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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #338

Welcome to the three hundredth and thirty-eighth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, discover which actress nearly replaced Sean Young as Vicki Vale in the 1989 Batman film, learn the amusing truth behind Storm’s mohawk haircut of the 1980s and find out why Lobo left the R.E.B.E.L.S. during the 1990s!

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and thirty-seven.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Michelle Pfeiffer was close to portraying Vicki Vale in the first Tim Burton Batman film.


As you may or may not know, before Kim Basinger took over Vicki Vale in Tim Burton’s Batman…

The role of Vale belonged to Sean Young. However, Young injured herself soon before filming was set to begin while preparing for the film (she was riding a horse for a planned scene in the film – said scene was dropped after Young’s injury).

The producers had to scramble at the last minute to find a replacement and Basinger ended up with the plum role.

However, interestingly enough, Basinger was not the first choice to replace Young.

Reader Locksley M. wrote in to say that he had read somewhere that Michelle Pfeiffer was going to be Vicki Vale but Michael Keaton nixed the idea because the two were dating at the time.

Pfeiffer, of course, famously played Catwoman in the sequel to Batman, Batman Returns…

But could we have had a more serene Pfeiffer in the earlier film?

Yes, it is true, Pfeiffer was, indeed, the first choice of director Tim Burton to replace Young.

And yes, Keaton did nix the idea, but not because they were dating, but rather because they had recently stopped dating. Keaton felt working together so soon after their relationship ended would have been awkward, so he opposed the idea.

Producers Jon Peters and Mark Canton conferred and they came up with Basinger.

In fact, Pfeiffer was also not the first choice for the SECOND Batman film. Annette Bening was initially cast as Catwoman, but after she became pregnant she backed out of the role and this time (being now three years after their relationship), Keaton did not oppose (or, I suppose, maybe he did and they just didn’t pay attention to him this time around).

So there ya go, Locksley, thanks for the suggestion! Thanks to Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters’ great book, Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood for the scoop on how close Pfeiffer came to playing Vale.

COMIC LEGEND: Storm’s mohawk haircut was originally a joke by Paul Smith.


In Uncanny X-Men #172, the X-Men travel to Japan for Wolverine’s wedding. This is what Storm looked like at the time…

In the following issue, though, Storm goes on a wild adventure with Yukio and her hair is messed up…

and when she meets back up with the rest of the X-Men later in the issue, she has made a change…

Behind the scenes, the plan all along was for Storm to get a new look following her adventure with Yukio. However, the mohawk design by Paul Smith was initially a joke!

Smith recounted the tale on CBR’s message boards a few years back:

If we’re talkin’ Storm, that was a bad joke that got way outta’ hand.

Storm had just lost most of her hair and she needed a hairstyle out of what was left. I did a number of portraits, all quite lovely and feminine, thank you very much. As a JOKE, I included a shot of her as Mr. T. You know, the kind of shot where they HAVE to go the other way. Weezie [X-Men editor Louise Simonson]’s response? “They’re going to hang us whichever way we go. Let’s commit the murder.”

I argued it was a joke and a monstrously bad idea but, given my departure following 175 was set prior to beginning my run, my vote didn’t count. So I did what I could with what I had left. I don’t know that Dave [Cockrum, original designer of Storm] ever really forgave me for that.

Story continues below

Hilarious story!

Thanks to Paul Smith for the great information!

COMIC LEGEND: Lobo was removed from R.E.B.E.L.S. ’95 due to reader complaints over his inclusion in the title.


R.E.B.E.L.S. was a spin-off from L.E.G.I.O.N. following the events of Zero Hour, where the main cast of L.E.G.I.O.N. go on the run from their own organization, which has been corrupted by the evil son of Vril Dox and Stealth (the leader of L.E.G.I.O.N. and one of the top operatives for the team).

Lobo was originally a member of the team (as he was bound to L.E.G.I.O.N. due to an oath to Dox), but he soon left…

An anonymous commenter wrote in with the following suggestion the other week:

Lobo actually LEFT R.E.B.E.L.S. ’95 at the height of his popularity (one shots, guest shots, mini-series, ongoing series) due to reader complaints about him to that title.

I asked Tom Peyer, who wrote the title at the time, and he said nope. Peyer even checked with his editor on the book, Dan Raspler, to make sure that he was not forgetting anything, and Raspler agreed that they wrote Lobo out of the book because he did not fit the “underdogs on the run” feel of the title, as he was too powerful and too much of a comedic character for the mood that Peyer and Raspler were going for on the title.

Thanks for the information, Tom and Dan!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Legends Revealed, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at legendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!


Brian, I will say this: I definitely sent a letter to the editor complaining about the inclusion of Lobo with the group. I am not a fan of Lobo and I said as much in my letter. It was actually one of the last letters I wrote to the editor. So while Lobo may not have been removed because of fan complaints, this one fan DID send one in.

Mowhawk Storm is the best Storm.

Is Tom Peyer still writing comics? I always enjoyed his work.

Storm’s mohawk was the beginning of the end of me being a fan of the X-Men. I hated that look and the personality change that went with it. I hung in for about another two years, but the bloom was off the rose and I never bought another issue of the X-Men.

Paul Smith would have had an even funnier joke if he’d just drawn Mr. T. into the X-Men.

I feel Paul Smith’s pain. Sometimes designers try to nudge clients in the direction of a preferred design by including one or two in the presentation that are so bad that the client can’t help but be drawn to the really good one, only to have the client pick one of the ringers.

That mohawk was a terrible idea and, to this day, the fact that they not only went with it, but that a lot of fans apparently loved it, defies comprehension.

Forgot to mention something that should appear in a future installment: IMHO, R.E.B.E.L.S. was probably inspired by Blake’s Seven. After all, both groups had a sentient spaceship of mysterious origin. Coincidence, or something more?

I always felt Paul Smith was the wrong artist for X-Men. I remember when they introduced Madelyne Pryor. It was supposed to be this big reveal that she looked just like Jean Grey. Except that, other than the red hair, I so no resemblance because Smith’s art was so different from Byrne or Cockrum.

Didn’t Sean Young also audtion for the Catwoman role?

I loved the mohawk look on Storm. To me it fit with the rougher, edgier “Fall Of The Mutants” styled stories they were going for..

I love Mohawk storm. It’s my favorite version of the character. But then again I’m totally an 80s kid.

The mohawk on Storm was just a terrible idea that I never could figure out. She had such a regal look and personality, and the `new look’ idea just undercut that terribly. This happened when I was starting to lose interest in the X-Men and it really helped push me away. The fact that it was all a joke that got out of hand is sad, very sad.

I’d love to see Paul’s other redesigns for Storm!!! Have they ever been posted anywhere?

DanLarkin-Yes. Sean Young did try to nab the Catwoman role. And apparently went so far as to dress up in the old 60es style outfit for a surprise meeting with Tim Burton. I guess he wasn’t impressed. (Probably quite freaked out by it LOL!)

I also heard that Michael Keaton certainly didn’t oppose Michelle Pleiffer being cast for the 2nd flick, and what’s more that a lot of the crew thought they might actually get together again, as Keaton by this point seemed a bit smitten with her again. Might be why they seem to have such good chemistry in Batman Returns. (Or at least certainly better than he had with Basinger. Though to be fair, her character was a bit dull when compared to Selina Kyle..)

In fact that now that I think about it. I remember there being quite a lot of talk about a Pleiffer led Catwoman spin-off at the time. To be directed by Burton who wanted Michael Keaton playing a supporting role in it. (Almost the flip side of Batman Returns then..) With apparently the story being that her character would set herself up in another city, and once she started making headlines, Bruce Wayne would pay a vist to the city to see if it was really her..(Man, wouldn’t that have been sooo much better than the Halle Berry disaster that we got later on?..)

But I guess the whole Joel Schumacher being brought on for the third flick to ‘kidify’ the series, and Keaton packing his bags shortly thereafter, nixed that idea. (IIRC, The studio was uncomfortable with another Burton directed Batman, as one of their franchise partnerships for Returns, with I think it was either McDonalds or Burger King, had broken down due to percieved parental criticisms of some of the risque content of the script to Batman Returns.) Huh! Maybe this could be a topic for another legends revealed segment? i.e Whether this was one of the first examples of franchise suplemental income, from toy meals etc, affecting the course of a popular film series? Might be interesting to see if there’s any info on that.

Sean Young can’t act, she has zero screen presence, I can’t for the life of me figure why she kept getting cast in things. I’d sooner look at Ororo’s mohawk and man, I hated that mohawk!

Here’s a clip where Sean Young appeared on the Joan Rivers show dressed as Catwoman to beg Tim Burton to reconsider. It came off really desperate and was considered the point where her career jumped the shark:


Chris Clairmont, Paul Smith, and myself actually did a short story on what happened between those two pages back in X-Men Unlimited #39.

PAD actually poked fun at the Sean Young as Catwoman thing in an early issue of his X-Factor run. Guido claims he is dating Sean Young and when the door opens you see a woman in the classic Catwoman suit and he jokes “Sean you didn’t get the part, let it go” as they leave prompting Jamie Madrox to question if Guido just paid some woman off to do that as a prank or if that really was Sean Young.

The funny thing is I LOVE Storm’s Mohawk. Having recently seen it in Astonishing X-Men, I’m dying for her to make it a more permanent thing again. They play her as being all too regal when we know she’s got this darker punk side.

There was actually a Mr. T-like character, Axe, as a villain in an early issue (#7) of New Mutants.

Another supporter of mohawk here. And these things indeed do happen that a joke is taken at face value and they make fine legends (in music the most famous example is “Sonny Boy” by Al Jolson…)
But I thought it a good idea that if she wants to change her look, she should really change her look.

Brilliance has many names and “just a joke” is one of them.

Having followed the series since the beginning, I didn’t like the Mohawk either. It just really didn’t seem to fit the character, but it did fit in with what she was going through at the time. I too left the X-books for good a couple-three years later, but that was because I didn’t like the stories anymore, I thought Claremont was getting too crazy. (I came back for Whedon’s run on Astonishing though! :) )

@Gerard Morvan – Considering that L.E.G.I.O.N. was inspired by on Blake’s 7, it’s no wonder R.E.B.E.L.S.. would have the same feel. (I didn’t read the latter – I’d given up on the main book by that time, in part because I hated Lobo, but mostly ’cause I didn’t like the book overall and was looking to trim down my monthly purchases.)

Count me among the other fans of Mohawk Storm. It makes perfect sense for the character. She’s one of the most powerful beings on the planet and completely secure in her physical appearance (cf. early Claremont issues where Storm strips down for a swim in front of her fellow X-Men). Why shouldn’t she have a look that reflects both her confidence and toughness?

You can read the Daniel Waters screenplay for the proposed Burton-directed Catwoman film online simply by googling it. I’m kind of glad it never got made. Now, a solo Catwoman film directed by Burton with Selina as a thief in Gotham would’ve been all kinds of awesome!

The Halle Berry Catwoman movie is almost a direct remake of the old Roger Corman film, “The Wasp Woman” with a few changes thrown in. Female cosmetics exec makes up shocking new formula, tries it on herself, hilarity ensues.

The second Batman movie was practically a retelling of Moon Knight #25, though I can’t say if there was really any influence on the film, there are many plot similarities.

Goddess, but Paul Smith could draw one sexy long-haired Ororo! One of my all-time favorite portrayals of her.

I seem to recall a letter column response in which the writers claimed to have never watched Blake’s 7, actually. Which struck me as unlikely at the time. Possibly fodder for a future CBLR?

Fraser, I won’t argue over Sean Young’s acting ability, but to say that she has no screen presence is to completely ignore her role in Blade Runner. The scene where she lets down her hair as she sits at the piano is, in my opinion, one of the sexiest moments in screen history, and its eroticism is portrayed without Young saying a word or baring an inch of flesh. And if that ain’t screen presence, I don’t what is.

Mohawked AND depowered Storm have been the ONLY time I’ve found Ororo interesting. She’d been dull as a doorknob to me before and since…

Sean Young was recently on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab w/Doctor Drew and she spoke in depth about the horse-riding accident (for the first Batman movie) that derailed her career. It was pretty heartbreaking to watch…

Mohawk Storm rocked. But again, she was the one I was introduced with, so my fondness may connect to that.

Tony, Tom Peyer will be writing the upcoming Atlas United series from the new Atlas.

Mohawk Storm was indeed awesome, and like Snikt Snakt said, it coincided with the era when she was the most interesting as a character. Claremont’s earlier idea of making her a rather stereotypically feminine “earth mother” didn’t produce any memorable results, so it understandable he wanted to change her to a more rough and independent character, and the change felt very organic and natural for Storm. And the mohawk was an organic part of that change, even if it was originally a joke. Giving her a masculine hairstyle and outfit was a good way of showing that she didn’t want to be defined by preconceived notions anymore.

Grace Jones and punk rock had been a part of popular culture for a bit around the time of X-Men 172. Storm’s look stemmed from that kind of stuff.

Louise Simonson

October 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm

About Storm’s mohawk. Don’t remember Paul saying the mohawk was a joke, but it was a loooong time ago. I know Chris and I took it seriously. For me, a change in a character’s exterior should be a visual symbol of an internal change, and for that reason, alone, Storm’s mohawk rocked. It made a statement. We figured there’d be outraged readers–there were–but hair grows out. Storm could always have long hair again when the time was right. ;D

Wire I guess it’s one of those YMMV cases. Sean Young doesn’t do it for me in sexiness either, even though she hasexactly the Black Irish look that usually makes me drool.

I agree with Lackshmana: Mohawk Storm is the BEST Storm. Thank you so much to Paul Smith and Louise Simonson for igniting my life-long love of mohawks, even if it was unintentional.

I don’t get Kitty’s reaction to the ‘do. Can someone explain why she freaked out?

“For me, a change in a character’s exterior should be a visual symbol of an internal change” I couldn’t agree more with you Louise.

Just chiming in to say I also liked the mohawk.
I was a pretty young kid thru the 80s, but already a punk thanks to hand-me-down record collection from my older sister–who also has a mohawk of sorts.

I was proud to see someone reflecting the culture I came from (well, was growing into) so well featured in a comic I enjoyed.

I seem to remember Michael Keaton commenting on his dating history with Michelle Pfeiffer in an interview around the release of Batman Returns: “It was just enough to help us, but not so much as to get in the way.”

I don’t get Kitty’s reaction to the ‘do. Can someone explain why she freaked out?

Here is the explanation for Kitty’s reaction, from a few issues later…

^Wow, that’s some early John Romita Jr right there.

And put me down for “Mohawk Storm was the best Storm”. She got to be wild, find himself all over again, wasn’t afraid to kick ass, lost the holier-then-thou attitude, but was still the same Ororo.

Kitty was a 13-14 year old at the time whose parents were going through a divorce living with a bunch of mutant criminals. Ororo was like her mother figure. If your mom came home one day dressed in fetish gear and a mohawk, wouldn’t you freak out?

I was going to say what Arvin said.
But I don’t think Storm ever lost the holier-than-thou–it was just that now she was Darker and Edgier Than Thou. For instance, I remember when Sinister’s pet bodysnatcher tried to take Storm over, Storm announced that since she had completely embraced her Dark Side, it wouldn’t work (or something to that effect).

@Jeremy haha, you want early John Romita Jr?


(as relayed in the story, at the very least he loves playing up how embarrassed he was for having done that book. he expressed the same sentiment when I told him I forgot to bring my copy of Star Brand #1 to sign).

The style from Dazzler #1 to the X-Men stuff is such a big leap; in fact the Dazzler is the only of his works that I’ve seen that I wouldn’t be able to immediately pin as the JRJR style. Everything else I can see it from a mile away.

Wow good stuff this week!

My first full month buying Marvel comics had X-Men 197 and Longshot mini #1. I instantly and naively perhaps assumed Mohawk Storm and Longshot were blatant Grace Jones / Bill Idol ripoffs – rock stars instead of super heroes. Man I was a cynical lad. But doing the math looks like Mohawk Storm came before Grace became mainstream in 1984. BTW also purchased that month… Groo #7 introducing the Sage, Squadron Supreme #1, and BIll Mantlo’s ROM #70.

Kinda of Ironic someone citing Sean Young’s portrayal of an Android as an argument *against* her wooden acting ;-)

“If your mom came home one day dressed in fetish gear and a mohawk, wouldn’t you freak out?”

My mother is 83 years old but even that wouldn’t freak me out…I blame television.

I like how Sean Young blames the horse riding accident for her career derailment, rather than the fact that she’s a complete psychopath and nobody wants to work with her.

I think the Mohawk is actually one of the reasons I’ve never liked Storm as a character. Not because I didn’t like the look (I always thought Mohawks looked silly in real life – I’m pretty sure I was one of the only kids in the 80s who thought Mr. T was laughable instead of cool – but I got used to it right away on a comic book character) but because when I first started reading comics, Storm already had the Mohawk and no powers. I never knew the “gentle weather goddess” version of the character, just Chris Claremont’s idea of a 1980s punk bad girl.

(Also, I liked Cyclops, so when she beat him for leadership of the team because he wasn’t willing to risk killing her just to make a point, it didn’t help my view of her.)

So when she eventually got her powers back and started acting like a goddess, I’m pretty sure it seemed to people who knew the character before she lost her powers like the character returning to her roots but with a healthy dose of the confidence she’d picked up by having to prove herself with no powers, but to me it just it seemed to me like the Grace Jones wanna-be who hung out with the X-Men for no good reason deciding she was better than everyone else the moment she arguably became more powerful than they were.

I no longer dislike the character, because I now realize that my view of her was tainted by a combination of coming to her story mid-stream and Claremont’s writing ideosyncracies (I loved the man’s 80s work, but when he liked a character, he beat you over the head with how cool he thought they were), but she’s still my least favorite of the major X-Men.

@Jason S – I’ve seen the Catwoman script that catsmeow12 is talking about. It’s atrocious. If you read it, not only will you consider yourself lucky it never got made, you will consider yourself lucky that the Halle Berry film did get made because it probably killed off any chance of that other script ever geting made.

In a nutshell: Selina moves to a city that’s basically what Las Vegas would be like if it was founded by Willy Wonka, clashes with a local superhero team who would make Garth Ennis think they should tone it down a little, and inspires all the other women in town to become Copycat-Women and trash the city to take back their power, because in order for us to get how awesome Selina is, all the other women have to be weak-willed and shallow and all the men despicable louts.

Hated Storm’s mohawk look. It seemed “trendy” to me at the time and forced and that Marvel was trying to embrace a harder punk edge and on Storm, it was a complete 180. Its funny to hear Smith’s comment on it tho. For years I blamed him for the change, as the book came out and he left the X-Men shortly after. I thought that he had wanted to “make his mark” on the X-Men and then he just left without restoring the Storm we had known and loved.

I fondly remember the Paul Smith run.He was the artist at the time I started buying comics again.1983 I belteve. Paul has been a fave of mine since then and would love to see him doing more comics work.

Lobo as a character is exactly what was wrong with comics in the 90s, so anytime he is written out of anything and disappears it’s a good day

I’m saw Batman twice that summer and as much as I liked it I was bummed because Marvel didn’t have any big movies out.


Young does have something of a point about the riding accident. If she hadn’t gotten hurt she wouldn’t have had to bow out of Batman, which likely would have been a huge career boost, which meant that she wouldn’t have pulled the desperation stunt to try and get an audition for Catwoman, and would have become embittered when they blew her off, which is really would started her downward spiral.

Granted, she probably was difficult to work with, but that, in and of itself, isn’t enough to scuttle a Hollywood career.

And, for what it’s worth, I think Young would have made a more interesting Vale than Basinger.

though the story is basically right — i have seen the story told by those involved and when Sean Young was injured the movies filming, the role and was re-written with Selina Kyle being removed in lieu of the Vicki Vale character. The parts were basically the same with Selina as a love interest in the first film and becoming Catwoman in the sequel as with Harvey Dent, also in the film. Then when the Sean Young didn’t get to ‘keep’ the role, she went bonkers, etc, etc.

I had quit reading comics between my childhood, until my late teen years. I had never read the X-men when I was younger and just discovered them, when I started reading comics again. It happened shortly after the mohawk Storm. So I hadn’t previously seen her without it. To me it really reflected who they were (at that point). The outcasts, the rebels. A punk look seemed appropriate to me. Later rereading the collected new X-men, I could see that the character had changed too. So, I can certainly understand why long time readers might be upset with the character change from the “goddess”. I agree with the previous posts that she still had the “holier than thou” personality, there were other parts of her personality that were pretty much an entirely different character. Like an entirely different character that just had some of the traits of the previous one. Still, since I came in at that time, Mohawk Storm is the real Storm to me. (hoping people understand that I’m not saying she is the only real Storm, but only that it is the way it resonates with me, due to the timing)

It’s rather interesting to me how so many people are commenting on “Mohawk Storm” as being influenced by Grace Jones when the fabulousness that was Grace Jones has never sported a Mohawk. Her most iconic look in the 70s was essentially shaved bald while wearing various headpieces and hats. In the 80s, she adopted a flat-top akin to what Arsenio Hall sported. (Rather ironically, the only time it looked like she sports a full-on Mohawk in her music career was a deliberately edited piece for the “Slave to the Rhythm” album cover http://www.allmusic.com/album/slave-to-the-rhythm-r10555 ; the video for the song also shows some of the creation of the image.)

OTOH, in my fantasy X-Men movie casting (back in the 1980s), Grace was my ONLY choice to play Storm. Perhaps she didn’t have a great acting range, but she had both the look and the height that I always pictured for Storm, and she wouldn’t have had any problem wearing the voluminous white wig to duplicate Ororo (and I always liked to think that Grace would not only do, but would actually have demanded to do, the bulk of her own stunts).

Yeah, listening to Sean Young talk about the accident really is depressing, because she is self-aware enough to make a cogent point about how her inability to hold on to the horse was a bit of a symbol as to how she could not hold on to control of her life. So when she thinks back about what if she had just held on to her horse, she also thinks about what if she had kept herself from spiraling. Crazy stuff.

Granted, she probably was difficult to work with, but that, in and of itself, isn’t enough to scuttle a Hollywood career.

For some Batman-related examples, look to Val Kilmer, who has a terrible reputation of being a total PITA to work with, or Christian Bale, who, while nowhere near as bad as Kilmer, had his own moments of primadonnaism rather more publicized. Both of them survived it (although Kilmer, who I swear is slowly transforming into Jeff Bridges, seems to have begun a decline, as I have not heard of anything he’s been in for the past 5 or 6 years…).

As a fan of the X-men from that period, I found Kitty’s reaction especially ironic, given her own personality changes that resulted from her own Japanese adventure with Wolverine.

JosephW, true that Grace Jones never wore a mohawk (or at least I haven’t seen it) but her appearance was away from norm, from what was commonly expected of women (or sometimes even people :) ), so when another black woman in 80s goes for full-blown punk regalia the connection to Grace Jones is expected, even if the style is not copied exactly.

JosephW – I did essentially debunk my own myth by noting that clearly Mohawk Storm in summer 1983 predates Grace Jones becoming a household name from Conan/James Bond 1984/1985. And yes the thought was more of the overall tall powerful defiant punk short haired black woman vibe than about specifically whether she had a mohawk. In the same way Longshot is Billy Idol with a mullet :-)

I just didn’t think the mohawk/punk look made any sense for Storm as a character. I’d been reading X-Men for three years when the change was made, and had worked my way back to just about the beginning of Claremont’s run, and as far as I could tell there was nothing in Ororo’s past that suggested that she would ever go that way.
It reminds me of something I read in a John Byrne interview about 1980/81. Byrne mentioned getting a script that said something like, “I figure around the mansion Storm wears jeans and a T-shirt.” Byrne pointed out that, no, Ororo wouldn’t dress like that because that wasn’t who she was. She’s an African weather goddess (or at least spent a lot of time in that role), not a middle-class American 20-something. Even resting at the mansion, she’s going to maintain a certain personal style, and it’s not gonna be the same as everyone else’s.
Using the same reasoning, she’s not going to say, “Oh, my hair got damaged, I think I’ll get a Mohawk and start dressing like I’m on my way to CBGB.” She’s going to go get her remaining hair restyled in some elegant way BECAUSE THAT’S WHO SHE IS.
I always thought it was interesting that the letter column disappeared from Uncanny X-Men right about the time comments on Ororo’s new look would have first appeared, and that it was missing for a while afterwards.

For some Batman-related examples, look to Val Kilmer, who has a terrible reputation of being a total PITA to work with, or Christian Bale, who, while nowhere near as bad as Kilmer, had his own moments of primadonnaism rather more publicized. Both of them survived it (although Kilmer, who I swear is slowly transforming into Jeff Bridges, seems to have begun a decline, as I have not heard of anything he’s been in for the past 5 or 6 years…).

It doesn’t happen overnight, but the decline from being a pain in the ass does eventually occur. I remember reading a quote from a director who worked with him saying “I wouldn’t even hire Val Kilmer to do the Val Kilmer story.”

Try to remember how red-hot the man’s career was 20 years ago. Then think of the amount of work he’s gotten in the past 10. I think if he didn’t burn so many bridges he’d have had a much more illustrious career overall.

Granted, she probably was difficult to work with, but that, in and of itself, isn’t enough to scuttle a Hollywood career.

If she had borderline personality disorder, which it seems to me she did, it could have definitely been enough.

Read this:

I have done a lot of reading on borderline personality disorder because two people in my life had it, and she has all the signs. They don’t just burn bridges, they create volcanic-levels of hate in people they encounter.

I’ve always preferred Mohawk Storm. Fashion forward, fully clothed, and 10 times as iconic as the original design.

Well, Kilmer must haver at least *some* humility in him. After all, he did agree to play the talking car KITT when Knight Rider was revived briefly a few years ago.

I also liked Young in Blade Runner. She also talks about Catwoman in the Batman: Motion Picture Anthology DVD box set of the Batman to Batman and Robin era. I would like to see her get one last shot at the big time, maybe in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. If she managed to channel her pain into a character (maybe she has it in her, maybe she doesn’t, but if she does…), we could potentially see something amazing on screen.

Another vote for the mowhawk here. Definitely Storm’s best look. I also reject the notion that it was out of character on principle. Out of character? Portraying someone as perpetually “regal,” or whatever is not good characterization. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Real people are not static, they’re dynamic. People aren’t always one way, they grow, and change. In a meta way it makes perfect sense that a character who thus far had been portrayed as two-dimensional, and static would overcompensate and change so dramatically if suddenly treated realistically. It’s the same reason why Cyclops psychic-affair with Emma in New X-Men wasn’t out of character, and made perfect sense. That guy was always so repressed. And still being completely faithful, even mentally, to the same woman he’s basically been with continually since he was a teenager was unrealistic and childish. Life is counter-balance. Storm’s punk mowhawk and Scott’s psychic-affair gave them real life.

Mohawk Storm was the beginning of the end of my love affair with the X-Men.

If you think about it, Chris Claremont was almost an adapter during his first five (or so) years on UNCANNY X-MEN. His core cast was created by some combination of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. While working with Cockrum and John Byrne, Claremont had a strong co-creator that had a co-equal claim on the characters with whom he was working. Claremont was putting his personal spin on a world that other people dreamed up.

Needless to say, that spin was massively successful. Claremont started to bang against the walls that Lee, Kirby, Wein, Cockrum and even he and Byrne had built. The X-Men became a back-door pilot for a Starjammers comic for a while. Then, Claremont started introducing more characters of his own creation and giving them larger roles. Finally, he started to make major changes in personalities of the cast that he had inherited. By the time Storm got her mohawk, it was apparent that the comic about an international (inappropriately old) group of students at a school for mutants was gone.

Well, the new comic just did not interest me as much.

I never saw the point of Mohawk Storm, myself. By this point I just don’t think Claremont was writing at all well. Storm’s change of personality was forced and badly written, as was the sudden emphasis on Wolverine.

At this point I did not follow the X-Men anymore. Never came back, either.

As I recall, the problem was with the pacing of Storm’s change. If it had occurred over 6 issues, it might have made sense, but it was -BANG!- here’s your new Ororo! I just felt the mohawk and black biker leather was cliched and rather abrupt. It was very sad for me as the Claremont/Byrne X-Men were the first Oh-My-God-I-Can’t-Wait-For-The-Next-Issue! comic I ever followed. There was nothing like it on the shelves at the time. You had to be there, I guess.

I think at this point, Michael Keaton should be considered a comic book legend in his own right. Sheesh, This guy dated both Courtney Cox and Michelle Pfeiffer. Talk about lucky. @Eddie, we started reading comics the same month.

I always liked the mohawk Storm, but in my defense I was really introduced to the character in Secret Wars. I’d seen her once before in a Spidey Super Stories 8-page story, but that really didn’t count. It was a completely different character, and was very non-memorable at the time.

I think that it was the 90s X-Men cartoon that really introduced the long-hair weather-goddess version to me. Because reading the back-issues didn’t really show much personality in her. Claremont had a style where he did arcs of characters. This is the Wolverine arc, see how awesome he is. This is the Storm arc, see how awesome she is. I saw above that one commenter didn’t like that style, and considered it temporary favoritism. But, I think that is why all of the classic New X-Men (Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine, and Storm) are so loved by comics fans in general.

I don’t think I’d have minded the mohawk if Claremont had made it part of Storm learning to laugh and have fun or try new things–but it was instead a sign of how grim and hard-edged she and the X-Men were becoming. And Claremont’s idea of grim realism felt like a moody teenager (“Everything in the world sucks! Everyone in the world is mean to me! I don’t know why I keep trying!”).

ZZZ-I think you’ve succesfully put me off ever reading that Catwoman script. IF indeed it was genuine, and given the internets unreliability in such things we’ll probably never know, then maybe you’re right about it working out for the best.

I totally agree with you about powerless Storm taking over the role of Cyclops as leader back then. Never seemed very believable to me either. However when Chis Claremont came to a signing session at my local comic book shop, I voiced my displeasure at this, and asked him why he hated Cyclops as a character. (I was very young at the time..) He actually got a little perturbed at this, and made it very clear that Cyclops getting taken out of the book at the time was not his idea, and that he had been overuled on this at the time, by those who started the spin off title of the original x-men as X-Factor. Still think he could have wrote him out, without dissing the character so much. (Though in the Inferno storyline, when Cyclops and Storm with her powers, clashed again with very different results, it was made very clear that all had not been as it had apperaed in X-Men #201 and that Madelyne Pryor had been psychically influencing their leadership contest)

As an aside, around that time, when Chis Claremont had a signing session at my local comic book shop, he also asked if there was any character on the team that people didn’t like. I murmered Psylocke. (This was just after the fall of the mutants storyline when x-men were hiding out in Australia,) as I didn’t like that whole cloaked/mysterious look she had at the time. Chis actually got very interested in why I didn’t like her, and moved me to the front of the queue to ask exactly why I didn’t care for her. (I think he must have had similar comments at other stops on his tour) He seemed very interested in whether I didn’t like her becuase of her british depiction. (I’m from Scotland in Britain.) I said no that it wasn’t that, but that her whole look wasn’t working for me, and that there seemed nothing distinctive about her, that she seemed just like the token telepath on the team.

Not long after, Psylocke in the comic got that total asian makover. I always wondered if me being one of what I could only assume were quite a few voices of dissent there about the character, had helped persuade him to make radical changes to the character. Always felt a little guilty about that. (Since I knew folks who were none too happy about her re-invention, as it seemed to totally trash the character that she had been in the Captain Britain UK comics..)

Anyway, maybe Chis had over the years gotton similar comments about Storm from comic fans, and that was what partially persuaded him to try something vastly different with the character? i.e In trying to do something different to broaden her appeal to fans, he inadvertantly may have alienated the fans who did like her old look and personality?
Man, what is it they say?..’You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time’ LOL!

Marvel’s decision(Jim Shooter’s, I think) to reunite the original Xmen for X-Factor threw a massive wrench into Claremont’s storytelling plans. Not only did it require retconning Jean’s transformation into Phoenix but it killed the work he’d put on Scott’s post-Jean lovelife (plus, of course, yanking Scott out of the book).

I really loved Paul Smith’s all-too-short run on Uncanny. Beautiful art, wonderful panel work.

They don’t just burn bridges, they create volcanic-levels of hate in people they encounter.

The same could be said of many people in Hollywood who still manage to have thriving careers.

The same could be said of many people in Hollywood who still manage to have thriving careers.

Like who? Name names. And I’m sure anyone who does fall under that category is the exception, not the norm. For every big star who routinely inspires volcanic levels of hatred, I’m sure there are 1000 people with promising acting careers who never got big for the exact same reason.

Plus. did you read the article I linked to? Those were not normal levels of hatred she inspired, even by Hollywood standards. I really can’t think of many people who routinely inspired such hatred levels even 20 years after the fact who maintained long-term A-list careers.

For example on the show America’s Next Top Model, the models with bad attitudes routinely would say “I don’t care what anyone says about my bad attitude. Naomi Campbell has a bad attitude and look at her career.” But they didn’t realize that she was the exception that proved the rule, because if it was so easy to have a good career despite a shitty attitude, they wouldn’t have to use the same single example over and over again. They’d be able to name dozens of ultrasuccessful models with notoriously shitty attitudes.

That’s one thing that always amused me about the argument Mysterio couldn’t possibly need to turn to crime if he was such a brilliant f/x designer. Bad attitude and unpleasantness to work with is just one of the long list of ways he could have made himself unemployable.
As far as real-world career killing, a lot depends on your ability and your status. Robert Downey Jr. keeps getting work despite his infamous drug problems because he’s talented and he’s reached a level where his name counts for something attached to a projects. Someone further down the totem pole without the same ability or the degree of fame isn’t going to get the same benefits.

One other thing that probably helps give Downey some good will (beyond his apparent cleaning himself up) is his passion the films he’s in, and not just how they relate to him. On the Commentary for Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau says the reason they got Mickey Rourke was both Downey and Rourke were nomated for Oscars and as they did the Oscar circuit, Downey kept asking Rourke when he was going to sign. So despite his flaws he tries to be an asset to the films he’s in.

Storm’ mohawk may have been a dumb joke, but it’s an awesome hairstyle! Only a few can pull it off.

I’m Team Mohawk. Storm always just kind of annoyed me when written with her original “I’m gonna get naked and water my plants! I’m super-claustrophobic! I speak pretentiously!” characterization.

Why so much hate for Lobo? Don’t you get he’s just a parody of the kind of character you actually despise? I understand how him, were he the real deal (an early-Image-Comics-Rob-Liefeld-character style), could be hated, but he’s not. He’s designed to poke fun at those guys. He’s not meant to be taken seriously.

Now, I know there’s people out there who likes the character he’s parodying, believes he’s one of them and likes him because of that. I personally know people like that. They’re insane. They’re not the ones to listen to. Lobo is a comedic character, and a Looney-Tunes-level one. His creator says so. He’s astounded at the fact that some people take Lobo seriously.

The problem with Lobo is that he started out as parody, but the last time I saw him, he was probably even more powerful than Wolverine. I suspect that if he shows up in the New DC, he’ll be absolutely de-powered.

Also, I think more superhero comics readers like their characters to either be good or evil. Lobo is a dick, but he’s also not a charming rogue, so points off for that.

In my eyes, I don’t care too much about Lobo. Sometimes I like him, other times, whatever.

I agree with Vichus. I know he was created as an over-the-top parody of badass characters, but most writers seemed to take him as a genuine badass character (and that seemed much more of his appeal than the parody part). Plus his personality always came off more annoying than funny to me.

“Lobo as a character is exactly what was wrong with comics in the 90s,”

Being all that was wrong with the 90s is his character…

“Plus his personality always came off more annoying than funny to me.”

And that’s what’s funny…

IIRC didn’t Storm’s personality change and she cut her hair into the Mohawk after the X-Men’s first space adventure against the Brood?

B/c she was in space so long that “she lost her connection to Mother Earth” or some other similar explanation?

I’d forgotten that — I think that was the explanation, yes.

How did I miss the legend part when it came out?!?

Thank god Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t play Vicki Vale!! I LOVED her Catwoman! And that pic you have up where her and Bruce are at the party is hands down my favorite from the movie! She portrayed so much emotion in it! In fact, sometimes when I rewatch Returns, I pretty much skip all the Penguin scenes so its more like a Batman/Catwoman movie! haha….

I love REBELS when it came out! I pretty much just picked up the zero issue, having never read LEGION and it stayed a favorite till it ended. That cliffhanger on #16 was a doozy!! Peyer is the man! (his Hourman was great too!!)

whoever likes Cyclops must be wrong in the head, he is a jerk ass goodie two shoes frat boy or preppy boy that has a holier-than-thoue attiude but no real clue of ethics… Storm is cool even with the mohawk, maybe specially with the mohawk… She and Wolverine are among the best characters and Kitty is a dick to judge Storm based on her looks and think she has a right to protest Storm’s look, a self-centered bitch… Only in the toons is she represented in a way that she can be respected.

Maybe a little too “cool story bro”, but I am on the fence on Storm’s looks. She is one of the most striking characters ever created, but I did come in during the Mohawk phase. When I was a kid I knew and had some Spiderman, Avengers, FF, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern type comics…but the X-Men were pretty alien to me. I think drawing in one of those Marvel activity books I took Cyclops, Stingray and the Destroyer and had them as all villains because they had a cool look. I didn’t really get exposed to the X-Men until the Marvel Super Heroes RPG came out, and in the character descriptions there were all these weird X-Men. And Storm, and Nightcrawler and all seems so different than the usual Superheroes, more cutting edge or edgy, (Wolverine had KNIVES in his hands), so her look fit to me. And then Secret Wars was the following set up. Going back, there was a special grace with the Storm character, who wasn’t afraid to walk around the poolside nude either (a lot for a young guy to take in). So the change never seemed a problem. And Cyclops always seemed like a whiney self-doubting dick, so confident Storm beating him without powers never was hard for me to believe. I’m not sure at what point more recently he became Captain America Junior…except he’s still a dick. Maybe post Emma…she might be inspiring him.

On a side note, Jason S.’s story made me wonder if CC already had plans to change Psylocke around, and was fishing to see if it would work, rather than the other way around. I liked the purple hair, but other than that she didn’t seem to be much of a character in X-Men. After she become comic hotness personified, and probably dates badly because a million more badgirls like her followed after Lee took his style to Image and that became popular.

And Fraser’s Mysterio view gave me a new way to look at things. So many of these guys are genius inventors who immediately think “I should rob a bank now”, but it makes a lot more sense if it’s because no one will fund their work because they’ve alienated everyone in the industry because they’ve been arrogant jerks. Say what you will about RDJ, but most of his best work occurs after or in his “clean” times, and people who work with him seem to really enjoy working with him, and regret when he’s was wasting his talent. Better than being unlikable and doing bad work when sober.

Mohawk Storm was awesome, and had a great character ark. Yes, it started around the Brood storyline where she loses her connection to “Mother Earth” and also has to deal with the fact that she can’t keep avoiding killing the Brood (and honestly, that’s the only way to really beat them), compounded with all the stuff she had to deal with almost killing Callisto (and kind of liking the feelings that came with it), and having Rogue join the X-men (she and Nightcrawler threatened to resign from the X-men if Professor X put Rogue on the team). So overall, I liked the change and it worked well within the story and for the story arc CC planned for her.

Mohawk Storm is making a return in Marvel NOW: X-Force, to my personal disdain.
But hey, not like I’M gonna read it!

[…] African goddess, she controls weather. She’s back in the mohawk, which was originally a joke. She’s recently divorced from King of Wakanda/superhero Black […]

“Lobo as a character is exactly what was wrong with comics in the 90s, so anytime he is written out of anything and disappears it’s a good day”

Parody was what was wrong w/comics in the ’90s..? I’m going to have to disagree and say Lobo was a reaction against everything wrong w/comics in the ’90s.

“Robert Downey Jr. keeps getting work despite his infamous drug problems because he’s talented and he’s reached a level where his name counts for something attached to a projects.”

He was literally unemployable for most of the 1990s, though. Shane Black had to beg to get him insured for Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Once he’d shown on that movie that he could behave, he was allowed back in.

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