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Comic Book Legends Revealed #386

Welcome to the three hundredth and eighty-sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. It is special theme week! It is Jim Valentino/Guardians of the Galaxy week! All legends involve Jim Valentino and more specifically, his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy. Learn about the strange X-Men related origin of Talon, discover whether Talon was intended to be gay originally and be wowed at the Guardians-related Image comic book that Valentino and Keith Giffen once had planned!

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and eighty-five.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Talon was a replacement for Wolverine.

STATUS: True

Jim Valentino wrote and penciled Guardians of the Galaxy from its debut as an ongoing series in 1990…

until #27 in 1992 (he wrote #28 and the plot for #29 and then he was off of the book, for reasons noted in a Comic Book Legends Revealed a couple of weeks ago).

In issue #18, he introduced a new character named Talon (here he is on the cover of #19)…

However, Talon’s debut was rumored to come about because Valentino was not allowed to use his first choice, a really old Wolverine of the X-Men (I could have sworn someone wrote in to ask me this. Pelkie, maybe? I can’t find it in my notes). I asked Jim Valentino about it, and here is what he had to say:

Yes, that is true. I was told by Bob Harras, then the X-Men editor, that they didn’t want to come out and say that Wolverine could live to be over a thousand years old. So, instead of creating a Wolverine clone, I created Talon and modeled him after the Beast as he first appeared in the Avengers under Steve Englehart.

Amusingly enough, in a later issue of Guardians of the Galaxy during Michael Gallagher and Kevin West’s run, Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton was a major plot point…

(The same storyline seemed to strongly hint that Wolverine was, indeed, somehow still alive, just without his adamantium skeleton).

Thanks a lot to Jim Valentino for the information!
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COMIC LEGEND: Talon was intended to be gay.

STATUS: False

Reader dangermatt wrote in with the following question a few years back:

I was a big reader of Jim Valentino’s revival of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY comic in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I followed the adventures of Major Astro, Nikki, Charlie-27, Martinex, Yondu, and Starhawk with great interest. I also really enjoyed how Valentino wove in many of the regular Marvel heroes into this future storyline in surprising ways (Iron Man’s armor turns and entire alien race warlike, Vision becomes a planet, a quest for Cap’s shield etc. etc.).

Then in starting in #19 a new member of the group was introduced, Talon, a 31st century descendant of the Inhumans. Talon was loud, boisterous, egocentric, and an all around fun character. But two scenes in his early appearances caught my attention, these scenes maybe interpreted as signs that Talon was gay. The first was when Talon was talking to Yondu in a corridor, he really seems to warming up to Yondu talking about how they are both “different”. When Yondu asks him about his failed apprenticeship in magic Talon responds “I may be a flake–but I’m a nice one.” at which point he uses a little magic to hover next to Yondu.

The second scene takes place in #21 where Nikki, ever the flirt, tries to ask Talon out. This makes Talon very nervous and he quickly tells her he prefers that they just be friends. Watching from the sidelines Charlie-27 is surprised as this is the only time anyone has ever turned Nikki down. He thinks “There may be more to Talon, than I first thought.”.

After those scenes the question of Talon’s sexuality became harder to pin down. There was a contest for readers to help him pick a new hairstyle. But in the same time period he wanted to get a look at Nikki and Yellowjacket (another new recruit) when Charlie-27 caught them changing clothes on a video monitor . Then there was the time Rancor (The evil scion of Wolverine) captured Talon and some what forced him to knock her up. This was close to the end of the run of the comic and Talon was behaving more like Wolverine (Which was the character Valentino originally wanted to use but was told not to.), a short time later Talon is booted out of the team.

So I my question is was Talon supposed to be gay? Was Valentino told he couldn’t have the character outed because Northstar was supposed to be Marvel’s only “out” Superhero? I’d like to know the answer just to see if my instincts were right. If they were it adds another dimension to the intriguing run of the 90’s Guardians of the Galaxy. And it would also prove that Marvel was only willing to go so far in terms of equality.

I asked Valentino about this and he explained:

Actually, no. And this has always surprised me. Here’s the story:

Yondu was a reserved, highly spiritual, ethical person, pretty much the exact opposite of Talon, who would have been the guy out partying all night, drinking beers, smoking joints and snorting whatever. Talon was trying to find his place within a very well established group of individuals and the one person he felt that didn’t like him personally was Yondu.

He thought Yondu didn’t like him because of his over abundance of personality. In fact, Yondu wasn’t judgmental at all. Talon was basically saying to him, “Yes, I’m a screw up, but that doesn’t make me a bad person” He was trying to find common ground, not a bed mate.

As for his encounter with Nikki. I tried to say as subtly as I could that Nikki was, to put it nicely, a very sexual being. Male, female, whatever she really didn’t care (hence her insensitivity to Charlie’s feelings. To Nikki sex is just sex). The scene was actually a note to my then wife about something that was going on in our lives–I was reassuring her that even a straight guy can say no to a woman.

In my real life case it was because I was married, in Talon’s case it was because they were team mates–and anyone who has ever had an office romance will tell you–they never end well. And, the funny thing is, this reaction proves my point–that people took his rejection of her sexual advances as a sign that he had to be gay…rather than the fact that a man can say no.

So there ya go, Matt! Thanks to Jim Valentino for the information!
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COMIC LEGEND: Valentino and Keith Giffen planned on doing a series that would have continued their stories from Guardians of the Galaxy and Legion of Superheroes, respectively.

STATUS: True

Travis Pelkie wrote in to ask:

In both Guardians of the Galaxy and Keith Giffen’s run on Legion of Superheroes at the time, both of the “thousand years in the future” superhero books were working towards a super powered child messiah (I think…), and Giff and Valentino were going to do a comic from Image where they basically were going to “continue” (nudge nudge wink wink) the 2 books, just with their own characters. I thought there was a title something like “Galactic Guardians” bandied about, but I can’t remember.

Anyway, some of the ideas got folded into Valentino’s book the Alliance, from what I understand. How much, I don’t know.

I asked Jim whether this was true and he replied:

Actually, yes.

What we discovered was that both of us were working toward a story about a Messianic God-Child in our respective series (the Legion and the Guardians). Keith’s would have been a baby Promethean Giant, mine was the Beyonder child, the Protege (it would have been revealed that the Protege was actually the Beyonder when he was a kid).

We got as far as figuring out an ad, the copy would have read: “Keith Giffen and Jim Valentino return to the 30th Century…together!” And the series would have been called The Galactic Legion (cause we’re clever that way!).

Problem was that it kind of collapsed under it’s own weight. The Marvel Universe, DC Universe, Legion, Guardians–the history, breadth, just the number of characters alone it was too daunting for us and we’re both crazy! I think all that made it into the Alliance were the characters I would have created, not the story lines…but I may be wrong about that.

That would have been pretty darn sweet.

Here’s Valentino’s Alliance…

Thanks to Travis Pelkie for the question!

And obviously, as with the first three legends, thanks so much to Jim Valentino for the information!

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!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? It came out this week! The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

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!

36 Comments

Shouldn’t the second legend be “false”?

Shouldn’t the second legend be “false”?

Yep, thanks. Fixed now.

COMIC LEGEND: Talon was intended to be gay.

STATUS: Should be FALSE, as per Valentino’s answer. ;-)

Yes it should, but this collumn has always been an opinion based collumn, hence all the “I’m going with…” and thus it suddenly the outcome becomes “fact” the way the writer wants it to be.

I am a HUGE fan of the Guardians and definitely have very fond memories of the Valentino run. He had a solid two year run that always left me wanting more. Once he left the 90s excess started to drift in and the end of the series has pretty much killed off that timeline in many respects. They’ve had appearances here and there (Vance especially) but it just hasn’t been the same. If the upcoming movie was actually featuring the original Guardians I’d love it. Not gonna happen though.

As for Talon. I actually preferred him to what could have been. Adding one more comic to the overexposure of Wolverine would have added little to the series. Talon never read to me as gay at all. Just wild and boisterous. More of a free-spirit type. Eventually that went away and the character became boring as a result.

When Valentino was on it, GoTG was one of my favorite books. After he left, it quickly went downhill. I stayed for way too long and left before it was cancelled. Valentino eventually put up on a website his very detailed outline of how he envisioned the resst of the series if he had stayed on it. It was very interesting.

Actually, I loved Valentino´s time in Marvel. He was great doing What it? and Guardians of the Galaxy. Though his art was not that spectacular, it was perfect for the time. I still like more the old lineup than the one Marvel has these days.

is it only me, or Valentino is very underrated artist? he never got as much popularity as other marvel’s hot artists then, and he’s kinda forgotten now. i do hope that i am wrong…

So was Valentino’s take on Nikki’s sexuality inspired by Prince’s song “Darling Nikki”? And what does this have to do with Charles Addams’s cartoon “The Skiier”? I guess I’ll have to check back for future installments of COmic Book Legends Revealed!

I enjoyed Guardians too.
I remember Marv Wolfman had the same problem with Jericho in TT: When he turns down Kole’s offer to share a bed, a number of readers concluded that he must be gay.
And I agree that adding Wolverine would have been over the top.

Wasn’t “The Skier” used to test whether fictional characters were gay? Can someone look in to this?

I was (and still am) a huge fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic run, and collected every issue. It’s a damn shame Marvel doesn’t mine certain things that came out of this series.

I missed pretty much this whole series, because I wasn’t really reading Marvel in the ’90s, but I always loved the Guardians of the Galaxy from their occasional appearances before this. I also quite like the new version, but that’s mainly because the lineup sounds like it was created just for me.

Count me as another fan of Valentino’s Marvel work on What If? and GOTG. Shame to hear about the Galactic Legion that wasn’t.

Why was that #39 $2.95? Thats today prices! Well barely holding on to that but still.

@Converge241 The cover was shiny.

I always loved the Guardians of the Galaxy. Something always bothered me though. Vance Astro was from an alternate future (thus the whole group was) causing the main marvel universe to diverge into a different timeline when he went back in time and caused his younger self to not become an astronaut, and discovering his powers earlier and becoming a superhero instead. Anyway, my point is that there were a lot of time travel stories and whenever the Guardians traveled back in time, they ALWAYS arrived in the current/main Marvel continuity timeline…… Which would not have been their own actual past. At one point they even traveled back to the current main continuity to launch a preemptive strike on the Badoon which had caused a change in their timeline when they returned to their time….. Which shouldn’t have been possible. It would be like travelling to one of the What If? timelines and changing something and then having it change things in the main timeline….

I’m another fan of valentino’s gotg run. I actually dug his artwork especially compared to the other 90s stuff.
Also recommend that website with valentino’s plans for the guardians if he’d have stayed on. Good stuff

Doctor Doom turning Wolverine’s skeleton into a robot so he can live in it forever is probably the most insane thing I’ve ever heard of. But it makes perfect sense, too.

@Logan,

When the GOTG tried to launch the preemptive strike against the Badoon, that occurred circa the Infinity War crossover. While I agree that they technically shouldn’t have been able to interact with the mainstream 616 universe, if one wanted to, I suppose one could hand-waive that instance as the infinity gems mucking around with time. All prior instances of time travel though would be consistent with their original timeline since the GOTG’s timeline didn’t diverge from the mainstream Marvel Universe until Marvel Two-In-One 69 in 1980.

always loved the way Valentino drew Nikki.

“All prior instances of time travel though would be consistent with their original timeline since the GOTG’s timeline didn’t diverge from the mainstream Marvel Universe until Marvel Two-In-One 69 in 1980.”

I get that, but I mean the times they traveled to present day (fictional main marvel present at the time). Such as the many times they visited the Avengers. Now the main marvel time diverged at the point that Vance traveled back and met Vance. At that point the timelines diverged as 1 Vance became an astronaut and the other (main marvel continuity) became Marvel Boy and then Justice. When they traveled back in time they always went to the timeline of Marvel Boy/Justice. Which while not impossible with time travel it wouldn’t be the most obvious choice as to them that was more of a what if? verse that would not lead to their own future.

If one looks at the timelines as a tree with all the divergent timelines as branches, then their time is a branch separate from the branch that mainstream marvel is. It would be like if everytime Spiderman traveled back in time he went to the “what if Peter Parker hadn’t been bitten” timeline. I can see when or if they ever travel to pre-Vance meets Vance, as that would be the same tree trunk that both timelines diverged from. But post Vance meets Vance time, they should most likely travel to Vance became an astronaut timeline. I’m sure story telling reason is that the writers would want them to visit the stories they are writing at the time, I was curious if it was ever even brought up. I would think that Someone else had to have thought of that.

Cool!!!

I was not the person who asked about Talon/Wolverine, but I do like the casualness of the “Pelkie, maybe?” Puts a smile on my face.

Galactic Legion, that’s right! As a LOSH/GOTG/Valentino/Giffen nerd, I would have nerdgasmed all over that. Wow. As it was, the Images of Shadowhawk with Valentino and Giff was way cool.

Considering all the other stupid shit that survived 1000 years to the GOTG time (and I say that as a big fan of the book), Wolverine surviving would have been way cool, and not out of place at all. Hell, Wonder Man survived! Punisher inspired street gangs! There was a Ghost Rider! And look at Rancor, for god’s sake!!!

Maybe Marvel will collect the Valentino run in an effort to milk every damn cent from the GOTG name in the next couple years. We can only hope.

Jerome: I haven’t even read that story, but I heartily agree with your sentiment. What you said alone sums up so much of what I love about comics.

Logan, I think you’re over complicating it a bit.

There’s no reason to think that the times they met the Avengers prior to MTIO #69 diverge from their timeline. MTIO #69 is the issue that future Vance awakens younger Vance’s mutant powers prematurely and convinces him not to be an astronaut.

The entirety of their meetings with heroes of present day Marvel time – bringing Captain America and Thing to the future to help fight the Badoon, teaming up with the Defenders, meeting Thor, joining with the Avengers to fight Korvac, getting into a mix-up with Spider-Man, getting involved with the failed resurrection of Adam Warlock – occur before that issue, and thus occur before their timelines diverged. The only time travel adventure that the original team had that I can find that’s inconsistent is when they appeared on mainstream Marvel Earth during Infinity War and attempted their preemptive strike against the Badoon.

I loved Valentino’s GoTG. I think it’s part of why I was never able to give the next Guardians series a chance. I loved all the ties into modern-day Marvel with nice twists. Captain America continuing on in spirit in Vance, Wolverine spinoffs like Rancor (who I think is X-23 in current Marvel as “Wolverine’s daughter”) and Dr Doom’s brain living on in Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton (I’m going by memory so if I’m wrong I’m wrong), Starhawk and Aleta were cool characters and Vance Astro was my favorite especially when he got Cap’s shield. Never thought Talon was gay and I can completely understand Valentino’s take that he’s a man who isn’t afraid to say no when a woman comes on to him. Doesn’t make him gay, sometimes it means a man is loyal (as it sounds like with Valentino’s real-life situation). Women assume a man will cheat cause a lot of men do. Not all men are like that though…

I enjoyed Valentino’s Guardians for the first couple years, it was a lot of fun at in the beginning, but stuff like Talon who I thought was lame as hell and making Vance into Major Victory or whatever just kinda ruined it and I eventually stopped buying it somewhere before #30, partly because I was buying too many comics and some had to be cut. Seems like I avoided the worst of it.

Valentino was always so underrated. And it really showed in the early Image days. His Shadowhawk was by far the best of the first crop of Image books (and in the Image swap month–when the various creators swapped out their books–he actually managed to make “Youngblood” a tolerable read) and he was really the only one of the original six to venture outside the “superhero safety zone” (A Touch of Silver–which, of course, didn’t sell very well because it wasn’t about superheroes).

And, of course, his “Normalman” was an absolute treasure.

Perhaps I over explained it (I have that habit) but not over complicate. When I said every time they traveled back they should have landed in Vance as astronaut line, not Marvel Boy/Justice line, I meant everytime they travel to a point after the vance meets vance point. Of course I didn’t make that clear especially with saying ‘every’.
However If as the example I used before, Spiderman traveled back in time but went to the “what if Peter Parker was never bitten” timeline, (after the point he was not bitten/didn’t become spiderman) and if he killed all the skrulls in that timeline/branch, It would have no effect on his own timelines Skrulls, as that was not his own past he affected. Though also technically (by the time travel rules set up by Marvel) even travelling back to their own timeline past and preemptively attacking the baddoon, would just create another alternate timeline rather than affect their own time/future. Basically they used the “Back to the Future” Rules of time travel whereas Marvel had already set up different time travel rules.

Are there any Alpha Centauri warriors floating around the modern day Marvel Universe?

Centaurians like Yondu? Some present-day ones have shown up in Hickman’s Fantastic Four–specifically the Inhumans of that race. But Yondu’s people have usually (but not quite consistently) been shown as being from the Beta Centauri system, not Alpha.

As for actual Alpha Centaurians, those are aquatic aliens that showed up in Sub-Mariner comics in the late 1960s but not much since then, aside from a cameo in Maximum Security.

I’m actually shocked a Marvel editor said “No” to putting Wolverine in a book! Ah, the good old days…Great column as always, Brian.

I could never understand nor does it stop to amuse me how often today’s reader try their best to imply that some old character was gay based on… nothing really. “Oh, he’s loud and boisterous, he MUST be gay”, “oh, he’s nice to this guy, he MUST be gay”, “oh, he didn’t want to have sex with this woman, he MUST be gay”… Seriously, give it a rest, guys. Just because you see homosexuality in everything doesn’t mean it really is there.

Actually, that’s kind of depressing that people’s reaction to a guy turning down a woman is “he must be gay”

Well, every woman who has ever turned me down was obviously a lesbian :-)

Hmm. Maybe I should ask that girl out – no. . . no, I’d better go play with guns . . .

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