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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #161

by  in Comic News Comment

This is the one-hundred and sixty-first in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and sixty. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Like the Spanish Inquisition, some things you just never expect…like an all-Dazzler theme week!!!!

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jim Shooter wrote a Dazzler film treatment working in roles for Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, KISS, Robin Williams, Donna Summer, the Village People and both Michael McKean and David Lander!

STATUS: True

With the amount of information that I have already featured on the fact that Dazzler was originally meant to be a tie-in with Casablanca Records, you would think that I had exhausted all the information there was on the subject. I know I sure thought that to be the case.

So I was quite shocked when, in response to a question on the subject, Jim Shooter graciously let me in on an amazing piece of information that I had never heard before – that the Dazzler character was first intended to be featured in an animated film, and the film was to feature all the artists that Casablanca had under contract!

Here is Shooter describing the situation:

The Marvel brass wanted a treatment done over the weekend. The Casablanca people wanted to use many of the people they had under contract, including Donna Summer, Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, Lenny and Squiggy, Robin Williams, the Village People, Kiss and more as the voices of the characters. They told me “hire anyone you want” to write the treatment. Our film/TV agent suggested Harlan Ellison. Fat chance I could get H.E. up to speed and get him to write something in four days. I considered my options and decided that it was me or nobody — I’d be the hero or the goat. I delivered as requested. Treatment atached, OPR-scanned from the original. The Casablanca people said, and I quote, “F**k half-hour animated special, this is a feature film.”

Shooter then even more graciously supplied me with the actual film treatment, which is far too awesome to post here in its entirety, but as you can imagine, a story that needs to find roles to spotlight the qualities of Donna Summer, Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, Lenny and Squiggy, Robin Williams, the Village People and Kiss, while also guest-starring Spider-Man and the Avengers (not to mention introduce us to Dazzler) is going to be quite “out there,” and this story is no exception!

I will give you a small taste of the awesomeness:

Cut to the throne room of the Witch Queen. Dewey reports that the captives have escaped! It must be the doing of the Queen of Fire: He suggests an all-out confrontation, the Witch Queen herself should lead her Dreadknights and her army into a final vengeful battle. She agrees.

Meanwhile, Howe is advising the Queen of Fire similarly, to gather with her troops and her Stompers in No Man’s Land to settle with the Witch Queen for once and for all.

Far-out, no?

Here is the cast list:

Cher, as the Witch Queen.
Donna Summer, as the Queen of Fire.
KISS, as the Dreadknights.
Robin Williams, as Tristan.
Rodney Dangerfield, as Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe, and as Lord Chaos,
The Village People, as the Stompers.
Lenny and Squiggy, as the Jesters.

Pretty amazing, eh?

Shooter went on to note that later on (as noted in this previous installment), Bo Derek was attached to the project based on his film treatment, but it all ended up falling apart. However, before it did, Shooter noted that she was interested enough that there is a cover of People featuring the star with a pile of Marvel Comics, and, you know what? There is!


Click on the image to enlarge the awesomeness!

Thanks so much to Jim Shooter, for absolutely blowing my mind with all the info he laid upon me. It’s rare that I have no idea what to expect from an answer, but this sure was one of those occasions!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Chris Claremont and John Byrne had some involvement in the creation/design of Dazzler

STATUS: False

This one has been debunked quite a few times, but it still comes up often. In fact, just recently, Wikipedia had Claremont and Byrne down as the co-creators of Dazzler.


Also, just recently, on Byrne’s forum, a poster was confused that Byrne did not at least design Dazzler’s costume.

Byrne informed the poster of what happened, which we know from previous Urban Legend installments (like this one and this one), that Byrne and Claremont had the character forced upon them after she had been created and her costume already designed, and in fact, the end result ended up extending the two-part Kitty Pryde introduction to a THREE-part story. It is quite a testament to the talents of Claremont and Byrne on Uncanny X-Men at the time that they integrated the character (who was created mostly by committee, with the costume being designed by John Romita Jr.) into the book as thought the pair HAD come up with the character on their own, so it is certainly reasonable enough for the confusion.

But it’s not the case!

Thanks to, well, I guess the previous installments for this info, but also to John Byrne for laying the facts out on his forum awhile back.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Dazzler was originally going to be the fifth member of X-Factor

STATUS: True

Back in the mid-80s, it was announced that X-Factor was a brand-new book starring the original X-Men. However, of the original five X-Men, one of them, Jean Grey, was dead. X-Factor, though, had five team members, and one of them was a female. Marvel had readers guess who the mystery fifth woman was going to be (if someone could scan me a picture of the mystery cover Marvel ran in Marvel Age, I’d appreciate it!).

As it turned out, the mystery woman was Jean Grey, who was not ACTUALLY dead, apparently.

So X-Factor #1 came out.


But was that how it was MEANT to be?

Jeff (who posts on CBR as tetragene) posed this question to Bob Layton on Layton’s awesome reader-interactive section of his website.

Jeff asks:

Hello Mr. Layton,
I’ve seen several mentions of this on various websites, but never anything concrete… Before the decision to revive Jean Grey was made, did you intend to include Dazzler in your X-Factor line-up? Dazzler #42, the last issue, has Beast recommending X-Factor to Dazzler and Amazing Heroes #92 indicated that her shift to that team was even likelier since both books shared the same editor. Could you elaborate on any of this? If she was in your original plans was X-Factor still intended to be a “mutant hunting” front that secretly aided mutants? Any info would be greatly appreciated it–I’m a big fan of the Dazzler character and have always been curious about whether this were true and, if it were, how things may have panned out. Thanks for your time.

Layton replies:

As a matter of fact, that rumor is totally true!

When Jackson Guice and I were developing the series, Jean Grey was still stone-cold dead. Since we knew we would have to have the “babe factor” in any Marvel X-men series, we made the decision to draft Dazzler as Marvel Girl’s replacement. As you can see in the version posted here (one of the seven covers that Jackson and I designed that were later rejected) we deliberately left the central female figure blank.

http://www.boblayton.com/Archive/May…or1wlogosm.jpg

I added the Jean Grey features to the inked version only a few years ago when I found the original pencils. As it turned out, I believe it was Kurt Busiek who came up with the idea of how to resurrect Jean Grey and pitched the idea to, then Fantastic Four writer/artist, John Byrne. I believe it was Byrne who came up to me in the Marvel offices and said, “Hey Bob– how’d you like to have Jean Grey back for X-Factor?” Naturally, I was intrigued. As the story goes, Byrne brought her back in the pages of the Fantastic Four and that allowed me to relaunch the original X-men with all members intact.

Unfortunately, the X-Factor story takes a downhill turn after that. But that’s a tale to be told another time. Needles to say, poor Dazzler was left out in the cold through all of this.

Thanks for asking,
Bob

Be sure to check out Bob’s reader response every month at his website here!

Thanks to Ben (Novaya Havoc) for finding this link for me (and for asking the question that led to Shooter telling me all that cool info – you can check out Ben’s Dazzleriffic website, here.)

Thanks to Jeff for asking Bob the question, and thanks to Bob for giving such a great answer! Be sure to check out Bob’s website, boblayton.com, it’s amazing how much work Bob puts into making that site a great place to visit.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!