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Which Model Did Marvel Stop Using As A Visual Inspiration for Phoenix?

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

Here is part one of this week's legends.

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COMIC LEGEND:

Dave Cockrum had to stop using a specific model as his inspiration for Jean Grey's look.

STATUS:

Apparently True

As you may or may not know, in the late 1960s, Marvel tried a new approach to the X-Men by breaking the team up and having the title spotlight one or two members of the team at a time.

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In the Cyclops and Marvel Girl spotlight issue, Jean Grey has become a swimsuit model...

Suffice it to say that this part of Jean Grey's personality was a bit out of nowhere and wasn't really referenced again when the X-Men inevitably came back together as a team.

Well, when Dave Cockrum and Chris Claremont were later doing their X-Men run, the two decided to bring Jean Grey back into the series and they thought that they should update her look and personality to fit with the fact that she was once a swimsuit model. Claremont noted that she looked like was a member of the Young Republicans club.

That is why she got a new look in X-Men #98, along with a sexy dress..

that was then cut a lot lower by Wolverine...

Cockrum, though, had a specific model in mind for his version of Jean Grey.

In the mid-1970s, there was a model for Wella-Balsam's shampoos who was striking...

So Cockrum used this model as his basis for Jean, which he explained to Peter Sanderson in the brilliant X-Men Companion. That model's name? Farrah Fawcett...

Cockrum: So - I've always had a soft spot for green-eyed redheads. So I wanted her to look terrific and be terrific, and she kind of got cliched - became a cliche - unfortunately. Because before Farrah Fawcett became big she was doing Wella-Balsam commercials and things like that and occasionally appearing in Cosmo and I thought she was terrific and so that's who Jean became.

Jean became the Phoenix in X-Men #101 and Cockrum was clearly using Fawcett as Jean's inspiration...

However, a couple of months after that issue came out, a certain television show named Charlie's Angels debuted...

Farrah Fawcett (and her distinctive hair) was now an icon.

This led to a change in Jean Grey's look. Cockrum recalled, "And then she had to un-become Farrah Fawcett after Farrah became a big deal, because then everybody said, 'Oh well, they're ripping off Farrah Fawcett.'"

When John Byrne took over the series, he initially thought of Phoenix in terms of Raquel Welch...

It reminds me of how a then-unknown Michael Caine was the visual inspiration for Willie Garvin in Modesty Blaise (there's another good example that I have never actually featured before that I think I will. It involves Gil Kane. I'm sure many of you know what I'm referring to).

Thanks again to Peter Sanderson and the late, great Dave Cockrum for the information!

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Was X-Men: Dark Phoenix's ending changed because it was too similar to Captain Marvel's ending?

Check back soon for the final part of this (well, last) week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!

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