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Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-ninth 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-eight. This week, were Magneto and Professor X nearly brothers? What Rugrats character was banned from the Rugrats comic strip? And finally, did Doctor Doom’s mask predate Doctor Doom?!
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: At one point, Stan Lee was going to have Magneto and Professor X be brothers.
STATUS: I’m Going With True
Memory, obviously, is always a tricky thing. It is not just something that comes up when discussing Stan Lee’s statements about the past. Heck, Michael K. Williams was only discussing events of a few years when he spread the urban legend about Omar originally being killed off in the first season of The Wire. However, admittedly it is more of an issue with Stan Lee than most. And a lot of this is not just the fact that Lee has a faulty memory, but also the fact that what we’re expecting Lee to remember often is minutiae from work from fifty years ago that Lee at the time had no idea anyone would be asking him about fifty years later. I don’t care how good your memory is, if it is something that you didn’t think was worth remembering, you’re going to be hard-pressed being precise about it years later.
However we get there, though, it still remains that Lee’s memory is more than a bit iffy on a few matters. Therefore, when he said to Tom DeFalco in DeFalco’s seminal Comic Creators On X-Men…
I always wanted Magneto to turn out to be Professor X’s brother. If I had stayed with the book, that’s what I would have done.
I figured that I could come up with an explanation when I needed it: I always did. But I thought it would be fun if Professor Xavier and Magneto were brothers.
Right off the bat, I think it is unlikely that Lee actually would have made such a revelation, as he left the book with issue #19 and just seven issues earlier, he had introduced the Juggernaut who was, of course, Professor X’s brother…
However, that doesn’t mean that Lee is not incorrect that he did WANT to make that revelation at one point. In fact, the very fact that he eventually DID reveal that Professor X had a super-villain for a brother makes me think that it is likely that Lee DID have that idea in his mind. He just chose to use it for Juggernaut rather than Magneto.
Clearly, Lee’s approach to the X-Men was one of “throwing ideas at the wall and see if they stick.” Take this famous (or infamous) moment from X-Men #3…
Lee later explained it to Roy Thomas by essentially shrugging his shoulders and saying, “I don’t know, it just seemed like something that made sense. I tossed it in to complicate things.” And then subsequently never brought it up again.
Similarly, Magneto and Xavier had some early conversations that would work fairly well if they knew each other from the past, like their psychic plane confrontation in #4…
So I think it is reasonable to believe Lee here when he says that at one point that he intended to make Magneto and Xavier brothers. It fits in with his storytelling style, it is a normal enough type of a revelation and I don’t see any reason why he’d misremember something like that. So I’m willing to go with Stan this time around. I could be wrong and he could just be mistaken, but I’m willing to go with a true here.
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On the next page, what Rugrats character was banned from the Rugrats comic strip by Nickelodeon’s president?
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