Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-fifth week 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!
George R.R. Martin almost wrote Doctor Strange for Marvel but they wouldn’t agree to his contract demands.
Reader Will C. wrote in to ask if it was true that the acclaimed writer of the A Song of Fire and Ice novels (the basis for Game of Thrones on HBO), George R.R. Martin, was going to write a Doctor Strange series for Marvel but they wouldn’t agree to his contract demands.
It’s a fascinating question and it’s also an interesting example of what we call the “telephone” game. What’s most interesting about me is that I’ve been doing this column long enough that there have been plenty of instances where I’ve personally seen stories translated over the years from their original source.
In this instance, the story is basically false, but I know precisely where it originated and how easily it was transformed into its current form, which is that George R.R. Martin nearly wrote Doctor Strange for Marvel but the deal fell apart over the contract details.
You see, a little over five years ago, Martin was interviewed by MTV about his famed love of comic books (Martin is such a long time comic book fan that he literally was the FIRST person to sign up for the FIRST comic book convention, as I detailed in a Comic Book Legends Revealed years ago). He was asked if he was interested in ever writing comic books for Marvel. He answered and the answer was picked up by multiple outlets (including CBR).
Here is what he had to say. He said that he would love to write Doctor Strange, as he was always one of his favorites. Then he added, “However, before I would ever do that, I would have to have my lawyers in to meet with Marvel’s lawyers, and work out an absolutely iron-clad contract that would say that whatever I did with the story would continue to be canon forever.”
In other words. Martin was speaking strictly HYPOTHETICALLY. He had never approached Marvel and, naturally, he knew that those were terms that they would never be able to agree to, so it was a non-starter. This was just a guy being asked a fun question and he gave an honest answer and, in the years since, the story has been transformed to the point where it’s all about “What almost happened,” when it was never actually going to happen.
Thanks for the suggestion, Will!
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Check back Saturday 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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