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Comic Book Legends Revealed #361

Welcome to the three hundredth and sixty-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Today, was Jean Grey almost turned back into the Phoenix in the 1990s?! Was a panel in an New Mutants issue based on a dirty magazine? And was the voice of Meowth from Pokemon a comic book writer, too?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and sixty.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Steve Seagle was going to have Jean Grey become Phoenix during his Uncanny X-Men run.

STATUS: True

1998’s Wolverine #125 and 126 (written by Chris Claremont) involved the women closet to Wolverine being abducted and brainwashed by the Viper.

Jean Grey in the story, though, seemed a bit…different. She seemed to be more like the Phoenix than Jean Grey…

Steve Seagle, at the time (1998), had been doing some work with Jean Grey seemingly embracing her past as the Phoenix.

Specifically, Jean and Scott had left the X-Men after Scott was injured with a confrontation with Bastion. While recuperating, the other original members of the X-Men came to visit them. In Uncanny X-Men #353, we get this ominous ending…

In the next issue, she begins wearing the Phoenix costume…

Uncanny X-Men #354 had an interesting variant cover…

In the next two issues, Scott, Jean and Beast discuss Jean’s behavior further. First, Jean and Scott…

and then Scott with Beast…

However, Seagle’s Phoenix plot was never resolved, as he and Joe Kelly had to more or less drop whatever they were working on to work together on a story where the X-Men became a single streamlined squad again (after having two different casts for awhile) and Jean Grey was not on this new squad. Soon after this story (which also marked the return of Kitty Pryde, Colossus and Nightcrawler to the X-Men), both Seagle and Kelly left the book.

So this led to a few readers asking if perhaps the Claremont Wolverine issues were tied to a plot that Seagle never got a chance to actually do where Jean Grey once again became the Phoenix.

I asked Steve about it, and he was quite helpful…

Joe Kelly and I engineered a lot of cool stories that were approved but then got the boot based on the various regime chages and edicts that were happening almost daily at Marvel back then. It was a frustrating time.

One of my main never-to-be-completed story arcs (started in Uncanny 353) was that Jean Grey – who – after all the convoluted ret-cons inflicted on her over the years following the Dark Phoenix story – had techincally never been Dark Phoenix – would get the Phoenix powers. I wanted to look at whether the actual Jean Grey would have succumbed to the dark side the way the “coocoon-not-Jean-Grey-thing” did. Scott, having lived through this scenario once, was in a very different starting position and would have gone against Jean’s wishes to embrace this power as Jean became more and more influenced by the Phoenix. With a wedge between them and an X-Men team looking at a history they didn’t want to repeat, Jean and love would have prevailed – barely – because I like a (somewhat) happy ending – and because I see Jean Grey as strong enough to overcome the temptation.

Fascinating stuff.

Imagine how different things would have been!

Thanks so much to Steve Seagle for the information!
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Check out the latest Basketball Legends Revealed to learn the strange story of how allergies led Dennis Rodman to the Detroit Pistons! Plus, did Drew Gooden really go on the disabled list because of hurt HAIR FOLLICLES on his leg?!? Finally, did a home visit from legendary basketball coach Adolph Rupp actually lead a player to NOT attend Kentucky?
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COMIC LEGEND: Jackson Guice used a photograph from an adult magazine as the basis for a panel during his New Mutants run.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

My buddy Sleestak (from the nifty blog, That’s My Skull) asked me about this yeeeeeeeeears ago.

In New Mutants #44, Dani Moonstar has a rough afternoon…

Sleestak spotlighted the first panel on the last page and asked me if it was true that the artist of the issue, Jackson Guice (who as we know from the Amy Grant/Doctor Strange incident, has used a likeness or two in his time), used a photo from an adult magazine as the basis for the panel.

So I asked Jackson about it, and he gave me an emphatic no. Jackson’s been quite candid with me in the past with various legends, so I trust him on this one. Therefore, I’m going with a “false” here.

Thanks to Sleestak for the suggestion and thanks to Jackson for the information!
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Check out the latest Baseball Legends Revealed to marvel at the Hall of Fame pitcher who came out retirement (and the broadcast booth) to prove a point to the team that he was calling games for, discover whether the Yankees signed a pitcher just based on his stats without ever actually seeing him pitch in person and learn about the player who was once traded for…a pair of treadmills?!
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COMIC LEGEND: The actress who was the voice of Meowth in Pokemon used to write comics for Marvel and Milestone.

STATUS: True

Reader Eric N. wrote in about this one awhile back, asking if the voice actress and the comic book writer were one and the same. Tragically, he asked about it roughly a week before Maddie Blaustein passed away from an illness. So I felt weird writing about it then, but enough time has passed that I think it is worth talking about Maddie Blaustein’s remarkable life.

Born Adam Blaustein, Maddie began working at Marvel Comics as Jim Owsley’s Assistant Editor in the 1980s when Owsley was editing the Spider-Man titles. Here is a wonderful tribute Christoper Priest wrote about the time the two worked together at Marvel.

Blaustein wrote an issue of Web of Spider-Man in 1988…

Years later, Blaustein wrote a bunch of comics for Milestone Comics, including the first mainstream comic book work by J.H. Williams III….

Blaustein was born intersexed and was assigned male at birth. During the 1990s, she transitioned to female, changing her name from Adam to Maddie.

She became a voice actress, doing the voice of the Pokemon villain Meowth for eight years…

She also became a stand-up comedian, working in New York City.

She was one of the early content creators of the online virtual community Second Life, and held support groups for transgender people in Second Life.

She passed away in December of 2008 after a short illness, leaving behind a strong legacy of laughs and kindness.

Thanks to Eric for the question. Sorry it took so long for an answer!
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Check out the latest Football Legends Revealed to learn if the official NFL football actually has its own name, discover how the Cleveland Browns got their name and find out about the strange origin of the Dallas/Houston Governor’s Cup.
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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, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.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!

30 Comments

It may not be from a porno, but that is an odd pose.

I hate to be the one to ask and sound obnoxious, but had Jean lost her right forearm and left foot somehow in Uncanny X-Men #354, or is that cover a serious case of foreshortening gone awry? The rest of the image looks rather good, albeit unnaturally posed (which is sort of a given in X-Women portraits), but the missing forearm and foot are really bugging me.

How about a Legends Revealed on “Greg Land used a photograph that was not from an adult magazine as the basis for a panel during his Uncanny X-Men run”? :P

Yeah, I guess after Land, it does seem almost quaint, doesn’t it?

I loved the Seagle and Kelly runs. They definitely looked like they were going somewhere and that excited me.

The Claremont Wolverine run at that time, though, was one of the first times that I can remember where a big-name creator came onto an X-book and the continuity between the books felt muddy. I don’t think the X-books have been the same since.

I remember when I read Uncanny #355 – with the five originals on the cover – I ALMOST thought Seagle and Bachalo were going to take over X-Factor again, or some book with the five originals. It was not meant to be. Wasn’t there a rule at the time not to use the five originals, for whatever reason?

Re the Blaustein story, truth really is stranger than fiction.

So what porno picture was New Mutants supposedly based on? Did your friend have a specific one in mind or just think it looked like a Playboy pose?

Always loved the green Phoenix outfit. Wish they couldve kept her in it AND called her “Phoenix” instead of “Jean Grey” all the time. BTW, what the hell is up with Cyclop’s nose in that one shot. I know this was done back in the days of wannabe manga, and Bachalo has certain…quirks…when it comes to his art but eesh!

Looking at those New Mutants pages I’d have said that first panel of Dani looks like it might have been sourced from an “adult periodical”

The change in X-Men c Uncanny 360 is one of the few times I ever dropped the title. It felt like it was junking everything that had been done recently, which Operation Zero Tolerance onwards had been good, and trying to reset the team to basically a pre mutant massacre line up (swap Marrow for Rachel and you’re there)

I must admit, while the idea of Jean becoming Phoenix “again” made me wince, Seagle’s thoughts on it sounded like it might have been quite good. Not that I was following the X-books at that point.

At the time, I was absolutely in favor of the new X-Men team because I really loved Colossus and Nightcrawler, but in retrospect, that was the beginning of the end for me for that comic for a long time. Once it was in practice, the title just took such a massive downturn in terms of plot direction and I was immediately annoyed at all the amazingly interesting plot points that had just suddenly disappeared. I ended up dropping the whole line during the Twelve and didn’t really get back to really enjoying the line again until Carey came on board (Morrison was never my cup of tea).

I just wish we’d gotten more of that era fleshed out, the Shaw stuff, the Phoenix stuff, the remaining history between Maggott and Magneto, etc. While I was pleased the trio returned, I wish it wasn’t at the expense of Kelly and Seagle’s plots. They were on track to potentially be the best run of the entire nineties.

I loved the X-Men during that time period and wish they could have continued on the books.

Noel Schornhorst

April 6, 2012 at 11:26 am

Thanks for the piece about Ms. Blaustein. I knew she did a variety of different things aside from her voice acting career and it was nice to see a bit more information about that.

I loved Segal’s run on X-Men as well. I actually hated the addition of Nightcrawler to the team as he went from being an awesome leader to essentially a background character.

As for Blaustein, I read Priest’s tribute when he posted it and it really is a interesting and moving piece.

Wolverine #125 makes no sense.

“Hey, I reacted instinctively to protect myself — by teleporting some of my pet guardian demons over from limbo.”

Well, shit. That seems totally reasonable, Illyana. I’m sorry for overreacting.

No, it’s Greg Land who traces porn.

Wow, it’s hard to believe that Chris Bachalo’s art was actually decipherable back in the day. His work is so muddy and confusing now that I almost get migraines trying to make heads or tails of his layout choices. His 90’s stuff was easy to follow and still undeniably Bachalo.

Travis Pelkie

April 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I like other Seagle stuff I’ve read (House of Secrets is excellent, for one), but damn, that X stuff is SOOOO wordy! I know, I know, what a thing to complain about.

Interesting piece on Blaustein.

I’m wondering if those Guice panels of Dani are drawn from a posing model, as many of the poses/expressions look like they would have been well studied. I can see that it might look like it came from certain magazines, but it seems it might have just been life studies.

I could have sworn Danis pose was from Playboy or Penthouse, model on a bed looking back up at camera. Someday it’ll turn up again maybe, if it is.

Jean Grey could easily have matched the Phoenix’s power set. When she first “became” the Phoenix (or rather, the Phoenix creature stole her identity…or are we back to the other storyline) Professor X observed that the powers Phoenix was displaying were within her potential. I always wondered why no one ever followed up on that when Jean returned…and now I know. Thanks.

Seeing as how the Pheonix was retconned into whatever it is, it needs to be resolved. I read the issue where Jean dies as the Pheonix, where’s she’s found in a cocoon, the other day I read X-Factor #1 again finding it at a show where Scott leaves his wife who looks exactly like Jean, the issue where you found out Maddy was the clone of Jean, and the above issue that is described up there where Jean is wearing the suit.

Seeing as how the A versux X thing is on, they should resolve it somehow of how Jean is or isn’t the Pheonix and perhaps being exposed to it allowed her to come back in so many forms.

I HOPE so, anway.

I really enjoyed the short runs for both Seagle and Kelly. They had a fresh take on the characters. And I remember being pissed when I found out the were leaving – as they were only their a year! And what was worse – was that they were replaced with fill ins. Not new permanent writers. I left shortly after they did – as it seemed like a cluster fuck.

OK, but during Morrison’s run, Jean becomes the Phoenix again, right? Was Morrison really the first one to do that after the original Claremont story? If so, I’m amazed it took that long. Of course, during much of this time, Phoenix was Rachel Summers.

Brian from Canada

April 7, 2012 at 7:32 am

Seagle puts Marvel’s interference far too lightly: I remember at the time them both saying that they quit because editorial was demanding story moves that couldn’t make logical sense (such as no Blackbird to get to that side of the world). And the idea of shoehorning characters from one book to the other — not to mention reversing what was done in Excalibur and claiming no one was reading it for anyone BUT the three X-Men — was just a slap in the face to readers too.

But as for Seagle wanting to go back to X-Factor, I suggest re-reading those issues. One of the last ones of his run has Scott talking to the other four about going back to “their” plan, which underlined for me a return to the more progressive X-Men after the post-“Muir Island Saga” reactive X-Men — something that got quickly curtailed for the editorial X-Men pre-Claremont run 2.

Is it bad I’m less disturbed by the possibility of a panel in New Mutants being traced from an adult mag and more disturbed that Dani has a Wembley Fraggle shirt on the whole time she’s having that weird little freak-out? Please, leave the Fraggles out of this.

And nice to see Maddie Blaustein spotlighted this week. True Renaissance Woman.

Thanks for answering my question after all these years, Brian. So sad that the timing of my asking happened the way it did. Thanks too for linking to that Christopher Priest memorial. I hadn’t read that before.

Morrison pretty much tied the whole is she/sin’t she thing with Jean/Phoenix up in a nice neat bow. Essentially, both the Jean who became Dark Phoenix and the Jean in the cocoon are the “real” Jean AND Phoenix. In his final arc, another cocoon turns up on the moon, this time referred to as “the Phoenix egg” implying that that’s also what happened with the cocoon from that Avengers annual; they were both created by Jean as she died, just as a dying phoenix lays a single egg from which an exact replica hatches.

My favorite stuff from the Seagle era was the new X-Men group created by “Cerebro”. It was disapointing when it was revealed they were not real.

@Philip Ayres – I thought the same thing about the first panel. The panel in question…what kind of “adult magazines” is Sleestak reading, what with the tentacles and all?

If one is going to bring Jean back, the Phoenix stuff is only natural. If Morrison really wrapped it up as Russell stated, that seems like a good tying together of it all, because the separate creatures thing was always lame. (It’s hard to tell because like most Morrison arcs it starts strong but is all over the place by the end). The problem is, the Phoenix is Superman on the JLA, times ten. But at least there’s a corrupting influence that might have her reign in her powers.

In any regard, that costume not being in use is a huge waste.

[…] Seagle’s intention was to have Jean get the Phoenix powers, and test her character – see if she would fall as the Phoenix had done.  Scott would be in a very different place, and would have acted as an anchor, drawing her back to the right path.  You can get more information from Comic Book Legends Revealed. […]

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