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Topic: Q for JB: Untold Legend of the Batman (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Will Hansen
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 10:04am | IP Logged | 1  

I recently ran across issues 2 and 3 of Untold Legend of the Batman for sale, but not number one which you pencilled. It made me wonder if you have ever mentioned why you only pencilled the first issue.

Thanks.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 11:58am | IP Logged | 2  

Oh, I have mentioned it. Since it doesn't appear to be in the FAQs, here it is all in one place:

I was at a convention in Chicago, when I heard DC was planning a book about the history of Batman. I was not under contract to Marvel at the time, and I had a three month "window" upcoming into which I could fit such a project, so, since I had wanted to do Batman since, like, for-everrr, I contacted the editor and told him I was available.

A short time later, one of the Powers That Were at DC got in touch with me, saying they would be thrilled to have me work on the project, but unfortunately they would not be able to match my Marvel page rate. No problem, said I. This was Batman! I would just about do it for free. So I agreed to do the series, and Terry Austin signed on (figuratively) to ink.

Then I waited for the plot for the first issue. And waited. And waited. The whole first month of my three month window went by, with nothing forthcoming. Finally, into the second month, the plot arrived. I was a little disappointed to see it was basically a "cut-and-paste" story, requiring me to do little beyond redrawing previous scenes, but it was BATMAN! And I really wanted to do Batman. I looked at my schedule and decided I could fit the four issues into two months, provided there were no further slips.

I got the first issue penciled, and it was lettered and even shown to Terry, who was in the office around this time. And I waited for the second plot. And waited. And waited.

The third month of my three month window slipped into the Past. The window closed. I called the editor and said I would not be able to finish the project. He said he could get me the first half of the second plot in "a week or two" if I could just be patient. I reminded him that I had said from the beginning I had three months in which I could do this. The three months were gone. I could no longer do it.

Then, the same Higher Up who had called to tell me that they could not match my Marvel rate called to offer me double my Marvel rate if I would finish the job. I bristled at this -- where was all this extra money suddenly appearing from?? -- and still declined.

When the project was finally announced, DC added insult to injury by reporting to the fan press that I had "quit" the project unexpectedly, that Jim Aparo was being called in to finish, and to ink "Byrne's very loose pencils" on the first issue. Terry, who, as noted, had seen the first issue, sent around a couple of letters to various 'zines informing them that the pencils were every bit as tight - ie, very -- as what he was inking on X-MEN.

It was a long time after that before I felt like doing anything for DC again.

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Jeff Albertson
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 3  

What was your opinion of Aparo's inking of your pencils?
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Mike Davis
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 12:20pm | IP Logged | 4  

Wow, what a shame and such a missed opportunity by DC.

If your pencils were as tight as those featured in the "pencil scans" section of the forum, specifically for Captain American #249, then Jim Aparo must have really taken a lot of liberties. In fact, I remember many comic fans being confused as to who inked who given how prevalent Aparo's style was in the art, regardless of the actual credits.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 12:21pm | IP Logged | 5  

What was your opinion of Aparo's inking of your
pencils?

***

Beautiful! Amongst the best (especially of that
vintage) my stuff has ever looked.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 12:22pm | IP Logged | 6  

Jim Aparo must have really taken a lot of liberties.

***

He did, but he was bringing the issue into line with
what the other three would look like, so that was
acceptable.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 12:29pm | IP Logged | 7  

Link to the closed JBF thread on UNTOLD BATMAN, with lots of great artwork featured:

http://www.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=16219 &PN=1&TPN=1



Edited by Michael Penn on 26 April 2007 at 12:29pm
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 2:36pm | IP Logged | 8  

Untold Legend of the Batman would be a great title for a new
BATMAN series by JB-- it wouldn't have to follow any current storylines.

(just a wish...)

-C!
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Charles Jones
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 2:37pm | IP Logged | 9  

I loved that comic, I got it when I was a kid.
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James Hanson
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Joined: 14 February 2006
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 2:59pm | IP Logged | 10  

It would have been great if JB could have finished the Untold Legend--then
you could have MoS along with that and have a JB drawn origin story for
both icons. I wish they'd release a color TPB of Untold Legend.
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Thomas Moudry
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 3:49pm | IP Logged | 11  

I looked in that other thread with the pages from Untold Legend of the
Batman. I was in high school when the mini-series came out, and I was
familiar with JB's X-Men, Champions, Iron Fist, and Marvel Team-Up artwork.
Still, at the time, I couldn't see the John Byrne artwork in the first issue; I
only saw the Jim Aparo.

Now--and for some time now--I can really see John Byrne under those Jim
Aparo inks.
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Flavio Sapha
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 7:37pm | IP Logged | 12  

Sad to hear it was such an unpleasant professional experience, JB. ULOB is
my favorite Batman story. I hope seeing Aparo's inks over your pencils
offset in some degree the negative part of this job.
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 7:58pm | IP Logged | 13  

Has anyone seen JB's pencils for Untold Legend? That would be
very cool to see!!!

-C!
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 10:00pm | IP Logged | 14  

I just got the last 2 issues of this last year. It was fun to finally read how it ended.
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Darren De Vouge
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Posted: 26 April 2007 at 11:22pm | IP Logged | 15  

This has been of my favourite Batman mini-series for the last 27 years or so.  Bought #1 off the newstand!
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