The Evan Dorkin/Mike Allred Metal Men Pitch That Dan DiDio Said No To

Former DC Comics publisher Dan DiDio was the latest guest of Dan Shahin on his Comic Book News YouTube show. They talked about a lot, including a brief mention of a certain 5G initiative. Oh yes, and me as well.

Shahin wanted to bring up a few projects that he believed were pitched to Dan Didio and never went any further. He mentioned a Darwyn Cooke 'Last Wally West' story that didn't happen because Wally West was wanted for a Crisis story. DiDio didn't know it from that description and said that Cooke hadn't pitched any Flash book that he was aware of. Then there was mention of an All Star Superman Vol II by Grant Morrison and JH Williams which similarly Dan DiDio said didn't exist, that All Star Superman was done-in-one.

I couldn't find mention of a Darwyn Cooke Flash comic. But at the Baltimore Comic Con Paul Pope mentioned that there had been a plan at one point for him, Richard Corben and J.H. Williams III to work with Morrison on a "third year of 'All-Star Superman' and that "Morrison and I were going to do a Fourth World 'take' on All-Star Superman, I would've drawn it in Quietly's style."

But DiDio did remember one pitch from fifteen years ago that did not go anywhere. A Metal Men pitch by Evan Dorkin and Mike Allred, At the time Wizard Magazine reported "Look for DC's revamp train to pick up more passengers this summer, as the Metal Men return in a new series by Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese) and Mike Allred (X-Statix). Early word suggests that Dorkin and Allred will ditch the 'human spirits infused with robot bodies' for a completely fresh approach."

UPDATE: Evan has stated that this was not a pitch but a greenlit series that was being created before it was canned. He tweeted "the Metal Men project wasn't a pitch that was rejected, it was a mini-series that was canceled when a new EIC came in. I had two scripts done, Allred had one issue penciled. Fun fact: the EIC wouldn't respond to our e-mails." That would have been current EIC Bob Harras.

Evan Dorkin wrote about the series on his LiveJournal in 2007 and shared some visuals for what would have been.

MM was the only involved comics project I had yanked out from under me that was actually moving ahead. And I really, really liked what I was doing on it. Which probably means it stunk, so maybe DC did me a favor.

In the series I was going to explain further why they were as they were, and why they had those specific human faces (when every other robot Magnus seemed to design had more machine-like features), all stemming from events from Magnus' sheltered childhood in his parents' research facility/experimental home.

The Evan Dorkin/Mike Allred Metal Men Pitch That Dan DiDio Said No To.
The Evan Dorkin/Mike Allred Metal Men Pitch That Dan DiDio Said No To.

Not to re-hash my poor, bruised ego over this affair, but the MM happens to be Dan DiDio's favorite characters. He's said so in interviews. He came to DC after this was up and running and killed it because, from what I understand, it was "too goofy". If I had been approached with this gig with DiDio in position I would never have taken the job, no way am I playing with the EIC's favorite toys, no thanks, too much trouble. Allred and I already shot down the idea of revamping the MM to look for "cool" or whatever you want to call it, DC countered with updating one or two of the robots, we countered that it would be like letting the pitcher and catcher on a baseball team wear different uniforms than the rest of the players. The MM are robots, cyphers, one unit, really, and their designs are pretty much their entire appeal. DC was cool enough to let us have our way, and Bob Schreck, our editor, was very supportive and really liked the two scripts that were finished.  From what I understand there's a new MM series afoot at DC< with Pat (Transformers) Lee on the art, and when that comes out you'll get to see what kind of MM series DiDio wanted all along. if this project is happening, my guess is bad-ass, reworked Transformer-like robots, which is exactly what we didn't want to do. We wanted to do the Metal Men, not a modernized treatment for a cartoon, which is what I suspect DiDio wants. The MM have been pitched to WB in the past and with the DC cartoons continuing to ramp up, I'm sure the've been considered again. If DiDio is so fond of them it makes sense he wants them on the screen, with his background in animation.

The Evan Dorkin/Mike Allred Metal Men Pitch That Dan DiDio Said No To.
The Evan Dorkin/Mike Allred Metal Men Pitch That Dan DiDio Said No To.

We wanted to do the Metal Men, not a modernized treatment for a cartoon, which is what I suspect DiDio wants. The MM have been pitched to WB in the past and with the DC cartoons continuing to ramp up, I'm sure the've been considered again. If DiDio is so fond of them it makes sense he wants them on the screen, with his background in animation.

Wrapping this up, I don't know how our book would have done, really. I doubt DC would have pushed it much, and it probably would have been lost in the coming crossover craze. Allred and I can move only so many books on our own, most of our audience would likely be comped for the series, imho. Silver Age fans are only so many, the 40-year olds who like gory superhero comics would have stayed away. And the MM themselves are a cult item in the first place. This wouldn't have been a big seller. I don't see any MM series doing great coin unless you put very popular creators on the book, which is what DC should do if they ever want mid-list/C-grade characters to succeed, I guess.

The Evan Dorkin/Mike Allred Metal Men Pitch That Dan DiDio Said No To

And sometimes DC and Marvel don't care if something makes money, they're fans, too. Never, ever forget that. An aspect of the Eltingville stories is that fan's emotional decisions counter logic, and this extends to the professional fan as well, if not more. Many stories you read or don't read got there because professional fans were determined to start or stop them, the viewpoint of the readership didn't enter into it at all. If they ran general interest magazines they'd all be canceled within a year. "We don't like Tom Cruise, he gets no coverage". "Iraq is boring." "I loved Goldie Hawn ever since I was a kid, she gets the cover feature again this month despite her not being in any movies". I think you get my point.

On the video, Dan DiDio says that as a publisher, DC Comics was trying to "move forward at the time" and ghat the pitch was "too built on silver age concepts" and that at DC he "didn't want to do retro books at the time." It may be fifteen years late but at least it's an answer.

This is what Pat Lee's Metal Men looked like when they appeared in Batman/Superman in 2007. They did not get a series. Dan DiDio went on to write a Metal Men series that began last year with Shane Davis.

The Evan Dorkin/Mike Allred Metal Men Pitch That Dan DiDio Said No To

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.