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Welcome to the five hundred and sixty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, which original Image series began life as an X-Men spinoff? Did Kevin Conroy take up smoking to make his Bruce Wayne voice sound old in Batman Beyond? And what was Aquaman’s REAL first comic book cover appearance?
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: Cyberforce began life as a spinoff of the X-Men.
One of the great odd little quirks of history is that a good deal of the negotiations for what would eventually become the formation of Image Comics occurred at a Marvel conference. You know, those things where they fly out the various writers of a group of comics to discuss future plans. This 1991 conference was an X-Men related conference. A good chunk of what would become the original Image Comics had already formed at this point, perhaps most notably Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane, but it was at this conference that they landed Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio.
However, in another one of life’s funny coincidences, Marc Silvestri was ready to propose at that conference an idea that would eventually become his first Image series, Cyberforce.
Only he was going to propose it as an X-Men spin-off!
In a wonderful interview with TJ Dietsch right here at CBR a few years back, Silvestri detailed his mindset at the time and how it all went down:
At that point in my life, I’d reached the pinnacle. I’d worked on “X-Men,”
I’d worked with Chris Claremont, and beyond the X-Men, there was “Wolverine,” which was great because I loved working with Larry Hama.
Twenty years ago, there wasn’t much else you could do beyond that. I didn’t really have much interest in any other characters, I wasn’t built for Spider-Man, I was crappy at Spider-Man, so I really didn’t know what to do and I was looking for something that was going to pull me into some new kind of creative direction. I didn’t see that in comics at that point.
For me, the idea of creator ownership was in the stratosphere, it wasn’t going to happen. Frank Miller, who at that point was already wildly famous with “Dark Knight Returns” and even “Ronin,” was getting a lot of eyeballs. That wasn’t me at that time, so I didn’t consider that an option. For me, the timing was perfect, I needed something to keep me in comics and to keep me creative. Ironically, I went over to New York for the big X-book meeting. Bob Harras was the editor-in-chief who pulled us all together. Rob Liefeld was there, Peter David was there and we were in a conference room talking about the direction of the X-Men books. In that room I was pitching the idea of Cyber Force to Bob Harras as a spinoff book of the X-Men, which accounts for a lot of the similarities Cyber Force had in the early days with the X-Men. I wanted my own book, Jim Lee had just had success with “X-Men” #1 and spinoffs were going all over the place. I’d pitched a spinoff of “Wolverine,” and that didn’t go anywhere because they were doing something with Weapon X. Rob would later tell me that he wanted to kick me under the table because he already knew about Image Comics and was thinking, “No, no, no, don’t tell them. Save this. This would be great for Image.”
Fascinating how these things happen.
By the way, that sure does put the whole Cyblade/Psylocke thing into perspective, huh?
Thanks to TJ Dietsch and Marc Silvestri for the info!
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On the next page, did Kevin Conroy take up smoking to make Bruce Wayne sound older on Batman Beyond?
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