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Topic: Comic Book Legends on James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 03 June 2011 at 4:34pm | IP Logged | 1  

I was checking the archives over at Comic Book Resources for the weekly online column, "Comic Book Legends Revealed" by Brian Cronin. One of the subjects discussed in the #311 (April 29, 2011) column is whether or nor JB was the person that decided to make Rhodey a black man when the character first appeared in "Iron Man."

Comic Book Legends Revealed (relevant article towards the bottom of page.)

Cronin concluded that the story was false, noting, "...If he WAS a planned character (which I’m sure he was), then the odds are (and Bob Layton confirms as much) that David Michelinie and Layton (the co-writers of the title) knew what ethnicity Rhodes was going to be..."

"...So I believe Layton’s take on it (not that I have actually seen Byrne make any claim to the contrary)"

Obviously, Cronin missed the many times that JB discussed this subject here, on the forum. I also recall that Cronin is aware of this site, so I wonder why he didn't want to check with JB on this matter, as well as Layton?

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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 03 June 2011 at 7:37pm | IP Logged | 2  

I like Cronin's column when I remember to check it out (heck, I even bought his book) but he's not always the best at researching his stories. 

One that springs to mind is his claim that when Spider-Man got married, Mary Jane hadn't even been in the comics for a few years by that point and had to be reintroduced specifically for the purpose of marrying Peter. 

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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2011 at 7:54pm | IP Logged | 3  

If you want to get technical, the real credit for making Rhodey a Black man should probably go to Roger Stern. I drew the issue in question sitting at a small drawing board in what was then Roger's office at Marvel. When I came to the part in the plot where Rhodey first appeared I asked Rog "shall I make him Black?" and Rog said "sure!" As editor of IRON MAN at the time, Roger was the only one who could really make that call.
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 04 June 2011 at 9:10am | IP Logged | 4  

 Dave wrote:
...I like Cronin's column when I remember to check it out (heck, I even bought his book) but he's not always the best at researching his stories...

Which is bad, considering the whole point of his column is to debunk myths.

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Roger A Ott II
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Posted: 04 June 2011 at 10:51am | IP Logged | 5  

Back in 1996, David Michelinie provided his plot for Iron Man #118 to Advanced Iron, an Iron Man fanzine I was a writer for, and there was no indication in the text as to what ethnicity Rhodey should to be.  The exact wording was:

"...to where Bethany stands with Tony's private pilot, RHODEY (a little younger than Tony, a 'Nam vet).  Tony tells Rhodey that..."

That's it.  That's all the description that was provided.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 June 2011 at 12:33pm | IP Logged | 6  

Thank you, Other Roger!!!!
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 04 June 2011 at 1:11pm | IP Logged | 7  

Well, obviously JB had to read between the lines in that plot to discern Layton's intent that Rhodey be black.  After all, Layton is Mr. Iron Man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layton seems to have the same revisionist memory banks as his good buddy Jim Shooter.

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Tim O'Neill
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Posted: 04 June 2011 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 8  



I think it's generous of you to give Roger Stern credit, JB.  You've always been a stand-up guy wen it comes to this stuff.  But in my opinion, you should be given credit for this.



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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 June 2011 at 7:55pm | IP Logged | 9  

When I was starting out in the Biz, there was not a lot of money to be made. Those of us who strove to become comicbook professionals did so because we loved comics, not because we expected to become millionaires.

From the beginning, then, one of the things that concerned me mightily was the whole concept of Credit Where Credit is Due. And not just for me. I wanted to see everybody get every scrap of credit to which they were entitled. So here, sure, a big ol' dollop of credit to Roger, as the editor of IRON MAN.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 June 2011 at 8:00pm | IP Logged | 10  

Well, obviously JB had to read between the lines in that plot to discern Layton's intent that Rhodey be black…

••

One of my other crusades dating from the early days of my career has been placing as many "minority" characters as I can into important positions, usually as authority figures. Flip thru books I have illustrated, and notice how many times you see judges, doctors, cops, etc, who are Black, or Asian, or Latino.

Basically, if the script does not specifically call for a White character, I will likely make them something else. (Likewise, if the script does not specify male, I will very often make the character female.)

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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 05 June 2011 at 6:56pm | IP Logged | 11  

Race... I just had a sudden flash that the best comic book of all time would be JB adapting the first three volumes of Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea series.  Someone make this happen!
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