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It’s time we marked a few more of our Comic Book Cold Cases as closed, with another finally in progress. The long-awaited Mage: The Hero Denied by Matt Wagner is finally rolling along smoothly at Image, 18 years in the making.
But while that project made it to shelves, there are numerous others still lost in that foggy area between "announcement" and "publication" that has mired many a book. It's hard to think of these revived projects and not wince at the thought of so many seemingly great stories still untold, or for the completionist itch that drives many collectors not to flare up. And so, without further ado, here is a collection of Comic Book Cold Cases: Projects We're STILL Waiting For…
Some previous entrants in this countdown have been retired (and removed) given numerous continuity and staffing changes over the years, snuffing out any hope of if ever happening. Sorry, fans wanting more of Frank Miller and Roger Stern's Doctor Strange, Gregory Wright and Jim Lee's Punisher/Nick Fury: Rules of the Game OGN, Kevin Smith and Glenn Fabry's Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target, Grant Morrison and Jim Lee's Wildcats, J. Scott Campbell's unfinished Wildsyders, Alan Moore and Jim Lee's multiple announced projects, and pretty much everything related to Crossgen.
AQUAMAN: EARTH ONE and FLASH: EARTH ONE2 of 14Originally Announced: July 2015
DC's Earth One OGNs are intended to be concise retellings of their major heroes' origins and early stories in a way that's approachable to both casual fans and ardent readers looking for a new take. After the success of Earth One volumes for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Teen Titans, DC continued to expand the line with the announcement in 2015 of Flash: Earth One by J. Michael Straczynski and Aquaman: Earth One by Francis Manapul.
Although announced for release in 2016, those books never came.
The Earth One line continues to go on with subsequently-announced Green Lantern: Earth One and Wonder Woman: Earth One Volume 2 nearing release dates, but the Flash and Aquaman installments remain unknown.
We've written about this situation in more detail here.
KIRKMAN AND LIEFELD'S KILLRAVEN3 of 14Originally announced: August 2007
Current status: Announced at Wizard World Chicago 2007, this five-issue miniseries was to pair writer Robert Kirkman and artist Rob Liefeld, who worked together on Image's The Infinite, on Marvel's post-apocalyptic freedom fighter.
In 2011, Both Kirkman and Liefeld have stated that they've long since turned in the last of their work for this project, but Marvel has made no moves in publishing this miniseries.
IMAGE UNITED4 of 14Last seen: August 2010
Current status: Written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by original Image founders Marc Silvestri, Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Whilce Portacio, Rob Liefeld and Jim Valentino (with Jim Lee providing covers), Image United was an ambitious project from the start. It's also one that's only managed to get three of its six scheduled issues in stores.
In March 2011, Larsen gave Newsarama an update on issue #4, saying, the issue was "about 60% done," though no issues have been solicited since.
Larsen has been the most vocal about the series' progress, telling Bleeding Cool that "nothing ever happens on that, ever," elaborating by saying "I frankly think we should just say ‘You know what? It’s never going to happen.'"
In other words, don't hold your breath on this one.
JEPH LOEB/J. SCOTT CAMPBELL SPIDER-MAN5 of 14Originally announced: April 2006
Current status: First announced in Wizard Magazine, this was to be sort of the Marvel version of the 12-issue Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee run on Batman. Only problem is, it hasn't come out yet.
In March 2011, Brevoort told CBR that it's coming "slowly but surely." However, in the years since that interview, none of the involved parties have issued much of a peep on the matter, let alone a solicitation, or even a progress report.
Should we kill off this entry as a never-gonna-happen? We began to think so, but remembered how long Loeb's Captain America: White with Tim Sale was on hiatus before finally coming back to life. How long? Seven years.
DARK KNIGHT: THE BOY WONDER6 of 14
Originally announced: April 2010
Dark Knight: The Boy Wonder was announced at WonderCon in April 2010 as the follow-up to All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, set in the same continuity as writer Frank Miller's other noted Batman tales. The first issue of the six-part miniseries was scheduled for February 2011, with DC noting at that time: "Beginning in February, 2011, you will see the remaining six issues ship on time, every month." An issue has yet to be solicited, despite Art Adams revealing he drew one of the issues and turned it into DC years ago.
Miller returned to the franchise in 2017 for Dark Knight: The Master Race, and in multiple appearances promoting that he and Lee assuaged fans' questions about Dark Knight: The Boy Wonder never coming out, saying they had discussed resuming work on it.
BATTLE CHASERS7 of 14Last seen: September 2001
Current status: Part of the Cliffhanger line along with Danger Girl and Crimson, Battle Chasers disappeared along with series creator and artist Joe Madureira, when he left the comic book industry to work in video games about a decade ago.
The last issue, #9, ended appropriately (and disappointingly) on a cliffhanger. In 2011, Image released a Battle Chasers Anthology, with Madureira telling Newsarama at the time that ending the series is "something I've always planned on doing, but it's really hard for me to commit the time to it right now."
Madureira successfully Kickstarted a video game called Battle Chasers: Nightwar in September 2015, which was also supposed to include new comic books. The game is out on most all major video game platforms - now we're just waiting on the comic books.
BATMAN: WIDENING GYRE8 of 14Last Seen: July 2010
Current status: Kevin Smith's follow up to his 3-part Batman: Cacophony received mixed reviews at best, but with only six issues of its planned 12 published, Widening Gyre remains one of the old DCU's biggest dangling threads.
Due mostly to artist Walt Flanagan's commitments to reality show Comic Book Men, the delay between #6, and the as yet unpublished #7 led Smith to announce that Widening Gyre would be finished with a second 6-part series titled Batman: Bellicosity.
In a Reddit AMA in October 2014, Smith said of Bellicosity "2015, Walt and I will finish our Batman epic. And this time, no characters will have a 'bladder spasm'." As of 2018, no further word has come down about the series from DC or from Smith.
THE SHIELD #5 and #69 of 14Last Seen: December 2011
Before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was even a glimmer in ABC's eye, Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver were delivering a time-spanning epic history of Marvel with the history of S.H.I.E.L.D. before it was even called by that name. Launched in April 2010, it helped pave the way to Hickman's place as Marvel's top writer from 2012 to 2015 with Avengers franchise and both the Infinity and Secret Wars events.
But in all that, completing S.H.I.E.L.D. was low on the list of priorities. Hickman, Weaver, and Marvel kept the fires burning however in intermittent updates about the book's livelihood, with Weaver telling Newsarama in 2016 that he had drawn the last pages and then Hickman, in September 2017, saying he had completed the final dialogue revisions.
So now, the ball is apparently in Marvel's court to find the best time and way to reintroduce the series and publish that book.
MULTIVERSITY TOO10 of 14Originally Announced: July 2015
After several delays of its own, Grant Morrison's Multiversity miniseries was a major critical and artistic achievement - and in several ways, influenced what Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder and others would later do with DC's "Rebirth." But Morrison himself was inspired by Multiversity to announce at the 2015 Comic-Con International: San Diego a series of OGN sequels, titled cutely enough, as Multiversity Too.
"These are stories we want to be able to tell from the ground up," he said. "You've never seen these characters before, and you'll have a complete adventure. You'll get to know the characters. You don't have to know anything prior to that at all."
Scheduled to launch in 2016 with Multiversity Too: The Flash, the OGN series was planned to be an Earth One meets Elseworlds style look at different versions of popular DC characters - all written by Morrison.
Since then, however, there's been radio silence. The closest fans have seen to this being touched on is the Multiversity Map being used as a central plot point in Dark Nights: Metal.
WAR HEROES11 of 14Last seen: October 2009
Current status: Billed as "what Mark Millar had planned for Ultimates 3," War Heroes started in June 2008, with Ex Machina artist Tony Harris in tow. Three issues were released in 16 months, and with Millar now fully concentrating on creator-owned work, the comic might have a better shot now than it did in recent years especially since news broke a couple years ago that a War Heroes feature had interest from Universal.
The last word we've heard is that Tony Harris "can't draw scripts he doesn't have." As of May 2016, Tony Harris said Mark Millar still hasn't supplied any more scripts despite his continued interest in finishing it.
GRANT MORRISON's BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE OGNs12 of 14Originally Announced: July 2015
The Batman: Black & White anthology was a memorable collaboration between writers and artists you'd never expect to see on a regular DC title. In 2015, Morrison announced he was working on a series of OGN sequels to that pairing him with all-star artists including Ivan Reis, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Allan Amato.
"Once we start expanding out, I think it'll get quite weird," he said. "The Batman book is quite strange. It presents very unusual versions of Batman."
Since 2015 however, DC and Morrison have been as silent as the knight about this project... but that didn't stop DC from announcing another Morrison/Batman project, a sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum with Chris Burnham, at 2017's Comic-Con International: San Diego.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: RISE OF THE SEVEN SEAS13 of 14Originally Announced: November 2013
In the final issue of Geoff Johns' "New 52" Aquaman run with November 2013's #25, the DC CCO/President capped it off with a cliffhanger talking about "seven kings" and text saying an "epic" Justice League event called Rise of the Seven Seas would be coming soon. Months passed and nothing more was said about it until two years later when the writer tweeted that he, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado had begun work on the event, showing off new artwork even.
Since then, the waters have been peculiarly calm.
Keep in mind now that Johns is busy - in addition to his three roles at DC (President, Chief Creative Officer, and co-head of DC Films), Johns is also writing Doomsday Clock and the third volume of Batman: Earth One. Could this project be in a metaphorical pile of 'To-Do's' for writer? Probably yes.
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