Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #60
This is the sixtieth 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-nine.
This week is a special theme week. The theme is LEGION OF SUPERHEROES!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Right before becoming an X-Men, Nightcrawler was going to be a member of the Legion of Superheroes.
A lot has been made about Dave Cockrum bringing over characters he created as DC over to Marvel when he began working for Marvel regularly in 1974.
However, what’s interesting is that, while Nightcrawler may have originally meant to be a Legion of Superheroes member, right before Cockrum left DC, that was not going to be where Cockrum was going to use him. Instead, Cockrum had bigger plans for Nightcrawler, as a member of a brand new team set in the Legion universe called the Outsiders.
Here are a team of bad guys they presumably were going to fight, the Devastators.
Reader Derek sent me the info from Michael Grabois’ “Bits of Legionnaire Business!” Thanks, Derek!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Keith Giffen originally meant for the adult Legion and the Legionnaires to battle, with casualties being chosen randomly out of a hat.
Commenter Michael, of Legion Omnicon fame, managed to send in not one, but TWO Giffen Legion urban legends for this week! Not only that, but it was Michael’s website above that Derek sent to me! So all THREE urban legends are as a result of Michael’s work, which really isn’t THAT surprising, seeing as how it is a Legion theme week!
The first urban legend details what Keith Giffen originally had planned for the book had he not left the title.
Michael detailed it on a recent entry at the Legion Omnicron:
The story of what Keith Giffen was going to do with the Legion when the SW6 Batch came in is pretty far out. You might read this and not believe it, but it’s true. Giffen’s plan is known in Legion fandom as “The Hat Trick”, and it’s got nothing to do with hockey.
The name itself started either with the early mailing list [lsh-l] or on usenet’s Legion newsgroup, rec.arts.comics.dc.lsh. The earliest reference to the incident was in my 1995 San Diego Con report, posted to the newsgroup Aug. 9, 1995. In San Diego, a bunch of Legion fans got together to hang out. One of those fans was then-editor KC Carlson, who told us some interesting stories. The rest of this post is taken from my con report, Troy McNemar’s con report (not online), a Feb. 1999 AOL chat that Giffen attended, and Jef Peckham’s June 1999 Heroes Con report (not online).
According to KC Carlson, this was around the time when Giffen was debating on whether to stay with the Legion or not. KC was editor at the time.
Giffen described this time period in Legion history as “the one story I wish I could have finished up right.”
Stitched together from three different reports:
His plan was this: the SW6ers were the real Legionnaires, and the “adults” were clones created by the Dominators circa Adventure #348-349ish – so for the last 20 years or so, we had been reading the Legion of Cloned Super-Heroes. The adults’ secret programming would kick in and the two teams (kid SW6 and adult LSH) would have a “massive battle” to the death — with the victims chosen at random, their names literally pulled out of a hat by the writer(s). Then after it was all over, the two teams would make up, then the senior team would then leave United Planets space for the Vega System and call themselves THE OMEGA MEN in their own book.
KC at this point said, basically, “No way, this is not going to happen”, and that made up Giffen’s mind to leave the series.
Asked a few years later, according to Peckham’s Heroes Con report, Giffen corrected this version, saying he wasn’t going to have it where half would die and the rest join as one Legion.
He only planned that “some” would die, considerably less than half, perhaps 5 to 10, in the battle to free Earth from the Dominion. After that, the older Legionnaires were going to be given Earth and the defense of the UP headquarters, while the younger team were going to the edges of UP space and act as the last line of defense, in a new book to be called The Omega Men.
I know it doesn’t really matter, as the title rebooted soon after (and the Legionnaires solo book WAS pretty good), but I know I would have been interested in reading that story!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Keith Giffen managed to destroy the Earth in Legion of Superheroes due to nobody watching the book.
This one dovetailed out of a comment by Giffen quoted in the above report, where it is mentioned “As a side note, he [Giffen] said that he destroyed Earth as he left because “no one was watching.”
Keith says that he bumped off Earth because no one was paying attention, and he’s right. The book was editorially transitioning again, and the Earth blowing up issue wound up being my first. However, not many people know that TPTB had noticed what Keith was doing, and as soon as I started, they asked that that issue not be published. I had to fight for its publication, because that issue was virtually complete when I walked in the door. It was suggested it be cancelled, but it was so close to publication that trashing it would have thrown the schedule completely off, and I didn’t want to start by making the book late.
I also understood that several hoops had to be jumped through to get Neil Gaiman to sign off on the Death cameo, and I didn’t want that to go to waste, because I thought it was a good bit. Although I had nothing creatively to do with that issue, I was happy to fight for it, because I thought it was an excellent piece of work.
How awesome is it to be writing a comic book WITHOUT an editor!
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!!