Doctor Fate, etc.

DC has officially announced the new Doctor Fate series on Newsarama, so I’m free to discuss it now — and I will, after the weekend.

Have to deal with a deadline first.


40 Responses to “Doctor Fate, etc.”

  1. Michael McClelland Says:

    Ever since you announced your “secret project” at DC I have been hoping it would be Dr. Fate. Now I am very happy. What would really really make me happy is to have a monthly dose of Gerber goodness for… oh, I dunno…a good three years or so…

  2. Starocotes Says:

    Yep, this sounds great. It took me a while to realize that you are the guy who co-wrote some of the best Dr. Fate Story yet but after that I really was happy.

  3. Alex Krislov Says:

    Steve, you and Fate seem almost made for each other. One question–do I need to follow this “52” project to understand the new series when it comes out? Because I haven’t any idea what the hell it is.

  4. Craig Taylor Says:

    Congrats, Steve. I’m looking forward to this mini-event series.

    Dr Fate has long been a favorite of mine, but in a very superficial way. I don’t know all that much about the character, apart from appearances over the years.

    Not sure what to expect with all those candidates for the helm. I reckon that there’s something “Arthurian” about a “worthy” one (to wear it), buuuut – maybe not.

    I don’t believe that Zauriel will end up wearing the helm, but I will read along to see how it turns out. It could work quite well if some ordinary guy, a complete unbeliever, like Ethan or any other Gerberian regular got to wear the helm.

    There are some great creator names attched, besides yours, and Peter Snejberg is an artist I have come to appreciate over the years.

    BTW: I’m not reading 52, but following the commentary. I don’t think reading 52 will make it more or less necessary to understand the new series.

  5. Charles Bryan Says:

    That’s great news! I’m looking forward to it. I hope you’re having fun with it, Steve.

  6. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Hmmmm…. Fate has been retconned sufficient times that you have a pretty open hand with the character. Looking up the current versions of the character in Wikipedia, it would appear that the implication was that the next Fate would be practicing magic as an exact science, and would need a cool, logical mind. A serious Ralph Dibny would certainly qualify. Most of the characters who would qualify are dead, like Dr. Thirteen, the Blue Beetle, or already have a sufficiently good gig that they are unlikely, like Oracle or Robin. One which would be interesting but probably overkill would be a Dox (father or son). Of course, based on royalties, it would make sense to make the character one who has not previously appeared in the DCU.

  7. berk Says:

    I don’t know much about Dr. Fate, and I’d rather see Steve Gerber writing his own creations, but I’ll certainly have a look at this.

  8. Bob Kennedy Says:

    I see you’re using the half-mask helmet! Is that a separate helmet, or does it change shape? Is there a “Glass Half-Empty” joke in there somewhere?

  9. Steve Gerber Says:

    First, for Alex: Last summer, DC did one of those huge universe-wide crossover miniseries called INFINITE CRISIS. When that series ended, the regular comics picked up the storylines of the various DCU characters “One Year Later”. *52* is a 52-part weekly series that covers what happened during that missing year.

    Digression: While I remain skeptical of the mega-crossover concept in general, I have to admit that *52* is one of the most interesting books DC is currently publishing. Most of the intertwined storylines are well-written and innovative, the art has been of consistent quality, and real effort has been expended on treating the enormous cast of characters *as* characters. I’m impressed.

    Answer (finally): No, you won’t have to have read *52* to understand the new DOCTOR FATE series. All you have to know is that all the prior wearers of the helmet are, for our purposes, gone. Nabu, the Lord of Order who presumably created the helmet, no longer exists. Without violating any prior continuity (I *think*), we’ve dialed everything about this character back to pentagram one. Readers will be able to understand the new series even if they’ve never *heard* of Doctor Fate before.

    Keep asking questions, by the way! It’d be neat to do the post on the book as a Q&A.

  10. Starocotes Says:

    Hi Steve

    How far goes your involment with the whole series including the one-shots? Gail Simone wrote on Newsarama that you both did work together so I guess the one-shots build up to each other and to the ongoing? Did you have some or much editorial input in the whole thing?

    And the question you won’t answer: Who will be the “new” (or perhaps old) Dr. Fate?

  11. Brian Hughes Says:

    Congratulations, Steve. Doctor Fate hasn’t ever been a favorite of mine, but I’ll check it out if you’re writing. Did you have any say in who ends up with the helmet, or was that established before you were hired?

  12. J. Alexander Says:

    Hmmm. Steve, I am really looking forward to having my monthly Gerber fix again. I still miss HARD TIME.

    How many issues have you plotted at this time?

  13. Staredcraft Says:

    Chris…I don’t know if you read much from the “Competition across the street” aka Marvel…but they did something very similar (one shot minis about a focused character) with Captain Universe…if you know anything about what I’m talking about…can you tell me how the Dr. Fate minis and Marvel’s CU minis differ in and how they are alike too

  14. Staredcraft Says:

    Oh I meant Steve, not chris

  15. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    I mentioned in the Howard the Duck group, but will reiterate here, that the past Steve Gerber work that makes me the most certain that he will do a good job on Dr. Fate is his short run on Mr. Miracle. Most writers defined Scott Free based on what he did; Steve Gerber went further, and tried to see how Scott Free viewed himself. I’m predicting that, in Steve Gerber’s hands, Dr. Fate’s greatest adversary will be his own humanity.

  16. gordon Says:

    Good to know I won’t have to know anything about Dr Fate to enjoy/understand your new version because, frankly, I’ve never read Dr Fate before.

  17. Steve Gerber Says:

    Staredcraft: “can you tell me how the Dr. Fate minis and Marvel’s CU minis differ in and how they are alike too”

    To be honest, I personally had never heard of the Captain Universe minis or one-shots until I read the discussion on Newsarama. Others at DC may have, but if so, nobody mentioned it in any of our discussions about this project. We talked about it in terms of DC’s occasional “fifth week” events.

  18. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Strangely enough, Captain Universe was invented by Bill Mantlo. Which would have made it ironic if you had gotten a chance to mess up the concept.

  19. Gail Says:

    All I know is Steve still writes like a bandit, and his stuff on this book is a joy.


  20. Steve Gerber Says:

    Uh, wow.

    Thank you, Gail.

  21. staredcraft Says:


    I suggest checking it out just for the heck of it…it’s IMO a good read and a great execution at revitalizing a character I’ve enjoyed since the major use of him in Spider-Man

  22. Micah Says:

    Are you using all pre-existing DC characters for the series? If you create some of your own within the series will they be owned by you?

    Good luck with the new series! I don’t know the character, but from what I’ve read it seems like a good fit.

  23. Starocotes Says:

    Any news who will do the art for the ongoing series?

  24. Fred Chamberlain Says:

    >>All I know is Steve still writes like a bandit, and his stuff on this book is a joy.

    >Uh, wow.
    >Thank you, Gail.
    >By Steve Gerber on 10.15.06 5:48 pm

    Why in the heck are you taken back, man? It is very obvious to anybody who reads your stuff!



  25. Steve Gerber Says:

    It’s the source, even more than the compliment itself.

  26. Fred Chamberlain Says:

    I figured as much. I’m guessing that it is Gail Simone. She’s a solid writer…. but I’m not sure she is a Gerber. Time, and her upcoming Tranquility, will tell.

  27. Steve Gerber Says:

    Well, I’m already convinced. She’s one of the half-dozen best writers in comics right now, and my personal favorite.

  28. Starocotes Says:

    Hi Steve

    you wrote:
    >Readers will be able to understand the
    >new series even if they’ve never heard of
    >Doctor Fate before.
    What about readers who have read everything about Dr. Fate that was published? Will they still recognize the character? (I’m not talking about who wears the helmet).

    Who will be doing the art for the ongoing series?

  29. Andrew B Says:

    No offence Steve but haven’t all these “new” and “cool” Fates and Dr. Fates been tried and tried before? Why don’t you write the original, easy to explain origin and it will succeed where a new character will not. I’m really upset that a new Fate will come into play again!!! 🙁

  30. Forrest Says:

    (“I’m really upset that a new Fate will come into play again!!!”)

    Well, I guess that’s the agony of D. Fate for ya!

  31. Jack Holt (bgztl) Says:

    Well, I’m actually looking forward to the series, but I’m hoping for a Doctor Fate that combines the best that humanity has to offer with mysticism.

    I really loved the human side of Doctor Fate more than the mumbo-jumbo. All the Madame Blavatsky stuff was great but just icing on the cake in my mind for a series with two great characters. I even liked the 1940’s stories where he was a doctor in fact, as well as in name.

    So, needless to say, I’ve parsed that one line up there above about a hundred times. You know the one.

    “All you have to know is that all the prior wearers of the helmet are, for our purposes, gone. ”

    I’m focussing on “for our purposes” instead of “gone”. It gives me an unrealistic hope.


  32. Steve Gerber Says:

    Well, it’s now abundantly clear that there’s no way to please everybody with a new Doctor Fate book. Fortunately for my ego and sanity, I knew that going in.

    So let me just say this:

    For those of you who may be unfamiliar with my work, I’m not the kind of writer who does “new and cool” for the sake of “new and cool”. (For that matter, I’m deeply bored by our current two-adjective culture — “cool” and “awesome” — and by most of the people who use either of those words with any frequency to describe *anything*.)

    I personally believe that what we’re doing with Doctor Fate will pleasantly surprise *almost* every reader who ever had any affection for the original character. In fact, I’m going to climb ‘way out there on that limb labelled “audacious” and suggest that, this time, we’re going to do the character the way it always *should* have been done.

    Okay, folks, you’ve got your target. Lambaste at will.

  33. Starocotes Says:

    Hi Steve

    actually I will start to lambaste as soon as I have read several issues of the new Dr. Fate series and they are total crap, which hopefully won’t happen.

    …but I still would like to know who does the art scores for it 😀

  34. Andrew B Says:

    Hey Steve,
    sorry if I sounded negative on your own personal blog but when your favourite character becomes a “concept” again, my initial reaction was one of skepticism and negativity. Hopefully you’ll be channeling a touch Gardner Fox in your stories and the only request I ask…if I may be so bold is that you don’t ignore everything that came before the character.

  35. Jack Holt (bgztl) Says:

    So. . .

    the preliminary fan shock out of the way. . .

    I have a question or two:

    Do you work off of full scripts or will you be waiting for an artist to join the project to start writing?

    Have you worked with Peter Snejbjerg before? Any possiblity that he will handle the final series?

  36. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    If you go to the main site, you will see at least one of Steve’s scripts available (I have a couple that he posted a few years back on the Bingo Bango Bongo BBS).

  37. Brian Spence Says:

    Nice Bolland cover (or at least it looks a heck of a lot like Bolland). If he’s the regular cover artist, you shouldn’t have a problem with sales…

  38. scottthewriter Says:

    I’m SO HAPPY to have a new Steve Gerber book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dr. Fate sounds like something you can make really cool, too!

    I’m very excited.

    Will it be anything like BATTLE BOY over at ? I sure hope so!!!! That’s maybe the hottest new adventure narrative I’ve read in the last ten years.


  39. Jack Holt (bgztl) Says:

    Wizard has spoiled some details, but still no artist for the final book.

    Are the one-shots some sort of try out to figure out who gets the book?

  40. Craig Taylor Says:

    This thread might be closed, but I had to comment on this line, which I liked.

    Steve Gerber said:

    I personally believe that what we’re doing with Doctor Fate will pleasantly surprise almost every reader who ever had any affection for the original character. In fact, I’m going to climb ‘way out there on that limb labelled “audacious” and suggest that, this time, we’re going to do the character the way it always should have been done.

    end quote

    Now that is enough to add this new series to my standing order.

    But it also begs the question:

    In terms of plot and ideas did you work closely developing the series with the other writers?