Grant Morrison is going to be telling tales on their Substack, Xanaduum. Headlining the new one "14/2 SUPERMAN and THE AUTHORITY annotations", they don't mention Superman And The Authority once. Instead it's a lead-up to how that series for DC Comics went down. At the time, we suspected that it was a reworked version of a comic planned for Dan DiDio's 5G reboot, and the first part seems to confirm that this is where we are going.
In June 2020, Bleeding Cool scooped the gossip that Superman was going to be the new leader of The Authority. At the time, the Superman comic books had recently seen the character described by critical media as King Of The Earth thanks to his unilateral decision to represent Earth in the United League Of Planets. He was then deputized by the United Nation as a temporary measure as a result but given a warning not to make any similar mistakes by the big espionage agents of the day. With Bleeding Cool news that Clark Kent was stepping aside as Superman in favour of Jonathan Kent for 5G, becoming a new leader of The Authority seemed a natural next step for a more authoritarian classic Superman. Then, of course, everything changed. Talking to CBR, Grant said;
Bringing in Superman changes everything because, when they came to me with it, they said, "We want Superman to go kind of authoritarian." And I just do not like the idea that Superman would ever be dictatorial or would watch his loved ones die and not be able to deal with it like the rest of us do. I wanted to do a Superman that was older and made very different choices and did something that looked authoritarian but was way bigger and way more sci-fi and that was kind of the idea…
That seemed to be the original 5G plan, and then Grant Morrison changed things. On their Substack, they talk about Dan Didio approached them at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, to tell them his 5G plans which would be the most radical overhaul of DC continuity since the nineteen fifties. Grant Morrison is clear to point out their admiration for DiuDio as a friend, as the one responsible for much of their work at DC Comics over the last twenty years, and despite disagreements, recognised Didio's love for comics and support for Grant's work.
Grant sees the 5G timeline – reproduced on Bleeding Cool as accurately as we could – as a fascinating document that would, indeed, have seen characters age and die in real time. Bleeding Cool reported how this would see Wonder Woman as the first superhero, would see Superman's ship crash in Smallville in 1938, have Bruce Wayne born in 1943, the Justice League emerge in the sixties replace by the Titans in the seventies and eighties, and much more.
Grant stated that they pointed out some timeline issues, but was captivated by it. They also point out that other creators at DC Comics felt differently and that "DC's most prominent writer at the time" called Grant to try and arrange an "intervention" with Dan DiDio over 5G. That Bleeding Cool understands would have been Scott Snyder… who chose not to work at DC Comics after Death Metal, initially intended to launch the 5G reboot.
Superman saw an older Superman losing his powers recruit a new team that resembled the Wildstorm Authority, as created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. As well as Midnighter and Apollo, Manchester Black originally created as a parody of Authority's Jack Hawskmoor, and a new trans man version of OMAC, the storyline was published and subsumed into Phillip Kennedy Johnson's take on Superman on the planet WarWorld, which also seemed to kill off Dan DiDio's DC avatar. I look forward to reading the behind the scenes take on this as well.
Much more to come.