Welcome to the four hundred and seventy-seventh 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 seventy-six. This week, was Madrox originally going to be a member of the All-New, All-Different X-Men? Was the story of the All-New, All-Different X-Men originally going to continue in the pages of Giant-Size X-Men? Did Don Rosa hide insulting portrayals of Mickey Mouse in his comics?
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: Len Wein originally intended to make Madrox a member of the All-New, All-Different X-Men.
Coming a few months before Giant-Size X-Men #1 and the introduction of the All-New, All-Different X-Men, Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 introduced Madrox the Multiple Man (who we learned last week was originally going to be called Zerox the Multiple Man!) and ended the issue with Madrox being taken in by Professor X of the X-Men.
So Professor X takes him but when it came time to debut a new team of X-Men, Madrox was nowhere to be found…
Reader Third Man wrote into the comments to ask:
Brian- I emailed you a few years back about another legend involving Madrox’s first appearance, and how he was (allegedly) also set to appear in Giant Size X-Men #1 before being left out. I’d love to see that one featured!
The issue turns on the fact that while Giant-Size X-Men #1 came out after Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4, Len Wein and Dave Cockrum had been working on the book since 1974, developing characters for the new X-Men team (with help from Roy Thomas, who was the one who came up with the idea of doing an international X-Men team in the first place). When I asked Len about whether he ever considered Madrox for the X-Men, he said not at all and he noted that he had already developed the X-Men before he invented Madrox. So Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 ended up PUBLISHED before Giant-Size X-Men #1, but the characters for Giant-Size had already been set before Wein got around to creating Madrox the Multiple Man.
Thanks for information, Len and thanks for the question, Third Man!
Check out the latest TV Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Did the Golden Girls originally begin as a joke by NBC?
On the next page, were the All-New, All-Different X-Men originally going to continue starring in Giant-Size X-Men?
COMIC LEGEND: The All-New, All-Different X-Men originally were going to continue to star in Giant-Size X-Men.
X-Men #95 opens with a classic splash page of the X-Men falling to seemingly their doom…
However, amazingly enough, originally that splash page was not part of the issue. That was because X-Men #95 was initially not going to exist! Well, at least not as an original issue of X-Men. You see, initially, the plan with the All-New, All-Different X-Men was that Len Wein and Dave Cockrum would continue the series in the pages of Giant-Size X-Men…
In fact, check out the last page of Giant-Size X-Men #1…
See? The NEXT ISSUE. Not “In X-Men #94.”
However, the Giant-Size titles were not doing particularly well so Marvel decided to discontinue the lesser-selling ones (and eventually all of them). Wein had the time to do a quarterly (barely, as he was extremely busy since he was Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief at the time) but when they decided to make it a regular bi-monthly title, he had to give it up. So Dave Cockrum drew a few new pages and Chris Claremont, who was scripting the series from Wein’s plots and who took over the series entirely with #96, added work as well to make the story make sense as a two-parter instead of a single issue.
It’s hard to imagine how well the book would have done had it remained just a quarterly Giant-Size title.
Thanks to Len Wein and Peter Sanderson for the information about this change from The X-Men Companion. Thanks to commenter Cerebro for sharing a quote from an interview between Claremont and the always insightful Tom DeFalco that explained why they dropped the Giant-Size format.
On the next page, check out how Don Rosa gives Mickey Mouse a bit of a hard time in his comics…
COMIC LEGEND: Don Rosa would hide mocking portrayals of Mickey Mouse in his comics.
Following in the footsteps of last week’s story about Jim Balent hiding cats on every cover of his Catwoman run and the previous week’s story of Todd McFarlane hiding spiders on his Amazing Spider-Man covers, I thought that it would be interesting to look at another recurring hidden gag, only this time we’ll look at one that the people publishing the comics were not always a fan of!
Don Rosa is the legendary writer and artist who wrote many classic Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics, including the award-winning Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
Rosa was never a fan of Mickey Mouse, noting:
As for me ever doing a Mickey Mouse story, there’s no chance of that. There’s no reason for me to do. I am totally apathetic toward the character as being simpy a cute configuration of lines. There’s no personality. Sure, in the hands of another Barks, Mickey would become a WONDERFUL character. Look at what he did with Donald… all he got from Disney was a slapstick hothead who threw walnuts at Chip n’ Dale. What Dell/Barks did with the character is a micracle. I’ll be glad to do a Mickey Mouse story after someone else writes and draws classic Mickey comics for 25 years and gets me interested in those cute ink lines.
So Rosa began sneaking Mickey Mouse cameos into his comics, but the cameos were decidedly unkind to the mouse.
To wit, in this story where young Scrooge fights off claim jumpers on his claim…
check out who is one of the knocked out claim jumpers…
Occasionally, Rosa’s American editors would edit his comics to try to edit out the shots at Mickey.
For instance, check out Mickey being squashed on the foot of the elephant on the left…
in the American version, the foot is darkened so that you can barely see that Mickey is on the foot…
In this story, Mickey is injured in destruction of a museum…
In the American version, the establishing shot of Mickey is edited out so that the shot of him injured isn’t clearly Mickey…
Over the years, Rosa’s “Hidden Mickeys” have come to be less harsh and more just amusing little easter eggs, like a cactus shaped like Mickey, stuff like that. Like here, with a few planets in alignment to look like Mickey…
Here’s a great list of more Hidden Mickeys.
Thanks to the Don Rosa wiki for the information!