"We were asked to submit a Superman proposal, which we did. It was rejected, and the quote I was given was, 'Do you honestly believe DC will ever give you the keys to the family car?' I can say here and now that the Superman proposal by Waid, Peyer, Morrison, and Millar was the best, most thoroughly worked-out take on a major character you are ever likely to see. It was Superman Plus. I wrote most of it after meeting the Man of Steel at 2am opposite the Sheraton in San Diego -- a true shamanic moment.
"He was wearing the best Superman suit I've seen and looked fantastic as Superman—a cross between Chris Reeve and Billy Zane—so we asked him if he'd answer some questions which he did—in the character of Superman! It was like a possession—I'd say to the guy, 'So how do you feel about Batman?' and he'd come back with 'Well, Batman and I don't really see eye to eye on a lot of things. He's so hung up on the darkness in everyone's soul and I just don't see it that way...' and so on. He spoke to us for about an hour and a half.
"The thing that really hit me, wasn't so much what Superman was saying as how he was sitting. He was perched on a bollard with one knee drawn up, chin resting on his arms. He looked totally relaxed...and I suddenly realized this was how Superman would sit. He wouldn't puff out his chest or posture heroically, he would be totally chilled. If nothing can hurt you, you can afford to be cool. A man like Superman would never have to tense against the cold; never have to flinch in the face of a blow. He would be completely laid back, un-tense. With this image of Superman relaxing on a cloud looking out for us all in my head, I rushed back to my hotel room and filled dozens of pages of my notebook with notes and drawings.
"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. I have nothing but respect for Joe Kelly and Jeph Loeb and the other guys currently on the books, but they haven't been allowed to go far enough, and as a result, the current revamp seems a little muted. Not being able to do Superman and not being offered anything else at DC was the main reason I decided to do Marvel Boy for Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada."
- Grant Morrison
In 1998, four DC Comics writers (Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Mark Millar, and Tom Peyer) were approached by then new editor for the Superman books Eddie Berganza to bring Superman into the new millennium. By October, they gave him an in-depth 21 page proposal, intending on building on what the Post-Crisis established to reintroduce classic concepts in a new and different light. The plan was to establish the entire Post-Crisis period, with it's relatively limited in scope Superman who thought himself as nothing more than another Earthman, as the prelude to something truly legendary in every meaning of the word.
Berganza gave it the green light, liking it so much that he fired longstanding Superman writers/artists Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway in preparation for the coming of the four collaborative writers, whose tenure was scheduled with Berganza's first issue.
However, DC editor Mike Carlin (or possibly publisher Paul Levitz) then returned from vacation and was shocked to discover that big changes were being implemented to Superman without his knowledge. He vetoed the project, partially because such a huge change was being made effectively behind his back and partially because, at this time, DC also adopted a policy of prohibiting "big name creators" from working on their core Superman and Batman books. Ordway was offered his old job back, but declined due to having already lined up work at Marvel. Jurgens was let go in favor of 'new blood'. Berganza recruited then-second tier talent like Joe Kelly and Jeph Loeb, and industry veteran J.M. Dematteis, to script a soft relaunch of the books with little fanfare, though they attempted their own take on reincorporating older concepts into the current Superman mythos.
While most of this is behind closed quarters and we'll likely never truly know everything, there appear to be two different versions of this proposal created. There's some debate as to whether one (specifically, the one more Morrison-centric) was created as an attempt to sway Carlin after his rejection of the first, but both seem to be intertwined. One is Superman NOW, helmed mostly by Grant Morrison, which has never been released to the public and is largely unknown, and the other is Superman: 2000, probably largley curated by Mark Waid, was leaked in spurts through the internet, eventually cobbled together by enterprising fans who wondered what might have been.( Read more... )