While Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are busy putting together Doomsday Clock, their hotly anticipated follow-up to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons seminal Watchmen, fans are still waiting for the third installment to their Batman: Earth One run of graphic novels. Now since these books are not on a set release schedule and exist in their own continuity, a delay between volumes is completely understandable. And it looks like it might be a while still: Johns was quoted in Nerdist in July 2017 that he and Frank, “Were in the middle of Batman: Earth One Vol. 3, and we were like ‘OK, let’s put the brakes on that, because we need to tell this story right now. This is the time to do it..'” With 10 issues of Doomsday Clock left to go, it may be not be until 2019 for the next volume of Batman: Earth One.
Sometimes a series petering out isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s controversial All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder (yes, that title could have been much shorter) arguably ran out of gas after 10 issues, with much-mocked dialogue (“I’m the goddamn Batman”) and dubious sex scenes. Despite decent sales and an amazing companion comic under the same banner, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman, to lean on, the book faced massive delays until it eventually stopped. Still, DC touted a return in 2010, a six-issue series titled Dark Knight: Boy Wonder, now set in the world of Dark Knight Returns — but no real news on the subject has followed in the interim years.
Massive talents aren’t immune
Legendary comics author/novelist Alan Moore has two notable uncompleted comics under his belt. The first being the often-over-looked 1963, a hilarious six-issue series that lovingly poked fun at the tropes of the Silver Age of comics, notably books like The Fantastic Four and the works of Jack Kirby, along with the behind-the-scenes industry politics of the time. The book was fantastic, but the behind the scenes drama meant the intended finale, an oversized annual drawn by Jim Lee, never saw the light of day.
The other notable comic that never saw closure by Moore was his four-issue mini-series Glory, which was his version of the Rob Leifeld character. This wasn’t Moore’s first rodeo of reinterpreting seemingly shallow characters from ‘90s-era Image Comics — he wrote the best Supreme story ever published and did some rather interesting things with Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S.. Glory was a victim of the character shifting through publishers, and only two issues were ever released.
But sometimes there is hope…
Not all unfinished comics are dead in the water. Now that we are in the age of crowd-funding, nostalgia and rampant nerd obsessions, no property is ever entirely dead (if you don’t believe us, go ask your “Browncoat” friend about Firefly). Some unfinished comics find new life in other mediums. Take Joe Madureira’s cult hit Battle Chasers — this was a series that ran a mere nine issues between 1998 and 2001, but somehow garnered enough love from fans to revitalize the property as a video game last fall. Now there’s talk about a new comics series to further the world.
Of course, hope can be a difficult thing to maintain. If you were one of the cool kids at the comic shop that read every issue of James Stokoe’s acid-fantasy comic Orc Stain, you know it hasn’t had a new issue released since 2012. Those who follow Stokoe on social media know that he has 30 issues planned, but has been working on other projects, some of which are almost as awesome as Orc Stain. In February 2017, Stokoe told a fan on Twitter that practical financial reasons were the primary reason the series hasn’t continued. But we hold out hope for this one, because, frankly, there isn’t else like it.
What unfinished or cancelled comics are out there that you still hope to see return? What books have been gone too long to make you care?
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