Welcome to the five hundred and thirty-third 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, did the Beyonder really create the New Universe? Learn the strange origin of a classic Joker comic book story! Plus, discover the amusing prank that Bill Gaines pulled on the New Yorker!
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: The Beyonder created the New Universe.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
With Marvel in the middle of a new Secret Wars, I figured I’d deal with a long-running rumor regarding Secret Wars II, the final series with the Beyonder by his creator, writer Jim Shooter.
The first Secret Wars mini-series was written by Jim Shooter and it involved a mysterious powerful being known as the Beyonder who brings a bunch of superheroes and supervillains to a Battleworld and then forces them to fight each other.
Two years later, in 1985, Shooter began a sequel series. Now the Beyonder has come to Earth to learn what it is to be human. Hijnx ensue, and in the finale of the series, published in January of 1986, the Beyonder determines that he might have to comprehend mortality if he truly wants to know what it is to be a human…
After a series of resurrections, the Beyonder decides to recreate himself as a human, albeit with the Beyonder’s powers. The heroes of Earth decide to stop this, and it ultimately results in the Beyonder’s death…
or does it?
In 1986, Shooter helped launch the “New Universe,” a separate line of Marvel Comics built around the premise of “What if people got super powers in the real world?”
For years, fans have assumed that the end of Secret Wars II was suggesting that the Beyonder helped create this New Universe, especially since the event that gave people powers in the New Universe was called the “White Event,” and that certainly was a whole lot of white in Secret Wars II.
Jim Shooter, however, says that:
The New Universe wasn’t supposed to be related to SW or the Beyonder.
In addition, the New Universe launched seven months after the release of Secret Wars II, so if Shooter really planned on having the Beyonder lead directly into New Universe, I would tend to think he’d have the New Universe launch around the same time that Secret Wars II ended. That he didn’t is a major reason why I am willing to believe him when he says that there was no connection intended. The other reason I’m willing to believe him is that there isn’t really any reason for him to not tell the truth about it. If he DID intend for the Beyonder’s death to be the creation of the New Universe, why deny it now? I think it is likely more a case of Shooter simply addressing a lot of similar themes in his work, so it makes it easy to think that different works of his are interrelated.
Thanks to Doug Nelson for sending me the Shooter confirmation!
Check out some entertainment and sports legends from this week at Legends Revealed:
Was The Word “Bull” in a Longfellow Poem Really Bowlderized to “Gentleman Cow”?
On the next page, learn the surprising origin behind one of the greatest Batman covers of all-time!
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