Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-fifth 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 thirty-four. This week, was Magneto originally going to be the villain in Bloodties? Was there nearly an Asian Batgirl BEFORE Cassandra Cain? Finally, how close did we come to a Waid/Wieringo Aquaman series?
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: Magneto was originally going to be the main villain of BloodTies.
STATUS: Just False Enough for a False
This is an interesting legend in that it ties in with two different topical issues. First, the 50th anniversary of the Avengers and X-Men and second, DC’s recent problems with their 3-D covers for Villain’s Month.
Back in 1993, at the THIRTIETH anniversary of the X-Men and Avengers, Marvel had a crossover between the two titles titled Bloodties.
It basically revolved around Cortez, a disgraced member of Magneto’s Acolytes, kidnapping Magneto’s daughter and trying to cause a civil war in Genosha. Meanwhile, Exodus, the new leader of Magneto’s Acolytes, wants to get in there to both kill Cortez for being a traitor AND Luna for disgracing Magneto’s bloodline by being “only” human. Obviously, since Luna is Magneto’s granddaughter and since her parents are the Avenger Crystal and the former Avenger and then X-Factor member Quicksilver, both the Avengers and the X-Men get involved.
However, earlier in 1993, there were drawings for the final Avengers cover, which ultimately featured Exodus…
that seemed to suggest that at first that it was MAGNETO who was going to be the main villain in Bloodties!
So did Bloodties change at the last second?
I asked artist Steve Epting and he explained that no, Bloodties was not changed. In fact, Steve went above and beyond the call of duty and actually went and got his original scripts for the series to see if any changes had been made. They had not.
The issue, instead, was the lead time that it took to produce the foil covers for the story. Just like how DC needed a lot of lead time for their 3-D covers, Marvel began work on the foil covers for Bloodties before they even had a firm plot in place for Bloodties!
Obviously, once they came up with the plot for Fatal Attraction (which ended up with a mind-wiped Magneto)….
Bloodties was written withOUT Magneto, so Epting’s cover had to be adapted to put Exodus in there.
So it’s a tricky one, as technically one version of the story DID have Magneto in it, but the plans were SO preliminary that I don’t think it is fair to say that Magneto was ever part of Bloodties, as Bloodties as a story couldn’t really exist until Fatal Attractions had been settled (as the editor of the X-Men titles, Bob Harras, was also the writer of Avengers, so it wasn’t like he’d be writing his own story without knowing what was going on with the X-Books).
Thanks a lot to Steve Epting for the awesome information and for going way above and beyond in checking the story out!
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On the next page, did John Byrne come up with the idea for an Asian Batgirl first?
COMIC LEGEND: John Byrne pitched an Asian Batgirl a year before Cassandra Cain was introduced.
Cassandra Cain was the second Batgirl (well, third, if you count Huntress) and she had a long-running series in the early 2000s…
However, amazingly enough, years earlier, John Byrne had ALSO pitched an Asian teenager as Batgirl!
JohnByrneDraws has the story here:
Byrne essentially explained that he learned that in some Asian cultures the bat is considered a symbol of good luck. So he thought it might make sense to have an Asian teen become a new Batgirl. He sent Denny O’Neil the following suggestion sketch…
Thanks to JohnByrneDraws for the sketch!
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving Batman spinoff characters!
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Can you imagine a Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo Aquaman?
The pairing who were so amazing on Flash almost had a chance to do the same with Aquaman, as Waid was given the chance to pitch DC on an Aquaman series back in 2003.
Waid helpfully shared the pitch with readers as an example of a pitch at John Rogers’ site a few years back.
Check it out…
Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo
Preliminary Pitch for a One-Shot/August 3, 2003
I am so sick of people making fun of Aquaman that I’m beginning to take it personally. For the last ten years or so, the way we’ve been scrambling to combat Aquaman’s “Dork of the Sea” image–and I’ve been guilty of trying this, too–is by making Aquaman increasingly darker, grittier, and tougher, the brooding, angry king beset with trouble. Each incarnation of the character seems grimmer than the last, to the point where all that’s left for us to do is give him two hooks. And a peg-leg.
Yes, the seas can be turbulent and stormy, but y’know what? Far more often, the ocean is a universal symbol for peace and contentment. It’s a calming influence. If it weren’t, Bermuda would be deserted and Hawaii would be an industrial trade port. It is most people’s “happy place.” Yes, the ocean is the set piece for “A Perfect Storm,” but it’s also the world of “Finding Nemo” and “The Little Mermaid.” I have never yet met anyone of any age who didn’t come away from Sea World envying the guides who swim with the whales and porpoises. I propose we turn this “grim Aquaman” paradigm around for a one-shot and see what happens.
Our POV character in this story is a female marine biologist–and since Aquaman’s turf covers the world, there’s no need to make her American. (In fact, Russian is preferable–I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the culture of Russian courtship, and that could really play in nicely.) At any rate, our biologist–let’s call her Yelena for now–may have heard the name “Aquaman” here and there, but to her, he’s about as real and significant as, say, German football stars are to you and me.
Yelena’s work is done with grungy old equipment and spit-and-bailing-wire technology, the best she has to work with. Her whole world has a gritty feel to it– –so when this bright, blond, shining knight of a man pops out of the water and into her life, she’s addled simply by the contrast. Their paths cross, and she’s drawn into an Aquaman adventure that takes us out on (and under) the water.
Yelena’s not reluctant. To Yelena, this “Aquaman” is, yes, mysterious like the sea–but in a warm, enticing way. To Yelena, he is otherworldly, like a fairy tale character come to life. He rarely speaks (though when he does, he’s staggeringly charming), he lives in the water, and he smiles. Constantly. In fact, at first, Yelena has a nearly impossible time taking him seriously. He’s like a walking cartoon.
And yet…the more she gets to know him, the further she’s drawn out of her world and into his, she’ll come to realize that there’s something going on behind those wide eyes of his. Looking in them, she sees peace and confidence; looking through them, she’s gradually introduced to an underwater world of absolute wonder, a place that is far more colorful and in tune with nature than is her own gritty lifestyle. Once she surrenders to the implausibility of it all, she’s rewarded a thousandfold, and so are we. Aquaman’s joy becomes her joy becomes our joy.
There will be no mocking. NO jokes about how “dumb” talking to fish is. Anyone with a keyboard can make cynical jokes. That’s easy. What’s harder is reminding you why, when you were a kid, you thought the idea of living underwater or riding on the backs of whales WAS cool. We can do that. We can remind you, and Yelena’s awed voice will be there to back us up.
Here’s a drawing Wieringo did to go along with the pitch…
Doesn’t that sound like a great series?
Sadly, the editor Waid was pitching to didn’t think so (I believe Waid later noted that it was Wieringo’s art, oddly enough, that was specifically at issue).
Since Wieringo tragically passed away back in 2007, we’ll sadly never see this series.
Thanks to Mark for sharing the awesome pitch, though!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did the pop song “Dream Weaver” really inspire Wes Craven to create Nightmare on Elm Street?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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