Comic Legends: Was Magneto Meant to Look Like Quicksilver?

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As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the weekly three legends.

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Neal Adams intended for Magneto look like Quicksilver when he showed his face for the first time



Reader Jason G. wrote in to ask a more general question about the first appearance of Magneto without his helmet, namely whether there was a story behind the decision to make him white-haired.

Of course, the big reveal occurred in X-Men #62 (by Neal Adams, Roy Thomas and Tom Palmer), where Angel almost dies in the Savage Land, but he is found by a mysterious man...

The man then actually BRINGS ANGEL BACK TO LIFE (then again, Magneto is somehow one of the greatest geneticists in the Marvel Universe, so it should not be TOO surprising)...

But then we learn that the man is actually the X-Men's old foe, Magneto...

.Neal Adams explained his reasoning behind the reveal (Adams was plotting the stories at the time, as well) in a great interview with Arlen Schumer for Comic Book Artist ..

The thing that set me off was the death of Magneto. They had done what I consider to be some terrible things to the X-Men at Marvel; you gotta read the issues that come before this, maybe two year's worth. Magneto was essentially dead (he fell off a cliff or something), not that anybody much cared.

I tried to imagine how Magneto, after falling off that cliff, could somehow survive. Rather than being washed up on shore somewhere, it seemed to me the way he survived was using his magnetic ability to burrow his way into the earth, and drive the earth away from him while he was falling, and slowing himself down. In the end, where would that take him? It might take him into this Ka-Zar land; it's kind of a nice segue, and it works.

Also, I had set up a cave with Sauron that led to some prehistoric place, which either has to be explained as some incredible cave that's lost in time, or an incredible cave that leads down to the Savage Land. Well, since the Savage Land has been established, why not have it lead down to there? It'd make it much more logical that this'd be the case.

The elements started to come together, and I realized that's where I wanted Magneto to be: Down there, and since he's down there, why do I want to reveal that it's Magneto right away? Why don't I just hide it? Who would ever suspect? Since he had never taken his helmet off, no one knew what he looked like. When I finally revealed that he was Magneto, Roy supported it with the line, "Maybe clothes do make the man," which I think has become a classic line in comics.

Therefore, it appears as though the main reason Adams made him white-haired is because he wanted to lure the Angel into a sense of false security, so a nice old man would trick him into letting his guard down and trusting him.

Of course, the fact that Magneto's white hair seemed somewhat similar to that of one of his former underlings in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the now-heroic Avenger Quicksilver (seen here in an issue of Neal Adams-drawn Avengers)

led to people thinking that the two characters were related, which ultimately led to them being revealed as father and son in the Vision and Scarlet Witch miniseries...

I still love that this is all the proof that Magneto gives them...

The issue then ends with this sweet scene...

While looking into the general question for Jason, I saw a bunch of people over the years asking the more specific question of whether Adams intended to make a connection between Magneto and Quicksilver with the hair reveal.

Adams revealed as such when a fan asked him about that in an io9 reader chat, as he noted:

Being Quicksilver's father was more a coincidence than on purpose. None of the plot of any of those X-Men stories was discussed with Roy Thomas because I was working in the "Marvel Style" at that time. The "Marvel Style" at that time was, if an artist was able to do the story, then he would leave notes for the writer to write in the dialogue. It was very different from the DC style, which was to work from finished scripts. At Marvel, there were no scripts, there were no notes. I went off and did the pages and handed them in, and wrote my notes on the edges of the pages. If something significant was going to happen, I would, of course have the courtesy to inform my writer, Roy Thomas, ahead of time so he wouldn't be surprised. In this case, it seemed almost silly that we had never seen Magneto, and I was making a big effort to save the book. Roy and the editorial staff had killed of Professor X, seemingly had killed off Magneto, and they intended to cancel the book so that there would be no more X-Men, ergo, no Professor X, from where the name comes. All the work I did was literally a surprise to Roy, especially bringing Professor X and Magneto back. And since Magneto's face hadn't been shown, and I was bringing him back from the dead, in effect, I could show his face and the reader would not know it was Magneto, until they saw that helmet. It was then that Roy Thomas brilliantly came up with the line, "I guess clothes do make the man." Brilliant.

So, sure looks like the answer is "no"!

And as for Jason's more general question, like I said before, seems like Adams felt that an older man would be better for the big reveal at the end.

Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Did the Golden Girls Begin as a Joke?

2. Did First Lady Barbara Bush Write an Apology Letter to Marge Simpson?

3. Was Mel Blanc, the Voice of Bugs Bunny, Allergic to Carrots?

4. Did Lost in Space Coin the Term “Does Not Compute?”

Check back tomorrow 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 brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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