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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #161

by  in Comic News Comment
Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #161

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!

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