Originally planned: 2003, DC Comics
Dr. Fate story, Harlan Ellison; art, never announced
JSA All Stars was a mini-series featuring the modern-day incarnation of the Justice Society of America. Each issue featured a main story featuring one of the “legacy” characters, modern characters like Mr. Terrific who shared a name and theme with a classic, golden age character. Each issue also featured a back-up story, by a variety of writers and artists, featuring the golden age version of the character. As originally announced, Harlan Ellison would write the back-up story featuring Dr. Fate. Unfortunately, schedules did not work out and the story was assigned elsewhere.
Update: October 1, 2002 — All DC Comics books, cover dated 2002, featured a news/hype page called “DC In Demand.” A rumor/future project hype column on that entiled “What’s This, You Say?”, and credited to “Your Mole at 1700”, contained the following tidbit:
I mean, I’m not supposed to talk, but… …[hints of new Elric comic series by Michael Morcock and Walter Simonson and a Dr. Fate mini-series] … Or that the JSA will heat up further in another series with contributions by Harlan Ellison, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Chabon, and other big names?
No Further info was given at that time.
Update: October 3, 2002 — Wow. That was quick. A few days after December cover dated DC Books went on the stand with the hint of an Ellison JSA story, the project was officially announced, without Ellison’s participation. The project, entitled JSA All-Stars, is an eight-issue mini-series concerning the modern day Justice Society of America. Issues 2 through five will feature a lead story starring one of the current JSA members, along with a back-up story about that heroes golden age equivalent. These back-up stories were to feature the all-star writer line-up mentioned previously. However, Ellison was no longer able to included among that line-up. According to the internet comic book news web-site Newsarama:
And while DC and writer Harlan Ellison were ultimately unable to work scheduling on a back-up story (as mentioned this month in the publisher’s new ‘DC on Demand’ information page), DC has still lined up an impression group of writers, including as promised a Pulitzer-prize winning author making this comic book debut…
In fact, the Pulitzer-prize winning author mentioned, Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), was the only one of the three names mentioned in the DC In Demand article that was still attached to the project. For completists sake, and because it should still be a well written and drawn mini-series if you don’t mind the modern Justice Society team, here is the announced line-up of creators [lead story creators first; then back-up creators]:
- #1 – JSA: Geoff Johns/David Goyer (w), Sal Velluto/Bob Almond (p/i)
- #2 – Mr. Terrific: Johns/Goyer, Dave Ross; Michael Chabon, Michael Lark
- #3 – Dr. Fate: Johns/Goyer, Barry Kitson; Darwyn Cooke (w/a)
- #4 – Stargirl: Johns/Goyer, Mike McKone; James Robinson, Tony Harris
- #5 – Hourman: Johns/Goyer, Adam DeCrocker; Howard Chaykin (w/a)
- #6 – Hawkgirl: Johns/Goyer, Phil Winslade; Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale
- #7 – Dr. Midnight: Johns/Goyer, Steve Sadowski; Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Rizzo
- #8 – JSA: Johns/Goyer (w), Sal Velluto, Bob Almond
No release date other than “next year”  was mentioned.
Update: March 2004 — In an interview with Jon B. Cooke for Comic Book Artist #23 (Dec. 2002, TwoMorrows Publishing) HE mentioned some of his potential future comics work:
CBA: So you will occasionally continue to write comics?
Harlan: Oh, absolutely. I’m doing some right now. If I had not gotten involved in terrible, terrible, deadlines, I would have already finished a Doctor Fate I’m doing for [DC Comics editor] Peter Tomasi, that takes place back in 1940. In fact, it’s a story that takes place immediately after the banquet story in JSA Secret Files. But I was late with it, and he had to reassign it to someone else, so we have decided that we’re going to do… I can’t tell you exactly, but it will be a one-shot, killer project. A kind of dream of mine come true.
It appears that this was the story originally planned for the JSA All-Stars mini-series. No official announcements or further news has appeared since the interview.