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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.
COMIC LEGEND: Chris Claremont killed off Psylocke in X-Treme X-Men with the intent to return her to life very soon after
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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COMIC LEGEND: Jim Starlin did an issue of Warlock that was approved by the “Cosmic Code Authority.”
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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COMIC LEGEND: Reed Richards was based visually on the Professor from Gilligan’s Island
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!
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?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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See you all next week!
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