An Open Letter To Geoff Johns

Dear Geoff Johns

I am convinced 2017 is the year to bring back an Unknown Soldier ongoing. Now I should probably leave out the part that this idea came to me in a dream but it’s best to be truthful. Also while we are being truthful I’m not expecting you to hire me to write it, though it would be amazing. I mean I’m a nobody. At best I’m an ideas guy. I do the skeletal system I need somebody else to do the muscles and blood. In the dream it was Frank Tieri and Sean Chen (My favourite Wolverine creative team). Anyway I digress.

So why 2017? Well when I woke from the dream the next day, thought about things logically and made some notes everything just seemed right. Rebirth will be coming into its second year. At some point it will need a shot in the arm. New characters to freshen things up. Instead of rebooting an existing title relaunch an oldie. Unknown Soldier can work in 2017. It will be the first full year in Trumps administration. People are more politically minded than ever. Comics is a format that can tackle any subject. I’m not saying make the Unknown Soldier be anti Trump propaganda. But right away the real world sets the tone for the comic. Another reason Unknown can work in 2017 is that anyone can be the Unknown Soldier. Meaning it doesn’t have to be continuity heavy. From the start of the series we have a new character in the title role. An unknown character (See what I did there). The readers learn what he/she is about by watching there actions as the story unfolds. The reader learns who the Unknown Soldier is as other characters in the story learn. By having a fresh face in the role it makes it more appealing to new readers. In early story arcs drop hints to a bigger picture and once the new readers are hooked you hit them with the continuity. The role of the Unknown Soldier has passed on from war to war so you have back story to play with. Hit them with nostalgia with Kanigher and Kubert! Americans killing Nazis sells! Flashbacks to Sgt. Rock and Easy Company. There is undoubtedly a rich history to play with both from comics and real life. Do you know how many countries have ‘Tombs to The Unknown Soldier’? My research found 49! Some countries have more than one. So you could say 52 just to keep things symmetrical. You could have Unknown Soldiers on a Batman Inc. level if handled right. Making things more appealing to readers overseas.

Conspiracy theories, true crime and war accounts are such a big part of the global zeitgeist right now. Bringing back Unknown Soldier in 2017 can not fail. Serial, Making a Murderer, The X-Files comeback, Russian email hacks, WikiLeaks. The world The Unknown Soldier operates in is happening on the news and in popular entertainment every night. Not having him in a comic while this is happening would be like having a comedian in eighties England who didn’t do satire. It would be like not having rock bands that hide political agendas behind heavy licks and riffs.

Now for what I believe is the icing on the cake. The element that will tie Unknown firmly into the world of Rebirth. I want to go back to The X-Files for a moment if I can. It helped provide me with the final piece of the puzzle. The final piece of inspiration that made me think this could work. The ten seasons were divided into ‘Mythology’ and ‘Monster of the Week’ episodes. You do the same with The Unknown Soldier except you swap out ‘Monster of the Week’ for ‘Heroes and Villains’. Let me explain further. The ‘Mythology’ issues of The Unknown Soldier would deal with government conspiracy. All with the powers that be not being what it seems. Botched assassination attempts, government sponsored death squads, political back handers. That kind of thing. The ‘Heroes and Villains’ issues would deal with The Unknown Soldier interacting with the DCU in a wider scope. At first I didn’t know how to make this element work then it hit me. As we have established the role of The Unknown Soldier has passed on from generation to generation. Well so has the information they have gathered over the years. For example The Unknown Soldier of 1939 would first have investigated the ‘Superman’ of Metropolis. Whilst The Unknown Solider of 1993 investigated his death. All this means the ‘Heroes and Villains’ issues provide further space to play with the characters past continuity they also provide great fanboy moments. Isn’t that what reading comics is all about?

Thank you for your time

Ian Wells

 

 

 

 

 

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An Open Letter To Geoff Johns

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