Comics' Most Notorious No-Shows, Part 1

Thu, December 22nd, 2011 at 10:00am PST | Updated: December 27th, 2011 at 9:36am

Comic Books
Chris Arrant, Contributing Writer
29

DC Comics' solicited-then-canceled "Batman: Europa" is just one of the many titles fans have gotten excited for only to never see the comics published

It seems like every weekday, a new comic book is announced by Marvel or DC Comics or the plethora of other publishers in the business today. But in the rush to announce new projects, it's inevitable that some end up cancelled before they even debut. Recent examples, such as the abrupt, last-minute cancellation of Marvel's "Victor Von Doom" series, highlight how things can change between the conception and announcement of a comic and when it comes time to publish the comic. To that end, CBR has created a list of the 30 intriguing titles that never made it past that initial announcement.

Many of the projects listed were prematurely announced, before the creators, and in some cases the publisher, had anything beyond the initial idea. Some were cancelled in favor of other works by the creators, while others simply remain on the back burner waiting for the right time to be scheduled. More than one series has complete issues, gathering dust in an editor's desk, while others exist only as short pitch documents that were never developed beyond the initial few paragraphs.

Today we look at our first 15 titles, which range from heavily-anticipated, high profile announcements unlikely to ever see the light of day, like Bryan Singer's "Ultimate X-Men" storyline and Chuck Dixon and Greg Land's Crossgen title "American Power" to series that are still likely to see print at some point in the future, like Grant Morrison's ambitious DC Comics project, "Multiversity."

Story continues below

Fans of Hughes and Wonder Woman will have to be happy with the artist's run of covers for the Amazon's DCU series

"All Star Wonder Woman" (DC Comics)
Writer/Artist: Adam Hughes
Announced: July 2006
Status: Presumed Dead

DC's All Star line was planned to be a top shelf imprint comprised of A-List talent taking on DC's biggest heroes. After Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely were announced on "All Star Superman" and Frank Miller and Jim Lee on "All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder," DC announced at 2006's Comic-Con International that Adam Hughes was writing and drawing an "All Star" take on Wonder Woman. In 2008, Hughes stated on his website that he was halting his cover work in order to devote his full attention to the series, but in an interview promoting his art book in 2010, he stated that the book was "on hold."

Neither Hughes nor DC responded to CBR's inquiry about the series.

UPDATE 12/27: Adam Hughes has responded via his Twitter account, saying, "While not entirely dead, the project is in a coma on a high, dark shelf."

"All-Star Batgirl" (DC Comics)
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: J.G. Jones
Announced: September 2006
Status: Presumed Dead

Like its would-be sister title "All Star Wonder Woman," "All-Star Batgirl" was announced at the height of the line's success before quickly falling by the wayside. At the time, Johns promised in interviews that the title would come out in the fall of 2007, and would tell the story of how and why Barbara Gordon became Batgirl. Several months later, DC announced Jones would be drawing Grant Morrison's "Final Crisis," with the "All Star" project on hold indefinitely.

DC did not respond to CBR's inquiry about the series.

Brubaker tells CBR that "Black Sails" was shelved in favor of "Criminal"

"Black Sails" (IDW)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Announced: September 2004
Status: Dead

In the wake of their breakthrough collaboration on the DC/Wildstorm series "Sleeper," Brubaker and Phillips were poised to write their own ticket. The creative team's next project was to be a blood-sucking, swashbuckling series for IDW called "Black Sails." Planned for a spring 2005 release, the project ultimately fell by the wayside as Brubaker and Phillips joined Marvel and later reunited for "Criminal," released through Marvel's Icon imprint.

When about the disappearance of "Black Sails," Brubaker told CBR the project was shelved in favor of launching "Criminal" at Marvel's Icon imprint.

"Dark Tower: Sheemie's Tale" (Marvel)

Writers: Stephen King, Robin Furth, Peter David
Artist: Richard Isanove
Announced: Summer 2010
Status: Missing In Action

Originally announced as a one-shot taking place between Marvel's "Dark Tower" comic adaptations, "Sheemie's Tale" was to feature long-time colorist Richard Isanove in a rare appearance, fully illustrating the standalone comic. With a publication date of November 2010, the book missed its shipping date and is still held up due to unspecified problems. The one-shot was also planned to be included in the deluxe "Dark Tower Omnibus" released earlier this year, but was retroactively pulled from the collection as well. When asked about the one-shot, Marvel told CBR News that there are still plans to release the story, though a release date hasn't been determined.

Loeb and Campbell's Spider-Man project is still being worked on

Untitled Spider-Man series by Jeph Loeb & J. Scott Campbell (Marvel)
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: J. Scott Campbell
Announced: March 2006
Status: Active

Originally announced at WizardWorld: Los Angeles in 2006, the long-gestating Spider-Man project was to be the first salvo in Campbell's then-new exclusive contract with Marvel. Initially scheduled for publication in 2008, the title was later cancelled according to the artist in an interview at 2007's WizardWorld: Chicago. In 2010, the project was "uncancelled" according to Campbell, and earlier this year, Marvel SVP of Publishing Tom Brevoort shared a panel from the second issue in CBR's Talk To The Hat feature.

When asked about the current status of the book, Marvel confirmed that it is still planned, but won't be solicited until a majority of the run is completed.

"Multiversity" (DC Comics)
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely, Cameron Stewart, Other Unannounced Artists
Announced: April 2009
Status: Unknown

After finishing "Final Crisis," Grant Morrison openly discussed his next major event series, a project titled "Multiversity." Described as a tour of the Multiverse, the eight-issue series is set to cover six worlds with bookend issues tying together six individual one-issue stories. When CBR spoke with Morrison in 2009, he expected the series to come out in 2010, but as we reach the final days of 2011 DC have remained mum about the project.

DC Comics did not respond to inquiries about the project, though Frank Quitely recently shared art and a description of his chapter with a college class in Scotland.

The Azzarello-scripted "Batman: Europa" remains in limbo

"Batman: Europa" (DC Comics)
Writer: Brian Azzarello & Matteo Casali
Artists: Jim Lee, Jock, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Diego LaTorre
Announced: October 2004
Status: Missing In Action

First announced in 2004, and then re-announced just before New York Comic Con in 2010, when "Batman: Europa" was solicited for pre-orders, it garnered the plum spot of the cover of Diamond's "Previews" magazine. So far, that's all that's been published. Inspired by a year Jim Lee spent in Italy, "Batman: Europa" was planned as a four-issue painted series with artists working in concert on a story written by Brian Azzarello and Matteo Casali. It was solicited to debut in January 2011, with DC later pushing it back to February and then March before being quietly taken off the schedule entirely. Azzarello told CBR in October 2010 that the scripts were finished, but there's been no definitive word on the status of the artwork.

DC did not respond to CBR's inquiry about the series.

"Samaritan X" (DC Comics)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Unannounced
Announced: March 2010
Status: On The Back Burner

When JMS left Marvel to work with DC Comics in 2009, he started in on a number of projects including "Brave & The Bold," "Superman," "Wonder Woman" and "Superman: Earth One." Buried amongst those announcements was "Samaritan X," a standalone graphic novel centering on Gotham City's primary hospital. Originally planned as a television series, JMS adjusted the concept to work in the DCU. In an exclusive interview with CBR, Straczynski described the book as "a human drama set against the backdrop of super-human characters from the DC Universe." Although outside commitments drew him away from finishing his runs on "Superman" and "Wonder Woman," the writer still has plans to return to "Samaritan X."

"Yep, still happening," the writer told CBR earlier this week. "But there's not much to say. I've been putting all of my efforts into getting the next volume of 'Superman: Earth One' out the door, and it's now pretty much done, drawn and inked and we're starting the color, making a few small additions here and there to flesh out some things. We set the bar really freaking high on this next volume, so it's been a slow, meticulous process of getting everything right. Now that it's done, I have one other project to finish for DC, then I can turn my full attention to 'Samaritan X.'"

DC Comics did not respond to inquiries about the project.

Rucka assures fans that he still hopes to complete "Everest"

"Everest: Facing The Goddess" (Oni Press)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Scott Morse
Announced: February 2004
Status: Signs of Life

Originally announced in 2004, "Everest: Facing The Goddess" was to be a collaboration between artist Scott Morse and writer Greg Rucka. Set-up at Oni, the twelve-issue series would document an expedition up Mount Everest by a unique trio of climbers. In 2004, Oni released a preview of the book in its Free Comic Book Day issue, though it hasn't been discussed by the publisher since. However, when CBR reached out to Rucka to inquire about the current status of the series, the writer revealed that the project is still climbing towards completion.

"Scott Morse and I had a talk about trying to actually do the damn thing when we saw each other at Tr!ckster in San Diego. It's still alive in my mind; I was actually jotting notes down for it this past week, in fact," Rucka responded. "So, not dead, not really on life-support (at least for my part; I won't speak for Scott!), but more -- wandering lost in the woods?"

"Hotel Futura" (Image)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fabio Moon, Kevin McCarthy
Announced: 2005
Status: Presumed Dead

In 2005, then-future Marvel Architect Matt Fraction was a fresh-faced newcomer to the comics scene. At this point in his career, Fraction had written a pair of critically acclaimed graphic novels published through AiT-PlanetLar and had just headed to Image to continue his independent streak with "Casanova." But "Casanova" was but one of several projects Fraction had planned with Image, with other titles ranging from double-sized series called "Thug" with Kieron Dwyer and "Hotel Futura" with Fabio Moon. Fraction spoke about the series on several occasions in 2005 and 2006 (including this podcast interview at Fanboy Radio), but the project ultimately was never published.

CBR reached out to Matt Fraction, but did not receive a response.

UPDATE: In an earlier draft of this article, CBR said the reason the book was never published was due to an ever increasing work load at Marvel Comics for Fraction. Fraction contacted CBR Thursday afternoon to point out this was incorrect.

Millar has repurposed many of his ideas for "Run" into other Millarworld projects

"Run" (Image)
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Ashley Wood
Announced: 2004
Status: Dead

In 2004, Mark Millar exploded beyond his work-for-hire roots with an ambitious plans for a line of creator-owned comics spread between different publishers. "Wanted," "Chosen," "The Unfunnies" and "Run" were to be the four launch titles of what the writer dubbed "Millarworld," and of the four, "Run" remains unpublished. Originally set up at Image with artist Ashley Wood, "Run" was to be the first of four one-shots putting what the solicitation text called "a contemporary slant on classic super-hero concepts." Ultimately, Millar and Wood backed out of the book because of the lack of upfront payment that comes when working with Image, with Millar saying that most of the ideas for "Run" were recycled into other projects.

CBR reached out to Millar for further comment, but received no response.

Bryan Singer's "Ultimate X-Men" Arc (Marvel/Ultimate)
Writer: Bryan Singer, Dan Harris & Michael Dougherty
Artist: Unannounced
Announced: February 2004
Status: Dead

Announced with mainstream press in 2004 after the release of "X2: X-Men United," Bryan Singer's project quickly fell by the wayside after he jumped ship to direct "Superman Returns." Although Singer returned to the X-Men as a producer and screenwriter for "X-Men: First Class" in 2010, Marvel says there are currently no plans for Singer to complete these comics.

Ellis and Doran assure fans that "Stealth Tribes" will eventually see publication

"Stealth Tribes" (DC/Vertigo)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Colleen Doran
Announced: February 2004
Status: Missing In Action

Announced in 2004 as a follow-up to Warren Ellis & Coleen Doran's 2003 graphic novel "Orbiter," Ellis originally planned for the book to come out in late 2004. The book experienced a series of delays on Ellis' part, culminating in 2008 with a hard drive failure Ellis said deleted a large portion of the script. Since then, both Ellis and Doran have assured fans that the project isn't dead, but neither they nor DC have given a solid timetable for release.

Untitled Comics Line Co-Producted by Top Cow & Dynamite
Announced: February 2007
Status: Missing In Action

In 2007, Dynamite was ramping up its production of original projects, and after successfully signing Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's "The Boys," the publisher reached out to Marc Silvestri and Top Cow. Announced in the February 2007 issue of "Wizard," the plan was for the two publishers to form a separate, third comic company with a stand-alone super-hero universe and four launch titles: "Sterling North," "Ronin Detective," "Cherish" and "The Devilers." Silvestri reportedly developed the concepts and character designs for each title, with plans for four writers to flesh out the concepts as ongoing series. At the time, Dynamite Publisher Nick Barrucci said they were tentatively planning to launch the new universe in August 2007, but nothing has been seen or heard about the project since.

When reached for comment, Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik explained that Dynamite controls the rights to the line. Dynamite Entertainment did not respond to inquiries.

Marvel has announced no plans for Chuck Dixon's "American Power"

"American Power" (Crossgen)
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist; Greg Land
Announced: March 2004
Status: Dead

Announced in early 2004 as Crossgen's next major series, "American Power" was hyped as a modern equivalent to Captain America -- complete with the new hero punching America' number one enemy of the time, Osama bin Laden. Years before Navy S.E.A.L.S. would take down the al-Qaeda leader, then-Crossgen exclusive creators Chuck Dixon and Greg Land were, according to the solicitations, "unleash[ing] America's new living weapons in the war against terror!" The announcement of the title raised considerable public attention, but the series was never published due to Crossgen's bankruptcy in early 2004.

Dixon tells CBR that he completed the scripts for two full issues, and the now-current "Uncanny X-Men" artist Land drew three covers and eight pages of the first issue. Dixon later offered fans the first two scripts for download in exchange for donations to the charity BooksForSoldiers.com. Disney currently owns the unpublished series, and although Marvel recently revived some of the Crossgen titles as a new line in 2011, "American Power" has not been one of them.

And that does it for the first fifteen of our thirty titles! Check back with CBR next week where we round out our list with the current status of lost comic book projects like the Frank Quitely-illustrated "Lobo: The Hand Job," Jim Lee's Punisher graphic novel, Matt Wagner's final "Mage" arc and more!

Discuss this story in CBR's Community Forum forum.  |  29 Comments

TAGS:  comic book no-shows, multiversity, all-star wonder woman, all-star batgirl, batman europa, american power, spider-man, stealth tribes, bryan singer, run, mark millar, hotel futura, everest, greg rucka, samaritan x

CBR News

Send This Article to a Friend

Separate multiple email address with commas.

You must state your name.

You must enter your email address.