Some Thoughts on Doctor Fate – Part 2

I’m letting some Doctor Fate ideas roll around in the back of my skull again, so here, via the front of my skull, are answers to some of your Doctor Fate questions:

Scott: Any chance of a crossover with Fate, Superman, and Steel?

I’ll take just about any excuse to write Superman, but there aren’t any plans for such a crossover in the immediate future. There is *one* particular crossover that I’d love to do sometime within the first year of the book, but I’ll keep that under my hat for now.

Bob Kennedy: Since he’s in Vegas and all, is Kent any sort of stage magician/entertainer?

No, that’s Sargon’s shtick. I’ve been intentionally coy about revealing Kent Nelson’s profession because it bears so heavily on the nature of his character. You’ll get the answer in the first issue.

Mario Di Giacomo: 1: Is there a specific reason why Fate switches the helmet from half to full (and vice versa)?


2: Given that he’s hanging around Vegas, any chance he’ll run into a showgirl with a pet ostrich?

Nothing is impossible.

3: I love the idea of a new system of magic for Fate. He’s been stuck with the ankh imagery ever since Walt came up with it in First Issue Special, all those years ago, and it’s time to move forward. Any hints for the peanut gallery on what it will be like?

There are some hints in the ZAURIEL story, in one of the more outrageous statements Zauriel makes to Hyathis about the nature of the universe, but I’m not prepared to say more than that just yet.

Is the release of the first issue delayed?

I honestly don’t know.

Will there be room for satire/social commentary?

A certain amount of social commentary flows naturally from the characters themselves, but it’s not the main focus of the book.

Will Kent Nelson the Younger have friends? (These mystic types always seem to be loners, except for a faithful manservant, a true love trapped in another dimension, and/or the disembodied spirit of a predecessor.)

My intent is to build a very strong, very extensive supporting cast for this series. So far, I can state categorically that the book is manservant-, trapped-lover-, and disembodied-predecessor-free.

Will one of the early spells involve getting away with card-counting?

Not exactly, but you’re very, very warm.

Tim: What I’m wondering is how strongly do you think DC will support this book?

DC has gone to the trouble of promoting the book with the five one-shot lead-ins, and I think they would like to do more. We’ll see.

Outside of Vertigo, magical characters haven’t had a lot of success at carrying books lately ,,, the Doctor Fate legacy is somewhat complex — we’ve been through a lot of them, and a new character picking up an established mantle is often a recipe for quick cancellation. Satisfying longtime readers while attracting new ones is a bloody hard act!


Of course, the only thing harder to sell than a new character picking up an established mantle is a new character who *doesn’t* pick up an established mantle. Absent some element of familiarity, most readers would almost certainly shun the book, and most retailers would be more than happy to ignore its existence. That’s just the nature of the industry right now. So I’ll take my chances with the mantle.

More answers to more questions later this weekend, I hope.

20 Responses to “Some Thoughts on Doctor Fate – Part 2”

  1. Doc Martian Says:

    magic/horror. some sort of mystic serial killer and you’ll grab the market. doctor fate vs. saw. popular movies and comic books usually have the same audiences. pander, pander, pander.


    p.s. for cognoscenti, have lobo drop in in #8.

  2. Charles Bryan Says:

    Well, it’s not often that I’m told that I’m very very warm. Thanks, Mr. G.

    According to the DC website, Fate #1 is still slated for April 18th. I guess I thought that the art changes might lead to some delays; here’s hoping that they don’t.

    Thanks for the answers, but make sure you get sensible rest.

  3. Mario Di Giacomo Says:

    Hmm… *digs up copy of Zauriel*

    I can see a line that might relate:

    Its power originates outside this universe, in a realm of older darker gods and god-things.”

    This line (and the earlier comment about being a weapon that could threaten creation) suggests that the magic is based on the knowledge of/from another universe.

    Which makes sense, in a way. Shazam (aka Freddy Freeman) has the wisdom of Solomon, which tells him all about the new magical knowledge of the DCU… but Fate’s magic is from a different continuum entirely. One is the ultimate insider, the other the ultimate outsider.

    Am I even close? 🙂

    Oh, I do have one more question… what does the V stand for?

  4. Steve Gerber Says:

    Doc: Only if the pandering is also fun for me.

    Charles: Since writing the blog post, I’ve spoken to editor Joey Cavalieri. He wasn’t sure, either, but I got the impression he believes that a later release date is very likely. I’m actually in favor of it. Eager as I am to get the book out there, I’d hate to see Justiniano have to rush the work.

    Mario: Yes, you’re close. (For those who didn’t read ZAURIEL, I should probably mention that the line Mario quoted refers to gods and god-things that are older than Heaven and its deity. Brrr.)

  5. Doc Martian Says:

    steve: but of course. but when haven’t crazed serial killer cinema and you not gotten along.

  6. mister_pj Says:

    After reading your post, I was wondering if you aren’t go to try and move into new ground with Doctor?

    Fate with all the Inza/Kent stuff has been firmly rooted in the “Superhero” universe – since the hints are pointing at older gods, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you don’t take a Lovecraftian path with the book.

    However, if you do the question which arises is why DC doesn’t move the book from the DC imprint and over to the Vertigo imprint?

    Certainly setting the book in Vegas lends itself to a more adult theme.

  7. Charles Bryan Says:

    I’d like to see a different release date, too, only because the 18th is the date that all of those World War III books are coming out.

  8. Andrew B Says:

    I admire your direction of the new Doctor Fate Steve… HOWEVER, will you address what happened to Kent and Inza Nelson??

  9. Scott Says:

    Fate always seemed to me like a bridge between mainline DC and Vertigo, after all, Fate has appeared in Vertigo books, but he’s primarily a mainstream character.

    So the order of the specials is Detective Chimp, Ibis, Sargon, Zauriel, Black Alice, right? I haven’t seen the latter, but Lonse Star says it came out February 23rd and also that it’s the finale of the minuseries.

  10. narm00 Says:

    So the order of the specials is Detective Chimp, Ibis, Sargon, Zauriel, Black Alice, right? I haven’t seen the latter, but Lonse Star says it came out February 23rd and also that it’s the finale of the minuseries.

    The release order was Det. Chimp, Ibis, Sargon, Black Alice, Zauriel. Zauriel was the miniseries finale.

  11. Steve Gerber Says:

    I’m pretty sure the sequence is: Detective Chimp, Black Alice, Ibis, Sargon, and Zauriel. The middle three can be read in any order.

  12. Kyle Says:

    Here’s the link for reference, for the most current post:

  13. Fred Chamberlain Says:

    doh…. the June solicits for DC are up and there is no mention of a Dr. Fate issue that month….

  14. Steve Gerber Says:

    Fred: “doh…. the June solicits for DC are up and there is no mention of a Dr. Fate issue that month….”

    Wish I could tell you what that means, but I have no idea. (If we’ve been pushed back to July, though, that’s okay with me. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a summer launch for a new series.)

  15. Fred Chamberlain Says:

    The only red flag that I had about it was wondering what kind of message it sends to retailers who are preordering the book and may be on the fense as far as number of units to buy to begin with. Guess we’ll see.

  16. Mario Di Giacomo Says:

    I have bad news:

    “DC Comics has cancelled orders for DOCTOR FATE #1 (FEB070270), DOCTOR FATE #1 Variant Edition (FEB070271) and DOCTOR FATE #2 (MAR070199). These issues will be resolicited at a later date.”

    I expect it’s because of the new art team… but it bothers me that nobody told Steve.

  17. Steve Gerber Says:

    It’s because of the new art team only in the sense that they were given *very* short notice to begin work.

    If there’s blame to be assigned here, it’s mostly mine. I’ve been slow with the scripts. I’m getting a little quicker with each one, but… not quick enough, yet.

    I wish they’d told me, too, before announcing it, but that’s a very small deal, really. It’s much more important that I get the scripts done, and they know I know that.

    I’m truly sorry to make everyone wait for the book. I can offer this small bit of consolation, however:

    When you do get to read it, I honestly think you’re going to be blown away. This is some of the most compelling stuff I’ve ever written, and coupled with Justiniano’s art, you’re going to find it breathtaking.

    That’s it for now. I have to go write.

  18. Scott Hutchins Says:

    I just found Black Alice yesterday. It’s the only issue with a May cover date (the others are March-April), which kind of explains why Lone Star thinks it is the finale.

  19. Greg Fischer Says:

    Disappointed in the delay but still looking forward to it.

  20. berk Says:

    The delay doesn’t bother me; I’d rather see you get what you want down on paper rather than something you’re only half satisfied with. Besides, it’s better top delay the beginning of the series than to get the readership used to an installment coming out every month only to hit them with a delay in mid-run just when they’re getting into the story. I always used to have a hard time when serial tv shows like Buffy went on their mid-season hiatus, and often never did regain all the enthusiasm and interest I’d built up in before the interruption.

    I am disappointed that Gulacy’s not on the project anymore, but that’s the way those things go. I a big fan of his stuff, but there’s no guarantee his style would have been a good fit for the book (although those covers lead me to suspect it could have been a great combination). Didn’t know anything about Justiniano, and the little I’ve since seen on the internet gives me mixed feelings, so it’s wait and see.