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Comic Book Legends Revealed #429

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COMIC LEGEND: A rejected facial design for Wolverine ended up becoming Sabreooth!

STATUS: True

An interesting aspect about a lot of comic book creators is that a lot of them are comic book fans themselves and follow the adventures of characters in other books. Almost certainly, then, while reading these other comics these creators all have ideas of what THEY’D do if they ever got a chance to work on the other books. That was something that John Byrne likely took into consideration back in 1976 while he was working on Iron Fist with writer Chris Claremont. He knew Claremont was writing X-Men with artist Dave Cockrum and Byrne knew that so far the character Wolverine (who Byrne always had a certain affinity for, considering that both he and Wolverine were Canadian) had not taken off his mask.

So Byrne designed an idea of what he thought Wolverine would look like.

Here it is, courtesy of JohnByrneSays

O

He sent it to Claremont, who informed him that Cockrum had already designed a face for Wolverine.

wolverineface1

Byrne then put away the design. A year later, though, Claremont was planning a new character named Sabretooth. Byrne took out his old design and with some slight alterations, they used it for Sabretooth.

sabretoothface

Amusingly enough, both men were then inspired by the design to believe that maybe Sabretooth and Wolverine were RELATED, a story that I’ve featured in the past in Comic Book Legends Revealed. Isn’t it funny how these things evolve? A rejected design leads instead to the design of a new character which in turn leads to a connection between two characters that eventually became one of the great comic book rivalries of the 1980s and 1990s!
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Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed also involving John Byrne!

Was John Byrne’s 2112 originally intended as a launch of Marvel 2099?

What were Byrne’s original plans for Scarlet Witch during his Avengers West Coast run?

Did Byrne accidentally draw the Scarlet Witch in an issue of X-Men when he was drawing both the Avengers and X-Men?

Did Howard Mackie and John Byrne ALSO plan on erasing the marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson?
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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!). 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!

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54 Comments

I read at the time that it was because Stanley Kubrick went over his schedule for Eyes Wide Shut, which pushed back MI2, which kept Dougray Scott out of X-men.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 26, 2013 at 9:58 am

Interesting about the intended link between Apocalypse and Weapon X. I wonder if the Marvel editorial of the late ’90s knew that when they had Apocalypse give Wolverine his adamantium back in Wolverine 145. Kinda funny how these things work out sometimes.

So is it still Lady Deathstrike’s father who put in the adamantium? Or is that no longer canon?

I don’t believe it has ever been established.

I always figured Apocalypse was behind the adamantium. The Professor’s “mystery chat” had to be somebody specific, and I think that meeting between Archangel and Wolverine helped solidify it for me.

What’s up with Wolverine’s hair in that “no use for Christmas” panel? NOBODY’S widow’s peak comes down to their eyebrows like that. Or is that just really bad shading?

No, that’s just how Cockrum designed the hair. It IS pretty weird.

I wonder if Hugh Jackman has ever sent a Thank You gift basket to John Woo and/or Tom Cruise.

I believe Jackman is fairly humble about how lucky he was to get that part.

I’m pretty sure the current stance, according to Jeph Loeb, is that the adamantium skeleton was Logan’s idea, backed up by Romulus.

And now let us never speak of that again.

I would have much preferred that Apocalypse be the villain instead of John Sublime and that garbage they wrote about weapon X back in 2000′s. How much cooler to have had that connection between Warren and Logan! Oh what stories to have Lost!

I’m pretty sure the current stance, according to Jeph Loeb, is that the adamantium skeleton was Logan’s idea, backed up by Romulus.

While that WAS said, that being the truth relies on the reader trusting a character (Romulus) who is almost inherently untrustworthy (and indeed, has specifically already been shown to have lied about Wolverine’s origins in the past).

Any excuse to see more of Barry Windsor-Smith’s artwork is fine by me.

So Cockrum’s exposed chin sideburns/sidebeared design but blond. ok.

Agreed, D. That Mignola stuff was pretty sweet too.

I think the biggest reason that the Scott injury sticks around was that Wizard Magazine published that. They were a pretty major source at the time despite having no real integrity. That wouldn’t be the only major story they published a half truth that people held onto for more than a decade.

@fraser:

So is it still Lady Deathstrike’s father who put in the adamantium? Or is that no longer canon?

I believe that Lady Deathstrike’s father is responsible for devising the process with which adamantium is bonded to bones, a process which was eventually stolen from him and ended up in the hands of the people who gave Wolverine his skeleton.

Lady Deathstrike believes Wolverine stole the process to use on himself, which was the initial motivation behind her feud with him. As far as I know, that’s all still canon, even thought he ultimate culprit behind Weapon X has changed a few times.

They also eventually revealed (in one of the -1 issues from Flashback month in, er…1997? 1998?) that Myron McClain developed Adamantium as seen in the metal’s first appearance totally independently of Lord Dark Wind, Deathstrike’s father.

Man, when Denny O’Neil created Lord Dark Wind over in Daredevil, he also created a continuity snarl that took decades to get worked out. And then there’s the very convoluted path that turned O’Neil’s pacifistic Yuriko into Wolverine’s insane cyborg nemesis Lady Deathstrike.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Omar,

I think you could write an article about all the changes to Lady Deathstrike herself, as it seems her goals/motivations have switched radically, especially here lately.

She’s a pacifist, then she’s a cyborg who’s out for revenge against Wolverine, then she’s an anti-mutant religious zealot who follows William Stryker, then she’s part of the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants (for seemingly no reason) and now she’s due for another shift, as Brian Wood’s going to bring her into X-Men.

Craziness, that is.

J. Mariano

About the similar sideburns look….it was the 70s. I think that explains it.

@ Sam: didn’t Wolverine get his adamantium back as part of a crossover written by Claremont?

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode

July 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

IIRC, Sinister ultimately turned out to be the guy giving orders in Weapon X.

The most recent person is Logan himself. It’s changed a lot over the years.

[...] One has to wonder just how popular the film version of Wolverine would be if the character was embodied by someone other than Hugh Jackman. Jackman is such an appealing actor, it’s impossible to conceive of the role played by anyone else. Of course, many know that he was, in fact, almost played by a different actor. If you’re a Wolverine-o-phile, take a look HERE. [...]

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Thad,

He actually got his adamantium back just before Claremont came back to the X-Books in the lead-up to “The Twelve” storyline.

He premiered (as the horseman Death) in the three-part Astonishing X-Men mini and was revealed as Wolverine in X-Men 95. Wolverine 145 went back and said how he became Death and got the adamantium back. That issue had a Wolverine/Hulk and a Wolverine/Sabretooth fight in the same issue! Pretty fun stuff, despite the rest of “The Twelve” being a bit of a mess.

Brian, didn’t you reveal in one of these columns that Claremont scripted (uncredited) for Alan Davis during some of these issues (95 in particular)?

Omar, to be fair, I don’t think that Denny O’Neil made it clear WHEN Lord Dark Wind started working on his Adamantium bonding process- for all we knew he started working on it five seconds after he heard about McClain’s invention of it.
The problem started in Alpha Flight when Byrne established that Mac and Logan first met before Fantastic Four 1. Then Mantlo clarified that Logan ALREADY had the Adamantium in him when Logan and Mac first met, and also established the “Lord Dark Wind’s notes were stolen decades ago” plot.

With The Wolverine coming out today I’ve been posting a lot about Wolverine. Just put up that original drawing John did that eventually was modified and became Sabretooth’s face.

It is here if you’d like to include it in your column. http://tmblr.co/Zs-VMtqgaf2C

I think it is cool that Jackman continues to play Wolverine, and did not go the ‘I’m to big/I don’t want to be type cast route.’

What’s that Mignola graphic novel?

Years ago I remember watching Mission Impossible II and literally thinking to myself “Oh, man, Dougray Scott missed out getting to play Wolverine because he had to finish filming this pile of $#!+? Damn, that sucks!”

With The Wolverine coming out today I’ve been posting a lot about Wolverine. Just put up that original drawing John did that eventually was modified and became Sabretooth’s face.

It is here if you’d like to include it in your column. http://tmblr.co/Zs-VMtqgaf2C

Awesome, thanks!

What’s that Mignola graphic novel?

“Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure” from 1989. Set in the Savage Land. Mignola and Wiacek on art and Walt Simonson on script. My copy has been re-read about a thousand times.

I heard the Scott rumor was because of Stanley Kubrick taking FOREVER to do EYES WIDE SHUT which delayed MI2 thus needing a replacement Logan

Wow, great stuff!

The Apocalypse connection is super-interesting. I’m glad the connection there never came to pass, though. I think it’s better for the adamantium experiment to have just been a government project.

And… that Byrne design… jeesh. Whenever people go on about how John Byrne “basically co-created the character”, I have to roll my eyes. Byrne drew some good Wolvie spotlight stuff, but the character was already there, courtesy of Claremont and Cockrum. The facial sketch really seals the deal: the visual tweeking (after the first appearance in “Hulk”) was Cockrum all the way.

ParanoidObsessive

July 26, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Definitely a shame they never went with the Apocalypse angle, as that seems 100x better than anything we actually got.

Isn’t Dougray Scott that “I already had the part but…” guy?
As far as I can remember he missed out on some more great roles…

John Byrne’s Wolverine face is interesting, but not that iconic. His 2012 update looks like a grumpy Guy Gardner.

Ah, Wolverine “Jungle Adventure” (Brian often misses to give us the exact books or issues, but he is still THE man)…great book. Didn’t he get one of the tribe girls pregnant. Any idea if any story related to this possible child of his?

And finally, is the new movies still called “THE Wolverine”? – that doesn’t sound right somehow. The Batman, the Punisher, the Hulk, but Spider-Man, Superman & Wolverine.

I remember that I had nightmares after reading Weapon X. Of course I loved the story, but it was pretty graphic and a little too violent for me. It is weird that marvel published more adult-oriented material in all-ages magazine that Marvel Comics Presents was. They had balls.

The last legend was a surprise to me. I never heard about it before. Thanks

Brian from Canada

July 27, 2013 at 12:47 am

Michael:

Alpha Flight’s rejigged history fit with the Marvel five year window. More importantly, it was backed by many more stories, since Logan’s supposed to have an agent with more than a year or two’s absence prior to his entrance into X-Men.

Assuming the All-New All-Different X-Men happen in the second year of Marvel time, then year one would be as a full member of Alpha Flight. The Alpha Flight Special, if I recall correctly, established that Alpha Flight as the final incarnation, with Logan having been in on the process for recruiting members (he ends up helping Aurora get help). Which means he’s got the adamantium by year zero.

That still means he needs to (a) meet the Hudsons and (b) get his anger under control. So, yes, meeting James before Fantastic Four #1 is possible. And there’s been a number of stories (Shadow Society in particular) that establish Logan’s activities for Canada’s secret agencies during that time.

I just have to say that, to me, the idea of Apocalypse using a phone to speak with the doctors about the adamantium infusion is pretty funny. Picturing this huge evil mutant super villain sitting at a desk dialing away and then kicking up his feet to chat is quite humorous. Seems like a project he would see to in person or discuss with the head doctor via vid phone or something.

I saw Mission Impossible 2 with my folks. Man, it sucked. Fortunantley, I saw the X-Men movie a while later with my mom. The last movie I ever saw in that out-of-date theater.

Personally, I think the Weapon X was the only origin Wolverine needed. But a lot us fans have that opinion. Maybe the occasional hint of Wolverines earlier days. Like that X-Men issue with him and Captain America in World War 2.

Busterchops, you made my day. It’s just begging to be used in a parody.

Thanks for filling in the oh-so-convoluted history, people.

@Brian From Canada- what I meant was that the problem was Logan getting his Adamantium *before* Fantastic Four 1. In Avengers 66, Adamantium is described as a new metal that’s just been invented and the government gets Thor to test it for the first time. All of this is just bizarre if Adamantium was around before FF 1.

Brian from Canada

July 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Michael:

Adamantium may just have been invented by an *American* and it being announced. The previous stories seem to refer to it as either a work in progress or a secret invention – and certainly Weapon X was about as off-book at you can get.

Busterchops:

Remember the technology of the times when it was printed and go backwards. Also, I suspect that while Apocalypse may have been the man with the plan, it was Nathaniel Essex aka Sinister on the other line acting as a middleman. Sinister would have been running the orphanage in Nebraska at the time so administration wouldn’t be below him — and he’s also still working for Apocalypse according the latter in issues that followed.

I just watched a recent interview with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe where they both revealed that Crowe was the original choice to play Wolverine, but was not interested. He then advised the producers to check out Hugh Jackman a friend of his who he thought would be perfect for the role.

So, although Dougray Scott was the initial choice for Wolverine, the reason Jackman even got a chance to try out for the role was because of Russell Crowe. So Jackman feels that the person he really owes a big thank you for getting the role is Russell Crowe who opened the door for him.

There ya go…

That original design by Byrne seems to bear a striking resemblance to Wolverine’s son in ultimate comics. And now that I think about it Jimmy Hudson seems to be very similar to how Wolverine was originally supposed to be. That Byrne design shows that he could have been blond and I remember reading that Byrne (or someone else) pictured Wolverine to be a teenager, like 19 years old or something? So if that’s all true then Jimmy is pretty much what Wolverine could have been. I don’t think that it was the plan originally as Jimmy’s hair was more like Logan’s classic hair. But maybe someone at Marvel noticed the already existing similarities between Byrne’s original Wolverine and Jimmy and when time came to change Jimmy look they suggested that he’d be redesigned after this pic? Then of course it could all just be a coincidence but given UU’s habit of using discarded ideas and retelling classic stories and all that I wouldn’t put this past them so… who knows?

@Busterchops
I thought the exactly same thing! Thinking about Big A talking on an old school phone is a hilarious mental image and a good idea for a parody

Andrew Collins

July 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

@Adam

“What’s up with Wolverine’s hair in that “no use for Christmas” panel? NOBODY’S widow’s peak comes down to their eyebrows like that. Or is that just really bad shading?”

It’s a devil lock. Wolvie was an early Misfits fan…

I’m not sure the first one really qualifies as a “Legend” if everyone already knew it was because MI2 ran late and Jackman told the story in error once or twice. That’s more a “mistake.” Though if someone has some confirmation that Wizard reported it too, that would make it more widespread.

I don’t know anything they’ve tried adding on is better or not, but the idea that Apocalypse was the one behind giving Wolverine the adamantium is pretty lame. (Though it is one of the few of his plots that would follow his motivation of “survival of the fittest”) It was that era of Claremont when there had to be a big bad behind everything. See Sinister …well, everything, but him running the orphanage where Scott was, etc. It’s more than enough that the government did it to him to make him a better killing machine. It doesn’t always have to be a big super baddie plot. (Which would be one that back-fired historically for Apocalypse if he did it.)

And was there a link where Byrne was quoted as saying he used that design for Sabertooth? Because other than hair color they look nothing alike. Other than the fact that all Byrne’s faces are pretty similar anyway.

“What’s up with Wolverine’s hair in that “no use for Christmas” panel? NOBODY’S widow’s peak comes down to their eyebrows like that. Or is that just really bad shading?”

It’s a devil lock. Wolvie was an early Misfits fan…

Or he was just a really big fan of Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley.

I’m not sure the first one really qualifies as a “Legend” if everyone already knew it was because MI2 ran late and Jackman told the story in error once or twice.

He still tells the story. He has never not told the story when asked about it.

So if one guy tells a story often enough even if most people know he’s mistaken that’s a “legend” and not just “dude is wrong?”

@M-Wolverine

If you read this colum as I do from the beginning, you would know that every factoid that can be formulated as a question qualifies as a ‘legend’ for Brian.

I’d like to object to the fact that a lot of these supposed “comic” books aren’t even funny.

Jonathon Riddle

October 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Funny that someone would mention the Misfits in the comments section. I heard somewhere once that former Misfits frontman-turned solo rocker Glen Danzig was approached to play Wolverine. Given his short height, muscular arms, and well-practiced sneer, Danzig does seem to look the part remarkably well. As I understand it, he turned down the role in order to focus on recording his next album, which, circa 2000 would have been either Satan’s Child or I Luciferi. Is there any truth to this casting call? Perhaps Brian would like to comment.

Interesting how Byrne’s Wolverine looks like Canadian actor John Saxon that was in Enter The Dragon, Nightmare on Elm Street and Black Christmas.

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