Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Scott on ‘Lost’ Projects (Guest Blog)

[Guest blogger Scott on projects never completed.]

No matter whether you’re into film, music, or comics, you’re bound to have heard of some ‘Lost Project’; these are those masterpieces that coulda, woulda, shoulda been but were never realized as the result of contract disputes, the project getting away from the artist, editorial interference, various legal issues or, in the worst case scenario, the death of the artist. Here are just a few of my potential-favorite-works-that-never-actually-existed:

Alan Moore’s Twilight of The Superheroes

This Alan Moore penned tale, proposed circa 1987, would be his vision of the ‘last days’ of the DC Universe. The plot would have evolved around the heroes being arranged in various ‘houses’ in the future: The House of Steel (Superman and Wonder Woman, now married), The House of the Bat, The House of Thunder (The Marvel Family). An impending union between the House of Thunder and Steel threatens a future rife with Super-Fascism. There were many rumored similarities to the plot and Kingdom Come. The series would have been the centerpiece of a company wide crossover and would have resulted in the re-establishment of DC’s multi-verse (much like 52).

The Who’s Lifehouse

This was Pete Townshend’s intended follow-up to Tommy and is one of the most ambitious musical projects ever envisioned. The story, a sci-fi tale set in a futuristic dystopia, would have incorporated elements of technology that sound much like Virtual Reality and the Internet. The problem with this is that this was 1971 and, by Townshend’s own admission, no one really understood it but him. In addition to the complex plot, the project would have been, not only an album, but a film and, presumably, a concert tour which would have had interactive features; Townshend would have supposedly taken vital statistics from his audiences and then, using a synthesizer, create musical templates from which the band would build upon (Supposedly, the synth bit of “Baba O’ Reilly” was created by doing this with the stats of Townshend’s Guru Meher Baba). After the project was abandoned, many of the songs written for the concept became the Who’s Next album (To my knowledge, John Entwistle’s “My Wife” was the only song not connected to Lifehouse in some way). Townshend would revisit the Lifehouse concept on several other occasions in an attempt to ‘finish’ it. Elements of the plot surfaced in his 1993 concept album/radio play Psychoderelict, he released a boxed set of the out takes of the project in 2000 which also included a radio play version of the story and would revisit the story yet again on the ‘Wire and Glass’ portion of the Who’s 2006 album Endless Wire, however, rather than the story becoming more concrete over the years it has only become more convoluted which makes one wonder what that album may have been like had it been completed as envisioned in 1971.

J.D. Salinger’s The Fall of the House of Glass

Supposedly a manuscript of this exists somewhere, I have no idea what the plot would have been about other than bringing an end to the ‘Glass Family Saga’ that had been featured in works like Franny and Zooey and “Perfect Day for A Bananafish”

The Jimi Hendrix/Miles Davis collaboration

The two musicians were rumored to be working on this around the time Hendrix died and this may have been the inspiration for Davis’ own Bitches Brew album (an album that would lay the groundwork for Jazz-Fusion).

Richard Donner’s Superman I & II

Okay, so we’ve already gotten a taste of this with the Donner Cut of Superman II (which you should check out if you have not already… so much better than the original and, unlike most director’s cuts that add a scene or two, this really is 50-75% a completely different movie) but, in listening to the commentary, the first movie would have ended differently and Superman’s ‘spinning time backwards’ trick would have been reserved for the grand finale of the second film after Lois falls to her death in one of the chasms during the fight with the Kryptonian villains. I also think the Donner cut of Superman II is a great example of a ‘Lost Work’ that finally saw the light of day.... and, unlike most 'Lost Works' that eventually see the light, came out better than expected.

And while we’re on the subject of Superman….

The Kevin Smith written, Tim Burton directed, Nicholas Cage starring Superman Lives!

This was rumored somewhere around 1997-98. Smith got the job based on the quality of his Chasing Amy script and, from what I have read, the story would have been an adaptation of sorts of the whole ‘Death and Return of Superman’ story. Producer John Peters (who had produced Burton’s Batman) wanted to do a ‘darker’ Superman movie (Kevin Smith tells the hilarious story of Peter’s ‘vision’ on the Evening With Kevin Smith DVD). Later, Tim Burton was brought aboard to direct (eventually rejecting Smith’s script in favor of one done by his own people) and Nicholas Cage was cast as the man of steel…. At which point it fell into development hell. If nothing else, this one gave us a great Mad TV bit which imagined Cage (fresh off of his performance in Leaving Las Vegas) as an alcoholic Superman in a sketch entitled Leaving Metropolis. (Sorry, I couldn’t find the clip anywhere online).

So, folks … what are some of your favorite non-existent works? (this reminds me of how in The Sandman Morpheus had that library of books that were never written… wouldn’t it be awesome to have one of those?)

[GRANT MORRISON on WILDCATS and the AUTHORITY. Scheesh. I know projects have been aborted before, but I can't think of one that I actually cared about being aborted after such a promising and limited start (one issue of Wildcats and two of the Authority). Well, Wildcats was not so promising, but Brad and I have a weird affection for that title, and the Authority start was genuinely awesome. Too often Morrison is paired with weak artists, and the fact that he had solid collaborators would have meant great things I think.]


briang said...

Bryan Singer and the writing team from X-2 were supposed to do a run on Ultimate X-Men with Steve McNiven. It was supposed to be their take on a third X-Men movie, but it never ended up happening.

I also really enjoyed the first two issues of Damon Lindelof's Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, but with Lindelof's LOST schedule and Leinil Francis Yu off in the Avengers books, I'm not sure if this series will ever be completed.

hcduvall said...

This is a couple of fudge answers, one's and incompleted and aborted project, and the other is go ign to emerge after all, but these popped up to mind right away.

Alan Moore was writing a series called Big Numbers that Bill Sienkiewicz who departed after two issues and was replaced by the latter's assistant, Al Columbia, who then left and tore up his art.It was supposed to be about Northhampton and math, namely chaos theory, fractal geometry, and Benoit Mandelbrot (which probably means something to someone else). Eddie Campbell covers it well in his How to Be An Artist.

The other lost project that comes to mind is Nabokov's Laura, his last novel, which he apparently stipulated should not be published and should be destroyed instead. Vladimir Nabokov's son recently decided to publish it (I think there was an excerpt in the New Yorker recently)...but that one, almost lost.

James said...

Word from San Diego is that all Lindelof's scripts are in (the final one was handed to Quesada as a panel-stunt) and that Yu is back on it straight after Secret Invasion. Loved those first 2 issues.

Morrison's Wildcats and Authority were also spoken of in the present tense at Comic-Con, but I'll believe that when I see it.

I would've loved to see Singer's Ultimate X-Men, too.

Jason said...

The Alan Moore ones always kill me.

Besides the aforementioned "Twilight" and "Big Numbers," there's also:

The final two issues of Supreme: All the different Supremes of the Supremacy fight all of the Daxes of Daxia in a giant free-for-all.

The full twelve-issue run of Youngblood with Steve Skroce. The first three issues were released, and were incredibly entertaining, I thought. This would've been my favorite superhero-team book since Claremont's X-Men ended in '91, I'm sure of it. But we only got 25% of the way in. Oh, what could've been.

Moore also supposedly had six issues scripted for "Glory" (another one spun out of the Liefeld matrix, like Youngblood and Supreme). Two were released by Avatar, and they were great -- they had the feel of some of Moore's old Robert Crumb-inspired underground comics (e.g., Roscoe Moscow and The Stars, My Degradation).

Theoretically all these comics were re-tooled as the ABC line: Supreme became Tom Strong, Youngblood became Top Ten, and Glory became Promethea. But the ABC stuff was not the same. I love Promethea, but it lacked the gritty, smutty, "comix"-y feel of Glory. Tom Strong lacked the "kitchen-sink" feel of Supreme, and Top Ten didn't even come close to replicating the energy of Skroce's Youngblood. Alas ...

Then there's the "1963 Annual," which was to wrap up Moore's 1963 miniseries. Instead the 1963 mini is forever left open-ended, which makes it a frustrating thing to re-read.

neilshyminsky said...

First, some Beatles related stuff: 1) The supposed final Lennon-McCartney "session", recorded in 1975 during Lennon's separation from Ono. (I'm tempted to say that it was during Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll sessions.) I've heard some stuff identified as being from this session, but it seems impossible to prove. Some people argue that it doesn't even exist anymore, so... 2) The circulating-in-bootleg edition of Glynn Johns' first cut of the Get Back album. This can be found, and so it's not officially lost - but one can see why the Beatles wanted it to be lost. It reveals them to be unfocused, sloppy, snarky, and cruel to one another - in short, it humanizes them too much.

As for film: The original cut of The Magnificent Ambersons seems like the obvious choice.

And to add to comics: I might be one of the only people who thought that Claremont's plan for the X-Men - which extended for years - prior to Jim Lee's ascent sounded like great fun. Realistically, he was never going to be allowed to kill Wolverine. But still.

Jason said...

Neil, which plans of Claremont's are you referring to? (I've heard a couple different reports.) I know there was one Claremont mentioned in which Wolverine becomes brainwashed into being a Hand assassin, in a plot that would've lasted at least a year. Marvel nixed it because they didn't think it was commercially viable to have Wolverine be a villain for a year. Funny, because wasn't that pretty much what they did a year or two ago, with Millar and JRJr's "Enemy of the State" storyline?

Streebo said...

Neil: Great choice going with Orson Welles. Over the past decade or so - most of Welles' films have been released recut to his original specifications including Ambersons, Mr. Arkadin, and Touch of Evil. The truly lost Welles projects at the moment remain Don Quixote and Teh Other Side of the Wind. Rumor has it that Peter Bogdonavich is working to have TOSOTW released on DVD.

For me - the greatest lost project is Bruce Lee's aborted Silent Flute - which would have showcased Lee's philosphy as well as his fighting art and his version of what became known as The Game of Death. The Silent Flute was aborted because Lee's friend and student Steve McQueen flat out told Lee that he was not going to star in a movie designed to make Lee into a star.

The Game of Death was aborted because Lee left to make Enter the Dragon for Warner Bros. and his untimely death prevented his returning to finish the project.

pla said...

Ambserons, certainly, but Welles' career is full of films that will never be. I've seen some footage for Other Side of the Wind, and am looking forward to seeing whatever hack Bogdanovich is putting together. But there's also his Don Quixote, The Big Brass Ring, Merchant of Venice, King Lear.

Actually, my new favourite never-made movie is the mid-70's adaptation of Dune that was to be directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, written by Dan O'Bannon, and starting Orson Welles, Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, Alain Delon, and Geraldine Chaplin with designs by Giger and Moebius (elements of which allegedly turned up in Star Wars and Alien). I can only imagine how bizarre that would have been.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the full, ten hour version of Greed. There's a great Jack Finney short story about a guy who befriends someone with a legendary collection of lost films (including Greed), but it's been a while, so I don't recall all the ones cited there.

Jason said...

Oh, speaking of "Don Quixote" -- the Terry Gilliam/Johnny Depp Don Quixote film, whose implosion is documented in "Lost in La Mancha," seems like it would've been pretty great. (Of course, most of Gilliam's films already *are* Don Quixote stories anyway, but still ... )

Coligo said...

As great as Singers X-men comics could be, no one seems to have mentioned a straight-up Singer X3.

Alien3 the way Fincher wanted to make sounds good, as well as the alledged Fincher Mission Impossible 2 that would have seen Cruise go up against body-part smugglers in Africa.

The Cameron/Scott Alien 5 could have been amazing too. But even more awesome would have been the Cameron helmed future-war epic Terminator 3.

Comics wise it would great to have a full run of New X-men with art by Quitely. Similarly a full NYX with art by Middleton; and a proper series of Middletons project Sky Between Branches.

scott91777 said...

These are all great.

I seem to remember the film department at my school doing a cut of the Magnificent Ambersons that was supposed to replicate Welles' original a few years back.


What else do you know about Claremont's X-men plan? That sounds intriuging since... as I've mentioned here before, in his final few issues, he had just managed to get the team back together after 20 issues of there not being a team proper (or was that editorially mandated in order to launch the Jim Lee series?)

I've also heard a lot about his intended origin for Wolverine... with Sabertooth as his father (something that was alluded to around the same time Claremont left comics) as well as the adamantium bonding being the result of his learning after a bad accident that his healing factor doesn't work on his bones... and he volunteers for the experiment after 10 years in a hospital bed (also part of the reason for him being kind of nuts).

Does anybody remember The Simpsons episode where Bart and Milhouse stumbled into Comic Book Guy's hidden room and found all sorts of 'lost works'... my favorite being "Godfather III... Good Version"

Oh, I also wanted to mention my favorite thing about that Mad TV Sketch: While doing is 'phone-booth' change Superman begins 'drunk dialing' and at one point it cuts to him saying "That's right... his name is Bruce Wayne... he's got a cave under his house" only to cut back a few seconds later with him saying "Bruce Buddy... I scewed up!"

Cove West said...

Another lost Claremont story: a sequel to Alans Moore and Davis's Captain Britain Jaspers' Warp Saga that was supposed to run circa UXM #200-225. I'll go into the details when Jason's Claremontpalooza nears #200, but the short of it was that Jaspers's 616-counterpart (introduced at the Trial of Magneto) would go mad, create a Fury, and reprise the Warp story in the X-Men's reality (think DoFP meets Proteus). Unfortunately, Moore was in the middle of the Dr. Who/Marvelman debacle with Marvel and Claremont was forced to kibosh the story and rework the bits into Nimrod, Sinister, the Adversary, the Mutant Massacre, and the Fall of the Mutants (and he eventually got to tell a Jaspers/Fury story when he returned to the X-books a few years ago, though it bore little semblance to the original plan).

Back in the '90s, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid, and (I think) Tom Peyer pitched a takeover of the four Superman titles that DC rejected. The pitch is on the Web somewhere and I've never read it, but it was Morrison mid-JLA, Millar mid-AZTEK, Waid mid-FLASH, and Peyer mid-HOURMAN, basically the DC braintrust of the era -- it couldn't NOT be awesome.

There was some work done on a sequel to MARVELS, either by Busiek or Ross, that eventually fell through and was picked up in an altered fashion by Warren Ellis as RUINS (which itself changed mid-story).

Jason said...

Scott, this may answer some questions ... (link: http://www.seriejournalen.dk/debat/viewtopic.php?t=243)

""The first issue of X-Men, X-Men 1, my original idea was to do as a double sized, sort of, entry level book. What do we do with 53 X-Men? I had this great sequence worked out where, we sort of hinted at in what was X-Men 1, I wanted to do this five page scene, where Storm and Scott are in the danger room. Scott's up in the booth, Storm's down on the floor. You have this incredible fight going on, Brotherhood of Evil versus the X-Men, bodies flying everywhere, Storm just wanders through the middle of it, fights going on around her, she's taking notes. They freeze it. displays appear, assessing everybody's performance. And what Scott and Storm are doing is running scenarios, mixing various members of the teams. A twelve man team is unwieldy, you need to have six people teams, who's the best mix. Does Jean go with Storm or with Scott. Where does Wolverine go? If Wolverine goes somewhere, where does Jubilee go? Should Jubilee go anywhere, or are we doing Kitty all over again? Show them actually working this out, actively figuring out, where do we go from here? How do we protect the mansion? Here's Xavier trying to deal with what I'm doing with Moira, because my Muir Island story was much different from the one that appeared. In the middle of this Magneto shows up. There's the obligatory confrontation, there might even be a fight. The gist of it is that Magneto and Xavier have come to a parting of the waves, they can't see each other's point of view any longer. Magneto is certain that humanity will betray them. Xavier is just as certain that humanity will not. The Statesman versus the Terrorist, who knows which is right? They go their separate ways. The X-Men realize that there is a nasty world out there and they have to be ready. They divvy up the teams, X-Men 2 and Uncanny X-Men 281 were where the stories kick off. The first issue was a, sort of, Hi, if you've never read the X-Men before, this is what we're all about. This is the mansion, these are the characters, this is why the characters exist, this is the world they live in. Issue 2 I was going to kill Wolverine, he would have a fight with Lady Deathstrike and she would rip out his heart. She'd die, he'd die. Except, he wouldn't die, because he has a healing factor. And, he has his followers. So the Hand grab the body, they resurrect him, he comes back as the master assassin of the Hand, for two years, leading up to Uncanny X-Men 294, he would be the X-Men's greatest foe. The story would range from Uncanny to X-Men and back again. Jean would go in and try to rescue him and end up becoming his evil babe, though not really, she would be faking it this time. She is trying to tap into the Wolverine which is buried beneath all of the Hand's spell. Scott and company are figuring "Wolverine's gone bad, we gotta put him down." Xavier is unmoveably adamant about the need to save him. The need to salvage him, to bring him back to the light. Along the way, an interesting thing was going to happen. Wolverine's healing factor went into ultra high gear when he was "killed," it was essentially rebuilding his heart. What would have happened if he had been left alone, his arms and legs probably... this is really disgusting, but his arms and legs would have rotted, as his heart healed. His conscious mind would have been in total suspended animation, everything about him would have been geared towards keeping his sentiency intact and repairing his heart, everything else would have been left to go. So assuming no scavengers came in and started to eat him, you would find that this partially decomposed body, with a fully healed torso, at which point, the decomposed bits would begin to heal. It would take a long time and be disgusting beyond words but ultimately he would have survived. The idea was Wolverine really is almost as impossible to kill as Death's Head and much more charming and better looking. Anyway, one of the side effects of this, the healing factor is purging all non-organic matter, which means the adamantium."

"So what was going to happen was it was start to leech out of his skin. There would be a time where Wolverine would look like the Silver Surfer with hair. He'd be this blinding, shining creature with killer claws. Ultimately, the adamantiurn would just be part of his hair, he'd look like a silver porcupine. At some point in the storyline, Colossus and he would have a major fight, and it would have this great cover, it would be a black background with a spotlight of light and in the centre of the spotlight are two sets of claws with the housings, just as if they had been ripped out of his arms and one of the claws would be broken. What was going to happen in that issue was that Colossus, was just going to pull the claws off from their roots. So. of course, the Hand would then give him artificial claws, they would work or not work as the case may be, but again, as part and parcel of the healing process, gradually he would realise that he was growing something new. That there is a natural element in his body that gives him claws. And over a span of six issues, you would see them grow. They would be growing faster than normal because of the accelerated healing. So, when all is said and done, it would come down to a major league fight between the X-Men and Wolerine. A major component of the fight would be Wolverine's battle with himself with the goodness of his soul, the warrior of his soul fighting this demon he has become, and he would win. The adamantium would flake off and eventually he would stand himself reborn as a totally natural being. His bones and claws would be virtually unbreakable, they could be broken, but they would also heal. But because of the incredible stress he has been under for the past two years, his healing factor is like "I'm tired, don't do this again... not for a while, OK." In the course of my storylines you could cut Wolverine and the cut would heal instantly, shoot him, he doesn't notice. He's healing so fast that normal wounds, normal injuries just have no effect on him. So he got used to the fact that he could butt walls with his head. When all this is said and done, Wolverine is not only more vulnerable. He's not going to butt his head through walls, because "it hurts and why do I wanna hurt myself?. Why don't I just use the key? Or get Colossus to do it?" It is like Wolverine has come face to face with his own mortality and his own limitations and it's like "I'm too old for this ****. We'll find a better way." But at the same time it would create a bond between him and Jean like nothing that's gone before. So that even if she was still in love with Scott, there would be a level of communication between her and Wolverine, that Scott could only dream about, or have nightmares about, it depends on your point of view. And at the end of all of this, it would lead to a final confrontation with the Shadow King, but that was my storyline, my core storyline for the first two years of X-Men. Now, as I understand it, they haven't done any of that. Obviously it looks like a lot of the stuff they're doing it the stuff I was planning to do, but actually, my plotline was rejected by Bob Harras. His comment being that it is all very well, but what do we do with Wolverine in Wolverine at the same time? How could I co-op Larry Hama's plots for the next two years? I said "Hey, he can adapt. I write the X-Men, he writes Wolverine, which is the senior book?" Bob would come and shake his head and act as if he couldn't deal with this person anymore. So, my answer was, you do two years of Wolverine as a villain, and everybody in his book is trying to cope with that. You have situations where you can bring in the Avengers, they could fight Wolverine and they could win. Of course, the hero would then lose in his own book... or, the hero can win in his own book, but that means the bad guys win. Lots of possibilities and I would have thought it would be a lot of fun. "

Jason said...

Really, Cove -- Mr. Sinister was part of the altered Jaspers story? I knew about the Adversary (it's easy to see, with Claremont reprising Roma and the chess-board motif during Fall of the Mutants), and I guess Nimrod as a Fury stand-in is obvious now that you say it ... but how is Sinister connected to it? I am intrigued ...

sara d. reiss said...

does the ever-forthcoming Guns-N'-Roses album (featuring none of the original band members except for the inimitable Mr.Rose) "Chinese Democracy" count? technically it's still "in production" but i think it's going on it's what... 12 year now? 14? 20?

oh and @jason re: Don Quixote:

sara d. reiss said...

whoops! it's easier to just click:

scott91777 said...


Chinese Democracy may be a lost work... the interesting thing is... if you want to hear the album, most of the songs can be found on the internet in the form of leaked versions or live bootlegs. A couple of years ago Chuck Klosterman wrote a review of the album for an April Fool's Day prank in Spin... basing his reviews on the available versions of the songs.

In his 'review' ,however, he brings up an interesting point that relates to the discussion where he says "Is it great? yes... is it worth the 15 year wait? No." Which makes one wonder if the legendary status these 'Lost Works' have achieved would be at all comparable with the actual end results had they been completed. In other words, would any of this been any good?

In a way, It's probably better that Lifehouse became Who's Next... because that's still one of the Greatest Rock Albums EVER! Maybe Lifehouse would have truly been confusing and alienating... that being said... I'm totally buying Chinese Democracy when it comes out.

Cove West said...

Well, I must admit to speculating on Sinister's replacement in the Jaspers Warp 2 story, but in the planned Mutant Massacre, the Fury had the role eventually taken by the Marauders, so I must assume that Jaspers's mastermind-behind-the-massacre role was taken by the Marauders' later-revealed master, Sinister. Of course, that assumes that Claremont simply cut-and-pasted characters -- and considering that that IS what he essentially did in FoTM, I'd guess he was even less creative with the Massacre (he only had a few months to come up with something that wouldn't piss off Moore).

scott91777 said...


Ok... what was Fall of the Mutants supposed to be?

Jason said...

Thanks for that La Mancha link, Sara!

CW, that's interesting. But I will say, ever since I found out that Claremont planned on using Jaspers and the Fury instead of what he *did* do with the X-Men circa 1986 and '87, I've been glad that Moore prevented it happening. First of all, the 616-Jaspers *died* at the end of Moore's Captain Britain story, so the idea that he presumably just "warped" back into existence to be present at the Magneto trial in issue 200 always bugged me.

Also, Claremont was forced to resolve the long-standing "demon-invasion" plot from Uncanny 184-188 in FotM, which he probably wouldn't have gotten around to otherwise.

Plus, I love Sinister and the Marauders. They were a new breed of X-Men villain, apart from the dichotomy Doug M just identified below ... neither selfish nor megalomaniacal, but just plain nasty and cruel.

Marc Caputo said...

Cove West: go here -


Chad Nevett and Tim Callahan, both of whom are familiar to this site, did a back and forth on the pitch. The first post on that link is actually how they divvied up the pitch, with links.

Also, there's a great book about "lost albums" called 'The Greatest Music Never Sold'.

Finally, does the long version of Wim Wenders' 'Until the End of the World' count?

Cove West said...

Scott... Moore/Davis's Jaspers' Warp story had two halves: the first was the Fury on a killing spree, the second was his "creator" Jaspers almost detroying the Omniverse. Claremont certainly had wrinkles of his own that he wanted to do, but he seems to have had the same basic plot-framework in mind -- Fury in the Massacre, Jaspers in the Fall. Claremont ended up with a Fury-powerset character in Nimrod in the prologue but used the Marauders in the Fury's place in the Massacre; conversely, Sinister in Jaspers's place in the Massacre (as the man behind the curtain) but a Jaspers-powerset character in the Adversary in the Fall.

Jason... Yeah, I'm glad too. From what I can tell, Claremont intended to almost point-by-point remake Jaspers' Warp, just with the X-Men involved, which had disaster written all over it -- not only for the reasons you mentioned, but also because Jaspers' Warp itself was a remake/homage to Proteus and DoFP. Claremont would have been remaking a remake of his own work (and for as brilliant as Claremont was, there's NO WAY he was going to top either himself/Byrne or Alan Freakin' Moore). And that he had to get creative without the Fury and Jaspers, Claremont was certainly better served, especially when he had to come up with villains for Inferno (imagine how convoluted things would have been if Jaspers, Roma, and the Omniverse were tied into all the Summers/Phoenix stuff!).

Jason said...

CW, true, that sums it up. I hadn't thought of Jaspers as a remake of Proteus, because Moore dressed it up in his particular idiosyncrasies (making Jaspers a half-Proteus, half-Joker type character ... with a British accent). The Days of Future Past influence is very clear, though, of course.

As for Claremont tying in Roma and the Omniverse to Summers/Phoenix ... I don't have to imagine that. It was called Excalibur! :) (And Claremont still got to do his third-generation upper-class British Proteus, in the form of Jamie Braddock. Funny how incestuous this stuff became ... I think 1991 really was a good time for Claremont to take his leave from that whole franchise.)

Ping33 said...

how could there be a post and 23 Comments without mentioning The Beach Boys' Smile album... I'm disgusted with you people.

scott91777 said...


I thought about that one... but didn't Wilson eventually complete that one?

I'm not a big enough Beach Boys fan to know how well that turned out... but you're right. A Beach Boys version of the album would be preferable.

Ping33 said...

Wilson came out with his version a few years ago (2005?) and it's great... but not half as great as it would have been had the full group recorded it while Wilson's voice was still young.

anyone who likes E6 stuff needs to own Pet Sounds... I know Late-era Kokomo style Beach Boys ruined the band for a generation... get over it and listen to I Know There's An Answer!

pla said...

I also realized I should have included The Owl in Daylight, the novel Philip K. Dick was working on when he died. That one is so lost, there's debate about what it was even going to be about. I've read some of his notes on it from his exegesis, which don't clarify things much, but I would be pleased to have just one more PKD novel.

Also, there's a first chapter to a Charles Willeford story that appears to be about a fatal game show that started off very nicely before stopping abruptly.

As far as Smile goes, I think the recorded version's main flaw is the polish of the recording. Especially on the songs that made it onto Beach Boys albums, it was jarring to hear a crisp, modern studio recording.

seth hurley said...

Rick Veitch has been posting character designs for an aborted Kirby project he and Alan Moore were working on for Awesome Comics.


they go back a few pages.

scott91777 said...

Speaking of Veitch... wasn't part of the reason he left DC is that he wanted to do a Swamp Thing story where the Swamp Thing would meet Jesus and they wouldn't give him the clear?

seth hurley said...

Swamp Thing #88- as part of Veitch's last storyline, the character had been sent back through time and met a bunch of historical and fictional characters.

He was to meet Christ, but DC killed the issue due to fears from religious groups. Veitch walked and Neil Gaimen and Jamie Delano, who were going to be the new writers when Vietch left, both refused to take over in solidarity.

Stephen said...

I'd second (third, etc) a lot of what's given above -- esp. some of the Alan Moore stuff (Big Numbers, 1963).

And I'd add that Samuel R. Delany novel he discusses at length in his memoir, which was completed and then flat-out lost... I forget the title.

But I'd make a pitch for Joss Whedon's Firefly as a clearly uncompleted work. What he'd have done with it as a TV series of four or five years would clearly have been quite different from the movie completion, even if the rough outline would have been similar (and it might not have been: ideas arise in the execution of art, which change the overall shape of it). Seeing those fourteen episodes is always heartbreaking: they're so good, and if you sort of mentally extend it out, the result would've been better than Buffy, as good as that is... heartbreaking, really.


j.liang said...

Not sure if this counts as a lost work, but I would really have preferred to see a series based the original proposal for GeNext, a continuation of Claremont's X-Men where "the '90s never happened" and "Jean is dead, Jean has always been dead" instead of a continuation of X-Men: The End.

Matthew J. Brady said...

There's lots of good stuff here, but you could also include Terry Gilliam's adaptation of Watchmen, or the original version of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred's "Back from the dead" storyline in X-Statix, which was originally supposed to feature a resurrected Princess Diana.

I would also mention a few TV shows that shot pilots but never got picked up, such as "Heat Vision and Jack", a superhero series starring Jack Black and a talking motorcycle voiced by Owen Wilson. It was created by Conan O'Brien. Also from Conan, there was a series called "Lookwell" that starred Adam West as an eccentric private detective. I would have loved to see both of these.

Jason said...

J.Liang, I almost mentioned that! I agree, I really wish that's what we'd have gotten with GeNext.

Hey, Matt Brady's post makes me think: Are TV series eligible that DID get picked up beyond the pilot, but then were cancelled after only six or seven episodes? I always wanted to know where J.J. Abrams was going with "Six Degrees," for example.

Also, though it actually lasted a full 26 episodes, "Tru Calling" was developing into a fascinating show that really deserved to be allowed to play out to a decent conclusion.

James said...

matthew brady: No one's reading this anymore probably, but I thought Heat Vision and Jack was a much funnier script than it was a pilot.

Matthew J. Brady said...

James: I've actually never read or seen that show, but I've heard about it, and it's one of those things that sounds great, if only because you know you'll never see it. As a series, that is; I suppose I could track down the script and/or pilot, but I think I'll keep it in my imagination in its ideal form.

James said...

Oh man, the script's hilarious (I think there's a few versions). Maybe I would've found the pilot funnier had I not read it first, but the execution seemed slightly off.

Mikey said...

I followed that back and forth between Chad and Tim on the pitch for a new Superman circa 2000 and I'm kind of glad it didn't happen, since now we've had it wonderfully delivered in All Star Superman.

If Kirby had been allowed to finish the Fourth World stuff as he'd intended - although something about the stilted ending we have is quite endearing and in keeping with the manic energy of the piece.

And...um.....the episode of Quantum Leap where Sam leaps into the body of Magnum P.I.?

Pla - that version of Dune would've been absolutely insane (OK - a different kind of insane than the Dune movie we've got).

Anonymous said...

The original version of "Back From the Dead" is probably the first unworthy work to be mentioned here.

Milligan and Allred's X-Force was a fantastic comic, and a rare superhero comic that really seemed to have no rules. Once it switched to X-Statix though, it seemed to lose its balls and became another slightly subversive superhero comic, albeit a rather lifeless one.

Then, about 2/3 of the way through "Back From the Dead" it's as if Marvel's editorial intervention woke Milligan up; suddnely, it seems as if there are no rules again, and while the series wasn't long for this world. the last few were at least worthy succesors to X-Force.

Joe Gualtieri

Matthew J. Brady said...

Joe: I agree that the rejection of their story seemed to liven Milligan and Allred up a bit, causing them to do some pretty great stories near the end of the run (my favorite is probably the all-nude Iron Man/Mr. Sensitive fight), but I still would have liked to see that original version, if only to find out how they would have treated Princess Diana. The version of the character they ended up using turned out to be a pretty awful person; I wonder how negative/positive/neutral their take on the character was originally.

Streebo said...

Pla: Believe it or not - but Jodorwosky's version of Dune exists in storyboard format. It was storyboarded from beginning to end. Those storyboards are one of the many Holy Grails that I seek in life.