I've been keeping score, updating a list of the 52 DC September #1 comic titles, plus reasonably reliable rumors. Something like eleven Batman books have been offered, four Green Lantern series, nine quasi-Vertigo supernatural titles, and plenty of mainstays or spin-offs from recent events. Basically, the Superman family is the only notable absence at this point, and I've taken many of them for granted. If last minute change-ups like the Supergirl relaunch make it onto the September schedule, there are roughly ten slots remaining in play. Surely there are books that will be held back for less crowded months, or simply delayed by the need for more work before being ready. Even taking that into account, Brightest Day was clearly designed as a spin-off factory for the past year, with Deadman in two books, late arrival Swamp Thing in another, plus Hawkman and Firestorm. Essentially, all but two properties from that event are on the board: Martian Manhunter and The Hawk and the Dove. Best intentions aside, including the possibility of another WTF new team like Red Hood & The Outlaws to serve as a home away from solo, this would still be a serious vote of "no confidence" for both concepts. It would be a shame and a black eye for J'Onn J'Onzz to have been given a year as a co-feature in one of the industry's best-selling titles, and still be left out of the DC Explosion (jinx!)
The up side is that if there is going to be a Martian Manhunter series, even if it doesn't arrive in September, a short list has emerged through process of elimination. Throw out as many #1s as you want DC, but you're using the same old talent.
- Tony Bedard: 4 titles in August, 1 in September (although DC Universe Legends Online should be offered, and that would make 2.) I like Bedard, and if he brought some of the R.E.B.E.L.S. characters into a Manhunter title, I'd love it a lot. I've been waiting for a 1950s Captain Comet team-up for ages.
- Peter J. Tomasi: 2 titles, and one's with Pat Gleason, but he may still have room.
- Sterling Gates: 1 title. I thought his Supergirl was okay. Could be worth a look.
- James Robinson: 0 titles. Is DC retaliating for his many leaks about his titles, or is he going to get one big book (like JSA?)
- Fabian Nicieza: 1 title. Not a bad writer, but I feel a bad fit for J'Onn J'Onzz.
- Paul Dini: 0, but maybe he's ticked about Zatanna getting iced?
- Brian Q. Miller: 0, but I'm not a fan, so whatever.
- Marc Andreyko: 0, and that would be quite a different Manhunter than he's used to.
- Chris Roberson: 0. Maybe he'll script for Perez, but he deserves something for finishing JMS' "Grounded."
- Paul Levitz: 1, and he'd be very interesting, though highly unlikely. He's pretty Legion or bust, these days.
- Paul Cornell: Dude's still got a year on his DC exclusive contract, but only one book announced, and it's a friggin' Etrigan mini-series. I hear good things, but he hasn't impressed me with my limited exposure so far.
- Dustin Nguyen: 0, but not a guy who'd be on my list for art.
- Don Kramer: 0. I'd rather see him on a less fantastic book, but he'd be good for a more John Jones-centric approach.
- Phil Winslade: 0, and that would be hot. He was a good fill-in artist on the Ostrander series.
- ChrisCross: 0, and he'd be a kickass artist for the 3-5 issues he'd do before leaving.
- Jim Calafiore: 0, and no. Just please no.
- Nicola Scott: 0, and pretty, but an odd choice for the Alien Atlas. Where are Power Girl, Huntress, Zatanna, the Question and other heroines going to end up?
Pinch Hitters: David Hine, Adam Schlagman, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Adam Beechen, Marc Guggenheim, Howard Chaykin, Bill Willingham, Matt Sturges, and Will Pfeiffer. These guys are either rarely first choice, or have blown big/multiple chances at choice assignments. They'll be listed on the credits of a lot of #3s, though.
Who would I like to see? Out of the guys who've been working at DC of late, John Rozum and/or Phil Hester would be pretty awesome. How about yourselves?