Friday, January 06, 2012

3. The Dans of DC

This one's kind of a whim post, I admit it. But recently, I picked up the new Chase trade paperback, and was reminded that for a time in the '90s, at least three of my favorite people at DC were named Dan. To specify:

1. Dan Curtis Johnson was the writer and co-creator of Chase. He had a great grip on the DCU, clearly had a plan in mind for Chase to run for many more issues, and it's a shame we never got to see the full extent of his vision. He even used the Starman-esque trick of "Times Past" type stories to show us tales of Chase as a P.I. in San Francisco, he was clearly building up to something with the DEO's "orphanages" where they trained young metahumans they captured, etc.

Unfortunately, while D. Curtis Johnson was one of the most talented writers working at DC in the '90s, his commercial profile never quite caught up to his creative skills and potential, and while I don't know where he is these days, I'd venture a guess that he's making a lot more money and getting a lot more respect in his other field of computer programming. Pity, as I'd love to see him writing for DC again.

2. Dan Raspler was an editor who I first noticed when he was working with John Ostrander on Suicide Squad. He then went on to edit some of my favorite series, including The Spectre and Hitman, and created and wrote Young Heroes in Love, a short-lived series in the '90s that I really loved. I met him on the shuttle bus at the first Chicago Comicon I ever went to (or possibly the second, my memory's a little shaky on that one) and even pitched him a story at one point when I was trying (thankfully, unsuccessfully) to break in as a comics writer.

3. Dan Thorsland was also an editor, and he was notably in charge of DC's horror mini-line in the '90s, including a really fun book about monsters on the run called Scare Tactics. He also edited some of the issues of Chase, and a few other notable books I really liked.

In all three cases, I don't really know where these guys are now. But I do know that if I could trade one of them for DC's current Dan (Didio) I probably would.

Dan Jurgens is the fourth Dan, and while he's hit and miss for me, he's done so much work that I've liked that I will always give his stuff a chance. So while I'm finding his Justice League International really boring, I still look back on his underrated runs on Thor, Aquaman, Captain America and of course the character he created, Booster Gold, and he'll always get a look for me. Unlike the aforementioned three Dans, however, Jurgens is very active in the comics community at present.

1 comment:

Tom Galloway said...

Well, Dan Johnson's still out here in Silicon Valley, still at Apple and also having time taken up by being a parent. Haven't met up with him for a while, but we're friends on Facebook.

It's interesting that J.H. Williams is using Chase in planned pre-DCNu's Batwoman, as her origin pretty much has to undergo a complete reboot to work in the DCNu (for those not aware, it's dependent on there being a generation of super-heroes between the JSA and JLA, whereas in the DCNu it appears Superman was the first publicly known superhero, at least for a considerable time (Demon Knights/Stormwatch imply there were active superpowered types in medieval times and ones unknown to the public continuing to the present day)