Welcome to the four hundred and eleventh 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 ten. This week, what future member of the X-Men was created due to a mix-up between two X-Men writers who both had plans for the same character? Was Victor Fox really DC’s accountant when he decided to start his own company? And what’s he deal with hairless Wolverine?
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: Was Lady Mastermind invented because two X-Men writers were using the first female Mastermind at the same time?
In the mid-1990s Wolverine/Gambit mini-series, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale introduced a new character…
she was then revealed to be the daughter of and successor to the X-Men villain Mastermind…
Fast forward a few years and Joe Casey has taken over writing Uncanny X-Men while Chris Claremont was given his own title, X-Treme X-Men.
Both Casey and Claremont work Mastermind into their story arcs. However, this was not communicated to both writers so when they realized what had happened, someone needed to change their story. Likely deciding he didn’t want to lose ANOTHER character to an editorial mix-up (more on that one in a later edition of CBLR!) Claremont instead invented a SECOND daughter of Mastermind named Regan who was LADY Mastermind!
So Casey had Mastermind in his X-Corps story…
While Claremont had Lady Mastermind in his own…
Mike Carey later made Lady Mastermind a member of the X-Men (it was short-lived. She is a villain at heart). And she only existed because of a continuity mix-up! Hilarious!
Thanks to reader Chris C. for the suggestion and thanks to Joe Casey for the confirmation!
Check out some Entertainment and Sports Urban Legends Revealed!
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On the next page, learn whether DC Comics’ accountant really formed his own company after seeing how well DC was doing with Superman in Action Comics!
The most famous story about Victor Fox, the comic book publisher of the 1940s, was that he was working for National Comics (what became DC Comics) as an accountant and he saw the sales figures on Action Comics starring Superman and he then went off and started his own comic book company based on the sales.
The late Joe Simon (who worked for Fox a lot in those early days) told the story this way:
He was an accountant for DC Comics. He was doing the sales figures and he liked what he saw. So, he moved downstairs and started his own company…. I happened to get a job; I went over to Fox and became editor there, which was just an impossible job, because … there were no artists, no writers, no editors, no letterers — nothing there. Everything came out of the Eisner and Iger shop. … He was a very strange character. He had kind of a British accent; he was like 5’2″, told us he was a former ballroom dancer. He was very loud, menacing, and really a scary little guy. He used to say, ‘I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics.’ We couldn’t stop him”.
One of Fox’s first hits was the Blue Beetle…
My buddy Christopher Irving, though, was doing research for his book about the Blue Beetle, the Blue Beetle Companion, and he discovered that the whole story was hooey. Fox was not working as an accountant for DC Comics when he started Fox Comics.
In fact, he NEVER worked for DC. What he DID do was do an Astrology magazine that was distributed by Independent News, the same distributor that did DC’s comics. It was through that distributor that he learned of how well DC Comics was doing with superhero comics and the REST of the story is basically true.
Really simple stuff and yet it has remained an accepted story for years!
Thanks to Chris for the awesome research! Go buy Blue Beetle Companion!
In addition, Ken Quattro had a piece on his amazing website the Comic Book Detectives where he has the full transcripts of the testimony in the lawsuit DC filed against Victor Fox for his Superman rip-off Wonder Man…
And they make it clear that Fox did not work for DC Comics, as well.
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did Martin Luther King REALLY keep Nichelle Nichols from quitting Star Trek after the first season?
On the next page, did Marvel really have a weird rule that Wolverine could not have hair on his arms when in costume?
Wolverine was handled fairly oddly early on, when things were just being figured out about the X-Men characters.
When introduced, Wolverine had no hair on his arms…
However, when Dave Cockrum drew him out of the costume….
But later in that same issue (X-Men #98), when Wolverine put the costume on, the hair disappears!
That was the original status quo. Wolverine essentially had “bare arm colored” sleeves.
When John Byrne took over the title, he was required to keep up with that “rule.”
However, George Perez then drew the cover to X-Men #112…
And you better believe Byrne looked at that and said, “Okay, open season!”
And sure enough, two issues later, the cover had one thing…
and the interiors matched…
Of course, this began a bit of a downward spiral of Wolverine hairiness…
I love weird little rules like that (“He can have hair outside the costume but not in it!”).
Thanks to John Byrne for telling this story over at his message board a few years back!
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to Wolverine!
Did an ethnic slur accidentally make its way into an issue of Wolverine?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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See you all next week!