In our Funnybooks podcast, we focus on current events, and usually large events.  Most times, the conversations are constrained so that we can fit everything into an hour or so, but here at Funnybooks After Hours the discussion continues to topics not covered, greater questions of events in comic past or whatever else strikes our fancy.

Walking up the alley, you are unsure if this is the right place.  A non-descript door halfway down the alley catches your eye and after a brief scan of the area, you see the marker that indicates that this is in fact the place.  Etched into a brick above the building is a bat symbol with an ‘X’ through the middle and a lightning bolt below it.

Knocking on the door, you hear a grating sound as a man with a luchador mask and vampire fangs opens the door, “What’s the password?” he asks.  “Beak is lame” you reply, nodding as he steps aside.  Visibility is limited, but as you look around you realize that you found the place.  Stepping up to the microphone, the five recliners are set up on a small stage in the back, as the crew eagerly awaits the question that drove you all the way here, to this secret place.

This week’s question:

You have the ability to bring back a character from obscurity and give them either a full series or a long mini.  Who would it be and why?  What would the first arc be about?

Aron leans into the microphone,

“A character, huh?  I’m torn.  I can think of a lotta guys I’d love to see.  For instance, Howard The Duck done right would be awesome.  And done right means Michael Golden returns to manage the pencils and somebody like Jeff Parker writes it.”

“But no.  There’s another.  A character I long to have fill the universe with terror one more time… Baron Karza from the original Micronauts run.  He’s a great villain and would be a terrific addition to Marvel’s cosmic cast of characters.  Karza terrorized the Micronauts during the original series.  He was Darth Vader, Adolph Hitler, and Doctor Doom all rolled into one badass power-armored villain.  Plus, dare I say it, he had missile-nipples.”

“My first Baron Karza arc would reveal that he’s carved himself a place in a corner of the Marvel universe and now has his sights on the war-torn, disaster ravaged Kree and Shiar Empires.  His genetically engineered Dog Soldiers terrorize the sectors, as do the monsters incubating in his Body Banks, and he Baron’s enslaved Acroyear shock-troops bring the two galactic powers to their knees.”

“The first arc ends with Karza killing Gladiator and taking Medusa as his bride, unifying both empires under his rule.  From there, it’s on to Earth!”

Paul rubs his chin for a few seconds before responding,

“Ya know, I really thought about Sleepwalker, but I’m sure Tim is going to go with that one.  And then I remembered how much I loved Darkhawk back in the 90’s, but he’s not really obscure anymore because he’s been hanging with Nova.  But really, those are kind of my top two.  Still, because I kind of took them out of the running, I’m going to go with……….The Midnight Sons.”

“Hell to the yes!  Recently, Fred Van  Lente brought back the Midnight Sons in the pages of Marvel Zombies, but the only original team member on the new team was Morbius.  I’d want to go back to the original lineup – the Nightstalkers (Hannibal King, Blade, and Frank Drake), Morbius the Living Vampire, the Spirits of Vengeance (Danny Ketch and Johnny Blaze), and the Darkhold Redeemers.  Doctor Strange was part of them for a while, and he had a kick-ass all-black costume when he was on the team too.”

“I’d bring back the Midnight Sons as perhaps a line of books – I mean, I know most of these guys have a hard time keeping a series that doesn’t get cancelled, but I’d love to do an epic story that encompassed multiple mini-series.  Kind of like Marvel is doing with their galactic storyline, or DC is doing with their Green Lantern titles.  Maybe 2 ongoing series, and a third “Midnight Sons” book that encompasses an entire epic storyline that would eventually have an ending.  I’d read the hell out of that.  Plus, we’d get those old Midnight Sons storylines in trade finally.”

Wayne nods thoughtfully as Paul finishes up,

“So after all the Midnight Sons talk on Twitter we need to somehow work that into an episode.  I’m a huge fan as well.  I HATED when they brought back Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider because I liked him so much better with the Hellfire shotgun.  It reminds me of Hal Jordans return.  If you have replaced a character with a better concept why does the original have to return?  Why does the original have to be better than the new?  I’ll admit that the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider ended pretty badly, but that was long after the Midnight Sons stuff was over.”

“It is also funny that you mention Sleepwalker because that’s my choice.  I know others might pick him too, but oh well.  I have the entire run and have hunted down every other appearance that I could find with him in it.  Until coming on the podcast I didn’t know anyone else cared about him or even knew who he was.  I like Paul’s idea for Midnight Sons and I think that’s the corner of the Marvel Universe that Sleepwalker would play in best.  Perhaps instead of a new  team for Darkhold you could integrate Sleepwalker by starting off with a shared enemy.”

“I would start off with a Nightmare arc that would have Sleepwalker hunting him in the real world since he has escaped from the dream one.  I would keep the character in the shadows and play up the creepiness as much as possible.  Perhaps a slight update in appearance for modern audiences, but nothing too major.  I hate when characters I love come back and look nothing like they used to.  I would play up the fact that he doesn’t know how our world works.  He learned a lot in the first run, but society has changed quite a bit since then and the marvel universe has certainly changed.  He would still be connected with Rick and only come out when he sleeps.  I would however have the impact of that be shown on Rick’s life.  He would be popping sleeping pills and illegally gaining sedatives at first.  As his life spirals out of control his feeling about Sleepwalker would change.  Eventually it would become something like the relationship between Banner and Hulk.  The difference would be that Rick knows Sleepwalker is a Hero,  he just resents him for what has happened to his life. “

Tim grimaces at Wayne,

“Wow, with all this Sleepwalker love, how did it get canned? Hrm, seeing as how Wayne took out my number one answer, I’ll go to my backup. I want Daniel Way to do a Slapstick mini series. If you read the original Slapstick mini back in the 90’s, you know that it was a fun story of how a teenager got super powers, while the whole book was lampooning all of the tropes of comic books at the same time. I re-read them from time to time and they do hold up fairly well. Daniel Way has a knack for writing comic books with humor, so I think he’d be the perfect person to do the mini.”

“As far as what the series itself might be, I was thinking it would be fun to follow Slapstick around the Avengers academy as he ‘teaches’ new recruits, while at the same time realizing how ridiculous that is as he’s fairly new and inexperienced at the hero game. Tie this idea into maybe a story where he’s trying to impress some female superhero he’s fallen head over heels for, and it would be the perfect blend.”

Do you have a question for Funnybooks Afterhours?  Feel free to post and let us know what questions burn in the hearts of comic fans.