Crisis on Captive Earth: DC editors and creators respond

As DC’s editorial hierarchy began to develop its ideas for a sequel to the monstrously popular CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, they ran into a number of false starts and blind alleys. One of those never-was attempts was called CRISIS ON CAPTIVE EARTH, and while some minor aspects of it eventually made their way into LEGENDS, most of the story was discarded, revised and abandoned along the way. Last time, we saw the outline for the storyline that was circulated among DC’s editors and key creators. This time, we’re going to look at a few of the responses that came back from those creators and editors.

Paul Levitz was on staff at the time as well as being the writer of LEGION OF SUPER HEROES.

Roy Thomas was writing ALL-STAR SQUADRON and INFINITY INC. as well as being the “Earth-2” editor, a title that woudl mean relatively little once CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS had done its work.

Karl Kesel was the intended inker of CRISIS ON CAPTIVE EARTH and as he indicated in the comments a week or two back, he made several story suggestions as can be seen in this multi-page memo.

Along with his writing partner Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin was writing their creations BLUE DEVIL and AMETHYST

This talk about changed Batgirl plans in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS is pretty intriguing.

Not yet the pre-eminent SUPERMAN creator of the era, Dan Jurgens at this time was writing and drawing his creation BOOSTER GOLD.

Barbara Randall, eventually Barbara Kesel, was on staff as an editor, and would soon move into regular writing assignments on series such as HAWK AND DOVE.

Ed Hannigan was on staff at the time as DC’s cover editor. Interesting to see him pitch the title FINAL CRISIS this early on. Nothing much ever happened with those Vanguard characters that Ed mentions.

7 thoughts on “Crisis on Captive Earth: DC editors and creators respond

  1. Interesting to see the undercurrent of “we’re supporting this for the company, but the overall reason for this book seems weak” amongst the staff. Obviously, this is exactly why Captive Earth did not come to pass… but DC was certainly enamoured of the yearly crossover for several years after the success of CRISIS.


  2. Ed Hannigan’s structure suggestions sound very much like what Mark Miller did later in Marvel’s Civil War with the main series and all the tie-ins in the characters own books.


    1. And it’s now SOP to make things incomprehensible without all the tie-ins, something that drives me up the wall when I read crossovers in TPB. They never seem to have all the key parts.


  3. I remember the Vanguard. Can’t say I’m sorry they didn’t get more PR.
    I know Barbara Randall was writing Batgirl in the 1980s but I don’t recall reading anything about these plans for a bodycast. She and Karl Kesel have some good insights into this project though.
    Really enjoying these behind-the-scenes looks.


  4. It’s fascinating to me how many elements from this pitch seem to have worked their way into other DC events in the following decade, mostly through Hal Jordan. A hero becomes disillusioned and turns villain, their former city lies in ruins as a grim memorial (and eventually Parallax was revealed to be a corrupting influence, although that bit wouldn’t be introduced for some time).

    I have to wonder how many of those ideas were repurposed from earlier pitches, or if it was more akin to parallel evolution – with hindsight, many of these trends seem almost inevitable (feels like everyone in the 80s had it out for Batgirl)!


    1. I’m guessing more parallel evolution. Some ideas seem strong enough they recur over and over, even if they’re not used. Stern & Byrne had an idea for resurrecting Bucky well before Winter Soldier, for instance, but opted against using it.


  5. What jumped out to me was Roy’s minor mention of moving characters with the help of McFarlane from Spokane to Calgary. McFarlane lived in Calgary and came to my town Spokane to attend Eastern Washington on a baseball scholarship, only to suffer injuries that ended one career and allow his real love–comics–to blossom. This is when I met Todd as he worked at the little LCS that I’d worked at previous to his arrival (I can still remember his showing original art from one of his Infinity Inc issues!).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s