Here’s a bit of unfinished business from waaay back. This is actually something I’ve wanted to blog about before, but the missing piece eluded me for awhile. Finally, about a month ago, I was cleaning out the garage, and found this image in HERO Illustrated #19, their 1995 Summer Preview. Relieved I wasn’t losing my mind, I now have proof that Jimmy Olsen: Bizarre Transformations was more than just a product of my fevered imagination.
When DC's Vertigo imprint first started, they initially incorporated some of DC’s Superhero titles. Shade, Doom Patrol, and Animal Man all moved to Vertigo, along with Swamp Thing and other extant titles. About a year into the launch, Vertigo had become a success, and they started announcing other titles. One of them was to be a four-issue miniseries starring Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. Bizarre Transformations promised to follow “an amnesiac, hallucinating, junkie Jimmy Olsen in a psychotropic journey through a nightmare Metropolis, plagued with drug-fueled Silver Age visions and on the trail of a mysterious, turtle-masked serial murderer, who may in fact be Jimmy himself. Obsessed with a Superman who may or may not exist, Jimmy is about to take the ultimate journey in search of the ultimate truth...”
No writer was named, but the blurb mentions Duncan Fegredo as artist, with Mike Allred slated to provide the art for the Silver age flashback/hallucinations. I remember being excited about this, only to never hear anything of it again. Then, about six years ago, I found an Internet interview with a Vertigo editor (sorry-can’t remember who) who said that the series was cancelled and twelve pages of finished art destroyed when DC brass got wind of a Superman story with such copious drug use, sex and violence, and with an ending that heavily implied that Jimmy was gay. The editor then mentioned that this was most likely the incident that led to the strict division between Vertigo and DC properties, which explains why Batman never teams up with Swamp Thing anymore. These days, this almost-was project seems to have been completely forgotten, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to show you What Might Have Been.
PS: It's April, Fools.