In my latest rant I’ve decided to talk about a subject that bugs many fanboys: unfinished stories. Now there will be some of you that brush it off and don’t really care and there’ll be some that are furious to the point of exploding but one thing is for certain you’ve probably suffered this fate with a comic you enjoy. Now with there being so many series to choose from I won’t go through them all and rather have decided to talk about the ones that have bothered me personally the most.
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder
First off we have All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder one of the most divisive series ever created. Written by Frank Miller and illustrated by Jim Lee the series had a very sporadic schedule with it launching in late 2005 and it’s most recent issue coming out mid 2008. There’s no surprise then that this series didn’t reach a conclusion and despite teasing a follow-on mini-series called Dark Knight: Boy Wonder I personally doubt we’ll ever see any more from this series.
Confession time. I am among the many that dislike this series. You’re probably now questioning why I’m irked at it not concluding. Simple I hate not knowing the end of a story more than I hate bad stories. I’m also probably not the only hater who’d love to see a conclusion to this series.
Squadron Supreme is a superhero team that Marvel launched in early 1970 with the members having many similarities to DC‘s Justice League. It is however the more modernised re-branding of the team in 2003’s Supreme Power that I liked with J. Michael Straczynski producing a marvellous story. Naturally a sequel followed with the title reverting back to Squadron Supreme. This series however was far from the phenomenal work we saw in Supreme Power, being somewhat dull.
Whilst talking to MTV Geeks back in 2011 Straczynski himself had this to say about the series:
Without the freedom of the Max line I wasn’t able to do the kind of things that had made the book work, and I started to flounder around, it didn’t feel like the book anymore. I told Marvel I was having a hard time. They said keep at it. I said no, seriously, this isn’t working, you should find somebody else. They said keep at it. When I finally said I can’t do this anymore, I’m starting to suck and fall below the standard of quality I think I owe the readers, they said well, we’ll keep it open if you want to come back… and it just sort of stopped rather than being assigned to a different writer.
When I read this I kind of stopped blaming Straczynski for the lack of an ending to Squadron Supreme and started to veer more to blaming Marvel. Yes Straczynski was right to stop if he felt he wasn’t producing substantial material and Marvel should have respected that and let him finish the series quicker than intended.
Next up we have a series that didn’t even make it to #1, Batman: Europa. Originally scheduled for a January 2011 release and originally having been announced over six years prior Batman: Europa was to have featured several Italian artists who Jim Lee met whilst living in the country. It was also to have featured art from himself as well as writing from Brian Azzarello and Matteo Casali. With solicitations being pushed back each month ultimately the series got forgotten and removed from DC‘s website.
The fact that this series never saw the light of day was a real shame in my opinion as though the series would have probably faced scheduling issues it would’ve be nice to have seen Batman team up with Joker. Not everything is doom and gloom however as whilst talking to the LA Times back in October of last year he talked about the series saying this:
That’s a project I began a while back when I was living in Italy for a year. It’s still on deck. I’ve gotten sidetracked with other projects. I’m working currently on [the nine-issue series] “Superman Unchained” with a writer named Scott Snyder.
Now I know that’s not an admission that he will eventually publish the series and given the scheduling of Superman: Unchained I fear it most likely will never happen. Though we can hope.
Whatever Happened to Barron Von Shock?
Whatever Happened to Barron Von Shock? is a series that Image released in 2010 with music legend and film director Rob Zombie writing this strange tale. It’s name however quickly became relevant as after only four issues the series disappeared with future solicitations being remove and bringing the question What Really Happened to Barron Von Shock?
I personally found Baron Von Shock to be a fun and entertaining series as though it wasn’t anything astonishing it delivered lightheared humour. The thing that upset me the most about it disappearing from our comic shelves was that the story had just started to elevate from fun to interesting adding in some emotion as well as having some promising development points.
Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W Haden Blackman
On a more current note we have J.H. Williams III and W Haden Blackman‘s Batwoman run which was prematurely cut short to accommodate Zero Year. As if the announcement prior stating that the duo were leaving due to editorial interference wasn’t bad enough DC had to can them altogether. Don’t get me wrong I don’t blame DC for trying to make the most of a themed month but they could have handled it better by bringing out the Zero Year issue then allowing Williams III and Blackman to finish their story. It’s this disregard for writers and fans that make me upset with the big two as though I still love their work they should think of what the consequences of their actions are.
Getting to the Point
These are only a few of many comic book series to have never finished and though it’s sad it’s part of life and we must live with it. The only thing that I do ask publishers if they’re by any chance reading this is to at least give a good reason. Fair enough scheduling problems and management problems can be excusable but cutting a story short just to capitalise on a trend isn’t. Anyway that’s my rant over and I’d love to hear you my fellow fanboys thoughts on the subject and what unfinished series annoy you.