Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #143

"Demon"
March 1981

In a Nutshell 
Kitty fights a N'Garai demon

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
On the mansion grounds, a N'Garai demon crawls from the wreckage of the cairn destroyed by Storm months ago, and proceeds to devour a couple looking for a Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve, Professor X finishes teaching Kitty the start-up sequence to the Blackbird. The X-Men prepare to go their separate ways for Christmas, with Wolverine going out with Mariko and Angel flying off to meet Candy Southern, while Colossus and Storm go into the city with Professor X, leaving Kitty home alone. In Florida, Cyclops calls the mansion to wish the X-Men Merry Christmas. He then meets Lee Forester, the captain of a fishing boat. At the mansion, Kitty runs through an exercise routine in the Danger Room until the intruder alert goes off. She heads up to Storm's attic to check it out and is confronted by the N'Garai demon.

 

She flees through the mansion, the demon in hot pursuit. She manages to escape it for a moment, and tries to call the X-Men for help, but it slashes her while phased, causing her arm to go numb. Kitty leads the creature into the Danger Room, in the hopes of using the room against it, but it enters through the control room, forcing Kitty into the room with it. Little in the Danger Room harms the demon, but it is slowed down by fire, allowing Kitty to escape and giving her an idea. She proceeds down the mile long tunnel to the Blackbird's hanger, and as the demon approaches from behind, fires the jet's afterburners, destroying the demon, the jet, and most of the hanger. Later, the X-Men return home, and though Professor X senses lingering evil, they find Kitty nodding off in front of the fire, and surprise her with a visit from her parents. As everyone celebrates, Storm asks Kitty what happened, and she says she was attacked, and sheepishly adds that she damaged Storm's attic, the Danger Room, the hanger and most of the house in the process of defending herself. Storm is proud of her: she underwent a rite of passage, and in the end, she passed.

Firsts and Other Notables
This is John Byrne's last issue of X-Men (at least until he returns to briefly script the book in the early 90s). The reasons for his leaving are varied and complicated (and discussed in part below), but it ultimately boiled down to creative differences with Claremont and frustration over not getting enough credit for his contributions.

This is the first appearance of Lee Forester, the captain of a fishing boat whom Cyclops meets in this issue. She'll become a recurring, albeit minor, supporting character.

"You're a girl!" Smooth Scott, real smooth...

The events of issue #96 are referenced, as Claremont and Byrne recreate the scene in which Storm destroys the N'Garai cairn from that issue. A N'Garai demon crawls out of the wreckage to attack Kitty in this issue; though destroyed, this is not the last time something emerges from it. The callback to issue #96 is interesting, as that was Claremont's first solo plotted issue on the title, and this is Byrne's last. It creates something of a bookend feeling to this issue, though that feeling is entirely false (Byrne played no part in issue #96) and is probably purely coincidental.

Kitty kisses Colossus for the first time, a mistletoe-inspired peck on the cheek (though she also calls him "Sexy", which seems a bit forward for a thirteen-year-old girl...).


The design of the N'Garai demon is heavily influenced by the alien from Ridley Scott's Alien, designed by HR Geiger, and the attack on Kitty is an intentional homage on the part of Claremont and Byrne to the last fifteen minutes of the film, inspired by the fact that Byrne initially modeled Kitty off of a young Sigourney Weaver.

A Work in Progress
Though cover dated March 1981, this issue would have appeared on the stands in December of 1980, making its Christmas Eve setting appropriate.

There are also references to the events of "Days of Future Past" occurring a month earlier, and while if you're being generous you can grant that to be technically true, this issue being set on 12/24 puts "Days of Future Past" almost two months in the past for the characters.

Cyclops has ended up in Shark Bay, Florida, looking to join the crew of a boat. I don't think I'd want to be on a boat in a place called "Shark Bay". 

Kitty mentions that all the X-Men work out regularly to stay in shape. Much of this issue serves as a primer on the X-Men, as we see the mansion in great detail, learn about the Blackbird hanger and how its accessed, etc.


The demon is able to harm Kitty while she's phased, establishing that she's not completely invulnerable while intangible, that magic/the supernatural, at least, still has some effect on her. 


I Love the 80s
Oh dear God, that woman's hair...


Claremontisms
Claremont once again manages to imbue a pair of one-off characters with enough characterization in just a few panels to make us care when they get devoured by the demon.


Claremont has a reputation, especially amongst modern readers, for being overly wordy, and while I can be somewhat defensive about that (he is capable of brevity, purple prose isn't always inherently bad, and there is a time and place for his baroque narration), this issue is a particularly bad case of overly-wordy Claremont, with the most of the issue, as Kitty is chased by the demon, stuffed with both narration boxes and a never-ceasing internal monologue by Kitty, neither of which feature any particular stylistic zing to make all the words worthwhile. As a result, at times it becomes almost a chore to slog through some of these pages, even as Byrne turns in some fun visuals.

Artistic Achievements
Terry Austin once again handles solo cover duties, turning in another iconic X-Men image.

Young Love
Wolverine is spending Christmas Eve with Mariko while rocking his awesome cowboy suit, and introduces her to the X-Men.


Angel flies off to an innuendo-laced evening with Candy Southern.


The Best There Is At What He Does
Wolverine almost eviscerates Nightcrawler when Nightcrawler playfully kisses Mariko.


For Sale
The first issue of Dazzler's solo series debuts the same month as this issue. 


It's in the Mail
The letter column returns this issue, and features a rather disgruntled letter from future superstar Marvel writer Kurt Busiek (who also, as a fan, will come up with the idea that allows Jean to return). 


Chris Claremont on Wolverine attacking Nightcrawler
"Jim [Shooter] came in and demanded to know why Wolverine was being turned into such a sissy. Evidently, what he wanted was for Wolverine to have the capacity to go crazy and kill but never be allowed to kill. He wanted Wolverine to be as much of a potential danger to the X-Men as to other people. So we turned right around and had Wolverine try to cut Nightcrawler's head off over Mariko, which made no sense whatsoever. As I see it, Wolverine's fundamental character is that he is trying desperately to maintain rational control over himself, but every so often, without wanting to, for no reason, he goes crazy. He goes berserk.

Sanderson, Peter. The X-Men Companion II. Stamford: Fantagraphics Books, 1982. p49

John Byrne on who was responsible for what during his run with Claremont
"Well, let's see -- "Days of Future Past" was mine. (Chris's contribution was the title and Senator Kelly -- who I named, after a young lady I was pursuing at the time.) Using the Hellfire Club was Chris's idea -- where, when and how was mine. Using MasterMind was mine, along with naming him "Jason Wyngarde". That latter was a play on a British TV show that had run in Canada a while before -- "Jason King" starring Peter Wyngarde. Lots more bits and pieces. Roger Stern, editor and unindicted co-conspirator would probably remember more. He's good at that.

(Of course, I always like to point out that after I left the book, sales on X-MEN mounted from about 100,000 per month to over 400,000 -- and that was BEFORE the Speculator Madness. So I guess I was holding Chris back...)"

Byrne, John."Who was responsible for what during the Claremont/Byrne run?" Byrne Robotics. 1/31/2012 http://www.byrnerobotics.com/FAQ/listing.asp?ID=2&T1=Questions+about+Comic+Book+Projects#41

Claremont on John Byrne leaving
"I do not know what the hell happened to this day. John got royally pissed off at me, but he never told me why - directly or indirectly. We had a good synergy with Roger Stern as editor. Less so with Kim Salicrup. When Louise Jones/Simonson came in as editor, I guess he figured that she was more simpatico with me and that's when he decided he wanted to move on. You'll have to read John's autobiography to find out what pissed him off. I just know that it was so major that the last thirty years haven't smoothed thing out between  us. I think he always fewlt that he was the one was actually plotting the book, but I wasn't giving credit for it. I just figured it was a collaboration. The line of division between aspects of contribution was hard to separate, especially when you're talking about a relationship that was as freewheeling as as they were in those days. Sometimes I would look at a sketch and say, 'Hey, that's a great character. Why don't we make something out of it? I got this idea where you could blah-blah-blah.' The next think you know, you've got a twelve part epic."

DeFalco, Tom. Comic Creators on X-Men. London: Titan Books, 2006. p65

John Byrne on leaving X-Men
"I started to develop what I called my 'Argh ' moment - which is, how deep can I delve into this issue before I hit something makes me go, 'Argh!'? There was one particular issue [X-Men #140] where Colossus is pulling a tree trunk out of the ground with a chain on the splash page, and I went, 'Argh!' right on the splash page because of the way Chris wrote it. I said, 'Okay, this is obviously telling me that it's time to go.' There was also a little piece off to one side where Chris and I had argued a great deal about who the characters were and how the characters act, and what they would say and what they would do and I realised that the Chris version of the character was what was seeing print. The way Chris wrote it was what was seeing print, regardless of what I thought it was in my head while I was drawing pages. So if I didn't like what Chris was doing, that meant I didn't like the characters. So when I hit that 'Argh' moment, I basically picked up the phone and called Louise and said, 'I can't do this any more.' I was originally going to stay on for another couple issues, but ultimately I didn't. The characters deserved better than for me to turn in what was going to be a whole lot less than my best work. So I just left."

DeFalco, Tom. Comic Creators on X-Men. London: Titan Books, 2006. p114

"[I] left the book shortly after Weezie [Jones, now Simonson] came aboard, and this was not entirely coincidentally. Unlike Roger [Stern], who understood the important part that I was playhing in the creation of the stories, Weezie came from that school which assumed that the writer did all the work and the artist just drew the pictures; at least, that was how she seemed to operate with Chris and me, so I very quickly lost such control as I had over the characters and the story directions, and I did not like where they ended up going."

Lamken, Brian Saner. "The Phoenix Effect: 25 Years of the All New Uncanny X-Men." Comicology Fall 2000: 33.

Teebore's Take
And with that, John Byrne's run on the title comes to a close on a sudden and rather indistinct note. The story in this issue isn't terrible: it gives Kitty, the book's newest character, a chance in the spotlight, making it clear both that she's here to stay and that she has the stuff to cut it as an X-Man, and her fight with the N'Garai demon is tense and as well crafted as we've come to expect from Claremont and Byrne. But it's an odd issue for Byrne to depart on, coming one month after the epic "Days of the Future Past" and featuring so little of the characters that Byrne helped make popular. If this were just the next issue in the Claremont/Byrne run, we'd see it as a "catch your breath" issue following "Days of Future Past", and an opportunity to get to know the book's newest character better. But this being Byrne's final issue gives it greater significance. We expect creator departures, especially ones as momentous as this, to come at the end of significant stories, or feature some kind of definitive statement on the characters by the departing creator. In truth, given the nature of the industry, this is rarely the case, and here, we get an entirely professional but largely unremarkable end to one of the the most critically acclaimed and well loved runs of X-Men stories, and as a result, the whole thing can't help but feel a little bittersweet, tinged with thoughts of what might have been. 

Next Issue
The return of Cyclops, and a guest appearance by Man-Thing (insert penis joke here).

22 comments:

  1. I certainly have zero idea how the comic business really works, but it's always been odd to me when artists complain about not having enough creative control.

    In my mind artists draw and writers write. And while an artist could certainly pitch ideas to the writer, really, their job is to just make pretty pictures that goes along with the what the writer writes.

    That isn't to say an artist can't also be a writer. But if you aren't billed to be the "writer" (or co-author) of a series then I'm unsure why you'd have any more control over the story other than to suggest things to the writer.

    Also, this one time in a park my Man-Thing made a guest appearance...I spent that night in jail.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not much to say about this one. Your use of the word "unremarkable" is the right way to describe it.

    I never noticed that Terry Austin went solo on this cover, too. I wonder if it's because Byrne was already out the door when the time came to draw it?

    Interesting that Claremont says he doesn't know to this day what went wrong with Byrne. Jim Shooter said something similar on his blog not long ago -- that the last time he saw Byrne, he tried to shake his hand and Byrne accepted only after some reluctance. For all his reputation as an online trash-talker, I feel like Byrne must have internalized a lot of his issues with collaborators back then. I get the impression that nobody knew he was mad at them until he just suddenly stopped speaking to them.

    Anyway, onward to the return of Dave Cockrum! (After a fill-in by Brent Anderson, that is. And two issues of Spider-Woman.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dr. Bitz -- "That isn't to say an artist can't also be a writer. But if you aren't billed to be the "writer" (or co-author) of a series then I'm unsure why you'd have any more control over the story other than to suggest things to the writer."

    In this case, Byrne basically was the co-author, though. He was credited as co-plotter going all the way back to issue #113 or so. I think that's his main objection.

    Beyond that, there's also the matter of the "Marvel Style" of making a comic book. When Stan Lee was writing and editing the majority of Marvel's output in the 60's, he had little time to write full scripts, so he verbally plotted the issues with his artists, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko (among others). The artists would then illustrate the bare bones plot, pacing it as they saw fit. Lee then came back in and added dialogue later on.

    As the years went on, even after Marvel began to employ multiple editors, assitant editors, etc., the Marvel style stuck around. Writers would come up with a plot, hand it off to the artist, and let the artist do a lot of the heavy lifting as far as pacing and "acting" and such. Some writers did use the full script format, and some artists preferred to work from full scripts, but I think that at least up until the late 80's or early 90's, Marvel style was the default way it was done.

    So there is some justification for an artist working in the Marvel style to complain about their creative contributions not being recognized.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Dr. Bitz: Also, this one time in a park my Man-Thing made a guest appearance...I spent that night in jail.

    Thank you. :)

    @Matt: I wonder if it's because Byrne was already out the door when the time came to draw it?

    Seems likely. I *think* at this time covers came about later in the process (as opposed to the old days when Mort Weisinger would have someone draw a cover, then hand it to a writer and saw "write a story off this").

    I feel like Byrne must have internalized a lot of his issues with collaborators back then. I get the impression that nobody knew he was mad at them until he just suddenly stopped speaking to them.

    That definitely seems to be the case. And I wouldn't be surprised if, as the Internet rose in popularity, Byrne discovered what a lot of people did: it's a lot easier to vent online than in person or to the press.

    After a fill-in by Brent Anderson, that is. And two issues of Spider-Woman.

    The wait'll just make it all the sweeter. ;)

    @Dr. Bitz: And while an artist could certainly pitch ideas to the writer, really, their job is to just make pretty pictures that goes along with the what the writer writes.

    @Matt: So there is some justification for an artist working in the Marvel style to complain about their creative contributions not being recognized.

    Matt, you pretty much said what I was going to say, though the one thing I was going to add is that Byrne's complaints about not getting credit have always bugged me because he's been credited as co-author/plotter since issue 113: what more did he want?

    This isn't like all those years where no one knew about the Marvel Method and Lee was getting more credit than he deserved for the contributions of Kirby, Ditko, etc.

    Byrne was credited as a co-plotter, and even in the issues where he was credited as the sole plotter (#139-140) or believed he was the sole plotter ("Days of Future past), Claremont was involved in some capacity. It almost seems like he wants each issue to include a list of which ideas were his and which were Claremont's. Is he really being denied credit if the world doesn't know it was specifically his idea to use Mastermind? He was a co-plotter; we can assume some ideas were his, some Claremont's.

    Now, his beefs with Claremont changing stuff via dialogue/narration after they'd agreed on a direction, just because Claremont touched the comic later than Byrne and could get away with it, I can understand, because it suggests the relationship is no longer a true collaboration. If that bugs you, you ask your collaborator to knock it off and if he doesn't you quit, which is what Byrne did.

    But I've never understood his notion that he was denied credit for his work when he was credited as co-author/plotter on nearly every issue.

    ReplyDelete
  5. why in the hell does a 13 year old need to know the start-up sequence for the Blackbird?
    And i know she's jewish, but really- NO ONE wanted her around on christmas so they just left her home alone?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anne said "And i know she's jewish, but really- NO ONE wanted her around on christmas so they just left her home alone?

    Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Anne: why in the hell does a 13 year old need to know the start-up sequence for the Blackbird?

    All the X-Men need to know it, Anne. ALL the X-Men.

    And yeah, it's clearly meant to explain how Kitty knows how to do it later in the issue when she does it to fry the demon, but A. At least they explained WHY she knew how to do it and B. Angel at least does mention that all the X-Men had to learn it, just like Kitty, at one time or another.

    And i know she's jewish, but really- NO ONE wanted her around on christmas so they just left her home alone?

    Though there's some sense that she enjoys the idea of having a night to herself, she does make some comments about being sad cuz it's her first Chanukkah away from home, but that's more about how she misses her parents (which, of course, sets up the surprise at the end when they come back to the mansion with Xavier, Storm and Colossus).

    But yeah, for the most part, the X-Men are like, "What, you don't have any plans to get banged tonight? Well, too bad, see ya!"

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anne said my main points.

    I wanted to add that it really creeped me out that she called collosus sexy.

    Also, that lady's hair in the add is like a national tragedy or something. I can't tell if it's humorous or horrendous.

    Finally, it seems like it would just be exahusting being Byrne and so angry about things all the time

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Sarah - How is it creepy that she calls him sexy? Don't you remember being 13 years old? Middle school was basically one big rumor mill of who thought who was "sexy" or "hot" or "smokin.'" (At least mine was.)

    I do agree with Teebore, though -- It is pretty forward of her. For all those middle school rumors about who was hot and who wasn't, I don't think there was a 13 year old in the bunch who had the guts to actually ask someone out on a date or give them a peck on the cheek...

    Ah, puberty... What a horrible, no good, very bad time you were..

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Matt: Yeah, that makes more sense. It's really just all in the "job description" they have when sign up for the book. (It's just the Marvel method is completely contrary to how I would run a comic book operation. But, then again, what the hell do I know?)

    Anyway, Teebore said the main thing. Exactly where was Byrne not getting credit?

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Sarah: I wanted to add that it really creeped me out that she called collosus sexy.

    Theirs is the love which dare not speak its name. :)

    Finally, it seems like it would just be exahusting being Byrne and so angry about things all the time

    Yeah, he must either have a ton of energy to keep him going or none at all, because all that anger must be a drain.

    @Michael: Ah, puberty... What a horrible, no good, very bad time you were..


    Ha! Indeed. For me, the Kitty/Colossus relationship doesn't get creepy until he starts reciprocating. At this point, it's just a teenage girl having a crush on an older guy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dr. Bitz (& Teebore) -- "Exactly where was Byrne not getting credit?"

    Good point, and not one I ever really thought about. I'm so used to artists complaining that they don't get their due that I never stopped to realize that in this case, Byrne was getting his!

    Teebore -- "For me, the Kitty/Colossus relationship doesn't get creepy until he starts reciprocating."

    True. You don't really think about it since they're both basically kind of in the same "grade" at Xavier's, but it's the equivalent of a 7th grader dating a high school senior (or even a college freshman)! Very icky!

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Matt: You don't really think about it since they're both basically kind of in the same "grade" at Xavier's, but it's the equivalent of a 7th grader dating a high school senior (or even a college freshman)!

    Good point. And eventually edging her age up to 14/15 doesn't really help a lot either, though at least high school freshman/college freshman is a *little* better than 7th grader/college freshman.

    ReplyDelete

  14. I don't have much to add to the conversation about Byrne and the "Marvel-style" process that wouldn't be redundant.

    And that includes pointing out that, while Byrne was an official co-plotter and that pencilers working from a verbal or even a written condensed plot are responsible for much of the flow of storytelling, Claremont was still the book's designated writer. You can — if you're Byrne or a fan who's aligned with him and/or simply noticing some bifurcation in what Byrne and Claremont, respectively, intended to do — be sorry that Claremont and Byrne often weren't (no pun intended) on the same page. Maybe that's unfair to the characters and the direction of the series, even. You can't, however, complain that the scripter has the final word because that's literally the scripter's job.

    You also can't complain, as folks have pointed out, that Byrne didn't get credit for his general contributions, but I wonder if when he complains about credit in addition to citing the aggravation of the whole process he isn't so much complaining about the credit itself but having his name, and that very co-plotter credit, on something that ultimately didn't reflect his input — almost the reverse of not getting credit, really. I can think of one particular occasion where an article of mine was not just rewritten but expanded heavily enough by the editor that I was livid to have a sole byline on the piece; I wanted my name off of it or for the editor to share the byline, which of course couldn't be done since I didn't know about the changes until it saw print.

    Onward...

    We're eventually shown that Kitty's hurt by the creature even while phasing, but I get a bit dismayed that up until that point she's not thinking too clearly. Like maybe instead of using her phasing power to go through floors and walls that the creature then rips through after her, she could just stand there and let its claws phase through her while she thinks about how to defeat it. Granted she's still new to combat situations and fighting weird menaces in general — and even still getting used to her powers — but it still feels like I have to be a bit overly considerate of the fact that she's just a 13-year-old neophyte, especially since she's also a "genius"; I want to give Byrne and Claremont credit for having her act her age and (lack-of-)skill level, but we're so conditioned by standard superheroics that I really just spend pages talking back to the panels in my head. I guess it would've been nice for her and us to discover that she wasn't out of harm's way even by phasing earlier, 'cause otherwise it's just a bit dippy for her to use the same power to retreat, before she gets the bright idea of where to lead the creature, that she could be using to keep the creature in one place, doing less damage to the mansion, as she comes up with a plan.

    Storm: "What good is being a mutant "weather witch" if one can't conjure up a crystal clear Christmas Eve?"

    I'd have gone with a light snowfall, myself — but, hey, she's from Africa.

    VW: canneffs — Swear words in Steve Canyon.

    ReplyDelete

  15. I don't think I'd want to be on a boat in a place called "Shark Bay". 

    While I take your point, it's probably still safer than "Michael Bay".

    Kitty mentions that all the X-Men work out regularly to stay in shape.

    I really appreciate them showing Kitty exercising, talking about her studies, and learning stuff like how to fly the Blackbird.

    Wolverine almost eviscerates Nightcrawler when Nightcrawler playfully kisses Mariko.

    Okay, Logan did overreact, but Kurt should know enough about Logan's temper and Japanese culture not to pull a move like that. It's tremendously forward to kiss a lady on the cheek, especially one of her status.

    Angel flies off to an innuendo-laced evening with Candy Southern.

    Is she in town or is he flying to New Mexico (or Arizona; now I forget where Angel's Aerie actually is)?

    Byrne: "There was also a little piece off to one side where Chris and I had argued a great deal about who the characters were and how the characters act, and what they would say and what they would do and I realised that the Chris version of the character was what was seeing print."

    Just to repeat myself on this score, I don't think that you can be too surprised when the other guy's versions of the characters is what comes across if the other guy is the writer.

    VW: plotlen — What Chris said to the series' former writer/editor when he asked what Claremont and Byrne were butting heads about.

    ReplyDelete

  16. Matt: Interesting that Claremont says he doesn't know to this day what went wrong with Byrne.

    Especially since they did collaborate on a run on JLA — prior to the publication of the book in which this remark of Claremont's saw print. Byrne fully plotted and penciled the storyline with Claremont dialoguing, if I recall, but you'd have expected them to have some interaction.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Blam: he isn't so much complaining about the credit itself but having his name, and that very co-plotter credit, on something that ultimately didn't reflect his input — almost the reverse of not getting credit, really.

    I could see that, especially given his issues with Claremont changing things they'd agreed upon during the scripting stage.

    Which is certainly a legitimate grievance, though I think, if that truly was his concern, that Byrne, then and now, has done a poor job of making it clear that was his problem.

    ike maybe instead of using her phasing power to go through floors and walls that the creature then rips through after her, she could just stand there and let its claws phase through her while she thinks about how to defeat it.

    Huh. I'd never thought of that before, but it makes a lot of sense. Especially since, given her neophyte status and defensive power, you'd think her first reaction (or the one Professor X has been training her to have) to danger would be to just phase while figuring out what to do next.

    While I take your point, it's probably still safer than "Michael Bay".


    Ha!

    I really appreciate them showing Kitty exercising, talking about her studies, and learning stuff like how to fly the Blackbird.

    Me too; it not only adds to Kitty's character, but helps make the X-Men as a whole feel more rounded and realistic as we learn about their regular regimens and whatnot.

    It's tremendously forward to kiss a lady on the cheek, especially one of her status.


    Another good point.

    Is she in town or is he flying to New Mexico (or Arizona; now I forget where Angel's Aerie actually is)?

    Ha, I can't remember now either. Either way, it's never made clear exactly how far Angel is planning on flying. Though presumably she's in town, or else he'd be too tired to, er, well, you know...

    Especially since they did collaborate on a run on JLA — prior to the publication of the book in which this remark of Claremont's saw print.

    Reading that quote, I wondered about that JLA story (though not enough to actually look up the respective pub dates...), so thanks for mentioning that.

    ReplyDelete

  18. Teebore: I'd never thought of that before, but it makes a lot of sense. Especially since, given her neophyte status and defensive power, you'd think her first reaction (or the one Professor X has been training her to have) to danger would be to just phase while figuring out what to do next.

    She beat her first Danger Room test, remember, by closing her eyes and walking across the room unscathed. I grant that having seen the N'Garai demon she might be too rattled to then sit tight while it went at her, but it feels like we should've gotten that scene.

    Teebore: or else he'd be too tired to, er, well, you know...

    Enjoy a little Southern comfort? (Ouch.)

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's a great standalone issue. Just not a great final issue for Byrne. Doesn't help that Paul Smith's rather blatant redo of this a couple years later is actually better (mainly because of the presence of Lockheed.)

    Seems to me Byrne didn't want to just be credited as co-plotter, but in fact wanted all of his ideas and original plots to be seen his way without any interference whatsoever. Either he didn't really understand the concept of collaboration, or Claremont did just bulldoze his ideas and write whatever dialog he wanted, or a little bit of both. He's obviously happier with total creative control, like the ultra-successful and long-lived 'X-Men: The Hidden Years."

    Oops.

    By the way, I had typed something about Alpha Flight originally, but I kept misspelling it as "Aloha Flight." Why aren't there more superheroes based in Hawaii anyway?

    --mortsleam

    ReplyDelete
  20. @Blam: Enjoy a little Southern comfort? (Ouch.)


    Nice! :)

    @mortsleam: It's a great standalone issue. Just not a great final issue for Byrne.

    I agree. It suffers mainly for being Byrne's last. Out of that context, it's a great little done-in-one.

    He's obviously happier with total creative control, like the ultra-successful and long-lived 'X-Men: The Hidden Years."

    Yeah, the bottom line is that it's clear Byrne at that point didn't want a collaborator, and just wanted to do it all himself so it was entirely his vision that saw print.

    And to his credit, he left X-Men to do that (and his FF was a bit more successful than Hidden Years. :) )

    Why aren't there more superheroes based in Hawaii anyway?

    There's probably a ton of them, but you never hear about it cuz everyone's too busy relaxing hatch and/or thwart nefarious schemes.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "And to his credit, he left X-Men to do that (and his FF was a bit more successful than Hidden Years. :) )"

    Yeahhh, I had originally mentioned FF, along with She-Hulk and 'Aloha Flight' but deleted it simply because the Hidden Years comment was... funnier? Oh and he also worked on Avengers West Coast, but that was kind of a mess, wasn't it? In a sense, it laid the foundations for his later inability to play in other people's sandboxes. And while his first run on She-Hulk was entertaining, it kind of pigeon-holed her into a jokey fourth-wall breaking role from which she never truly escaped. Though Dan Slott's "single green female lawyer" series worked well.

    I'll give him this: Byrne definitely has a strong sense of what he believes makes a good comic. And his layouts and character design (Sue Richards' mullet excluded) were, at their peak, among the very best that comics have to offer.

    --mortsleam

    ReplyDelete
  22. @mortsleam: I had originally mentioned FF, along with She-Hulk and 'Aloha Flight' but deleted it simply because the Hidden Years comment was... funnier?

    Oh, it was totally worth the gag.

    Though Dan Slott's "single green female lawyer" series worked well.


    As a general rule I tend to extremely dislike fourth wall breaking series, but I adore Slott's She-Hulk series.

    Sue Richards' mullet excluded

    Oy, yeah, that was bad. I wonder if that's one of those styles, like bell bottoms, that Byrne thought would last forever so he integrated it into his style.

    ReplyDelete

Comment. Please. Love it? Hate it? Am mildly indifferent to it? Let us know!