DC/Vertigo’s unpublished “Hellblazer” story about schoolyard shootings is available, for the moment, online.
Originally intended as “Hellblazer” #141, “Shoot,” by writer Warren Ellis and artist Phil Jimenez, focuses on a string of students killing students in schoolyards across the United States. While plotted and created well in advance of the April 20, 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. that ended in the murders of 13 students, the comic was still winding its way through the publication process at that time and was re-examined in the climate of heightened sensitivity after the shootings and was ultimately pulled from the schedule.
CBR’s Augie De Blieck’s Friday Pipeline2 column first reviewed and previewed the pulled issue, and now the full version of the comic — presumably leaked by the same source — has appeared online at another site.
The “Hellblazer” story wasn’t the only unfortunately timed story to get pulled in the wake of last year’s Columbine High School shootings: Two episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” were delayed because of the shooting. One depicted a student who intended to kill his classmates at Sunnydale High School and the other featured a demonic being intending to devour the students as part of a ritual sacrifice. Both were later aired.
In the wake of the mass murder, DC/Vertigo looked at making changes to the story, but Ellis said in a statement issued at the time, “the changes required created a story that I could not stand behind as a writer. … To their credit, DC/Vertigo have chosen to not release ‘Shoot’ at all.”
The situation helped precipitate Ellis’ decision to leave the title. While DC has recently decided to publish another pulled-from-publication story — Kyle Baker’s “Letitia Lerner, Superman’s Babysitter” from the destroyed-after-publication “Elseworlds” 80 Page Giant #1 will be appearing as part of a hardcover collection next year — there are no known plans for “Shoot” to be officially printed.