After 37 years with Marvel Comics, superstar artist John Romita, Jr.--best known to mainstream fans as the co-creator of Kick-Ass, which inspired a pair of movies, the second of which comes out on Friday--may be near the end of his full-time, work-for-hire days.
Before he goes fully creator-owned, though, Romita has a widescreen superhero story he wants to tell--one that's flexible enough that he's pitching it to two different publishers for a number of different characters, including the granddaddy of them all.
After nearly forty years with Marvel, he's pitching a specific story to both Marvel and DC--a story that could be applied to characters from either publisher, and could make the legendary artist's first DC work a Superman story.
"Yeah, there's a good chance I'll do some work for DC. There's a better-than-good chance now," Romita told ComicBook.com during an exclusive, in-depth Q&A yesterday, which will be printed in its entirety later today. "It really just came up because we couldn't agree on a contract with Marvel. And there wasn't any kind of nastiness or anything like that, just a disagreement here or there. DC is anxious to do something and I actually had a story idea they really liked that applies to Superman."
He cautioned, though, that this isn't confirmation that he's working on Superman, or with DC, at all. His focus, he says, will be on creator-owned works going forward, but a number of projects he's got in development, including comics with Neil Gaiman and Robert Kirkman, won't begin to take shape for about a year.
"Which means I can do one of two things--just go freelance and play around or I can just sign a one-year contract with somebody to do a storyline that I want," Romita explained. "Which is a good possibility because I have a couple of plots lined up that I'm really fascinated with. One of them applies to a couple of characters, one of which is Superman, and I'm excited about the storyline. It would apply to Superman very well. It would [also] apply to Silver Surfer, it would apply to Doctor Strange, but I'm fascinated at the thought of doing something like applying this to Superman."
He explained that in his decades at Marvel, there are very few things he hasn't done, that he'd have liked to, but that one of them is a Doctor Strange story. This tale, then, seems perfectly suited to that if he's able to work out a continuation of his recently-expired deal with Marvel. The only problem there would be whether he could convince them to take a chance on the character.
"With the exception of doing Fantastic Four monthly, I think I've covered all my bases," Romita said of his time at Marvel. "I would love to do a Doctor Strange, but that's considered a secondary character by Marvel."
That could change, of course, if the Doctor Strange movie that Kevin Feige has teased gets an official announcement anytime soon. Like, maybe today at D23? Seems too convenient.
(There's also The Defenders, which we just speculated about, but that's a whole other discussion.)
Silver Surfer, the third character mentioned, may actually be a possibility--the publisher recently announced a new Marvel NOW! series launching soon. The character also recently appeared in Daredevil, a series written by Mark Waid, with whom Romita says he's got creator-owned plans down the line.
The only downside to pitching a story featuring a character that the publisher is currently prepping for a relaunch is that if you're not the guy behind the relaunch, they probably won't let you touch it.