Thursday, May 18, 2006

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #51!

This is the fifty-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 fifty.

Let's begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: John Byrne had a much longer storyline in store for Scarlet Witch before being taken off Avengers West Coast.

STATUS: True

Years ago, on the awesome "Wonder Man: Cooler Than Superman" website, I read an interview by John Byrne. I had totally forgotten about it until someone brought it up recently on Comic Book Resources here. It reminded me of something that John Byrne had planned for Avengers West Coast had he not been unceremoniously pulled from the book in the midst of his "Dark Scarlet Witch" storyline, a story that would be revisited years later during Avengers Disassembled, and this neat interview had the visuals to go along with Byrne's telling of what he would have done, so here is Byrne, from his forum, discussing his plans, along with unpublished covers courtesy of the Wonder Man site:
I'm going to break my own Number One Rule and tell a story that did not see print.

All this came out of the Immortus/Scarlet Witch debacle, of course. With the "realism" in Marvel at the time -- you know, like talking dragons being "telepathic", because that was more "realistic" -- it had become impossible to accept that Wanda's hex power could be something as prosaic as merely causing people to have "bad luck". So it had been decided that what she actually did was alter probabilities . Thus, if the probability of a badguy's gun jamming was 1000 to 1, she could make it 1 to 1, and the gun would jam. Bad luck for him!



When I came to do AVENGERS WEST COAST this was the accepted way of portraying Wanda's power -- but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was really an incredible complication of something that had once been so simple. I mean, think about it! For Wanda to alter probabilities she would have to be reaching back thru the whole temporal chain of events that led to a single moment. She would have to be altering time -- retroactively!

Well, that sure seemed like something that could catch the eye of Immortus, eventually, and as I wrote the story, it did. Immortus, who had been seen pinching off alternate realities as part of a set up to this story, was engaged in a program of whittling the multiverse down to a single time-line. One which he would control.



Discovering Wanda's power, he was going to kidnap her and use her to further his plans. And the first thing he was going to do was alter probabilities so that when the Avengers battled Kang the first time, Kang won!

My story would reveal this in flashback, however, as we would open in the world long after this had happened. Pretty grim place, where most of the familiar heroes had been killed off or never become super powered in the first place. No FF, since they never took that rocket ride. No Hulk, since Rick Jone has never driven his car onto the Gamma Bomb test site. (One of the main characters was going to be Peter Parker, who had not become Spider-Man because of Immortus' manipulations.)

As the story progressed, we would learn slowly what had happened -- and also learn that we were not seeing "present day" Marvel, but rather a time a "few months" (Marvel Time) ago. The date would be just prior to when Thor, in order to save a wounded Black Knight, had used his hammer to open a portal in time and space and stuck the Knight into it. We would learn this when the Black Knight basically fell out of the air into the post-Kang's victory world. In that timeline, Thor had not placed him in the "time stasis", so when the changed world "caught up" to that moment, out popped the Black Knight. The multiverses intersected at that point, you see. Well, the Black Knight pretty quickly figures out what's going on, learns there is an underground (of course!) and helps the folk of the twisted version hunt down and stop Immortus, freeing Wanda (herself another link to the multiverse, by virtue of how Immortus has been manipulating her power) and setting everything right.



When all is restored, the Black Knight of course is back in that "hole in time", and Wanda is the only one who remembers how things were. A memory that fades, like a dream, very quickly. . . .

LOOK FOR THIS TITANIC TALE IN A NuMARVEL BOOK APPEARING SOON !!
Pretty neat, eh?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Terror, Inc. was a continuation of a previous comic from another publisher.

STATUS: True

In the late 1980s, Marvel's Epic line was not exactly in great shape.

In an attempt to pump some life into it, writer D.G. Chichester was assigned to create a bunch of new characters and titles and work them into the "Shadowline" universe.

Later, the series had a big crossover called Critical Mass.



Does the character on the cover look familiar?

Well, his name was Shreck.

He had the ability to replace parts of his body (hands, feet, arms, legs, eyes, ears, nose, etc.) with those of other people.

Sound familiar?

Well, when Epic went under, editor Marc McLaurin asked Chichester to bring Shreck to the Marvel Universe, where he became (you guessed it)...

Terror, Inc.!



Only, of course, Marc McLaurin said that Terror was NOT Shreck.

The move is discussed in detail here, and Chichester shows up to give his feelings on the matter,
No matter what Marcus may or may not have said as a "good soldier" in the Marvel Universe army, Shreck was Terror and Terror was Shreck ...but for the fact that Terror got to develop more of a a back story as time went on. We never did address the transition from Shadowline to MU, however, and probably never would have (as at that point the Shadowline was long since relegated to "Who cares?" among the larger editorial staff at the office (although those of us who invested a lot of time and effort in it kept a warm spot in our hearts).
Odd history, eh?

I liked Terror!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Colossus was originally intended to be Ferro Lad's brother.

STATUS: False

A rumor that has made the rounds over the years is that Colossue was originally intended to be a part of Dave Cockrum's previous work, the Legion of Superheroes.

In fact, here's a post by "Captain Kal" at the Superman Through The Ages forum, on the topic,
I remember reading somewhere that the similarities between Ferro Lad and Colossus were not accidental. I heard one of the creators involved in Colossus wanted to do something with Ferro Lad at DC, but DC resolutely refused his proposal, so he created the analogue of Colossus at Marvel.


Can anyone confirm this?
While I cannot confirm it, I CAN deny it.





In The Legion Companion (TwoMorrows 2003, Page 73), Cockrum gave an interview, and the question was raised,
Q. True or False: your design of Colossus was originally intended to be used as Ferro lad's brother.

Dave Cockrum: False.
Well, that about settles that, eh?

Thanks to H from the great blog The Comic Treadmill for sending me this bit of info about Cockrum.

Well, that's it for this week, thanks for stopping by!

Feel free to drop off any urban legends you'd like to see featured!!

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16 Comments:

Blogger Bill Reed said...

I wouldn't mind a new Terror Inc. series. Hell, I'd write one.

You listening, Joey Q?

5/18/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Robert Kirkman must have some fondness for the character, since he used him recently in MTU. Before my own comics-reading time, though.

5/18/2006 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Yes. I bought an issue of MTU specifically because Sleepwalker and Terror were on the cover.

But they weren't in the issue. And it was terrible.

So I never finished the arc.

And I'm one of the biggest Sleepwalker fans ever.

5/19/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Al from Italy said...

Well, Byrne after FF was good only for destroying characters and killing superhero sons... so it's logic that the original idea came from him....

And no, I didn't like the Avengers Disassamble and all the killing of characters... my opinion...

And I don't hate Byrne, simply i don't like his scripts... my problem is that he messes with the characters only becouse he hasn't other good ideas...

5/19/2006 04:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Jer said...

Byrne's an odd bird. He has the complaint here that Marvel's "realism" was annoying and so Wanda couldn't just have "bad luck" powers - then he goes and makes her probability manipulation EVEN MORE COMPLICATED because that's "more realistic". Wanda's powers didn't have to be "realistic" or quantum manipulations, or any of that - she manipulates probabilities and makes some things more likely than others. Don't look to hard at it or you'll break the suspension of disbelief.

Of course, that's not the ONLY place Byrne has done this. His entire Superman revamp was all about eliminating the fun, weird stuff in the Superman mythology and giving boring rationales for how Superman's powers worked. He was partly telekinetic (for his Super-strength and flight), he had an "aura" around him that protected him instead of just being super tough (and protected his clothes so they didn't need to be "indestructable Kryptonian fabric" anymore). So, Byrne complaining about things having to be 'too realistic' is odd because he's one of the folks who helped push things that way.

And his WCA run irritated me - for every one thing about his run that he did that I liked, he'd do two things that would irritate me. I can't dislike it too much because he did create the Great Lakes Avengers during that run (and their bits were quite fun), but the whole "bleached white Vision/Wanda's children don't really exist/crazy evil Wanda" part of the storyline just wasn't very good.

5/19/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

While at the time Marvel may have said Terror and Schreck, according to the Alternate Universes 2005 Handbook, it's the same guy, as the Shadowline entry acknowledges Schreck somehow wound up in the Marvel Uuniverse after the events of Critical Mass.

5/19/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous SanctumSanctorumComix said...

I'll be honest.

I LOVED the BLEACHED WHITE Unemotional VISION and the bat-$#!T-crazy Scarlet Witch storyline from AWC.

I was QUITE upset when Byrne left (was pulled from) the title with things unfinished.

I was also a fan of the WonderMan won't give his brain patters to Vision because HE loved Wanda bit as well.

As for Byrne making things more complex...I was always ok with *most* of that.

His Superman stuff made little sense to me, but since I always saw Superman as a "child's" comic (most DC stuff, to me anyway, was "entry to comics 101" - Flaming me begins...NOW!) and Avengers (F.F., Dr Strange, Marvel stuff et.al) as being more "advanced", the complex stuff was interesting.

He wasn't making it complex just TO BE complex.
He was perfectly HAPPY with her having "bad luck powers".
But MARVEL Powers That Be at the time dictated more "realistic" natures for these powers.
What he did was carry it to their "logical" conclusion.

All I know is, I was looking for a TRADE paperback of the AWC "dark wanda" story (after House of M, Marvel released TPB's of ANY "wacky wanda" stuff they HAD), but THAT storyline was never really completed, so...NO TPB.
And thusly, NO extra $ for Marvel.

NO SOUP FOR YOU!

;-)

OK..all you DC fans, come beat me up...now.

(BTW...ALWAYS was a BIG Phantom Stranger/Deadman/Dr. Fate fan.
AND I LOVED all the animated series, starting with Batman:animated series all the way to JLU *sniff, sniff*).

SO I don't HATE DC. Just too "flat" for me when I was growing up reading comics as a kid. - 1970's - 80's, - and Waaay too convoluted to get into NOW).

5/19/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Ununnilium said...

So... House of K!

5/19/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

"Q. True or False: Your design of Colossus was originally intended to be used as Ferro Lad's brother.
"Dave Cockrum: False.
"Well, that about settles that, eh?"

Is this supposed to be amusing? Every time someone asks Patrick McGoohan if the title character in his TV series "The Prisoner" is the same as John Drake, whom he previously played in "Danger Man/Secret Agent, he just as flatly denies it, but most "Prisoner" fans feel that this is simply a consequence of legalities, that Drake's creator, Ralph Smart, gets no "Prisoner" credit or, more importantly, money. So it doesn't settle the question at all, and I ask again, did you intend this to be amusing?

5/19/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Cockrum DOES talk about how Nightcrawler WAS intended for Legion of Superheroes.

Cockrum has also talked (see a former Urban Legends Revealed on this point) about how he sold the same character to two companies at the same time!

So, in other words, Cockrum is not hiding anything. Mainly because there isn't anything TO hide. Saying Colossus was originally intended to be Ferro Lad does not open up Cockrum to ANYthing, legal-wise.

5/19/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

Thank you for the clarification.

5/20/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted W. said...

Oh, yes: Upon re-reading my first posting on this one, I saw it as definitely more blunt than intended. Sorry.

5/20/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous sterg said...

Were Epic and Marvel really different companies?
I always thought Epic was just a separate line Marvel put out for "more adult" books.

5/21/2006 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Griswold said...

Has Rob Liefeld ever admitted that Deadpool is based on Deathstroke?

5/21/2006 04:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

"Were Epic and Marvel really different companies?"

No. Epic was initially created by
Marvel as an imprint for creator-owned comics. Eventually, they started printing "mature" versions of some of their own characters under it, such as "Elektra: Assassin." While I never took a good look at an Epic comic that post-dated Aragones & Evanier taking "Groo" elsewhere, every one that I DID see had "Marvel" fairly prominently placed somewhere.

5/21/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Has Rob Liefeld ever admitted that Deadpool is based on Deathstroke?"

I don't think he ever did. But it's pretty obvious(I think it is anyway..) Deadpool even once said it. Well, kinda, in a letter colum thet he answered he said something about not wanted to be in a DC/Marvel crossover in fear of his simmilarities to a DC charecter would be noticed. And I've always thought Leifeld wanted a Deathstroke for his X-force.

5/25/2006 02:32:00 AM  

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