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Is This A Page From Grant Morrison's 'Hypercrisis' pitch?

posted 22 Oct 2018, 15:34 by Ben Hansom   [ updated 22 Oct 2018, 15:37 ]
At various points over the past twenty years, Grant Morrison has teased snippets of what might have happened in his proposed (and ultimately rejected) Hypercrisis crossover, a slam-bang DC universe-wide sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths that was initially pitched in the late 90's - possibly with Mark Waid onboard as co-conspirator - back when Morrison was still writing JLA.  From a 2002 interview with Sequential Tart -

"My one regret about my brief falling out with DC after the 'Superman Incident' is that I didn't get to do my Hypercrisis series at DC to explain all this stuff and set up a whole new playground. It's the one thing I could still be arsed doing with classical superheroes. If I ever go back, I'll explain the whole Hypertime thing and recreate the Challengers of the Unknown as Challengers: Beyond the Unknown.

It's one thing I still want to do. It had a monster eating the first few years of the 21st century and Superman building a bridge across this gaping hole in time. A bridge made of events. The Guardians of The Multiverse and a new Green Lantern Corps made up of parallel reality Green Lanterns, the Superman Squad and the mystery of the Unknown Superman of 2150 etc, etc. There's a huge synopsis filled with outrageous stuff."

One thing we do know for sure is that when Morrison re-signed with DC in 2003, one of the first things he pitched was a rejigged version of Hypercrisis, now titled Crisis in Hypertime.  Though newly installed executive editor Dan Didio was sold on the idea, president and publisher Paul Levitz ultimately rejected the series once again, believing that the Hypercrisis concept was not strong enough to hang a company-wide crossover on.  The big event slot for 2004 was ultimately filled by the moribund Identity Crisis, while the plan for a direct sequel to the original Crisis was picked up with Geoff Johns' Infinite Crisis the following year.

As you might imagine, despite the rejection, a bunch of this stuff ended up getting used elsewhere - the Unknown Superman and the Superman Squad appeared in All-Star Superman, a bastardized version of the Challengers Beyond the Unknown appeared in Countdown (ughhh), and the whole 'Guardians of the Multiverse' thing fits pretty neatly with Operation: Justice Incarnate from The Multiversity.  Other elements from Hypercrisis that Morrison has mentioned elsewhere also got put to good use - the series was intended to open with a major character's shocking death, originally Captain Marvel but changed to J'onn J'onzz for the later Final Crisis; and, to goose the sales figures, every issue was going to be a #1, a tactic later employed with The Multiversity.

Today, whilst trawling the ancient comics internet #content mines for nuggets just like those, I found this 2015 Facebook post from Dan Didio, reminiscing on the road to Infinite Crisis and accompanied by a single page from "The Land of Busted Pitches" showing "the first serious attempt at pulling the continuity together during my tenure" -

Is this a page from the 2004 version of the Hypercrisis pitch, renamed as "CRISIS II or CRISIS IN INFINITE FUTURES"?

A chronovore (the 'Hyper Time Drive'-powered Infinite Man, from Paul Levitz's Legion of Super-Heroes run) is devouring time, necessitating a bridge made of events be built to reconnect the future and the past?  Hell yeah, that *really* sounds like Morrison's pitch from his interview quote up top there, eh?  But, whilst the idea itself is a dead on match, some of the details - trying to make Kingdom Come villain Gog happen yet again as some sort of major threat; including extremely obscure early 80's Superman backup strip 'Superman 2020' as one of the headline possible futures of the DC Universe - sound waaay more like a Mark Waid joint, while some of the other stuff sounds suspiciously like what Geoff Johns would go on to do in his post-Infinite Crisis JSA run (Gog, again), Flashpoint and Doomsday Clock

Indulging Didio's irrational hatred of Dick Grayson is something I reckon DC writers of that period (and beyond) just had to get on board with tbh, and it seems fairly obvious that by 2004 the higher-ups had long since decided that Clark and Lois's marriage was a mistake - undoing it is also a major story beat in Morrison/Waid/Millar and Peyer's Superman 2000 pitch from 1999.  Could Crisis II / Crisis In Infinite Futures have been pitched as an editorially driven group effort, much like 52 which followed maybe a year or less after this? 

Maybe, who knows?..

Not me, that's for sure.  But I'll bet Chris Roberson does...

Panel from 2011's Superman #708 by Chris Roberson, art by Eddy Barrows