Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and seventeenth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Just like the last couple of months, one legend today, one tomorrow and one Sunday.
The inspiration for Storm's famous haircut came from Walter Simonson shaving his beard.
Many moons ago, I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed about how Paul Smith's design of Storm's famous mohawk, which debuted in "Uncanny X-Men" #173, was intended as a joke. They asked him to come up with some haircuts that were a lot different from Storm's then-current hairstyle and he threw in a mohawk as a joke and they ended up saying, "Yep, we're going with that one!" Smith once recollected that "Uncanny X-Men" editor Louise Simonson noted that "We're going to get hung no matter what we do. We may as well commit the murder."
Here is how Storm's hair appeared at the start of the storyline in "Uncanny X-Men" #172 (by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek)...
Then her hair gets messed up when the X-Men are attacked...
And at the end of "Uncanny X-Men" #173 (by Claremont, Smith and Wiacek), she debuts her new look and Kitty Pryde freaks the heck out...
So we know that Smith came up with the mohawk idea as a joke, but what I didn't explain back then was WHY they wanted to change Storm's haircut so dramatically. It all came down to something that happened in the lives of editor Louise Simonson and her husband, comic book superstar, Walter Simonson.
Now here, from "Power Pack" #1 (drawn by June Brigman and Bob Wiacek) is a basic approximation of what Walter Simonson looked like at the time (the parents of the Power Pack kids were designed by Brigman to look like Louise and Walter Simonson, as Louise Simonson created and wrote the book)...
So Walter Simonson pretty famously had a beard. But, as Paul Smith explained on his great blog here, sometimes people change their looks and sometimes that doesn't go over well with everyone...
Towards the end of my X-Run, Weezie (editor Louise Jones [Even though she was going by Louise Simonson in her writing, she kept using her previous name, Louise Jones, as the editor on "X-Men" -BC]), and hubby, Walt Simonson, go on vacation. They leave daughter Julie behind (there's a movie in there somewhere). Upon departure, Walt sported the hirsute look we've all come to know and love. Upon his return, not so much. Somewhere in-between he'd undergone a tonsorial transformation of titanic proportion. He was now pink faced! Beard and mustache… gone.
Daughter Julie is not amused. She runs from the room. That's not Daddy, that's one of the pod-people!
Chris thinks this is story gold.
So that's why Kitty Pryde freaked out so much! It was taken from a real life incident that Claremont thought was interesting.
Very cool information, Paul! Thanks so much for that!
Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com!