Some stories never get a chance to come to proper conclusions. Whether it's due to cancellation, death, or simple loss of interest, there have been a decent number of amazing comic books that never made it to their planned conclusions. And I’d like to count down those series. I recommend them all, even though you're gonna come away feeling incredibly disappointed they were never resolved. I’ve also included in each entry my views of what chance they have of ever being finished. If books like Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk or Captain America: White can finish, these might too.
10. Hell Yeah!
Well, we've found the best title on the list.
Hell Yeah! is the story of superpowered teen Ben Day, the child of a soldier and a heroine. He uses his powers for…nothing much, really. But when three women from an alternate universe appear, Ben learns that his own multiversal duplicates are being murdered. Now it's a race to unravel the mystery of who's killing the Bens, and why, before our Ben Day joins the pile.
Hell Yeah! is fun and fast paced, but there was CLEARLY meant to be a lot more to the series. In fact, the first (and only) story arc, "Last Days on Earth", reads more as a setup to the rest of the series than anything else. It doesn't hold together on its own super well, and it's sad the story (which probably would have unfolded into something spectacular) will probably never continue.
Odds of returning: 1 in 10. Writer Joe Keatinge is still out there writing great comic books, but it's unlikely he'll return to this older work when new, non-canceled stuff is still on his plate.
9. Batman: The Widening Gyre
I'll say it up front; I like Kevin Smith. I tend to like his movies on average and his numerous podcasts make for fun listens. His comic book work is usually a bit more divisive, but if we're talking about Batman: The Widening Gyre, I like it a good deal.
The story follows our Dark Knight as he crisscrosses the DC Universe, forming a trust with Gotham's newest vigilante, Baphomet. The story does read like it's being written by a Batman fan, with as many characters and references crammed into it as possible, but for the most part it works. Smith doesn't have the character voices down 100 percent, but his slip ups are few and far between.
The artwork by Walter Flanagan is wonderful, much better than I would have ever expected from someone who isn't a full time comic book artist. The series is a spiritual sequel to Smith and Flanagan's previous collaboration, Batman: Cacophony, and while reading that certainly HELPS enjoyment of Widening Gyre, it isn't necessary. All in all, a fun book with ignore-able flaws.
Odds of returning: 1 in 5. The series was scheduled to take a break after its first six issues. Unfortunately, that break has stretched into years. DC announced that the remaining issues will eventually be released as a new miniseries, Batman: Bellicosity, but even that is still not out. To be fair, Smith is still actively making movies and Flanagan is on the reality show Comic Book Men, so both are pretty busy, but they've promised that it will see release.
So a couple of these are not books that just stopped coming out so much as books that were canceled before their intended conclusions. As such, they have "endings" of a sort, but they feel just as unfinished as anything else on the list.
Capes is a book by Walking Dead creator and writer Robert Kirkman. Written as a part of his Invincible universe, it was sold as a three-issue miniseries, with the intention of doing a fourth issue, and maybe more. Unfortunately, the series didn't do well enough and was quietly discontinued. The main characters re-appeared later in a back-up feature in Invincible before retreating again into obscurity.
The book follows the employees of Capes Incorporated, a firm that pays superheroes to save people. Bolt, Kid Thor, Knockout, and the rest fight to save the world, so long as they're on the clock. It's understandable why Capes never went forward. It's good, but Kirkman's other in-universe series, including Invincible, Astounding Wolfman, and Guarding the Globe are all much better.
Odds of returning: 1 in 50. While we probably won't see Capes Incorporated in their own series again, it's possible they'll get another back up story, or at least another guest appearance, in another Invinci-verse book.
7. Irredeemable Ant-Man
What if the world's biggest @$$hole got a supersuit? Answer: The Irredeemable Ant-Man!
SHIELD Agent Eric O'Grady wound up in a bad situation: having to steal a new prototype Ant-Man suit to survive left him blamed for the death of his best friend and on the run. O'Grady used the suit (and the initial code name Slaying Mantis) to gain fame, notoriety, and to spy on women in the bathroom. Yeah, he's kind of a really terrible person. But he's lovable terrible (like these likeable villains).
The series ran twelve issues before its cancelation, each issue written by Robert Kirkman. It's a series I'd recommend, if only for its comedic tone and reprehensible protagonist.
Odds of returning: 1 in âˆž. In short: not gonna happen. O'Grady popped up in other series by other writers and artists after the cancellation, specifically Avengers: The Initiative and Secret Avengers, before he gave his life in the latter book. Lately, a cybernetic duplicate, The Black Ant, has been appearing in the underrated Illuminati. Also, writer Robert Kirkman has taken a hardline stance on never wanting to work for Marvel or DC again. So with the character dead, and the writer unwilling, I highly doubt Eric O'Grady's solo series will ever come back to shelves.
6. Starbrand and Nightmask
Man, poor Greg Weisman canNOT catch a break. Don't recognize that name? You really REALLY should. Did you enjoy the Young Justice animated series? How about The Spectacular Spider-Man? If so, you have Greg Weisman to thank. And if not, you may not have a soul.
But you know what those two shows had in common? EARLY CANCELLATION! And Weisman's recent Marvel comic series Starbrand and Nightmask met the same depressing fate. The series focused on the titular duo, two young upstart Avengers with incredible power.
The team balanced superheroing with college at ESU, Peter Parker's alma mater and Squirrel Girl's current place of residence. The series was both fun and funny, expertly showing the balance of the two protagonists. I'm guilty of not reading this book until after its cancellation, and I feel terrible about that fact, because it's great.
Odds of returning: 1 in 200. It was JUST cancelled. Like, unless every single person reading this goes out and buys a copy of the inevitable collector’s edition, I don't see it as a possibility. But everyone SHOULD go buy that collector’s edition. I'm planning on it.
I've talked about the brilliance of Brilliant before in an article a buncha months ago, but I still call it out as one of my favorite ongoing indie series, even if ongoing should probably be in quotation marks.
By Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, the same two craftsmen who gave us the incredible first hundred and ten issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, Brilliant is a fast paced drama about power and responsibility. A group of college students figure out a theoretical way to give themselves superpowers. But when one kid conducts the ultimate beta test, things really go to hell.
Brilliant is as good as you'd expect from that creative team. That is to say, very, very totally extremely, great. And, unlike most of the other books this late in the list, I actually feel comfortable recommending that you read this because"¦
Odds of returning: 1 in 2. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance to hear Bendis himself speak at Wondercon this year, where he confirmed a desire to finish Brilliant on both his part and Bagley’s. Citing scheduling difficulties as the reason for the book’s delay, he promised it would be finished as soon as possible.
Oh, god, yes!
Fell is a dark, dour detective tale riddled with creepy symbolism and human drama. The book tells the story of Detective Richard Fell, a police detective forced to work in Snowtown as punishment for an unknown event. Snowtown is a bad bad place and Fell has to force himself through each day of dealing with it. Between suicide bombers, branding, and those goshdarn dogs, he has his work more than cut out for him.
Plus, the Nun. The Nun is terrifying.
Master writer Warren Ellis crafts a great character and mythology but artist Ben Templesmith really sells this book with his beautiful and haunting art. Templesmith is best known for 30 Days of Night, but I'd say Fell is a much better example of his craft, especially the use of the nine panel grid. As a comic book process dork, nine-panel grids make me lose my mind.
Odds of returning: 1 in 5. The series would have wrapped up some time ago if Warren Ellis's laptop hadn't been stolen with the scripts for the final issues on them. He and Templesmith have said that they're working on the rest of the book, but at a slowed-down pace. But there's always a chance the book will simply be left by the wayside, especially since that exact thing happened to Ellis's other series, Desolation Jones.
The fact that the majority of you in the audience haven't read Mage is a tragedy. I myself only found it fairly recently, but it immediately earned my love.
Written and drawn by Matt Wagner (better known for his work on Grendel) and inked by Sam Keith, the story follows Kevin Matchstick, an average disaffected man given superpowers by a mage named Mirth. He is sent off to face the forces of darkness alongside his band of misfits. But that's not really what the story's about.
The story really picks up when Matchstick discovers he's really (SPOILERS) a reincarnation of King Arthur. And his Excalibur? It's a magic baseball bat.
Oh, hell, yeah.
If that didn't sell you, nothing will.
Odds of returning: 1 in 7. The series originally published as two 15-issue miniseries, Mage: The Hero Discovered in the late eighties and Mage: The Hero Defined in the late nineties. The third and final announced volume, Mage: The Hero Denied is still on the way, but since it's all Wagner's baby, we have to wait for him to make it on his own time. I certainly don't want him rushing it. But whenever it's done, I will definitely be eagerly waiting, money in hand.
2. Thor: The Mighty Avenger
This one hurts. A lot.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger was an absolute favorite amongst comics critics but it unfortunately failed to gain the readership it needed to avoid cancellation. The series was an all ages appropriate Thor series focused on his relationship with Jane Foster. Of course, we also got guest appearances from Giant Man, Iron Man, Captain Britain, and Namor for fun. Which this book was.
Every issue left a smile on my face, and its cancellation hit me like a freight train.
Roger Landridge writes incredible adventure comedy, and Chris Samnee's art is absolutely b-e-a-utiful. Seriously, this was an all-star book through and through.
Fortunately, we did get one last outing for the book, via a Thor/Captain America Free Comic Book Day one-shot by Landridge and Samnee. Not nearly enough of a finale, but it had to do.
Odds of returning: 1 in 100. Landridge has moved on to write a bunch more comics, including the acclaimed Muppets books for Boom and Samnee is currently the artist on the new Black Widow series, so they're both pretty busy. But again, this book was cancelled due to poor readership, so odds of it coming back anyway are near impossible.
Sigh, why can't we have nice things?
1. Alan Moore’s Supreme
Supreme is one of the greatest Superman comics of all time, even if it isn't actually a Superman comic.
Written by Alan Moore (yes, THAT Alan Moore) and drawn by a whole host of artists, Supreme is an absolute love letter to everything about comics, and Superman especially.
The series follows Supreme, a Superman-like hero who has recently been "revised" or rebooted. As he slowly remembers the pieces of his life, we see them via flashbacks. These flashbacks, written and drawn like old comic books, are simply sublime. From "˜50s horror to "˜60s superheroing to Mad Magazine-esque humor comics, Supreme is a comic book that loves comic books. ESPECIALLY when it comes to the Supremacy, a fortress in limbo full of alternate versions of Supreme from throughout time. I swear to God, I lose it every time laughing at Grim Eighties Supreme, who is just Alan Moore's parody of Frank Miller.
It's a book made of a deep love of comic books and all the charming goofiness inherent in them.
Odds of Returning: 1 in 1000. The series stopped before its intended conclusion, and, since Moore tends to end all his partnerships with "#*@$ you, I'm never working for you again" he's probably not coming back anytime soon. His final script for the series was drawn and released in 2012, but that's almost definitely going to be the last we see of Alan Moore's Pearl Paragon.
That's it for this article. You guys have no clue how much I wanted to end this list at Number Two, just for the sake of the joke…