This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on July 3, 2016.
This week marks the epic conclusion of Tom Scioli’s Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe at IDW Publishing. The series began just over two years ago on a Free Comic Book Day with a #0 issue and has blown away expectations ever since. While the concept certainly could have been an easy cash grab, reaching for two of the biggest fanbases in comics, it became so much more. Every issue of the series has gone in new directions, exploring dream sequences and cosmic maps, packing tons of characters into a retro aesthetic while exploring the boundaries of comics.
Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe is a testament to both Scioli’s ambition and the incredible things that can be done with classic concepts. There’s no reason that any property, whether it’s a decades old toy line or a century old superhero has to fit into a box. A new artist can take them in wild, new directions to excite a whole new generation. So in the spirit of Scioli’s Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe, we are proposing five versus-style comics that we think would make for some bizarre and entertaining adventures along with the creators we’d love to see work on them.
Archie Vs. Planet of the Apes
Written by Ulises Farinas
Art by Ramon Villalobos
Of all the ideas we’re throwing out, this is the one most likely to actually happen. Archie Comics has a long history of doing some pretty strange crossovers with properties like The Punisher and Predator. The idea of bringing the Riverdale Gang forward in time to confront a high school of mankind’s simian inheritors is a new level of strange though.
We’re thinking that a pair of rising stars would be perfect for this comic. Ulises Farinas has shown he has a real knack for strange social commentary on comics like Judge Dredd and Amazing Forest (both published by IDW, the same publisher that holds the rights for Planet of the Apes). He could certainly come up with some intriguing whys and wherefores in this combination. Ramon Villalobos would make the inevitable food fights as deliriously entertaining as they ought to be. Both the exaggerated forms of human and ape students would be a delight to read in his pencils, as would any schoolyard brawls.
One-Punch Man Vs. Ambush Bug
Written by Ryan Browne
Art by Yusuke Murata
One-Punch Man is the hottest superhero in Japan, and one of the funniest creations to ever hit the genre. His ability to blow away any foe with a single punch puts him on the same indescribable power level as Superman. So why not pair him with Superman’s greatest nuisance? While Saitama could certainly knock out Ambush Bug, he’d have to hit the teleporting annoyance first. The combination of Saitama’s cool, collected demeanor and Ambush Bug’s madcap antics is loaded with potential hilarity.
Who better to write this than the crown prince of American comedy comics himself, Ryan Browne? He could certainly spawn some great new supporting cast members to rival even the likes of King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger from God Hates Astronauts. The comic should continue to be drawn by Yusuke Murata of One-Punch Man. Nobody in comics can draw a fight or Saitama’s resting face as well, and no one should even have to try.
Spawn Vs. Hellblazer
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Andrew MacLean
What could go worse than a battle royale between two of the nastiest individuals to ever encounter the underworld? Imagine the high octane violence of Spawn running up against the trickery and nastiness of John Constantine. It’s unclear who, if anyone, would come out on top, but it would certainly be a lot of fun to watch.
Garth Ennis has already penned some of the greatest Hellblazer stories ever and certainly has a knack for superhero-style violence in comics like The Boys. If anyone could bring these two very different hellraisers together, it’s him. However, for the art we’d like to look at a relative newcomer: Andrew MacLean. MacLean has knocked our socks off with Head Lopper at Image Comics. He has a sense for design and violence that makes every page a joy. Not only would Spawn and Constantine both look great, but the hellscapes around them would be absolutely enthralling.
The Muppets Vs. Gremlins
Written by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Art by James Harren
Think back to your childhood and imagine the funniest, most friendly waist high characters and the most terrifying bunch of the same height. Now imagine them facing off. That’s Muppets Vs. Gremlins in a nutshell. You provide a horrific spin to Kermit’s crew while playing into the satirical pop culture strengths of the green imps. It’s a combination that could go horribly wrong, or horribly right.
The key to this combo will be to have a writer who understands the pop culture zeitgeist and love of these properties, and there’s no one better for that than Bryan Lee O’Malley. He can blend the antics and references of Scott Pilgrim with the careful, character-focused storytelling of both that comic and Seconds. In order to make the comic pop, you’ll need someone who can design delightfully grotesque monsters and play up the Muppets odd cuteness. No one is making better monsters in comics than James Harren (just look at Rumble) and he has a surprising knack for making some adorable critters too. Whatever he delivered, it would be unexpected and very entertaining.
COPRA Vs. Literally Anything
Written by Michel Fiffe
Art by Michel Fiffe
We’ve never made it any secret that we’re big fans of Michel Fiffe’s work on COPRA here at ComicBook.Com. It was our #1 comic of 2015 for a reason. Fiffe has refined a truly auteur style in comics that infuses a love of superheroes and violence into one of the most fast-paced and entertaining spectacles coming out today. He wears his influences on his sleeves, but the work on the page is undoubtedly all his.
The COPRA team faces off against a wide array of different antagonists ranging from corrupt government agents to Lovecraftian horrors beyond space and time. They make every battle a delight to watch, and getting to see Fiffe draw them facing off against any popular franchise is exactly what we go to the comic store to pay money for. Whether it’s COPRA Vs. Godzilla or COPRA Vs. Ghostbusters or COPRA Vs. The Avengers, those comics are bound to be excellent. Ultimately, COPRA Versus is all we really want from the concept of a “Versus” comic. So I guess we’re lucky to have an actual COPRA Versus mini-series coming out right now!