Not having a lot of money at the moment to buy new monthly series, I have to be blown away by the prospect of a new book to make me add it to my list. The vast majority of books from the Big Two have to go well out of their way to persuade me to try something (especially because they tend to end up as trade paperbacks). Apart from having my favourite creators working on a title, the best way to guarantee that I can overcome my huge reluctance to buy a new series is to have the perfect writer working on the appropriate character.
Case in point: the news that Greg Rucka will be writing the new series of The Punisher in the Marvel universe. Goddamn you, Marvel!
Greg Rucka is a fantastic writer: his novels (both the Atticus Kodiak series and the Queen & Country accompanying novels) are great, and his creator-owned comic books are really good (the aforementioned Queen & Country and Stumptown). His work-for-hire has been best when working for DC: two runs on Detective Comics with Batman and recently Batwoman, Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood, a great run on Wonder Woman (treating it as a superhero version of The West Wing), the excellent Checkmate and the brilliant Gotham Central (with Ed Brubaker); his superhero and Marvel work hasn’t been has strong (by his own admission, superheroes are not his strong point), but that can all change with his decision to take on the Punisher.
A street-level character is the perfect choice for Rucka to write: he gets that world and his writing has the perfect sensibility for a man with no powers fighting an unceasing war against criminals, but without the gadgetry or years of detective and martial arts training. If he can find the balance needed to make Frank Castle work in the Marvel universe, especially after Garth Ennis’ run on the character in the MAX universe (and by all accounts, Jason Aaron has been proving that the character works best outside of the world of superheroes), then I have no choice but to buy the new Punisher series, especially because the art looks good as well.
Marvel has been announcing a lot of similarly hard-to-resist creative teams: Mark Waid will be writing the new Daredevil series with art from the excellent Marcos Martin; Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev will be the creative team behind the new Moon Knight series (although they have something to prove after cutting out on Spider-Woman after only seven issues). Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen will be on Fear Itself, the next company-wide crossover. It makes sense: get the best people on new titles and the readers won’t be able to resist; also, the readers win because Marvel ensures that the books will be really good.
Now, if only I had enough money to buy all those comics …