Thursday, October 20, 2005

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #21!

This is the twenty-first in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous twenty.

Let's begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Wolverine was initially intended to be a genetically mutated wolverine.

STATUS: True

Initially, not only was Wolverine to be a mutated Wolverine, he was also supposed to be a teenager, just like the rest of the X-Men! It wasn't until Dave Cockrum first drew Wolverine without a mask that everyone realized that Wolverine was not as young as the other X-Men. Said Wein, at the time, "You just put thirty years on that guy."

In addition, according to Len Wein, “The adamantium claws were [only] in the gloves when I first created the character. And the claws were retractable. They were telescoping, and they would fit back in the casing of the gloves.”

As for the "mutated Wolverine" part, check out X-Men #98. A technician gets a reading on Wolverine that suggests he is not a full-fledged mutant. This was because Wein's initial intentions were to make Wolverine an evolved wolverine, courtesy of the High Evolutionary.

Chris Claremont soon took over writing the book full-time, and he went his own way with the character, but imagine...what could have been?!?

(Wein quotes courtesy of The X-Men Companion, 1982)

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Superman's secret identity was made up by combining the first names of two popular pulp heroes.

STATUS: False

Superman's secret identity is Clark Kent.

Therefore, a nice urban legend has sprung up that Siegel and Shuster named their hero after two popular pulp heroes who were certainly known to the young comic creators, Doc Savage and the Shadow.

Clark Savage, Jr. and Kent Allard.

The truth, however, is far from that.

According to Julie Schwartz,
"When I saw Jerry Siegel, I asked him, "What is the real story? Where did the name Clark Kent come from?"

He smiled and said, "It's very simple. I named Clark after the most romantic movie idol of the age, Clark Gable."

I said, "I anticipated that. But where did Kent come from?"

He thought for a while and smiled and then he said, "Oh, I'll tell you. My wife's brother-in-law is Kent Taylor, a movie actor from back in the 40's."

So Kent came from Kent Taylor."
Too bad. The other story has more pizzazz to it, doesn't it?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Dazzler's life was saved by Marc Silvestri.

STATUS: True

In Uncanny X-Men ##245, a caption points out that Dazzler`s "basic luminescence has been upshifting along the spectrum" from yellow into white.

Apparently, this was foreshadowing by Chris Claremont to Dazzler's upcoming death a few issues later, in a battle against the Master Mold.

However, all Dazzler fans out there should be happy to note that Marc Silvestri essentially yanked her neck from under the guillotine and allowed her to live another day.

Silvestri came up with an idea of doing a Hollywood story with Dazzler, with her having a stalking fan. Perhaps not the most clever of ideas, but it was clever enough for Claremont to relent, sparing Dazzler's life.

Well, that's it for me this week!

Feel free to tell me some urban legends you have heard, and I will try to confirm or deny them!

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Vincent J. Murphy said...

"However, all Dazzler fans out there should be happy..."

I'm sure both of them are.

10/20/2005 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Eli said...

I think that Wolverine would be a lot more interesting.

10/20/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Foss said...

Here's an urban legend: JD Finn, the writer who closed off Chuck Austen's horrendous run on "Action Comics," was really a pen name used by Austen, meaning "jaded fan."

Personally, I think the writing quality made such an upswing in those two months that it couldn't conceivably have been Austen--why would he make his whole run look that much worse by writing two halfway decent issues at the end?

10/20/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Chuck Welch said...

What did Seigel say about the "Fortress of Solitude?" His cousin had one in Alaska?

10/20/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Axel M. Gruner said...

Good point, Chuck, regarding Clark Kent and Clark Savage Jr.
Ironically, in the first Doc Savage mags, he even looked like Clark Gable, unlike the Bama paintings most people know.

10/20/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Anonymous A.L. Baroza said...

Tom's post about Chuck Austen's alleged alias reminded me of something I read several months back. Around the same time as the JD Finn rumor, there was another one that claimed that Marvel had a non-Asian creator who adopted a Japanese pen name, presumably to attract the manga crowd. There was also speculation that it was yet ANOTHER Chuck Austen alias.

Given that there aren't very many Marvel writers or artists of Asian ancestry, I assumed the rumor was about Akira Yoshida, of whom I know absolutely nothing about. Now, I dunno how much credence to lend this rumor--it was something I read about in passing on some comics message board or other. Was there anything to this at all or was I just high?

10/20/2005 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Did someone else ghostwrite the Danger Room arc of Astonishing X-Men for a busy Joss Whedon?

Did Marvel, during one of their many brushes with total financial disaster, consider stopping publication completely and leasing or selling their characters to DC for publication?

Is Jim Cheung allergic to sunlight?

10/21/2005 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Reilly Brown said...

Hey, I have a few questions. I don't know that they're really "urban legends" or not, but maybe you could find out about them?

Durring Neal Adams' run on X-Men, in the story where they fight the sentinels, at one point an alarm at the sentinel base goes off and and says that someone's aproaching from the East, and the X-Men, who came from the West, say they don't know what the alarm is about.
Was that alarm supposed to indicate Magneto's return?

Also, The Hulk's real name is Robert Bruce Banner. I've always thought that he was named that because Stan Lee accidentally named him Bob Banner in one issue and had to explain the mistake.

Anyway, good collumn, man!

10/27/2005 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Corey said...

Jim Cheung is British. Or he at least has the accent to make a convincing case that he's British. He attended the San Diego Coimic-Cons back in his CrossGen days so I doubt he has any allergies to sunlight.

Great columns, Brian!

10/27/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Adam W said...

Re Wolverine, damn, I knew it all along! As a kid I would try to convince anyone who would listen that Wolverine was an escaped New Man with no memory.... as well as #98, see also Mephisto Vs Whoever he was Fighting That Issue, I think Mephisto vs The X-Men was #3

3/28/2006 10:37:00 PM  

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