I picked up X-Men: Misfits (Del Rey) yesterday, and it’s… got its ups and downs, but I still like the idea of stripped-down manga variations on super-hero properties, so I started thinking about DC characters who’d suit that kind of treatment. Many are still holding vigil for Tintin Pantoja’s Wonder Woman remake, so I’ll skip over that one, and from everything I’ve heard, Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld was practically manga to begin with, but here are a few others:
Martian Manhunter: The shape-shifting sole survivor of the Martian race comes to Earth and sets himself up as a private investigator. I’m picturing a seinen take on J’onn, with tonally varied mysteries that explore the human condition.
Oracle: A woman with a disability establishes herself as an information broker and creates an anonymous, online identity to help people. My mental image of the series is admittedly kind of similar to the Martian Manhunter take – episodic storytelling featuring a range of guest characters interacting with the protagonist. I don’t think it would need to be entirely crime-driven, if at all. It could be kind of issue-of-the-week, to be honest.
Green Lantern: The whole bring-out-your-dead concept of Blackest Night sounds kind of gross to me, and some of the Care Bear Rainbow Lanterns sound really ridiculous, but the core idea works. An Earth person suddenly finds him- or herself enlisted in an intergalactic police force with a really cool piece of jewelry. As I think of it, giving the ring to a woman might be even more appropriate, what with the rich history of special accessories empowering spunky magic girls. But then I think of Arisia, and I become wary.
Legion of Super-Heroes: Super-powered, futuristic teens form a club to fight crime and protect people from disaster. It writes itself.
Blue Devil: I never read the series during its original run, but it’s a neat idea. A stuntman gets caught in a super-suit, right? Showbiz comedy, hero-with-a-problem drama, shake, pour over ice.
Zatanna: A beautiful young stage magician must conceal the fact that she’s an actual sorceress. I’m picturing Bewitched blended with backstage antics from series like Skip*Beat!
I would add Supergirl. The Cosmic Adventures in 8th Grade series showed that there are a lot of fun directions you can take that character.
The Question seems ripe for a Death Note style book.
It truth all the Ditko creations seem perfect for manga makeover. The Creeper’s costume already looks like manga. Hawk & Dove would be interesting, seeing two brothers debate militarism and pacifism from a Japanese perspective. I’d like to see someone creative take a shot at Shade the Changing Man. And of course, Mr. A. How about Urasawa doing a remake of Mr. A? Tell that would be an amazing series.
I’m not a huge superhero fan, so my catalogue is slim, but how about Young Avengers? I mean, where is teen angst done better than in manga? And while we’re at it, how about Runaways? Then you can do the crossovers.
Ed: The Creeper does have a nice seinen vibe to him. If I was going to pull anyone from the Superman family, it would probably be Lois Lane for a josei take. Superman is just so dull to me; all of the Kryptonians leave me cold. As last-survivor aliens go, I’m partial to J’onn, as he’s an outsider instead of a golden boy.
Melinda: I tried to shy away from series that had too much of an internal mythology, but I think either of those would work. There are already several super-teens-on-the-run series, and if you whittle away the continuity stuff, Young Avengers could be a fun, second-generation super-team story.
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[…] Manga | David Welsh lists a handful of DC Comics properties that he'd like to see receive the manga treatment, a la X-Men: Misfits. I'd be all over a Blue Devil book. [Precocious Curmudgeon] […]
The one that makes the most sense to me is the Teen Titans, but that might because they’ve already done the manga, Adam Warren’s Titans: Scissors, Paper, Stone, and the anime: the Teen Titans cartoon.
Naoki Urasawa doing Mr. A? That would be awesome.
Mahou Shojo Green Lantern? That would be epic!
My vote goes to Captain Marvel, mostly because I can imagine Billy Batson being the perfect shounen manga hero. But Shazam already has a lot in common with manga and Captain Marvel is, for all intents and purposes, a magical boy. Talking animal advisor? Goofy monsters-of-the-day? World’s Wickedest Worm as supervillain? Convoluted magic powers system? Sidekicks who get enlisted similar to those in magical girl shows? It’s got all the pieces.
You’re absolutely right about AMETHYST, David (come on, DC! Where’s the two-volume omnibus edition?) and as for TEEN TITANS – well, the Wolfman/Perez version anyway – quite a lot of it would also be a comfortable fit for manga. Shounen rather than shoujo, maybe, but along the lines of SAINT SEIYA – adventure/sci-fi/a dollop of mythology, along with complicated backstories for each character and angst up the wazoo. Emotional crack FTW! – JennyN