How Bill Jemas Killed Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy 2

On their Xanaduum Substack, Grant Morrison has been talking about years past, including the planned sequel to their Marvel Boy comic book at the time, with Phil Winslade to replace JG Jones as the series artist. And why it didn't go down too well with Marvel Comics executives at the time for the most bizarre reasons. Specifically iconoclast Marvel Comics CCO, Bill Jemas. But what we didn't know that one issue was actually drawn by an unnamed artist. Just not Phil Winslade…

How Bill Jemas Killed Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy 2

"I sent the first two scripts to Marvel, as I recall. Bill Jemas was quite scathing about them. I remember him calling me up, seemingly incensed to incandescence that I'd included a flying man in the first scene. Bear in mind that this aerially inclined individual was the warder of a prison expressly designed to contain deadly superhuman threats, so it was hardly surprising that he might display a few gimmicks of his own.

Bill seemed to fixate on this idea that the warden could fly, insisting the whole already ridiculous scene was made ridiculous squared as a result. Who would ever buy into such nonsense? A flying man! On page 2! And as for the rest of this completely unrealistic excuse for story!.. 'It's a Marvel Comic Bill,' I reminded him and at that point, succumbing to an unfortunate compulsion to find his authoritative critique increasingly surreal and hilarious, I started laughing uncontrollably. The last thing I heard was Bill's fading curses as he carefully slammed the phone down on me.

In that atmosphere there was very little support for Marvel Boy 2 – they assigned a novice artist who drew the entire first issue, but everyone knew the work wasn't up to professional standard, especially after JG Jones' art in the first series. I wrote four scripts out of six – two still exist but the latter two vanished in one of many regular computer incidents. Issue #4 outlined a whole Kree religion built up from Kirby-esque concepts!"

Previously, he has spoken to Newsarama in a long-deleted interview (thanks GamesRadar) in which he stated;

"the Kree Book of The Dead issue, "Beyond The Withinfinite," delved into Kree comic book religion in full-on Prog Comics style… He simply didn't like the fluorescent overtones of what I was doing in Marvel Boy 2 and asked me if I was prepared to try a different and more down-to-earth approach to the basic idea of angry alien boy trapped on Earth. My original series pitch and scripts were based in a horrible super-security prison called the Cube, home of the most deranged inhuman mutants and motherfuckers on the face of the Earth. Grotesques like Daddy Heart, Alan Satan and the Spider Sisters filled every page and the whole thing was a very fast-paced religious satire in the Marvel Cosmic style."

Bill Jemas' attitude was a main reason as to why Grant Morrison signed an exlusive deal with DC Comics in 2003. Bill Jemas left soon afterwards, recently helming AWA Studios with former Marvel EIC Axel Amonso, and has recently left that as well for his own Be Good Studios.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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