SECOND COMING (1982)

Pitch sent to DC by a 22-year old Morrison as part of DC's New Talent Search.  A New Gods revival co-starring the satellite-era JLA, the pitch likely drew more on the 1980 JLA team-up that brought them firmly into the DC Universe and Gerry Conway's Return of the New Gods revival, rather than Kirby's original series.  As Morrison has stated more than once, he didn't appreciate Kirby's work on the series, and indeed didn't read much of it, until significantly later in his career.
 
According to Morrison himself a large part of the Fourth World aspect of the JLA 'Rock Of Ages' storyline, including the conclusion where Darkseid is killed by the Atom and Green Arrow, is based on Second Coming.
 
 
THE PHANTOM STRANGER (1988)

Turtleneck-wearing, occult crime-fighting in the swinging mod sixties.  One of a number of proposals Morrison presented to Karen Berger in his first meeting with DC during their UK talent search in 1988.  Though his pitches for Animal Man and Arkham Asylum were both commisioned, Morrison's Phantom Stranger - along with another proposal for the character by Neil Gaiman - was flatly rejected.
 
Morrison would try again alongside Mark Millar in the mid nineties.  An anonymous user posted in the Comic Book Resources forums, “Mark Millar and Grant Morrison once pitched a book where the Phantom Stranger was sort of a cool '60s dad who was charged with watching powerful children in a sitcom-ish way. It was immediately shot down, but The Phantom Uncle probably would have been a great name for it.".  Art would have been provided by Morrison's Filth collaborator Chris Weston, as revealed in a column Millar wrote for Comic Book Resources in 2002.  I asked Chris about the pitch -

"I think it was to Stuart Moore.  Our take was to do it as a James Coburn/Our Man Flint pastiche.  Opening shot: a grinning Phantom Stranger and gal-pals zooming down the Pacific Highway in an open top sports car.  I'm not sure our pitch went beyond that one line and a few drawings (which I can't find).  Can't recall any plot."

Thanks to Chris Weston for the additional info.


MOD-GORILLA BOSS OF CENTRAL CITY (1988)

A very DC go-go check foe from the original Animal Man run in Strange Adventures (#201), the Mod Gorilla Boss was a gorilla-gangster, decked out in the finest fashions of Carnaby Street.  Despite his proclamation of being the ‘real deal’ on the cover of his one and only appearance, the money-mad Gorilla was actually a criminal scientist injecting himself with a gorilla transformation serum. Of course.  The title also backhandedly references obscure and equally left-field Batman foe the Gorilla Boss of Gotham City, probably the Mod’s original inspiration.

Featuring the return of the only member of Animal Man’s solo rogues’ gallery, it sounds thematically similar to both the Time Commander story in Animal Man #16 and the climactic time-travel/Second Crisis story from #23-26.  Morrison’s embracing of DC’s more far-out icons of the past decades, now so commonplace even Captain Carrot can be revived in the mainstream DC universe, was deeply unfashionable in the early 1990’s and probably contributed to editorial scepticism at this proposed tale.

The Mod Gorilla Boss story was originally due to appear in Animal Man #7 but the script was rejected.  Morrison extensively reworked it for inclusion in a one-shot entitled Gorillas-A-Go-Go to be edited by Mark Waid.  The second version featured revivals of many more of DC's more outre 60's teen-appeal characters such as Scooter (from the Swing With Scooter series), Binky, and even the stuffed corpse of Rex The Wonder Dog.  It certainly seems that that the script was completed - one source has it that the art was finished too - but neither the story or the special ever appeared.

From Amazing Heroes #176, "It's written as if Bob Haney were still alive. Which he probably is. Everyone appears in it. Scooter's in there, Binky, all these fabulous people. I don't know what else I can say about it. It's a piece of nonsense. It's ...  well, Scooter. What else can I say? It's as sublime as that. The return of Scooter. Don't know who's drawing it yet."

Continuity-be-damned Teen Titans scribe Bob Haney was indeed still alive in 1990, though after a period of working on shows like Thundercats, he was living a the life of a recluse in Baja, Mexico. Morrison went on to announce that the tale would also see the much anticipated return of Cap’s Hobby Hints, but unfortunately, it was not to be.
 
 
DOOM PATROL (1990)
 
Another unrealised collaboration between Morrison and Brendan McCarthy.  From The Strange World of Brendan Mccarthy blog;

“I found this DOOM PATROL script the other day that I had doodled all over, from Grant Morrison… It was an episode that Grant wrote for me to draw back in 1991/92 or thereabouts: I asked for an old style DC ‘imaginary story’ with Danny The Street as the central character. But by the time the script turned up, I had to do a film so I couldn’t draw it and I think eventually, we all sorta forgot about it… It would be fun to draw it up after all these years and release it as a VERTIGO ANOMALY one shot.”

A tantalising look at some of McCarthy's ideas for the story, doodled on the first couple of script pages, can be seen here.  After McCarthy dropped out, the Danny the Street script was dropped and replaced in the schedule with issue #45's 'The Beard Hunter'.

According to our Italian friends at the Grant Morrison: All Star blog, Morrison and McCarthy burned their bridges recently over, of all things, who should get credit for creating Danny the Street.

In addition to the missing McCarthy issue, Morrison also mentioned numerous times in interviews that he was keen to write the "last" Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man tale, though sadly that most bizarre of the original Doom Patrol's rogues gallery never appeared in Morrison's run.

 
THE WHIP (1993)

S&M Superheroics, inspired by the fetish clothing found in Skin Two magazine, particularly the photography of Craig Morrison.  The original proposal for the character, submitted to the nascent Vertigo line post-Doom Patrol, later essentially became King Mob in The Invisibles.

From the Anarchy For The Masses book: "The King Mob character was based on... DC had an old character called The Whip from the '40s. No one had ever touched it; I found it and thought that was great, I can do this real kind of S&M superhero. The Whip is basically King Mob. The original designs for that, I just had this character who was bald and based on the fetish stuff at the time, which again was established in the underground and magazines like Skin Two."
 
One of DC's most erotically-charged heroes, the Whip was later revived by Morrison in the Seven Soldiers maxi-series as Shelly Gaynor, grand-daughter of the original Whip and sado-masochistic, leather-clad thrill-seeker who documents her vigilante exploits in her book The Super Cowboys.

 
BOY COMMANDOES (1993)

A revival of Simon & Kirby's classic juvenile-delinquents-in-WW2 series.  Morrison's proposal was inspired by a dream of finding a book entitled The Psychic Boy Scouts Handbook.  This surreal Burroughs-ian metasexual time-travel caper also dates from just after the conclusion of Doom Patrol.  The central conceit of a conspiracy-baiting group of sexy young protagonists became, like Morrison's Whip proposal from the same period, an integral part of The Invisibles
 
 
ANIMAL MAN (1993)

Tom Peyer asked Morrison to return to Animal Man for a 6-issue stint after the conclusion of Tom Veitch's run and Jamie Delano's six-issue 'Flesh and Blood' arc. Delano decide to continue and stayed on the title for two years before handing it over to Jerry Prosser with issue 80 in late 1994.  By that time Peyer had been replaced as editor by Lou Stathis and Morrison was already deep into volume one of The Invisibles.  Prosser lasted another 9 issues until the title’s cancellation with issue 89.

No scripts were started for Morrison's proposed return, as confirmed by a webchat he gave at Next Planet Over in 1999.  Alongside the original version of the 'Mod Gorilla Boss of Central City' script detailed above, there was another rejected script from the original run - described by Morrison as "really heavy, grim animal rights tract".
 
 
TEEN TITANS (1997)
 
In his introduction to the first JLA hardcover collection, Eddie Berganza mentions that Morrison proposed a Teen Titans relaunch in 1997.  The pitch that was rejected by Berganza due to Morrison's then-unproven track record in mainstream superheroics and DC's having already gone with a pitch by Dan Jurgens and George Perez.  Jurgens and Perez's Teen Titans featured a team of brand new characters led by The Atom, who at that time had been de-aged to a teenager.  Interestingly one of those new characters, Argent - a superheroine who can form Green Lantern-esque constructs from a silver (Magic Mirror?) substance that covers her skin - later appeared in both Morrison's 'Rock of Ages' arc in JLA, as a member of a dystopian future Justice League, and in Final Crisis.  Given her incogrous appearances in both Morrison penned series, its possible (though admittedly unlikely) that she could have come from Morrison's Titans pitch and was subsequently gifted to Jurgens and Perez for their series.

After rejecting Morrison's pitch, Berganza mentioned to his colleague Ruben Diaz, then editor of the flagging Justice League America title, that Morrison was keen to throw himself into revamping DC's corporate super-hero properties, leading Diaz to invite Morrison to pitch what would become JLA.

Due to the critical and commercial failure of Jurgens and Perez's relaunch, the Teen Titans lay fallow for a number of years whilst Young Justice filled their slot in the DC schedules.  Morrison played a large part in the creation of the Young Justice concept via the mini series they first appeared in, JLA: World Without Heroes.  Though Todd DeZago scripted the JLA spin-off, it was originally planned as a storyline in Morrison's own JLA run.  He recieves a special thanks in the creator credits.

When DC were eventually ready to relaunch the Teen Titans concept Morrison re-introduced them in his 1998 DC One Million mini-series, with the more mature Titans team (now without the Teen), eventually receiving their own title via Devin Grayson and Phil Jimenez's JLA/Titans series.
 
Morrison woud go on to work on developing the Teen Titans as a movie at Warner Brothers in the mid-noughties.
 
 
SUPERMAN 2000/SUPERMAN PLUS (1999)

Asked by incoming Superman editor Eddie Berganza to pitch for the Superman family of titles as a 'hive-mind' (a concept Morrison and Waid would later revisit writing 52), Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid and Tom Peyer proposed a revitalization of the Superman titles, in keeping with the historic reimaginings of Mort Weisenger, Denny O'Neill and John Byrne.
 
You can read the full pitch here.

The proposal was vehemently rejected after a 'vacationing editor' (probably Mike Carlin) returned to the offices, read the pitch and presumed, incorrectly, that it was a part of a behind the scenes plot to undermine both his editorial powers and the current writers on the Superman titles.  Morrison, Millar, Peyer and Waid were subsequently informed that their chances of ever working on any of the Superman books were effectively nil.  Coupled with DC's reluctance to offer Morrison more high-profile work following the conclusion of his JLA run (editorial policy at the time was, inexplicably, to keep big name creators off the 'Big Two', Superman and Batman), Morrison left DC and spent the next 4 years at Marvel.

"Not being able to do Superman and not being offered anything else at DC was the main reason I decided to do Marvel Boy for Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada." said Morrison in a 2001 interview.
As the years rolled on, bridges were rebuilt between Superman editorial and the writers involved and all four would go on to write high-profile Superman projects; Morrison's All-Star Superman; Waid's 'Year One' reboot Superman: Birthright; Peyer's numerous one shots and short run on the title itself and Millar's Elseworlds mini Superman: Red Son, though Morrison claims the twist in the tale's conclusion - Krypton is actually a far-future Earth and the House of El are the descendants of Lex Luthor - as his own, proclaiming it 'the best idea I ever had for Superman'. 
 
 
HYPERCRISIS (1999)

"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." said Morrison in a 2002 interview, "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"

Hypercrisis is Morrison's unpublished 'big summer cross-over' precursor to Final Crisis.  Much of the material, including the Guardians of the Multiverse and the Challengers Beyond the Unknown, later appeared in a bastardized form in Paul Dini and company's excerable Countdown to Final Crisis.  The Superman Squad and the Unknown Superman later surfaced in All-Star Superman.
 
 
JL8 (2004)

A precursor to Morrison's Seven Soldiers.  Some time after Morrison's return to DC following the conclusion of New X-Men, he was asked by editor Dan Raspler what he might do if he were to have another crack at the JLA title he'd helped relaunch to great acclaim some years earlier.  Morrison, who had already completed some spec work along these lines before his Marvel contract expired, responded with JL8, an antithesis to the wildly successful formula he employed writing JLA.

This was the series that would attempt to make a go of the oft-attempted and rarely successful idea of making the JLA title a showcase for a team of characters that could not (or did not at the time) carry their own book. A tactic successfully employed by Gerry Conway during the fondly remembered ‘Satellite-era’ of the Justice League, this idea has, until the rise of Brian Michael Bendis, essentially been the storytelling engine behind Marvel’s Avengers book for the last 30 plus years. Fuelled by Morrison's ongoing Jack Kirby fetish and inspired in part by the template of Stan Lee’s second Avengers line up (Cap, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Hawkeye), the original pitch starred –

The Guardian – Simon & Kirby’s 1940’s shield wielding super policeman has essentially always been a DC analogue of Marvel’s Captain America.  After the pair left Marvel (then Timely)’s flagship character in a dispute over rights, they went on to recreate him at least twice with The Guardian at DC and Fighting American at Prize.  Simon and Kirby's addition of the Newsboy Legion to the Guardian’s cast - a peacetime Boy Commandos - enlivened the character beyond simple pastiche and Morrison was clearly keen to keep that element of the character in place.

The Enchantress - Schizophrenic sorceress the Enchantress began life as the distinctly go-go check ‘switcheroo-witcheroo’, first appearing in Strange Adventures in 1966 and created, of course, by Bob Haney. Consigned to comic-book limbo after a handful of appearances, she resurfaced as a villain in the 1980’s Daring New Adventures of Supergirl title and later the Suicide Squad.  She reverted to hero again in the late 90’s, eventually becoming part of the Shadowpact book launched post-Infinite Crisis.  Her ever changing allegiances and unpredictable powers recall Marvel’s Scarlet Witch.  Morrison's affinity for the character undoubtedly stems from his fondness for bad Supergirl comics - The Gang, who appeared briefly in his JLA, also appeared in Supergirl's title during this period.

This strictly C-list character was replaced in the pitch by Zatanna, perhaps as Paul Dini’s still unrealized Zatanna project, in the works for many years, was taking too long to come to fruition.  In a reflection of her intended use in this proto-Seven Soldiers, The Enchantress’s more recent storylines include the recruitment of a young girl apprentice.

Mister Miracle – Morrison’s Mister Miracle is Shilo Norman, the human apprentice of the New God Scott Free.  Norman has appeared in all the incarnations of Mister Miracle’s titles over the years, but almost always as a bit part player.  Its not difficult to see the appeal of the character to Morrison.  As essentially the Jesus of the New Gods, Mister Miracle is a most Kirbyesque avatar of the Age of Horus.  Norman’s Mister Miracle is loosely analogous to Marvel’s Thor or possibly Hercules, both Gods amongst men as opposed to Shilo’s Man amongst (New) Gods.

Alias, The Spider – An obscure hero from the 40’s who was originally a Batman knock off, Alias, The Spider was acquired by DC when they purchased the rights to Quality Comics stable of characters in the 1970’s.  Barring a few one panel cameos in All-Star Squadron, The Spider went essentially unused by DC until James Robinson reinvented the character for his Starman series.  The Spider was now a villain who pretended to be a hero in order to cover up his murderous criminal deeds.

Morrison’s I, Spyder is a (literal) sibling of Robinson’s, mixed up with a dash of J.M. Dematteis’ I, Vampire saga from the twilight days of the House of Mystery title.  Keeping Robinson’s character’s motives wholly intact, The Spider maps neatly to the Avengers analogues as a reversed Hawkeye, the carnival bowman who pretends to be a villain to meet heroic aims.

Etrigan the Demon - DC inexplicably passed on Morrison's “Satanic-powered Hulk” interpretation of Etrigan as 'too far removed from the source material', favouring John Byrne's limp (and unsuccessful) Blood of the Demon revival; he was replaced in the lineup by another vintage 70’s Kirby creation, Klarion the Witch Boy.

Morrison's concept for the Demon did, briefly, see the light of day - the parallel earth Super-Demon briefly glimpsed in Final Crisis would seem to be an appearance of this incarnation of Etrigan.  He's also due to make a reappearance in the long-delayed Multiversity.

Manhunter – A revitalization of the harbinger of DC’s Silver Age, J'onn J'onnzz, the Martian Manhunter.  Morrison envisioned the character in a more brutal, alien form, incorporating elements of Goodwin & Simonson's Manhunter from the early 70's.  The revision of the character was not to DC’s tastes at the time, with J’onn still playing a part in the JLA title.  Though J’onn J’onnzz didn't carry over into Seven Soldiers, much of the story written around the character was set on a ruined Mars and this was retained when Morrison re-worked the title as Frankenstein.

In his place, Morrison proposed a revival of Michael Fleisher’s Spawn of Frankenstein, who originally appeared as a back-up in the 1970’s Phantom Stranger series.  Eventually, Morrison dropped almost all the trappings of Fleisher’s Frankenstein, basing his version more on the tragic figure of the original novel, livened up with a dash of the classic Universal monster.
 
Though DC passed on Morrison’s reinterpretation of the Martian Manhunter, the character’s post-Infinite Crisis revamp placed much greater emphasis on the alien man-hunting aspect of the character.  The mini-series introducing the grittier take on J’onn J’onnzz was essentially his final major appearance before Morrison killed him off in Final Crisis #1.

I vaguely recall some mention of the Atom originally being lined up to appear here too, an obvious analog to Ant Man, though I can't find a source for this.  Morrison would of course go on to create Dr. Ryan Choi, a new version of the character who appeared in his own series, The All New Atom, beginning in 2006.

Morrison acknowledges that the Guardian, Mister Miracle, Zatanna and the Spider (in a very different role than originally envisioned) carried over from JL8 to Seven Soldiers as is, and for most of the other Seven Soldiers mini’s the parallels are self evident (Manhunter=Frankenstein, Etrigan=Klarion).  But even if we take the Atom as a given, the 8th member of JL8 remains a mystery; the Bulleteer as an Iron Man analogue? The Shining Knight as the Black Knight?

Thematically, I think all can agree that the book benefits immesurably from losing the 'poor-man's JLA' associations and that horrendous 'JL8' title, not only because Morrison had already proven the right way to tackle the JLA with his 'Big 7' run, but the series loose affiliation with the unfamiliar Seven Soldiers of Victory continuity provides many fresh takes on some interesting ideas like Neb-Ul-Oh and the Iron Hand.
 
 
CAPTAIN MARVEL JR (2005)

Announced as forthcoming at the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con, Captain Marvel Jr. was presumably another casualty in the wake of the Herculean effort Morrison and his compadres put into 52.  Like Mister Miracle and Morrison's earlier Marvel Boy, Captain Marvel Jr would act as another avatar of the Age of Horus, the proposed series presumably incorporating some of the ideas Bill Jemas rejected from the unpublished Marvel Boy sequels.
 
THE KNIGHT & THE SQUIRE (2005)
 
A proposed mini series featuring the aristocratic British Batman Cyril, Earl of Wordenshire, and his plucky commoner sidekick Beryl, written after Morrison reintroduced the characters as part of the Ultramarine Corps in JLA.  Though the mini wasn't commisioned, Morrison used much of the material to flesh out the Knight and Squire's backstory in various guest appearances in JLA Classified, Batman RIP and the 'Blackest Knight' arc of Batman and Robin.
 
A misfire Knight & Squire mini was published in 2010, scripted by the often excellent (though not on this occassion) Paul Cornell and drawn by the pseudonymous Jimmy Broxton.
 
 
WONDER WOMAN (2009)
 
Morrison's Wonder Woman project, most probably set outside of mainstream DC continuity, was first rumoured in 2009 after question marks over Wonder Woman's marginal role in Morrison's line-wide crossover epic Final Crisis.  Addressing this in interviews at the time, Morrison confirmed that he did have more planned for Wonder Woman, but, after reading some of the character's earliest stories as part of his Final Crisis research, he stumbled across "an uneasy melange of girl power, bondage and disturbed sexuality that has never been adequately dealt with or fully processed out to my mind.". 
 
"I’ve always felt there was something oddly artificial about Wonder Woman, something not like a woman at all." said Morrison, "Having said that, I became quite fascinated by these contradictions and problems and tried to resolve them for what turned into a different project entirely".
 
Artwise, its been strongly linked to former Wonder Woman writer/artists and Morrison's collaborator on volume two of The Invisbles Phil Jimenez, but is still yet to be formally confirmed or solicited by DC.  Possibly intended as part of DC's Earth One series of standalone graphic novels, the leisurely pace of releases so far - two years between J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis' 2010 Superman: Earth One and Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's 2012 Batman: Earth One - suggest that this won't be coming out anytime soon.



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