Batman writers/editor had different plans in '98, before NML

 While I was recently spelunking through the world's most awesome hellhole of a comic shop, I found a copy of Wizard Magazine's all-villain issue, The Dark Book. Specifically, Dark Book '98, their follow-up issue.

I used to be an avid Wizard reader, but gave up due to a combination of the internet and the fact that they were doing shit like this all the time. But I had fond memories of the first Dark Book, since it was a celebration of all things evil and criminal, with little in the way of Wizard's mean-spirited snark. So at $1, I figured why now pick up the sequel?

I found a lot of neat stuff, but most interesting to me are the Batman villain character profiles, complete with "future plans": hints about upcoming events from writers and editors. Some, like Poison Ivy and Scarecrow, accurately described what was happening next with those characters. Others, however, not so much.

Check out what was originally planned for the Joker around 1998:

The Joker... prominent man about Gotham, respected by high society? Now that's a story I would have DIED to have seen, especially as written by Chuck Dixon! For my money, Dixon's one of the best Joker writers ever. Just look at Devil's Advocate, The Demon Laughs, and that Az-Bat story where the Joker has a ponytail and is making a film. All great stories! Just ignore Last Laugh entirely, and Dixon's track re cord with Joker is excellent!

But that never happened. Why? Because No Man's Land happened instead. And from these "future plans" snippets, it seems like NML was never meant to happen at all! Just like the similarly-disaster-themed Contagion, Gotham was apparently just going to bounce back after Cataclysm! Instead, it got stretched out through Aftershock, before they went on the Road to No Man's Land.

And what about Detective Comics #726, the issue forecast to be the start of "prominent Gotham City citizen" Joker? Instead, we got a great one-shot story with the Joker and Batsy playing Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham, which is a fine trade-off consider that it's another example of why Chuck Dixon's one of the best Joker writers ever.

At the same time, he's also one of the worst Two-Face writers. At least, if you're like me and you don't like Harvey written as a raving, evil thug. So I'm relieved that No Man's Land happened, even though I'd love to know what Dixon and Scott Peterson had originally planned:

So Harvey would have fled Gotham for Blüdhaven (still the silliest name for a comic book city), resulting in D ick vs. Harvey, Round 3! It would have been an excellent story for Dick fans, but it's clear even from Peterson's description that Harvey would have continued to be depicted shallowly. Still, I have to wonder if maybe some remnants of Dixon's Two-Face story didn't carry through that next year's stories.

ALSO! In case anyone was wondering, yes indeed, there's proof: The Long Halloween was not canon. Nor should it be, but I suppose, since Devin Grayson made Prey canon (in a great story which I'll finally be posting soon), I guess now all Legends of the Dark Knight stories are fair game for people to consider canon or otherwise, as they see fit. But even still, Jeph Loeb and Tony Daniel be damned, TLH is not now, nor shall it ever be, in actual continuity as far as I'm concerned. So there! *nods*

Finally, not all of the scrapped-plans for post- Cataclysm sounded especially, um, Earth-shattering, if Pengers is any indication:

Oswald Cobblepot: LANDOWNER! Sounds like they were going to turn him from a low-rent Kingpin into an evil landlord out of a 1920's serial. Hell, he already has the top hat! *sings* "You muuuust pay the rent! Waugh waugh waugh!"

EDITED TO ADD: Sorry for the messed-up HTML, folks. Still getting used to the fact that blog posts here don't *use* HTML!
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