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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #397

Welcome to the three hundredth and ninety-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, was Psylocke’s death in X-Treme X-Men originally meant to be x-tremely temporary? What is the “Cosmic Code Authority?” And who came first, Reed Richards or the Professor from Gilligan’s Island?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and ninety-six.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Chris Claremont killed off Psylocke in X-Treme X-Men with the intent to return her to life very soon after

STATUS: True

Awhile back, I did a feature on how Psylocke was originally going to be killed off during the Psi War storyline. While she survived that tale, it was only a couple of years later that she was killed off in the second issue of Chris Claremont and Salvador Larocca’s X-Treme X-Men…

Claremont, though, merely planned for her death to be temporary, with the idea being that when she returned, she would be stripped of all of the Crimson Dawn stuff that had been added to her story (including her facial tattoo) plus perhaps even returning her to her original body (and not the Asian body she ended up in).

Larocca even worked up a design for her return…

However, this was during a period where Marvel had decided that no characters would return from the dead, so Claremont’s plans were squelched.

Three or so years later, though, Joss Whedon brought Colossus back from the dead (a character that both Claremont AND Grant Morrison wanted to use in their X-Men runs but couldn’t because he had just been killed off before New X-Men and X-Treme X-Men began)…

So in 2005, Claremont was able to follow through and return Psylocke from the dead.

Thanks to Alice for the Larocca drawing!
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Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Did the TV series 227 Really Use the Same Set as Sesame Street?

Did the Flintstones Do Commercials for Winston Cigarettes?

Did the Beverley Hillbillies’ Theme Song Have Alternate Lyrics for Each of Their Sponsors?
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COMIC LEGEND: Jim Starlin did an issue of Warlock that was approved by the “Cosmic Code Authority.”

STATUS: True

Reader Mike Smith asked about this one:

there was a time when Adam Warlock have stories published under not the Comics Code Authory, but by the “Cosmic Code Authory”!!! Can you check that out?

Sure, Mike, but it’s a quite simple one.

Simply put, it was a joke.

Jim Shooter told the tale over at his neat site last year:

Jim came into the office occasionally. Once he was there when an issue of either Captain Marvel or Warlock was about to go off to Chemical Color Plate. He got ahold of the cover and cut-and-paste altered the Comics Code Authority seal so it said “Cosmic” Code Authority. Nobody noticed and it was printed that way.

In the comments section, the great Tony Isabella wrote in to correct Shooter’s recollection…

Al Milgrom asked me to get him a stat of a Comics Code stamp…and I got him one. I knew what Jim and he were plotting. I thought it was hilarious. I was also amazed that no one caught it.

However it was specifically done, the main point is that it was a joke for just that one issue. And that’s how Strange Adventures #179 came to be approved by the Cosmic Code Authority…

As Shooter notes in his version, the Comics Code was run by just a couple of people at the time, so something so minor could easily have slipped by them.

Thanks for the question, Mike! And thanks to Jim Shooter and Tony Isabella!
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Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed!

What’s the relation between Google and the comic strip character Barney Google?

Did Jim Starlin accidentally kill off the wrong character once in a Shang Chi story?

Check out how Joe Madureira addressed his annoyance with Roger Cruz in an issue of Uncanny X-Men!
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COMIC LEGEND: Reed Richards was based visually on the Professor from Gilligan’s Island

STATUS: False

Another easy one!

Reader Kayla wrote in awhile back to ask:

Someone posted a reply to a thread on Occasional Superheroine’s blog (http://occasionalsuperheroine.blogspot.com/) in relation to Reed Richards’ look and character: “I’ve heard that Reed Richards’ look and character really was based on Russell Johnson/The Professor… maybe it’s just an urban legend.” I’m curious to see if there’s any truth to the rumour. Are you able to look into it, if you get a chance?

Sure, Kayla, but this one is pretty straightforward.

The Fantastic Four debuted in 1961.

Gilligan’s Island and its Professor did not debut until 1964.

So no, Jack Kirby did not have the Professor from Gilligan’s Island in mind when he created Mister Fantastic’s look.

The confusion I am sure comes from Alex Ross using the Professor (played by Russell Johnson) as his model for Reed during Marvels.

Thanks for the question, Kayla!
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Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did A Charlie Brown Christmas, the classic anti-commercialism TV special, originally have an additional scene featuring their sponsor in the program?
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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!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? 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!

55 Comments

Wow. So there was a period at Marvel where death was actually intended to be permanent.

What a concept!

The last myth above may have been easy, but it raises a query: Is there a resource out there listing all characters in comics with the actors the artists used as models/inspirations? Some general database to help determine who inspired a particular look, perhaps?

I never understood why Whedon was allowed to resurrect Colossus. It’s not like he did much with him. Hell, it was only this year with the Cytorrak/Phoenix 5/Magik stuff that Colossus did something worthwhile after his resurrection.

At least Claremont and others developed Psylocke after her resurrection.

He probably wasn’t, but are you positive Reed Richards wasn’t based on Russell Johnson? The only reason I ask is that while Gilligan’s Island debuted in 1964, This Island Earth came out in 1955.

Ted: I doubt it, because he didn’t actually have a major part in that movie.

My guess is that Kirby didn’t use real life models for his characters, but it could have been Fred MacMurray.

I think another source of confusion for the Reed/Professor legend comes from the fact that both characters are popular examples of the same trope. There used to be a very popular Sci Fi subgenre/trope called (by TV Tropes at least) The Lost World trope. In it, some motley crew of explorers of some sort stumble onto an island of monsters or lost civilizations or some other sort of uncharted territory full of danger, like monsters and lost tribes or weird mutated races.

Sometimes the motley crew are explorers whose job it is to discover new things. Other times it’s just a group of people traveling together who get forced into the role of explorers accidentally by crashing onto an island or something. There was usually a handsome, dashing hearthrob scientist type (back before modern fiction decided that all scientists had to be borderline autistic nerds), the big galoot muscle, the Gal Friday/Love Interest and the kid sidekick, who usually pals around the most with the big galoot. Sometimes there are a few more characters but you usually have that core four. Another way to look at it is THE 4 archetypes: Father, Mother, Clown Child, Gifted Child. Mark Andrew did a great piece here posing the theory of how Fantastic Four #1 reads like a Lost Worlds type monster story repurposed as a superhero story at the last minute.

You can see this structure to some degree in other books that were part of that Explorers of Lost Worlds trope, like Challengers of the Unknown. Metal Men had some of the same dynamics. Reed Richards and Gilligan’s Professor (along with Metal Men’s Will Magnus for example) are perfect examples of the Dashing Hearthrob Scientist and the Father archetypes, which is why I think so many people subconsciously associate the two characters with each other. Also, the Lost World Explorer genre is pretty much dead, so two of the only examples of it that still remain prominent in the minds of modern audiences are Gilligan’s Island and Fantastic Four (and arguably the TV show Lost). Since Gilligan’s Island and Fantastic Four are the only two Lost Worlds properties that most modern audiences are well acquainted with, it’s easier for them to believe that there is some significant connection to them and to think their similarities are more significant than they actually are, but at the time when Lost Worlds was a really popular genre there were countless interchangeable Reed Richards/Professor types.

Yes, cool arrow. It was done because even people at Marvel had realized that death had become meaningless.

It had a shaky start, and the wording of the initial claim was softened as time passed, but it held on until around the end of Morrison’s run on X-Men.

There were reports that Marvel was upset with Morrison’s run even before it finished, even before Morrison killed Jean and Magneto. So when the “dead stay dead” policy vanished, and Marvel was seemingly tripping over its own feet in order to reverse parts of Morrison’s run, and we saw the “revelation” that Morrison’s Magneto wasn’t the real Magneto in one book while Claremont brought back an amnesiac Magneto in a separate title, it wasn’t much of a stretch for people to credit the policy change as response. Particularly when word came out that Marvel had plans for a major event that would revolve around Magneto.

On the cover of Fantastic Four #7 Reed looks a lot like Kirby.

Seems like I remember reading somewhere that Kirby based a lot of his characters appearance off of old high school friends.

The funny thing is, this is the first I’ve heard of Psylocke ever being dead. But then, having skipped X-books for all of the ’90s (and now avoiding any Claremont-written books), I’ve never actually seen Psylocke DO anything. When I read X-books now she’s just another body in group battles who’s easily confused with X-23 (depending on the artist, but not much).

Necessary or not, Colossus’ return was one of the few moments in comic book history that gave me outright goosebumps. It was just so masterfully done and it was just this big surprise with the masterful PR swerve they’d done (Leaking the Phoenix images, implying it was Jean in the comics).

That one panel where the bullets are flying off of Kitty through the open door and ricochet off of something metallic and I can still feel the moment every time I recall it. I just remember thinking “Holy —” as I read that panel, completely blindsided by the reveal. And the look on Kitty’s face as she turns around and there standing imposing and full of rage is Piotr.

I don’t care what Whedon did with him afterwards, it was worth it just for that couple of pages. Cassady just owned it in a way I’ve rarely seen in comics.

But then, for a character I’ve always been rather lukewarm on (Not my favorite, nor my least favorite), Colossus has had some of the most absolutely awesome moments in X-Men history. He stars in what is probably my favorite couple panels in X-History, the Mutant Massacre (I think everyone who’s read it knows exactly what I’m talking about) scene where he just snaps Riptide’s neck and tells Harpoon to make peace with his god (Pretty much the moment Colossus started his decades long spiral from innocent farm boy to what he is now).

Is that the focused totality of Psylocke’s telepathic abilities, or is she just happy to be illustrated by Larocca?

I heard Russell Johnson was cast as the Professor in Gilligan’s Island because of his resemblance to Reed Richards.

I didn’t know that Claremont’s plans for Psylocke were considered a legend or I’d have submitted it myself! I had the opportunity to have dinner with him once a few years back and he discussed these plans with me. This was back around 2002 so my memory is a little foggy, but I seem to recall him stating he actually had worked some clues to this into X-Treme before editorial nixed the idea and it was scrapped.

Brian from Canada

December 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

The “dead-means-dead” policy was part of Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas’ manifesto at Marvel. Equally shocking was that the rest of the manifesto included demanding titles have a purpose outside of the others, concepts were easily communicated, no variant covers, and there were not to be any major crossovers.

Whedon was the first to break the no-dead rule because he was an “all-star” writer from outside comics, much like nobody could touch Bullseye until Kevin Smith completed his mini-series. (Smith’s restriction collapsed when it was clear the mini was not going to finish any time soon.)

As for Morrison, Billy, the biggest problem with his X-run seems to have been the whole “mutants will one day be the majority” concept. EVERYthing in the next few years worked to undermine the Morrison changes: M-Day neutralizes the growth of the mutant community, the X-Corps collapses, the mutants are now super hunted, etc.

I understand the thing about having a hiatus on resurrections, but I don’t think you should spring that on your writers without warning.

@J Ultra,

Honestly, I’m surprised this is the first time it showed up here. I stopped looking it as an urban legend years ago. I seem to recall Claremont making no secret about it even at the time.

And yes, there were certainly hints. I recall the first X-Treme X-Men Annual (Featuring the Shadow King, whom Psylocke had previously trapped in her own mind) being riddled with implications.

I also recall something to do with Bishop and Gateway and a mysterious person trying to contact Bishop. I believe that was supposed to be Psylocke.

Of course, Russell Johnson had appeared in other things before GI (including a “Twilight Zone” where he plays a scientist who invents a time machine that brings a killer into the future) so it’s possible (though not likely) that Kirby had seen him before and based Reed’s appearance on him subconsciously.

“As for Morrison, Billy, the biggest problem with his X-run seems to have been the whole “mutants will one day be the majority” concept. EVERYthing in the next few years worked to undermine the Morrison changes”

They kind of had to. For as groundbreaking as everyone considered Morrison’s run, he really, really wrote the franchise into a corner during his run.

Question: Why didn’t Claremont use the rebirth of Psylocke to return her to her original english body?

As usual, Shooter has it wrong.

Al Milgrom asked me to get him a stat of a Comics Code stamp…and I got him one. I knew what Jim and he were plotting. I thought it was hilarious. I was also amazed that no one caught it.

@Morten because her resurrection in X-Treme X-Men was supposed to be the machinations of Bogan. She was suppposed to be the mystery telepath (who turned out to be Rachel Summers). But when Claremont got the green light to resurrect Psylocke for real, he had already come up with another story involving Jamie Braddock, so his plans changed.

Morrison didn’t really write the X-Men into a corner, though.

Marvel time doesn’t really advance. Marvel won’t let it advance, because they want to keep their older characters in circulation. So it doesn’t matter if mutants will one day be the majority, because that day will never come. (The only exception would be stories set in the future, and even that doesn’t really matter because Marvel writers have always chosen which elements they wanted to use and which to ignore when writing such stories.)

Magneto dead? He’s been dead before. Magneto “ruined”? No, Morrison left the out of not saying how much control Sublime had over Magneto. Marvel has pushed the current Cyclops much further than Morrison pushed Magneto.

An active mutant sub-culture was an improvement over pre-Morrison status.

The number of mutants wasn’t an issue, as Marvel writers had been creating them whenever they wanted them without a care previously anyway.

” They kind of had to. For as groundbreaking as everyone considered Morrison’s run, he really, really wrote the franchise into a corner during his run. ”

Which speaks more to the limitations of what fans and editorial conceive the franchise to be, than anything else. Minority status isn’t necessarily about numbers, as the makeup of America increasingly proves. Nor is prejudice limited to overt physical hate crimes.

>>>Question: Why didn’t Claremont use the rebirth of Psylocke to return her to her original english body?

I read somewhere (can’t remember where though) it was nixed because the marketing department thought that “hot Asian babe” had a lot more potential.
Given that Psylocke now is the second-most popular X-Man (only being eclipsed by Wolverine) they were damn right. Oh, wait…

And Larroca’s redesign looks like something escaped from the set of “Underworld”. :D

That Sue Storm with Professor Hinckley/Reed Richards looks a lot like Mary-Ann in a blonde wig!

Colossus’ resurrection was a waste of his perfectly awesome death.

I think (maybe I’m wrong) that The FF were based on the cast of THE LOST WORLD (1960) so Reed Richards was Michael Rennie.

Honestly, I’m surprised this is the first time it showed up here. I stopped looking it as an urban legend years ago. I seem to recall Claremont making no secret about it even at the time.

Yeah, me, too, honestly. Then again, I still have stuff I was going to run in, like, 2007 that I haven’t used yet…

@Ben’s “I never understood why Whedon was allowed to resurrect Colossus. It’s not like he did much with him.”

Since Whedon’s overarching storyline was about a ‘prophecy’ that Colossus would destroy the Breakworld, it’s not like Joss didn’t manufacture a reason to bring Piotr back. I wish Betsy had been returned to her real body, although it would have rendered the whole Kwannon thing even more nonsensical.

@Brian From Canada- the “dead-means-dead” policy NEVER made any sense. Morrison has said in interviews that he made it clear to Quesada that he always intended to bring Magneto back from the dead as Xorn. That’s probably why Claremont thought that he could kill off Betsy and bring her back. When your own writers don’t understand your policy, then you have a problem.

@T- the problem as I understand it was this- Quesada told Claremont about the dead means dead policy before Claremont killed Psylocke but then mentioned that Morrison was planning on killing Magneto and bringing him back. Claremont thought this meant that the policy didn’t apply to planned resurrections but what Quesada meant was that if you want to kill someone and bring them back, get my permission before you kill them.

“What’s the deal with the professor, he can make a radio out of a coconut, but he can’t fix a whole in the boat?”

YOu have to love Claremont’s complicated character traits, it’s just when he left that everything got even more complicated.

Russell Johnson played a professor in a 60′s sci-fi movie, so Mister Fantastic’s look could still be based on him. I think the movie was called This Island Earth. It was the movie they watched in the MST3K theatrical release.

Yes, there was a clause in “dead-means-dead” that allowed for story driven deaths and reversals. I think it was mostly meant to fight the cheap fake outs (“Cyclops is dead!”, then next issue “Cyclops is alive!”), as well as new writers coming along and resurrecting whoever they felt like bringing back.

Claremont killed Psylocke, then waited quite a while, and then suddenly went to bring her back and found (to his surprise) that he wasn’t allowed to do so.

As for Morrison killing Magneto, there is something I’ve wanted to know since the Xorn reveal… In the attack on Genosha, when the sentinel fist plane thing is coming at the tower, the art has the fist thing explode a bit away from the building. When the issue came out, I figured it was an art mistake, or a misprint or something. When the Xorn reveal was made, I wondered if it was an intentional clue, that Magneto had protected the tower. (Then he’d be able to put on his telepathy blocking helmet, which would cause him to vanish from Cerebra and Xavier’s life counts, and he could collapse the building afterwards at his leisure.) But no one else ever mentioned it, and I don’t even know if it was just a coloring mistake or something, or even whether other people’s issues had the same…issue.

Or, you know, the Fantastic Four could have not been based on any screen actors, the same way most other early Marvel characters weren’t.

Don’t confuse the issue with facts, buttler.

I think T mentioned the Challengers of the Unknown, and really, weren’t they as much a model for the FF as anything else?

That Cosmic Code thing is pretty neat.

I bet if I cared about Psylocke, I’d care that she’d been dead. Hmmm. Nope, still don’t care.

And I looked at the Charlie Brown Christmas special Legend, too. That’s neat. I knew there’d been cuts made in it otherwise, too, with the tin can and some other bits. I honestly have most of the thing memorized and there are bits in there too where the handing out of parts for the play are cut. I’m pretty sure they were cutting out Shermie’s “Every year it’s the same thing” bit (where he’s a shepherd, I think) (ok, haven’t memorized it THAT well), and some other bits. Fortunately when they show that newer special and have an hour block for the show, they’ve had the uncut version, although I’m pretty sure one of the times I saw it last year or the year before I saw the cut version. That must have been weird to have the Coke message at the end over Hark the Herald Angels Sing. It would certainly interrupt the misty eyed-ness that I get at the end.

Oh yeah, the tin can cut was the one they did for years back when they FIRST had to cut time. Even more time has been cut since then, so other new things have to be cut as the overall time of the special decreases. Originally it was close to 26 minutes. Now it is less than 22 minutes. That’s a LOT of time to have to cut.

ParanoidObsessive

December 15, 2012 at 7:05 am

Morrison didn’t really write the X-Men into a corner, though.

Marvel time doesn’t really advance. Marvel won’t let it advance, because they want to keep their older characters in circulation. So it doesn’t matter if mutants will one day be the majority, because that day will never come.

He kind of did. Though arguably, it wasn’t the X-franchise he wrote into a corner, but Marvel as a whole. And to be fair, it wasn’t entirely his fault.

During his run, he noticeably upped the mutant population of the world. This wasn’t a theoretical “mutants will eventually be the dominant group” logic (which had existed in the comics for decades), but a literal “mutants are becoming a significant percentage of the population” situation. District X/Mutant Town was a very blatant manifestation of that.

As alluded to earlier, to be fair, it wasn’t entirely his fault. He’d already inherited a setting with Genosha as a mutant nation (16 million mutants!), and proceeded to very quickly get rid of it and kill a lot of them off. But overall, it’s still fair to say that the overall global setting had many more mutants (with greater overall influence on the world) by the time he was done than it did when he started.

The real problem is that the growing dominance of mutants minimizes every non-mutant title in the Marvel universe. Either other characters increasingly begin to deal more and more with mutant-centric enemies and issues (while non-mutant super-beings become less and less “unique”), or all the other books flat-out ignore the issue entirely and the shared setting becomes more disjointed. Either way, it’s harmful to the setting as a whole, and there’s no way it wasn’t going to be dealt with at some point. Marvel just took the opportunity to clean up a few other loose ends in the process, rolling it all together into the House of M.

It’s very hard to argue that Morrison’s stories were much more dynamic than previous stories – but dynamism isn’t always a good thing when you’re dealing with a massive interconnected web of disparate titles. It’s part of why he does his best work when he’s working on completely separate or obscure unconnected characters/titles/settings, and why his work on more tied-in, popular characters/series tend to meet with more mixed reviews. The less he has to worry about continuity (both before AND after his tenure), the better he does.

If the X-titles existed in their own separate universe, the way many people have suggested they should (and they way they functionally do in the movies right now), it would have been less of a problem. As is, it’s always going to be a concern.

If Marvel had strong editorial control, a lot of problems like that (or like the dead/restored character issues, or stuff constantly having to be retconned later, etc) would be squelched in advance. As is, often writers come up with stories with no real consideration for how it’s ultimately going to affect the intellectual property or how future writers are going to have to deal with it.

An active mutant sub-culture was an improvement over pre-Morrison status.

That’s an entirely subjective statement, though, and one many people would disagree with.

Though regardless of what any given person believes about the quality of Morrison’s storytelling, the more important question becomes how well it integrates with the rest of the setting, and how accessible it is to newer readers.

Like it or not, comics are a serial-story medium, and unless you actively establish a setting with zero continuity, it will always be an important consideration.

The number of mutants wasn’t an issue, as Marvel writers had been creating them whenever they wanted them without a care previously anyway.

There’s a difference between just whipping up mutants whenever you need one to tell a given story, and actively establishing millions of mutants possessing their own subculture and ghettos. The first stretches credulity, but the latter actively alters the nature of the setting.

ParanoidObsessive

December 15, 2012 at 7:10 am

Oh, and:

In the comments section, the great Tony Isabella wrote in to correct Shooter’s recollection…

I don’t see the two stories as being mutually exclusive. Shooter’s version basically just says that Starlin managed to sneak the seal onto the book without official approval, while Isabella’s agrees on the basic premise and provides a more detailed explanation of how Starlin did it. They’re basically saying the exact same thing from slightly different perspectives (ie, sort of a “top-down” versus “in the trenches” perception).

Taking into account that no one is omniscient, and that different people will be privy to different details, it seems like both accounts are accurately describing the same thing.

@ParanoidObsessive- Morrison was the first writer to imply that the mutants were a majority of the Genoshan population. In the early Genosha story, the mutates were described as numbering in the thousands.
But Morrison’s memory regarding continuity is almost as bad as Stan Lee’s as the “Talia had sex with Batman while he was drugged in Son of the Demon” and “Shaw is telepathic” incidents demonstrate.

@ParanoidObsessive:

” ‘An active mutant sub-culture was an improvement over pre-Morrison status’.

That’s an entirely subjective statement, though, and one many people would disagree with.

And your post isn’t entirely subjective?

At the time Morrison was writing New X-Men, Marvel had de-emphasized continuity drastically. When Thor materialized Asgard over Manhattan, it was never mentioned in a Spider-man comic. Under Alonso and Jones, Incredible Hulk couldn’t maintain continuity from issue to issue. Quesada and Jemas defended this by arguing that Marvel continuity had become so dense that potential new fans were being turned off by the need to buy back issues or even new issues to follow what was going on. So, in a real sense, the mutant books were in their own separate universe.

If one paints him/herself into a corner, one could wait until the paint dries (not terribly long with quick-drying paint these days), or one can rip up the floor boards. Marvel more or less chose the latter with mutants. I think the end of Morrison’s run was unsuccessful, because he had become less interested in the concept of the mutant community and more interested in Magneto as tragic villain. But I think that had Marvel taken more time to evaluate what Morrison had added to the mutant books, and how that could be incorporated into the larger Marvel universe once continuity became important again, editorial would have found a lot more of value. It wouldn’t be that difficult to have something like House of M’s “no more mutants” and still feature the mutant-as-celebrity theme that Morrison (wisely, in my estimation) introduced.

“I don’t see the two stories as being mutually exclusive.”

Are you taking issue with the phrasing “wrote in to correct Shooter’s recollection”? Because it’s pretty clear from Tony’s post that that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Regarding the relationship between Russell Johnson and Reed Richards, as a huge fan of science fiction films of the 50s, I need to address a major misconception, namely the so-called cliche (NOT trope, a word that has been terribly misused of late) of the “Russell Johnson Role.” Johnson did indeed show up regularly in the science fiction films of that period,most notably those by the great Jack Arnold, but not only did he rarely play a scientist, he NEVER played a lead! The so-called Russell Johnson Roles were actually usually played by the likes of Richard Denning, Hugh Marlowe, and most regularly and best of all, Richard Carlson. Johnson was consigned to supporting roles, playing a linesman who gets taken over in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, and a radio operator who sacrifices himself in ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS. And he looked NOTHING like Reed Richards in the 1950s. People have taken their memories of watching him in these movies and his Professor role in Gilligan’s Island, and put Two and Two together to make Five.

I loved those Jemas/Quesada years. Such an amazing breath of fresh air from the nineties black hole of bad comics. Though, I’m sure, in the future we’ll look back on the chrome age with nostalgia…

Even now, although Marvel has gained the trust in readers to be able to break that manifesto constantly, I think they’re great now, too. A bit hard to get into, though, I fear.
My friend who’s a DC guy read Whedon’s run and he had no idea that Colossus’ return was supposed to be a big deal. He had read the Morrison run and loved that (and he says it feels very stand-alone) and I said “Well, then, Whedon’s run is the perfect follow-up to that.

After the death of Superman I came up with my own personal death-in-comics rule that I wish they’d try:

You can only kill someone off if you, as a creative team, think it’s best if they remain dead forever (in which case you can hype it), OR if you resurrect them in the same issue without a big overblown hype.

You can only resurrect someone if they were killed by a DIFFERENT team and you disagree with their decision (in which case you can hype the return), OR if you killed them off earlier in the same issue without a big hype.

No “planned resurrections” especially if you make a big deal out of it. Hickman, I’m looking at you!

My favorite ’50s Russell Johnson role is the Space Children, featured on MST3K and now on DVD itself. It’s the one with the Flemish children, the depressive mother, the glowing blobby thing, and Jackie Coogan in ridiculously short shorts. I can’t remember if Johnson is actually a scientist in it (I think he might be), but he’s a mean drunk stepfather to a “kid” who’s much older looking than the rest.

People have taken their memories of watching him in these movies and his Professor role in Gilligan’s Island, and put Two and Two together to make Five.

Yeah, that’s it in a nutshell, Arthur.

@jonathan

Yes! I remembered the Gateway bit, but, as it’s been so long since I read the series, I couldn’t recall if that was actually published or just from my conversation with mr. Claremont.

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December 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

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Brian from Canada

December 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm

@ParanoidObsessive:

You call the mutant subculture a subjective preference but I beg to differ. I’d also challenge deron’s suggestion that it was a matter of ignoring continuity as well.

What many people often forget is that mutants themselves were already a subculture by the height of their popularity in the 80s that blossomed dramatically in the 90s. By the time Morrison enters the picture, there is a long legacy of The X-Men that has nothing to do with the rest of the Marvel Universe: no villain has made an impact as much as the mutant ones, no other hero has played a dramatic role in their development, most of the interactions are event-centric and few of the mutants have relationships with other heroes outside of The X-Men.

In fact, there’s only one mutant who has any relation with the rest of the Marvel Universe and that’s Wolverine. (Yes, Beast was an Avenger and Defender, but he didn’t get seen interacting with them on a regular basis.)

What Morrison did was centralize the mutant subculture outside of Westchester and secret lairs and make it an open community. It wasn’t against Marvel continuity to do it, either: in fact, every hint of the future since the introduction of Bishop a hundred issues previously had been of a recognized mutant community in New York some time in the future.

It was also not painting themselves in the corner. Adding X-offices around the world and making Xavier go public just brings attention to that corner of the Marvel Universe — it doesn’t dictate stories. Like Jameson’s interest in mutant affairs after “Onslaught,” it could have been a subtext that led to the mutants being recognized as equals in narrative rather than as competitors in editorial. We could have had a lot more interaction between sides.

But, instead, it went the other way. “House Of M” deliberately neutralizes The X-Men’s abilities to be heroes on par with the anyone in the Marvel Universe. “House Of M” deliberates neutralizes The X-Men’s abilities to INTERACT with anyone else in the Marvel Universe.

Because once that community collapses, it becomes a curtailed population in a controlled environment. Government Sentinels keeping them penned up at Xavier’s “for their safety.” They won’t come out and play during the “Civil War.” By the time the invasion hits, they’ve been massacred again without any attention from the other heroes. They’re seen as a stepping stone by Norman Osborne, but after that they are continuously separated until “Avengers vs X-Men.”

“AvX” erases the mutant community altogether as a separate identity. They have been colonized by the Marvel heroes to the point that those who still believe in mutant rights as the main focus of their lives are wanted. The rest take orders and be heroes according to Captain America’s way — albeit with a mutant target instead of a regular hero target.

“Claremont killed Psylocke, then waited quite a while, and then suddenly went to bring her back and found (to his surprise) that he wasn’t allowed to do so.”

I don’t have anything to back it up currently, but I’m about 90% sure that’s inaccurate. Claremont has been complaining about not being able to resurrect Psyclocke since a few months afterwards. All indications are that it was always his intent and he made it known pretty quickly, not after “quite a while.”

I think most are ignoring ParanoidObsessive’s main point that if you have instead of dozens of mutants, thousands or millions of them, it makes non-mutant heroes like Spiderman, Captain America, or the Hulk look a lot less unique or special. It’s one thing to say there a team of like people out there. It’s another to say there’s whole neighborhoods or countries of them. When every person is an army of a thousand, Genosha should be the world superpower. I mean look how powerful Cyclops little enclave acted with far less people.

Those that see “mutant town” as the progression of the Marvel Universe can certainly look at it as a logically growth of the world. Others will see it as such a massive break from the regular one that it’s no longer a world where fantastic things happen, but a fantastic world that no longer reflects anything real at all and is complete fantasy. It all depends on how you see the Marvel Universe…something like in the movies where it’s real, but for, or more like Lord of the Rings…something completely made up. Either can be valid.

Jonathon “Honestly, I’m surprised this is the first time it showed up here. I stopped looking it as an urban legend years ago. I seem to recall Claremont making no secret about it even at the time.”

Actually, it showed up in early 2007 in #84 while looking at a false legend about Claremont wanting to ressurrect Colossus

I stopped reading the excess, sorry, X-Men books in the late ’80s. Before the introductions of Gambit, Bishop, Asian Psylocke and (ugh!) Cable. When I read Whedon’s run I was unaware that Jean was dead again or that Colossus was dead (which somewhat muted Peter’s resurrection). Still loved it, though. :)

I really wish writers would stop pretending that characters who are obviously going to be brought back are actualy dead from the wider narrative view. Although, death is such a revolving door in comics it’s not even believable that the other characters believe it any more.

As a few people above said, the “No Resurrection” rule shouldn’t have been sprung on the writers, or used as security against what a single writer was doing, but I agree with it as a concept. I hate ‘comic book death’, and I think it weakens the medium as a whole. I would be absolutely overjoyed if the head honchos at Marvel just said “Beginning one year from now, nobody in the Marvel Universe can ever come back from the dead.”

Hell, DC too.

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