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Topic: Question Concerning Phoenix/Dark Phoenix for JB (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Jeremy Boyd
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 1  

Thinking about the nefarious villains you've created in another thread got
me to thinking about Phoenix/Dark Phoenix and it raised a question that I
assume you might be able to answer.

Was Phoenix created with the sole intention of her becoming Dark Phoenix
or did that idea develop later?

As always, thanks for taking the time to answer every silly little question that
gets asked round these parts...
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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 1:28pm | IP Logged | 2  

Phoenix was invented to give Jean Grey something more than her rather diminutive Marvel Girl power levels. Over the next few years, unfortunately, Chris kept upping and upping the levels, (even when I tried to draw it otherwise!) so that the X-Men were very much in danger of becoming fifth wheels in their own book.

Chris didn't want to stop boosting her power, and I didn't want to go on fighting against it, and one day Steve Grant said "Why not make her a villain?"

When Chris passed this along to me, I wasn't crazy about the idea -- Jean was one of my favorite characters -- but, as was so often the case with Chris on the job, there wasn't really much of the "real" Jean left. So I suggested Mastermind as the way to "turn" Jean (Chris at that point had read only the Thomas/Adams issues), and off we went from there.

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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 1:32pm | IP Logged | 3  

JB,

The details of your collaboration with Claremont are intriguing to say the least.  As you point out, obviously the stuff Chris came up with for X-Men became wildly popular but I would certainly love to see what would've happened with you flying solo on Uncanny X-Men for about two or three years after the FUTURE PAST storyline.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 1:43pm | IP Logged | 4  

That would take some serious manipulation of the spacetime continuum, Joe!

See, thing was, altho Chris and I worked pretty well together, we were often at odds on who the characters were. As noted, until just a short time before I left the book, he had read no issues of X-MEN other than those produced during the Thomas/Adams run, and so, while I kept trying to maintain the characters as they had been for 60+ issues, he kept trying to turn them into other people. People I largely didn't like.

And the problem was, no matter what I drew or scribbled in my margin notes, Chris would write the characters and the scenes as he felt moved to do when the pages where in front of him -- often completely changing my or even our original intent for a scene -- and THAT was what was seeing print. So, if the fans were loving the X-Men -- and it seemed they were! -- it was Chris' X-Men they were loving, not mine. I Chris had left instead of me, I very much doubt the book would have proved as popular as it did in the long run.

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Andrew Hess
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 2:01pm | IP Logged | 5  

JB said " . . . I[f] Chris had left instead of me, I very much doubt the book
would have proved as popular as it did in the long run."

******

Yeah, but those would have been REALLY cool comics!
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 2:24pm | IP Logged | 6  

If your XMHY work is any indication of how you would have handled things, your solo X-MEN would have been great!
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Greg Woronchak
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 2:25pm | IP Logged | 7  

As a collector around the time the book was very popular (the Paul Smith issues), I found the stories increasingly confusing, and the characters becoming 'robotic' (if that makes any sense).

I dropped the book at 175 and have absolutely no clue why it became such a juggernaut (ugh, bad pun <g>).

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Greg Reeves
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 2:41pm | IP Logged | 8  

I for one appreciate JB's honesty as to his contribution to the book's popularity; based on when I started buying X-Men (around #165) the greatness of the title was almost purely due to Claremont for me.  Paul Smith secondly, then JRjr.  I've always loved complicated subplots in comics, but the ideas themselves around the Jim Lee period really started to ruin it for me.
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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 2:48pm | IP Logged | 9  

It might be too late for this to ever happen, but I think the only person who could ever get me to try X-Men again would be JB.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 01 May 2008 at 6:53pm | IP Logged | 10  

JB wrote, "That would take some serious manipulation of the spacetime continuum, Joe!"

***

Let's try it!




Seriously, I understand what you mean, JB.  I really respect your opinion about how it was Chris' characters that made it to the fans and obviously that's what they were eating up.  The X-Men were never among my favorites as a kid and the most X-Men I ever read was about a year ago when I plowed through the Essential volumes collecting the Byrne/Claremont run.  I enjoyed it a lot but I would still like a peak at that other spacetime reality where you had autonomy for awhile. 
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Jeremiah Hetherington
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 3:34am | IP Logged | 11  

I found the book at 150. I definetly recall reacting strongly to Cockrum's cover. (And also a house ad depicting a Thunderbird gravestone and Iceman as a snowman with a broom.) I really loved D.C.'s X-Men stuff. It wasn't until many months later that I finally saw JBs run, and although it never affected my love for Cockrum's art, to this day Ive never read a series of comics that has thrilled me more than JB's time on the X-Men. It's one of those things. I'm unabashed.  
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 4:58am | IP Logged | 12  

"I found the book at 150."

#149 was my first. Cockrum's covers were certainly powerful.
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 7:01am | IP Logged | 13  

The thing that always mystified me was - was Phoenix ever an official member of the X-Men? She never appeared in the corner box on the covers, which I always used as an indication of team rosters when I was a kid.
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Joe Smith
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 7:08am | IP Logged | 14  

I also came in during the Smith run, but the Byrne legend was intact, and I had been handed the paperback Death of Phoenix not too soon afterwards.

In my eyes, I always wanted the book to look/read like the JB years.
It never did/could.

But, by then, I had FF!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 7:41am | IP Logged | 15  

…was Phoenix ever an official member of the X-Men?

••

Why would she not be? Jean was a member from the first issue, and tho she
left the book, briefly, with issue 94, it's not like the X-Men require dues to
be paid or membership lapses!
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Aaron Adam Leach
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 8:27am | IP Logged | 16  

That would take some serious manipulation of the spacetime continuum, Joe!

**********************************************

Yeah, so what's the problem? I know you have a Tardis around the house somewhere. ;-)

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Sam Karns
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 17  

I understand your feeling of the results of X-Men's success, but based on the topics you mentioned and the additions you plotted it's possible the book would have been as successful.  I think it was all about EGO with Claremont. 
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Martin Redmond
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 18  

Speeaking of old X-Men stuff, Marvel is reprinting Dave Cockrum's 2 inventory issues soon. The cover isn't by Dave of course, it's by someone else I don't know and it features the X-Men standing around Charles Xavier looking at the reader.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 9:13am | IP Logged | 19  

Marvel is reprinting Dave Cockrum's 2 inventory issues soon.

••

I was not aware of these. What's the vintage?
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Flavio Sapha
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 9:35am | IP Logged | 20  

In my eyes, I always wanted the book to look/read like the JB years.
+++

Same here.  I think the book coasted for almost twenty years on the Dark Phoenix momentum.
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Martin Redmond
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 10:02am | IP Logged | 21  

I don't know when they were made, I knew they existed but I don't know when they were done.

Here's what I found~:

 Roger Stern wrote:
More Secrets Behind the Comics Department:

'Way, 'way back in the early '90s, Brother John Byrne found himself scripting two X-Men comics, over stories plotted and penciled by Jim Lee and Larry Stroman. As we often did in those days, JB and I were talking over the phone -- and he mentioned that the books were running later and later, as pages dribbled in from his artists. He suggested that I offer my services as a fill-in writer to the X-editors. I was skeptical that there would be any interest in me at Marvel, this being slightly over four years since they'd fired me. But JB kept after me. So, I made a call, and was surprised when they commissioned me to write a story...and delighted when the plot was given to Dave Cockrum. (Though, if I'd know that Dave was going to draw it, I would have plotted a bunch of scenes of Nightcrawler and swordplay.)

Anyway, I scripted Dave's pencils, turned the story in, and was paid. And after that, I never heard another word from the X-office.

That was sixteen years ago.


 QUOTE:
I think the book coasted for almost twenty years on the Dark Phoenix momentum.

Well imo you missed out. It was one of the monthlies I've enjoyed the most.

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Geoff Gibson
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 10:31am | IP Logged | 22  

JB:

Did you plan to bring Jean "back to basics" with the original "depowered" ending?

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Joel Biske
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 1:31pm | IP Logged | 23  

Reading the JB/Claremont X-men as a kid... I guess I was 13 or so when I first started, they became the X-Men I knew..... but being the completist that I am, I had read everything by the time I'd finished High school and found that the old Xmen and the New were very different AND that as the series went on.... I read it because I did, not because I was really interested in it. The ART has always driven my love of comics, so I bought EVERYTHING with JB's name on it.... but since Xmen was the first, it was the one I KEPT reading despite being bored with it. I pretty much skimmed the last of the Cockrum issues and the first few Paul Smith ones...

What strikes me now, as an adult having reread them again and again is that the problems I find with the characters are a lot of the things that JB mentions as points of contention between he and Chris. Even tho I'd found myself wondering about "Why did so and so do THAT? They wouldn't do that??" Years before I'd read JB's comments, my thoughts mirror his a lot of the time.

Even though no one but Chris had written the characters... the new one's at least, I found them out of character, rather than character growth....
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 1:36pm | IP Logged | 24  

id you plan to bring Jean "back to basics" with the original "depowered"
ending?

••

As originally ploted, Lilandra's psychic lobotomy would remove Jean's
powers, and leave her with the mental state of a five year old. Then, about a
year later, she and her mom & dad would go to a movie, and upon emerging
be set upon by muggers. SHAKA-LAKA-BOOM! and Dark Phoenix is reborn.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 02 May 2008 at 6:15pm | IP Logged | 25  

I never knew Stern was fired from Marvel. How'd that happen?
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