Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-sixth 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-five. This week, was Kitty Pryde invented as part of a whole new team of X-Men? Was Helena Bertinelli as Huntress saved from extinction by Chuck Dixon? Finally, in what odd way did Charlie Brown’s first home run come about?
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: Kitty Pryde was originally going to be part of a brand-new team of X-Men
STATUS: True Enough for a True
Since this month is the 50th Anniversary of the X-Men, I figured I’d do an X-Men related legend.
This one goes back to the early 1980s, when Chris Claremont and John Byrne were working on X-Men together. Then Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter, decided that the pair should highlight the school aspect of the X-Men more. The school part of the X-Men had really not been a big part of the book since the X-Men had “graduated” in the late 1960s but Claremont and Byrne were game. First off, they intended to have Professor Xavier training Jean Grey in her new Phoenix powers to get the school idea into the book but then Byrne came up with the idea of adding a new team of younger mutants who would be students at Xavier’s with the notion being that when they “graduated” they would become members of the X-Men.
Eventually Shooter turned down the idea because he felt it sounded too much like the Legion of Substitute Heroes, but one of the mutants invented for this idea, Kitty Pryde, ended up joining the team in X-Men #129.
The other mutants intended for the team were Willie Evans, from the then-classic (now a woefully underrated story) Fantastic Four #203…
and another new mutant known as Caliban…
Unrelated to the other mutant known as Caliban who eventually was added to the title…
While it was squelched in 1980, obviously this idea was pretty much the exact idea behind New Mutants a couple of years later, right down to the concept of them wearing the old X-Men uniforms…
Thanks to Michael T. Anderson for the information about these Substitute X-Men. Check out his site here for even more information about the idea.
Check out some Entertainment and Sports Urban Legends Revealed!
Did England Once Try to Arrest the Creator of a Pseudonym for Stories He Didn’t Write?
COMIC LEGEND: DC was going to reboot the Huntress character before Chuck Dixon decided to use her in the pages of Detective Comics.
STATUS: Basically False
Mark H. wrote in a while back to ask:
I am a big fan of the Helena Bertinelli version of the Huntress. After her solo series ended, (1990) I believe she kicked around with the Justice League for a bit, but Chuck Dixon is credited with “reintroducing” her and bringing her into the Batman family in Detective #652 (1992) (I think, or thereabouts). I can’t remember where I read this, but somewhere I read Chuck Dixon saying that Helena Bertinelli was going to be scrapped, and a different new version of the Huntress character was going to be introduced, before he asked if he could use her in the Batman books. He went on to have her starring in the Robin series (1993), then her own mini (1994), and she’s been a great supporting player ever since, but I’d be really intrigued to hear if you can find out the story there, was she really going to be rebooted? Had DC got as far as a new character/concept or was it just an idea they were kicking around?
Like most legends, Mark, the answer is “Close, but not exactly.” I asked Chuck Dixon about it, and he helpfully responded that he had inquired about using Huntress in Detective Comics and his editors then suggested that DIXON reboot the character, but Dixon wanted to use the Helena Bertinelli version, so DC gave him approval and he added her to Detective Comics (along with artist Graham Nolan, who eventually redesigned her costume)…
and then basically saved the character and made her the awesome character she was for years.
So it is true that, in a fashion, Dixon DID save her from being rebooted, but not really. There were no active plans to reboot her.
Thanks to Mark for the question and thanks so much to Chuck Dixon for the reply!
Speaking of Chuck Dixon (which we just were), he has a new novel out called Bad Times, it’s about a group of Army Rangers who have to travel into the past to rescue some scientists. Sounds good!
Check it out here.
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving Chuck Dixon!
Were Chuck Dixon and Butch Guice in the middle of a movie adaptation when they learned that the company that they were working for didn’t have the rights to adapt the comic?
COMIC LEGEND: Charlie Brown’s first home run came about in the reverse order than you’d expect.
A few months back, I wrote about the legend that Charlie Brown’s team never won a baseball game (they did).
However, what’s even more interesting than Charlie Brown hit a game-winning home run in 1993 is HOW the home run came about. Readers Ted Craig and Jim both wrote in to mention it and it is pretty cool.
The creator of Peanuts, the legendary Charles Schulz, just started drawing a panel of Charlie Brown doing a somersault…
And he thought to himself, “What would make Charlie Brown so happy?”
And then he came up with the idea of Charlie Brown hitting a game-winning home run…
Isn’t that neat? And isn’t it interesting that we know this because Schulz was interviewed about the home run by the New York Times in 1993? Yes, Charlie Brown hitting a home run was big enough news that within days of him hitting it the Times had a piece about the event! You know your characters have made an impact when something like THAT happens!
Thanks to Jim and Ted for the sugestion and thanks to Schulz and James Barron for the info!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Was an Episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation Never Filmed Because it Featured Gay Crew Members?
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 email@example.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…
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See you all next week!