THE PEOPLE OF THE ASTEROIDS (1968)
"A brave captain and his Irish sidekick go off and fight some weirdos on asteroids..." Morrison's first long-form work, written and drawn for his mum when he was 8. As revealed in Supergods, other characters from this period included The Blue Phantom, Superchimp, and simian supergroup The Chimpions.
If the current comic-book marketplace is anything to go by, expect a Kickstarter-funded 50th Anniversary Deluxe Hardcover of The People of the Asteroids sometime in 2018.
LORELEI: ARMAGEDDON AND RED WINE (1977-8)
Published in Morrison's school magazine, The White Tree, 'Armageddon and Red Wine' ran to 16 pages across 4 issues, all of which featured covers by Morrison. One issue also included a Morrison-penned interview with author Alan Garner. Though technically 'published', its unlikely that more than a handful of copies of The White Tree were printed, and even less likely that more than one or two of each issue survive today.
Named for the Gnostic concept of "'the One' or 'Absolute' God, the first being and the totality of all beings", Monad ran to 25 pages, written and drawn by 16 year old Morrison and admired by then-Marvel UK editor Neil Tennant - later to find fame as one half of the Pet Shop Boys. Monad was secretly Ian Kincaid, a marine biologist working on the west coast of Scotland, whose fantastic powers were dependant on his emotions. Inspired by Don McGregor's Black Panther, Morrison tuned into the comic book trend of age - gritty social realism - and pitched Monad against the Northern Irish Troubles. Morrison further explored 'real-world' superheroics, a genre that arguably reached its artistic peak 25 years ago but is still going strong, in his Captain Clyde comics strip and later still in Zenith.
To counter all of the socially-responsible hand wringing, Morrison mentions in Supergods another strip from this period that he sadly didn't finish, "in which a sexy, alien warlord disguised herself as Hitler and attacked the world with space Nazis.". Other teenage creations included Lugh (or Luch) of the Long - named for the mythical Celtic warrior who would later have a cameo, via Jack Kirby's Fourth World, in the 'secret history of man' segment of Seven Soldiers #1 - and Hellhunter, a super-hero priest who fought against shadowy agents of the dark side.
NEAR MYTHS (1980)
The concluding chapter of The Checkmate Man was scheduled to be printed in the never released Near Myths #6. From Michael over at The Unpublished Moore;
Gideon Stargrave in The Entropy Concerto, featuring a Jerry Cornelius-esque 'second version' of the character, was also originally intended to appear in this issue.
Morrison had numerous story ideas rejected, though given publisher D.C. Thompson's cutthroat commisioning policy, its doubtful any of them made it past an initial pitch to full script. One rejected proposal featured a pacifist doctor as the protagonist, another, recounted in Graham Kibble-White's Ultimate Book of British Comics, was rejected because the hero was black.
According to Kibble-White's book, Morrison also half-heartedly pitched a tale of an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman heading off to 'batter Hitler' to Starblazer's long-running 'big brother' title Commando. It wasn't commisioned.
GIDEON STARGRAVE (1981)
After the demise of Near Myths, the further adventures of Gideon Stargrave were all set to appear in psst.. magazine, a doomed attempt to replicate deluxe French bande dessinee magazines in the UK. Inevitably psst... was cancelled before the Stargrave strip, which featured the ghost of original Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, was published.
Morrison, replying to a reader's letter on his old website, toyed with the idea of putting the strip online but, as with his unpublished Kid Marvelman strip, never got around to it before his withdrawal from the internet in the early noughties.
The star of "dozens of unpublished comics and prose stories", post-Near Myths Stargrave only managed a two-page appearance in Gary Millidge's 1986 Food for Thought charity one-shot before his final bow in the 'Entropy In The UK' storyline from volume 1 of The Invisibles.
FANTASTIC ADVENTURE (1985)
A fortnightly comic for boys to rival Fleetway's 2000 A.D., proposed to Eagle publishers IPC by David (V for Vendetta) Lloyd. Lloyd's conceit was to base the magazine's content on then-popular licensed TV and movie properties without actually licensing anything. Morrison was assigned three strips for the title; Johnny O'Hara (loosely based on Indiana Jones) with art by Modesty Blaise and Look-In alumnus John Burns; Nightwalkers (based on Ghostbusters) with art by occasional 2000 A.D. artist Ron Tiner, probably better known today for his art textbooks; and The California Crew, a sci-fi take on The A-Team wih art by Steve Yeowell.
A fourth strip, a super-hero epic created by Morrison and titled Zenith, was also earmarked for inclusion, though in a significantly different form than how it eventually appeared in 2000 A.D.. As conceived for Fantastic Adventure, Zenith's tone was much closer to Moore and Gibbons' Watchmen; and the parallel-earth superheroic lineage angle, explored in depth in Phase III, seems to have been much more to the forefront. Morrison was keen to tie stylistic elements of comic-book history to their respective era in the story, so for the elements set in the 1940's, the characters were modeled on Seigel and Shuster's Superman, for the 1960's Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's early Marvel Comics, and for the 1980's the prevalent Alan Moore-esque grim and gritty 'realism'
Eventually, the whole publication was scrapped by IPC in favour of a title based on the MASK toy line.
THE LIBERATORS (1986)
A far-future continuation of Dez Skinn's Warrior-verse (including Big Ben and, in Skinn's mind at least, V for Vendetta) with art by Morrison's Doctor Who collaborator John Ridgway. Skinn launched the series himself alongside Ridgway with 'Death Run' in Warrior #22, before handing the scripting chores to Morrison for his first mainstream comics work.
'Several' episodes were completed by Morrison though only one, 'Night Moves', saw print during Warrior's original run, in it's twenty sixth and final issue. It was reprinted with a new splash page alongside a previously unpublished installment, 'Angels and Demons' some 10 years later in the 1996 Warrior Spring Special/Comics International #76 flipbook.
The Liberators was one of the strips Skinn intended to repackage and reprint for the American market via Quality/Eagle as a a six-issue limited series, alongside Moore's Marvelman and Lazer Eraser. It was lost in the shuffle when Skinn began selling the rights piecemeal to the Warrior material and ceased publishing the magazine from which much of the material had been sourced.
According to Michael at The Unpublished Moore, Dez Skinn has confirmed that no scripts were completed beyond the initial two episodes, though Morrison's series pitch may still exist in Dez's basement somewhere.
KID MARVELMAN (1986)
Morrison's solo Kid Marvelman tale was intended to appear in Dez Skinn's Warrior magazine as a placeholder for Alan Moore's Marvelman strip, then on hiatus due to Skinn's legal wrangles with Marvel Comics over the Marvelman name.
Dez Skinn, speaking in George Khoury's Kimota! - The Marvelman Companion:
Moore had a similar response when Skinn proposed the idea of Morrison taking over the Marvelman strip after Moore threatened to leave the strip over the planned name-change to Miracleman, recounted in Patrick Meaney's Grant Morrison - Talking With Gods documentary, though this may be a simplified varaition on the story related above.
Though Morrison's Kid Marvelman script was long rumoured to have seen publication in issue #4 of Hugh Campbell's Fusion fanzine, It turns out that 'The Devil and Johnny Bates' from that issue was actually an in-depth character study of Kid Marvelman by one Jim Clements. Clements, a legendary figure whose published output amounts to one 6-page Future Shock in 2000 A.D. Prog 713, was cited by Morrison in the 15th Anniversary Arkham Asylum introduction as a big influence in his formative years. Morrison goes on to say that essentially he wrote the book entirely to impress him.
Originally written and drawn by Steve Yeowell in an anthology called Totally Alien, Morrison wrote a six-page Hawker strip entitled 'The Missionary Position' and plotted a second. "It's about corrupt priests and the bizarre sex rituals of an alien race." said Morrison in an interview with UK comics fanzine Arkensword in 1988. Probably intended for a Harrier Comics Hawker title that was never published, neither of the strips has surfaced anywhere else.
BYRON & SHELLEY (1988)
A Ken Russell-inspired comic biography of the Romantic duo, in collaboration with Brendan Mccarthy and set in a "bizarre cross between the early 19th century and today". Byron and Shelley are cast as comic strip writers, mirroring Morrison and Peter Milligan's later Bizarre Boys, another title that never saw publication.
Morrison later employed Byron and Shelley as characters in the 'Arcadia' arc of the first volume of The Invisibles. He would also go on to use a steampunk style modern-day Victorian setting for his Sebastian O mini-series, published by Vertigo in 1993.
A grand science fiction epic set in an alternate 1985, written by Morrison with art by Starblazer collaborator Tony O'Donnell. Originally intended as a 100-page SF epic involving galactic conflict, Gnosticism, sexy girls and nasty aliens, Morrison had the whole story mapped out. Due to O'Donnell's perfectionism only three 10-page prologues were completed in an intricate style similar to "the colour work of Frank Bellamy on Thunderbirds".
The first two prologues eventually saw print as back-ups in Harrier Comics' Sunrise, albiet in black and white. Harrier went bust before any subsequent installments saw print.
WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD (1988)
According to a March '89 interview with Warren Ellis in Speakeasy #96, Morrison and early collaborator Tony O'Donnell (Abraxas, Starblazer) completed 'Where Angels Fear To Tread' in 1982 and originally intended to publish it in Galaxy's Near Myths before it folded. Never Limited's highbrow Pssst! magazine picked it up but also went under before they managed to publish it. Finally in 1989, plans were made to publish it in Steel Rain, an anthology curated by Ellis under the banner of the Roadside Art Collective. Harrier Comics were due to publish Steel Rain but - you guessed it - went out of business just as it was about to go to press.
Ellis had originally wanted either Abraxas, the first two parts of which were published in Harrier's Sunrise title in 1987, or Gideon Stargrave for Steel Rain, but was told by Morrison and O'Donnell that neither strip had been completed.
A 6-pager of the same name has surfaced on the internet, scanned from original art by frequent Morrison collaborator and band-mate Daniel Vallely. Its unknown whether this is the same story also drawn by O'Donnell, or if indeed this story was even written by Grant Morrison.
SICK BUILDINGS (1989)
A forthcoming graphic novel mentioned in the author bio in Arkham Asylum, Sick Buldings was a Situationist prank, a story that not only was never published but never existed, and was never intended to exist, in the first place.
ANDY WARHOL (1989)
Mentioned most prominently in the Arkham Asylum author bio, Morrison’s comic book interpretation of the life story of Andy Warhol was, like Alan Moore’s Fashion Beast, a project that seemed to hover on the periphery for many years without ever reaching fruition. "The Andy Warhol thing which Trevs - sorry, Woodrow - Phoenix and I are doing, deals with Warhol's life and work in a way which I think is quite unique and inventive." said Morrison in a 1989 interview, "As far as I know, nobody else, in any medium, has written about Warhol using Warhol's own methods."
On those methods, Morrison went on to say, "I had this idea of holding a party, getting people to talk about Warhol, and taping it, then just transcribing everything that's said and using that as the dialogue for the book. I like the idea of that kind of utter charlatanry, and obviously it would remove most of the work".
Morrison and Phoenix finished 6 pages or so and pitched it to Fleetway's Crisis, who flatly rejected it as it didn't have any 'action' in it. The project fell by the wayside as Morrison and Phoenix started on other work. Thanks to Woodrow Phoenix for the additional info!
During an interview with Paul Gravett at the ICA in 2003, Morrison mentioned an idea Brendan McCarthy had pitched unsuccessfully to 2000AD, 'Robot Andy', essentially Robot Archie from 1960’s boys’ weekly Lion, and latterly Zenith and Albion, restyled in the image of Andy Warhol, found each week by a different character and reshaping their life, often for the worse.
FOREVER ENGLAND (1989)
A four-part tale of an indie band on tour originally intended for Trident Comics' anthology title, Morrison and artist collaborator Paul Grist jumped ship to Fleetway's more prestigious 2000AD-for-adults Revolver when it was announced in 1989. Feeling obligated to provide Trident with something, they gave them the more low-key St Swithin's Day, serialised over the first four issues.
Forever England, a seemingly uncanny precognition of the whole 'Britpop' ethos fve years ahead of it's time, was intended to run in Revolver after the conclusion of Morrison and Rian Hughes Dare. When Revolver ceased revolving with issue 7, it never saw print. I asked Paul Grist about it and he recalled that the scripts, which Morrison was very happy with, were lost in a computer crash. No artwork was completed for the project before it was abandoned.
Morrison on Forever England - "It's going to incorporate a great many of the things that delight me about British culture: St Trinian's films and fabulous 1970's sitcoms like On The Buses, Love Thy Neighbour and the criminally neglected Casanova '73 with Leslie Phillips - that whole Carry On world of platform boots, hotpants and sex maniacs..."
Thanks to Paul Grist for the additional info!
After finding success with titles like Alan Moore and Oscar Zarate's A Small Killing and Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's Signal to Noise, book publisher Victor Gollancz went on the offensive, actively signing up and comissioning various original graphic novels from some of comic books' more literary talents. W was one such comission, a tale of a poet seeking death who obsessively traces a 'W' in the air. Artist Bill Koeb, whose all-to-rare these days comic book work has a painterly Bill Sienciwicz-esque quality, took a unique approach to generating the artwork -
"As for my part in it, I tried my best to understand what Grant was aiming for in a sketchbook of images I created by using what can best be described as randomness to get to an image. I would begin by creating seemingly disparate elements on a page without a plan or design and then try to find ways to relate them to each other and the theme. I was very intimidated by the project and was very shy about showing anything to Grant. I felt like nothing lived up to my ideal of the goal he had set. This was 20+ years ago and I was a lot less confident than I am now."
Gollancz probably cancelled the project when it was sold to new owners at toward the end of 1992. No artwork was completed and it was never published.
Thanks to Bill Koeb for the info!
DOCTOR MIRABILIS (1990)
"...which I'm writing, drawing AND self-publishing... The actual content is a little difficult to describe so I don't know if I should bother". Doctor Mirablis (meaning 'wonderful teacher') was a name legend has bestowed on Roger Bacon, a 13th century friar and Europe's first true science pioneer, commonly perceived as a Faust-like sorcerer. Bacon as Mirabilis appears briefly in Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor, as the occultist architect’s mentor, a role he also plays in Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose.
Doctor Mirabilis was to be published by Snobbery With Violence, a seemingly stillborn self-publishing venture between Morrison and Forbidden Planet Scotland's James Hamilton,. One net commentator (Darren Shrubsole at www.timemachinego.com) believes there may have been a self-published version of Dare sold in Glasgow in the early 90's, but the associated licensing wrangles and the ‘official’ reprints (the Expresso book and the 4-issue series from Monster Comics) make this seem unlikely. Regardless, any trace of it, and anything else Snobbery With Violence may have printed, has yet to surface in our digital age
MR. SMITH / SCHOOL FOR FOOLS (1990)
A one-shot with art by Brendan McCarthy based on the pair's own experience of severe public schools and one of McCarthy' s Artoons which can be seen here. As with all of Morrison's intended collaborations with McCarthy, due to the artists busy schedule outside the comics field the script was completed but the art was never finished. Its not known where this was intended to be published, nor by whom. Interestingly, despite Morrison’s frequent, and deserved, lauding of McCarthy’s work and his character designs on Zenith and Doom Patrol, the pair haven’t managed a single published collaboration. There does, however, exist an unpublished Doom Patrol cover by McCarthy.
PROFESSOR SPACE (1992)
About to embark on the final Phase of his Zenith series, Morrison, clearly disillusioned with the comics business, said in an interview with Warren Ellis in 1991's Speakeasy #120 that he was quitting comics for good. His last works would be the conclusion of his Doom Patrol run the following year and a serial for John Brown Publishing's short-lived Blast! anthology named Professor Space., probably based on the musical persona of fellow Glasgow scenester and '6th Mixer' Alan Cameron. Art duties were to be handled by Deadline alumnus Glyn Dillon.
Blast! was cancelled after only seven bi-weekly issues and the serial, scheduled for early 1992, never appeared. Tempted back from the brink by Todd McFarlane's offer to write three issues of Spawn (for which Morrison was allegedly paid $1 million) and the freedom promised by DC's new Vertigo imprint, Morrison fortuitously reconsidered his retirement and started work on The Invisibles instead.
2000AD SUMMER OFFENSIVE (1993)
In the hype surrounding Morrison, Mark Millar and John Smith's takeover of Fleetways's 2000AD in 1993, numerous projects were mentioned that never saw the light of day.
Spare Parts; Baron Saturday (A play on the name of the voodoo loa Baron Samedi and a track from the Pretty Things original psych-rock opera, SF Sorrow); Juggernauts; Brian's Magic Car (A Television Personalities song title and most likely a pitch by fellow Summer Offensive writer John Smith. There’s a joke reference to it in the final arc of Morrison’s New X-Men, when the Proud People face certain death at the hands of the Crawlers, one of their number, Brian, appears in a magic flying car to save the day. He is killed in the next panel.) and Sleepless Knights.
All were mentioned as potential future strips by Mark Millar in a joint interview with him and Morrison to promote the Summer Offensive. Sleepless Knights is certainly a Morrison pitch and became a movie proposal/script some years later. Guilermo Del Toro was attached to direct this tale of a team of ghostbusting homeless folk who help a group of kids save the world from a perpetual Halloween, though the movie has since become mired in 'development hell' and Morrison's script has been heavily revised by other writers.
UN-NAMED DC THOMPSON PROJECT (1997)
Tony O'Donnell mentioned in a 1997 interview with comics fanzine Vicious that Morrison was working with Beano publisher DC Thompson on a "proposed X-Files type magazine which may feature a revival of some old DC Thompson characters done Manga style!". According to O'Donnell, the script was completed. No further news of the project has been heard since.