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Comic Book Legends Revealed #236

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Welcome to the two-hundred and thirty-sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and thirty-five.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Movie Legends Revealed to read about how Luke Skywalker was not always going to be Darth Vader’s son!

Let’s begin!

NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).

COMIC LEGEND: A significant change occurred between the plotting of Days of Future Past and the publication of Days of Future Past.

STATUS: True

Days of Future Past is one of the most popular storylines of the critically acclaimed X-Men creative team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, where Claremont would script and co-plot the book and Byrne would co-plot and pencil the book.

The storyline appeared on both of our Top 100 Comic Book Storylines Countdowns.

So it’s well remembered by fans.

However, there was a very notable change from the plotting stages to what actually occurred in the published comic.

Reader Bill P. asked me about a rumor he heard that John Byrne did not originally intend for Rachel, the time-traveling character from Days of Future Past, to be the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey.

That’s somewhat true, and it gets down to the “problem” of when one person is coming up with the plots of the comic and the other person is actually writing the finished product.

In the case of Days of Future Past, the story was conceived by John Byrne (who, by the late #120s was contributing a great deal of the general plot of the issues). However, Byrne conceived it before the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga. As you might know (if you don’t, I discuss it in my book!) by now, the original ending of the Dark Phoenix Saga was that Jean Grey was to be stripped of her mutant powers rather than being killed.

So when Byrne was coming up with the plot of Days of Future Past, Jean Grey was going to be alive in the comic, so Byrne came up with the idea of Rachel, the daughter of Scott and Jean.

Well, once the Dark Phoenix Saga instead ended with Jean’s death, it was Byrne’s understanding that Rachel would now just be a random mutant in the future, and not the daughter of Scott and Jean since, well, you know, Jean was now dead.

And do note that in the comic itself, Rachel is never identified AS the daughter of Scott and Jean…

So fair enough, his idea actually was followed there.

But sure enough, once Byrne left the book, that is precisely what Claremont did with the character.

A more notable change in the story, though, happened with the very basis of Byrne’s idea for the story. As he had gotten more involved in the plotting of the book, he was chafing a bit at the fact that, as the scripter of the title, Claremont would effectively have the “last word” in any disagreement the two had in the comic. They could agree on anything beforehand, but when it came down to actually putting it into the book, Claremont was the one who was going to be writing the actual script. And if the editor did not have a problem with it, then anything Claremont wanted was going to go into the book (this is similar to what would happen to Jack Kirby with some of his plot ideas for Fantastic Four – he would come up with various ideas, but until he saw the actual issue, he did not know if Stan Lee had taken his idea or gone in a different direction with the script).

And that’s what happened with the end of the story.

You see, one of the major facets of the story for Byrne was that this was going to be a clean victory for the X-Men. The powerful telepath Rachel would project the older Kitty Pryde’s mind into the body of young Kitty Pryde who would prevent the execution of Senator Kelly, thus preventing the terrible future where mutants are hunted and murdered by Sentinels.

Kitty succeeds in doing so in Uncanny X-Men #142.

This is almost certainly why he had the earlier scene in #142 (that is featured on the famous cover) where Wolverine and Storm are murdered in the future – to really highlight the whole “Thank goodness this future will be averted!” deal.

This does not mean that the future would automatically be great for the X-Men, just that this particularly awful future would NOT happen.

And that’s what Byrne drew on the climactic fight scene in Uncanny X-Men #142…

But Claremont then added the following in the last panel…

“Lets the winds of eternity sweep her home.” (emphasis added)

Her future was not erased!! The main point of Byrne’s plot was negated!

Whether it was Claremont’s idea or a call from editorial, it was still quite distressing for Byrne, who had already quit the title because of a similar problem a few issues earlier where Claremont’s captions altered the intent of Byrne’s plot. Byrne drew one more issue of Uncanny X-Men before moving on to his own book, writing/drawing Fantastic Four.

Thanks to Bill for the question and thanks to John Byrne for being so free about his history in the comics business – the information Byrne shares with fans is staggering, and quite informative.

On the next page, did comic book creator Timothy Truman seriously write the theme song to Melrose Place?

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84 Comments

“I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Movie Legends Revealed to read about a very cool move by ”

CLIFFHANGER

So, even in his heyday, John Byrne was kind of a prima-donna. Ah, well.

the part where you say that the theme involves the Comics Code i believe is left over from last week.

Even in one page from a random Tales to Astonish, Ditko’s art is awesome.

I didn’t know Byrne intended on having the that future so completely erased. Interesting how nine words inserted at the last minute can, for good or bad, change something so signifcant.

the part where you say that the theme involves the Comics Code i believe is left over from last week.

Gracias.

CLIFFHANGER

Hah!

Thanks, fixed it!

“Interesting how nine words inserted at the last minute can, for good or bad, change something so signifcant.”

Actually, it was probably just the one word, “home”, that really nailed it. If the last word had been “away”, Byrne’s intended meaning would probably have still been intact.

If you dig a bit more into the Byrne/Claremont years at X-Men, you’ll find out how Claremont could sometimes be a real asshole – either telling Byrne one thing and then changing it in the book, or agreeing with him and then presenting a different idea to the editor, or just giving different instructions to Austin, who was finishing the book… A poetic justice was done when the same was being done to him in 1991 and he quit in protest.

Still doesn’t change the fact that I wish he never left then and continue to produce his X-Men.

And also spare us his horrible late 90s and early 2000s X-stuff…

Actually, it was probably just the one word, “home”, that really nailed it. If the last word had been “away”, Byrne’s intended meaning would probably have still been intact.

Good point.

Didn’t Byrne set up during his Fantastic Four run, that in the Marvel Universe you can only travel through alternate realities and that’s why time paradoxes don’t happen.

To be fair, Byrne also changed plots without asking Claremont. That’s why Shooter ordered Jean dead. The original scene with the D’Bari’s planet was that Jean destroys an UNINHABITED planet, and then when a Sh’iar ship attacks her unprovoked, destroys the ship. Byrne changed that so that Jean destroyed an INHABITED planet and then, when the Sh’iar attacked, understandably pissed off that one of their allies’ planets was destroyed, killed them, claiming “self-defense”. Shooter didn’t think that a heroine who killed billions of people would work in 1980, so he ordered Jean killed.

Quite right, Michael! And on top of that Austin would sometimes do things when inking that he wouldn’t tell anybody. Examples would be when he would add Popeye to a Shi’ar ceremony or Joker in a disco. Sure, adding Daredevil in civvies in a New York background scene is cute and some added background that made the final panel look much better is very good (one example is in the DoFP itself), but, well, then there’s Popeye… (and Austin loved Popeye)

The job on the 80s X-Men must’ve been fun for everyone!

Er… “And lets the winds of eternity sweep her home” sounds like Old Kate’s spirit is being swept into oblivion–along with the rest of her now-prevented timeline.

I agree with Fred, I’m sure the argument was way bigger than the line, which itself doesn’t seem all that weighty if you didn’t know the backstory behind it (or what was to come later on)… seems more like more literary flourish on the part of Claremont. But I don’t doubt Byrne saw it and stuck in his craw, and the ensuing argument to get it out of there must’ve caused a good deal of friction.

I agree with Fred, Claremont’s script reads suitably ambiguous to me that it could be interpreted either way (“home” could even be to her new future self that’s living happily ever after with Piotr and the gang).

Neat legend though, and one I’d never heard of.

Re: The 70′s X-Men:

All sorts of things can be changed when you have a colaborative effort on creating comics! I wonder if his X-Men experiences is what led Byrne to taking over the writing, penciling, and inking duties on the FF title? Also, I once read an interview with John Romita, Jr. where he said his time spent on the X-Men was rather miserable due to the “bonehead” he was working with, so he quit the title and was going to leave the business altogether, but he was coaxed into penciling Daredevil, which he was glad he did.

I always wondered if JR jr was referencing Chris Claremont in regards to the “bonehead” on the X-Men.

So, even in his heyday, John Byrne was kind of a prima-donna. Ah, well.

Honestly, I can understand Byrne’s obsession with giving the X-Men “clean wins.” It does hurt the characters if they go too long without one as fans end up losing respect for the characters. To this day, despite whatever excuses apologists give to the contrary, I believe this is the main reason why New Teen Titans lost its huge audience. They never got clean wins. Young male fans will only think a character is cool for so long without a track record of winning. I believe X-Men ultimately rectified this with X-Men getting more and more wins, especially once Wolverine became more of a badass, while Teen Titans didn’t. In fact, I believe they got wimpier and became even bigger whiners and criers. When people ask why Teen Titans collapsed and X-Men didn’t, I really think the “clean wins” expectation is the answer.

Even though he can be a primadonna a lot, I do think Byrne can be really on the money at times.

That’s why I gave up on X-titles many, many years ago…their time-hopping continuity made my noggin hurt.

Hank oughta teach that clumsy Jan a lesson somehow…

Wait, there’s a scene in #142 where future Storm and Wolverine are discussing whether they can really change the past. Storm says something like “I don’t know, we may just be creating an alternate timeline,” and Wolverine says “So all this may be for nothing. Great.” So was that conversation ALSO an addition by Claremont, or did the one discussed here just confirm the Storm-Wolverine conversation?

So *that’s* why Rachel wasn’t given a last name in her first appearance! I’ve always wondered.

On the other hand, if “Rachel” was supposed to be Jean Grey, but that had to be cahanged, why gicve her red hair in the first place?

Even back then, Byrne was a crotchety old ffffffart.

Only Chris Claremont would write a scene where adult Kitty Pride kisses her teenage self.

In the post apocalyptic novel series, “Outlanders,” written by various authors under the pseudonym “James Axler,” there is a plot at one point that involves the main characters discovering a time machine and trying to use it to travel to the past and prevent the nuclear war that destroyed civilization. But when they get to the “past” they realize that it is not THE past that led to the nuclear war. It is later revealed that while you can travel to other divergent realities (including traveling up and down their timelines) you can not travel back and forth in your OWN timeline. Thus preventing you from being able to alter your own reality.

I liked it because it’s a sort of “cake and eat it too” situation where you can have time travel stories without the consequences of altering the future. I like to think “Days Of Future Past” falls under that same rule of logic…

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm

While we’re on the subject of The Days of Future Past, wasn’t there an “actual” date indicated for the “future events” to occure in the Uncanny X-men # 141-2? I believe it was to happen in the year 2012.

Which gives Marvel a very short time to “age” the characters in the next 2 years for that specific event, eh?

On an entirely different matter, in your book “Was Superman a Spy”, I noticed that you mentioned Todd McFarlane’s legal troubles with the sportsman figure, the character “Tony Twist” was loosely based on.

Why didn’t you also mention that OTHER legal trouble which involves Neil Gaiman and Miracleman? I would have thought that would be interesting to include in your book.

In the last page of the Days of Future Past story, Sebastian Shaw is telling Senator Kelly that they should build Sentinels to handle the mutant threat. I’ve always wondered if this page was a little “F*** You!” to the story itself, i.e. no matter what the X-Men will do, the Government will eventually get on to making the Sentinels and making the DoFP timeline happen. Even though the Sentinels showed up controled by the Hellfire Club, i’m wondering if this was the plan from the beginning, when Shaw has that talk with Kelly.

The date mentioned for the future scenes was 2013.

I have to wonder about the reaction Byrne had to the change of the ending in #142, because something in #141 made it quite clear that Kate’s future was not that of the main Marvel universe (it was clear to me, anyway). One of the future scenes gave Colossus a different patronymic than the usual one; if I remember correctly, it was Alexandreivitch. Shouldn’t Byrne have seen this issue before the next one?

I’m with Mr. M on this one: “Days of Future Past” was a great story in and of itself, but if Byrne intended to erase that apocalyptic future once the story concluded, then I think he had the right idea. Claremont and other later X-writers mined that alternate future for story ideas way, way too much.

The Crazed Spruce

December 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Thanks for clearing up that Tim Truman story, Brian. That’s been bugging me for years. :)

And hey, thanks for also posting a story so interesting that it completely distracted everyone from my incredibly stupid question. :)

Adam T brings up a good point about Byrne & time travel paradoxes.

There are really 2 schools of thought on this. There’s the One World Theory and the Multiple Worlds Theory.

In the OWT, going into the past means that you are indeed going into your own past. This creates the problem where you can kill your grandfather and thereby negate your own birth. Hence, the existence of the so-called “Grandfather Paradox.”

In the MWT, the simple act of traveling into the past alters the past. Whether or not you do anything, you have altered the past and disturbed a balance. Traveling back into the future, without doing anything, you will not arrive at your own future – no matter how uncannily similar. You will arrive at a divergent, alternate future. Think “Back to the Future” if you will. In the MWT, the idea of a grandfather paradox is impossible since the mere act of time travel creates divergent realities.

If Marvel 616 subscribes to the OWT then, yeah, Claremont effectively put the screws to Byrne by not annihilating the “Days of Future Past” universe.

However, as Adam T plainly states, the Marvel 616 follows the MWT. Kate Pryde’s future is and will forever more remain an alternate future. For her, events have already unraveled. She wouldn’t realistically be traveling to her past. Her mere presence alone has created a divergent reality, even if events succeeded in turning out the exact same, horrible way.

Kate Pryde was essentially altering the future of a different Kitty Pryde. This point was driven home, again by Byrne, in a Mavel Two-In-One issue featuring two versions Ben Grim.

The whole thing of Kate returning home, instead of a divergent reality as the MWT would suggest, is totally in line with her method of time travel. Kate goes back to the past psychically. Her body and essence are anchored to her dystopian future by Rachel. It’s like an invisible bungee cord that ties her body in the future to the past/present of Kitty Pryde.

When Kate’s mind leaves Kitty’s body, she’s being snapped back on that invisible bungee cord and back home. Had Kate come into the past physically, without an anchor, she would have traveled into the newly created future of the younger Kitty instead of her own. Again, think Back to the Future II and its 1985B.

Anchor = Return trip to 1985A
No anchor = “Return” trip to 1985B.

Seems pretty consistent in the context of the MWT and Marvel’s treatment of time travel.

I don’t think that Claremont changed anything. Given the MWT and Byrne’s own agreement that this is the case in the 616, Claremont did create a happy ending for Kitty that Byrne had intended. He simply suggested, as the MWT in combination with an anchor might, that Kate went back to her own horrible future.

So, Kate Pryde believed that she would be changing her past only because she had never time traveled before. Kate believed that the One World Theory was correct. However, as is the case for the 616 as a whole, the OWT is INCORRECT.

Kate Pryde’s gamble was wrong. Yeah. She traveled into the past, but she could never alter it. The best she could do is alter that of another Kitty Pryde. Again, Byrne later set these exact Marvel time travel rules in stone in FF.

Kate Pryde was simply wrong about how she thought time travel would work.

While the discussions about one-world and multiple-worlds is very interesting, I agree with Fred. I think Claremont’s last sentence was meant as a dramatic flourish and “home” could mean almost anything, from returning to the original time, to returning to a new time, to even death from erasing the future time line.

However, it shows that there was a lot more going on at the Marvel offices if Claremont and Byrne get into a dispute over a few words in one panel. It’s not like there’s a new scene which shows the adult Kate Pryde returning to an unchanged future timeline. ;)

I believe it was editor/writer Mark Gruenwald who first came up with the idea of applying the MTW time travel idea to the Marvel Universe; or at least, he decided that it was the correct one later.

But let’s not forget that other writers *before* that simply believed that history COULD be changed in the Marvel Universe, so when they wrote other time travel stories that was their intention. Also, I suspect later writers (and editors) have forgotten (or decided top ignore) the MWT since it is less dramatic (Age of Apocalypse and House of M seemed to imply that Earth 616 had indeed been changed temporarily.) But honestly, the MTW is the only theory that really makes sense and still allows for APPARENT historical-change stories.

Also, note that just because this is a fact doesn’t mean that everyone in the Marvel Universe knows it; people like Reed Richards probably know, but characters such as, say, The Runaways who get sent back in time will probably assume that they can change history.

As for Byrne vs Claremont, I think it was a clear case of having two willful writers on the same title.

And yeah, that “giving herself a kiss” line is both weird and confusing. You get what was meant but it sounds icky. Probably a case of not being thought out well enough.

Marvel had already been doing time-travel stories for over 20 years when Days Of Future Past was published. Ben Grimm became Blackbeard The Pirate in one of the first issues of Fantastic Four; the Guardians Of The Galaxy in Defenders, where Vance Astro of the future meeting his younger present self was causing earthquakes and the like… not to mention the complexities of Kang, and so many more.

Whatever rules you want to say exist about time travel in the Marvel Universe dont matter, as writers usually make their own rules to fit their stories.

Why is it that nearly every time I hear of a famous writer or artist having ideas that were nixed, inevitably leading them to leaving a book in a huff—they either sound completely bat$4!7 crazy or just outright lame?

Regarding AoA and HoM….. You have to consider issues of perspective and what was actually going on. None of it contradicts the Multiple Worlds Theory.

With AoA, Legion essentially created a divergent reality. When all of the books changed titles and such, we were essentially following this divergent reality. Effectively, the 616 proper never disappeared. We just stopped following it in favor of this new branch. In the finale of the Omega bookend, we returned to the 616 proper and watched how the 616 the effects of AoA came back around. The MWT explains, effectively, why the AoA universe failed to disappear even Legion’s assassination attempt was prevented. AoA and 616 are two different entities.

So really, did AoA change the past or were simply following the story of an alternate future? I believe that the latter is the case. We were following, essentially, a mult-part What If? storyline before we were returned to our regularly scheduled program. It’s a matter or perspective and, as such does not violate the MWT of time travel. No harm. No foul.

In terms of HoM….. The timeline wasn’t changed. Reality was. People’s perceptions were being mucked with. Those with heightened senses could tell that reality was being shifted. No real time travel or changing of the past. Smoke & mirrors, basically.

As far as time travel in the past issue…. Welcome to the world of comic book retcon. Just because they may have used the OWT in the past doesn’t mean that this is now the official, approved theory of time travel in the Marvel Universe nowadays. Marvel could just as easily explain those “one world” discrepancies away and fit them into the multiple world structure if hey wanted to. Welcome to the world of fiction. Something is only as true as the writer wants it to be, until he doesn’t want it to be.

I agree with you that the characters all assume one world. However, like Marty McFly, when they change the past, the future that they return to is not really their own. It may look like it, but it’s not. They’re essentially visitors from an alternate reality.

Realistically, they should also encounter their new future counterparts when they leave the now altered past. Back to the Future 2 suggested that this would be the case. Marty McFly, in BTTF2 never encountered his 1985B self only because he was away in school in Switzerland. However, there were indeed 2 Martys. Why there weren’t at the end of BTTF1, when there should have been…… OOPS. =) Writer error. The Marty that we know, with the pathetic family, should have encountered (eventually) the Marty born of the family where George hit Biff. Again, writer boo boo.

Time Travel makes my head hurt. LOL

And hey, thanks for also posting a story so interesting that it completely distracted everyone from my incredibly stupid question. :)

I don’t think it was a stupid question at all! Heck, the Wikipedia page for Melrose Place has a link to the comic book Tim Truman as the theme song composer, so it’s not like it’s an absurd belief (amusingly, the Wikipedia page for comic book Tim Truman that you get to from the Melrose Place link specifically says that they’re not the same guy).

I dunno, I also noted the thing about Colossus’ name and took it as clearly this was not the main Marvel universe future but an alternate timeline, and therefore Kate didn’t return to her true past, basically rendering the story kind of pointless…but still think its a great story

Even so, just because the last panel implies Kate returns to the future, what’s wrong with that? Were folks really expecting her and her timeline to vanish immediately? Why does that panel mean she was going to return to the SAME future and had failed? I read it as she returned to whatever her timeline became from her actions in the past, which hopefully was going to be less bleak. That was the great part of the story, it ended leaving you with that hope for the future she was returning to whether or not she was actually in her true past. Now I’ve never read any of the 90′s forward X-Men, only know what I’ve learned here indirectly, so if they later ended up reusing this future and retconning things into it like Rachel and Nathan Summers, that sounds pretty foolish.

As far as the sentinels, I always read Kate preventing Kelly’s death and Shaw then launching the Sentinels plan as a play on the inevitability of fate theme, not necessarily an FU to the story. Its like Oedipus being doomed to kill his father and marry his mother. In trying to prevents these two things he inadvertently causes them to occur.

Wasn’t there an editor that oversaw those X-Men issues? How could the writer and artist get away with changing so much?

re:comixkid2099; I remember seeing that page, back when I had those original issues (around 1981-82). I recall the silhouette of President Reagan in the room as well (the story behind that I recall was, when the art for that story was being done, they weren’t sure whether Carter or Reagan would win, so they did two versions, just in case).

But anyway, I notice whenever this issue gets reprinted (I have the reprinted stories in both the Days of Future Past reprint and Essential X-Men vol.2), that page gets omitted. I wonder if it was because the storyline itself changed or something (again, I recall Rachel gets reintroduced in the pages of New Mutants (#18 I seem to recall)…

Wow. Look at the barely concealed anger in Hank Pym after Janet’s little accident. You can tell he’s repressing the urge to knock her across the room. Leon Lazarus and Carl Burgos, planting the seeds for that infamous punch all those years before!

As for Byrne vs Claremont, I think it was a clear case of having two willful writers on the same title.

Hmmm, yeah, I was going to say pretty much the same thing.

Doctor Who writer & former script editor Terrance Dicks, in regards to his reputed clashes with then-current script editor Christopher Bidmead concerning the story State of Decay, noted “do bear in mind what I mentioned earlier about good Who so often emerging from a clash of ideas between two creative minds.”

I think the same applied to Claremont & Byrne on the X-Men. The “clash of ideas” between the two, the “creative tension” to use another of Dicks’ phrases, resulted in some very, very good stories. But such a creative relationship probably could not last indefinitely, and indeed that’s what happened with Claremont and Byrne. They went as far as they could together, and then it was simply time to part ways. I don’t think that one was right and the other one wrong. Rather, their creative differences just eventually became too vast and irreconcilable.

I think the Time Travel thing and all the X-Men’s complicated origins and… stuff is what makes the book what it is. I only read it every couple years or so the come back, but I think it’s probably the only book the could pull all that stuff off especially with mutliple writers through the years and various events.

‘No More Mutants’ and Melrose Place? Well, those two things are just lame. Especially, the ‘No More Mutants’. That never made any sense at all.

Lazarus only had one other known credit from the 1960s, an issue of American Comics Groups’ Unknown Worlds #6.

How ironic that his “known” credit came in Unknown Worlds.

And then… Lazarus’ career was resurrected for one more issue.

Yeah, I’m easily amused.

Call him an old fart or a prima donna or whatever; I’m glad Byrne left the X-Men in frustration.
He went on to produce a truly amazing run on the Fantastic Four, my favorite run of any comic, ever.

I just got Hulk #400 about a week ago, and it included a reprint of the Leader’s first appearance. The Hulk fought a ‘Humanoid’ and then Banner was tossed in jail at the end for trying to sabotage his own invention. It looks like the page shown here was from the very next issue. I guess it’s all just a coincidence, but it is nice getting to read a little bit more of the story right after finishing one chapter.

Anybody any idea if there’s going to be a Byrne/FF Omnibus somewhere down the line???

Yeah, I always thought the ending to Days of Future Past always had Sebastian Shaw and Senator Kelly brokering a deal to mass-produce Sentinels that was very Terminator-worthy. Kind of a “Twilight Zone” ending, to the story.

It would be a few years before we’d see Rachel again in Uncanny #181 in August of 1984. Nimrod didn’t turn up until Uncanny X-Men #191, about ten months after that. If there ever was a point where the “clean win” got taken away, that was it, though.

I just don’t see that Claremont intentionally undermined what Byrne wanted…the home comment could’ve referred to so many possibilities, as others mentioned.

Realistically, they should also encounter their new future counterparts when they leave the now altered past. Back to the Future 2 suggested that this would be the case. Marty McFly, in BTTF2 never encountered his 1985B self only because he was away in school in Switzerland. However, there were indeed 2 Martys. Why there weren’t at the end of BTTF1, when there should have been…… OOPS. =) Writer error. The Marty that we know, with the pathetic family, should have encountered (eventually) the Marty born of the family where George hit Biff. Again, writer boo boo.

Ah, but near the end of BTTF1, the returning Marty (#1) sees that timeline’s Marty (#2) depart in the time machine (presumably headed for 1955). No writer error there – they never met, and since Marty #2 time travelled, he would be unlikely to return to that timeline if he ever made it back to the future.

This does of course lead to the interesting question of what Marty #2 did in 1955, and whether he would have encountered Marty #1 there…

“Welcome to the world of fiction. ”

Correction: welcome to the world of SHARED UNIVERSE fiction. When it’s just one creator in control, he can pretty much do whatever he wants, even retcon the whole thing away. But when you’re working on somebody else’s property, the least you can do is try to work with what’s there and not change things at will.

Of course, the problem with comics is that everyone expects different things. Creators are in it (let’s face it) because they want to see their ideas realized (Comics writing doesn’t pay that well), the editors think they have the last word (and technically they do) and the fans think it’s THEIR expectations that have to be met, since they’re the ones who are paying for the stuff. With all these often-contradicting influences, it’s a miracle any comics universe makes sense for long.

And then you throw Time Travel in… :P

The Tim Truman story remins me of my similar confusion in the ’70s regarding John Byrne the comics artist and John Patrick Byrne, the artist who painted the album covers for Gerry Rafferty’s “City to City” and “Night Owl.” Since “our” John and Rafferty were both Canadian, I assumed the two Byrnes were one-and-the-same. It was a couple of years before I discovered the comic book guy was John *Lindley* Byrne.

And speaking of creators using pseudonyms at Marvel, I thought I’d point out that Gary Michaels, the inker of the “Adam Austin” Iron Man page was actually Jack Abel. Other aliases of the era include Jay Gavin (Werner Roth), Scott Edwards (Gil Kane), Joe Carter (Jerry Siegel), Frankie Ray (Frank Giacoia), Jay Hawk (Jack Katz), Mickey Demeo (Mike Esposito) and Joe Guadioso (Esposito again).

I thought Gary Michaels was another Mike Esposito pseudonym. The lines on the Iron Man page don’t look as thin as Jack Abel’s lines usually are.

–Ed

I think it was a very savvy move of Claremont’s to change it, since it gave him remit to revisit the 2013 timeline again for future storylines. Whether you think it was a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ move obviously depends on your opinion of those storylines,
Byrne otoh lacked that vision, which you can also recognise from his other works.

A general question. Days of Future Past came before Terminator and they are both the same sort of story: travel back in time to prevent your future, obliterating yourself for the greater good.

It’s a really cool idea, filled with all sorts of possibilities and a very interesting justification for suicide and genocide (universicide?). Since then it’s been used in all sorts of serial fiction, Star Trek (a bunch of times) lots of comics as well.

Was Days of Future Past the first time this plot was used? Was there an earlier use of it that Claremont and Byrne drew from?

Was Days of Future Past the first time this plot was used? Was there an earlier use of it that Claremont and Byrne drew from?

First off, Terminator came before Days of Future Past. And Terminator was sued by Harlan Ellison for ripping off an episode of Outer Limits he wrote about this idea. At the end of Terminator there is an acknowledgement to Harlan Ellison as part of the settlement.

First off, Terminator came before Days of Future Past.

No, it didn’t.

And Terminator was sued by Harlan Ellison for ripping off an episode of Outer Limits he wrote about this idea. At the end of Terminator there is an acknowledgement to Harlan Ellison as part of the settlement.

Correct.

I did a Legend on it, right (I ask that to “the room” not you specifically, Adam)?

I should clarify, the screenplay of Terminator came before the X-Men storyline, even though the film was made later.

I should clarify, the screenplay of Terminator came before the X-Men storyline, even though the film was made later.

Yep.

The Superman/Omac team-up in DC Comics Presents #61 (September 1983) follows the Terminator plot even more closely: Omac’s corporate enemies send Murdermek, a robot assassin, back through time to kill Omac’s 20th Century ancestor so Brother Eye dispatches the Mohawked One back to stop him. This, a full year before the Cameron movie hit the theaters.

I have never understood Ellison’s arguments that Terminator ripped him off. I’ve seen one of the Outer Limits episodes he wrote that he claims the movie is based on, and read online about the other, and neither one has enough similarities to the actual plot of Terminator to justify suing for plagiarism. One of them is about an amnesiac cyborg from the future fighting aliens in the present, and another is about two enemy soldiers being accidentally sent to the present. No mentions of world-conquering AIs or flesh-covered robots. It reminds me of DC suing Fawcett comics over Captain Marvel being “too similar” to Superman just because both where flying caped strongmen. I guess the Terminator producers just didn’t want to risk a long, expensive trial (especially when the movie came out) and they just decided to settle.

Well, Ellison IS a ridiculous asshole.

Cei-U – you are also confused about Gerry Rafferty’s nationality, he’s Scottish – originally from Paisley near Glasgow.

In the first legend-story the quote about the original question is posted/written twice.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

December 6, 2009 at 11:47 am

The Captain Marvel suit had a bit more than just “caped flying strongmen” to it. Both characters had blad mad scientists as their primary foes and both were news reporters in their civilian identities.

Well, I did say “a bit,” not “a substantial amount.”

@Cei-U!

John Byrne also gets confused with Brit writer Johnny Byrne (of Space 1999 fame) a lot. There sure are a lot of Byrne doppelgangers around — and they are all either writers or artists. Go figure. :-)

re: Days of Future Past and Marvel 616 time travel theories:

I hope someone forwards the text of these comments to the writers of _Wolverine and the X-men_ . I don’t think I’ve counted more time travel writing faux pas’ in a 30 min television show.

Temporal paradoxes make my head hurt!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

December 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm

So, well, no, “our” Tim Truman did not do the Melrose Place theme song.

That’s almost as bad as comic book writer Warren Ellis having the same name as the musician Warren Ellis (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Dirty Three) – except with these two, the music and the writing really do sound like they could come from the same mind (If our Ellis played violin, it’s sound like The Dirty Three).
And as comic Ellis has mentioned before, he’s actually received emails from members of The Bad Seeds who thought he was the musician Ellis.

>>With AoA, Legion essentially created a divergent reality. When all of the books changed titles and such, we were essentially following this divergent reality. Effectively, the 616 proper never disappeared. We just stopped following it in favor of this new branch. In the finale of the Omega bookend, we returned to the 616 proper and watched how the 616 the effects of AoA came back around. The MWT explains, effectively, why the AoA universe failed to disappear even Legion’s assassination attempt was prevented. AoA and 616 are two different entities. <<

Actually they way i understood it AoA was happening in the reality designated 616 because if you change the past it's the future you are from that becomes an alternate reality (which is because it makes for a better literary device).

So when Legion killed Prof. X the normal 616 timeline became an alternative timeline with a different number, and when they changed it back AoA shifted from being in reality #616 to another number (the world going white before being saved is an indicator for that etc.).

Same thing for DoFP, once Kate Pryde changed the past her reality became an alternate one.

Of course the MWT says that a 2 or more realities are created every time something has more then 1 possible outcome, so under it not only would you not be changing your own past, but the reality where the let say Senator Kelly wasn't murdered already existed, and you'd have no way of knowing you travelled to the right past, unless you do travel to your own past exclusively, and simply make 2 new realities, one where you went into the past and one where you didn't.

Unless you're name is Victor Von Doom… then you can just invent a doomlock… and have people curse your unexpected but inevitable betrayal…

If I’m not mistaken, Byrne also took exception to the line about Kate Pryde kissing her younger self before returning to the future.

I think he thought that line was weird, Benn, but I don’t believe he had any problem besides “That’s a weird line.”

I never got why people thought that line was strange. I always saw it as nothing more than a peck on the forehead, something Katherine did to reassure Kitty after Kitty had gone through an ordeal like that…granted, that’s a fanwank, but I doubt Claremont had the the 2 of them making out lol

ParanoidObsessive

December 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I’d like to point out that, after years of owning those issues, and having read them multiple times, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen that last line as being a lock that somehow forces us to accept that Kate’s reality remains intact and unchanged, and somehow negates the entire meaning of the story. I’ve never seen it as more than a bit of poetic license (just like the “kiss” isn’t a real, physical kiss), and like others have suggested, it could even be a bit of a euphemistic reference to her being swept off to oblivion, because she now retroactively never existed.

So if that WAS why Byrne was upset, I’d have to agree that it was a case of being a bit of a prima donna. But honestly, I’d be far more likely to guess that it was just long line of issues he’d had with Claremont (whether justified or not), where the actual reasons had ceased to be as important as the underlying tension itself. Like how a couple whose relationship is in jeopardy will fight over the most asinine of things. By that point, the two already had problems (possibly exacerbated by the whole “Jean has to die” thing), and they would have kept fighting over minor things until Byrne finally left the title.

From that perspective, the line itself was meaningless – the real problem was the fact that Claremont added something Byrne disagreed with. He could just as easily have found fault with almost anything else, because the real problem was the breakdown in the creative relationship between the two men. And from that perspective, I’d be MUCH more interested in when the cracks started to show rather than how it all ended. At which point DID their previously successful collaborative process begin to fall apart?

In reply to The Relic December 4, 2009 at 7:31 pm

re:comixkid2099; I remember seeing that page, back when I had those original issues (around 1981-82). I recall the silhouette of President Reagan in the room as well (the story behind that I recall was, when the art for that story was being done, they weren’t sure whether Carter or Reagan would win, so they did two versions, just in case).

But anyway, I notice whenever this issue gets reprinted (I have the reprinted stories in both the Days of Future Past reprint and Essential X-Men vol.2), that page gets omitted. I wonder if it was because the storyline itself changed or something (again, I recall Rachel gets reintroduced in the pages of New Mutants (#18 I seem to recall)…

That page is in the UK pocket book reprint series (the volume in question is entitle Days of Future Past). I think it may have just been a general Marvel policy to not explicitly show a real world politician when taking a negative action – there’s a Punisher issue from 2001 where Bush is similarly in silhouette.

Alternatively Claremont may well have forgotten that US Presidents don’t take office the day after election (unlike British Prime Ministers) – IIRC Days of Future Past is set in November around the election time and the epilogue is one month later so (unless the dates are wrong) it would be Carter in the White Office regardless of the election outcome.

In reply to Kid Kyoto =December 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Was Days of Future Past the first time this plot was used? Was there an earlier use of it that Claremont and Byrne drew from?

I think Byrne has said he was influenced by the 1972 Doctor Who story “Day of the Daleks”. (SPOILER ALERT)

In that story Earth in the 22nd century is under occupation by the Daleks who invaded the planet after it was weakened by a devastating world war, which originated after a bomb destroyed a peace conference in the present day. A group of guerillas steal the Daleks’ time travel technology and travel back to the present, aiming to assassinate Sir Reginald Styles, the organiser of the peace conference, as their history books identify him as responsible for the explosion.

The twist is that the timetravelling guerillas themselves are responsible for the explosion due to a misunderstanding (in their timeline Styles dies in the explosion which destroys his house, so there’s little evidence available to challenge the Lone Nut Theory) and a wounded guerilla resorting to explosives, not realising the peace conference delegates have arrived. The Doctor discovers the mess and is able to get the house evacuated so instead it’s the Daleks who get blown up – and the last report on the peace conference is that said explosion has helped it towards its aims.

Joe K above mentions Austin adding Joker and Popeye to scenes. Last summer I picked up the two 1980s interview books The X-Men Companion I-II. Byrne credits himself with the Joker and Austin with Popeye (Austin also credits himself with Popeye). The fact that the Joker was in the foreground further supports Byrne’s claim tha tthis was a pencilling choice and not someone the inker snook into the background.

I have never seen that last page of UXM 142 with Shaw and Kelly. Heard about it, though… But I think I have the issue, no reprints, without that page (Can’t remember if I checked or not, I remember checking in some TPBs I got before)

Sijo: “I have never understood Ellison’s arguments that Terminator ripped him off. I’ve seen one of the Outer Limits episodes he wrote that he claims the movie is based on, and read online about the other, and neither one has enough similarities to the actual plot of Terminator to justify suing for plagiarism.”

The main problem, I think, was that Cameron acknowledged that influence in the first place, without no one noticing, and then all the plagiarism talk begun

·I’d say it’s certainly Austin putting Popeye in, then. I was reading the Batman story “The Laughing Fish” the other day; a story I’ve read- SCRUTINIZED- about a billion times. But this time I noticed Popeye’s one of the sailors on the docks complaining about their contaminated hauls!

·I have DoFP in a book called “Wizard Magazine Presents the 10 Greatest X-Men Stories”, and it for sure has the Sebastian Shaw coda. I’ve never read it any other way.

·One more comic creator name that confused the hell out of me as a kid was Marvel Editor Ralph Macchio. I’d see his name in the credits and= being that I was a huge Karate Kid fan when those movies were popular- I’d be like “COULD it be the same guy? How awesome IS he?!”

Hi, I’m back. I checked and the page with Shaw and Gyrich is indeed in my original UXM 142 :D

I read this as it came out and my interpretation is that by the use of the words eternity and home she died/ceased to exist.

I think the Byrne/Claremont X-Men run is pretty iconic. You don’t get a better stretch. The X-Men writers TODAY are still using those same ideas and plots (sad but true).

It’s too bad there were disagreements but Claremont had the call. I like Byrne’s art and some of his stories as well but he seemed to have been in the wrong.

Nothing new to add, except that I agree with lots of people above that:

1) The line Claremont added didn’t make it any less of a clear victory for the X-Men. If anything, the last page with Shaw and Kelly is worse in this respect.

2) Byrne is an incredible perfectionist with a extreme intolerance even for small details that disagree with his worldview. There are stories floating around that he stopped reading novels after the first page or even the first paragraph, if that first page has something that he disagrees with.

3) By the point this story was published, Claremont and Byrne had already clashed many times. Both men have big egos. Though Claremont must have a smaller ego than Byrne, because God has a smaller ego than John Byrne.

“the winds of eternity sweep her home.” Is pretty ambiguous. I don’t see why one would assume Claremont was referring to her literal home any more than he was referring to literal winds.

Well, it would only be fair because, as Michael pointed out earlier, Bryne changed Jean Grey into a mass-murderess during the “Dark Phoenix” storyline, when she wasn’t supposed to have *murdered* anyone. And, I’m still waiting for the Hellfire Club to be brought to justice for their part in this! And Marvel has been stuck trying rebuild what they had so cavilierly thrown away.

Also, I have to agree with T, who said that DC’s New Teen Titans series ran out of steam because they never “had any clean wins”. Actually, it was because they were *never* allowed to have any clear victories, or eventually become a fully competent team. And, eventually, destroying your own protagonists can catch up with you. As it did with the New Teen Titans, and the Claremont X-Men …

“To be fair, Byrne also changed plots without asking Claremont. That’s why Shooter ordered Jean dead. The original scene with the D’Bari’s planet was that Jean destroys an UNINHABITED planet, and then when a Sh’iar ship attacks her unprovoked, destroys the ship. Byrne changed that so that Jean destroyed an INHABITED planet and then, when the Sh’iar attacked, understandably pissed off that one of their allies’ planets was destroyed, killed them, claiming “self-defense”. Shooter didn’t think that a heroine who killed billions of people would work in 1980, so he ordered Jean killed.”

This is way I am ETERNALLY grateful that Jim Shooter gave that order. I am also ETERNALLY grateful to mister Shooter for approving Kurt Busiek’s clever idea that between Uncanny X-men 100 and 101, the Phoenix entity made for itself a body identical to Jean Grey down to the molecular level, brain-patterns and pheromone output.

I was, and still am, RELIEVED that a fictional character like Jean Grey was not responsible for genocide. The Phoenix entity cried in front of Scott Summers because she could not go on living with the knowledge that she killed billions. The true Jean Grey was found by the ‘vengers and freed by the ff from her pod, to live her life as a super HEROINE and eventually meet her end as a super HEROINE and not as a super VILLAINESS as was the case in Uncanny X-men 137. Again, thank you Jim Shooter and Kurt Busiek.

Frankly, it would have been far better if they had stuck with the original idea of giving Jean her own book, as a Thor-level heroine; it would have been a great break-out book from a series that had just been spectacularly revived from the dead! But, it’s quite obvious that the writers and editors couldn’t handle the idea of a powerful heroine – and went out of their way to destroy her.

Not realizing, of course, that they had just damaged the whole franchise ..

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