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Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and thirty-one. This week, were every Sabretooth appearances until 1988 actually clones?!? Plus, what’s the deal with John Byrne and the She-Hulk shaving her legs? Finally, did the famous Argentinian author Julio Cortázar really write a comic book?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Chris Claremont intended nearly every Sabretooth appearance for the first fifteen years or so of the character to be a clone.
In the final story of his initial run as the writer of Wolverine’s ongoing title, Chris Claremont wrote a classic tale about Wolverine and Sabretooth where he reveals that Sabretooth visits Wolverine on every birthday and typically beats the crap out of Wolverine. This was likely during a time when Claremont considered (as he had originally intended) revealing that Sabretooth was Wolverine’s father.
However, the story did not exactly fit in with some of Sabretooth’s past history. After all, this was a guy who used to pal around with the Constricter, ya know? In addition, Wolverine more than held his own in battle with Sabretooth during the Mutant Massacre.
Claremont, though, had an answer for this.
As he explained to Wizard for their 1996 Wolverine Tribute Special:
What I ultimately was going to establish was that all the Sabretooths we had seen heretofore, with the possible exception of the one in Iron Fist #14, were clones of Mr. Sinister. They were Xeroxes. Whereas Sinister’s modus operandi was to capture an operative, stick him in a stasis chamber, clone a copy and send that person out to do battle. So you have an inexhaustible supply of Marauders from his clutch of villains. In the case of Sabretooth, you had a Xerox of a Xerox. That’s why the Sabretooth that has always appeared working for Sinister has been so flawed and so easily beaten. We’ve never seen the real thing. The real thing is quite happy lurking around the fringes of the X-Men Universe without any interest whatsoever in the X-Men, but an abiding interest in Wolverine. And Wolverine knows it.
While not that unlike what we’ve seen some other writers come up with when they want to make an established character seem more impressive after having a few embarrassing losses, it is still fascinating to see that Claremont’s take on the character.
This likely informed Claremont’s idea, when he returned to Wolverine years later, of giving Sabretooth an adamantium skeleton to make him much tougher. Claremont clearly liked the idea of Wolverine being the underdog in Wolverine/Sabretooth battles, something that hasn’t been the case for many, many years now.
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On the next page, what’s the deal with John Byrne and She-Hulk shaving her legs?
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