Welcome to the five hundred and sixty-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, was Luke Cage as the last man on Earth originally going to be the star of Marvel Zombies? Who was “Barry Allen” going to be revealed as during the original version of “The Return of Barry Allen”? Finally, is the Justice League cartoon adaptation of “For the Man Who Had Everything” really the only adaptation of his work that Alan Moore liked?
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: Luke Cage as the last man on Earth was going to be the star of the original Marvel Zombies until Robert Kirkman saw that Cage was already a zombie in the Ultimate Fantastic Four story arc introducing the Marvel Zombies.
In the Ultimate Fantastic Four #21, Mark Millar, Greg Land and Matt Ryan did “Crossover,” where it appears as though the Ultimate Reed Richards has connected with the Reed Richards from the main Marvel Universe. However, instead we learn that Reed has been tricked by ZOMBIE Reed Richards!
Marvel liked the idea so much that AS Millar was writing the issues, they sought out pitches for a mini-series spinning the Marvel Zombies out into their own series.
Robert Kirkman was the writer for the series (with Sean Phillips as the artist) and they ended up having the zombies themselves star in the book, with Luke Cage being a prominent member of the small group of zombified Marvel heroes who star in the book…
However, initially, Kirkman’s idea for the series would be that it starred the HUMAN Luke Cage!
He told Marvel Spotlight back in 2007:
It took a look time for it to even occur to me that the book could be about the zombies. So there was a long time where I was pitching stuff that was…not that good I guess? It was standard zombie stuff like “Luke Cage Against the World.” A lot of people online complained, “Luke Cage can’t be a zombie! He has unbreakable skin! And I agree with that, but when I was working Marvel Zombies pitches, Mark Millar’s Ulimate Fantastic Four scripts would say, “Human Torch is being chased by the Marvel Zombies” or whatever. He would pick out certain characters for certain things, but for the most part when he mentioned the zombies it would be as a pack; “the Marvel Zombies do this, the Marvel Zombies do that.” And so without seeing the art, I didn’t know who was a zombie and who wasn’t. So then we discovered Greg Land drawing Luke Cage pretty prominently and that killed that idea.
Cage does show up early in Ultimate Fantastic Four #22…
I just love that sort of, “D’oh!” feeling that comes with having the character you intend to use show up already a zombie.
As Kirkman later noted to Marvel Spotlight, it wasn’t like Marvel loved the idea anyways, so maybe it wouldn’t have mattered.
Thanks to Robert Kirkman and Marvel Spotlight for the information!
Check out some recent entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:
Did Gram Parsons Really Write the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”?
COMIC LEGEND: In the original version of “The Return of Barry Allen,” “Barry Allen” was going to be revealed to be Bart Allen!
“The Return of Barry Allen” was an epic storyline by Mark Waid where he had “Barry Allen” return to show how Wally West truly belonged to be THE Flash…
After everyone is thrilled to have Barry back, Barry begins to act more and more erratically. Eventually, Wally figures out the truth…
Wally ends up winning the day and solidifying his place as the Flash, and fans all realized how awesome Mark Waid was.
However, as reader Duggy noted, originally the “Barry Allen” in the story was going to be someone else entirely – BART ALLEN!
Bart Allen, the hero known as Impulse, debuted in Flash #92 by Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo…
That is true, however, in a sort of circuitous way.
I asked Mark Waid about it, and he explained that originally the idea for “The Return of Barry Allen” was an idea he had for his stint as the main writer on Justice League International Quarterly. If you haven’t read Waid’s JLIQ stories, you really should hunt them down. They’re excellent. Especially his first one from #5, “Be Careful What You Wish For.”
And yes, in this original idea for the story, which would have been just one long story in JLIQ, Barry would turn out to be Bart Allen. However, soon after the idea came to Waid, he was given the chance to take on the Flash ongoing series, so he dropped the idea for JLIQ and it morphed into his first epic storyline on the Flash ongoing series.
And we’re all the better for it!
Thanks to Duggy for the suggestion and thanks to Mark Waid for the information – and for just writing a kick ass Flash and JLIQ, in general.
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Which original Grey’s Anatomy cast member was added to the pilot through CGI?
On the next page, was the Justice League Unlimited version of “For the Man Who Has Everything” the only adaptation of his work that Alan Moore actually LIKED?
COMIC LEGEND: The Justice League Unlimited adaptation of “For The Man Who Has Everything” was the only adaptation of his work that Alan Moore ever said he liked.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
A while back, reader Adam F. wrote in to ask about a legend involving Alan Moore and his classic story (with artist Dave Gibbons), “For the Man Who Has Everything” (soon to be adapted to a Supergirl episode this Monday!):
Here’s something that’s bothered me for a while: Whenever an adapation of Alan Moore’s work is discussed, people will say that the only thing he liked is the Justice League episode of “For The Man Who Has Everything” but I’m not sure that’s true.
I won’t speak to whether Alan Moore liked OTHER works, as I’m not sure about that (so the legend could be false just on that regard), but just whether Moore is on the record as to liking the Justice League episode.
As Adam guessed, the issue is that people have transformed Bruce Timm saying Alan Moore APPROVED the adaptation, telephone game style (like so many legends over the years) into “Alan Moore approved of the adaptation.”
As Timm noted before it came out:
“I wasn’t going to do the show if he wasn’t comfortable with us doing it,” Timm said. “And he said, ‘Oh yes, I would be honored if you would adapt that for your show.’
“So that was great. And hopefully, he’ll still feel that way once the show’s done. I think he’ll like it.”
dave gibbons sent me a nice email, he found it very enjoyable overall, thought it was a successful adaptation, understood why we changed the things we did….i’ve not heard from mr. moore yet, so i don’t know if that’s good or bad :sweat:…hopefully he liked it….we may never know….
I haven’t seen anything from Timm since then saying Moore approved it, and I doubt we ever will (although Timm did then add that Moore asked for a copy of the episode when he gave his approval for the story being adapted, so, as Timm notes, Moore did show SOME interest in the episode). So I believe this is firmly a case of the telephone game changing “Moore approved the adaptation” to “Moore approved OF the adaptation.”
Thanks to Adam for the suggestion and thanks to Bruce Timm for the info!
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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