Alan Davis Was One Day Away From Agreeing To Draw Alan Moore's Promethea

c4d47cb4f591350d5443c25c50c0d6dfI don't know what you are doing on a nice sunny day like this, but I'm spending it reading the WildStorm Oral History published independently and unofficially to coincide with WildStorm's 25th anniversary. It's available right here, in print and in digital. And, despite having covered so much of the ins and outs of WildStorm, I am learning so much that's new.

Like that Bruce Timm was originally intended as the artist for Alan Moore's Promethea for the America's Best Comics imprint. And when he passed, Alan Davis was next in line. At the time, the Alans had fallen out considerably. As I understand it, Alan Davis held it against Alan Moore for not allowing Marvel USA to publish the Captain Britain strips they had worked on together. As a result, Davis had not participated with the Eclipse Comics publication and continuation of Marvelman as Miracleman, even though Davis should have had legal signoff over that decision, and he held Moore responsible for that as well, something Moore later expressed ignorance over.

Scott Dunbier, EIC at the time is quoted as saying,

For Promethea, my first idea was something kind of out there, and that was Bruce Timm. I thought Bruce would've done a really beautiful job on it, a completely different kind of job, but a beautiful job. He thought about it for a little bit then decided he just couldn't do it with his other work at Warner Brothers Animation. My second choice was Alan Davis, and Alan Davis and Alan Moore had a little bit of history, so I called up Alan Moore first, and I told him that I would like to approach Alan Davis, and I wanted to make sure he didn't have a problem with it, and he didn't. He wasn't sure if Alan Davis would have a problem, so I called up Alan Davis, and he was receptive to the idea, but he had a commitment to do some X-Men work for Marvel. He was waiting for a script and the script was very late. He told me that if he didn't have the script in five days that he would quit X-Men and draw Promethea. Four days came and went and there's no script so I call him on the fifth day, and the script showed up that morning, so he decided to pass on Promethea. I was kind of stuck with finding an artist, and the way it happened with J.H. Williams was, of all people, Alex Ross suggested that I look at him. I was vaguely familiar with his stuff before then. I looked at a bunch of different things, and I thought, "You know, this guy, he's got something, and with a guy like Alan Moore, I bet Jim Williams could really bring something amazing. Alex was right. He was the right choice for the book. I called up Jim, and we talked, and he decided he wanted to give it a shot. If you look at the early Prometheas, you'll see an incredible growth spurt that by the time he hit around issues 10, 11, 12, that's when he really kicks it into high gear. There was stuff that he was doing, the way he was interpreting Alan's scripts, the way he challenged Alan to up his game. Promethea was a very special book.

It certainly was. Indeed, Dunbier's plans for a one-volume sideways Absolute Promethea taking advantage of the double page spreads that Alan Moore and JH Williams created for the entire comic's run were curtailed and Dunbier was fired from DC. But when JH Williams returned to DC for Sandman: Overture, that was one of the things DC committed to, pulling Dunbier's old layouts from out of the bottom drawer. And then… it was cancelled. Maybe someone can ask DC people about that during convention season?

More on that later today I think.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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