Describing his work on the New Universe (in this interview with Tim Hartnett), Jim Shooter stated :
About 18 months before Marvel's 25th Anniversary, I was called to an executive staff meeting (the President, all the VPs and Directors) to discuss the Anniversary. It was decided we should have a "publishing event" to celebrate. I suggested several things, including introducing a second "new" universe. Everyone liked that idea. I was given a development budget of $120,000. Later, Tom DeFalco asked me if he could be in charge of the project. I agreed. Months passed. Tom made little progress. The only idea I can remember that he developed in that time was Speedball, the less said of which, the better. Time got short, so I took over. I came up with the concept of a science fiction super-hero universe, as opposed to the original science fantasy super-hero Marvel Universe. By this time, Marvel Comics was being shopped for sale. Suddenly, the owners (essentially the Board of Directors) were as one might expect, loathe to make any investment in the future. Nothing "useless" that took dollars off the bottom line (such as developing characters that may pay off in the future, when presumably new owners would be in place) was tolerated. My budget was cut from $120,000 to $80,000 to $40,000 to "stop all spending" in the space of a week. We had spent only about $12,000 point, much of it on Speedball, I believe.
A few years later, I guess Marvel decided it wanted to try to recoup its investment in Speedball (and I guess it did not hurt that his developer was now Marvel's Editor-in-Chief), and the Speedball ongoing series made its debut.
Note that Shooter doesn't say that DeFalco CREATED Speedball, so it is unclear whether Ditko was the sole creator of Speedball, or if it was a tandem effort between Ditko and DeFalco.
Well, that's it for me this week!
Feel free to tell me some urban legends you have heard, and I will try to confirm or deny them!