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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #27!

by  in Comic News Comment

This is the twenty-seventh 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 twenty-six.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Firebreather was originally the son of Fin Fang Foom

STATUS: True

In an interview with Andrea Speed, Phil Hester (who just had a cool chat at Comic Book Resources, natch) talked about the plans HE had for a title that was to star, oddly enough, “Young Avengers,”

I don’t believe for a second anyone ripped us off. Our whole pitch was about AIM cloning super heroes (Captain America= Crusader, Wolverine=Foxclaw, Scarlet Witch=Mystere, She-Hulk=Dakota, The Thing=Bronze) in an attempt to study their weaknesses, etc. AIM even went so far as to dupe them into forming a super group so they could analyze the group dynamics. Of course, the kids get away and fight back. I think it probably has more in common, at least in tone, with Runaways.

Marvel was hot for it, but pulled the plug for some reason. At least Kuhn and I took one of the villains we developed, a teen aged son of Fin Fang Foom and redeveloped it as Firebreather, which we just optioned to Paramount. So all’s well!

All’s well, indeed! I thought Firebreather was a fun book.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Devin Grayson named herself after Dick Grayson.

Writer of Nightwing (starring Dick GRAYSON), Devin Grayson has never hid her admiration for the character of Dick Grayson. So upon hearing that her name (Devin Kallie Grayson) is NOT the name that she was born with, it is not surprising that people would presume that perhaps that her name came from the character that she has such a predisposition to.

Grayson, in an interview at Alvaro’s Comic Boards, set the record straight:

Devin Kalile Grayson is my real and legal name. It’s what’s on my driver’s license, passport, social security, etc. I’ve never written under a pseudonym. I was born with a different name, but had it legally changed in my early twenties – well before I was working in comics or even thinking about such – in response to sexual abuse issues in my childhood that made me feel like I needed to distance myself from my past a little bit psychologically. I told this to Wizard magazine when they interviewed me for the very first time something like seven years ago and said they could run that as part of the story as long as they were willing to include some phone numbers for national sexual abuse hotlines, but they didn’t want the piece to be a “downer.”

I guess someone got the rumor into circulation without the context, and that actually has been a little painful for me, just since the whole idea was to move on from that part of my life, and now I get constantly asked about it. Believe me, if I’d known I’d be writing Bat-books someday, I would have picked a different last name.

STATUS: False

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: John Byrne’s 2112 was initially designed as a launch of Marvel 2099.

STATUS: True

Over on his forums, John Byrne described the situation as it unfolded as thus:

In 1990, Stan Lee contacted me and asked me if I would like the be “editor-in-chief” of a whole new line he was going to create at Marvel — a line which would be set in Marvel’s future, unconnected to the Marvel Universe as we knew it. As it happened, I had been giving some thought to a “Futureverse” of my own, and, being flattered by Stan’s offer, I suggested that what I had come up with (but at that time thought I had no place to develop) would fit the bill for his project. To this end I plotted (Stan was to script) and drew a 64 page “pilot”.

When Stan saw the pilot pages he asked for more specific MU references. I’d tried to keep the thing “clean”, so as not to turn the whole MU into a Superboy story, but Stan thought we SHOULD at least HINT at what had happened to some of the folk we knew from the present continuity. Fortunately, since my story was told in the 64 pages, this meant only adding some 12 additional pages and some bridging material to make them fit. Thus, when I took the project back it was, luckily, not a case of re-writing or re-drawing, but simply of removing pages I had not wanted in there in the first place. I’d taken a set of concepts, bent them slightly to fit Stan’s needs, and then had only to “unbend” them to get back to my own original material. Stuck with 64 pages and no thought of where to put ’em — I did not want to offer the book to DC, since that seemed vaguely scabrous somehow — I mentioned my dilemma to Roger Stern, who suggested I give DarkHorse a call. I did. They accepted the proposal with open arms. I also pitched NEXT MEN, which had been floating in my brain for a while, and which they also liked. I then realized the tiniest bit of tweaking in the dialog would make my graphic novel — now titled 2112 — into a prequel/sequel pilot for JBNM.

Imagine how THAT would have turned out? We might have been saved from the ravages of Ravage 2099!!

Okay, folks, that’s it for this week!

Thanks for stopping by!