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Welcome to the four hundred and seventieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and sixty-nine. This week, did we nearly get a Spider-Man version of Batman: Arkham Asylum?! Did a comic artist produce the very first black doll? And what would have happened to Barry Allen if Crisis on Infinite Earths had never occurred?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Grant Morrison almost did a Spider-Man version of Batman: Arkham Asylum
One of the most surprising hit comics of all-time has got to be Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s original graphic novel, Batman: Arkham Asylum, from 1989. The dark examination of the minds of Batman’s villains had pretty much the most perfect timing you could ever expect for a comic. It was a high end book produced right at the height of the mania associated with Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, and thus even though the comic was very different from the film, it sold an insane amount of copies. Just ridiculous numbers.
With something so popular, you would expect there to be a follow-up and there almost was…just not at DC Comics!
Morrison was in the early stages of following up Batman: Arkham Asylum with an original graphic novel starring Spider-Man, with artwork by Simon Bisley. Morrison described the story as: “It’s not Spider-Man in Arkham Asylum or anything – it’s action all the way with things blowing up from page one but it still won’t be a great deal like the Spider-Man that everyone is used to”
The comic would involve an attack by Mysterio that would end up with Spider-Man ending up in a parallel world where Aunt May died and Spider-Man never got married. Morrison further described it years later in 1999 as :
The Spider-Man of that world is a creepy, skinny Ditko guy, who lives on his own and is shunned by the neighbors.” said Morrison, “He only comes alive when he’s out on the rooftops leaping about and squirting jets of white stuff over everything. Freud would have loved the story as the creepy but ultimately decent Spider-Man meets his counterpart from a place where Peter married a supermodel and made lots of money. The story was based around that tension and the ultimate redemption of the creepy Ditko character. I’d do something different now.
As it turned out, when he got the chance to work for Marvel on a regular basis at around that time (1999), Morrison never actually DID do a Spider-Man project. In fact, he’s never done one during his career, which is odd, as he’s done work for pretty much every other major character out there.
Talk about a missed opportunity!
Here’s a Simon Bisley Spider-Man drawing from 1995 just to give you an idea of what it could have looked like…
Thanks so much to Ben Hansom and his awesome Morrison website Deep Space Tranmissions, for the information and the quotes!
Check out the latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Did Universal seriously sue Nintendo over Donkey Kong infringing on King Kong’s trademark…even though Universal didn’t HAVE a trademark on King Kong?
On the next page, did an African-American cartoonist create the first “black doll”?
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