Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #101
This is the one-hundredth and 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 one-hundred. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jim Shooter got the idea for Spider-Man’s black costume from a piece of fan fiction.
Reader JD Moore asked me about this a few months back, and for whatever weird reason, I chose this week to address it…man, why ever would I do that?
Amazingly enough, that is, indeed, where the idea for Spider-Man’s costume change came from.
Tom DeFalco talked about it further in Back Issue #12 (that’s the second time in three weeks I’ve referred to that one issue of Back Issue!!), discussing how Jim Shooter was sent an idea for an issue of Spider-Man where Spidey gets a new costume.
Shooter liked the idea enough that he bought it, and then assigned DeFalco to work with the writer on the issue. DeFalco recalls:
I worked with the guy for months, trying to help him craft an actual story. Most beginning writers believe you need one great idea to tell a story. One good idea will barely get you through the first page. To write a story, you need hundreds of ideas, and if you don’t realize that, you shouldn’t be writing.
I tried to work with the writer to get him to craft what would have essentially been a simple, one-issue-story, in the course of the story, Spider-Man would change his costume, run around in his new one for awhile, and by the end he would be back to his original costume. After months of working with the writer, I realized it was just not going to happen.
The fan actually popped up in the comments, so we now know the fan in question was Randy Schueller.
Neat, even MORE info!
Some time after DeFalco determined not to publish the issue by Schueller, Shooter came up with the idea that, for the Secret Wars crossover, as many heroes should have some change as possible.
He recalled the new costume idea, and voila…
Comic book history was made.
And then the black costume never featured in a Spider-Man comic ever again….
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The dentist of the Superman movie’s producer’s wife auditioned for the role of Superman.
When Superman Returns began casting for their Superman, there was massive uncertainity as to who they would cast, but when THEY began casting, they at least had someone in mind, more or less. They wanted someone who was fairly similar to Christopher Reeve.
When the ORIGINAL Superman film began casting in 1975, they had no parameters at all, so there was some amusing choices, none more amusing as January Don Voyne.
First, Bruce Jenner, the Olympian, auditioned for the part in September of 1976.
But then, in January of 1977, January Don Voyne auditioned for the role. “Who is January Don Voyne?”, you say?
Well, he was none other than the dentist of producer Ilya Salkind(who produced the film with his father Alexander)’s wife!!
You can see his audition on the Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Has anyone seen it? Please tell me how he was!
The very next month, Christopher Reeve had his first screen test, and the rest, as the say, is film history….
Thanks to Chris Ma for the suggestion!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The clone of the Guardian was originally going to be a member of the New Warriors.
In 1999, Jay Faerber wrote a relaunch of the Marvel title, New Warriors.
Faerber went with a mix of established Warriors characters and some new ones, too.
He even went to the pages of the comic, Maverick, for Maverick’s mutant sidekick, Bolt.
But was the teen aged clone of James Hudson, the original Guardian, the character from Steven Seagle’s Alpha Flight run, going to be a member?
At the time, the rumors suggested that he originally was on the team, but was forced to be taken off after he was scheduled to be used in the pages of (where Alpha Flight split into two separate teams).
Was that the case?
Here is Jay Faerber for the scoop…
I’m a HUGE Alpha Flight fan, and yeah, when we were tossing around characters to join the New Warriors, I considered using the teen-aged Guardian clone from the Steve Seagle AF series. It never went further than that, however.
Ultra Girl (from the Barbara Kesel / Leonard Kirk mini-series) was another character that almost made the cut. She was actually in the original line-up (and appeared in an early draft of the first issue, which was partially drawn until an editor change resulted in a whole new approach).
Thanks for the info, Jay!!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!