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Comic Book Legends Revealed #566

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Welcome to the five hundred and sixty-sixth 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, was there really a mysterious EIGHTH founder of Image Comics? Was Brian Wood’s acclaimed Demo series originally going to be an X-Men comic? And was Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow’s shared background a happy accident?

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: There was originally an eighth founder of Image Comics

COMIC LEGEND: Chris Claremont was an original founder of Image Comics.

STATUS: False Enough for a False

These legends are basically the same thing, although they’ve both existed in their own forms over the years.

As I noted last week, in late 1991, the basics were put together for what would become Image Comics. Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen and Jim Valentino had discussed doing some creator-owned work for Malibu Comics. Liefeld and Todd McFarlane also began to talk about the idea of doing creator-owned comics. At an X-Men Conference in 1991, the key piece to the puzzle was solidified when Liefeld and McFarlane recruited star artist Jim Lee, perhaps the most popular artist in comics at the time (although McFarlane and Liefeld were obviously well up there, as well). At the same time that they locked in Jim Lee, they also got Marc Silvestri, as I noted last week. Lee brought in his X-Men writing partner and fellow star artist, Whilce Portacio.

So those were the seven founders of Image Comics (here are six of the founders and Liefeld’s Youngblood co-writer, Hank Kanalz).

Image-Founders-1992-660x518

However, there has long been rumors about a mysterious EIGHTH founder.

This comes down mostly to the CNN report about the creation of Image Comics…

In the feature, they mention EIGHT creators.

This rumor was perpetuated by the initial press releases regarding the launch of Image Comics, which mentioned creators who were going to be involved in the start of Image, which included George Perez (who was going to do pin-ups in Spawn) and Ken Steacy, who was going to do work on Spawn.

However, it also mentioned writer Chris Claremont, who had worked with Lee and Portacio on Uncanny X-Men and X-Factor.

Claremont had a character he wanted to do called the Huntsman. There was early talk about him doing the character with Portacio, but it was not set in stone. Of the group, Portacio was the one who had the least amount set in stone by the launch of Image Comics. Brought in by Lee, Portacio wasn’t even sure at the time of the launch whether he was going to keep working for Marvel Comics as well as do Image at the time.

In early 1992, when all the other founders had their ideas all set in stone, Portacio was unsure. In Amazing Heroes #202, they discussed it with him:

Amazing Heroes: I understand that you might be doing a book with Chris Claremont

Portacio: I’ve got a few ideas right now and Chris Claremont has a proposal, so we might work together, but we still have to over the project. It’s just a matter of seeing if our ideas somehow mesh or if we could come up with something. But I would love to work with Chris.

Amazing Heroes: Can you tell us about a couple of things you’re thinking about doing together?

Portacio: I don’t what Chris’ idea is, although I think it’s called The Huntsman. But as for myself, I’m kind of thinking in terms of a team. One of the ideas that is real close to me is a Predator team – like Dutch [Arnold Schwarzenegger] and his team – a bunch of mercenaries who are soldiers and who are just looking for a cause.

Story continues below

Obviously, the two never got together on the concept. Claremont eventually introduced the Huntsman in the pages of WildCATs, but nothing really came of the character…

WildCATs_Vol_1_10

Portacio took his mercenary idea and it eventually became his book Wetworks (which was sadly delayed in launching due to Portacio’s sister getting sick)…

wetworks_v1_no1

So no, Claremont was never really a founder of Image Comics, but you can see how it is SO close that it is very understandable for people to think that perhaps he was one. And no, there was no eighth Image founder. Plus, Hank Kanalz’s presence in the above photo of Image founders was likely confusing, as well.

An anonymous commenter wanted me to do this last week, but I already had it in the works for this week, but I’ll still throw him a shout out! Thanks to Amazing Heroes for the quotes!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Check out some recent entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:

Was There a “Nude” Cheat Code in the Original Tomb Raider Video Game?

Was Greedo Originally Supposed to Shoot at Han Solo First?

Was the Band Toto Really Named After Dorothy’s Dog, Toto, from the Wizard of Oz?

Did the Host of Family Feud Marry One of the Contestants?

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On the next page, was Brian Wood’s Demo nearly an X-Men spinoff?

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52 Comments

It would have been interesting to see how Image’s “do comics need writers” schtick would have worked out if one of the most prominent writers in comics at the time had been a founder.

Love that Michael Golden GI Joe cover.

The interior art…. eh, not so much.

The picture of the Image guys is six of the seven creators and I believe Hank Kanalz, not Whilce.

nice for loved silent interlude espically how it starts hinting that maybe there is more to storm shadow and snakes eyes then their riverly like a connection between the two.

After the Silver Age prime of Lee, Kirby, and Ditko, what percentage of the best Marvel creative work was done on licensed properties and other stuff they didn’t own? ROM, Micronauts, G.I. Joe, Conan, their horror lined all the rest.

Hey! Feel Great Today

March 11, 2016 at 11:03 am

Thanks for the shout. I’m always all ears.

The picture of the Image guys is six of the seven creators and I believe Hank Kanalz, not Whilce.

You’re correct. Sorry, I didn’t know I was giving off the impression that it was Whilce. I’ll edit in a mention of Kanalz.

See, this is an example where introducing an element without knowing where it’s going can work, unlike in the Wolverine legend. The tattoo is just a small detail, and can be left to simmer for three issues or three-hundred, until the right story comes along. The box in the Wolverine story was a central MacGuffin, and the entire plot of the story revolved around it; it needed to be planned and ready for the reveal before it was introduced, not just an “eh, we’ll figure something out.”

As for NYX, I’ve always been disappointed that the series fizzled out. The first six issues were great; the second run pretty good, and then it just faded away. I would have liked it to have continued, perhaps crossing over with Runaways.

the best part about Silent Interlude is that Scarlett’s already busted out and making her own escape from the Silent Castle before Snake Eyes even finds her! When she shows up on the last panel of that page, with the CLAW glider, that’s the first time they meet in the issue!

Scarlett’s no damsel in distress, she’s her own Prince Charming! SHE rescues Snake Eyes!

I just saw Larry Hama interviewed at a Con on TV, and he was just talking about he never knows the end of a story until he gets to it, and how he’s more character oriented.

Here, it’s around the 2:10 mark-

http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/1603/06/episode258.htm

What a tremendous throw in a tattoo was to that whole comic.

That’s some serious camel toe on Storm Shadow’s boot!

Prohibition showed the folly of outlawing alcohol. Image showed the folly of outlawing writers. But a writer among them would have been an alien… The 8th passenger, indeed.

The DEMO proposal isn’t on Brian Wood’s new site. Maybe you could link to the archived version I posted as a source. But happy that was useful… Surname is Coward, by the way.

I know Quesada is credited for creating NYX but I remember seeing some writers pitch for an NYX series on the internet YEARS before the actual series came out.
I always filed NYX as one of those ideas that was stolen from someone else by a higher up at a company.

And whoever said the art from that GI JOE comic was bad doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

“That’s some serious camel toe on Storm Shadow’s boot!”

Google Jika-tabi…

Why was that a “happy accident”? It sounds like it was just Larry Hama’s writing style. From the headline, I was expecting it to be “the artist made a mistake and Hama wrote it into the story,” not “Larry Hama wrote it exactly the same way he wrote the rest of the series.”

Why was that a “happy accident”?

Hama came up with backgrounds for all of the characters before he introduced them into the series (the famous file cards on the backs of the figures). The shared background between Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow wasn’t part of the original plans for the characters but ended up becoming one of the most significant aspects of the entire series (to this day, even!). And it all started by him throwing something in there without any apparent or deliberate cause, in other words, by “accident.”

“And whoever said the art from that GI JOE comic was bad doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”

Never said it was bad. Just that I don’t love it. Two different things.

But now that you mention it: that panel of Scarlett with her mouth open is butt-ugly.

It’s always easy to forget that Larry Hama (and Carl Potts) are artists too

Image Comics didn’t need any writers. :)

I loved Image Comics, what they did was revolutionary, but they were deficient in the writing department.

“But now that you mention it: that panel of Scarlett with her mouth open is butt-ugly.”

Was she supposed to look sexy when startled?

The description of NYX seems weird. ‘Aborted’, IME, is generally used for something cancelled before release, or a planned ending. But, obviously, it did come out, and if Brian Wood was making a pitch for it, it clearly didn’t have a planned ending…

I dunno, Fury! It looked like Snake Eyes was doing fine on his own! Even if she’s the one who provided the escape route! Exclamation marks rock!

The description of NYX seems weird. ‘Aborted’, IME, is generally used for something cancelled before release, or a planned ending. But, obviously, it did come out, and if Brian Wood was making a pitch for it, it clearly didn’t have a planned ending…

I believe Wood was going to follow Quesada on the book.

Hey Brian, did you ever hear about John being asked to be an Image founder? Well, according to John at least.

http://www.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=14838

Yeah, but the phrasing is odd for that.

Wood’s run was aborted, but the book itself was merely cancelled.

This is just not a context I’m used to seeing ‘aborted’ used, instead of ‘cancelled’.

And it all started by him throwing something in there without any apparent or deliberate cause, in other words, by “accident.”

I have to agree with sean here. While I get what you mean, “accident” isn’t quite the right word.

The GIJOE cover shown above and the interior art, aren’t actually from the same issue.

I believe Larry Hama did the art for the Silent Interlude story himself, (as well as that issue’s cover). Frank Springer did the interior art for issue#27.

ParanoidObsessive

March 11, 2016 at 4:07 pm

I’m kind of surprised Claremont would even consider working with Image, creator-rights or no, considering it was his issues with Jim Lee that sort of got him forced off X-Men in the first place.

If it was me, I’d probably be super-ultra pissed that they guy who essentially killed my 17-year run on a title I was clearly extremely invested in later wound up bailing less than a year later.

“It would have been interesting to see how Image’s “do comics need writers” schtick would have worked out if one of the most prominent writers in comics at the time had been a founder.”

Considering the answer to that question was pretty clearly spelled out as “Yes, yes they do” pretty early in the Image timeline, it probably wouldn’t have changed much. Unless in deference to Claremont they downplayed the ego a bit and made the sell less about “ART IS EVERYTHING” and pushed the “creator owned” angle harder.

Which could admittedly have made for an interesting scenario, if doing so had made Image seem more welcoming to writers who might have liked a piece of the same creator-owned pie. It might have spurred Image’s evolution into what it eventually turned into even sooner.

“Why was that a “happy accident”? It sounds like it was just Larry Hama’s writing style. From the headline, I was expecting it to be “the artist made a mistake and Hama wrote it into the story,” not “Larry Hama wrote it exactly the same way he wrote the rest of the series.” ”

I’d tend to agree – to me, a “happy accident” would be more something like an artist drew the tattoo on both arms by mistake, and then the writer had to go back and come up with an explanation for it later to fix the mistake (or, say, a printing error changing the color of a costume and the creative team running with it in the future, or some other unintended quick fix like that). Just putting odd little quirks or story elements into a story without knowing where you’re going with them really isn’t an accident, as much as it is a style of intuitive writing.

Granted, it’s not as common as writers plotting everything out in advance, but a lot of writers use that style. Roger Zelazny used to be famous for it – he said he rarely knew how one of his stories were going to end when he started writing them, and would often throw in little odd moments or subtle occurrences that wouldn’t be explained until hundreds of pages later (with him having no idea what they meant when he first wrote them, though). He’d introduce characters without knowing who they were or what their purpose in the story was (major plot element or simple walk-on extra?), and generally surprise himself as much as the audience when minor events or throwaway references turned out to be super-important later.

I get what Brian is trying to say, though – basically, that it’s kind of surprising that such a significant storyline wasn’t planned out in advance as much as it was an organic outgrowth from something that was originally just a minor unexplained throwaway.

I’m kind of surprised Claremont would even consider working with Image, creator-rights or no, considering it was his issues with Jim Lee that sort of got him forced off X-Men in the first place.

His issues weren’t with Lee. They were with his editor, Bob Harras, who just liked Lee’s vision of the book more. It wasn’t like Lee wanted to get rid of Claremont, he just wanted to have more control over the plot, much like when Byrne and Claremont were doing the book. Claremont didn’t begrudge Lee for wanting more control over the plot. He just didn’t want to give over said control and the editor was pushing for that, and in effect, pushing Claremont out. I don’t think Claremont even really held any sort of grudge against Harras, either, but of the two, he definitely blamed Harras at the time and not Lee.

There are many people in American superhero comics, indy comics, Manga, and European comics that can both draw and tell amazing stories. But the Image founders are not among this number, except perhaps for Erik Larsen.

Like ParanoidObsessive I’ve also wondered about the lack of bad blood between Claremont and Jim Lee. I dunno, maybe they got along well despite professional differences, and the real force behind Claremont’s exit was Harras?

I recall Wizard magazine at least one time crudely ‘shopping a Whilce Portacio headshot onto Hanz Kanalz’s body in that Image founders photo.

I met Brian Wood briefly, about 15 years ago, at a signing at Ash Avenue Comics (or it may have still been All About Comics at the time) in Tempe, AZ. He described Demo as “X-Men meets Love and Rockets,” and I think he added a self-effacing qualifier like “as strange as that sounds.”

@Dean Hacker: I’m not really sure what you meant by Marvel’s “horror line,” but technically NONE of the Marvel horror stuff from the 70s and on (at least, the original material as opposed to the many reprint titles) was “licensed properties.”

“Tomb of Dracula,” for instance, was not a licensed property. Dracula, by the time Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan developed ToD, was no longer under copyright.(in point of fact, in the US, it had fallen out of copyright when Universal released the legendary Bela Lugosi film because Stoker had failed to comply with a portion of US copyright law). That noted, however, the IMAGES of Dracula were copyrighted (in other words, the Lugosi, and even the Christopher Lee, visual styles were protected, so trying to hint at either Lugosi or Lee–or any other actor who’d portrayed Dracula–was off-limits). Since the novel was out of copyright in the US (and, actually, in the UK as well), all the characters from the novel were also fair use, and Wolfman and Colan created a number of other characters who were related to the original novel’s characters in one fashion or another, as well as purely original characters such as Blade.

“Werewolf by Night” was largely a generic werewolf story–the elements of the various films were all considered “fair use” as long as they had their origins in traditional werewolf stories. Elements that could be considered more-or-less original to a particular film or story (where the wolf is the normal state but once a month it turns into a wild, violent human–I think I read a comic that had that twist–would be a different enough change to the “traditional” tales that copyright might be invoked).

And, Marvel’s Frankenstein–that character had been out of copyright for roughly a century or so. But, Marvel’s creature was different enough that it didn’t violate any copyright (or trademark) that Universal had on the character.

John Byrne, in several of his anti-Image rants, like to say that he was approached to be an Image founder, but apparently his devotion to being a Marvel cog was too strong.
Has CBLR ever gotten to the bottom of that?

Okay, this ‘happy accident/not a happy accident’ thing has to be resolved now! I can’t let it go now! I’m leaning towards not, but I can’t find the right way to articulate it… And yet…

Yeah, I’d have to say the word “accident” isn’t accurate. Hama threw it in deliberately, to see what he could do with it. It was added spontaneously, but not accidentally. More of a sudden impulse than an accident.

Yeah, I like that! A completely spontaneous idea that eventually fuelled an idea for another great idea! A ‘random’ as the youngsters would say!

Yeah, I’d have to say the word “accident” isn’t accurate. Hama threw it in deliberately, to see what he could do with it. It was added spontaneously, but not accidentally. More of a sudden impulse than an accident.

Of course he drew the tattoos on purpose, what was “an event without a deliberate cause” was that it would reveal that Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow came from the same ninja clan and that that ninja clan would turn into the major plot device of the entire series. Accident – “an event without a deliberate cause.” The reveal that they shared the same background is the “accident” (hence that’s what the legend itself says), not the drawing of the tattoos.

But really, whatever, if you or whoever thinks that a slightly different word would be more appropriate, duly noted. I don’t. I’ve explained why I don’t. And it isn’t changing, so, well, have at it, I guess.

@JosephW:
“where the wolf is the normal state but once a month it turns into a wild, violent human–I think I read a comic that had that twist”
Only one?

I’d say accident isn’t quite the mot just, but it’s true enough for a true.

Cronin for the win!!!

Not to beat a dead horse (or any horse actually), but:

Accident – “an event without a deliberate cause.” The reveal that they shared the same background is the “accident” (hence that’s what the legend itself says), not the drawing of the tattoos.

No, it has a deliberate cause: Hama wrote them to be from the same ninja clan. He may not have had that idea in his head when he wrote and drew this issue, but he did deliberately draw them as having identical tattoos and then deliberately give them this shared background. It wasn’t as though he inadvertently drew the tattoos or inadvertently gave their ninja clans the same name — either of those could be considered accidents. But nothing was inadvertent, even if the decision to add the tattoos was spontaneous.

Of course, one could also argue that storylines in comic books don’t really qualify as events.

I:m okay with the use of “accident” to describe it. It’s true enough if imprecise. However, it should be noted that the majority of Hama’s entire run on G.I.Joe would consist of accidents as well, since it is his plotting style, i.e. letting accidents occur and going with the flow of them.

Before David Choe made all his Facebook money, he was on tap to draw Wood’s NYX. In fact, when Marvel opted to go in a different direction with the title, Choe released a memorable tirade. (Warning: NSFW language at that link.)

Additional detail here.

While I think that accident is an appropriate use, I would have described it as serendipity.

@JosephW:
“where the wolf is the normal state but once a month it turns into a wild, violent human–I think I read a comic that had that twist”

I know this my the second post on this article that starts exactly that way, but this is different I swear!

It just then suddenly occurred to me by accident… I mean, serendipity… or coincidence… or irony…
Anyway – I think the first place I ever ran into that particular trope was in an issue of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew; they called it a ‘wuz-wolf’, iirc. Could that be what you refer to?

One licensed property that did extremely well for Marvel was Star Wars. The ongoing monthly started by adapting the film and was released before the movie. After that, collected editions of the movie adaptation did very well and the ongoing title was a consistent best-seller for it’s first six years of it’s run, not really losing steam until about a year after Return of the Jedi.

I might be wrong, but I think Shooter even credited Star Wars with saving Marvel from bankruptcy, in the 70s.

He intentionally wanted to foreshadow (although not fleshed out) yet and develop a connection; so drew it in as impetus..
How is it an “accident,” if it was intentional?

Le Messor, the Captain Carrot story wasn’t exactly like that: the Wuz-Wolf manifests out of the victim’s rage rather than moonlight.

There’s a story in the first Beasts of Burden collection where the canine protagonists discover a strange puppy that turns into a boy when the moon changes, though that’s not an exact fit either.

I just spoke to Claremont in February at the amazing arizona comic con.
I actually brought my Huntsman Wildcats comics to be signed.

And while talking to him, he did say that there was a plan to have an ongoing of the Huntsman with Marc Silvestri!! But that deal fell apart. He wouldn’t go into details about it.

So you now… this seems more TRUE than FALSE.

And while talking to him, he did say that there was a plan to have an ongoing of the Huntsman with Marc Silvestri!! But that deal fell apart. He wouldn’t go into details about it.

There might have been plans to have a Huntsman ongoing series, but clearly AFTER Cyberforce, as Cyberforce existed before Silvestri even joined Image. So I think that gives it more credence towards him NOT being a “founding” member of Image.

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