Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login
The John Byrne Forum
Byrne Robotics > The John Byrne Forum Page of 10 Next >>
Topic: Jim Shooter: The Origin of the Dark Phoenix Saga (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
Author
Message
Andrew W. Farago
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 19 July 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3972
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 12:22pm | IP Logged | 1  

JB:  I was curious if you had anything to add to the origin of the Dark Phoenix Saga, as related by Jim Shooter on his blog.  Are there any major discrepancies between your account of this story and his?
Back to Top profile | search | www e-mail
 
John Byrne
Avatar
Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108726
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 2  

I have no interest in reading anything Shooter might have written on the subject. Here, for the umpety-umpth time, is the correct and factual story. Compare and contrast as you will:

For several issues, Chris had been playing up Phoenix more and more, even when I tried to shunt her into a supporting role. The X-Men seemed very much in danger of becoming guest stars in their own book. (Keep in mind that Jean Grey, altho one of the original team members, was not officially an X-Man at this time, having left in issue 94.)

Knowing of my grumbles about this, Steven Grant one day suggested that a possible "solution" was to have Phoenix become a villain. That way she could be as powerful as Chris wanted, without it being at the expense of the other characters in the book.

Chris passed this idea along to me, and while I did not much like the idea of doing this to one of Marvel's oldest characters (and their second female superhero!) it did present a way around my problems with Phoenix. So I agreed, and, since Chris was at that point unfamiliar with X-Lore beyond the Thomas/Adams issues, suggested Mastermind as the engine by which this transformation would be accomplished.

We then set off on a several issue arc in which we laid the groundwork of Jean's downfall. (Of course, Phoenix was still Jean at this point. I have sometimes wondered how things would have played if someone back at that point had suggested that Phoenix was, in fact, an entirely separate being. That way we could have had Jean and Phoenix both. A win-win.)

Eventually we reached the point that Phoenix would go "dark", and off she went into space for her debut rampage. As originally plotted, the total extent of destruction was one Shi'ar battle cruiser -- which fired first! So, to up this from an action that was basically self defense, I had her destroy a star, heedless of any inhabited planets that might be orbiting it. To tie this into the Marvel Universe a bit more closely than the destruction of some newly invented alien race, I got editorial permission to make it the "asparagus people" intoduced in AVENGERS 4. At this point Shooter was also told what I planned and approved it. After all this was no "worse" than anything Galactus did on a regular basis -- and at that point Galactus was still being played as nothing more than a cosmic badguy.

As planned, we then had the Shi'ar fight and defeat the X-Men, capture Jean, and "psychically lobotomize" her. Since the plan -- also approved by Shooter -- was to have Dark Phoenix become a recurrent villain, this would set it up for us to bring her back when we were ready.

The issue was finished, as was the next, which was double sized. I was well into 138, when Shooter declared that Phoenix's crime was too great, and that she must be "taken to a prison asteroid and horribly tortured for all eternity".

When Chris passed this edict along to me I saw nothing but complications. Obviously the X-Men would not stand still for this -- especially Scott! -- and I seriously doubted the fans would either. I saw the X-Men becoming mired in an endless series of hopeless attempts to rescue Jean, who, of course, would have to be "horribly tortured" the whole time. And there would be no chance of an actual rescue as long as Shooter was in charge.

It was at this point I uttered the immortal words "Fuck that! I'd rather kill her!"

Which, with much redrawing and rewriting of already completed issues, is what we did.

Back to Top profile | search
 
Andrew W. Farago
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 19 July 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3972
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 1:34pm | IP Logged | 3  

Thanks for the lengthy and detailed response.  Shooter (not surprisingly) takes most or all of the credit for the initial concept of "we've had bad guys turn good before, like the Scarlet Witch or Hawkeye, but we haven't had any good guys turn bad," but the rest of the story more or less matches up with your account.
Back to Top profile | search | www e-mail
 
Jason Czeskleba
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 30 April 2004
Posts: 4021
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 1:51pm | IP Logged | 4  

As usual, Shooter is the hero in his own story (though it's nice how at the end he graciously says that he doesn't care if Claremont falsely takes more credit than he deserves for the ideas).  I also like the part about how he mentions that at the time he was really busy "trying to teach the writers to write, the pencilers to tell stories, the inkers to ink, the colorists to color."  Yeah, Marvel was staffed mostly by incompetents back then...
Back to Top profile | search
 
Don Zomberg
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 23 November 2005
Posts: 2250
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 1:52pm | IP Logged | 5  

The X Men needed their own Doctor Doom?

I thought they had one. His name started with an "M" or something...?

Back to Top profile | search
 
Vinny Valenti
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 6215
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 1:59pm | IP Logged | 6  


I found this part amusing:

"the Editor in Chief is charged with governing, managing and
protecting all of the characters. It was my job to make sure the
characters were in character, and I was the final word on what "in
character" was."

To which I only need to answer with 2 words: "Secret Wars".

Back to Top profile | search
 
William Lukash
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1405
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:00pm | IP Logged | 7  

Never mind.



Edited by William Lukash on 02 June 2011 at 2:01pm
Back to Top profile | search
 
Armindo Macieira
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 15 October 2006
Location: Portugal
Posts: 955
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:05pm | IP Logged | 8  

"Yeah, Marvel was staffed mostly by incompetents back then..."

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

Touché!

If Shooter really spent part of his time teaching Byrne, Buscema(s), Perez, Simonson, RomitaJr, and others like them drawing, I believe if was EIC at Marvel these days, looking at some "artists" working there (not to mention writers), he would probably have a complete nervous breakdown in a week!


Edited by Armindo Macieira on 02 June 2011 at 2:06pm
Back to Top profile | search | www
 
John Byrne
Avatar
Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108726
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 9  

It should be noted that Shooter's method of "teaching" basically consisted of constant badgering with little or no positive input, and the only way you would ever know you'd finally figured out what he wanted was when he would suddenly start badgering you about something else!

Another of his charming habits was attacking everybody for doing something he didn't like in a single artist -- whether they were doing it or not! One of the small triumphs of my days under Shooter was when he had a bee in his bonnet about Ross Andru. Ross was then drawing AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and was considered untouchable, but Shooter did not like the way he drew punches. Truth to tell, Ross' figures were a bit stiff, and when someone threw a punch as he drew it there was not much follow-thru from the rest of the body. The punch seemed to come from the shoulder, and the rest of the torso stayed stiff.

To address this, one day Shooter cornered me in the middle of the editorial bullpen, and started haranguing me on this point in front of everyone there. "When somebody throws a punch their whole body has to follow thru!" Luckily, as chance would have it, on the wall of covers of books that came out that month, this was prominently displayed:

I pointed to it. "You mean like this?"

Shooter turned red in the face, and stumped back into his office. I heard no more about how poorly I drew figures throwing punches.

The rest of the bullpen applauded.

Back to Top profile | search
 
Chris Marquardt
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 169
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:15pm | IP Logged | 10  

One thing I've recently been curious about. Shooter appears to at least have
a genuine love of the comic book, despite his control issues. Given the
current inmates running the asylum at the big two, is it possible to say that
working for him might be preferable to working for present-day M***** or
DC?

Not that I expect either to happen any time soon, but there's bad and there's
BAD.

Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne
Avatar
Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108726
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 11  

Are you asking if I'd rather be kicked in the right testicle or the left?
Back to Top profile | search
 
JT Molloy
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 19 February 2008
Posts: 2092
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:19pm | IP Logged | 12  

I got JB's run on Fantastic Four really late. (I was born in '81 and got into Marvel in Jr. High) I got the trade with the Malice story a few recent years ago. Was seriously on the edge of my seat reading it....

Then suddenly it's like: "We interrupt this awesome FF story to bring you Secret Wars II written by Jim Shooter! With such classic scenes as 'The Beyonder Eats Glass'!"

Ugh. I doubt he taught anyone anything.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Martin Redmond
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 27 June 2006
Posts: 3883
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:25pm | IP Logged | 13  


 QUOTE:
I thought they had one. His name started with an "M" or something...?

Mesmero?

Back to Top profile | search
 
Mark Haslett
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 19 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4376
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:27pm | IP Logged | 14  

Even in JB's account, Shooter's interference leads to a better story. So sad Shooter has to rewrite events to give himself more and more credit.

He even perpetuates the myth that X-Men took off in sales because of that story. Appealing to Salicrup to verify his version-- it turns out that Salicrup came in after everything was already a done deal. Pesky little facts.

One would think this was all a matter of record as told in Phoenix- the untold tale.

Edited by Mark Haslett on 02 June 2011 at 2:30pm

Back to Top profile | search
 
Chris Marquardt
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 169
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:39pm | IP Logged | 15  


 QUOTE:
Are you asking if I'd rather be kicked in the right testicle or the left?

Question asked and answered...

... ouch ...

Back to Top profile | search
 
Michael Todd
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 07 September 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 4115
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:40pm | IP Logged | 16  


 QUOTE:
Mesmero?

Back to Top profile | search | www
 
Stéphane Garrelie
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 05 August 2005
Location: France
Posts: 3904
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:49pm | IP Logged | 17  

Mactor Three?
Back to Top profile | search
 
Stéphane Garrelie
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 05 August 2005
Location: France
Posts: 3904
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:51pm | IP Logged | 18  

And of course it's leader the Mutant Master!
Back to Top profile | search
 
Stéphane Garrelie
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 05 August 2005
Location: France
Posts: 3904
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 2:52pm | IP Logged | 19  

Way better than Moctor Moom.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Stéphane Garrelie
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 05 August 2005
Location: France
Posts: 3904
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 3:05pm | IP Logged | 20  

Joke apart i loved Jean as Phoenix and never was happy that her dark side became more than a Hulk sort of menace (something bad inside).

I wasn't happy to see her destroy an inhabited  planet, and even less happy to see her die.

Loved the Hellfire arc, stopped to like the Dark Phoenix one when she destroyed that star.

But of course i wanted to keep Jean as Phoenix, that's how i liked and still like her.

That didn't stop me to continue to enjoy both yours and Chris' work ,though.



Edited by Stéphane Garrelie on 02 June 2011 at 3:06pm
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne
Avatar
Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108726
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 3:48pm | IP Logged | 21  

I didn't like Phoenix from the get-go. Didn't like the psuedo-FF origin, didn't like the way she burst up out of Jamaica Bay making a speech -- bleh, bleh, bleh.

All things considered, I think it would have been far better to just play Jean's powers for all they were worth. In the early issues, she was VERY powerful, yet somehow limitations got imposed -- many of which ignored what had been already established. For instance, how do we reconcile her not being able to use her TK powers to lift anything greater than she could physically carry with…

Sure, she "feels faint" after this little exploit, but that seems more in the writing than the pictures -- and even if those are particularly skinny ladies she's hoisting about a quarter of a ton there, CONSIDERABLY more than she could carry by hand!

Seems like Jack wanted her to be a lot more powerful than Stan did -- and I would have taken that scene as an indication that she merely needed to PRACTICE. It is a SCHOOL, after all, right?

No need to BOOST her powers, any more than I BOOSTED Sue's powers to show everybody that the Invisible Girl was a major player!

Back to Top profile | search
 
Michael Todd
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 07 September 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 4115
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 5:01pm | IP Logged | 22  

This is a case where I wish the powers that were would have allowed Chris & John to put the "toys" back on the shelf where they found them.  I much prefered Jean as Marvel Girl over Phoenix and it would have been nice had they been able to restore her to that immediately after the Dark Phoenix saga.

Back to Top profile | search | www
 
Stephen Robinson
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5835
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 5:02pm | IP Logged | 23  

I am not sure Shooter's interference led to a better story than what
was originally planned. I think Phoenix as a recurring villain would
have been interesting and perhaps would have avoided the event that
the death of Phoenix became.
Back to Top profile | search | www
 
Brad Krawchuk
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 19 June 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 5822
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 5:35pm | IP Logged | 24  

Also, if they would have decided to make Jean and Phoenix separate entities later on anyway, they could have still had both Jean on the team and Phoenix as a villain. 


Back to Top profile | search e-mail
 
Mark Haslett
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 19 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4376
Posted: 02 June 2011 at 6:01pm | IP Logged | 25  

The impact of the original idea would have been much better for the industry in the long run if it avoided the now constant efforts to do "important" stories like Death of the Phoenix.

But it would mean swapping out the Phoenix's return and Jean's heroic self-sacrifice for an ending of complete defeat at the hands of the Shi'ar.

You can read approximately what was intended in Phoenix the Untold Story (with a few odd editorial changes). Nice stuff, but not quite as unforgettable as what was acctually published.

Back to Top profile | search
 

Page of 10 Next >>
  Post ReplyPost New Topic
Printable version Printable version

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot create polls in this forum
You can vote in polls in this forum

 Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login