Ah well. At least work was productive! I managed to keep myself busy and I felt like I fixed a lot of stuff. Didn't quite manage to get everything, but I got enough done where I can say shamelessly that I earned my pay, and I can't really ask for much better than that.
Of course, on my break, I DID happen to think up an idea. I would never, ever, ever, EVER be able to pull this off. But basically, I thought of what I'd do if I were to be given free reign over superheroes as I know them to be. As in, not my OWN superheroes. Those I've got plenty of. I meant EXISTING, established superheroes. Spider Man, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, the like.
The idea I came up with was a comic I'd call "Shared Universe". Now I imagine that there would still be the risk of legal issues for things which aren't public domain (nobody can really stop me from having a character named Thor even if said Thor looks identical in every aspect to Marvel's version, but I imagine there'd be more issues if I used Spider Man verbatim), so I'd tweak them as necessary to make them be 98% the same but with just enough key details changed to not get a lawsuit.
But basically...the idea would be me making exactly what it sounds like--a shared universe, where I would run my own takes on characters, settings, ideas, and whatnot. Similar concepts would be combined/merged/tied together even if originally unrelated. I would simplify a lot such that many of the currently-unrelated things can be reduced down to having a much smaller explanation pool for the sake of simplicity.
However, I would still make things as incredibly diverse, interesting, unique, and consistent as possible.
There's four settings I would for sure be using: Marvel, DC, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Hellboy. I also had the idea of throwing in both Frankenstein and his monster. (Another idea of mine was to take some cues from a certain film and have Van Hellsing be a werewolf. I even thought up a way to have him have four different appearances: as an old man, he'd have his heightened senses but human strength; as a young man, he'd have heightened strength but human senses; he'd have a hybrid form and a full-wolf form.)
I'd have concepts such as the League of Extremely Gifted (dating back to the 1800s with roots in TLOEG with some Hellboy and Frankenstein later, but in more modern days being the equivalent of The Justice League)--LEG for short--PALM (haven't quite worked out the acronym there but I was thinking something along the lines of 'Protects of All Local Mankind', loosely equivalent to Defenders), and FIST (again, not with the established acronym but something along the lines of 'First Invasion Strike Team', akin to the Avengers).
LEG was formed originally to deal with supernatural threats, and still covers that area. They use the appropriate level of force to contain threats and protect the world. The members of LEG largely work individually across the world, but unite whenever they encounter a threat that they know they are incapable of dealing with on their own. All of them have one central location, but all of them are also incredibly mobile in that they travel a great deal and only return to their central location when it is necessary for their own reasons. (E.g. recharging at a secret base.)
The members of PALM work in city branches: every single branch has a team operating in a single location. Said team, similarly to LEG, works mostly as individuals, the difference being they coordinate with one another to essentially create patrols which can cover the whole city. They also operate on a lower level. Whereas LEG still primarily deals with supernatural threats (albeit now also dealing quite a bit with super-powered individuals), PALM mostly deals with every day criminals, and putting down crime syndicates and the like. PALM has a no lethal force rule; it is forbidden.
And FIST would be PALM's opposite. FIST is essentially a first responder force, mobile and operating on the move. They exclusively work as a team, not as individuals...however, membership REQUIRES that the person in question be able to operate as an individual (as you never know when you will be separated from the team). They respond to any extreme threat which the locals cannot deal with.
They are basically the equivalent of a police/army of superheroes, in that they are an organized strike force of sort. If an alien invasion were to happen, FIST would be the ones to take them on. They also deal with supernatural threats that exceed the scale LEG is capable of on their own, they largely are responsible for keeping supervillains from conquering the world, and will also respond to any large-scale crises. (For instance, while PALM might save people in their city during a hurricane, FIST would be the kind of people to stop a hurricane from devastating a city.)
I would not use any one singular source material for the characters in question. I would use as many as I could find, to get the best variety possible, and then I'd research them, give my own take on them, and make something blending the best of all worlds. Given the freedom of comic books not needing to be self-contained stories and that I'd be operating on a 150ish-year timeline, this would allow me to explore nuances of every character from their material.
I'd do my best to keep villains as villains and heroes as heroes, but I wouldn't be afraid to blur the lines a little. To give spins on villains. I'd allow myself to have a higher sense of realism (thus why I'd try to cut down on the number of supernatural sources)...but I wouldn't let this increased sense of realism kill the whimsy, the fun, the aesthetic of classical superheroes and supervillains.
Good people could and would remain unambiguously good, no justification no explanation needed; good for the sake of good. There would still be evil people evil for the sake of evil, no elaborate backstory necessary. It's just that I'd use these to emphasize and accentuate virtues and sins, in a sense, in that I'd be using them to show the strengths of both sides. A villain who is a villain for no reason, no explanation, no justification...properly utilized is the scariest thing of all.
A hero who is a hero for the sake of being good can give a much-needed sense of hope, even if they know that doing so is difficult. (A staple of some of the best supes being that doing what they do isn't easy...and it's not being easy which makes what they do be super. Superman isn't super because of what he does, so much as what he doesn't do, as it were. The choices he makes and whatnot.)
...It's an idea I would absolutely love to make of course.
But it'd never happen.
I could avoid the lawsuits or whatever easily enough. Just creatively change a little here, tweak a little bit there. Heck, the whole point of the project would be me doing my own take on these characters in the FIRST place so I'd already have changed them from their base point.
What I can't do.
Is give the research properly to pull it off.
In order to do this to the levels I envisioned, I'd need NO LESS THAN encyclopedic knowledge of AT LEAST:
-The current DCEU
-Other prominent DCs (e.g. animations not part of the DCAU, shows/films like various Batmans)
-The DCU proper
-The MCU (this one's easy enough, just need to finish watching Agent Carter and watch the Netflix series for shows)
-Other Marvel films not part of the current MCU (various Fantastic 4, X Men, prior versions of Spider Man, etc.)
-The 616 Marvel Universe (that is, the main comics verse, which I'm going from memory as being 616)
-The Ultimate Marvel Universe
-Prominent alternate universes of both DC/Marvel which aren't canon yet have widely influenced works of famous superheroes/supervillains
-The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
-Plus any other works which I'd want to incorporate into the setting. (For instance, I have in my head the idea of Dr. Frankenstein being AROUND a second-generation member of LEG, and his creation being a continued member to modern days, but I haven't actually done much reading/watching of the classics featuring him and mostly know of things from popular culture.)
...That, not even covering how this would be literally thousands of heroes/villains (probably tens of thousands), in at least ten times that many stories (so we're looking at hundreds of thousands if not millions of stories). I can cut out stories. I can merge stories. Those two would reduce things significantly. I can even cut out/merge characters. Ideally I don't make new characters...but what I'd want to do would be FROM ALL OF THAT. Making new stories, too. Not just retelling, but creating.
Most of the initial creations for stories would in fact be retellings, just mixed, mashed, and so on and so forth. Blending things together, such that what seems like something original is just two things which were unrelated being merged together into a singular thing. Yet that's what I'd want as a BASELINE. To start MAKING things.
And this would be made with comics, mind you. A webcomic or plural, webcomics. But still. Each story's not a single page yaknow. Each story is like...10-50 pages. Of art which I'd want to be top-notch, too. I couldn't pull the art off. Even if I could, I couldn't pull it off on the scale necessary. And there's no 'even if' to that. A team of like...20 devoted people might be able to manage it.
...But even if I had that. Then I'd still need to be able to have the encyclopedic knowledge of all the sources I mentioned above--I have good retention of quite a fair number of them, I know FAR more about them than your average person, but I am no comic book nerd of any sort. I'm second-rate-at-BEST.
...And even IF it were possible for me to have memorized enough to get it done "right" as it were...there would be the matter of actually managing to WRITE all of this. To actually get it done right. To handle thousands of characters in thousands of stories and manage to tell their stories with a coherent, consistent timeline which would be similar to what we all know, and yet still have spins on them.
It's just not a viable project on any level.
A girl can dream, right?