In, we look at announced comic book projects that never came about. We’ll try to find out WHY they didn’t come out. I’m sure you all know tons of examples of comic book projects like these, so feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me some for future columns.
Today, we look at how close we came to Batman’s first crossover with a non-DC or Marvel character being with Jon Sable!
As you likely know, Mike Grell is a very successful comic book artist and writer who began working at DC Comics in the 1970s, where he drew a number of series. He even drew a few issues of Batman’s series.
During the 1970s, he might be best known for a character he created for DC called Warlord. Grell wrote and drew Warlord for a long time and continued on the book in one capacity or another for even longer.
In the 1980s, the burgeoning independent comic book market was ideal for a guy like Grell. For instance, if Warlord had been created in 1982, there is little doubt that it would have been an independent comic book series. In 1983, Grell launched Jon Sable, Freelance, for First Comics.
The hook on the series is that Jon Sable is a guy who is immersed constantly in a world of blood and guts but in his “real” persona, he’s a swell guy who secretly writes children’s books.
In other words, he is basically the opposite of Batman. The “secret identity” is the children’s author while the main identity is the grim and gritty mercenary.
The book was a big hit. There was even a short-lived TV series in 1987…
(The show sort of botched the concept, though, it was more of a straightforward “dark avenger” type show).
The comic was SO big that Grell actually had a chance at doing a crossover with BATMAN in the mid-1980s! Batman had crossed over with the Hulk, but this would have been the first time that Batman would have ever crossed over with an independent comic book character. So, what happened?
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