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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: At one point Wolverine was intended to be a genetically mutated wolverine.

STATUS: True

Initially, Wolverine was 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 one of the initial intentions by Cockrum and Claremont when Chris Claremont took over the book from Len Wein was to make Wolverine an evolved wolverine, courtesy of the High Evolutionary, but Stan Lee himself, according to Cockrum, nixed the idea.

So they soon went a different way, but imagine…what could have been?!?

(Wein quotes courtesy of The X-Men Companion, 1982) (Cockrum quote from Wizard Magazine Tribute to Wolverine, 1996)

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!

8 Comments

Um, so we have Silvestri to blame, then? Tsk.

Wow I know a few Dazzler fans on CBR who will be shocked to know how close she came to dying. Once I get back I’ll tell them. Odds are they know of this.

Wow… so i have Silvestri to thank, then? Neat.

I thought the Shadow’s name was Lamont Cranston. Am I confusing him with somebody else?

Meh, comic book death… It’s not like she couldn’t get better.

@Mary Warner: In the radio show and the comics, the Shadow was really Lamont Cranston. But in the pulps, where the character began, he was originally Kent Allard, who blackmailed wealthy Lamont Cranston into leaving the country so that he could assume his identity and make use of his contacts and reputation.

This is bullshit. And it’s not even well-researched bullshit. Any rookie fanboy knows that Wolverine was first introduced in the Hulk, not X-Men. And guess what. He wasn’t a mutated fucking wolverine.

Indeed, he was a mutated celibate wolverine. Do the research!

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