Mild-mannered reporters by day, Greg Phillips and Nick Duke share an intense love of comic books that has made them the Hard-Traveling Fanboys. Some events, however, call for more than just two fanboys to discuss. Banding together with fellow comic book aficionados on these occasions, Greg and Nick will present a GIANT-SIZED edition of their weekly column.
Greg: Ladies and gentlemen, what you’re about to view is living proof that five reasonably well-adjusted adults can still channel their inner 12-year-olds. You see, Nick and I started brainstorming a few months back for potential “Giant-Size” topics. Fantasy football drafts were taking over our lives at the time, which eventually led to a light bulb appearing above Nick’s noggin.
“What if,” he suggested, somewhat nervously, “we applied this same concept to comics?” Nick, I’ll let you take it from here.
Nick: Well, the general concept is this: the five members of P2B’s Comics staff all set up fictional companies in order to hold a 60-round draft. Over those 60 rounds, we drafted writers, artists and characters. Now, there were some limitations: Each company has to be able to produce between 15 and 20 monthly titles, with a character limited to 3 books per month, a writer limited to the same 3 books a month and an artist limited to 2 books per month. There were other ins and outs, but none that I can think of that are worth delving into. Greg?
Greg: That mostly covers the basics. The general thought process wasn’t to draft based on which characters would beat up each other, but rather to draft based on story ideas, intriguing creator-character pairings and general creative output. The rosters will ultimately be judged based on several factors — financial viability, strength of story pitches, personal preference and most innovative approaches. In a few months, each writer will have a chance to unveil the fictional solicitations for each of his company’s books.
Nick: Absolutely. But for now, we’re just going to reveal the draft results and pop in every few rounds to play the proverbial Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of the comics world. So, without any further adieu, here are the first 6 rounds of the P2B comics draft.
1. Tim Capel: Superman
2. Todd Weber: Geoff Johns
3. Greg Phillips: Batman
4. Nick Duke: Spider-Man
5. Russell Sellers: Scott Snyder
6. Russell Sellers: Ivan Reis
7. Nick Duke: Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
8. Greg Phillips: Jim Lee
9. Todd Weber: Brian Michael Bendis
10. Tim Capel: Mark Waid
11. Tim Capel: Daredevil
12. Todd Weber: The Flash (Barry Allen)
13. Greg Phillips: Ed Brubaker
14. Nick Duke: Thor
15. Russell Sellers: John Stewart
16. Russell Sellers: Jason Aaron*
17. Nick Duke: J. Michael Straczynski
18. Greg Phillips: Wolverine
19. Todd Weber: Hulk
20. Tim Capel: Robert Kirkman
21. Tim Capel: Mark Millar
22. Todd Weber: Greg Rucka
23. Greg Phillips: Jeff Lemire*
24. Nick Duke: Esad Ribic
25. Russell Sellers: Nightwing
26. Russell Sellers: Gail Simone
27. Nick Duke: Andrea Sorrentino
28. Greg Phillips: Francis Manapul
29. Todd Weber: Aquaman
30. Tim Capel: Captain America
* Greg traded Jeff Lemire to Russell in exchange for Jason Aaron.
Nick: Ok, those are the first 30 selections in the books. Greg, any surprises that stand out to you so far?
Greg: The biggest shock early on happened right out of the gates, with Batman going third to me. Tim went with the Man of Steel, and then Todd took the guy you, Russell and I were targeting with the first overall pick. It was surprising, because Batman is unquestionably the most popular character in comics these days, in terms of sales and multimedia projects.
Nick: Yeah, Superman went off the board first as the number one pick, followed by Geoff Johns. Like you, I thought Batman was a sure-fire No. 1, so to see him fall all the way to No. 3 was a bit surprising. I also found it interesting how creator-heavy the early rounds were. 17 of the 30 picks were creators, whereas I thought people might go after A-list characters first. I certainly did, going with characters as my first 3 picks.
Greg: I’m of the belief that, with a few exceptions, creators are more valuable in today’s market than characters. For that reason, I wasn’t too stunned by that. Putting a creator like Geoff Johns on Aquaman elevated that book’s sales to previously unseen levels. Similarly, Jim Lee and Scott Snyder elevated Superman Unchained so much that it regularly doubled and even tripled the other Superman books in sales figures. Plus, top-level artists are hard to come by, so I made it a point to target them early … especially with our “two books” rule for them.
Nick: Fair point. Well, let’s move on to rounds 7-12.
31. Tim Capel: Warren Ellis
32. Todd Weber: Doug Mahnke
33. Greg Phillips: Brian Azzarello
34. Nick Duke: Jock
35. Russell Sellers: Nicola Scott
36. Russell Sellers: Nova (Richard Ryder)
37. Nick Duke: Ethan van Sciver
38. Greg Phillips: Wonder Woman
39. Todd Weber: Carol Danvers
40. Tim Capel: Iron Man
41. Tim Capel: Peter David
42. Todd Weber: John Constantine
43. Greg Phillips: Shazam
44. Nick Duke: Peter Tomasi
45. Russell Sellers: Guy Gardner
46. Russell Sellers: Darwyn Cooke
47. Nick Duke: John Romita Jr.
48. Greg Phillips: Green Arrow
49. Todd Weber: Brian K Vaughan
50. Tim Capel: Miles Morales
51. Tim Capel: George Perez
52. Todd Weber: Gary Frank
53. Greg Phillips: James Robinson
54. Nick Duke: Hawkeye
55. Russell Sellers: Greg Capullo
56. Russell Sellers: Storm
57. Nick Duke: Deadpool
58. Greg Phillips: Tony Harris
59. Todd Weber: Barbara Gordon
60. Tim Capel: Matt Fraction
Nick: Ok, Greg, what stands out to you here in these rounds?
I thought Tim being able to get Iron Man and you being able to get Wonder Woman in Round 8 were both great value picks. Iron Man’s popularity has never been higher, and Wonder Woman is arguably the most famous female character in all of comics. Tremendous value still on the board in round 8.
Greg: Creators continued to dominate the field in these rounds, as you sought to build your lineup of artists while others solidified their writing positions. These rounds also saw most of the big-box characters coming off the board and, at least in my case, the need to draft “replacements.” I couldn’t have Superman, so I went after Captain Marvel/SHAZAM.
One of the interesting draft strategies that began to take shape was the drafting of utility players — creators who can double as artists and writers. Russell nabbed the great Darwyn Cooke, Tim got George Perez, and I had nabbed Jeff Lemire earlier. It set a trend that would dictate strategies the rest of the way.
Nick: Yep. You nabbed Green Arrow, so I took Hawkeye to pair with my previous pick of Andrea Sorrentino. Everybody seemed to have a decent plan coming in, even if they did have to alter it at times to fit other characters in. Anyway, onto Rounds 13-18.
61. Tim Capel: David Aja
62. Todd Weber: John Cassaday
63. Greg Phillips: Starlord
64. Nick Duke: Charles Soule
65. Russell Sellers: Jean Grey
66. Russell Sellers: Aaron Kuder
67. Nick Duke: The Punisher
68. Greg Phillips: Grant Morrison
69. Todd Weber: Garth Ennis
70. Tim Capel: Kurt Busiek
71. Tim Capel: Mark Bagley
72. Todd Weber: Doctor Strange
73. Greg Phillips: Starman (Jack Knight)
74. Nick Duke: Jason Todd
75. Russell Sellers: Gwen Stacy
76. Russell Sellers: Dan Slott
77. Nick Duke: Nathan Edmondson
78. Greg Phillips: Stargirl
79. Todd Weber: Nick Fury
80. Tim Capel: Jonathan Hickman
81. Tim Capel: Cyclops
82. Todd Weber: Steve Dillon
83. Greg Phillips: Keith Giffen
84. Nick Duke: J.M. DeMatteis
85. Russell Sellers: Sean Murphy
86. Russell Sellers: The Question (Vic Sage)
87. Nick Duke: Rocket Raccoon
88. Greg Phillips: Sean Phillips
89. Todd Weber: Kevin Maguire
90. Tim Capel: Rick Remender
Greg: No real surprises here — though who would have thought, a year ago, that Rocket Raccoon would be so highly coveted? — except how far some prominent names fell. Grant Morrison and Dan Slott, in particular, slipped further than I expected they would.
Nick: Also, here’s where cases of draft-induced rage started to set in, as both of us had targets that started to fly off the board. For example, you nabbed Keith Giffen, so I made sure to snap up JM DeMatteis before you got a chance to unite the dynamic duo.
Greg: I believe we termed it “hate-drafting.”
Todd nabbing Kevin Maguire just added to the rage for all sides.
Nick: Indeed. And it would only grow worse as the draft continued. Back to the picks. Here’s 19-24.
91. Tim Capel: Salvador LaRocca
92. Todd Weber: Jessica Jones
93. Greg Phillips: Simon Baz
94. Nick Duke: Kelly Sue DeConnick
95. Russell Sellers: Booster Gold
96. Russell Sellers: Blue Beetle
97. Nick Duke: Luke Cage
98. Greg Phillips: Rogue
99. Todd Weber: Iron Fist
100. Tim Capel: Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)
101. Tim Capel: G. Willow Wilson
102. Todd Weber: Kitty Pryde
103. Greg Phillips: Starfire
104. Nick Duke: Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris)
105. Russell Sellers: Bucky Barnes
106. Russell Sellers: Tony Daniel
107. Nick Duke: G’Nort
108. Greg Phillips: Larfleeze
109. Todd Weber: Jeff Parker
110. Tim Capel: Dan Abnett
111. Tim Capel: Andy Lanning
112. Todd Weber: Cliff Chiang
113. Greg Phillips: Frank Quitely
114. Nick Duke: Black Canary
115. Russell Sellers: Ryan Ottley
116. Russell Sellers: Invincible
117. Nick Duke: Elektra
118. Greg Phillips: Chris Samnee
119. Todd Weber: Power Girl
120. Tim Capel: Beast
Nick: This was one of the cases where the snake draft format came in handy for Tim. He was able to use back-to-back picks to take Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, thus uniting the team of DnA.
Greg: Indeed, for the first time, we started to see familiar pairings partnered together. Russell grabbed both Booster Gold (much to my chagrin) and the Ted Kord iteration of Blue Beetle. Tim was also able to grab both Ms. Marvel and the writer who introduced the world to the Kamala Khan iteration of the character, G. Willow Wilson.
Greg: At this point, some of us were no doubt thrown off our games and working to find alternatives for foiled strategies. I was certainly in that position, but I was able to adjust eventually.
Nick: And more hate drafting. When Todd took Jessica Jones, a personal favorite of mine, I responded by spitefully taking her love interest, Luke Cage.
Greg: Likewise, Todd thwarted Tim’s raid on X-Men favorites by nabbing the beloved Kitty Pryde, while I drafted Rogue. Hey, Tim made his bed!
Nick: Ok, let’s see 25-30.
121. Tim Capel: Emma Frost
122. Todd Weber: Huntress
123. Greg Phillips: Iceman
124. Nick Duke: Batwoman
125. Russell Sellers: Sandman
126. Russell Sellers: JH Williams III
127. Nick Duke: Black Panther
128. Greg Phillips: Cyborg
129. Todd Weber: Mike Allred
130. Tim Capel: Hank Pym
131. Tim Capel: Wasp
132. Todd Weber: Professor X
133. Greg Phillips: Mike Deodato
134. Nick Duke: The Spectre (Jim Corrigan)
135. Russell Sellers: Steve Niles
136. Russell Sellers: Zatanna
137. Nick Duke: Swamp Thing
138. Greg Phillips: Francisco Francavilla
139. Todd Weber: Sam Wilson
140. Tim Capel: Quicksilver
141. Tim Capel: Scarlet Witch
142. Todd Weber: Olivier Copiel
143. Greg Phillips: Jonah Hex
144. Nick Duke: Bryan Hitch
145. Russell Sellers: Javier Rodriguez
146. Russell Sellers: Doctor Fate
147. Nick Duke: Sara Pichelli
148. Greg Phillips: Lobo
149. Todd Weber: Walt Simonson
150. Tim Capel: Carlos Pacheco
Nick: Bit of a run on supernatural characters here, as Sandman, Swamp Thing, Spectre, Zatanna and Doctor Fate all went off the board, as did Steve Niles, who seems like a great fit to write such characters.
Greg: Your pick of The Spectre particularly angered me, as I had visions of pairing him with artist Francesco Francavilla.
Russell also pulled off what I consider to be the coup of the draft, taking the amazing J.H. Williams III in round 26. We were all pretty flabbergasted that Williams slipped so far. I’d forgotten all about him, and when I saw him pop up, I cursed myself.
Nick: Russell and Tim both utilized their back-to-back picks well, with Russell snagging the aforementioned Sandman and Williams, while Tim picked up the children of Magneto — Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Greg: As well as one of Marvel’s preeminent couples, Hank and Janet Pym.
Nick: Onto 31-36.
151. Tim Capel: Alan Davis
152. Todd Weber: Mr. Terrific
153. Greg Phillips: Jimmy Palmiotti
154. Nick Duke: Steve McNiven
155. Russell Sellers: Kieron Gillen
156. Russell Sellers: Blade
157. Nick Duke: Stuart Immonen
158. Greg Phillips: Renee Montoya
159. Todd Weber: Howard Chaykin
160. Tim Capel: Silver Surfer
161. Tim Capel: Adam Warlock
162. Todd Weber: Hawkman
163. Greg Phillips: Nightcrawler
164. Nick Duke: Jim Gordon
165. Russell Sellers: Jae Lee
166. Russell Sellers: Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze)
167. Nick Duke: Harvey Bullock
168. Greg Phillips: Harley Quinn
169. Todd Weber: Chuck Dixon
170. Tim Capel: The Vision
171. Tim Capel: Psylocke
172. Todd Weber: Colossus
173. Greg Phillips: Magneto
174. Nick Duke: Sinestro
175. Russell Sellers: Mike Mignola
176. Russell Sellers: Hellboy
177. Nick Duke: Martian Manhunter
178. Greg Phillips: Namor
179. Todd Weber: Steve Epting
180. Tim Capel: Thor (female)
Nick: Here’s where perhaps the most blatant case of hate-drafting occurred. I picked Jim Gordon, something I planned on doing coming into the draft, as I think there’s something intriguing about a police procedural book focusing on Gordon. This kept you from using him with Batman in your universe, but you mistakenly informed us all that you would just use Harvey Bullock as police commissioner instead. So, I then drafted Harvey Bullock. A dick move, I’ll admit.
Greg: One for which I still haven’t forgiven you. I hope your Gordon/Bullock comic ends up as creatively bankrupt as the TV show “Gotham”!
In all seriousness (well, as seriously as you can take this subject), it was a clever move. It should be mentioned that another of our rules was that if you draft a character, it’s assumed you inherit his or her rogues gallery and supporting players UNLESS one of them is drafted by another participant. In that case, you can draft any character you like, but that character must be a featured star in one of your monthly books, either on its own or as part of a team.
However, in the face of that adversity, I feel this was my strongest stretch of picks, primarily because each of these picks was an individual or character I’d targeted before the draft began. I got Jimmy Palmiotti just a few picks after nabbing Jonah Hex, then was able to pair him with another of the writer’s favorite characters, the ridiculously popular Harley Quinn. I’d been targeting Renee Montoya for weeks, as I feel she’s currently one of comics’ most underused characters. I was able to hate-draft Nightcrawler, keeping him from both Russell and Tim (and shoring up my cast of mutants), and I became the first of us to draft a villain when I got the Master of Magnetism to begin a group I’d planned well in advance.
Nick: We also saw one of the newer creations in comics go off the board, as the much-publicized female Thor went to Tim in Round 36. With that, let’s take a look at 37-42.
181. Tim Capel: Jamie Madrox
182. Todd Weber: Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond)
183. Greg Phillips: Black Adam
184. Nick Duke: Red Robin
185. Russell Sellers: Brad Walker
186. Russell Sellers: Wally West
187. Nick Duke: Aqualad (Kaldur’ahm)
188. Greg Phillips: Ralph Dibny
189. Todd Weber: Mera
190. Tim Capel: Gambit
191. Tim Capel: Monica Rambeau
192. Todd Weber: Plastic Man
193. Greg Phillips: Bishop
194. Nick Duke: Supergirl
195. Russell Sellers: Greg Pak
196. Russell Sellers: Black Widow
197. Nick Duke: Kate Bishop
198. Greg Phillips: Jeff Smith
199. Todd Weber: Kyle Baker
200. Tim Capel: Wonder Man
201. Tim Capel: She-Hulk
202. Todd Weber: Shang Chi
203. Greg Phillips: Fiona Staples
204. Nick Duke: Speedball
205. Russell Sellers: Mikel Janin
206. Russell Sellers: Ben Reilly
207. Nick Duke: Kyle Rayner
208. Greg Phillips: Dave Gibbons
209. Todd Weber: Arthur Adams
210. Tim Capel: Joss Whedon
Nick: Here’s where various teams we all had in mind started to take shape. I went almost exclusively with teenage characters here in order to build my own version of Young Justice. I was particularly proud of picking Kaldur’ahm, a vastly underutilized character.
Greg: I kept building my villains and mutant teams, and one other thing became readily apparent — Tim was building a roster filled to the brim with Marvel characters. In fact, outside Superman with his first pick, all his characters were Marvel-based, a fact that will no doubt please our colleague Ben Morse.
Nick: Tim also picked up what was perhaps the steal of the draft, getting geek lord Joss Whedon all the way down in the 42nd round. It was a pick that none of us had even considered.
Greg: We consulted PTBN Comics Draft official Mills Lane.
Todd also made a wise pick, drafting Mera, who I had targeted before the draft. Coupled with his earlier Aquaman pick, it was especially strong.
Nick: Moving on to rounds 43-48.
211. Tim Capel: Marjorie Liu
212. Todd Weber: Brian Wood
213. Greg Phillips: Michael Lark
214. Nick Duke: Brad Meltzer
215. Russell Sellers: Jason Latour
216. Russell Sellers: Roy Harper
217. Nick Duke: Saint Walker
218. Greg Phillips: Atrocitus
219. Todd Weber: Deathstroke
220. Tim Capel: Havok
221. Tim Capel: Polaris
222. Todd Weber: Paul Dini
223. Greg Phillips: Animal Man
224. Nick Duke: Ray Fawkes
225. Russell Sellers: Captain Atom
226. Russell Sellers: Ben Templesmith
227. Nick Duke: Billy Tan
228. Greg Phillips: Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
229. Todd Weber: Rags Morales
230. Tim Capel: Magik
231. Tim Capel: Hercules
232. Todd Weber: Katana
233. Greg Phillips: Bart Allen
234. Nick Duke: Emiko Queen
235. Russell Sellers: Van Jensen
236. Russell Sellers: Caitlin Fairchild
237. Nick Duke: Damian Wayne
238. Greg Phillips: Adam Kubert
239. Todd Weber: The Atom (Ray Palmer)
240. Tim Capel: Rictor
Greg: Tim managed to acquire yet ANOTHER Marvel supercouple in Havok and Polaris.
Nick: And I grabbed a supercouple in the making — the snotty teenage pairing of Emiko Queen and Damian Wayne.
Greg: Along the lines of the Joss Whedon and J.H. Williams picks earlier in the draft, Todd pulled a fast one by getting legendary Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini. I’m a little surprised you didn’t look for a trade to acquire him.
Nick: I considered it, but without Batman to pair him with, I didn’t feel it was worth giving up some of my other assets.
In any event, let’s take a look at 49-54.
241. Tim Capel: Shatterstar
242. Todd Weber: Raven
243. Greg Phillips: Human Torch
244. Nick Duke: Mockingbird
245. Russell Sellers: Archangel
246. Russell Sellers: Amanda Conner
247. Nick Duke: Morbius
248. Greg Phillips: Doctor Doom
249. Todd Weber: The Phantom Stranger
250. Tim Capel: Cable
251. Tim Capel: Black Knight
252. Todd Weber: Northstar
253. Greg Phillips: Hawkgirl
254. Nick Duke: Prisoner of War
255. Russell Sellers: Andy Diggle
256. Russell Sellers: Nick Fury, Jr.
257. Nick Duke: Angela
258. Greg Phillips: Catwoman
259. Todd Weber: Alan Scott
260. Tim Capel: The Thing
261. Tim Capel: Nick Spencer
262. Todd Weber: Jay Garrick
263. Greg Phillips: Superboy
264. Nick Duke: Cassandra Cain
265. Russell Sellers: Val-Zod
266. Russell Sellers: Wildcat*
267. Nick Duke: Zilius Zox
268. Greg Phillips: Cullen Bunn
269. Todd Weber: Thomas Wayne (Batman of Earth-2)*
270. Tim Capel: John Layman
* Russell traded Wildcat to Todd in exchange for Thomas Wayne (Batman of Earth-2)
Greg: In the previous set of picks, I hate-drafted Atrocitus, knowing your love of him and your plan to draft a Lantern of every color. You recovered nicely, though, by drafting the testicle with teeth known as Zilius Zox.
Nick: There were also some fairly notable characters still around for the taking — Thing, Human Torch, Cable and Superboy were all taken in this series of rounds. You also picked up Doctor Doom, which was a bit surprising to me.
Greg: One of my teams, from the get-go, was going to be filled with antiheroes and villains. For that reason, I felt it necessary to take Doom before anyone caught onto my strategy and hate-drafted him.
Todd’s pick of Jay Garrick meant that all four men who have taken on the mantle of The Flash were drafted.
Nick: Todd seemed to be building a Justice Society, which was thwarted a bit by Russell’s pick of Wildcat. Todd responded by grabbing Thomas Wayne of Earth 2, preventing Russell from completing the Batman/Superman pairing of Earth-2. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and the two traded their respective selections.
Greg: Let’s take a look at the last six rounds.
271. Tim Capel: Jim Cheung
272. Todd Weber: Beast Boy
273. Greg Phillips: Justin Gray
274. Nick Duke: Indigo-1
275. Russell Sellers: Jason Fabok
276. Russell Sellers: Donna Troy
277. Nick Duke: Glomulus
278. Greg Phillips: Dustin Nguyen
279. Todd Weber: Phil Jimenez
280. Tim Capel: David Finch
281. Tim Capel: Ryan Stegman
282. Todd Weber: Samaritan
283. Greg Phillips: Domino
284. Nick Duke: Steel
285. Russell Sellers: Robert Venditti
286. Russell Sellers: Miss Martian
287. Nick Duke: Batwing (Luke Fox)
288. Greg Phillips: Stephanie Brown
289. Todd Weber: Dr. Mid-Nite
290. Tim Capel: Wiccan
291. Tim Capel: Hulkling
292. Todd Weber: The Confessor
293. Greg Phillips: Christopher Yost
294. Nick Duke: Detective Chimp
295. Russell Sellers: Phil Coulson
296. Russell Sellers: Maria Hill
297. Nick Duke: Cosmo
298. Greg Phillips: Gamora
299. Todd Weber: Winged Victory
300. Tim Capel: Moon Knight
Nick: I basically was out to round out my planned teams, taking a bevy of cosmic characters, minorities and talking animals.
Tim, meanwhile, was able to unite one of the true rarities in comics — a homosexual couple, Hulkling and Wiccan.
Greg: A recent obsession with the cartoon “Wolverine and the X-Men” led me to take Domino, which may have been a stretch. But hey, she’s pretty cool! Russell got two underutilized but awesome characters in the iconic Donna Troy and the tangentially PTBN-related character Miss Martian (ask Ben sometime).
Todd shook things up by taking two characters from Kurt Busiek’s Astro City to end his part of the draft.
Nick: Moon Knight was also a pretty great choice as this draft’s Mr. Irrelevant, as I feel like that’s actually a character capable of carrying his own twisted solo series.
All in all, this was a very fun exercise to participate in. But, the fun isn’t over! In our next Giant Sized HTF, each member of the staff will be presenting his list of titles for your perusal.
Greg: Look for that in January. That gives all of us plenty of time to write solicits for our fictional books and come up with pitches that will hopefully entertain and intrigue you.
We hope you folks found this thought-provoking. We had a blast doing it, and while it may seem dumb, it was all about having some fun. We encourage you to try this with your own friends and colleagues, as it’s a heck of a fun way to pass the time.
Nick: As always, we welcome your feedback on Facebook, Twitter (@gphillips8652 and @nickduke87) or through email (GregP@placetobenation.com and NickD@placetobenation.com). For the full spreadsheet of all 60 rounds of the comics draft, click here.