Fan campaigns to save their favorite TV shows and comic books from cancellation or to bring back a favorite character really aren't anything new. Really, they've been happening for decades. "Star Trek" got a second lease on life after viewers bombarded NBC with letters calling for its return. In comics, there've been numerous successful fan campaigns to save titles like Marvel's "Spider-Girl" or DC's "Manhunter."
There's another fan campaign that launched last month to save another beloved character, but this project is a little different - this one involves a cake.
Quasar, AKA Wendell Elvis Vaughn, is a member of Marvel's pantheon of cosmic heroes. He's different than your typical cosmic hero in that he's a bit more of an everyman; someone fans say is more relatable since he's an Earth-born hero, unlike the Silver Surfer. Wendell's first appearance as Quasar was in 1978's "Incredible Hulk" #234 and he's popped around the Marvel Universe ever since, even serving as a member of the Avengers.
Wendell's life was to be short lived, though. Quasar recently appeared in the "Annihilation: Nova" miniseries, complete with a new costume, but his time in the spotlight came to an end before his 30th year of life when in issue #4 of the series, the villain Annihilus killed Quasa, and the Wendell Elvis Vaughn version of the character was replaced by a new Quasar named Phyla-Vell.
The killing of the Wendell Vaughn Quasar didn't sit well with some fans. A group of fans on the Quantum Zone Forum, led by the board's owner Will Allred, decided to let Marvel know there were readers out there who still cared about the character and wanted to see him return. Instead of launching a typical write-in campaign or petition, they opted to send Marvel editor Bill Rosemann a half-sheet cake with a very special message as part of the frosting.
"One of our forum members (DBHughes) remembered reading that a Hollywood exec would send a cake after a meeting and suggested it in the forum," Will Allred told CBR News. "We all thought it was a great idea. We surprised Bill Rosemann and the rest of Marvel Editorial with it on September 17."
While the design was conceived by Allred, he's not an artist himself and contacted his friend Harry Candelario - who actually inked the Greg Capullo drawing of Quasar that's featured on a Marvel Universe trading card - to create the image you see on the final cake. After doing some research, Allred took the design and contacted Cakes Across America to put his plan into action.
September 17 rolled around and it was time for the cake to be delivered. Receiving a cake out of the blue would make anyone suspicious, and Rosemann was no exception. "First I wondered if the Phalanx had infected my brain and I forgot my own birthday," editor Bill Rosemann told CBR News. "Then I got a helpful email from Will Allred explaining that the fine folks at the Quantum Zone Forum had chosen to express their hopes for a Wendell return in the form of tasty baked goods."
Once Rosemann understood the cake was no threat to life and property, he was able to enjoy the site of this most unusual of confections. Rosemann said, "I was mightily impressed with the strength of their love for Wendell - that and their attention to detail in frosting application. I mean, check out that tasty feathered hair!"
But the question remains, why a cake? Wouldn't it have just been easier to start an online petition or something of that sort? "We thought this stunt would set us apart and add a bit of whimsy, too," said Allred. "These are, after all, fictional characters, and we don't want to be branded as psycho-fans. It's just that Mark Gruenwald made a lot of us care for this character, and it would be nice to have that character in the Marvel Universe so that we could read about him. We really don't hate the Phyla Vell Quasar replacement. She's just not the character that we want to read about. By sending a cake, we wanted Marvel Editorial to know that they could metaphorically have their cake and eat it, too, by bringing back the Wendell Vaughn Quasar while still promoting Phyla Vell."
While their favorite Quasar isn't back among the living yet, nor has his original adventures been reprinted as per the message request on the cake, the Wendell Quasar fans haven't given up hope yet. "I think Marvel Editorial knows that Quasar has some passionate and motivated fans," said Allred. "Now that they know this, who knows what may happen, but we remain hopeful."
One thing Allred wants to make clear is he and like-minded fans aren't asking people to boycott the current "Quasar" series. "Personally, I had to vote with my wallet and not buy the series for the simple fact that it's not the Quasar I want to read about. As a group, we really are trying to stay positive, upbeat, and respectful - like our hero. The Quasar we want to read about was an old-school hero. He had good manners and always tried to do the right thing. Personally, I think we need more heroes like that - more white, less gray. As for the members of the Quantum Zone Forum, we might be crazy, but we think is a good, harmless kind of crazy."
It's a well-known fact that dead superheroes rarely stay dead for long, but what about Wendell Quasar? Has this cake campaign been successful, or is he dead-dead? When asked what the future holds, all Rosemann would say is, "Let's talk after Quasar #4 soars into stores."
While the editorial team was surprised by the arrival of this rather unusual cake, they did enjoy the mid-day sugar rush. "It was a cake made of faith, hope and love - and that, my friends, is good eatin.'"
Of course, the question remains who got stuck with the piece of cake featuring Quasar's, well, special area. "I think we mailed the crotch piece to editor Andy Schmidt, who originally ordered the murder of Wendell," said Rosemann.
As this is a growing controversy of enormous implications, Marvel has presented their own side of this unfolding Quasar cake story, which you can read now at their official blog. Stay with CBR News for more as this story develops.
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