Comic Fodder

Morrison and Millar Try To Save Marvel 2099

Punisher This comes from the CBR blog, Comics Should Be Good, A look at a pitch that Grant Morrison and Mark Millar gave Marvel to revitalize the Marvel 2099 Universe. The original text comes from THIS website.

Here is their pitch, courtesy of Braden, my notes in BOLD:

“It really came down to Marvel asking us to come up with something,’ Grant Morrison remembered. ‘So Mark and I took a look at the 2099 books and decided that what they really needed was something BIG to pull them all together.’

By big they mean bigger than Warren Ellis making Doom 2099 the President of the United States in the 2099 universe.

Thus were the beginnings of Apocalypse, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar’s effort to re-energize the Marvel 2099 books. Proposed in 1994, this crossover would not only have brought all the 2099 heroes together in a very cool story, but would also have laid groundwork for three new ongoing series by two of today’s hottest writers.

“Marvel heroes (in the past) were always characterized by their less-than-super alter-egos,” Millar wrote in his and Morrison’s proposal to Marvel. “We had the lame Donald Blake, the puny Peter Parker, the blind Matt Murdock and so on. This is what made these secret identities so much more interesting than their counterparts at other companies.”
With that in mind, Morrison and Millar were going to start Apocalypse off with a BANG–launching two new titles; Captain America 2099, a series detailing a broken man’s transformation into the new Sentinel of Liberty, and Iron Man 2099, the ongoing adventures of 2099’s Armored Avenger.

“Our Iron Man was completely spastic power-wise,” Morrison laughed. “We dreamed him up as the most fantastic scientific mind on Earth who had created this wonderful war suit. Imagine, when he’s in the war suit, when he’s Iron Man, he can do anything. He can change shape, become intangible, travel through space…anything. But the minute something happens to that suit, he’s just a guy whose body is completely worthless.”

“I wanted to base him on the British scientist and writer, Stephen Hawking,” Millar added, “a man with a super-brain trapped inside the body of a disfigured invalid. A handicapped superhero would seem genuinely fresh in an industry still cluttered with successful yuppie super-people.”

Another twist they wanted to add was that their Iron Man, although working for Stark Industries, would not be Stark himself.

“Iron Man wouldn’t remove the helmet until the fifth issue,” Millar admitted, “when he finally would reveal his true identity to the book’s love interest. She, with the reader, would suspect it’s Stark, and becomes disgusted when she finds out it’s instead this poor, disfigured man. Stark, on the other hand, would’ve probably been a major villain.”

This is a great concept and maybe something Millar, who is known to keep his notes and reuse anything he hasn’t gotten to use before, has planned Post Civil War…perhaps a reveal that the Iron Man we’ve seen so far isn’t Tony Stark?

Like their Iron Man, Morrison and Millar’s Captain America 2099 was also a tragic hero. Unlike the chemically-enhanced Steve Rogers, he was a very human war veteran who, after fighting a war over a certain resurfaced undersea kingdom (a conflict Morrison compared to America’s war with Vietnam), came home to search for the “American Dream.”

“We had Atlantis rise up from the ocean floor,” Morrison explained. “All the Atlanteans, except Namor, are dead because of pollutants from the surface world, so it’s now just this mysterious jungle world covered with weird ruins that were built thousands of years ago. And with Atlantis re-surfaced, both America and some unnamed Eastern super-state try to claim it as their own, resulting in this terrible, messed-up war.

“Our Captain America was a Marine who fought in that war, and now his life is completely shattered. He fought the war thinking that (the legendary) Captain America would come back to save them. But with no sign of Cap, and with America losing, he’s lost everything. His mind’s gone and he has nothing left to believe in. He doesn’t believe in America. He doesn’t believe in anything.”

They were then going to have their unlikely hero find a menial job as a janitor for Stark Industries, obsessing over Captain America’s absence. Not understanding why Captain America hasn’t come back in what he perceives to be “the hour of his country’s greatest need,” he sets out (to the amusement of his fellow employees) to either find the Living Legend, or become one.

“The guy decides that he wants to be Captain America,” Millar revealed, “so he goes to the bombed out ruins of Avengers Mansion, and digs up Captain America’s corpse. There he finds Captain America with the costume still on him, still holding the shield….”

This is my favorite bit. A dead and buried Cap still clutching his shield.

“And like Arthur finding Excalibur,” Morrison added, “he just pulls out the shield (from Cap’s skeletal hands), holds it up, and that’s it. Suddenly, he thinks, ‘I’m going to be the dream.’ Even with his mind shattered and his confidence completely gone, he sets out to become Captain America and suddenly finds the dream again.” Millar continued, “The important thing was that our Captain America was someone who perpetuated the ‘American Dream,’ as well as inspired the same in others.”

With Iron Man 2099 and Captain America 2099 in place, Morrison and Millar would’ve then dug up an old, obscure Marvel storyline in their effort to produce what could’ve been the last word in alien invasion stories.

“We had this dominant threat starting off with a Martian invasion in the Apocalypse limited series,” Morrison explained, “and we were tying (2099 continuity) in with the Killraven stories (from Amazing Adventures). We even had Ravage as a descendant of Killraven.

That’s kind of cool. Although I don’t know much about Killraven a quick Wiki search tells me all I need to know.

From Wiki (

One hundred years after failing to conquer Earth, the Martians from H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds returned in the year 2001 and successfully enslaved humanity. Men not used as breeders or collaborators were trained and forced to battle gladiator-style for the Martians' amusement. Killraven escaped and joined the Freemen, a group of freedom fighters against Martian oppression.
The story followed Killraven and his friends from 2018 through 2020 as they traveled across the eastern portion of North America, from New York City to Cape Canaveral while searching for Killraven's lost brother. Pursued by the cyborg Skar, the Freeman encountered various victims of Martian transhuman experiments, as well as emotionally and psychologically scarred survivors. According to writer McGegor, some story ideas that did not make it into the book before cancellation were explored in his graphic novel Sabre.

“Our idea was that the Killraven stories had actually happened, but Earth somehow got itself back together. It’s now one hundred years later, and the Martians are attacking again, meaning that all the superheroes were going to have to deal with them, obviously. Or rather, a group of superheroes.”

Morrison and Millar were going to have Cap, Iron Man, as well as other 2099 heroes join forces in an attempt to drive off the Martian Invasion. As Avengers, they were going to be all that stood between conquest by the Martians and freedom. At the same time this was going on, readers would also have learned that some former Avengers are still alive and well in the “World of Tomorrow”…sort of.

“Giant-Man is around,” Morrison said, “although he’s been comatose for over one hundred years. He’s reached this huge size, and he just stands with his feet straight in the Hudson River. He’s just this huge monolith. I mean, kids paint slogans on his feet and stuff. He’s just been there forever. His heart beats once a day, and it resounds through the gates and ships; it makes the Earth shake.”

Tell me this doesn’t sound like it would have kicked all the ass in the entire world… tell me that. I dare you.

Morrison and Millar would’ve then cut back to Captain America and company, as things progress from bad to worse. Enter Galactus….

“With the Fantastic Four being long dead,” Morrison said ominously, “Galactus has come back to make one last attempt at devouring the Earth.”

With “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” at their side, Captain America and Iron Man lead the charge against both the Martians and Galactus. Cap even tries to rouse the man-mountain that was Giant-Man, but to no avail.

“Captain America gives an impassioned plea at the feet of this mighty Goliath,” Millar said, “but Giant-Man just stares out into space, hearing and feeling nothing. He’s beyond the cares of humanity, lost in the lonely worlds of gods.”
Though they fight on valiantly, the overwhelming numbers of Martians teamed with Galactus’ sheer power prove too much for the new Avengers. But though they’re down, they’re definitely not out.

“The team has been beaten down, and all the heroes are just lying there bloodied and battered,” Morrison said. “All of a sudden, Captain America gets up and starts rallying everybody. He holds up his shield and cries out, ‘AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!’”

Affecting all around him, Captain America’s call-to-arms even wakes the sleeping giant that was Henry Pym. After a century of near-slumber, Giant-Man’s eyes open as if to meet his destiny. Morrison and Millar then cut back to Cap and a nearly defeated Avengers, fighting with their last ounce of strength, when suddenly they realize that a man-god once again walks the Earth.

“From off panel, we hear the sound of thunder,” Millar said, “enormous footsteps getting closer and closer. Captain America and the others look up, wiping the blood from their eyes and hope radiates from their faces. The reader turns the page and we have a big, double-page spread where a two-hundred foot Giant-Man stands before a two-hundred foot Galactus, ready to fight.”

I know it’s only a pitch but I’m so pumped right now.

“He then just walks over and decks Galactus,” Morrison laughed. With Giant-Man knocking Galactus on his ass, the Avengers were given some precious time, no matter how limited, to think. How were they going to win this?

“Galactus needs a world to eat,” Millar said, “and Earth’s involved in a war against an aggressive alien force. Their solution is to give Galactus Mars.”

With the newer, tougher Avengers offering Galactus alien worlds for lunch, the only question that remained was why should he take them up on their offer? Morrison explained, “Galactus is not a bad guy. The heroes go up to him and say, ‘you can’t do this to us, but why not them?!!’ And he says, ‘Okay, I’ll spare you, but you have to give me something in return.’ So he goes and leaches the energy of Mars, destroying all the Martians in the process. Then he just goes on his way forever.”

With the conclusion of Apocalypse, Morrison and Millar were then going to use this limited series to launch their Avengers 2099 series, which they would co-write together. But as things go, it too never came to be.

Avengers 2099 co –written by Morrison and Millar? Christ….I’m so sad knowing this won’t ever happen. I think I just depressed myself.

“I believe we came up with these ideas a year too late,” Millar admitted. “I think things at Marvel were beginning to wind up. I heard Marvel was cutting their funding in all their books by that point.” Though Morrison and Millar had a lot of fun dreaming up Apocalypse and the books that would’ve spun off from the limited series, their attention has since turned to other projects.

How awesome what that? What can I even say to sum that up? I hope Morrison and Millar work on something together very soon. It seems like those two minds were born to collaborate.

That's really cool, but I don't think Giant Man at any size could hurt Galactus.
And where is Spider-man 2099!?

-- Posted by: Migual O'Hara at September 8, 2006 2:52 PM