Welcome to the four hundred and twelfth 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 eleven. This week, learn of the aborted X-Men wedding that almost took place outside of the pages of X-Men! Discover whether the Falcon was ever actually a pimp (and what was Steve Englehart’s original plan for the Falcon?)! Finally, was a worker seriously fired for posting a Dilbert comic strip at work?
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: Cyclops and Jean Grey were originally going to get married in the pages of X-Factor.
It was 1990 and things were changing dramatically in the X-Office. It was soon becoming evident that Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio would be given the reins of the X-Men books, Portacio with Uncanny X-Men and Lee with a brand-new X-Men title.
Before he took over Uncanny X-Men, though, Portacio had a short run on X-Factor, co-plotting and penciling the title. I guess he wanted to make his short run memorable, because his plan for X-Factor #66 was to have Jean Grey and Scott Summers get married (It is worth noting that don’t actually know the exact date that it was determined that he’d move from X-Factor to Uncanny, so perhaps when he began his run on X-Factor he didn’t know it was only going to be five or so issues and maybe he thought it was going to be longer)
The plan was to have Apoclaypse and the Marauders crash the happy union. The future Askani clan would be introduced in the story, as well.
However, Marvel’s then Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco soon stepped in and suggested that such an event really should take place in the pages of X-Men, and since Portacio was taking over Uncanny X-Men ANYways, the event should be moved to that title (heck, perhaps this was when they decided that Portacio would GET Uncanny X-Men in the first place!).
So instead, Portacio’s plot was adjusted (with help by writer Chris Claremont) to the story that eventually saw print, which turned out to be a major storyline in X-Factor #65-68 where Cyclops’ son, Nathan, was sent into the future with the Askani clan, who did end up being part of the plot (Nathan would eventually became Cable). The Askani plot, though, was going to happen no matter what.
Here is all that is left from that original plot, Portacio and Jackson Guice’s cover for X-Factor #66 (printed in Marvel Vision #19, with the “Greatest Comics Never Seen” part added in…
Of course, Jean and Scott ended up getting married in X-Men #30 three years later
…two years after Portacio had left the X-books to help co-found Image Comics.
Check out some Entertainment and Sports Urban Legends Revealed!
Did the Star-Spangled Banner Have An Extra Verse Added During the Civil War?
On the next page, was the Falcon really once a pimp?
COMIC LEGEND: Steve Englehart was going to reveal that the Red Skull’s revelations about the Falcon were a lie.
STATUS: Essentially False
This is a two-for-one!
Captain America #186 has one of the most controversial retcons in Marvel Comics history, where we learn that Captain America’s partner, the Falcon, was actually a former crook who the Red Skull had used the Cosmic Cube to make into Cap’s perfect partner, all for the purpose of eventually having the Falcon turn on his friend at a key moment…
First off, I often see this referred to the revelation that the Falcon was a pimp. Especially in coverage of the upcoming Captain America sequel with Anthony Mackie as the Falcon. There are a bunch of articles mentioning how Mackie’s Falcon will not have the pimp background. However, if you look at the comic, the Falcon is pretty clearly NOT a pimp. Check it out…
Not only is he never referred to as a pimp, it is clear that he is just working for the mob. He dresses in clothes that might be stereotypically viewed as “pimp clothing,” but the context makes it clear that he is not, in fact, a pimp. LATER writers might have decided that he was a pimp during his time as “Snap” Wilson, but it sure did not appear from the actual text.
Anyhow, this leads to the main question, sent in by reader Jim S., who wanted to know if it was true that Englehart had planned to reveal that the Red Skull’s Falcon revelation was, itself, a ruse, but since Englehart left Captain America with the following issue (with John Warner taking over), he never got a chance to reveal it. The simple answer is no, but Englehart explained to me it was a bit more complex than that…
I came up with that as a jumping off point for John. Many people have asked “Was it true?” and the answer “We, including me, would have found out.” This was one of those things I did where I toss an idea into a story and then see where it takes me. If I’d been the writer, we might have found out that it was true, or we might have found out that it was all a mind-fuck by the Skull, or we might have discovered some third or fourth solution — but I would not know until I ran with it for a while. Since I was not the writer and didn’t run, I have no idea, and when John had trouble keeping up with his writing, the whole thing ended up going nowhere.
Thanks to Jim for the question and thanks to Steve for the always valuable insight!
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to Steve Englehart!
What character did Englehart bring with him to MULTIPLE comic book companies after leaving Marvel?
On the next page, was a worker really fired for posting a Dilbert comic strip at work?
I’ve had a few people ask me about this over the years. It happened back in 2007, when Catfish Bend Casinos in Fort Madison, Iowa announced plans to close down the casino and let go of the 150 employees at the casino. David Steward had worked at the casino in security for about seven years. After the announcement, Steward posted the following Dilbert comic strip on the office bulletin board…
Management was quite offended and after checking the survellience tapes, they discovered that it was Steward who posted the strip. They fired him a few days later. The casino’s HR director noted, “Basically, he was accusing the decision-makers of being drunken lemurs. We consider that misconduct when you insult your employer.”
Steward countered that he thought it would cheer people up.
Not only was Steward fired, but the company then denied him unemployment benefits over the incident. An administrative judge eventually ruled in Steward’s favor, deciding that the incident was an error in judgment and not intentional misbehavior.
Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams clearly got a kick out of the incident, including the part about how Steward was, in effect, found not liable due to “stupidity.”
He did a week’s worth of strips on the incident in 2008. Here are a couple of them…
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Was Toy Story 2 Accidentally Almost Entirely Deleted a Year Into Production?
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!