Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighty-eighth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
As always, there will be three different posts for each legend this week!
NOTE: The CSBG Twitter page hit 10,050 followers, so I did a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed earlier this week. We’ll keep the bit going, though. Every 1,000 followers of the CSBG Twitter page, I’ll do a bonus Comic Book Legends Revealed that week.
John Byrne co-created the Scott Lang Ant-Man
Really False, but According to Marvel’s Credit Rules, True
For years, one of the oddest things when it comes to the creation of comic book characters is the way that “creators” of comic book characters are termed. When it came to the creation of a character, the “creators” would be the writer and artist who first wrote and drew the character in a comic book.
That seems fair enough, right?
Of course, things do not really work out that way.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this (and one that I did as a legend many moons ago) is the debut of Dazzler in X-Men #130…
That’s right smack in the middle of the world-famous John Byrne and Chris Claremont run on X-Men, so then Byrne and Claremont invented Dazzler, right?
Well, of course not, since Dazzler was created as a concept well before she appeared in X-Men and was instead just given, wholesale, to Byrne and Claremont and told for them to work it into their latest storyline.
Similarly, when Scott Lang made an appearance in Avengers #181 (by David Michelinie, John Byrne and Gene Day) as a security expert…
He had already been created to be the new Ant-Man, and he was just placed into an issue of Avengers before he “officially” debuted to give the character a backstory before he was then introduced in Marvel Feature #47.
But wait, you might say, didn’t John Byrne ALSO draw Marvel Feature #47?
There he is credited on the first page of the issue…
There he is penciling Scott Lang’s backstory…
And there he is penciling Scott Lang breaking into Hank Pym’s house and stealing his costume…
However, in this instance, Byrne was brought on to the project after David Michelinie and Bob Layton had already created Scott Lang.
Layton later recalled in an interview:
At that time, Hank Pym had become an unstable, unlikable character. I believe the mandate was to humanize the character of Ant-Man, in this instance, to make him a single parent in the persona of ex-con Scott Lang. I’m glad you asked me about those issues because many people mistakenly give John Byrne credit for co-creating those characters. John only contributed blue pencil layouts for those two stories and had NOTHING to do with the creation of Scott Lang. The other thing that bugs the Hell out of me is that Edgar Wright, the director of the [at the time. Of course, he later left the project – BC] upcoming Ant-Man movie, credits John Byrne’s cover to Marvel Premiere #47 as the inspiration for his involvement in the film. I penciled that cover—not John Freakin’ Byrne! And yes… Wright will be using Scott Lang as his version of Ant-Man.
Still, since he was the guy who drew Scott Lang’s first appearance, Byrne is officially credited by Marvel as Scott Lang’s co-creator. Byrne noted recently that the same reason he is credited for Scott Lang is the reason why Chris Claremont is credited as the co-creator of all the Alpha Flight characters that Byrne created on his own and put into X-Men #120.
So, if we’re talking, like, Marvel’s contract rules for character creation, then yes, Byrne co-created Scott Lang. But obviously we are not bound by rules like that, right? Like how we all know that H.G. Peter is the co-creator of Wonder Woman, so similarly, Michelinie and Layton are the creators of Scott Lang.
EDITED TO ADD: David Michelinie posted his thoughts on the topic here.
Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:
Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this week’s legends!
And remember, if you have a legend that you’re curious about, drop me a line at either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org!
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