Comic Legends: Who Was Marvel's Mysterious Writer X?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and fifth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

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

NOTE: If the CSBG Twitter page hits 11,000 followers, I'll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow the CSBG Twitter page!


Marvel's Writer X was Howard Mackie.



In 2001, Marvel introduced a majorly revamped line of X-books, led by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's New X-Men.

There were other supporting titles, as well, though, including Joe Casey and Ian Churchill's Uncanny X-Men...

Peter Milligan and Mike Allred's widely-revamped X-Force...

and a book about mutant terrorists called The Brotherhood, by artists Esad Ribic and Kent Williams and...Writer X?

Here is how Marvel solicited the book at the time:

A MESSAGE FROM THE FRONTLINES: "Perhaps you think you know us. That costumed charlatans such as Magneto and his ilk are representative of our people. You are wrong. We are your neighbors. Your co-workers. The homeless you callously step over on your way to your safe, meaningless jobs. We will not announce ourselves with bright red uniforms or gloating public pronouncements. We will simply strike. When you see your streets run scarlet with blood, and your cities aflame, you will know your time is at an end. "You have taken our homes from us. Our families. Our future. You despoil the world we were meant to inherit, plundering the resources that rightfully belong to our children. No more... from this day forward, The Brotherhood declares open war on humanity. Its end will not come until the power to govern rests in our hands. Or until you are, once and for all, extinct."

THE CREATORS: Who is X? We don't know what his or her real name is, but we do know that he or she is writing one heck of an intense comic book! Joining this secret scribe is Essad Ribic, whose fine pencil work has been seen recently in CABLE and X-MEN 2000. And dig that wild cover by Bill Sienkiewicz!

Yes, Writer X's name was intentionally kept secret as a big ol' mystery. This tied into both the whole "secretive underground group" motif of the comic book series and also a commentary about how fans often judge comic books based on the names behind the comic book before they even read the comic book itself. Here, then, was a comic book that you would have to judge solely on the comic book itself and not whatever your preconceived notions would be about the writer.

Brotherhood lasted nine issues and Writer X has been a mystery ever since.

I eventually found out the answer about six years ago, and for every "anniversary" Comic Book Legends Revealed since then, from #400 to #500 to #600 to #700, it became my bi-annual tradition to check in with Writer X to see if he or she was willing to reveal his or her identity. The way I figure it, it's their secret to reveal, not mine.

Well, while Writer X wasn't ready for CBLR #700, #705 was the time!

Writer X was Howard Mackie. I interviewed Howard here where we go into further detail about who came up with the idea for Writer X, why Writer X was created and why Brotherhood only lasted for nine issues!

Check out some "Secretive" entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Did the Federal Government Once Secretly Pay TV Networks For Having Anti-Drug Messages in Shows?

2. Did The Hunt For Red October Accidentally Reveal Secret United States Submarine Technology?

3. What is the Secret Origin of Lily Aldrin on How I Met Your Mother?

4. Was the Owner in Major League Originally Secretly the HERO of the Film?

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!

Preacher: How the Show’s Love Triangle Differs From the Comic

More in CBR Exclusives