stuff in here. And the best news of all: Madeley’s writing a horror novel.

    Jeez, I can’t lose with this post! Bravo everyone! Regret to say there are no prizes.

  16. Man, I gotta change mine, because although I don’t expect to get up to the level of either Rick Veitch’s “Transcendenta” (perfect Veitch-fodder!) or Steranko’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” (!)…

    …Or a Miller/McCarthy/Conway “Dick Tracy”, much less its weirdly allied-seeming concept, a “Las Vegas comic”…huh?…you mean we could have one of those…?

    Byrne/Sim fucking POPEYE? And for that matter, a Liefeld-drawn Iliad? Are you clean out your mind, Matthew? I’d worry about you, except there’s that bloody Byrne/Sim Left Hand Of Darkness out there, jay-zeus…

    Oh, no…now I will have to list all of them, if I keep on going this way…

    And damn it I’ve got my own second batch to put up for consideration!

    So, hear ye:

    Dave Sim and John Byrne collaborate on a faithful adaptation of Bus Griffiths’ labour of love about 1930’s logging camps in the great wet wilds of B.C…”Now You’re Logging”. A spiritual forerunner of Canadian self-publishing? It most certainly was: so it’d be for charity, and also for the benefit of Bus’ family, and also for goddamn posterity. They can split up the duties however they’d like. Foreword by Chester Brown, just to show we’re all on board when it comes to the old-timers…

    …Aaaaand wait, because I actually want to see that in real life.

    Well, damn.

    Okay, gotta think my other ones through a bit more, then! So meet back here in an hour or so?

  17. A Ditko/Morrison WESTERN comic. Maybe Rawhide Kid? He could fight Two-Gun Kid for some reason. YES!!! Better Ditko it UP…!

    (I would say Gaiman and Kochalka’s HULK — duh — but then I’d have to admit that the whole reason I put the Ditko/Morrison team in there was so that someone would say SHADE — oh dear God, a proper SHADE with Morrison’s economical scripting — thank you, Jonathan, and also holy shit, Ditko/Morrison “Seven Soldiers”…but…)

    Gaiman and Kochalka’s 20th CENTURY DONALD DUCK COMPENDIUM. Now that’s even better than their HULK, right? Same emotion…and in Duck stories, imagination counts…and it’s two hundred pages of hardcover and it will be sketchy and raw and fucking clever.

    Veitch/Steranko…on the old Gold Key LOST IN SPACE. God, but this very idea’s been horrible for a million years…they’d perk it up some, these pros, find the forgotten skeleton inside it and make it SING…!

    Englehart/Adams: deep in Manhattan in the Forties, all the kids skipping out of school on the subway, 4-F guys who can draw, old tossers and young weasellers…and some genuine old talents, who were too old to enlist…meet in the crucible of the midmorning of the comic-book biz. Both Englehart and Adams are old enough to remember the stories and remember the smell, and know what the people looked like and how they behaved…there’s a lot of character there, a lot of observation. I love Englehart but he was never going to decide to do Big Numbers…but this could so easily be his Big Numbers. He’s capable of it and so is Adams, they have a lot of knowledge and a lot of love for this stuff, and I’d read that book.

    Miller/McCarthy/Conway: hah, I have the perfect one, you guys. Adaptation of Roger Zelazny’s Amber series, entitled (for the sake of convenience and name recognition) “Nine Princes In Amber”. Imagine Miller sketching out Corwin’s bloody fights. Imagine McCarthy drawing The Pattern. Imagine Conway figuring out how to compress the dialogue. This would totally work, I swear.

    I need to say a word on Clone‘s (he thinks) facetious suggestion of Louise Simonson and Don Perlin on “The Human Fly”. You know I love Don Perlin, since I came of age. And Louise is great too. But I think you will probably agree with me that the art team that ought be on The Human Fly is Gene Colan and Tom Palmer, if you want to make that book a must-read…and yet it will always be nothing better than a marginal title even with a great art team, and so Don and Louise must get together and be the driving force on it, they must work together and make it a labour of love…

    And Don Perlin can do layouts, boy! But probably not for Gene Colan, I mean Gene’s nuts, for heaven’s sake…

    So, Don as editor. Louise as scripter. Gene as penciller, Tom as inker. Glynis as colourist. All on newsprint for a buck at 7-11, because it’s EXTREME…! and could possibly tie into a video game. But since it was such a long time ago, now the Human Fly can be fully Doc-Savage-oid…like a combination of Doc Savage and V., hey you mean you don’t know about the Human Fly? Far more famous now that he’s been forgotten, than he could ever be otherwise. No I truly dig it. I would like the first Annual to be scripted by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Carmine Infantino…real-time derring-do, a panel a second, maybe he fights Dracula or the Frankenstein Monster or Jack Russell? Come on, work with me here. And the next (and last — let’s face it, times are tough) Annual would be a big crossover with a revitalized Power Man/Iron Fist, perhaps this last PM/IF one written by Len Wein and drawn by John Byrne, and inked by Tom Palmer — after they’ve just beaten Stiletto and Steel Serpent or something: CLUNK. “Why…why, you self-absorbed IDIOTS!!”

    LUKE’S FACE (swivels): “Wha…?”

    DANNY’S FACE (swivels): “Huh…?”


    HUMAN FLY: “…A good man is about to die under your NOSES…

    HUMAN FLY: “…And you don’t even CARE!”


    End PM/IF Annual # Whatever.

    Human Fly Annual #2 (and the last one; it’s the end of the Human Fly strip): SPLASH: Luke Cage and Danny Rand reach desperately for the Human Fly after he loses his grip and falls out of their window to the pavement below…

    Wow, this computer’s acting up.

    Oh God, maybe I did something.

  18. That’s not proper Human Fly dialogue. The guy’s got to stammer. Even in thought bubbles.

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