MARVEL UK

 
CAPTAIN BRITAIN - TALES OF THE ALTERNATE CAPTAINS (1986)

Following on from Morrison's 'Tales of the Alternate Captains'  text story in Captain Britain Weekly #13 featuring the Gallic Captain Granbretan, two further scripts, Captain Anglia and Captain Kingdom, were completed.  Captain Britain Weekly was cancelled before they saw print.
 
One of Morrison protege Mark Millar's first published works was 'Zenith - A Tale of the Alternate Earths', a text story along similar lines from 1990's 2000AD Winter Special #3.
 

DOCTOR WHO: THE THREE DOCTORS (1987)

The traditional Doctor Who storytelling trope of teaming the Doctor up with his past selves is turned on its head as Morrison introduces two future regenerations of the Doctor.  Rejected by Marvel UK as, in Morrison's words, "One of them was a woman and they wouldn't let me do that at all. They said the readership wouldn't accept it. There was some big controversy."
 
 
ZOIDS (1987)

A monthly spin-off and continuation of Morrison's Spider-Man and Zoids strip for Marvel UK with Steve Yeowell pencilling.  After Spider-Man and Zoids' cancellation, the Zoids strip was to be re-formatted to appeal to the American market as with Action Force Monthly/GI Joe European Missions, a title Morrison also contributed to during its short run. 
 
Originally slated to be simultaneously published in the U.S. by Marvel's juvenile Star line, the first issue - a Vietnam parable (!) -  was completed, but unsurprisingly deemed 'too adult'.  Unfortunately co-inciding with a drop in popularity for the toy-line, the decision was made to drop the proposed comic entirely and it was never published, leaving Morrison's larger Zoids arc unfinished.
 
The first twelve pages (probably all of the art completed before the title was cancelled) are available to view online at www.zoidstar.bloodforthebaron.com
 

MARVEL COMICS

 
SPIDER-MAN (1990)

A proposed graphic novel in the wake of the success of Arkham Asylum, with art by Simon Bisley.  Morrison expressed a desire to return to the Ditko Spider-Man. "It's not Spider-Man in Arkham Asylum or anything - it's action all the way with things blowing up from page one but it still won't be a great deal like the Spider-Man that everyone is used to"

According to the webchat Morrison gave at Next Planet Over in 1999, the story was to begin with an attack by Mysterio, resulting in Spider-Man waking in a parallel world where Aunt May died and Peter never married. 

"The Spider-Man of that world is a creepy, skinny Ditko guy, who lives on his own and is shunned by the neighbors." said Morrison, "He only comes alive when he's out on the rooftops leaping about and squirting jets of white stuff over everything.  Freud would have loved the story as the creepy but ultimately decent Spider-Man meets his counterpart from a place where Peter married a supermodel and made lots of money.  The story was based around that tension and the ultimate redemption of the creepy Ditko character.   I'd do something different now.
"

Mark Millar later suggested that Morrison had also completed scripts for a Spider-Man mini-series to be drawn by his Batman: Gothic collaborator Klaus Janson.  Most likely the two stories are variations on the same themes above.  Neither the mini-series or the graphic novel ever saw print.
 
Interviewed about his time at Marvel many years later, Morrison expressed little enthusiasm for tackling Spider-Man, believing that Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and John Buscehe had set the bar for the character so high on the original run that any take on the character would by necessity be in their shadow and largely redundant.  He instead preferred to take Lee's 'teenage outsider' template and apply it to revamps of lesser characters like Marvel Boy and supporting players in his X-Men run.  Spider-Man remains probably the most significant Big Two super-hero that Morrison hasn't written, with the character not even managing a cameo appearance in any of Morrison's Marvel scripts.
 
 
APOCALYPSE 2099 (1994)
 
Alongside their prematurely cancelled Srull Kill Krew collaboration, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar were asked in early 1995 to submit a number of potential series pitches by Marvel's top brass.  The duo pitched two new series in the briefly successful 2099 line, a futuristic cyberpunk-inspired spin  on Marvel's most iconic heroes.  Set in the far future of the Marvel Universe, Captain America 2099 and Iron Man 2099 were intended to lead into a third series - via a multi-part storyline entitled 'Apocalypse' - the long mooted Avengers 2099.

“Marvel heroes were always characterized by their less-than-super alter-egos,” Millar wrote in the series outline, “We had the lame Donald Blake, the puny Peter Parker, the blind Matt Murdock and so on. This is what made these secret identities so much more interesting than their counterparts at other companies.”

Based in part on Professor Stephen Hawking, Morrison and Milar's Iron Man was, "completely spastic power-wise,” said Morrison in an interview with Overstreet's Fan in 1996. “We dreamed him up as the most fantastic scientific mind on Earth who had created this wonderful war suit. Imagine, when he’s in the war suit, when he’s Iron Man, he can do anything. He can change shape, become intangible, travel through space…anything. But the minute something happens to that suit, he’s just a guy whose body is completely worthless.”

“A man with a super-brain trapped inside the body of a disfigured invalid." added Millar, "A handicapped superhero would seem genuinely fresh in an industry still cluttered with successful yuppie super-people.”
The pair wanted to take Tony Stark, or a thinly veiled future descendant of the same, out of the Iron Man equation. The new Iron Man, though working for Stark Industries, would not be Stark himself under the helmet.  Stark would probably appear in the series as a villain.

Captain America 2099 would be a broken war veteran, returning home to search for the American Dream and working as a janitor at Stark Industries, obsessed with the Living Legend of the original Cap.
“We had Atlantis rise up from the ocean floor,” said Morrison “All the Atlanteans, except Namor, are dead because of pollutants from the surface world, so it’s now just this mysterious jungle world covered with weird ruins that were built thousands of years ago. And with Atlantis re-surfaced, both America and some unnamed Eastern super-state try to claim it as their own, resulting in this terrible, messed-up war.

“Our Captain America was a Marine who fought in that war, and now his life is completely shattered. He fought the war thinking that (the legendary) Captain America would come back to save them. But with no sign of Cap, and with America losing, he’s lost everything. His mind’s gone and he has nothing left to believe in. He doesn’t believe in America. He doesn’t believe in anything.”
In his country's hour of greatest need, “The guy decides that he wants to be Captain America,” says Millar, “so he goes to the bombed out ruins of Avengers Mansion, and digs up Captain America’s corpse. There he finds Captain America with the costume still on him, still holding the shield….”

“And like Arthur finding Excalibur,” Morrison adds, “he just pulls out the shield (from Cap’s skeletal hands), holds it up, and that’s it. Suddenly, he thinks, ‘I’m going to be the dream.’ Even with his mind shattered and his confidence completely gone, he sets out to become Captain America and suddenly finds the dream again.”

The revitalized Iron Man and Captain America would emerge just in time for a Martian invasion of Earth; the same Martians that plagued Don McGregor's Killraven series in the 1970's, a long time favourite of Morrison's.  The invasion would bring the heroes of 2099 together to form a new Avengers, bent on repelling the alien invaders.
Further into the storyline, Galactus descends from deep space once more to consume the Earth, and all seems lost in the face of the combined might of Galactus and the Martians.  Fortunately, the heroes of 2099 have an ace up their sleeve.

“Giant-Man is still around,” Morrison said, “although he’s been comatose for over one hundred years. He’s reached this huge size, and he just stands with his feet straight in the Hudson River. He’s just this huge monolith. I mean, kids paint slogans on his feet and stuff. He’s just been there forever. His heart beats once a day, and it resounds through the gates and ships; it makes the Earth shake.”
“Captain America gives an impassioned plea at the feet of this mighty Goliath,” Millar said, “but Giant-Man just stares out into space, hearing and feeling nothing. He’s beyond the cares of humanity, lost in the lonely worlds of gods.”

“The team has been beaten down, and all the heroes are just lying there bloodied and battered,” Morrison said. “All of a sudden, Captain America gets up and starts rallying everybody. He holds up his shield and cries out, ‘AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!’”

“From off panel, we hear the sound of thunder,” Millar said, “enormous footsteps getting closer and closer. Captain America and the others look up, wiping the blood from their eyes and hope radiates from their faces. The reader turns the page and we have a big, double-page spread where a two-hundred foot Giant-Man stands before a two-hundred foot Galactus, ready to fight.”

“He then just walks over and decks Galactus,” Morrison laughed.The Martian threat is eliminated by offering Mars to Galactus as a consolation at missing out on eating the Earth.  The storyline would have lead into an Avengers 2099 ongoing series that Morrison and Millar would have co-written, but the whole proposal was rejected.

Along with its similarly unpublished companion piece Marvel Tales: End of the World, and indeed the aborted Srull Kill Krew, Apocalypse 2099 reads very much more like a Mark Millar comic than a Grant Morrison one with the benefit of hindsight.  Its entirely possible given Morrison's comments in Supergods and elsewhere, that all of these works were intended to get Millar's foot in the door at one of the Big Two in a period where Morrison was putting most of his energy into the creator-owned Invisibles.  Some of the story beats, the broken heroes, Galactus' return, the immobile giant in the Hudson River, bear more than a passing resemblance to Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's (excellent) Earth X, published almost 10 years later.
 
 
MARVEL TALES: END OF THE WORLD (1994)

After their Avengers 2099 pitch proved unsuccesful, Morrison and Millar aimed high with their next proposal, a line-wide summer blockbuster involving the whole of the Marvel Universe in battle against a God-like Puppet Master. Originally the pair had pitched Professor X as the central villain, corrupted by a flaw in Cerebro’s programming, but this was nixed by Marvel editorial

The X-Terminus, as the evil Professor X would style himself, would destroy an entire alternate Marvel Universe, leaving the Wolverine of that reality its only survivor and harbinger of the destruction to come.  This Wolverine was, somewhat creepily, married to the teenaged Jubilee of his reality, and much emotional hand wringing would ensue when he crossed over to the mainstream Marvel Universe and met her counterpart.

The pair decided to use the Puppet Master in place of Professor X under the logic of “let’s turn the lamest villain into the biggest one.”  The focus of the series shifted slightly, with an orgy of death and destruction occupying the first two or three issues before the big reveal that this was a parallel reality.

Ultimately, as with almost every Puppet Master story told since Stan and Jack's Fantastic Four, it would be left to the Puppet Master's daughter, Alicia Masters, to stand up to her father, at which point he’d kill her, sending her sometimes-boyfriend The Thing into a rage.

The Thing batters the Puppet Master to within an inch of his life, and, in Millar's words, "having literally had the sense beaten into him, the Puppet Master uses his last dying breath to bring Alicia back to life. He just passes his energy over to her.”

The pitch was rejected, but the concept of a villainous Professor X surfaced a year later in the summer of 1996 in the poorly received 'Onslaught' crossover.  As a last ditch attempt to stave off Marvel's impending bankruptcy, The Avengers and the Fantastic Four were apparently killed, though in reality they were sent to a parallel universe where they could star in late and often poorly drawn books by Rob Liefield and Jim Lee respectively.

Many elements of the story also appear in Millar's most recent work in the Marvel Universe, Marvel: 1985, Wolverine: Old Man Logan and his run with Bryan Hitch on The Fantastic Four.
 
 
SURFER: YEAR ZERO (2001)

A Morrison / Quitely Silver Surfer collaboration, focusing on the early days of Kirby's avenging angel of the spaceways, rather than Stan Lee's cosmic hippy interpretation of the character.  The book was proposed during their highly successful New X-Men run, but Quitely couldn't keep up the schedule on the monthly book and this proposed mini fell by the wayside.
 
 
MARVEL BOY 2 (2002)

Along with the antipathy towards Morrison's Nick Fury proposal, Marvel President Bill Jemas' hostility toward any proposed sequels to the Marvel Boy series was a large factor in Morrison's decision to sign an exlusive deal with DC in 2003.

Marvel Boy 2, with Morrison's Swamp Thing collaborator Phil Hester taking over from J. G. Jones on art duties, was to be the culmination of Morrison's long standing admiration of Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart's 'cosmic comics' of the 1970's.  Morrison said in an interview with Newsarama, "the Kree Book of The Dead issue, "Beyond The Withinfinite," delved into Kree comic book religion in full-on Prog Comics style"

"He simply didn't like the fluorescent overtones of what I was doing in Marvel Boy 2", he went on, "and asked me if I was prepared to try a different and more down-to-earth approach to the basic idea of angry alien boy trapped on Earth. My original series pitch and scripts were based in a horrible super-security prison called the Cube, home of the most deranged inhuman mutants and motherfuckers on the face of the Earth. Grotesques like Daddy Heart, Alan Satan and the Spider Sisters filled every page and the whole thing was a very fast-paced religious satire in the Marvel Cosmic style."

Morrison's Krautrock-esque Kosmic Komicschze remain, sadly, unrealized, though there were hints that some of the ideas Morrison had for Marvel Boy 2 might make their way over to a Captain Marvel Jr. series at DC.  Unfortunately, that too remains unpublished.
 
 
NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (2002)

Cross and double-cross, Steranko-esque spy surrealness.  James Bond meets cosmic 70's Kirby.  One story saw print, 'Nick's World', in Marvel Double Shot #2.  After the follow-up series proposal was ignored by Marvel, Morrison incorporated much of the psychadelic super-spy material into his Vertigo title The Filth.
 

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC 4 (2002)

Initially offered the choice of rebooting the Marvel line with Ultimate X-Men or Ultimate Spider-Man as a lure away from DC, Morrison turned both titles down, recommending Mark Millar for the Ultimate X-Men gig, and jumping ship from DC to pen the X-franchise flagship title, retitled New X-Men during his tenure.

During his 4-year stint at Marvel, Morrison consulted on the launch of further titles in the Ultimate line, specifically Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate Avengers, eventually known simply as The Ultimates.

Ultimate Fantastic Four was envisioned as a superhero sitcom-soap opera, seen by Morrison to be in line with prevailing pop-culture trends (think Buffy, Friends etc.).  This tactic had been used before in comics, notably in Giffen & DeMatties' Justice League International, a comic that had, at the time of Morrison's proposal, dramatically fallen out of fashion since its heyday in the late 80's-early 90's.
Supposedly Mark Waid, then writer of the main Fantastic Four book, asked for any Ultimate Fantastic Four book to be delayed so as not to detract from the then critical and commercial success of his title. 
 
Ultimate Fantastic Four eventually surfaced in 2004, after Morrison had left Marvel for another stint at DC, written by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar and, according to Morrison in various interviews, incorporating uncredited much of his original pitch.

"Ultimate Fantastic Four will probably still appear", said Morrison in an interview with Newsarama, "but I won't have anything to do with it. I was involved in some of the discussions that went on prior to the release of The Ultimates so I feel as though I've contributed my ten cents worth already."
 
 
ULTIMATE KREE-SKRULL WAR (2002)

An Ultimate re-write of Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, John Buscema and Neal Adams' era-defining multi part epic from Avengers v1 #89-97.

"One thing I wanted to do was 'Ultimate Kree/Skrull War', or Kree/Chitauri War...", said Morrison in a Newsarama interview.  "It would reveal that the original Super-Soldier serum was genetically-engineered by Kree scientists using shapeshifting Skrull/Chitauri DNA"

"The Kree, hidden on our planet for centuries, were attempting to create a race of genetically-perfect supermen to protect the Earth in the oncoming Kree/Skrull conflict. The Skrull Super-Soldier mix, applied to the not-very-fluid human anatomy, would have also explained why Banner turns green... among other things... "
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