Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #118
This is the one-hundred and eighteenth 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 and seventeen. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: James Cameron got the idea for The Terminator from “Days of Future Past.”
Reader FreedyJay sent me in this one,
“Days of Futures Past” inspired James Cameron to write The Terminator.
A problem with instances like this is that it is quite difficult to definitively prove one way or the other whether an artist was, in fact, inspired by a particular story.
For instance, FreedyJay also asked about the legend…
John Byrne got the idea for “Days of Futures Past” from a Dr. Who story (“Day of the Daleks.”)
Byrne did, indeed, watch that episode before he came up with “Days of Future Past” for Uncanny X-Men, but the episode also aired a good EIGHT years before “Days of Future Past” was written, so I certainly believe Byrne when he says he was not actively thinking of the episode when he came up with “Days of Future Past.” Please note that Byrne freely admits that yeah, he most likely was subconsciously influenced by the story, which is fine in my book, as it is not like the basic concept of the story is so exceptionally unique – it is the application of the story to the X-Men which makes the story work so well (the topic, by the way, led to an awesome line by Byrne along the lines of, “This is how I learned to always be wary of great ideas that come to you seemingly out of nowhere”).
In any event, with that being said, why would I then say with any definitiveness that Cameron DIDN’T get his inspiration from “Days of Future Past”?
Well, as it so happens, in the case of The Terminator, Cameron actually DID cite his inspiration – and it led to a lawsuit!
When discussing his film at the time of its release, and specifically when asked about any particular inspiration for the film, Cameron often mentioned two episodes of the TV series The Outer Limits that he was inspired by, “Demon with a Glass Hand” and “Soldier”.
As it turned out, both episodes were written by noted Science Fiction writer, Harlan Ellison.
Word got back to Ellison, who sued Cameron. There was a quick settlement (for an undisclosed figure, I believe Ellison at the time noted he was not really worried about the money, just that he wanted to be acknowledged) and now, at the beginning of the film, there is an added line “acknowledgement to the works of Harlan Ellison.”
So there ya go, FreedyJay! Thanks for the suggestion!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Top Cow Studios was going to be called Ballistic Studios
As I mentioned awhile back in different piece (I don’t remember if it was a Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed installment or not), Image Comics originally consisted of six independent studios that all published under the banner of Image Comics, but were each responsible for their own product.
The studios were:
Erik Larsen’s Highbrow Entertainment
Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios
Todd McFarlane’s Todd McFarlane Productions
Jim Valentino’s Shadowline
and, at first, Jim Lee and Marc Silvestri shared Homage Studios, but soon, Silvestri branched off to his own studio, leaving Lee to name the rename the remaining studio first Aegis, and then Wildstorm Productions
So that left us with Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow Productions.
However, there was a rumor that Top Cow was going to change its name to Ballistic Studios. This rumor was suggested by none other than Comic Book Resources’ own, Andy Khouri.
I asked Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins about it, and he was able to get me this quote from Marc Silvestri that addressed this topic, and also threw in a nice story of where the name “Top Cow” came from in the first place…
When Image started I had a girlfriend who loved cows, and being the dutiful boyfriend, well… So the story of us celebrating the start of my new company with a bottle of wine or three mixed with her love of cows, (and the need for a company name) is true.
After much sobering up an much more ribbing from the guys at Homage studios, I was going to change the name to Ballistic Studios. Then this really interesting logo design consisting of a globe with udders and a lightning bolt came in and the rest is history.
Here is that logo…
Now of course, while they did not change the name to Ballistic Studios, that was not the exact end of the flirtation with the name Ballistic Studios, as they even later published a Swimsuit Special using the name…
But in the long run, Top Cow was never supplanted, and that’s the name that they still use today, over fifteen years after it was created!
Thanks to Andy for the suggestion, and thanks to Matt and Marc for the information!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Terra was created as a sort of parody of Kitty Pryde.
FreedyJay sent me this one along with the others weeks ago:
Knowing that many people thought the New Teen Titans was DC’s answer to the X-men, Marv Wolfman and George Perez purposefully introduced Terra so that she would be compared to sweet Kitty Pryde and then they could shock readers by making her a traitor.
So it was QUITE a surprise when I opened up the first issue of Comic Foundry, and found a story on exact this topic!!
Now the actual story is not exactly what FreedyJay describes, but I think it is close enough to the spirit of his suggestion as to qualify it as a “true” urban legend.
The X-Men and the Teen Titans were, indeed, seen as sort of competing books in the early 80s, as both books were big sellers for their respective companies, and both featured young heroes in them.
In Uncanny X-Men, Kitty Pryde was quickly becoming a popular character, as the youngest member of the X-Men…
A couple of years after Kitty’s introduction (and about a year after Kitty became more and more of a featured character in the title), the young, well, mutant, I guess, Terra debuted in the pages of the Teen Titans…
and soon became a member of the team….
However, she soon was revealed to be a villain, working against the team along with Deathstroke the Terminator, in the famous “Judas Contract” storyline.
So, was Terra made into a villain as a sort of parody of Kitty Pryde’s goodness?
Here is Wolfman on the topic, from the pages of the aforementioned Comic Foundry #1, in a piece written by S. Scott Fernandez.
“I decided to take advantage of the fact that everyone would assume that she’s [Terra] a Kitty Pryde type character and totally turn them all around, Wolfman says, “It was never planned to be a rip-off or anything. The character came first, then the realization that the X-Men also had a young kid in it. I was there and the decision from day one was that, ‘OK, let’s use that, let’s play against that. Let’s play against everything the readers are expecting and throw them for a loop.”
Be sure to read the rest of Fernandez’ piece for some other interesting information about the Teen Titans, and specifically about the writing of the Judas Contract.
Thanks to FreedyJay for the suggestion, and to Comic Foundry, S. Scott Fernandez and Marv Wolfman for the information!!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!