In the last several years, some of the longest held beliefs about what can and can't happen in comics have gone absolutely topsy-turvy. Just recently, the as-yet unconfirmed reports of Frank Miller's <b>Dark Knight Returns</b> getting a second sequel sent shockwaves through the fan community, to say nothing of the long-dormant, ever-rumored Miracleman finally returning to print (and even get a new story soon!). Even the Pre-52 DC universe is in play with DC's <b>Convergence</b> event. <p>And not long ago, we probably never really thought we'd see prequels to <b>Watchmen</b>, or Neil Gaiman's return to <b>Sandman</b> either. The lid seems to be coming a little bit off projects or comic book happenings that we thought we'd never see, or never see again. So this all got us to thinking what other things that we once least expected or had many, many reasons to never expect might now be possible in light of these events? <p>Here's a look at 10 comic book projects or happenings we'll prudently not hold our breath for, but allow ourselves a faint, nearly comatose glimmer of hope that maybe someday, in the not <i>too</i> distant future, could become reality.
For many, there has never been a better creative team for Marvel's one-time <em>Strangest Teens of All!</em> than Claremont and Byrne, the men behind the Dark Phoenix Saga... as well as the Hellfire Club, Proteus and the original "Days of Future Past" two-parter. <p>In just over 30 issues, the two creators not only perfected the tone of the series, but created characters and concepts that would keep an entire franchise running for decades to come. Since then, the two have fallen out with each other, fallen out with Marvel – well, more Byrne than Claremont, who currently writes <i>Nightcrawler</i> for them – and made all kinds of moves that would suggest that even the idea of the two coming together again for the X-Men would be a frustrating waste of time and energy for everyone involved. But stranger things have happened. <p>After all, the two did re-team (with Terry Austin as inker, no less!) in 2004's "The Tenth Circle" storyline for DC Comics' <em>JLA</em>, so maybe one day, if the stars aligned...
OK, so Neil Gaiman has returned to <b>Sandman</b> for one last untold story. But what about when he's done, finito, and his time with Morpheus is good and over? <p>Death, Dream's sister, was seen in the old DC Universe just prior to the reboot (albeit with Gaiman's blessing). John Constantine is on a freaking <i>Justice League team</i>. Swamp Thing is front-and-center in a conflict that promises to bring in DC's best and brightest heroes. Once Gaiman is truly done with Sandman and says he's walking away from the character forever, there is likely nothing stopping DC Comics from using the character in a new way in their new universe. <p>But would they dare? You can say "Um, yeah, <i>Before Watchmen</i> remember?" But Neil Gaiman, unlike Alan Moore, is clearly still on good terms with the publisher (he's been doing a new miniseries for them for the last year, haven't you been paying attention?). Of course, Sandman started out on the fringes of the DC Universe before Vertigo even started, with now-defunct JSA characters pivotal to the tale of Morpheus and his legacy. <p>Perhaps this isn't a title for directly after <i>Convergence</i>, but down the line, when Gaiman's <b>Sandman</b> is over? We've seen crazier things in the last year alone.
That Spider-Man's <i>other</i> father has never returned to his most famous creation since #38 back in 1966 remains somewhat confusing. After all, for all of his much-discussed secrecy and distaste for the comic industry, he's done a significant amount of work for Marvel after abandoning Spidey, including runs on <i>Rom Spaceknight</i> and co-creating Speedball and, of course, Squirrel Girl. <p>Despite his age – he's 87 years old – Ditko is reportedly still producing work, <a href=http://comicscomicsmag.com/2011/02/the-avenging-page-in-excelsis-ditko.html>releasing four self-published titles over the last few years alone</a>. Is there any way that Marvel could somehow convince him to revisit Peter Parker for a proper farewell? The world is finally ready for <a href=http://funnybookbabylon.com/2012/06/14/the-thrilling-adventures-of-the-absolutist-spider-man/>the Absolutist Spider-Man</a>!
<b>Kingdom Come</b>, the 1996 miniseries that presented an ethically questionable future for DC superheroes, has been acclaimed by everyone from critics to pop stars. The collection is still among DC's best-selling books, and there have even been collectible action figures made of the comic's many characters and concepts. <p>So it would make sense for the two creators of the series, Alex Ross and Mark Waid, to unite for another story set in that universe. Right? <p>There's only one problem: Ross and Waid can't seem to agree on what that story should be. Whether it's just a creative difference of opinion or the rumored animosity between the two creators, they've avoided working together again on anything, <i>especially</i> not <i>Kingdom Come</i>. <p>Fans of <i>Kingdom Come</i> have instead been presented with two different stories that dealt with those characters: <i>The Kingdom</i>, which involved Waid but not Ross (who departed from the project before publication); and "Thy Kingdom Come," the Ross-condoned story by Geoff Johns that featured <i>Kingdom Come</i>'s Superman visiting the <i>Justice Society of America</i>. <p>But wouldn't readers much rather see Ross and Waid <i>unite</i> to tell more brilliant stories set in that world? For now the best they can hope for is that the entire timeline isn't definitively destroyed/erased during the <i>Convergence</i> storyline, which will see these versions of characters fight it out with others lost to time.
<p>Speaking of the writer, Mark Waid finally realized his self-professed lifelong dream of writing <b>Superman</b> when he penned <b>Birthright</b>, a title which replaced John Byrne's <i>Man of Steel</i> as Superman's official origin. However, this status quo lasted only a year, until the onset of <i>Infinite Crisis</i>, which altered DC's history again. <p>Waid has made no secret of his desire to be Superman's primary author. His love of the character is what sparked his entire career in comics, and his brushes with the Kryptonian have always been well-received with some, such as the aforementioned <i>Kingdom Come</i>, remaining perennial classics. <p>Sadly, Waid has been passed over time and time again, with his strained relationship with Dan DiDio reportedly scuttling more than one attempt to unite the creator with his dream project. But still, regimes change, attitudes shift, and pigs fly - especially in the world of comics. There's always hope that one day, Mark Waid will get to show us what he could accomplish with a Superman ongoing.
Nearly seven years after the fact, "One More Day" remains a thorn in the side of some very vocal Spider-Man fans, who can't seem to forgive Marvel for undoing the marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson; returning him to his swingin' single days via a rather literal deal with the devil. <p>Clearly, a married Spider-Man wasn't something that Joe Quesada – Marvel's former editor-in-chief and current chief creative officer – was happy with, and it's unlikely that'll change while he's still at the company. <p>But, times change, and so do attitudes. At one point, Quesada stated that he was against the idea of a Marvel Universe/Ultimate Universe crossover, and now they've publised <i>Spider-Men</i>, the <i>All-New X-Men</i> are in the midst of a visit, and <i>Spider-Verse</i> plays with both universes (and many others), to say nothing of the upcoming <i>Secret Wars</i>. <p>Given the cyclical nature of comics, it's at least within the realm of possibility that we might one day see Spider-Man's marriage restored – and at the very least, Peter and Mary Jane have gotten closer (though not romantic) in the Dan Slott-written <i>Amazing Spider-Man</i>, and with big changes promised in the near future of that series, as well as some very suggestive teaser images, maybe they're looking to get hitched again, for the first time.
After the departure of longtime scribe Kurt Busiek, the reins of Marvel's current flagship - at the time, more of a sleeper hit - Avengers turned over to a young hotshot named Geoff Johns. Johns wrote nearly 20 issues of Avengers alongside artists such as Kieron Dwyer, his occasional Flash collaborator, Scott Kolins, and even nascent superstar Olivier Coipel on his now classic story, Red Zone. <p>Aside from this significant run on Avengers, Johns's Marvel work is limited to a handful of stories here and there, and with good reason. Right around the time his Avengers run concluded, Johns became one of the biggest names at DC Comics when he penned Hal Jordan's return, leading into a new series for the classic Green Lantern. <p>Now that Johns is Chief Creative Officer of DC, and one of the main architects of its universe, the chances of him taking a swing at any Marvel titles seems lightyears away from reality. Still, it's not like Johns and Marvel left on bad terms, and eventually, he won't be the top dog at DC - probably when he's ready to branch out - so it's not impossible that Johns might return to the House of Ideas <i>some</i> day.
<p>Marvel has made something of a badge of honor out of never having truly rebooted its universe. Unlike their "Distinguished Competition," who have made a habit of rebooting, reworking, and restructuring their world on a massive scale, Marvel has largely avoided these pitfalls. <p>Marvel has managed its universe on a 10-15 year sliding timeline, adjusting and updating its stories occasionally to reflect the modern world, or retconning certain points in time, but never recutting their universe whole cloth. <p>Despite this, there are near constant rumors of a reboot in the offing. There are countless tales of times Marvel has "come close" to a reboot, or a reboot is "just on the horizon," but as yet, Marvel's timeline remains relatively intact. Of course, whispers abound about the upcoming <b>Secret Wars</b>, a story which will bring together many of Marvel's disparate alternate worlds, and the final teaser for that was...ominous (on your left). So who knows? The unthinkable might be closer than any of us know.
<i>Marvel vs. DC</i>. Amalgam. <i>JLA/Avengers</i>. They've done it before, from Superman vs. Spider-Man to Batman vs. Hulk to the X-Men teaming up with the Teen Titans. So why couldn't it happen again? <p>Let's never mind the fact that execs on both sides of the aisle have all-but assured this will never happen, or at least not in the foreseeable future. A more salient reason might be the fact that multimedia is a much stronger force than it was in the '80s, '90s, or even the early part of the 21st Century. <p>Brand is everything in the entertainment business. Every comic fan knows (and wants to shake) someone who wonders when Batman or Superman will show up in an Avengers movie. Marvel doesn't want to encourage that line of thinking by having Superman and Captain America next to each other on a comic book cover. DC doesn't want to have Daredevil bumped up by Batman, either. What once was fun for the isolated fan is now potentially damaging for the mass audience. <p>Frankly, the billion-dollar audience of people seeing <b>Marvel's The Avengers</b> or <b>The Dark Knight Rises</b> are simply far too overpowering for the $300,000 group of fans reading <b>Batman</b> and <b>Avengers</b> to ever win out. At this point, this would most likely take a Warner/Disney merger to really make happen, and that would be one whole other can of unlikely worms.
Hey, we did say "highly unlikely" right in the headline. <p>The recent history between Alan Moore and DC Comics has not been a pleasant one, and the announcement and publishing of "Before Watchmen" certainly didn't help. The writer, whose time at DC included classics like "The Killing Joke," his <i>Swamp Thing</i> run, <i>V for Vendetta</i> and "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" (and of course, <i>Watchmen</i>) has a significant grudge against the publisher, and, not only that, he's pretty much retired from comic books in general these days. <p>So, yeah. This probably won't happen. <p>But. This is a world – and an industry – where "probably won't happen" doesn't mean as much as it used to, and we're seeing things we never thought we'd see. And what would be a more unlikely outcome of the post-"Before Watchmen" reality than Moore actually returning to DC? <p>Maybe in the near and/or distant future, there's something of a regime change at DC to Moore's liking, or a major mea culpa that he would find satisfying, or maybe just an unexpected change of perspective from the writer himself, and maybe, <i>maybe</i> there's simply a DC story left that Moore wants to tell. <p>But, probably not. Though it's at least within the grand scheme of things that could potentially happen given the known laws of the universe. You have to give us that.