Comic Legends: The X-Men X-Mas Story John Byrne Feared a Lawsuit Over

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and fifty-ninth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week's legends.


John Byrne believed that they were going to get sued over Uncanny X-Men #143.


I'm Going With True

When John Byrne originally designed Kitty Pryde, who debuted in early 1980, he used a young Sigourney Weaver as his inspiration...

So therefore, it was only logical that Byrne and Chris Claremont, his collaborator on Uncanny X-Men, would decide that they would like to do an homage to a film that they both enjoyed a lot starting Weaver that had come out in 1979. That film, of course, was Alien, where Weaver plays a woman who has to survive on a spaceship while being hunted by a deadly alien.


Here, it is Kitty Pryde, home alone on Christmas, who has to survive against a N’Garai demon (who debuted in Chris Claremont's first solo issue of X-Men. This would be Byrne's LAST issue of X-Men. So the N'Garai were there for Claremont's start and Byrne's finish. Neat).

The homage always seemed obvious, especially since the endings were literally the same (the bad guy is defeated by the thrusters on a ship).

I love the ending of the issue, where Storm finds out what happened while they were away...

Anyhow, seems like a pretty basic homage, right? The problem is twofold. One, parody laws were a lot different back in the day, so you didn't have the same defense that you would have now, which is to say that this is basically a parody of sorts riff on Alien. That's how people would do it nowadays. Back then, you'd have to argue that the tales were not that similar, and the issue is that it is pretty damn similar to Alien, right?


Byrne recalled his fears over the issue to Tom DeFalco in DeFalco's classic interview book, Comic Creators on the X-Men...

We wanted to do an homage to the movie Alien, and I don't know whether I was demented or what in those days, but I honestly thought when I was drawing it that people wouldn't instantly realize where we got it from. I thought I was being really clever , how I was making little twists and turns to change it. Only the ending where she used the Blackbird (jet) to blast the N'Garai to death was the same. And then Chris kind of wrote [the script] even more like the movie. By the time I actually read it, it was like, "Oh, well, wait till the lawsuits come..." But they never did.


It's amazing that they thought that they were hiding it at any point.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Was Kevin's Uncle Frank originally the secret mastermind of the events of Home Alone?

OK, that's it for this week!

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Merry Christmas!

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