Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #78
This is the seventy-eighth 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 seventy-seven. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Mr. Sinister was originally envisioned as the product of the mutant mind of a child.
With a name like Mr. Sinister, it can be a bit difficult to take the character seriously, and interestingly enough, his name was originally meant to be a hint as to the origin of this X-Men villain.
When Chris Claremont first introduced Mr. Sinister, the idea was that the character we knew as Mr. Sinister was actually a product of the mutant mind of a child. A child who could never age. Essentially, a twisted version of the relationship between Billy Batson and Captain Marvel.
Claremont first mainly laid these plans out in the pages of Classic X-Men, where he featured stories of Scott Summers’ upbringing as an orphan in an orphanage. There there was a boy who was fascinated with Scott, and whatever the boy wanted to have happen, suddenly Mr. Sinister would show up and do what the boy wanted to have happen.
The reveal would be that the boy WAS Mr. Sinister – which is why the name is so dorky – as this villain would be the product of the mind of a child.
The only problem is, this child would never grow up, leaving Mr. Sinister to become more and more his public persona.
Ultimately, though, after Claremont was no longer writing X-Men, later writers completely changed this plot point. The stories from the orphanage are now meant to be Mr. Sinister in disguise as a young boy.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Gambit was originally intended to be a villain.
Reader JD Moore wanted to know about this one, so here it is!
Gambit made his mysterious debut in Uncanny X-Men #266, and right off the bat, he was surrounded by mystery.
Ultimately, though, he became one of the most popular X-Men.
That, though, was not always writer Chris Claremont’s intent.
According to Claremont (on ComixFan a few years ago),
Gambit was created to be, among many other things, an adversary for the X-Men, working to subvert and destroy them from within. The connection with Sinister was part of his genesis from the get-go– *however* that connection related solely to *my* conception of Sinister and the plans I had for him and the team, post “X-Men” #3 (1991.)
This, of course, is separate from the “traitor” storyline in the X-Titles, as that storyline originated after Claremont was already off the book.
Pretty interesting, no? Imagine how things would be like if Claremont got his wish and Gambit was a villain!!!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jack Kirby co-created Thundarr the Barbarian.
Reader JD Moore is a busy fellow, as he also asked me about this one awhile back, too. He asked about the rumors Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby creating Thundarr the Barbarian.
Thundarr the Barbarian was about, surprisingly, a barbarian named Thundarr who lived in a post-apocalyptic future, along with his compatriots Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok.
The concept of the post-apocalyptic future evokes Kirby’s Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth, that Kirby did for DC Comics during the 70s.
When you add in the fact that Kirby worked on the program as a designer, it would not take much to make the leap that it was Kirby who, in fact, designed the characters.
That, however, is not the case.
As it were, the creation of Thundarr the Barbarian DID include Steve Gerber, who was heavily involved in writing for animated television programs during the 80s, but the characters were designed by artist Alex Toth, not Jack Kirby.
Kirby came into the project, which was produced by Ruby-Spears Productions, after Alex Toth had designed the characters. The producers needed more work done, and Toth was unvailable, so Kirby was suggested. They agreed, and soon Kirby was the main designer on the popular program!!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!