Unfinished Business

Donde las ideas llegan a morir.

Chris Arrant, un veterano participante de la tertulia comiquera por Internet y profesional de la industria, lanzó este reto vía Twitter:

“WHICH PAST NON-DC/MARVEL TITLES (AND THEIR CREATORS) WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE RETURN FOR ONE LAST STORY-ARC? RT AND SHOW YOUR HEART ON YOUR SLEEVE.”

Mi contribución fue limitada dado que 140 caracteres nunca son suficientes, y más aún cuando en el tiempo que llevo en los comics he visto el ascenso y caída de muchas series memorables. Por tanto, vale la pena expandir el listado de comics—incluyendo al género de superhéroes, ya que estamos entrados en el tema—que nos dejaron demasiado pronto:

Doktor Sleepless, por Warren Ellis & Iván Rodríguez
“You owe me a flying car.”

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Fallen Angel, por Peter David
De DC a IDW a nada. Missing this one terribly.

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CABLE, por Robert Weinberg
En 2001, el autor confesó lo siguiente: “I worked out my master plan for what I thought was going to be a three or four year run on the series. What I didn’t realize was that sometimes the best laid plans get clipped before they can get going.” Desafortunadamente el autor falleció en 2016.

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The Manhattan Projects, por Jonathan Hickman & Nick Pitarra
Según Reddit, Pitarra le dijo a Hickman que restructurar a este comic como una “serie de miniseries” sería darle el tiro de gracia. Qué razón tenía.

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Big Numbers, por Alan Moore & Bill Sienkiewicz
De esta masterpiece solo quedan fotocopias del #3 rondando en Internet.

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FELL, por Warren Ellis & Ben Templesmith
“One detective in the worst town in America.”

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Desolation Jones, por Warren Ellis & J.H. Williams III & Danijel Zezelj
Otra víctima del infame incidente conocido como “The Warren Ellis’ Hard Drive Crash.”

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Steampunk, por Joe Kelly & Chris Bachalo
“Steampunk would be nice to finish. We have one more big arc to wrap it up.” — Bachalo, 2005.

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Battle Chasers, por Joe Madureira
El primer “comic perdido” de mi generación. Inusual mezcla de Fantastika + RPG + Manga sensibilities. La edición “Anthology” en pasta dura cuesta una pequeña fortuna.

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Gambit, por Fabián Nicieza (1999-2001)
Best X-Men spinoff title ever. Víctima de la cancelación masiva del régimen Jemas-Quesada en 2001.

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Miracleman, por Neil Gaiman & Mark Buckingham
“The Silver Age” sigue en hiatus hasta nuevo aviso…

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PLUS! por Jonathan Hickman

Hickman es un idea machine, lo cual lo lleva a tener en el tintero demasiados conceptos pero sin el tiempo de sobra para hacerlos despegar. Sus múltiples compromisos dentro del mainstream han golpeado sobremanera a sus comics creator-owned.

Bautizada como una “Semi-annual experimental art/story collective”, PLUS! fue uno de esos proyectos que no logró cuajar, tanto así que entre 2010 a 2019 no volvimos a escuchar nada de él:

“[…] three 22-page stories in one volume. They’re three different stories, all drawn in a different way, and I’m doing all the art and all the scripting. It’s all me. I want to do an annual self-anthology kind of deal. But one of the things that I want to do is see: If we sell this as a 60-page chunk does it sell better that way digitally, or does it sell better as individual issues? What if we do added content and we offer all of it for the same price as the individual collected price? I want to try five or six different variations of it, and see how people like to consume their digital media. I think you have to be aggressive, never settling, and always trying to do new stuff, to do more. So we’ll see.”

La idea de publicar un comic a través de múltiples modelos de distribución a la vez sería explotada por vez primera por la casa editora TKO Studios en 2019.

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Authority Widescreen special, por Warren Ellis & Bryan Hitch
Cancelado tras los eventos del 11 de Septiembre de 2001, este comic vería la luz en el tomo “Wildstorm: A Celebration of 25 Years”, publicado en 2017.

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Earth X, por Jim Krueger y Alex Ross
Krueger tenía material suficiente para continuar la saga en precuelas, secuelas y antologías.

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Marvel Boy 2, por Grant Morrison
Escrito. 6 tomos. “The whole thing is a handbook for total revolution, Kree style.” CANCELADO.

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THE IF, por Grant Morrison
Una novela que nunca encontró publicadora. Behold:

“WE’D COUNTED ON HER TO RECOVER FROM THE INITIAL JOLT FAIRLY QUICKLY BUT WE FAILED TO ANTICIPATE THE POSSIBILITY THAT HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN MIGHT BE ARMED AND AN EXPERT MARKSWOMAN. THE MOMENT REFRIGERATES INTO TABLEAU…”

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Silver Surfer: Year Zero
Grant Morrison. Frank Quitely. ´nuff said!

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Nightside 2, por Robert Weinberg & Tom Derenick
Cancelado en la era Jemas-Quesada.

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Seaguy Eternal, por Grant Morrison y Cameron Stewart
“Slaves of Mickey Eye and Seaguy Eternal are the next two 3-part stories to come and that’s BEFORE we get to ‘Cosmic adventures of Seaguy’. I think 12 comics might tell the whole story in the end but I’d work with Cameron forever on this if the ideas keep coming.”— Morrison.

OMFGY

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Wildsiderz, por J. Scott Campbell
Solo tres tomos de siete.

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All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, por Frank Miller & Jim Lee
“What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I’M THE GODDAMN BATMAN.”

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Wildcats, por Grant Morrison & Jim Lee
Solo sobrevive el #1, el script del #2 (“Life and Death in an Axial Age”. ZOMG), y un breakdown de los siguientes 10 tomos. RIP.

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Casanova, por Matt Fraction
4 volúmenes de 7. Still waiting…

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FEEL BETTER NOW, por Jonathan Hickman

Another high concept from the modern master. Supuestamente, FEEL BETTER NOW sería la primera de las 3 historias bajo el sello “PLUS!”, mencionado en párrafos anteriores. Entre Julio de 2011 a 2019 lo único mencionado de este comic fueron los siguiente press releases:

UNO

A new book, FEEL BETTER NOW, a new format, and in both execution and design, a new style. I can’t wait for people to see it!

FEEL BETTER NOW is the story of a group of psychiatrists who, out of boredom, decide to start recreationally tinker with the lives of their patients. It becomes a game, and, as one might guess, it spirals out of control pretty quickly.

FEEL BETTER NOW, a 40-page original graphic novella, will be available to order in the August issue of Previews, and goes on sale in stores on October 19th for $3.99.

DOS

Berkeley, CA. 12 October 2011—Jonathan Hickman’s FEEL BETTER NOW, originally solicited as a $3.99, 40-page one-shot is being delayed and retooled for a 2012 release as an original graphic novel.

“I regret to inform everyone that FEEL BETTER NOW will not be shipping on schedule,” said Hickman. “Unfortunately, during the course of creating this story, it got bigger. Far beyond the 40 pages we had allocated for the book, and, as a result, I have decided to give the story the scope I feel it deserves.”

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Newuniversal, por Warren Ellis & Salvador Larroca
A pesar de las fotorreferencias de Larroca, fue una serie muy ingeniosa. Desaparecida junto al disco duro de Ellis.

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El Cazador, por Chuck Dixon & Steve Epting
Pirate Comics done right. Una pérdida irreparable del catálogo Crossgen.

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Morning Glories, por Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma
Su ausencia la atribuyo a Spencer, que se volvió exclusivo de Marvel y alienó a su audiencia con su discurso políticamente cargado en Twitter y en los comics de “Captain America” y “Sam Wilson”. 50 tomos publicados de un tentativo 100.

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Nemesis 2, por Mark Millar & Steve McNiven
A la espera de una resurrección, ahora que el catálogo Millarworld es parte de Netflix. Millar at his best.

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Orc Stain, por James Stokoe
Fusion Comix incomprendido, y una pérdida irreparable: “I think I’ve planned for 5 or 6 more volumes, but that’s just guesswork. I know how the story ends, but I’ve left the way it gets there pretty open.”

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Nowhere Men + They’re Not Like Us, por Eric Stephenson
Dos obras maestras inconclusas del Editor en Jefe de Image Comics. La primera con 9 entregas (de 12), la otra 16 (de 18). The plot thickens…

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Pretty Deadly, por Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Ríos
Psicodelia Western que nos dejó muy pronto tras 10 tomos publicados (el último en 2016). Afortunadamente sigue con vida tras revelarse a través de Twitter algunas páginas nuevas: “Pretty Deadly is planned for 5 volumes. Third volume is in production. It’s set in 1920s Los Angeles.”— De Connick, 2018.

En 2019, tuvimos la fortuna de contar con su regreso. Hasta Image hizo un teaser trailer inspirado en el cine mudo:

 

Quizás para algunos lectores este comic no posea una gran claridad narrativa, o se sientan sofocados por su surrealismo desenfrenado. A título personal su rebosante sentido de novedad será bienvenido siempre. Aplausos.

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8House: Arclight, por Brandon Graham & Marian Churchland
Víctima de las bajas ventas, quizás. 4 tomos y adiós. Bajo cierta distancia vemos que “8House” como experimento narrativo fue algo sumamente arriesgado para un mercado que aún no se logra convencer cuando se habla de antologías.

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Effigy, por Tim Seeley & Marley Zarcone
Cancelado en el tomo 7 cuando apenas la historia despegaba. Dolorosa pérdida.

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Empty Zone, por Jason Shawn Alexander
Víctima de un Mercado Directo brutal. Financiado vía Kickstarter, encontró publicación en Image hasta el tomo #10. Alexander es un prodigio. We failed you.

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FRONTIER, por Jonathan Hickman

Otra obra perdida del oriundo de Clemson. Anunciado en noviembre de 2016, fue el comic que tuvo más detalles revelados al público, siendo retirado de los catálogos debido a dificultades en el calendario de publicación:

“FRONTIER is about humanity finally achieving a perfect, utopian tomorrow and then having it taken away. It’s about the death of future, the death of hope, and the terminal orbit of mankind. Basically, it’s a book about trying to survive when you’re a doomed culture […] is also about finding hope in a hopeless situation. It’s about continuing to fight when you know you can’t win, and holding out for any kind of chance. Because if you get one, you’ll hold on to it with both hands. You’ll die before letting go.

The name “Frontier” is just how humanity refers to the Universe. The organizations and alien races all have different names. One of the big parts of the story is that many of the colonies were way better than Earth. They were idyllic and epitomized expansionist Mankind. All the best and brightest migrated towards the opportunity they represented. Earth was for the chaff.

Man is a violent creature. But the thing that made us abhorrent to a truly civilized and enlightened culture is also what is necessary when the wolves come calling. On a longer timeline, a super advanced society will be able to adapt and overcome any predator, so really all they need to do is buy time, which is where we come in. They want us to die for them. So we cut a deal.

As for mechanics particular to this book, there are lots of in-universe goodies as to how travel, communication, infrastructure, and combat work. Life on Earth is a lot like a failed startup. When expansion happened, we put everything we had into it, and for a century we used every resource we had to acquire other, far-distant resources. Which is a perfectly fine plan on a universal scale. But when your ability to expand gets cut off, and all you’re left with is what you started with, then having completely used up all your initial resources up is a killer.

As a species, we’re pretty great survivalists, so we’ve come up with some really interesting workarounds. But it won’t be enough to save us. That’s going to take something else entirely. It’s a big picture story. And while Roman DeBeers would probably disagree, I do consider it to be traditional, non-fantastical science fiction. Should be fun.”

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Batwoman, por J.H. Williams III & William Haden Blackman
Aún y cuando DC finalizó la narrativa principal en un Annual (en 2014, y sin el consentimiento de los autores), el romance inconcluso entre Kate Kane y Maggie Sawyer (incluyendo propuesta de matrimonio) le dio la vuelta al mundo y “DC went cold feet”, en un ataque de pánico escénico. Sigh.

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Superman 2000, por Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid & Tom Peyer
“We had the 21st-century Superman, we had four guys who’d been waiting all their lives to do this, we wanted to launch in January 2000, and we’d have sold a million copies. It would have been the coolest, biggest thing to happen to Kal-El since the Byrne revamp, and DC blew it.” — Morrison.

NEVER THE END.