SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
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.
COMIC LEGEND: Steve Seagle was going to have Jean Grey become Phoenix during his Uncanny X-Men run.
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.
Imagine how different things would have been!
Thanks so much to Steve Seagle for the information!
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?
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!
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?!
COMIC LEGEND: The actress who was the voice of Meowth in Pokemon used to write comics for Marvel and Milestone.
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!
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.
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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See you all next week!
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