While DC Comics's line-wide relaunch, "The New 52," hasn't been without its problems or detractors, it's hard to argue that it hasn't been an overall success.
There's discussion and enthusiasm about a number of DC's characters for the first time in years and while many titles have descended back down to their pre-relaunch sales levels, there are others that are still bolstered by the clean slate. It also elevates sales whenever a "long-lost" character like The Joker, who hadn't yet appeared post-New 52 prior to October, finally pops up.
And, seriously, who would ever have thought that things like a Blue Devil/Black Lightning team-up or new appearances of Mr. Mxyzptlk and The Atomic Skull would be enough to justify headlines all their own? There's certainly something there, but that's all in the comics realm and it's all very much preaching to the converted.
How do you take that success outside of comics, to bolster the film projects where Warner-owned DC lags far behind their crosstown competition at Marvel? And what projects might be better for other venues rather than a big-budget feature film? Some ideas...
Our Movie - Heaven Sent
Because this is already in the works, and because it seems like such a spectacular idea, it seems like a good place to start. Rumor has it Hellboy and Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro is discussing a supernatural team-up movie a la Justice League Dark with Warner Brothers that would bring a number of characters, including Swamp Thing and Hellblazer, together in a single big-screen outing.
The horror/supernatural characters are a bit more easily accessible than many of the superhero ones, whose powers have to be "explained" a bit more, and so a team-up film with these types of characters could do well in that it wouldn't require a ton of setup. That's been one of the big criticisms of jumping straight past the solo films to do Justice League, of course, but here it makes a bit more sense. The magical elements of their powers and personas tend to tie characters like Zatanna and the Phantom Stranger together in the same way that the whole "X-factor" origin of the X-Men does.
A wise man once said, "It's magic; we don't have to explain it!"
Leaving aside for a moment the fact that Deadshot has already appeared in Arrow, which gives them a perfect setup for a show like this, the idea of a series that has connections to characters like Maxwell Lord, Director Bones and Amanda Waller sets up perfectly for loads of DC Universe cross-pollination.
An episodic quality is built into this series, as is the notion of a rotating cast after characters either die, or get paroled and head off to other projects. This means that you could take one or two really irredeemable bastards and make them the heart of the show--say Deadshot and Harley, just for the sake of argument--and not spend a ton of money on anyone else because they'd all be there for just as long as they were there, much like on AMC's The Walking Dead.
Centering it on the bad guys would also make it a nice counterpoint to Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D., which will already be a super-spy show on TV before DC can get any post-Arrow programming off the ground. This way it's not Checkmate: The Series or something else that would be hard to differentiate from S.H.I.E.L.D. and potentially put the two head-to-head for the same viewership.
Of course, that's not to say that we wouldn't continue Arrow, or that the rumored Deadman and planned Booster Gold shows wouldn't also tickle our fancy.
Our Video Game - Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
This one's got it all, in terms of translating it to outsiders. Frankenstein is a known entity without being a superhero--something that limits the audience somewhat, since superhero games for consoles don't have the world's best record. It also features crazy designs, super-science, spies and other government entities fighting against monsters, zombies and otherworldly things that one can kill en masse and that have a variety of different appearances and abilities.
Okay, so this one's not technically part of the New 52, but it's something that sure ought to have a wider audience.
And, yeah, the character designs all draw from the New 52's reinvented costumes and stuff.
The simple, iconic look of the Baltazar and Franco comics seems suited to animation, and the series is not only a great Superman series but it would be a great way to introduce younger fans to some of the elements of the Superman mythology that won't be appearing in Man of Steel just yet.
And, best of all, it's hugely entertaining for kids and adults; Baltazar and Franco managed to find a balance with Tiny Titans that they've continued through to this title, of managing to write a book that's appealing to kids without talking down to the audience or making older readers feel stupid.