Greg Smallwood is currently working on DC's The Human Target with writer Tom King, but a couple of years back he pitched an interesting idea to Marvel fresh off his run on Moon Knight (opens in new tab): a new Midnight Sons team book. With a Midnight Suns game just announced, we thought it the perfect time to look back at what almost was.(opens in new tab)
"My interest in Midnight Sons came from my work on Moon Knight. I really dug the idea of Moon Knight on a team and the Midnight Sons seemed like the most obvious choice," Smallwood told Newsarama at the time.
"I've always loved the darker characters at Marvel but a lot of them have receded into the background since their heyday in the '90s. With a lot of '90s nostalgia coming back in a big way, I thought now would be a perfect time to bring these heroes back together but in a contemporary style. Johnny Blaze is essentially the heart and soul of the story I developed but each of the characters is given their moment to shine."
Originally created in 1992, the Midnight Sons were the central team and brand for a mini-line of Marvel horror titles in the mid-'90s which included Ghost Rider, Morbius, Werewolf by Night, and others. The team has rarely appeared since the late '90s, save for one-off appearances such as in 2009's Marvel Zombies 4 (opens in new tab) and a reunion in the 'Damnation (opens in new tab)' event. Read all about this team in our massive Midnight Sons article.
For his pitch, Smallwood incorporated longtime Midnight Sons members such as Blade, Ghost Riders Danny Ketch and Johnny Blaze, Morbius, Jennifer Kale, Hellstrom, and the Punisher. He also brought Moon Knight into the team, which Marvel would do a year later in the aforementioned 'Damnation,' for which Smallwood drew variant covers.
Here are Smallwood's character sketches for his Midnight Sons pitch:
Marvel ultimately passed on Smallwood's Midnight Sons idea, and the artist/writer shared several cover concepts and character designs for the aborted project on his social media at the time.(opens in new tab)
"There are a lot of folks at Marvel who are interested in the project but it's a logistical nightmare for editors," Smallwood told Newsarama in December 2017. "A variety of issues at play - continuity, character availability, scheduling, marketability - make movement on the project difficult. But the folks at Marvel have been hugely supportive of the concept and I know they're doing what they can to make it happen."
To date, Smallwood's Midnight Sons book hasn't happened, however he drew the 'Damnation' variants as well as a horror-themed Marvel Comics #1000 (opens in new tab) variant. His 'exclusive' contract with Marvel ended in 2018 and he branched out to make his writing debut on Archie's Vampironica (opens in new tab), co-writing it with his sister, Megan Smallwood. He's currently drawing the aforementioned The Human Target series at DC.
Many of the Midnight Sons easily chart in our list of the best supernatural superheroes in comic books.