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CSBG Archive

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with Byrne’s telling of what he would have done, so here is Byrne, from his forum, discussing his plans, along with unpublished covers courtesy of the Wonder Man site: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!

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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.

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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.

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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 line of comic books.

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.

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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.!

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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.

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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!!

7 Comments

A comic book urban legened I’ve wondered about:
Did the captain marvel books of the 1940s create and popularize the phrase “holy moly”?

What the @#%* is up w/ Immortus head in that image?

“Shreck” is yiddish for “Terror”.

Well, at last in House of M was demostrated that Wanda’s Powers were really capable of change completely the reality. I’ve always thought that because of her power of alter probabilities, Scarlett Witch was the most powerful being of Marvel Universe and that event prove it. My question is…¿Why She isn’t the most powerful Superhero?

“Scarlett Witch was the most powerful being of Marvel Universe and that event prove it. My question is… Why She isn’t the most powerful Superhero ?”

Maybe it’s because any powerful super-heroine who doesn’t dress up like a skank ends up corrupted by power or developping major mind disorders.

I’m being a bit stupid and sarcastic, but there’s some truth into that.

That Immortus storyline sounds ridiculously close to how Tom, Mary, & Keith wrapped up the Byrne-created pocket universe Superboy storyline in LoSH v3, #4 & 5. Is there any reason to believe they’d heard about Byrne’s plans?

My question is…¿Why She isn’t the most powerful Superhero?

Probably because the writers realized how overused the idea is in the MU. The most powerful member of nearly every Marvel superhero team is female.

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