The last few years of Ray Bradbury’s life coincided with the first years of this blog, which is how I learned there was a corner of the publishing industry that thrived on mining his files to find material he’d written for Hollywood that had never been produced, or was drafted for some other purpose and never reached the public, that could be turned into a profitable small press project. New Bradbury material was always in demand.
Harlan Ellison is another writer with deep files who’s kept that Midas touch. The latest example is Ellison’s contribution to DC Comics’ Batman ’66 project based on an unproduced outline for the Adam West Batman series. Ellison’s episode would have introduced Two-Face.
Alex Ross cover for he Two-Face issue of Batman ’66
Len Wein told ComicsAlliance how the project came together:
ComicsAlliance: …Did you work from a full script, a pitch that never got used for the series…
Len Wein: It is an adaptation of a lost outline. Harlan Ellison – the legendary Harlan Ellison, I should say – had done an outline for this show back in the ’60s, which for reasons not important here, never got produced, and he’d put it in a drawer and forgotten about it.
So, several months ago he was cleaning out his files and went, “Oh my god, this old thing… Hey wait, DC’s doing a book on this [Batman ’66], maybe I can sell them the outline!” And he called up and said, “I’ve got this outline for an episode, are you guys interested?” and they all went, “Sure, yeah, uh-huh!” because, after all, it’s Harlan. So he sold them the outline, and called me up – Harlan’s my oldest friend, we’ve been buddies for forty-odd years – and he told me what I just told you, and said that now they needed to get somebody to script it. And I said, “I’m available!” So he said great, he called DC, they called me up and said, “you wanna do this?” and I said, “you bet.”
And then my dear old friend [José Luis] Garcia-López, one of the great artists in the history of the biz, got involved as penciller. And it started to snowball from there, it became this A-List thing. Joe Prado called up and said, “I hear there’s a Garcia-López job that needs inking” and we went, “sure, it’s yours.” Alex Sinclair called up and said, “I hear there’s this special thing going on that needs coloring.” And then Alex Ross calls up and goes, “You mind if I paint a cover for this?” And it just became this insane project.
See the complete interview here.