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Comic Book Legends Revealed #474

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COMIC LEGEND: Nightcrawler’s original father was going to be the Dr. Strange villain, Nightmare.

STATUS: True

I am honestly surprised that I have never featured this one before. It certainly seems like something I would have done years ago (I even checked my own archives to see if I was just blanking on it and I had used it before).

Anyhow, currently Nightcrawler’s father is the demon-looking mutant known as Azazel (we discussed Nightcrawler’s origin as well as his rumored multiple body parts in last week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed). However, that was not always the plan for Nightcrawler’s father.

At one point, as featured in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed (like, REALLY old, #14!), Chris Claremont wanted Nightcrawler’s father to be the shapeshifter Mystique.

uxm142

Instead, Mystique was eventually revealed to be Nightcrawler’s MOTHER.

But as it turns out, before that, Claremont had another established Marvel villain in mind for Nightcrawler’s dad – the Doctor Strange villain, Nightmare!

nightmare

My pal Tim Callahan got the scoop from Roger Stern in Back Issue #29.

Stern, at the time, was the writer on Doctor Strange’s ongoing series and, Stern noted, that was back at a time when the writer of a book had stronger control over how the characters in the book were handled throughout the Marvel Universe.

Chris had come up with the latest of several crazy ideas and declared that Nightcrawler’s father was Nightmare. And I replied with something like, “No, he’s not. I’m not going to let you appropriate one of my character’s major villains.” As I recall, Len Wein crossed the room and shook my hand. And not too long after that, I did become the X-Men editor and was able to make sure that didn’t happen for long enough that Chris eventually changed his mind.

My buddy JohnByrneSays found an important quote from John Byrne on the subject, suggesting why Stern didn’t like the idea:

“Back when I was on the book, Chris wanted to reveal that Nightcrawler’s father was Nightmare, the Dr. Strange villain. Roger Stern, as editor, said no, pointing out that that would make Kurt a hybrid, not a mutant.”

Years later, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had Nightcrawler meet Nightmare in the pages of Nightcrawler’s first ongoing series (he currently has a new one out written by Chris Claremont!).

nightmare1

nightmare2

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Thanks to Tim and Roger Stern for the information!

On the next page, did Pat Boone actually do a cartoon for the Pat Boone comic book series?

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90 Comments

So this Azazel origin is still canon? Being Austen, I assumed it was dead and gone.
Re Mystique/Destiny, I presume this had Mystique gender switching? Someone made a reference to it in another comics thread but I didn’t realize it was an actual proposal.
And last, was there any reason behind Nightmare and Nightcrawler beyond “look, they both have ‘night’ in their names?” Because it seems pretty arbitrary (Nightmare doesn’t have a classic “devil” look after all)–it might just as well have been Dormammu as far as I can see.

So this Azazel origin is still canon? Being Austen, I assumed it was dead and gone.

Yep, it’s still canon….for now! Mwah ha ha ha ha!

Re Mystique/Destiny, I presume this had Mystique gender switching? Someone made a reference to it in another comics thread but I didn’t realize it was an actual proposal.

Yeah, with the theory being that she could legitimately be anything she shapeshifted into, so if she became a man, she was a fully functioning man.

I remember that Rich Johnston spoiled the Angela appearance MONTHS before it actually happened. (How far, I forget–I think AoU was just starting publication, but it could have been earlier.) If there was a Miracleman/Angela switcheroo, it was done well before the issue saw print.

Yeah, exactly, Adam.

The Nightmare legend is interesting. If I recall correctly, Roger Stern was the editor of X-Men quite early in Claremont’s run (maybe in the middle of the Claremont/Byrne issues?) which was still in the 70s, before Dark Phoenix, the saga that shot the X-Men’s popularity through the roof.

When this trivia was mentioned in one of the X-Men/Avengers comments a few days ago, I’d assumed Claremont made the plans mid-80s, when X-Men were dominating (I read it as implying that Claremont was believing his own hype and overreaching a bit).

In this 70s context, it may have still been overreaching, but I’d like to think it was motivated less by potential arrogance and more by a writer just hitting his stride and wanting to keep spitballing lots of “crazy ideas”.

Guess the fact that Len Wein took the time to shake Stern’s hand suggests the old guard were already getting annoyed with Claremont for the overreach, whatever the specific motivation.

Miracleman was rumored to appear in a Marvel crossover since Secret Invasion and Siege when Marvel started doing reprints

I never quite got why Nightcrawler needed special parentage. He is a mutant after all. However, Claremont was plainly obsessed with the idea.

Really would have preferred Miracleman to have been the big surprise.

Ugh. Why do people want Miracleman in the Marvel Universe? Haven’t they read the series? The whole POINT is that he and his co-horts are the vanguard of super powered entities and how that changes humanity and society.

Stephen Conway

June 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

The Azazel stuff is still canon. Jason Aaron featured it heavily in the opening arc of Amazing X Men. It was some nonsense about Azazel trying to take over Paradise but Nightcrawler and the rest of the X Men fought back resulting in Nightcrawler coming back to life, sans soul.

Stephen Conway

June 6, 2014 at 10:34 am

gwangung – To me at least it’s less wanting Marvelman in the Marvel universe, but more expecting him to be introduced after Marvel going through time and effort to acquire the rights to the character. I doubt Marvel spent all the money on legal work they did just to sit back and milk reprint sales.

I have a soft spot for the old school, licensed properties that DC put out despite their being way before my time. The Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis titles gave the DC Universe a texture that I sort of enjoy.

To me, the Mystique/Destiny story proves that there’s a fine line between Claremontian and Austenian storytelling in the X-Men franchise. :)

Between this legend about the early plans for Nightcrawler’s parentage and the behind-the-scenes creative conflict regarding the X-Men Vs. Avengers minseries that Matt Derman recently discussed, it does not sound like Chris Claremont and Roger Stern saw eye-to-eye all that often!

gwangung — I’m sure Marvel would have treated Miracleman/Marvelman with the same respect that they’ve treated Angela.

In other words, within a year he’d have been revealed to have been the next third Summers brother, or an Inhuman, or a Spider-Man clone.

I don’t understand what the problem would have been if Nightmare was the father.

@gwangung:

Why do people want Miracleman in the Marvel Universe? Haven’t they read the series?

The whole Miracleman thing is a bummer on a lot of levels.

The comics that are the closest to my heart are the ones that Colin Smith once dubbed as “third way”. It was the stuff that was published by upstart companies targeting the then new Direct Market: First, Comico, Eclipse. It was stuff that touched on the superhero genre, but wasn’t of it. That was largely because it had a strong authorial voice. Those comics felt like a movement that stood in contrast to the Silver Age DC model and the (by then) dominant Marvel model.

Miracleman was the example of what that could be. Alan Moore and Alan Davis felt like they were creating their own superhero universe from this old, forgotten character. Reading it was the closest that I’ve ever come to what Baby Boomers describe the early Marvel experience being like. Then, Davis left. Then, Moore wrapped his story. Then third way creators went over to mainstream publishers. At first, they came in and transformed DC for about 15 minutes and then dribbled over to Marvel. Then, the third way publishers went bust and the Image thing happened.

It seemed kind of appropriate that Miracleman was the most famous comic that no one could read. It felt symbolic.

Now, Marvel owns him.

I don’t understand what the problem would have been if Nightmare was the father.

I don’t really get it, either, honestly.

I never understood why Belasco was never in the running for the Montel Williams episode that is Nightcrawler’s parentage.

How many kids did Azazel have, anyway? I think he must be the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins of the Marvel universe.

And if there’s any character that deserves to be treated with respect, it’s Todd McFarlane’s derivative masturbation fantasy, Angela.

@JoshDM: From this story and all the stuff with the Hobgoblin, I get the sense that Stern is borderline unreasonably possessive of the characters he works on. Nightmare as Nightcrawler’s father could have been an interesting storyline, and I don’t see how that revelation would in any way prevent the character from appearing in Doctor Strange.

Dean, Nightcrawler had to have special parentage, because he was a foundling, IIRC. Did you want Kurt Wagner to be the first foundling ever in dramatic fiction not to have special parentage? ;)

I also don’t get what Roger Stern’s problem was with Claremont’s idea. Originally, I had thought Claremont had had the idea when the X-Men were already a immense hit and possibly other writers at Marvel, like Stern and Lein, formerly involved with the franchise, were a little jealous of all the hype Claremont was getting.

But if Claremont had the idea in the 1970s, even before Stern came aboard as editor, then it seems it was just a matter of Stern being a little too territorial?

As for Miracleman, I think Marvel bought the rights just so they could finish Neil Gaiman’s run?

How many kids did Azazel have, anyway? I think he must be the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins of the Marvel universe.

A whole lot, as he had to teleport to Earth to make enough kids with teleportation powers so that they could finally allow him to escape the dimension where he was trapped.

And if you see the inherent flaw in that plan, well, you see more flaws that Chuck Austen did.

I think i dislike it because Nightcrawler’s supposed to be a mutant who unfortunately looks like a demon, and making his parent an actual demon (Nightmare’s more of a demigod, but close enough) undercuts that.
I wouldn’t count Stern’s handling of Hobgoblin as being unreasonably possessive. As I understand it, Stern created him with an idea of who he was, and wanted to stick with that (or am I misremembering Brian’s past columns?). And I say this as someone who never cared that much who he was under the mask.
As for Stern/Claremont I do remember they seemed to have very different views of Margali Szardos. Claremont introduced her as a major magus, then Stern wrote her as a fraud propped up by her magic wand (which someone later retconned away but I don’t know if that was Claremont).

I wouldn’t count Stern’s handling of Hobgoblin as being unreasonably possessive. As I understand it, Stern created him with an idea of who he was, and wanted to stick with that (or am I misremembering Brian’s past columns?). And I say this as someone who never cared that much who he was under the mask.

Agreed there. Stern had an idea who the Hobgoblin was, but let the next writer, Tom DeFalco, do whatever he wanted to do with the character. Years later, though, he was given the chance to go back to his original plan. None of that seems unreasonable to me at all (heck, I would suggest the exact opposite).

If Claremont had been able to do the Nightmare thing, we’d almost inevitably find out that Kurt teleports by moving through the Nightmare dimension.

That’s pretty much a lead pipe cinch there, yes.

Heck, Magik’s teleportation is almost assuredly based on Claremont’s unused ideas for Nightcrawler/Nightmare.

Brian, I think that Paul O’Brien brilliantly summed up the blindingly obvious flaws of Azazel’s plan in his review of “The Draco” on his old review site The X-Axis:

“I’m reminded of something which, I think, was one of the Baron Munchausen stories. The Baron is going out hiking. He’s fully equipped for the mountains. But alas, he’s so busy looking at the mountains that he doesn’t see where he’s going, and he falls down a well. He tries to get out by throwing his grappling hook up to the top of the well, but the well is too deep and the hook won’t reach. He tries to climb the walls, but they’re too slippery. And he cries for help, but nobody hears. Finally, having exhausted every other option, he goes home and gets a ladder.”

What I don’t get is why Azazel as Nightcrawler’s father is a problem but Nightmare as his father sounds like an unobjectionable idea. Other than the fact that one writer who did the former was pretty bad and the one who suggested the latter was very good, it seems to me all the objections one would have for the one being his father (“if he’s really part demon it undercuts the character who is just a ‘demon’ on the outside”) they would certainly hold up for the other as well.

It just strikes me as funny that Claremont among all his great ideas had an idea as bad as Austen’s, just years earlier. (Mystique wasn’t much better. “Well, they’re both BLUE!” I’m waiting to see that the formula affected Beast in that way because he actually was adopted and another one of Mystique’s brood. Though I’m sure now they’d steal the idea and make Raven Hank’s father).

@Shadowtag,

If it makes you feel better, the alternate reality EARTH X series revealed that Belasco IS Nightcrawler due to a time-travel fiasco and Mephisto’s manipulation. That’s non-canon, of course.

Tim Callahan is no one’s friend! He’s too awesome for any of us!!!!

I wonder if Stern was just concerned the idea would inevitably start spiraling out of control. Someone sooner or later would have tried “Nightcrawler, lord of the Dream Dimension” as either a one-shot deal or a “permanent” (Nightcrawler vs. Dr. Strange! Nothing will ever be the same again, we’re serious this time!) change of status.

The idea that Nightcrawler was the son of Mystique and Destiny would certainly have been very different. I much prefer it to having his father turn out to be Nightmare, which just seems too darn obvious and uninspired. But to have him as the offspring of a lesbian relationship where one of the couple shape-shifted to become a man in order to consummate the relationship… the strangest heroes of all is right!

I have absolutely no idea how readers would have reacted if Marvel had actually let Chris Claremont go through with that plan. Which, of course, they unsurprisingly did not, given the ultra-conservative climate of the 1980s. Even today I doubt Claremont would be allowed to get away with it. Heck, for many years he couldn’t even come out and say that Mystique and Destiny were romantically involved, having instead to very subtly allude to it. I think the first time I recall him actually coming right out and saying it was in the Chaos War: X-Men miniseries.

The relationship between Destiny and Mystique was certainly interesting. I found it surprising that Mystique, who was otherwise depicted as a self-serving, brutal sociopath who would stab anyone in the back to ensure her survival (her ultimate flip-flop of going from heading up a violent terrorist group, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, to working for the federal government as part of Freedom Force in exchange for a full pardon demonstrated this perfectly) was utterly devoted to Mystique and genuinely loved her. I guess it was the one thing that kept Raven Darkholme from being a complete monster.

Gwangung – not that I neccessarily believe it, but I have heard people say that part of the reason Marvel is keeping the Miracleman name on the Moore and Gaiman stories is to keep them distinct crom “Marvelman”, whom they can then incorporate into the Marvel Universe proper.

OK, so why Germany? I would think that one or more of Kurt’s parents might be a German, right?

Also, it’s pretty pathetic how so many Marvel artists started drawing Nightmare to look like Gaiman’s Sandman.

Id have to go back and read it but I dont recall ultron traveling back in time as part of AoU? Didnt he come back again evolved as usual under the guise of “Rom”/Spaceknight and unleash havoc and they felt the need to go back and just wipe out the creation as a solution.

I suppose should pull them out rather than ask!

Apropos of nothing, anyone here remember that time that Pat Boone released an album of heavy metal covers? I actually rather liked his version of “Stairway To Heaven,” but then again I have strange tastes :)

interesting to find out that clarmont did indeed have another canidate since he got shot down for mystique being nightcrawlers dad. and got stopped again for sounds like marvel and the x-men editors at the time did not really want chris playing around with touching the origin of a beloved x-men or screwing up some one elses plans for the character mainly stern. and mircle man has been rumored to pop up to play in the mu since marvel first revealed they finaly got the character.

@Converge241
I think Ultron was based in the future in Age Of Ultron and had traveled back to the present to conquer Earth.

I think Ultron was based in the future in Age Of Ultron and had traveled back to the present to conquer Earth.

Correct.

Ben, it’s not that surprising that Mystique, despite her history, could bond closely with someone (I wasn’t aware Raven/Destiny was a thing, but it fits). Plenty of horrible human beings have been devoted to their partners, lovers or kids (I remember a story that showed Mystique was also unwilling to kill Nightcrawler).

Well, I think Mystique being Kurt’s parent was less of a matter of “they’re both blue” than that Mystique was deliberately introduced looking as much like Nightcrawler as possible to make us wonder what the connection between them was. That was certainly the reaction Kurt had to her when they met in the comics.

@Ben Sherman, Pat Boone’s cover of Van Halen’s “Panama” is fantastic. Almost better than the original even if for no other reason that the very idea of Pat Boone singing it just about out-weirds the Wacky Weird Master himself, David Lee Roth aka Doctor Rockso.

I read somewhere that the plan was to reveal ROM at the of Age of Ultron at some point, but Hasbro wouldn’t let go. I still don’t understand why they made such a big deal about Angela, a Spawn character that nobody cares about.

@Ben Herman
” But to have him as the offspring of a lesbian relationship where one of the couple shape-shifted to become a man in order to consummate the relationship… the strangest heroes of all is right!”

There’s also the possibility that Mystique could have been transgendered. She was born male, identified as female, and lucked-out with powers that allowed her physical form to match her self identity. It would also eliminate the need for her powers being able to manufacture a Y chromosome from scratch.

tom fitzpatrick

June 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm

This whole thing about Nightcrawler’s parents is making my head hurt.
My understanding is that his mutant power is the teleportation, right? His ears, blue skin, tail, three fingers and toes is heredity, right?
Officially speaking, what is Marvel’s current position on who is Kurt’s parents?

I’m glad that Marvel’s not adding Miracleman to the Marvel Universe. That would be heresy.

Pat Boone looks like he’s about to devour those two young ladies.

The idea about either of Nightcrawler’s parents being anything supernatural was wrong, because the basic idea behind the character (the X-Men character that is, not the original “howling demon from Hell” sketch) was that even though he was demonic looking, he was actually a good, kind hearted and cheery human being. In fact during the X-Men/Dr. Strange visit to “Hell” in the Uncanny Annual (#4 I believe), Strange has scanned Nightcrawler thoroughly with the Eye of Agamotto and concluded that even though he himself originally believed Nightcrawler to be some sort of a demon, the Eye revealed him to be fully human (so already Claremont would be contradicting himself).

Then again the good thing that would come out of Nightcrawler’s father being revealed as anybody would be that Austen couldn’t come up with the Azazel fiasco. Not that it would stop him from doing some other ridiculous retcon anyway…

I learned that Azazel was Nightcrawler’s father when I saw X-Men First Class and saw this horrible Nightcrawler ripoff. I never liked the Mystique tie to begin with but the Azazel angle seemed down right dumb.

Moral of the story: Age of Ultron was ridiculously stupid.

Given how Stern describes the ‘Nightmare is Nightcrawler’s dad’ exchange (and assuming it’s accurate), I wonder if it’s less either that it was a bad idea (though it was), or territoriality over a character that’s supposed to be in his bailiwick, but rather annoyance that Claremont would declare it as done, rather than asking for opinions.

Travis Stephens

June 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

It seems like Marvelman and Miracleman are being used interchangeably. Am I missing something?

@Armitage

You basically described the character known as “Mystiq”, aka Raphael-Raven Darholme from one of the parallel Exiles realities. This Raven was born male, married Destiny and had child named Anna (who I assume is a parallel Rogue).

A John Byrne quote for you about Nightmare and Nightcrawler.

“Back when I was on the book, Chris wanted to reveal that Nightcrawler’s father was Nightmare, the Dr. Strange villain. Roger Stern, as editor, said no, pointing out that that would make Kurt a hybrid, not a mutant.”

Huh. Little bit of respect for Pat Boone. I did not think that would happen in this particular lifetime.

It seems like Marvelman and Miracleman are being used interchangeably. Am I missing something?

They’re the same character under a different name (they changed the name after Marvel threatened to sue – now that Marvel owns the rights to the character, it can be called Marvelman without it being a problem).

A John Byrne quote for you about Nightmare and Nightcrawler.

“Back when I was on the book, Chris wanted to reveal that Nightcrawler’s father was Nightmare, the Dr. Strange villain. Roger Stern, as editor, said no, pointing out that that would make Kurt a hybrid, not a mutant.”

Thanks for that very informative quote from Byrne! I’ve added it to the piece.

“And last, was there any reason behind Nightmare and Nightcrawler beyond “look, they both have ‘night’ in their names?”

I have to second this question. It seems really arbitrary.

I could never figure out why Margali didn’t name him Kurt Szardos (I mean, aside from the fact that his name was determined a good bit before his origin was ironed out – the in-story reason). What was the advantage to telling him his “real” last name, considering that she lied about pretty much everything else about his origin?

@Mr. Speck – I can’t vouch that this was Claremont’s reasoning, but Nightmare is often drawn to look like a white-skinned Nightcrawler. I don’t mean intentionally so, just that the facial features the characters were often drawn with at the time Claremont would have had the idea to make them related were pretty similar.

@buttler – Mystique was originally a Ms. Marvel villain – Claremont wrote her book, and when it was cancelled, he brought Mystique over to the X-Men – so I think it actually was just a coincidence that she looked so much like Kurt. (Well, they were both created by Dave Cockrum, so it might be less “coincidence” than “a look Cockrum liked.”)

Night crawler is obviously the son of Marvelman!!

ZZZ: I dunno, Deathbird was introduced in Ms. Marvel too, but you’d have a hard time convincing me that she wasn’t originally supposed to be Shi’ar. Claremont was writing both these series at the same time, and it wouldn’t have been so strange for him to have plans to connect these characters.

“Back when I was on the book, Chris wanted to reveal that Nightcrawler’s father was Nightmare, the Dr. Strange villain. Roger Stern, as editor, said no, pointing out that that would make Kurt a hybrid, not a mutant.”

Sorry. That makes NO sense whatsoever. WHY would Nightmare as his father mean that Nightcrawler would be a “hybrid?” A “hybrid” of what? Why couldn’t a “hybrid” be a mutant as well? Especially as Nightcrawler’s powers have NOTHING in common with Nightmare’s. He’s a teleporter. Nightmare doesn’t really “teleport”–he materializes. And, as late as the 1980s anyway, the defining point of being a mutant was an ability (or abilities) that the parents didn’t have (which is one reason why Polaris as Magneto’s daughter was so problematic for so long since they largely duplicated Magneto’s and violated Marvel’s key rule about mutants and mutations).

Stern simply didn’t want Nightmare to be Kurt’s father and that should’ve been enough without resorting to some insanely stupid fake reason that made no sense and flew in the face of Marvel’s own (at the time) definition of mutant abilities.

And, as late as the 1980s anyway, the defining point of being a mutant was an ability (or abilities) that the parents didn’t have (which is one reason why Polaris as Magneto’s daughter was so problematic for so long since they largely duplicated Magneto’s and violated Marvel’s key rule about mutants and mutations).

Claremont introduced Banshee’s daughter, Siryn, a mutant with the same powers, in the early 1980s.

Back then it was clear that certain Marvel writers (Roger Stern apparently one of them) had very strict ideas of who should and should not be considered a mutant and I could easily (like really easily) believe that someone would think that a character being half-demon would make them not considered a mutant.

ZZZ: I dunno, Deathbird was introduced in Ms. Marvel too, but you’d have a hard time convincing me that she wasn’t originally supposed to be Shi’ar. Claremont was writing both these series at the same time, and it wouldn’t have been so strange for him to have plans to connect these characters.

Especially since this is Claremont we’re talking about – he’s always looking for connections. Heck, note that he first introduced Banshee’s daughter, Siryn, in the pages of Spider-Woman.

To be fair, at the time mutants were understood to be born of ordinary human parents who may have been exposed to some radiation. Magneto wasn’t yet conceived as Wanda and Pietro’s father. So it wasn’t just that mutants had different powers than their mutant parents–second-generation mutants weren’t a factor in Marvel comics yet, as far as I know.

And certainly Nightcrawler would be a hybrid by definition if he was born of a demon and a human, or a demon and a mutant, no matter what his powers were; his parents wouldn’t have been the same species.That’s not to say he couldn’t be a hybrid AND a mutant — the half-human, half-Dire Wraith villain called Hybrid was almost certainly both a hybrid and a mutant, because he had a number of powers neither species usually had. Heck, Namor would later be revealed to be both hybrid and mutant.

Travis Pelkie

June 7, 2014 at 12:06 am

I’m not sure of the chronology, but was Claremont looking for the connections more because that was/is his writing style, or because he was trying to weave that larger tapestry and connect things a la Roy Thomas/make the Marvel U connected like Stan did?

OK, that sentence didn’t come out well.

Is the looking for connections more just Claremont’s style, or was it working in the style established by other creators, or was it a way to connect “lesser” books (like Spider-Woman or Ms Marvel) to the better selling (not sure how much better selling at that point) X-Men? Cross-promotion to both increase sales and increase interest in the stories, I suppose?

Addendum to what I just said: Obviously, it wouldn’t be long before there were a lot of second-generation mutants running around. I’m just saying that I don’t think that was the case in the late ’70s.

I’m not sure of the chronology, but was Claremont looking for the connections more because that was/is his writing style, or because he was trying to weave that larger tapestry and connect things a la Roy Thomas/make the Marvel U connected like Stan did?

It’s fair to say that yes, the Marvel style of the time definitely did suggest building a bigger tapestry. That said, I think it was a style that Claremont embraced with a greater zeal than other writers, even those that DID use that same style, like Roger Stern himself.

Travis Pelkie

June 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

I wouldn’t be surprised if the ANGELA deal was delayed and led to (part of) the delay with AoU, and there was a “fake-out” vis a vis Marvelman — as in, they tried to make us think Marvelman was coming to distract us from the fact that a different Gaiman character got sold to Marvel.

If Claremont did use Nightmare, it’d kind of be “taking” away one of the few recognizable Dr Strange villains for an X-Men storyline, and there were certainly enough X characters even at that time that Claremont didn’t really need to poach any, but I do see the point that there’s not really any big deal to have Nightmare as the father. It does seem to transform Kurt from a weird looking human into a demon/hybrid/whatever dude, and that seems to take away from the mutant aspect of the character — he looks LIKE a demon, but he’s just a dude, whereas that would make him a demon.

If I think of it next time I see Stern at a con, I’ll ask him if he remembers his exact objection (if it was a territorial thing, or “gee, that’s a stupid idea”, or some combo).

There was a small window there, from what I see. Stern’s first Dr Strange issue appears to be #27 of that ’70s series, which is cover dated early ’78, and he took over editing on X-Men with 113, from cover date September of that year.

Before the Azazel/Austen debacle, was there any revelation regarding Kurt’s father? I know the Mystique as his mother was revealed in X-Men Unlimited 4 (how many copies of that do I have? More than I should!), but I don’t remember if there was anything about a father there.

Man, even the LETTERING on that Pat Boone comic is plain vanilla! ;)

Just to muddy the waters further:

Years ago, wasn’t Sabertooth mentioned as Nightcrawler’s father?

Travis – they aren’t completely interchangeable. “Miracleman” is a specific set of stories by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Moore’s work was initially published as “Marvelman”, and changed for reprints, but at a certain point somewhere in Book Two, the storyy was written to be “Miracleman”. Now Marvel is keeping it as Miracleman for those stories, and the rest of the stories (the squeaky clean ’50′s version of the character) as Marvelman. But it creates the illusion that they are either two different characters or the same character in two different realities (theyy have two different origins, though they had enough continuity to retcon away the one for the other).

@buttler:

To be fair, at the time mutants were understood to be born of ordinary human parents who may have been exposed to some radiation. Magneto wasn’t yet conceived as Wanda and Pietro’s father. So it wasn’t just that mutants had different powers than their mutant parents–second-generation mutants weren’t a factor in Marvel comics yet, as far as I know.

I will never understand Marvel’s obsession in linking mutancy with radiation. Then again, so little of Marvel’s version of mutancy even resembles the biological reality…

And certainly Nightcrawler would be a hybrid by definition if he was born of a demon and a human, or a demon and a mutant, no matter what his powers were; his parents wouldn’t have been the same species.

Demons are supposed to have a biological species?

That’s not to say he couldn’t be a hybrid AND a mutant — the half-human, half-Dire Wraith villain called Hybrid was almost certainly both a hybrid and a mutant, because he had a number of powers neither species usually had. Heck, Namor would later be revealed to be both hybrid and mutant.

Yeah. Marvel sure plays fast and loose with mutancy… I wonder if it has ever been officially stated that Cloak and Dagger are both mutates and mutants.

I would say that they could state that they have also been Touched By Magic or something, but come to think of it Ilyanna predates them in that regard.

Boy, Claremont had a thing for throwing a lot of stuff to the wall.

Luis, radiation can actually cause mutations, so it was a logical origin for the team back in the 1960s. Plus radiation could do all kinds of things in SF movies: wake dinosaurs, transform humans into monsters (Amazing Colossal Man looks so much like the prototype for the Hulk), so it’s not surprising Lee milked it so much for his origin stories.
Hybrid is an odd choice of words, but I get what Stern meant. And yes, actually, a lot of demons are an other dimensional “race” in Marvel, the N’Garai for instance (Nightcrawler would eventually be identified as one of a race of fear demons, but I think that would be well after Stern’s statement).

Don’t have too much respect for Pat Boone for the metal album, his fans were outraged, and he almost immediately turned against it and apologized for doing it.

@ZZZ: Here is the genesis of the character of Mystique, as described by Dave Cockrum himself in 2003.

“This drawing was done for fun and hung in my office until my partner Chris Claremont wandered in one day, saw her, and started to drool. ‘I want her!’ he said. He named her Mystique, gave her powers and added her to the Uncanny X-Men rogues gallery.”

You can view a scan of that drawing on the blog post I wrote last November celebrating what would have been Cockrum’s 70th birthday:

http://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/remembering-dave-cockrum/

“Stern noted, that was back at a time when the writer of a book had stronger control over how the characters in the book were handled throughout the Marvel Universe.”

I think what Stern meant was that this was back at a time when all of the Marvel writers who weren’t Chris Claremont were dicks to Chris because they were jealous of his success with a book about outsiders, a book that was cancelled at one point, a book so successful that despite all of Marvel’s attempts to push the Avengers franchise, the X-Men were still much more popular. It’s an easy mistake for him to make.

“It seemed kind of appropriate that Miracleman was the most famous comic that no one could read. It felt symbolic.

Now, Marvel owns him.”

Um… it’s a bummer that no one could read this? I’m thrilled beyond words that Marvel owns him and everyone can finally read the stories, and Neil Gaiman can finish his arc. It’s not like he’s part of the Marvel Universe or anything.

Saul,
Saying “don’t make Nightmare into Nightcrawler’s father” isn’t actually being a dick.

Timothy Markin

June 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Pat Boone is actually a better cartoonist than many of the mainstream comic book artists of the 90s.
Bob Oksner was such a good artist and drew the cutest females in comics. I loved his Dobie Gillis issues. And the Bob Hope comic was drawn by Owen Fitzgerald, best known for his work on the Dennis the Menace comix books. Hey, are there any Legends about DC’s Ozzie and Harriet comic?

I’m glad that Nightcrawler was birthed through normal means, even if his biological parents weren’t conventional characters. At least he wasn’t sired by body of a dead person being controlled by a vampire’s head ie Giorno Giovanna.

>>Night crawler is obviously the son of Marvelman!!<<

Nightcrawler is the son of Pat Boone, who is most definitely a mutant.

@ZZZ: I could never figure out why Margali didn’t name him Kurt Szardos (I mean, aside from the fact that his name was determined a good bit before his origin was ironed out – the in-story reason).

I very much doubt that it was supposed to be canon, but around the time of Second Coming there was an X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler one-shot. In it, I believe that Nightcrawler was named Kurt Szardos, and changed his last name to Wagner after a priest who took him in after he ran away from the circus.

My first visit here, and this thread has me in stitches! I got most of the Moore Miracleman and alot of the Claremont X Men, I need to find that Pat Boone metal album. Playground of the mind.

Ethan Shuster

June 9, 2014 at 8:51 am

Man, I can’t wait to see the New 52 version of Pat Boone! I heard Bob Hope will be joining the new Outsiders.

Ethan Shuster

June 9, 2014 at 9:10 am

At this cynical old age, how can ya not look at that actually harmless Pat Boone audition story and not immediately think, “casting couch”?

Ethan, Super-Hip’s also going to return and join the Titans. I’m happy too.

Saying “don’t make Nightmare into Nightcrawler’s father” isn’t actually being a dick.

It actually sounds like some great advice.

And silly or not, let’s not forget that the X-Men/mutants were called “The Children of the Atom” for a reason. I think Stan needed a reason for them to be born with powers rather than “just because.” Sometimes we forget that we’ve learned an awful lot about genetics since then.

ParanoidObsessive

June 10, 2014 at 3:30 am

Mystique wasn’t much better. “Well, they’re both BLUE!”

To be fair, Mystique only appeared twice before showing up in X-Men (both times in Ms. Marvel), and all of those early appearances were written by Claremont. And she basically hints at a connection the moment she meets Nightcrawler for the first time (which is the first time it would ever plausibly come up).

Add to that the fact that Dave Cockrum’s original design of her look was in black and white, and it definitely seems like Mystique was deliberately made blue to establish a connection to Nightcrawler, not that said connection was established because she was already blue.

I remember a story that showed Mystique was also unwilling to kill Nightcrawler

Uncanny X-Men… #170-something. Forget the exact issue, but it was the story where the Brotherhood attack the X-Men, and Colossus is basically turned into a statue by being super-heated by Pyro and then having Avalanche dump liquid nitrogen on him.

At any rate, the reference to Nightcrawler was yet another hint to whatever mysterious secret connection existed between Mystique and Kurt (remember, Claremont loved stringing out dangling plot threads for years before paying off on them). Mystique had hired Arcade to train the Brotherhood in Murderworld (using it as as sort of ersatz Danger Room), where they were fighting robots designed to look and act like the X-Men.

In-story, Mystique is able to “kill” the robot version of Rogue when it attacks her (though not without some thought-bubble angst), but utterly locks up when she’s attacked by Nightcrawler. The implication being that, for all she apparently really does love Rogue, she’s capable of killing her if she needs to… but there’s something stronger between her and Kurt that prevents her from being able to kill him (or in this case, even a robot look-alike version of him).

I think people get a bit confused about the Azazel situation. Azazel’s plan is to use his children to free his army which is trapped in another dimension. Although ‘The Draco’ is hardly the most well written storyline, so confusion is understandable.

It’d be cool if Nightcrawler could meet Nightmare’s actual son, now that he has one. Trauma was revealed as his son in Avengers: The Initiative. He even has a connection to the X-Men through Dani Moonstar who trained him.

Introducing characters elsewhere was just Claremont’s MO. Karma in a Marvel Team up before New Mutants, Mystique in Ms Marvel, Rogue in Avengers….he introded Sabertooth in Iron Fist, all while intending him to be Wolverine’s father. Just how he rolled.

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