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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #161

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This is the one-hundred and sixty-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 and sixty. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Like the Spanish Inquisition, some things you just never expect…like an all-Dazzler theme week!!!!

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jim Shooter wrote a Dazzler film treatment working in roles for Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, KISS, Robin Williams, Donna Summer, the Village People and both Michael McKean and David Lander!

STATUS: True

With the amount of information that I have already featured on the fact that Dazzler was originally meant to be a tie-in with Casablanca Records, you would think that I had exhausted all the information there was on the subject. I know I sure thought that to be the case.

So I was quite shocked when, in response to a question on the subject, Jim Shooter graciously let me in on an amazing piece of information that I had never heard before – that the Dazzler character was first intended to be featured in an animated film, and the film was to feature all the artists that Casablanca had under contract!

Here is Shooter describing the situation:

The Marvel brass wanted a treatment done over the weekend. The Casablanca people wanted to use many of the people they had under contract, including Donna Summer, Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, Lenny and Squiggy, Robin Williams, the Village People, Kiss and more as the voices of the characters. They told me “hire anyone you want” to write the treatment. Our film/TV agent suggested Harlan Ellison. Fat chance I could get H.E. up to speed and get him to write something in four days. I considered my options and decided that it was me or nobody — I’d be the hero or the goat. I delivered as requested. Treatment atached, OPR-scanned from the original. The Casablanca people said, and I quote, “F**k half-hour animated special, this is a feature film.”

Shooter then even more graciously supplied me with the actual film treatment, which is far too awesome to post here in its entirety, but as you can imagine, a story that needs to find roles to spotlight the qualities of Donna Summer, Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, Lenny and Squiggy, Robin Williams, the Village People and Kiss, while also guest-starring Spider-Man and the Avengers (not to mention introduce us to Dazzler) is going to be quite “out there,” and this story is no exception!

I will give you a small taste of the awesomeness:

Cut to the throne room of the Witch Queen. Dewey reports that the captives have escaped! It must be the doing of the Queen of Fire: He suggests an all-out confrontation, the Witch Queen herself should lead her Dreadknights and her army into a final vengeful battle. She agrees.

Meanwhile, Howe is advising the Queen of Fire similarly, to gather with her troops and her Stompers in No Man’s Land to settle with the Witch Queen for once and for all.

Far-out, no?

Here is the cast list:

Cher, as the Witch Queen.
Donna Summer, as the Queen of Fire.
KISS, as the Dreadknights.
Robin Williams, as Tristan.
Rodney Dangerfield, as Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe, and as Lord Chaos,
The Village People, as the Stompers.
Lenny and Squiggy, as the Jesters.

Pretty amazing, eh?

Shooter went on to note that later on (as noted in this previous installment), Bo Derek was attached to the project based on his film treatment, but it all ended up falling apart. However, before it did, Shooter noted that she was interested enough that there is a cover of People featuring the star with a pile of Marvel Comics, and, you know what? There is!

Click on the image to enlarge the awesomeness!

Thanks so much to Jim Shooter, for absolutely blowing my mind with all the info he laid upon me. It’s rare that I have no idea what to expect from an answer, but this sure was one of those occasions!

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44 Comments

Wow. Cyclps, Beast, Angel, Iceman, and… Dazzler?

That… that would have been weird. Really, really weird. (And I’m the guy who put Louise Simonson’s X-Factor as my number one for the runs list.)

I was at the 1980 San Diego con, where I suspect that picture of Bo and John Derek was taken, and saw her in the dealers’ room there looking for Howard the Duck back issues (she’d just scored Marvel Treasury Edition #12 and seemed quite pleased about it). I remember being impressed with how polite and unassuming she was with the few folks who worked up the nerve to talk to her (I was not one of them, I confess). If John was with her, I didn’t notice (would you?). At the time, the thought that Bo Derek was a comics fan cheered me but I realized years later that she and John must’ve been shopping for a comic book character she could play: notice the top book in their stack is She-Hulk.

Still, she seemed genuinely enthused about HtD that day. Bo as Beverley Switzler? Why not? Derek couldn’t have screwed up the character any worse than George Lucas.

I am not responsible for the link in my previous post. It just… appeared.

Seems like Polaris would have been a more natural choice than Dazzler for the X-factor team.

The thing that is funny is that a character like Dazzler who had that little presence in comics since its creation left that much impression into everyone.

That shows how cool were the 80’s.

Cher and the Village People in a Dazzler film starring Bo Derek?

And yet people still want to argue that Dazzler is NOT the most gaylicious diva in comics! Ha! This should indicate otherwise! Jim Shooter FTW!

I think Dazzler would have been a better X-Factor fit following her series. While I LOVED the early X-Factor, it became very Jean/Scott heavy. And given Dazz’s romantic history with Angel AND Beast, it probably could have led to some killer stories!

But then we wouldn’t have had Madelyne in Uncanny. Ah, decisions.

Mad Kudos, Brian!

Cei-U! wrote:
“Bo as Beverley Switzler? Why not? Derek couldn’t have screwed up the character any worse than George Lucas.”

You know, that just put an image in my head of George Lucas replacing Lea Thompson.

And I hate you for that.

Any chance of seeing the entirety of the Dazzler animation script posted somewhere?

<>

Will you be posting it anywhere? That’s way too awesome a find not to make immortal on the net.

Brian, you really should approach Twomorrows about you reformatting this whole Dazzler explosion as an article for Back Issue. Great work!

The above post was meant to quote your text:

“Shooter then even more graciously supplied me with the actual film treatment, which is far too awesome to post here in its entirety”

In the spirit of the X-men/music theme and forgive me if it’s been asked before but I’ve always been intrigued by the line “make way for the homo-superior” in David Bowie’s ‘Oh you pretty things’.
Is the inspired by the X-men?
Or is their use of it inspired by Bowie?
Seems odd to be mere co-incidence.

One addition/confirmation: Layton does remember right that it was Kurt Busiek who came up with the idea that was eventually used to return Jean Grey to life and the pages of X-Factor. Busiek wrote an introduction to a trade paperback where he admitted it. I kind of remember reading the intro and thinking, “This is an odd place to bring this up,” so I don’t think it was in an intro to a TPB that reprinted those early issues (does one of those even exist?)

Man, I would love to have seen what Ellison would have come up with as a four-day Dazzler treatment.

Also, that Dazzler film would have been amazing.
Is the script online anywhere?

That X-Factor cover has the costumes with the X’s on that were actually used. There’s another version of the costumes which is basically the Angel costume in different colours – see Marvel universe dlx edition – which IIRC made it onto some promo art. Any idea when th change took place ?

I’ve got a recent Urban Legend for you, look in this week’s New Avengers, on the operating table where Jessica is about to be operated on by Hydra to get her powers back…is that silicon breast implants on the operating table? Seriously, wtf is that? Someone please ask the artist.

John, I had the exact same thought and question about the implants on the operating table with Spider-Woman. What, she wasn’t chesty enough before? Her special powers are based on exceedingly large breasts? Was that part of the incentive – we’ll give you your powers back and D-cups at the same time? I wonder how many other super-heroines have power implants. Maybe that’s the true origins of Powergirl’s power!

Wasn’t that a part of her mini-series from a few years back? I think NA was just adhering to the previous book.

But at least John Byrne put all of those cool, bitchin’ disco lights onto the sides of the X-Men logo for that one issue!

I’ll put another call out and beg out for a posting of the Dazzler treatment.

[Bo] and John must’ve been shopping for a comic book character she could play: notice the top book in their stack is She-Hulk.

…and I’m 99.9% certain that the red-spined book at the bottom of the stack is the paperback The Superhero Women by Stan Lee (collecting appearances of Red Sonja, the Wasp, The Cat, Shanna the She-Devil, Ms. Marvel, Medusa and the Femizons). Cei U, I think your surmise must be correct!

PLEASE post that Dazzler treatment somehow, somewhere!

Holy crap, that Dazzler movie may have ended up even worse than the “Sgt. Pepper’s” one.

Update on the Jessica Drew breast implants, apparently this scene is originally in NA #14: http://politedissent.com/images/feb06/newavengers_14.jpg

Still doesn’t explain what they are.

I just saw “The Apple” from 1980, and I can’t help but think that the Dazzler movie described here would have been much like that fascinating film.

“The Apple” is to musicals what “Frankenstein Island” is to horror films.

Worse?! Sgt. Pepper kicks ass, and Dazzler would have kicked even more ass for pure weirdness.
And I think Layton is slightly incorrect about how Jean Grey came back. I seem to recall that it wasn’t so much that Busiek pitched the idea so much as he wrote an angry letter after her death in which he stated that something like that was the only way to justify her actions. Sadly I can’t confirm this because I don’t remember the issue it was printed in.

I believe the inclusion of the breast implants was an in-joke by the artist (Either Cho or a Dodson), in reference to their predilection towards fake-looking breasts.

Yeah, that angry letter from young fan Busiek was printed in… issue #144, maybe? Somewhere right around there.

Great story, Brian. We demand the Dazzler treatment!

IIRC, on the Superman: The Movie DVD, they talk about the bizarre early drafts which were floating around, and someone mentions that in one of them, Superman would fly around saying hello to people like Telly Savalas in character as Kojak. Again, I assume, this was a “shared talent pool” issue.

John Derek, coked to the gills, trying to struggle through She-Hulk #1. Does it get any better than that?

Just checked Wikipedia, the mini was Spider-Woman: Origin by Bendis and the Luna Brothers.

“In fact, just recently, Wikipedia had Claremont and Byrne down as the co-creators of Dazzler.”

…The problem is that most Wikipedia articles that are genre-based – Comic Books, TV Shows, Movies, Music – tend to get taken over by little “cabals” of teen punks who band together to get one or more of their little clique awarded Admin rights, and then abuse those rights to force total control over those articles and prevent outsiders from making positive contributions and/or make corrections. The outsiders find their changes reverted, and if/when they complain about it, the group’s admin shows up, defends the reverts, and usually bans the outsider from Wikipedia – especially if the outsider has *not* vandalized the article, but has improved its accuracy. Then, after the flack has died down, one of the “cabal” will go back and make the correction and claim the credit for it – especially on their User Page.

…It’s why I don’t contribute to Wikipedia either in knowledge or money, and I’ve let Jimbo Wales know this. Granted, he’s vowed to look into it, but so much of it is going on that it would take a complete elimination of all Admins and recruiting new ones that it’s just not going to happen. Until some solution is found – say, banning anyone under the age of 18, especially if they go to schools in Englandland – it’s going to be a classic tragic case of the inmates running the asylum, and a blow to the credibility of Wikipedia.

So yeah, it’s no surprise you found that tidbit on the Dazzler page. And it’ll probably be there and enforced by some power-tripping Admin for the next decade. Especially if Jim Shooter himself makes the correction, because they’ll hide behind both the “Original Research” and “Citation Needed” excuses…

Doug Atkinson

June 27, 2008 at 6:10 pm

“Busiek wrote an introduction to a trade paperback where he admitted it. I kind of remember reading the intro and thinking, “This is an odd place to bring this up,” so I don’t think it was in an intro to a TPB that reprinted those early issues (does one of those even exist?)”

It was the “X-Men: Phoenix Rising” TPB, which reprinted the Avengers issue where they found the energy cocoon, the FF issue where they open it up, and X-Factor #1.

“I seem to recall that it wasn’t so much that Busiek pitched the idea so much as he wrote an angry letter after her death in which he stated that something like that was the only way to justify her actions.”

According to his introduction, it was an idea he came up with in response to hearing that the only way Jim Shooter would allow her back was if she could somehow not be responsible for genocide. Busiek didn’t actually pitch the idea so much as mention it to people through whom it made its way to Marvel, IIRC.

“So yeah, it’s no surprise you found that tidbit on the Dazzler page. And it’ll probably be there and enforced by some power-tripping Admin for the next decade.”

Actually, it was fixed in March 2005 and hasn’t been put back since.

[…] Comics Should Be Good! » Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #161 Dazzler themed. Deal with it. (tags: comics) […]

Man, I would love to have seen what Ellison would have come up with as a four-day Dazzler treatment.

Heh, knowing Ellison, he’d have waited 3 days to respond then sent a note saying ‘F— you, Shooter’.

The resulting one-day treatment from Shooter would have been interesting, though.

Brian from Canada

June 28, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Put me down as another person who’d love to see that script somewhere — heck, if Twomorrows put it in a Dazzler Companion book I’d be sure to buy it!

As for it coming from Shooter… I know the man’s got a harsh reputation, but this just reinforces how much I think he actually respects the fans and readers.

Wow.
Twenty years on and there’s still so much of the Dazzler story to tell!
I can appreciate that Marvel has had some ups and downs with the character, but she still has quite a fanbase for a character who regularly makes those “worst of” lists. I hope that the Essential trade is doing well.
A year or two back I sent Marvel a proposal for a Dazzler mini – I know, I know. Marvel is doing fine without my help ; )
I haven’t been following the X books lately – has Dazz been a victim of the current mutant cull? Or is she still safely below the radar?

[…] this past week’s Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, courtesy of reader PJ Perez, who scanned it from an issue of Marvel Age (click to […]

So Spider-Woman has breast implants. Women DO get those, y’know.

[…] and John Byrne, for instance, had nothing to do with the creation of Dazzler (as discussed in this installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed), yet Uncanny X-Men #130 was the first printed appearance of the […]

[…] scratched our first story idea and shifted creative gears to tell the return of Jean Grey [See this Comic Book Legend installment to get a view of who the original fifth member of X-Factor was going to […]

I’m way late but who cares. Claremont and Byrne were critical of Dazzler as seen in her appearance in X-Men 130. She was out of place in 1980, an anachronism. Music had moved into punk/new wave. Dazzler on the other hand was so 70s.

[…] have featured Cher, Donna Summer, KISS, the Village People, and Robin Williams. You can read more here – but I think for our purposes what you see in this comic is what you […]

[…] of the book than the one that actually saw print (Admittedly, I’d really have rather read the version that had Dazzler in the team, but that’s just my bias for roller-skating disco divas coming out). Think of all the angst […]

I was in a panel with Claremont once in 1995ish. He claimed that Dazzler was brought to him as a character called “Disco Dancer”. He said he told the hire-ups there was no way in hell he was going to be involved in a character with that name. I also asked Shooter. He said the name “Disco Dancer” was never one of the choices, only “Disco Dazzler”.

The difference is so slight it seems pretty easy to believe Claremont just either misheard the “Dancer” part of misstated it 15 years later at the panel.

[…] Bo Derek. For much more in-depth, informed tellings of those stories, check out the posts here and here. But I have to say, for a character whose existence is largely in thanks to her merchandising […]

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