Originally planned: circa 2000, Marvel Comics

story, Harlan Ellison; art, John Romita, Jr.

Around the time Joe Quesada took over as Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics in mid-2000 there was some discussion of a possible “Dr. Strange” comic to be written by Harlan Ellison and feature art by John Romita, Jr.


Update: April 10, 2000 —
At the WonderCon comic book convention this weekend John Romita, Jr. discussed some of his upcoming projects and announced that he would be drawing a “Dr. Strange” story written by Harlan Ellison, the story of which seems to be adapted from the once mentioned “Silver Surfer” story Joe Quesada had mentioned Ellison writing for Marvel Knights (an imprint of Marvel Comics). Here is the story as it was published on the internet site Comic Book Resources:

Comics Wire Monday April 10, 2000

Even the most loyal company man eventually starts wondering if the grass really is greener on the other side.

This weekend at Wonder Con in Oakland, Ca., that company man was artist John Romita, Jr., who, like his father, has made a career out of his work at Marvel Comics.

Romita – teased unmercifully at a panel on Friday by fellow creators for his loyalty to Marvel, which they spun in the worst possible light – announced Saturday that he will likely be working outside Marvel once his contract ends.

“Until I finish out my contract in December, I’ll be doing lots of miniseries.”

Among the projects will be a project with Scott Lobdell and a three part Dr. Strange miniseries written by Harlan Ellison, who hand-picked Romita for the assignment.

The miniseries was originally intended to be about the Silver Surfer, but with the recent death of Galactus, things got tweaked a bit.

“Dormammu is dying,” Romita said. “If he dies, it throws the whole netherworld off, and Dr. Strange has to go inside him.”

But true believers shouldn’t worry: Romita will follow family tradition and stick with the Amazing Spider-Man.

“That’s one thing I want to do. I want to break the world’s record for longevity on it. It’s something I really enjoy.”

Romita also told fans to expect lots of new villains in the Spider-Man books, and that Peter Parker would be getting a new girlfriend: “Daily Bugle” staffer Glory Grant.

[Comics Wire Monday April 10, 2000, “JR JR LOOKS TO THE FUTURE,
PAIRS WITH HARLAN ELLISON,” Comic Book Resources, http://www.comicbookresources.com]

Update: April 14, 2000 —
The comic book rumor site “Rich’s Ramblings” written by Rich Johnston, reported the following item on John Romita, Jr.’s potential work with Harlan Ellison:

Rich’s Rambling – 14 Apr 2000
“Wonder Stuff”

Excited rumourmonger from the WonderCon exclaimed his excited excitement by trying to get me excited about the exciting news that, according to John Romita Jr, Peter Parker’s next girlfriend, now that his wife Mary Jane has been conveniently dead for what is in Marvel time about two weeks, is Gloria Grant! Ho hum, oh very exciting I’m sure… but what’s that? Apparently Gloria Grant isn’t white! Oh shock horror, surely such a union could resort in a mixture of genetics against God’s plan and furthering the world union and Revelation days, in a Babel style world apocalypse? Not to mention that the kid will be able to spin webs out of his arse.

And Romita’s statement that’ll he’ll be working on hippies-choice Doctor Strange with hippies-choice Harlan Ellison has been disparaged by Marvel Editor hippies-choice Tom Breevort, who said “Not to be a wet blanket or anything, but my understanding is that this is another project that hasn’t really even been submitted yet, much less approved. So while it’s still possible for it to happen, it’s nowhere near definite, other than that JRJR and Harlan seem to want to do it. In other words, for the time being put it in line right behind that Grant Morrison FF project.”

Update: August 26, 2001 —
The comic book news site Silver Bullets featured an interview with John Romita, Jr. Late in the interview the “Dr. Strange” story is brought up:

MIKE JOZIC: Regarding your abandoned Doctor Strange pitch, I recently read a comment by Tom Brevoort while doing some research for the interview where he said, “So while it’s still possible for it to happen, it’s nowhere near definite, other than that JRJR and Harlan seem to want to do it. In other words, for the time being put it in line right behind that Grant Morrison FF project.”

JOHN ROMITA, Jr.: [laughs]

JOZIC: Seeing as how Morrison’s FF1234 is currently on the shelves, is there any hope for Doctor Strange?

ROMITA, Jr.: No. Tom’s right. It’s gone and out of the world. Working on Doctor Strange is a possibility, but not that story.

[“The Amazing John Romita, Jr.” August 25, 2001., Silver Bullet Comic Books, http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com]