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Topic: Tom Brevoort on the original ending to UNCANNY X-MEN 137 Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 12:13am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Brian: It was only 5 years. 137 was out in 1980 and she was brought back inlate 85 (cover date Jan 86).

***

And Dark Phoenix had already come back to be the bad guy in X-Men/Teen Titans, 1982.


(to be fair, this delighted the heck out of little old (young) me and it came out of nowhere, appearing on the stands with no warning and having the heroes live in the same world without a whisper of explanation. In these respects, it was like Superman vs. Spider-Man in effect.

But it definitely fed into the nagging sense that Phoenix can't really REALLY be dead.)

Edited by Mark Haslett on 06 September 2021 at 12:17am
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 12:27am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

As a kid I found X-Men 137 in a back issue bin, in rough shape yet marked up to the extraordinary sum of $7 (this was back in 1981). I read it and it was worth every weighty dollar. Up 'til then I had only read a couple issues of Cockrum's second run on Uncanny, and 137 revealed why the X-Men were so hung up on losing Jean Grey. Though succeeding continuity has diminished the importance of the story, it's a dramatic high point that probably no X-Men story has ever reached again. 

Edited by Joe Zhang on 06 September 2021 at 12:41am
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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 6:01am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Without a doubt, this was a milestone event - an actual hero, not a
supporting character, died.

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

How quickly people forget Thunderbird.  

Jean Grey was/is a beloved character, which is why it was a big deal.  Other than that, IMO, what makes it a milestone event is the fact that she wasn't supposed to die.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 7:23am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

And as far as I know, Thunderbird has actually stayed dead.
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 7:46am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

 Kevin Brown wrote:
How quickly people forget Thunderbird. 

Probably because he was created to be killed off.  Killing off heroes with some actual mileage behind them is a bigger deal.  
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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

So he wasn't an actual hero.  Got it.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 10:39am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Gwen Stacy being killed by the Green Goblin and then the Green Goblin being killed the next issue (accidentally by his own machine) must've felt pretty 'big' in it's time... then ten issue later it was on to something more gonzo like Doc Ock marrying Aunt May! How do you get the toys back in the boxes once broken? Very carefully. Green Lantern 'deals' with heroin abuse one issue, then is fighting a yellow space octopus within a year... does that not seem a jarring thing to anyone? The problem isn't marrying Doc Ock or the space octopus, stories like comics have been doing for it's bread and butter from the beginning... it's the how much real reality do you, even can you, reflect in a fantasy powers, codenames and costumes setting and have it not pop like an over-inflated balloon. Collectors buy extras because a death, or torn from the headlines story, might be 'historic' or 'important', but that's not necessarily "I have this great story to tell". There's the difference right there I think. Trying to make that 'history' mark too often and the sales with it rather than telling a good solid story (editor stepping in or not to change something; I doubt Shooter who killed Ferro Lad way way back circa 1965-66 had that in mind).

And of course then they are undoing all these landmarks with every kind of reset imaginable to get the toys back in their boxes for the next kid to play with...

'Milestone' might best be reserved for Action Comics #1 and Fantastic Four #1. The Dark Phoenix saga was 'just' a well above-average and surprisingly moving storyline... then exploited and deflated over the next number of years to show even Emma Frost and Mastermind right back where they'd been, just like how many Green Goblin comebacks there were!

I mentioned the death of Ferro Lad in The Legion Of Superheroes in the mid'60s, he also haunted them soon after, and there was the entire Doom Patrol killed in the late '60s! I would not be surprised that someone in the '40s didn't kill a superhero, there were a lot of them!

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 06 September 2021 at 10:49am
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 11:15am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

One might say that there are milestones, and then there are milestones.

Nothing will ever come within miles of the impact of Action Comics #1.

But it's hard to name anything in 1980's comics that could match the Phoenix storyline in terms of impact.

*edit to then backpedal as the following decades seem to be in the shadow of WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

So... not so hard after-all. But if the context is the 80's, Phoenix is still a big deal. If the context is the HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS, Phoenix's impact gets a bit smaller.

Edited by Mark Haslett on 06 September 2021 at 11:18am
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Probably because he was created to be killed off. 

==============================================

There's a couple of conflicting stories around Thunderbird. The 30 year celebration of X-men in Wizard had Wein and Cockrum saying that they decided they liked Thunderbird, and decided to keep him around, but as Wein, Cockrum and Claremont got in to the series, the character was too similar in personality to Wolverine, so Wein elected to kill him off for shock value.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 1:29pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

In the X-MEN COMPANION I, Wein plainly states Thunderbird was
created to be killed to show how dangerous the job is and how you
never know if it would be you that is killed.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 4:46pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Greg: The 30 year celebration of X-men in Wizard had Wein and Cockrum saying that they decided they liked Thunderbird, and decided to keep him around, but as Wein, Cockrum and Claremont got in to the series, the character was too similar in personality to Wolverine, so Wein elected to kill him off for shock value.

**
That's packing a lot of back-and-forth into a couple months worth of comic books.

One might wonder how much they felt like they had actually "gotten in to the series" by the end of the X-Men 94.

By the beginning of X-Men 95, of course, it was too late. I think Wein's earlier version, in the X-Men Companion feels more accurate. I seem to recall Chris Claremont saying he didn't really have a say in whether or not Thunderbird would die.

Edited by Mark Haslett on 06 September 2021 at 4:47pm
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 06 September 2021 at 5:07pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Cockrum did say in the Companion that Thunderbird was "designed" to be a flunker along with Banshee and Sunfire on the Krakoa mission, but they ended up liking Banshee and Thunderbird, and kept them until they realised they didn't know what to do with Thunderbird.

So, there was a lot of back and forth.
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