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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #182

This is the one-hundred and eighty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and eighty-one.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Marvel once did a special G.I. Joe comic made up of a comic by Todd McFarlane that was deemed unacceptable by Marvel only a few years earlier!

STATUS: True

Reader Billy Ray asked me about this a ways back (towards the end of last year), but I could not really help him out, as I did not have the issue in question either until recently.

As it turns out, this certainly was quite an interesting situation.

Some readers might recall that Todd McFarlane was slowly breaking into Marvel Comics in the late 1980s, and among the work he did was a fill-in issue of G.I.Joe, specifically #60.

What is NOT as well known, however, is that McFarlane actually drew the NEXT issue, as well!

For whatever reason, though, McFarlane’s issue was deemed unacceptable, so venerable veteran, the late, great Marshall Rogers was brought in to draw the issue, and that was G.I. Joe #61.

Rogers WAS asked back, as he would go on to draw two more issues of G.I. Joe in the next couple of years.

By 1994, the title was no longer the top seller it was in the mid to late 80s, when it was routinely Marvel’s top selling comic book (it even had a spin-off comic, G.I. Joe Special Missions). So with #155, Marvel ended the book.

However, in the time between #61 and the book ending at #155, a funny thing had happened, the young, inexperienced fill-in artist, Todd McFarlane, had gone off and become a major comic book artist superstar!

So now, somehow, the same pages that were considered unacceptable in 1987 were good enough to be published, for the first time, in a G.I. Joe Special, coming two months AFTER the cancellation of the series!!

Here’s the Phil Gosier drawn McFarlane homage cover.

Here, for your amusement, is a side by side comparison of five pages from McFarlane’s unaccepted take on Larry Hama’s script and Marshall Rogers’ accepted one.

Rogers did seem to do a better job. EDITED TO ADD: I apologize for being unclear here – it appears as though I’m knocking McFarlane’s work, but by “better” I only meant that Rogers seemed to better match the style that G.I. Joe comics were using at the time, which was very straightforward storytelling. I think McFarlane’s work isn’t bad, and Rogers’ work actually looks quite rushed (as it almost certainly was), but I just think he achieved a more standard G.I. Joe approach, based on how the books looked like back then.

All in all, though, it’s a weird situation through and through.

Thanks to Billy Ray for the suggestion!

Now, for something a bit different this week.

I’ve gotten enough suggestions involving Madelyne Pryor that I could get four or more urban legends just out of covering the story behind her creation and subsequent usage, but at the same time, it is a bit difficult to answer ONE of them without, in effect, answering ALL of them, so I’m just going to answer all of them at once here.

COMIC LEGEND: The Madelyne Pryor in Avengers Annual #10 was the first appearance of the Madelyne Pryor who married Cyclops.

STATUS: False

COMIC LEGEND: Madelyne Pryor was meant to be Jean Grey with amnesia.

STATUS: False

COMIC LEGEND: Madelyne Pryor became a clone of Jean Grey in an attempt to deal with the whole “Cyclops is married to Madelyne while hanging out with Jean Grey” deal.

STATUS: True

COMIC LEGEND: Madelyne Pryor and Cyclops were intended to stay married and live happily ever after.

STATUS: True

As has been established in more than one installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed (here and here, for two), Chris Claremont likes to work in the names of people he’s fond of into his comics. I think it’s a neat little thing he does.

However, his fondness for doing this has led to some confusion when it comes to Madelyne Pryor’s origins.

Claremont was a fan of the folk band, Steeleye Span, and of their popular lead singer, Maddy Prior.

I do not believe Claremont was a personal acquaintance with Ms. Prior, but I could be wrong there.

In either case, in the pages of Avengers Annual #10 (one of the first comics written specifically to address what a writer found to be a bad story by a different writer – in this case, Claremont addressing his distaste for how Carol Danvers was written out of the Avengers), Claremont featured a young girl named Madelyne Pryor as a minor background character.

A few years later, Claremont introduced a new character named Madelyne Pryor as a love interest for Scott Summers, Cyclops.

The two characters were not meant to be the same people – just the same name. That said, I’m sure someone will ultimately come up with a way for them to be the same person. Claremont actually even joked about the confusion in an issue where he had the little girl show up again (wearing the same clothes) as a mental manifestation by Pryor, while singing one of Steeleye Span’s more popular songs!

A helpful reader sent me the pages featuring that mental manifestation, from Uncanny X-Men #238 by Claremont and Marc Silvestri, as the seeds for Inferno were being planted….

When introduced, Madelyne Pryor caused a lot of anxiety among the X-Men for her great resemblance to Jean Grey, as well as the fact that she had been in a plane crash at the same time Jean died in outer space.

However, Claremont’s intent with that stuff was strictly to be a really weird coincidence, both so it would work with a plot he had with Mastermind convincing everyone she was Phoenix reincarnat and also so Cyclops and the X-Men would always be left wondering a LITTLE bit in the back of their heads, “COULD she be Jean?” But in Claremont’s original intention, she was not related to Jean Grey at all.

Claremont’s plans were for Scott to marry Madelyne and have a child and be, more or less, retired from that point out, only showing up for major events/emergencies (similar to how Claremont used Alex and Lorna and others during the early days of the All-New, All-Different X-Men). Claremont got to start the first part of his plan, the marriage and the baby part, but events out of his control led to his original plans not working out.

You see, Marvel decided to bring Jean Grey back from the dead and put her on a team with Scott Summers and the rest of the original X-Men. Part of that story (not written by Claremont) involved Scott flying away from his family when he hears Jean is alive.

To Claremont, this was a major problem (and most readers agreed that it did not make Scott look too cool).

So ultimately, to deal with a story that he had no part of, Claremont decided to play along and help out X-Factor by revealing that oops, yes, Madelyne WAS a clone of Jean Grey. And look, now she is an evil villain named the Goblin Queen!

And bam, now she’s dead!

So now Scott and Jean can be together without having to feel bad – Scott’s wife was not REALLY his wife – she was a clone designed to marry him so that they could bear a child together, and now she’s dead anyways, so smooth sailing on the Scott/Jean love boat!

Maddie is (perhaps) appearing right now in Uncanny (perhaps) back from the dead! Good timing, as Jean is currently (probably) dead (again)!

Thanks to Mike (who asked a couple of these), Jason and a few other readers over the years that escape my memory for the Maddie suggestions!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

113 Comments

This demonstrates why, when I was a kid and the X-Men cartoon show was my favorite thing in the world, I couldn’t make the jump to the X-books. They make no sense.

Even back in the day, McFarlane was a much better artist than Rogers, but I don’t see anything that could
have been deemed unacceptable.

What exactly was Marvel’s problem with McFarlane’s art?

I’m not a huge McFarlane fan, but I definitely prefer his pages to the Rogers versions here. I was actually kind of surprised when you noted your preference for the Rogers pages here– but hey, I guess it’s a matter of taste here. Oh well.

- jeremy

Cool info as always, but in the text you refer to this as 181 instead of 182.

I’d say the big problem from the samples posted, is that McFarlane’s relying on far too many long shots to carry the storytelling, and as a result it’s actually sort of confusing (especially during the gunfight sequence). While Rogers takes time to choreograph the action a bit better, is makes more clear which Joe is which during the mission briefing. Also his figure-drawing is much more naturalistic.

Todd’s art isn’t hideous, but it’s mediocre in this instance, and if Marvel knew they could get someone better at just plain storytelling, then they made the right call.

Wow, that McFarlane art is bad.

Obviously he improved over time.

I’m a huge Rogers fan and not a big McFarlane fan, but even I have to admit the McFarlane pages are better. Rogers was going through a very weak period at the time (especially posing and panel composition) while McFarlane had not you developed many of his later bad habits. The big question is: why do the two red-headed ‘joes’ look identical in both sets of pages? That’s gonna hurt the storytelling of anybody.

I prefer the McFarlane pages over the Rogers pages too. I like both artists, but I just feel that Rogers pages seem more “flat”, although, McFarlanes figures don’t look so great in some panels. Its give and take.
The whole Jean Grey/Madelyne Pryor thing STILL makes my head hurt! Maybe they should have just kept Dazzler taking Jeans place in X-Factor?

Roquefort Raider

November 21, 2008 at 7:08 am

I don’t much care for McFarlane’s art, but these pages would have been quite appropriate for an 80s book. The Marshall Rogers pages look flat and uninspired to me, which is surprising for such a good artist. Almost all the panels are drawn from the same perspective, there are basically no backgrounds, and the ugly inking (Bulanadi, I would guess) does not help at all. Editors make the weirdest choices some times.

Thanks for reminding us (and for telling younger readers for the first time, maybe) that the “Scott Summers is a dick” trope came from an editorial fiat, and contradicted all that had been established by the writer who had the most impact on developing the character (Chris Claremont).

Even though Rogers must have produced those pages in a very short amount of time I find them much more entertaining. McFarlane’s art is, as The Eye noted, too reliant on long shots and is generally uncertain when it comes to page layout or how to pose the characters. While the action scenes are an interesting study in contrasts between the artists, I find I’m most interested in the last page where the Joes are watching television. Rogers approach is to go for natural poses while McFarlane opts for a more stylized approach. The trouble is, McFarlane’s art had not matured enough so that he could pull off a page of conversation in a way that worked with his dynamic art style. The shot where it looks as if Roadblock is going to grab and punch Snake Eyes’ head is a particularly awkward bit of body language.

But no matter which version a person prefers it’s fascinating to see how two different artists approach the same script without, I presume, having seen each other’s work. Are there many other published examples out there like this?

Both versions of issue 61 have speech balloon goofs.
In MacFarlane’s version Outback is delivering a Spigou line, suddenly becoming an expert on Borovia.
In Rogers’s version Quick Kick is referring to himself in the third person, telling himself to haul out.

I prefer the Rogers layout, he does a much better job with the Jinx-Billy scene, but I do think the MacFarlane art looks slightly better.

Issue 60 was one of the first GI Joe comics I had read since issue 12 and it confused the crap out of me. I had no idea why those “Joes” weren’t Joes and why they were protecting that missile base in the first place.

I remember reading the X-books when Madeline Pryor came out and thinking that there was something fishy about her showing up at the same time as Jean’s death. I had convinced myself that since they looked the same, they were the same and everyone else would eventually realize it. Part of my thinking was that Jean had been brainwashed by someone and it would all work out in the end. When it didn’t and they killed her off, that was about the time I stopped reading the books. I got too tired of the whole “woe is me, I’m a mutant and everyone hates me” attitude of all of the X-titles that had no resolution. I felt that the writers had mutants out there just to be tortured month after month for everyone’s enjoyment, with no break or “happiness” for the characters.

Never cared for McFarlane’s art, but it works okay with something like Spider-Man. Aesthetic considerations aside, his style just isn’t appropriate for G.I.Joe, especially one of the more down-to-earth stories (no costumes, no weird villains) like this one.

I recently got a copy of that G.I. Joe Special, and I actually think it’s a nice way to study the drawing of comic scripts. To see what two artists do to the exact same script is interesting. I’m not sure I completely like one over the other. Some of MacFarlane’s scenes are very good, others just seem messy. And you must admit that in some cases, he seems to not have mastered the art of subtlety. There’s dynamic, and then there’s just obnoxious. I do like how the Rogers version shows the Joes in the hotel room NOT in their regular character outfits and are in disguise already. Not sure if that’s an editorial decision or what.

It should be pointed out that the MacFarlane art seems to benefit from more modern coloring techniques, and some better scans, too. I think the bright color scheme and contrast of these scans make the Special look better. IDW plans to release the Marvels in TPBs title “Classic G.I. Joe” soon. It will be nice to see new printings of some of the later issues. Marvel released some of these a few years ago, but I don’t think they got much past issue #50.

And finally, here’s a page dedicated to Roger’s G.I. Joe artwork, much of which looks better than #61:
http://tinyurl.com/5ou5yq

These two issues were the first two comics I ever owned. Ah, to be six again. It’s funny how your tastes can change. When I was younger, I was absolutely in love with that McFarlane issue, but looking at the Rogers pages now, I’m so much more impressed by the clean page design and realistic figure work.

Rogers’ pages Tell The Story, which is the important thing.

If anyone thinks McFarlane was a “much better artist” than Rogers, they probably also believe Liefeld is a much better artist than Neal Adams. In layman’s terms, we call this type of person an “idiot”.

Hey ACD– I don’t believe ANYONE is saying one artist is better than the other here– but I DID say McFarlane’s pages were better here, and I stand behind that. Thanks for the blind label, though!

- jeremy

I was referring to comment #2.

Seconded on Jeff’s comments- Macfarlane’s stuff is more colorful, jumps off the page, and would be at home on a superhero comic, say, like… Spider-man. But the visuals are mushed together in almost every panel with poor use of space and light, action scenes are rendered in such a way that nobody can tell who are the good guys and who the bad, and the panel layouts just don’t carry the narrative forward or even break up the characters- its a bright blob.

With Rogers, I can tell who everyone is, who is speaking, the visuals are clean, the narrative through each panel moves the story forward much better, gives each character their proper focus at the right time (the head panels for each Joe lay out the plan much better, though perhaps the script should have allowed the two redheads to be separated – they do look rather alike) and the use of negative space and light, particularly in the Billy/Jinx scene is far more compelling and mysterious than MacFarlane’s rendition.

Even the group shots of the Joes watching TV is much cleaner and interesting with Rogers doing the honors. Frankly the costumes are better as well – if Quick Kick is trying to maintain a low profile, walking through a foreign hotel with his shirt off and ninja stars stuck in a bright red bandolier is just not the way to go (then again, Quick Kick was always the most stupidly costumed character- going barefoot on a battlefield?)- so that’s not really MacFarlane’s fault- but Rogers just removes that look altogether and actually dresses him as if he was trying to blend in– which he is.

I also seem to remember that MacFarlane did indeed get an issue of GI Joe to draw- I couldn’t tell you the number, but it was the issue that introduced the character of Chuckles- the dude in the Hawaiian shirt that was kind of like Joe Don Baker’s us liason character in the Pierce Brosnan Bond films- was that Joe proper, or was is Special Missions? I thought it was GI Joe proper.

I’m not on a Toddy Mac bash, really. I picked up 1,000 copies of Spidey just like everyone else who likes to deny it now- I collected Spawn, and sure the novelty of MacF’s style wore off after time, but either way, its clear who the right man for the job was here.

As for Madeline and Inferno- I just remember when they had Havok incestuously hook up with her, and remembering what a sweet, decent human being they had written Maddie as previously, I just sat there going… “Ick.”

The coloring on the McFarlane pages are terrible, how can you even notice the pencils?

As for the Madelyne Pryor: The Havok relationship wasn’t so bad, at least they were only related by marriage. Her relationship with Nate Grey was far more disturbing.

2 things (1 personal and subjective, the other factual, yet unsubstantiated):

1) Even though I am LOATHE to say so, I think the McFarlane pages are more dynamic and “actiony” than the more realistic, yet flat Marshall pages.
Marshall Rogers was a FANTASTIC artist, but that’s not his best work (obviously he was under the “dreaded deadline doom”).

2) Your Maddie Pryor info is sadly NOT correct.
That little girl from Avengers Annual # 10 might not have ORIGINALLY been intended to be “THE” Madeline Pryor, but in a later issue, when Mr. Sinister is revealing his MASTER PLAN (TM SInisterCorp) of cloning and infiltration to screw with Cyclops’ life, he revealed that that little girl WAS INDEED the same Maddie Pryor, at the early stages of her cloned existence.
She would later (as clones are usually shown to do) be aged and grown rapidly to catch-up with the proper age and then was introduced to Scott via “evil machinations” (also TM Sinister-corp).

I wish I could remember the exact issue this all went down, but I stopped buying X-Men long ago and the issues are in longboxes, untouched.

I may decide to go a-hunting for the scene in question, but frankly, I doubt it, as I am SURE that someone here will remember this and give the full 411.

~P~

I should probably state, that you are probably CORRECT in the fact that CLAREMONT had no intention to make them the same person, bit a later writer fused the two.

That said, I DO hope that I’m not just mis-remembering that issue you mention with the “mental manifestation” image of the little girl.

~P~

Nate Grey and Madeline? Ok, that’s an upgrade from “ick” to “Eeewwww”. so glad I’m out of the X-game.

I remember when I was 14 and Maddy’s “Goblin Queen” outfit was the BEST. COSTUME. EVER. Now I’m 31 and I just look at it and think, “Isn’t she cold?” Sigh…

As for the G.I. Joe issues, I don’t know if I prefer one over the other either. McFarlane is definitely raw, but he does have a bit more manic energy in the action scenes than Rogers did. However, I do prefer Rogers’ figure work and panel layout over McFarlane. The McFarlane pages also have some horrendous coloring going on.

One thing I think the McFarlane pages were rejected for is in the very first scene when the cast is introduced. In Rogers’ pages, each member is given a clear spotlight panel and head shot. Whereas in McFarlane’s, they’re jumbled together. If Hasbro has final approvals on the pages, I could see them disapproving of lane’s work for not spotlighting the “product” enough…

“McFarlane’s work for not…”

Stupid wireless keyboard.

I think as a kid, I figured that the Maddie in Avengers Annual 10 just hadn’t been hyper-aged by Sinister or something. These are the things I thought about as a kid, yes.

Hasbro approval is a good point. Even if McFarlane’s art wasn’t up to snuff, it would hardly be the first time that there was a mediocre fill in artist and you don’t see Marvel paying extra to bring in someone else every time. However, if Hasbro didn’t like it for whatever reason then I suppose they’d have to.

Marc Kandel said most of what I would – I loved MacF’s run on Spider-Man, and he was pretty awesome on Infinity, Inc, too… The problems with Spawn have never been the art. So getting it out of the way that this isn’t based on disliking Todd’s art…

But his pages here are just…bad. Anatomy and faces are OK – if a little too cartoony for the story – but the layouts – both the layouts of the panels on the page, and the characters, ‘sets’ and ‘props’ within the panels – are awful, grouping conversation in awkward and confusing ways, and there’s some very…let’s say odd choices made – on top of the element of why they’re in their usual costumes (except for Stalker) in the hotel, there’s the….perky teenage girl look he gave Jinx when she was talking to Billy, and, in fact, revealing her to the reader significantly before Billy spotted her.

the colours in both cases can’t be credited to or blamed on the artist – they’re just a matter of when each book came out.

(The fact that Snow Job and Outback look so much alike can’t be blamed on either MacFarlaine or Rogers – that’s on Hasbro’s design department, for making them look so alike, and Hama, for deciding to use them together.)

One thing I notice about McFarlane’s pages is that Jinx is off-model; I’m not referring to the bizarre expression she has in panel 5 (though that’s probably partially the inker’s fault), but the short hair that Rogers drew her with matches the character’s earlier appearances and the long hair doesn’t, IIRC. (It’s possible that she didn’t have a model sheet available, or at least one that showed her hair, since she first appeared in the comics and her figure, when it came out, wore a mask.)

Out of curiosity, what was the Steeleye Span song young Maddy was singing on her reappearance? I’m a huge fan of theirs, but that came after I stopped reading the X-books regularly.

There’s also the fact that McFarlane commits the cardinal comics sin of “crossing the line of action” with Jinx’s intro.

As to ther Maddy Pryor stuff — the little girl Maddy-clone was depicted as visually the same as the Avengers Annual background character, but the story itself seems to leave no room for li’l Maddy to actually show up in that hospital int he Annual…especially since Maddy-clone’s backstory has her lacking any consciousness whatsoever until her then-adult body was injected with some of Jean’s memories via the Phoenix Force. Li’l Maddy int he Annual, by contrast, already has a life and a line of dialogue. I’d chalk it up to another visual in-joke.

Sanctum: It was Claremont who merged the two Maddies, I want to say durring the Inferno storyline

I remember that Paul Smith introductory panel of Madelyne being a cliffhanger in an issue of X-men, with her saying, “I’m Madelyne Pryor” and Scott being shocked to see her. And I was thinking, “What’s the problem? Who’s Madelyne Pryor?” I noticed she had red hair like Jean, but it was styled differently, and other than that I found Paul Smith’s faces so distinct from previous artists that there was no emotional impact for me. It was only next issue when Cyclops is repeatedly thinking, “She looks identical to Jean” that I realized, “Oh, I guess she’s identical to Jean. Well, that is shocking, I guess.”

Always found it funny that readers were meant to recognize the return of Jean based solely on red hair. I guess Cyclops’ reaction was a big source of context but still, she didn’t remind me of the old Jean at all.

Anyway, I went on to love the whole Mastermind plot leading up to the wedding. In my nostalgia-brain that was the last issue of the “good” X-men (at least in Uncanny) before it got too dark and convoluted.

SIGH! No wonder I gave up the X-books.

I really just think McFarlane’s style is all wrong for the story. Check out the look of Spigou in both versions in addition to the Joes’ clothing. This is supposed to be a down-to-earth, even gritty tale of Cold War black-ops.

The Rogers version of the gunfight has a tense flow to it too, and they look like professionals. In the McFarlane version they’re just blasting away at each other haphazardly. Hama always had detailed, specific things going on in his gunfights that gave them a realistic feel and McFarlane just drew it like an episode of the cartoon.

IIRC, McFarlane did a nearby issue with some Dreadnok chase action. I didn’t like it either but he was a little more suited for it than this issue.

“I remember that Paul Smith introductory panel of Madelyne being a cliffhanger in an issue of X-men, with her saying, “I’m Madelyne Pryor” and Scott being shocked to see her. And I was thinking, “What’s the problem? Who’s Madelyne Pryor?” ”

Dhole, I had exactly the same reaction to that cliffhanger. What’s interesting is that when Smith drew Jean Grey in flashbacks, she looked nothing like Madelyne Pryor.

I may be misremembering, but I don’t think the likeness was meant to be that striking. It was all going on in Cyclops’ head.

Personally, I much prefer the Rogers pages over the McFarlane pages shown above, but on the other hand, I’m surprised that the McFarlane work was deemed unacceptable. While relatively mediocre, Marvel at the time was regularly printing artwork that was certainly worse than those pages.

Am I the only person surprised that GI Joe “was routinely Marvel’s top selling comic book” in the mid to late ‘Eighties?

I practically lived in my local comic shop at that time and I barely remember it. I certainly don’t remember there being any buzz around it or meeting anyone who actually bought it.

Bernard, that stuff was basically gold in the mid-80′s- there was a time you would have paid heap big dollars for issue # 2, for Snake Eyes’ back story (by the way, an excellent comic any way you slice it), his first meeting with Storm Shadow- oh yeah, back in the day GI Joe was basically Marvel printing money. I had all the issues, loved the soap opera aspects of Scarlett/Snake Eyes, and even better, the ever changing backstabbing machinations between the Cobra cast- basically Cobra Commander masterfully playing his lackeys/allies insecurities and needs off one another- even those few like Destro and Storm Shadow who were far more formidable than he (a major departure from the buffoon the cartoon depicted him as). Its was a damn good book in its day- I traded the lot many years ago, and there are some days I wish I had kept just a few issues.

Oh and for the record, the Claremont/Smith and Claremont Romita Jr. X-runs for me are every bit as good as the Clarmont/Byrne stuff. Sometimes Paul Smith gets lost in the ether when discussing how effective the Claremont era was- but he was a terrific artist, and I loved his stuff as much as the other two- very distinctive, very clear, and the Maddie hair was deliberate, as he did end up drawing Maddie looking exactly like Jean when Mastermind dressed her up as Dark Phoenix (and re-styled her hair)- I think he didn’t want to simply draw an easily recognizable Jean Grey, but give Maddie her distinctive style while still giving Scott and co the heebie jeebies- it was a subtle decision. Note how people’s respect and interest in the X-line waned as subtlety went out the window- much like Maddie’s bras in Inferno.

Well I prefer, the Rogers, version, but since i read 61 as a kid, there is certainly some nostalgia to that. Of course on the other hand I have never been a big fan of McFarlane’s art, so that doesn’t help. GI Joe was really big at the time, it got me into comics essentially (that and and the Transformers comic series). I don’t they were big comic shop “water cooler” hits but lots of kids like I was were buying those books.

Eh, forget Rogers v. McFarlane…there are few things better in comics than Mike Zeck’s G.I. Joe covers.

McFarlane might be more talented as a pin up artist, but Rogers is infinitely superior as a storyteller. Since this was a comic and not an art book, I agree with Marvel’s decision.

The Rogers version matches the overall style of GI Joe comics at the time.

Leaving aside Rogers vs McFarlane I can’t see anything wrong with Todd’s art used there that you couldn’t also apply to issue 60 that was printed.

I got that MacFarlane GI Joe book at Half Price Books 4 or 5 years ago for half of cover price. I never knew it existed and I thought the MacFarlane art was pretty bad. A little while after I got it, I took it to a comic book shop and ended up getting about $40 in store trade, just for that issue. I had no idea.

Wasn’t that issue of GI Joe, #60, briefly animated as part of a Hasbro GI Joe toy commercial? I think it was the first appearance of the new look for Hawk that accompanied the first stand alone Hawk figure. (The original Hawk figure being a part of the missile launching doohickey.) (And his hair changed from blond to brown for no reason at all.)

Oh, the Zeck covers on G.I. Joe! The man was a modern-day Nick Cardy!
The Rogers pages TELL THE STORY BETTER than MacF’s.
Asto maddy pryor … she was the reason I dropped X-Books and never looked back. I think I made the right decision. Oh, sure, I dipped into Grant’s X-Run and I’m digging Warren’s take on Marvel’s Merry Mutants (though not the price) but I can’t be bothered to figure out who’s a clone and who’s dead and who’s a dead clone. Enough, already.

I always figured the hair change was due to Duke being introduced, and the two looking FAR too similar.

Hey Shannon,

Here’s the commercial in question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlhVAlUQyOk

In retrospect, it was the whole Madelyn Pryor thing that sent me running from the X-books.
Even if she was a clone, I still felt bad for her.
She married the wrong man who abandons her and their child as soon as his ex-girlfriend comes back. Her son is kidnapped and she goes to her husbands friends for protection. For awhile, the friends help her until a villain finally catches up to her, plays with her mind and turns her into the Goblin Queen. Do her friends help her? Nope. They help the ex-girlfriend kill her AND make sure the ex-girlfriend becomes her child’s surrogate mother.
It is just a mess, which has always left a bad taste in my mouth.

This demonstrates why, when I was a kid and the X-Men cartoon show was my favorite thing in the world, I couldn’t make the jump to the X-books. They make no sense.

Ahh, the easily placated and easily entertained set always gravitated to the cartoons. Anyone with at least half a discerning palate was immediately turned off by the clunky animation and artist renderings that looked drawn by feet.

Let’s be fair here, BOTH comics are badly drawn. I understand that McFarlane was a rookie at the time and Rogers had something like five minutes to finish his issue, and I have seen much better comics from both, but the pages here are really, REALLY bad!

And redbeard there was to disguise as an arab? Seriously?

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

G.I. JOE #61 was one of my favorite comics as a kid so I’ve always been partial to the Rogers version. It was fun, though, to see an alternate take of it a few years later. I don’t really see why it was redrawn, though I did notice some errors, such as Billy missing the eyepatch in a panel.

Marshall Rogers pages are better.

The crappiest part of this McFarlane story is that he had to redraw 21 of the 22 pages in his first story and that although he knew he was let go after his second issue–he wasn’t told that the issue was being redrawn by another artist. Todd had lined up a store signing to coincide with that second issue and both Todd and the store owner were surprised to find that he didn’t draw the book.

Ouch.

Todd’s story was rejected for storytelling reasons. The powers that be wanted G.I. Joe to be crystal clear and idiot proof and Todd drew it as if the reader had a brain and could follow a story.

The final art–by Marshall Rogers was, I think, uninspired. Marshall was a great artist but I don’t think anybody would hold this up as one of his better efforts.

[...] Cronin at “Comic Book Legends Revealed” tells the story of an issue of Marvel’s G.I.Joe by superstar Todd McFarlane that almost never [...]

Brian From Canada

November 21, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Rogers’ work may seem uninspired, but that was the point: GI Joe was intended to be as simple and realistic as possible because reality is much more grittier and simple. Playing up the composition of the frames — even slightly — takes away from the real star of the series, which is the story itself.

Honestly, after reading all of the Joe issues through to the Devil’s Due series, I can say that the only stories that were really sub-par were when Hasbro forced unrealistic additions to the lines (Battle Force 2000, the shuttle) and even then Hama et al. were able to make stories that were better than today’s par books.

PLUS then you have to factor in a good chunk of the Joes’ popularity in the 80s was the cartoon. It was brilliant to put Hama on both, and the toys: the synchronicity meant the comics became longer, darker stories than the adventures of the SAME characters on television (minus the alternate dimension story… bah) and kids could easily jump into them from the cartoon.

Rejecting Todd’s artwork is disappointing because it’s passable, much like Rogers, but in the end it helped reinforce what their good selling book was about.

Hama, as far as I know, had nothing to do with the cartoon. I think he’s even stated as recently as 2005 that he’s never even watched an episode of the cartoon.

http://www.ugo.com/channels/freestyle/features/larryhama/

Interview with Larry Hama:

DE: What did you think of GI Joe cartoon and the cartoon movie?

LH: Well, that’s pretty subjective [laughs]. To tell you the truth, I’ve only seen one episode of the cartoon. They never asked me to write one, so why bother.

Agent_Torpor: “Ahh, the easily placated and easily entertained set always gravitated to the cartoons. Anyone with at least half a discerning palate was immediately turned off by the clunky animation and artist renderings that looked drawn by feet.”

Did you miss the part where he said he was a kid? If you’re going to be a snob (and a comic snob at that), at least pick fights with adults.

“Ahh, the easily placated and easily entertained set always gravitated to the cartoons. Anyone with at least half a discerning palate was immediately turned off by the clunky animation and artist renderings that looked drawn by feet.”

Easily placated and easily entertained? Maybe. I just called myself a 10-year-old back then.

Thanks for the defense, Kal. I am an adult now, working on a doctorate degree. I got a Master’s in literature studies and writing. So if he really wants to stake his snobbery on soap opera disguised as superheroes, then we can talk seriously about who’s really easily placated and easily entertained.

(To be fair though to Agent, those X-Men cartoons really didn’t hold up well over time.)

Actually, I thought G.I.Joe was the best drawn American cartoon of its era (which was admittedly the nadir of American animation), and G.I. Joe was one of the worst-drawn comics at that time. I liked Hama’s scripts, but the art by Rod Whigham (sp?) and others was so flat that it was hard to get into. Those great Zeck covers were such a tease, as was the fact that Michael Golden would only do one story a year!

Marshall’s Jinx scene is definitely stronger than McFarlane’s take on it. (Is Jinx actually smiling in panel 5 of McFarlane’s version?) Marshall’s is darker and more intriguing. It’s appropriately ninja-y for the time.

Probably one of the reasons they couldn’t use it was because in the second scene (above) McFarlane put 3/4 of the Joe team in their costumes/uniforms when the previous scene explicitly explainx that their clothes would be turned in and replaced with authentic clothes from the country their undercover guises would be from. In McFarlane’s version, apparently only Stalker followed those orders.

And as stated, the gunfight is a little muddy. I couldn’t tell that it was Quick Kick that got shot.

But, at least McFarlane actually drew something for the blueprints of the building. It’s always fun to actually see a map in a scene, instead of lightly sketched lines. And there is more excitement in his gunfight scene. Marshall has the action primarily going either left or right across the page. McFarlane brings it out to the reader and adds some depth.

Kind of odd. Basically comparing mediocre work by two artists who have done so much better.

It’s obvious why Todd’s work was unacceptable… the team was sitting way too close to the TV on that last page. It was bad for their eyes ;^)

The whole Madeline Pryor idea was bad from the start. I mean, it was cool that Claremont wanted Cyclops to marry and retire after the loss of Jean, but with an EXACT lookalike of hers? That was just asking for trouble at some point, as indeed did happen. And yeah, the way Maddie was written off, turning her evil and then killing her was a horrible example of character assassination (as in “we don’t know what to do with her so let’s kill her off”- see: DC Comics) And being a clone doesn’t make you less human. Ask one- they really exist, we call them twins. What really amazes me is how they keep bringing her back even after such a mess. Now if only they gave her something to be (or do) besides “The Other Jean.”

Oh wow, what an great page. Two of my favorite things about comic books when I first became a fan Todd McFarlane and X-Men comics with Marc Silvestri.

I started reading after X-Factor had been around and read all that Inferno stuff. I always wondered what the original intentin of Madelyne Prior was. I guess now I know she was just another chic originally. I don’t know what people are complaing about, it was soap oprah story that was finally resolved.

Mcfarlane was the man. I guess it’s a matter of story telling style and they wanted a more toned-down style for G.I.Joe. Man, those McFarlane pages look fantastic. I collect his earlier stuff, up until he pretty much retired as an artist so now I have another thing to go look for. Yay!

McFarlane says in his big career portfolio review that he was told to redraw the first splash page because it wasn’t clearly at an airport. The thing about comic book story telling is ‘what goes where’ and ‘how do you tell it’, so I think that both artists got it right and McFarlane was a much improved story teller from his days on Infinity which I have a couple copies of. Weird stuff.

Oh, Silvestri, also gold.

An interesting aside to the McFarlane story.

Back when I was in college in Montana, I went to a very small comic convention in Canada with a friend, and both us wore “V” uniforms. I even had makeup showing half my face torn away to reveal lizard skin and a red eye underneath.

An almost unknown artist named Todd McFarlane was a guest there. He and I both ended up being interviewed for the local news and got on Canadian news that night. He showed me some pages from his upcoming work on Infinity Inc. and I thought his storytelling and design sense were quite cool.

I stayed in touch with him on and off, and at the time I was working for Amazing Heroes, was trying to sell a super-hero series called SENTINEL FORCE. Todd left (or got dumped, I can’t recall) and went to Marvel, where he drew an issue of Kickers Inc. I think it was (or one of the New Universe titles), and the GI Joes. As I recall from 20-year-old conversations, he was miserable, and didn’t know if he’d continue to get work for Marvel or not, and things didn’t seem good for him at DC. The GI Joe issue being rejected seemed to be the last straw.

I asked him to work with me on SENTINEL FORCE, to pitch to Eclipse, First, and Comico, but he decided he’d give Marvel one more shot. If I remember the timing correctly, that “one more shot” was an issue of The Incredible Hulk… and the rest, as they say, “is history.”

Over the years I tried to stay in touch with Todd, and work with him in some capacity; even went over to his house to visit in the early days of Spawn. Unfortunately, the most I ever got to do with him was to write some of his characters in the Image book Badrock & Company, although Todd DID donate an inside cover ad to Gay Comics when I was editing it. And that led to controversy of its own, but Todd stood up to it like a champ.

Haven’t talked to him since then; he runs in bigger circles these days, but once upon a time, we had the collaboration on Canadian news… and I offered him work at a low point for him because I saw the potential he had. I’m glad that he’s had the success he’s had.

Best,
Andy Mangels
http://www.AndyMangels.com

Todd drew an issue of Spitfire and the Trouble Shooters. #4 I believe. It was the fabled one that he said he drew in three days.

Incredible!

I’d never believe I’d say this but : McFarlane’s pages on G.I.Joe are superior to Rogers’ which are quite boring and stiff.

Yes, Rogers’ do fit with that Herb Trimpe flat look that is often associated with this era’s G.I.Joe comics, but that doesn’t make them any better per se. On the other hand, McFarlane’s are more open and inviting, going for different shots and avoiding the monotony and stiffness one can see in the Rogers’ pages. They’re just more expressive.

ParanoidObsessive

November 22, 2008 at 5:33 am

I remember thinking, even as a 10-year old (!) that:

a) Cyclops was a dick.

b) Madelyne Pryor was FAR more attractive than Jean, and given the choice, I’d have stayed with Maddie.

Part of that certainly stems from my only coming into the X-books in the mid-80′s, and thus not really having any emotional attachment to Scott/Jean, and part of it was the fact that I liked how Marc Silvestri drew Maddie far more than I did how Walt Simonson drew Jean. But still, I just DID NOT LIKE Cyclops at all after reading X-Factor #12-13, and certainly not after Madelyne hooked up with the X-Men again.

Ironically, now that I’m 31, and have basically read my way backwards through most of the X-Men titles, I’d still say that both of my above conclusions apply. Cyclops WAS a dick, not just for leaving Maddie, but in nearly every single facet of his relationship with her, from beginning to absolute end. And staying with Maddie WAS the right thing to do, both for her AND the kid, especially when you consider that the other redhead he was running out on her for WASN’T EVEN THE WOMAN HE REALLY LOVED EITHER (most of the Scott/Jean romance before X-Men #101 was flirty teenage crush at best, and most of the actual romance, love, and relationship was with the Phoenix, not Jean). That’s a point that got explored a lot, with even Jean getting sick and tired of the fact that all the really romantic moments that Scott remembered weren’t with HER.

Madelyne basically got the short end of the stick. I spent most of Inferno hoping she’d eventually incinerate Cyclops.

In the end, I view the whole Madelyne storyline to be one of the MANY reasons why Jean should never have been brought back in the first place. So much bad storytelling came out of that decision, and it far outweighs any good that it’s produced. And yes, that includes getting to see Famke Janssen in tight leather pants.

>>> Oh and for the record, the Claremont/Smith and Claremont Romita Jr. X-runs for me are every bit as good as the Clarmont/Byrne stuff.

Honestly, I personally thought the post-Byrne years were BETTER – though obviously the later run owes at least some of its quality to the strong foundation it had to build on, and Byrne’s run certainly had its brilliant moments (like when they killed some redhead chick off).

Overall, though, if I was balancing #108-143 against #144-175 or even #176-211, I’d almost be inclined to say I prefer the latter two. I really don’t think Claremont’s run started falling apart in my eyes until immediately after Fall of the Mutants (#228+).

Yeah, bringing Jean back was the start of the end for the X-books. They went from Chris Claremont’s loving brainchild to corporate franchise very quickly after that. The decision wrecked Madelyne, made Rachel Summers redundant, and almost unmade the classic Phoenix Saga with that “she was never Jean” stuff. And, like many others, I also think Fall of the Mutants marked the point when my passionate love affair with the X-Men started to end.

But I have to disagree with ParanoidObsessive about one thing, though. I never liked wimpy Madelyne much. Maybe it’s just a matter of when we start reading the books. I started before the Phoenix Saga, so to me Maddie always looked like a pale shadow of Jean Grey introduced so that Scott could have some sort of happy ending. A consolation prize.

“I may be misremembering, but I don’t think the likeness was meant to be that striking. It was all going on in Cyclops’ head.”

As I recall, a few issues after Madelyne was introduced, Scott shows her a photo of Jean, and her response is, “Me. She’s me,” so I think it was supposed to be a pretty close resemblance.

Rene-Wimpy Madelyne? She took on Scalphunter and Arclight with just a trashcan.
Readers liked Maddie for the same reason they liked Doug- they had no powers that were useful in a combat situation but they still tried to help. Readers saw themselves in Doug and Maddie.

Argh, Madelyne tooking them with a trashcan – bravery or Mary Sue-ry? Anyway, when I called her a wimpy it wasn’t because of her lack of powers, but her constant whining. Not that she hadn’t good cause for whining, and not that whining is something rare in Marvel comics – particularly of the X-variety – but in Madelyne’s case it seemed sometimes that the whining was all there was to her character. Her whole life was victimization.

I liked Doug, though. But then again, there wasn’t an improved, more interesting, less whiny version of Doug running around

Thanks for sharing so many pages! I have #60. But have been searching for that special edition at a reasonable price for a while now.

“Readers liked Maddie for the same reason they liked Doug- they had no powers that were useful in a combat situation but they still tried to help. Readers saw themselves in Doug and Maddie.”

I just thought they added to the fun and diversity in Chris’s casting. Notice how people who hate Chris’ stuff can rant on and on about it for years on end, how telling.

I wouldn’t consider it Mary Sue-ry- she still lost. Did Maddie really whine more than Jean did in the first 29 issues of X-Factor?

Ulrik Kristiansen

November 22, 2008 at 2:15 pm

And friend of mine, Tue Sorensen, and I interviewed Chris Claremont (CC) for a Danish comic book fanzine back in 1995 at the San Diego Con. Here’s what Chris said back then about the whole Maddie-mess:

“Tue: When you first introduced Madelyne Pryor – how did you have in mind to explain her? Did you have an explanation at the beginning, or did you just fill it out later – as the clonebusiness?

CC: I had an explanation in the beginning.

Tue: You did? What was it?!

CC: That’s for me to know! (sly grin).

All: (laughter)

CC: The original Madelyne storyline was that – at its simplest level – she was that one in a million-shot(?) that she just happened to look like Jean (Grey)! And the relationship was summed up by the moment when Scott says: “Are you Jean?” – And she punches him! (In Uncanny X-men # 174). Because her whole desire was to be loved for herself – not to be loved as the evocation of her boyfriend’s dead sweetheart. I mean, it’s a classical theme – you can go back to a whole host(?) of 30′s films – 40′s – Hitchcock films, but it all got invalidated by the resurrection of Jean Grey in X-Factor # 1. The orginial plotline was that Scott marries Madelyne – they have their child – they go off to Alaska – he goes to work for his grandparents – he retires from the X-men. He’s a reserve-member. He’s available for emergencies. He comes back on special occasions – for special fights, but he has a life. He has grown up. He has grown out of the monastery – he is in the real world now. He has a child. He has maybe more than one child. It’s a metaphor for us all. We all grow up. We all move on. Scott was going to move on. Jean was dead – get on with your life. And it was close to be a happy ending. They lived happily everafter – and it was to create the impression that maybe if you came back in ten years other X-men would have grown up, too. Would Kitty stay with the team forever? Would Nightcrawler? Would any of them? Because that way we could evolve them into new directions, we could bring in new characters. There would be an ongoing sense of renewal, and growth and change – in a positive sense. The unfortunately Jean was resurrected, Scott dumbs his wife and kid and goes back to the old girlfriend.
So it not only destroys Scott’s character – as a hero and as a decent human being – it creates an untenable(?!) structural situation – what do we do with Madelyne and the kid?

Tue: They have become superflous?

CC: Pretty much, yeah. So ultimately the resolution was – turn her into the Goblin Queen – and kill her off. And that didn’t even work anymore, because now I’ve heard they’ve resurrected her for some story (in X-Man # 5).
I mean, the fact is that, the X-men to my way of thinking at this point – I can’t follow them. I don’t know who the characters are, I don’t know what the story is. I’m not interested. It’s not a book that has any appeal to me as a reader, so…I don’t worry about it.”

There is nothing in what Chris says per se about what happened in the book – and why – that has not already been said here. But what is still interesting for me to note is what he elaborates about his intention with Scott’s relationship with Madelyne:

“He has grown up. He has grown out of the monastery – he is in the real world now. He has a child. He has maybe more than one child. It’s a metaphor for us all. We all grow up. We all move on.”

That really – for me – anyway sums up the difference between today’s (corporate) approach to X-Men stories vs. that of Chris Claremont in the early 1980′s.

Today X-Men don’t “grow up” and “move on” as a “metaphor for us all”. They get killed in a Big Event and then revived and brought back to status quo in Another Big Event. Colossus, Jean, Maddie Pryor (yes, she’s back – again), etc.

There’s yet more going on behind the Maddy Pryor “original intent;” it’s simply a refit of exactly where Claremont and Byrne wanted Jean and Scott to end up in their original plan for the PHoenix Saga, before Byrne pencilled in the Asparagus People of D’Bari IV and Jim Shooter thereafter demanded Jean be punished.

In interviews, both creators have said that the plan was for Lilandra to strip away all of Jean’s psychic powers, leaving her basically a normal human woman. She and Cyclops would then have essentially the life and relationship Claremont later wanted Maddie and Scott to have.

That issue of G.I Joe #60 was the last one to have a animated commercial for it push it on tv. Now take that one KW!

That’s NOT TRUE!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLDX_1tMDVA&fmt=18
Ad for issue 74
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcpenLqA_N4&fmt=18
Ad for issue 80
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLbCSXL1eZE&fmt=18
Ad for 72

I love the crazy stunts with the vehicules.

Omar, if I remember right, Claremont and Byrne planned to have Magneto kill the unpowered Jean in Uncanny X-Men #150.

I think Todd’s pages were more dynamic, but Rogers’ page were more solid storytelling, honestly.

Yeah, I actually quite like that McFarlane art, but as you say, it doesn’t really fit the style of the book for that era.

@Rene

I believe the idea was that Magneto would offer to return the Phoenix (or a portion of its power) to a de-powered Jean Grey in #150. Although tempted, Jean would reject his offer because she’d rather be a good human than an evil god.

I think that the reason the McFarlane pages “pop” more is because of the brighter colours and the better paper. The Rogers pages tell the story better, and frankly make more sense. I bet if they were reprinted using today’s printing and paper there would be no debate.

Theno

Steeleye Span is AWESOME.

Why did Rogers draw Jinx wearing a Klan hood?

I think part of the issue with the GI Joe comic by McFarlane was that you had Joes visably shooting people that while working for “an” enemy, weren’t the pretty much faceless minions of Cobra, but uniformed soldiers of another nation. If you look at the comparison pages of the combat scene, the casualties are inferred (no bullet traces) in the second version- not actually shown being shot by the Joes by the visible bullet traces.

I just had to remind everyone that Alex Summers looked pretty hot in his Goblin King (Prince?) outfit during Inferno. I’m sure everyone would remember this, too, if it weren’t for the fact that his brother was busy being a giant dick.

I find the McFarlane pages to have more dynamic staging, but the anatomy is horrid.

The thing is, Jean returning and Scott dumping Madelyne for her is an old daytime soap opera staple. Madelyne will return somebody. And then Jean will return to!

Lawrence: the idea was for either Jean returned with the mind of a 5(or 10) years old forgetting everything that happened since she was that age while you would have the Phoenix force always looming in the horizon like a threat. Or that Jean was depowered completly while keeping her mind. And yes at some point Magneto offers to give her powers back. All I know was on one or these two instances, Phoenix and Magneto would have duked it out for all the marbles.

On the G.I. Joe story, I was collecting comics back then, and McFarlane’s style was so much like John Byrne when he was inking himself, and most people did NOT like it. Sloppy and round, very uncomicy, little did anyone know that would be the wave of the future. Mcfarlane, Bagley, Arthur Adams, damn Arthur Adams’ X-Men annuals and Longshot were freakin’ awesome. In the ironic department, whoever started on the Special Missions book, had a very John Byrne take too, only much cleaner, but it still did not look like standard comic fare.

Byrne Robotics has a nice summary of Claremont’s,Byrne’s and Austin’s ideas about what would have been done had Jean not been killed. Here’s the link:
http://byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13985&TPN=7

Mcfarlane’s characters do express better emotions, but Rogers did a better job on pacing and story. They should have just let Mcfarlane finish Roger’s layouts.

Thanks Micheal! I wonder if the best idea would have been to have Jean with the mind of an infant yet still possessing the Phoenix force(to come out at any times) or Jean powerless and Magneto tempting her to in giving her back her powers. Nevertheless it would have been something seeing a Phoenix vs Magneto showdown for 150. Who to root for?

….and therein lies the stagnation and damnation of the Xmen line: another cut and paste fix-it job to help marketing to sell more X-Books. Its why I quit reading the crap: lets undo every good story by every good writer, cause in the real world everyone dies, and no one comes back…..

McFarlane? At his best, his people looked liney and distorted: His Spidey looked pretty cool that way, his human beings looked uninked. His work was ok, but is an example of elevated mediocrity!

Marshall Rogers? At his worst, could outdraw McFarlane, and at his best, made history as one the best artists in Batman history.

Who would you rather be?

I have no idea you meant by that comment, Bobby about marketing of the X-Men books. They reached their conclusion because they felt it would serve their story or their Universe better. Shooter wanted Jean tortured; Chris and John felt was her losing her power was enough. The compromise was Jean dying a tragic death while saving the cosmos from herself.

I think Bobby is referring to Jeans first resurrection for X-factor, Frank, and not her actual death during the Dark Phoenix Saga.

alright, yes she should never have been ressurected :D

The Claremont/Smith run is my favorite X-run, even a little moreso than the Claremont/Byrne run; it’s one of my favorite runs on any book. (Unfairly I count it as starting a few issues early, with Cockrum’s issue with Wolverine alone on the Brood world.) Great moments like “Professor Xavier’s a jerk!” and the Wolverine wedding two-parter. One of the neat elements of Joss Whedon’s X-run was how he seemed to be nostalgic for the same stuff I was — very enjoyable.

When it happened, I thought the terrible thing about Jean Grey’s resurrection and the X-Factor series was that there was NO “right” thing for Scott to do. And the stuff that happened after: a terrible thing to do to a great character. I liked Madelyne Pryor a lot. Don’t see how anyone could call her whiny or wimpy, at least in the original Claremont stories. She stood up for herself.

The resurrected Jean was worthless, basically until Morrison’s X-run.

But it was great to see Famke Janssen in tight leather pants.

[...] Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide also lists this as the first appearance of Madelyne Pryor, though this fact remains in dispute. (It’s interesting to note that The Official Marvel Wiki also lists Avengers Annual #10 as the [...]

Gabriel Rocha

July 29, 2009 at 9:13 pm

The current comics added the two values, the structure by McFarlane + “realistic” academic training.

They could have done X-Factor without Jean in my opinion. It’s not like they were reforming the X-Men anyway, they were starting something new.

I came across the Madelyne Pryor storyline in odd lumps long after it had got started – same for the Brood storyline. Given that at that time Jean Grey was dead, I was pleased that Scott – always one of my favourite characters back in the Stan Lee/Roy Thomas days – got some of the happiness he deserved. Plus, the story was all about second chances, a good message in my opinion. The Claremont/Smith period (and like another poster on here I consider this to have started with “Beyond the Farthest Star” even though that was a Cockrum story) was magical. The clutch of two-parters including Wolverine’s wedding and Scott’s first meeting with Maddie, followed by “Romances”, were some of the best comics I have ever read. Byrne’s tenure on the series remains classic, and possibly technically better than Smith’s, but Smith’s has something that Byrne’s lacks: warmth. Not love or affection, just simple warmth. Romita Jr, after a very promising start, was just pants. And Silvestri (apols for spelling) was just another scratchy panel filler who had neither warmth, love, nor any feel for character. Claremont seemed to lose his way with the series after the resurrection of Jean, something that for me was one of the low points in comics history and marked very nearly the point at which I stopped reading X-Men on a regular basis. I loved Claremont’s stories when he was allowed to tell them his own way; one of the great problems with companies like Marvel in the 1980s and 90s was that too many writers were allowed to tamper with other writers’ creations. The last truly great X-Men ish, for me, was “He’ll Never Make Me Cry” – another story that I am convinced was foisted on Chris by a meddling writer/editor (yes, Tall Man, I do mean you) – but one that he pulled all the stops out on and made into a little classic. After that, “Two Girls Out to Have Fun” is the last ish that I would ever read again for pleasure. After that it just went down hill like a greased toboggan. But for all the wonderful issues up to then, Chris Claremont (who has the same agent as me – how’s that for name dropping!) has my eternal thanks for some of the best stories since Stan Lee.

I figure the Paul Smith era was Claremont taking a breather after many cosmic shake ups. There was a lot of warmth no doubt. But the love for these characters started during the Byrne era. A lot of touching moments. (Just different). I did not enjoy Cockrum coming after Byrne so much because it felt like a regression. Only the Magneto/Charles vs the Brood stood out really. But I disagree with the put down on the Romita Jr. and Silvestri era by Paul up there. It’s not because it was different from Paul Smith that it was bad. It did take a nasty turn around the Mutant Massacre but even amidst it all it gave powerful stuff. I love the introduction of Rachel in the present time and how she reacted to everything..leading to Wolverine stabbing her out of necessity. And from the Silvestri time I appreciate the dream-like quaity that it offered. Chris and Marc seemed to like the mystical/magical part of stories and it showed. Their best story I think was the X-Men face-off with the Adversary(a mystical creature) leading to their “death”. It had such a feeling of innevitability that they would meet their end that these two issues were as powerful as any stuff from the Byrne era.

I’m fairly certain that Larry Hama had a lot to do with the replacement of MacFarlane-Russ Heath (*the* G.I. Joe artist, having been lead designer for the Sunbow show and an artist during the comic’s heyday) once complained in an interview about how Hama refused to switch inkers because said inker knew how to ink the weaponry even though Heath didn’t much like the inking in general.

As for the art in the published issue, it was my first, and it was pretty straightforward-until the end, with Hawk. Joe comic fans forget that the change was ordered for Sunbow’s benefit in 1986, as the studio had never used the character before (the same with Grand Slam, who looked extremely similar to Flash), and was extremely keen about too many similar looking characters after having wildly altered the designs of most of the ’82 line for the MASS Device miniseries in an effort to give the team a more varied appearance. Hama never changed Hawk’s hair color over resentments towards Sunbow and the Steve Gerber-assembled writing staff, who never said a bad word about Hama publicly until The Visionaries, when a minor villain was named Falkhama and referred to as a bit of a never-was in that show’s world of magic. The same can’t be said about Hama, and at least the Sunbow staff members in question (Buzz Dixon and Flint Dille) have recanted their antipathy towards Hama.

DazedGenoshan

July 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Maybe its because I didn’t get to Scott and Maddy’s early courtship until long after I knew she was a clone and Jean was destined to come back in the picture, BUT the controversy of Scott’s leaving his wife (clone or not) and child for another woman was, in a twisted way, on of the few things I liked about Cyclops- its the only thing that made him seem even remotely human and realistic. At the time I was first getting into X-Men (issue #281, still one of my favorites- oh and Jean “dies” in that issues too, ironically enough), divorce was very commonplace, to the point it was almost considered respectable, and staying in a “bad marriage” the height of foolishness.
With but a few exceptions, Cyclops was usually treated as a space-holder, nothing more than an orders spouting field commander whose emotional range was limited to stoic soldier and hair-trigger temper. Having a crazy X-wife (sorry couldn’t resist) and struggling with the loss of custody of his child (albeit this was very short-lived and he seemed to get over it pretty quickly until the Cable/Stryfe debacle made jogged his memory) were the only things interesting happening to Scott for decades. I did like his befuddled attraction to Psylocke, but it was as short-lived as his lament over losing his baby.

Ironically enough, swapping Jean for Emma Frost FINALLY made his character awesome… apparently those redheaded she-devils were holding him back all those years! Sure, sure, being possessed by Apocalypse helped nudge him into relevance, but still… The X-Books might be convoluted and even bat-$h!t insane at times, but I will always love them (with the exception of the creativity gap between AoA and New X-Men), and adore their unique, Nth level form of science fiction meets prime-time soap opera.

“The powers that be wanted G.I. Joe to be crystal clear and idiot proof and Todd drew it as if the reader had a brain and could follow a story.” Yes, because garbled, incoherent art with no structure is just having faith in your readers, and not sloppy work. What a self-serving crock. We’re supposed to figure out for ourselves how anybody survived that firefight going full auto at point blank range with no cover.

I think when people refer to Hama “working on the cartoon” they probably mean him doing the character cards for Hasbro, which both the characters in the show and comic (obviously) were based on.

And wow, blast from the past – Tue Sorensen! I had many the pleasant online international discussion with him in the old Usenet days of the Internet. Good guy.

Ron Friedman is on the record as saying he threw out the filecards he was given when writing the initial MASS Device, because of a lack of helpful character information (not shocking, given how little personal info is on some of those 1982 filecards). Furthermore, Friedman had the first crack at Flint, Lady Jaye, Shipwreck, and the Dreadnoks, as they debuted in Revenge of Cobra well before their comic and action figure appearances. The Sunbow staff seems to have written episodes with Tomax & Xamot in the summer of 1984, and Marv Wolfman and Ron Friedman basically established the backgrounds and personality for Quick Kick. Lastly, Serpentor and Cobra-La were devised almost entirely by Buzz Dixon.

Juanello C. Professional

June 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm

For everyone here, it should be noted that McFarlane´s Number 60 was edited in 1994 (it came after number 155 of the original G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero storyline, the last one). McFarlane´s work was only pencils, scheduled for a 1987 release. Larry Hama mentions in ARAH #155 that since it was discarded for Rogers´s work, the original pencil art was shelved. He was replaced by Rogers and the number came out in 1987. So, McFarlane´s artwork was probably inked, colored and printed with 1994 techniques. Hence the huge difference in quality.

I first read that Maddy Prior introduction in b&w anthology form…needless to say I was pretty confused.

Thanks for helping me sort out through Maddy Pryor’s back story. You can really tell that Claremont was forced to change her story at the last moment, because it’s just all over the place. It is a cool name, though, so I can see why he’d want to re-use it.

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