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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #439

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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?!

Let’s begin!

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.

and

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…

xmen12

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…

jeaniloveyou

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…

xmen4

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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Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Did the Kid Who Played Eddie Haskell Grow Up to Become Alice Cooper?

Was An Episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation Never Filmed Because it Featured Two Gay Crew Members on the Enterprise?

Did Bob Dylan Lift Lines From a Japanese Novel for Songs on “Love and Theft”?

Was ABC’s 1960 Election Day Coverage So Bad That Their Most Famous Newsman Quit the Network?

Did Pat Boone’s Recording of “Tutti Frutti” Result in the Song Being “Sanitized”?
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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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36 Comments

Judging by the characters’ smiles and jovial look I’d say this would more likely be the Half-Kaddish, which is (at least at my synagogue) sang rather than recited like the Mourners’ Kaddish is.

You just know that, if John Byrne were still working at Marvel, he’d find some way to explain that the monster in the iron mask was tied to Doom somehow.

When I first saw Tales of Suspense #31 (probably about 1990), I thought the Monster in the Iron Mask looked a lot like Ookla the Mok from Thundarr the Barbarian.

(Those early 1960s monster/weird stories are AWESOME!)

So what *was* the secret of the Monster in the Iron Mask? How did that one end?

I’m not too familiar with how the production codes worked at Marvel at that time, but it appears the two books were probably produced within a month of each other, but that’s if the codes were assigned when Kirby actually turned them in. The other possibility, if production numbers were assigned when the book was published is that that monster story could have been an old inventory issue that laid around for a while and coincidently was published at the same time. Again, I think an expert on early Marvel would know more than I. I lean more towards Brian’s explanation though…

Travis Stephens

October 4, 2013 at 10:03 am

Funny. I think Stan Lee wanted the Juggernaut to be Professor X’s real brother, and not his evil step-brother. However, he got stuck on the Cain Marko name. Stan had a fascination with the Marko name (e.g. Sandman, Man Mountain Marko). The only way he could work it out was for them to be step brothers.

Travis Stephens

October 4, 2013 at 10:08 am

Actually I read the whole Marko thing in one of those ’70′s. Marvel Mags. If I can find it, I will let Brian know.

“how much the show embraced the Jewish heritage of the main characters, the Pickles”

The Pickles were a mixed marriage.

You just know that, if John Byrne were still working at Marvel, he’d find some way to explain that the monster in the iron mask was tied to Doom somehow.

I feel like that’s too much even for Byrne. Roy Thomas on the other hand…

Crud. Now I’m worried that someone, somewhere, someday, will want to follow-up on Stan’s abandoned idea that Xavier and Magneto were brothers.

I think people are way too thin-skinned about stereotypes. But I’m Irish, so I’m drunk and have been punched in the head a lot, so what do I know.

So what *was* the secret of the Monster in the Iron Mask? How did that one end?

SPOILER WARNING!!

I was just about to post this, but I didn’t want to ruin it for people who might want to dig it up. But since you asked …

IT’S NOT A MASK!!! IT’S HIS REAL FACE!!!!

There’s another Jack Kirby one I know of where in 1957 he drew a story about Thor where Loki stole his hammer and forced him to live on earth until he found it. The twist, it was in Tales of the Unexpected for DC comics.

Not really adding anything to the conversation, I know, but I have always loved Superman’s comment on the cover of Supergirl’s first appearance – mostly the “uh.” Since he is, you know, currently FLYING – is seeing a girl flying that odd of a sight? So I always read that “uh” to be Supes’ thinking, “Wow, that came out totally wrong and sounded sexist! How can I cover that up? I know, I’ll pretend I think she’s an illusion!”

The Pickles were a mixed marriage.

True, but they have a Jewish heritage even if they are a mixed marriage. They have a Christian heritage as WELL, but they still do have a Jewish heritage.

I’m not too familiar with how the production codes worked at Marvel at that time, but it appears the two books were probably produced within a month of each other, but that’s if the codes were assigned when Kirby actually turned them in. The other possibility, if production numbers were assigned when the book was published is that that monster story could have been an old inventory issue that laid around for a while and coincidently was published at the same time. Again, I think an expert on early Marvel would know more than I. I lean more towards Brian’s explanation though…

The job numbers were assigned when the job was turned in, so the two stories were turned in very close to each other. I did a legend a few years back where I discussed how Marvel used inventory stories. The inventory stories all had the codes from when they were turned in (sometimes years before they were published).

So was the talk about his iron mask and his weakness a trick? Or was he, as they often did back then, filling in the puny humans on how to defeat his evil self?
There’s a great bad-memory story in “Faster and Furiouser,” a book on the AIP movies: Roger Corman was looking to do another Edgar Allan Poe film and told his assistant it was going to be based on The Black Cat. “Uh, boss, you did that last month in Trilogy of Terror.” As the author notes, that’s a good reason not to assume Corman’s memory of events is spot-on.
I don’t think Juggie is necessarily a deal-breaker on Professor X. It could easily be one of those separated-at-birth things like Magneto discovering who his children are. Or it could have been a half-thought rather than intent (“I want to get into the Professor’s past, his family–would Magneto be good? Nah, I’ll come up with someone new.”). I’m not sure it does fit his storytelling style–the only other reveal of that sort I can think of by Stan was Mike Murdock, and he was a fake. But if I’m forgetting something, I’m sure someone will point it out.

His iron mask was to trick the humans into not trying to use his only weakness against him – gas!

Why, of course, didn’t he just bring an actual gas mask is beyond me.

The whole thing comes together with an all-time classic panel (when a stage magician figures out that the alien is using misdirection to convince people that he is wearing a mask)…

“Just like that guy said!”

I’ve always found that “A Great 3-Part Novel” tagline on the prototype-Supergirl cover to be inexplicably hilarious.

Ah, thanks.

I miss stories in which some random dude holds the secret to salvation. Some hobo with night terrors could be your savior.

That’s going to be the next fortune cookie I get, I just know it. “Some hobo with night terrors could be your savior.”

“Some hobo with night terrors could be your savior.”

Yeah, the Second Coming has been a lot rougher on Jesus than expected.

The Rugrats Chanukah special had one of my favorite Jewish jokes on tv. The kids knock over a man in a dreidel costume and he says that he broke a shin.

it’s crazy that the jews took offence on how the grandpa character looked like.
the cartoon was produced by jews too, wasnt it?
no sense of humour.

I’d seen that cover to Tales of Suspense before but never saw any interior pages. On the cover, the character even wears a green costume

“However, he got stuck on the Cain Marko name. Stan had a fascination with the Marko name”

I understand that the name Cain Marko is a refence to the Mark of Cain, what is a good name for an evil brother, but totally wasted in the case of Juggernaut, because the “brother” thing was not so explored. It would fit better in Cassandra Nova.

HoosierX wrote:
“When I first saw Tales of Suspense #31 (probably about 1990), I thought the Monster in the Iron Mask looked a lot like Ookla the Mok from Thundarr the Barbarian.”

Which is likely since KIRBY himself WAS the artist/designer for THUNDARR the BARBARIAN cartoon.

Miguelito Hotito

October 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I just showed that Monster in the Iron Mask panel to my three year old son and asked him who it was…
he said “It’s Doctor Doom!”

Out of the mouths of babes…

@Mr. Speck:
I believe that “three-part novel” was the term used for a comic that was all one story, instead of three shorter stories, which was the standard at the time.
It fell out of use once full length stories became the norm.

Travis Stephens

October 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Apokoliptian

I’m not so sure what Stan Lee had on mind when he formulated the concept of the Juggernaut and his background.Juggernaut may have been intended as a “one off ” character with the morality play of Cain and Abel as feuding brothers built in.

However, it doesn’t explain the 6 or 7 uses of Marko as a name.

Which is likely since KIRBY himself WAS the artist/designer for THUNDARR the BARBARIAN cartoon.

While he worked on it, he didn’t design Ookla.

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/11/23/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-78/

Other than the pre-MU monsters that were later brought into the MU (eg, Fin Fang Foom) are any of the supposed pro-hero ‘prototypes’ really valid?

The only one that springs to mind is the alien Sandman from JIM #70 and even that’s a bit of a stretch…

Professor X being in love with Jean was brought back up in the 90s in the “Onslaught” event.

And it was just as creepy then…even moreso now with All New X-Men highlighting how young the O5 are. It was also a plot point in Ultimate X-Men before most of them were unceremoniously killed off.

As to someone picking up on Stan’s idea of making Xavier and Magneto brothers, I wouldn’t put it past Bendis to do just that…he’s all about the shock value…which is why young Cyclops and X-23 are making out on an upcoming cover (which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that it’s essentially like having Cyclops and Wolverine hook up).

One of the first X-Men comics I picked up (not the first, but maybe among the first twelve or so) was a reprinting of X-Men #3 (X-Men: The Early Years #3) and I’ve been suspicious of Professor X ever since! But… who doesn’t love Jean.

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