Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Unsung Heroes Of Comics: Peter Tomasi

Before writing titles such as Nightwing, The Green Lantern Corps and The Outsiders, he edited some of my favorite titles. It's not every day an editor can make you take notice of his name.

He can when he's the editor who shepherds writer Geoff Johns onto JSA, pulls a pre-Identity Crisis Rags Morales onto Hawkman along with the previously mentioned author, cementing the JSA and its' related titles into the franchise it's become today.

He did it again with the Will Pfeifer-penned H-E-R-O, an adult take on the Silver Age "Dial "H" For Hero" concept producing one of my all-time favorite single issues, H-E-R-O #11, the story of the DC Universe's first "superhero."

Along the way he helped restore, along with Geoff Johns, Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps to glory and beyond, giving it the momentum needed to become what it is today: the engine that is DC's "event" title, Blackest Night.

While JSA and Green Lantern are the titles that most would point out as the most important of his stint as a DC Comics editor, in my mind, his most lasting legacy is his choice to install writer Will Pfeifer and artist future Green Lantern Corps cohort Patrick Gleason as the creative team on Aquaman, as they produced a six-issue run on how Aquaman and more importantly, comics should be done.

To me, what stood out the most about Tomasi's editorial stint was this: you could tell he was helping create books that he'd want to read. This intelligence and consideration shown on every page just as it does today in his own comics writing.

6 comments:

continuityblog said...

I agree with you about Tomasi. But Blackest Night could have happened without Hal Jordan - we would just have Kyle, a much less boring character, in the lead role.

Peter said...

I want a new Aquaman series written by Tomasi more than anything.

kingbeauregard said...

Tomasi made me a Nightwing fan. I didn't even think such a thing was possible.

Go check out Tomasi's "Nightwing" run again; in every single issue there is at least one scene where you say, "god DAMN I'm glad I picked up this comic". Sometimes it's just the little details too, such as, when Nightwing saves a couple whom Two-Face had left to die, he spends a half hour just hugging them and reassuring them before getting them home.

Anthony Strand said...

kingbeauregard - I completely agree about his Nightwing series. I'm especially fond of the scene where a park night watchman wants his picture taken with Nightwing and Superman, and then doesn't turn out to be evil or a decoy or anything other than a hard-working, appreciative citizen.

kingbeauregard said...

The night watchman scene ... where Superman and Nightwing genuinely treat the guard like a colleague and partner. ::sigh::

I nearly peed my pants when they staged the photo of the guard punching Superman in the jaw, with Superman's eyes rolled back and his tongue hanging out. It's got to be the hardest thing in comics to write Superman as simultaneously a god and down-to-earth guy, yet Tomasi makes it look easy.

Graig Kent said...

Years before Nightwing and GLC, Tomasi wrote The Light Brigade, a damn fine non-DC (though published by DC) supernatural war story which was friggin' amazing. Check it out, it's really quite a remarkable read and shows he's good at more than just quality DCU character stories.