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Tony Tower
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 12:55am | IP Logged | 1  

JB -

Back when you were working on both WEST COAST AVENGERS and AVENGERS, was it your choice which book to write and draw and which to "only" write? If so, why did you choose as you did?

(I was curious, as I suspect some would find the spinoff book less desirable than the "mothership." Also, you're certainly very capable of doing writing and art on two books a month - although I've forgotten if you had non-AVENGERS works going on at the same time as well.)

Thanks!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 4:45am | IP Logged | 2  

I was assigned first to AWC, then, since I was "already there", I was asked to also write THE AVENGERS.
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Flavio Sapha
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 7:51am | IP Logged | 3  

Why the change from WCA to AWC?
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Adam Hutchinson
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 8:25am | IP Logged | 4  

So they would sit next to each other on the shelves, or something along those lines.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 5  

Why the change from WCA to AWC?

++

So they would sit next to each other on the shelves, or something along those lines.

Correct! It was the first thing I asked for when I was assigned to the book, having noticed there were a lot of shops that were racking WEST COAST AVENGERS down in the Ws. I wanted it up alongside its sister title.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 8:34am | IP Logged | 6  

I'll mention, too, that (until the abrupt ending) AWC was a lot more fun to work on than THE AVENGERS. Reason? Only one member, Iron Man, had his own title. This meant a lot less interference from On High -- such as being forced to include a character who had no place in the Avengers (koff Quasar koff) and then having to fight the senior editor (koff Gruenie koff) who wrote than character's title, and kept pushing for him to have a more important role on the team.
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Benjamin Ledbetter
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 8:56am | IP Logged | 7  

Well AWC had the best cast of characters when you arrived by far.  I really loved the scientist adventurer version of Henry Pym.
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Eric Smearman
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 8  

Really enjoyed Mike Machlan's inks on AWC. And, yes, the West
Coast cast was pretty cool.
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Neil Brauer
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 10:47am | IP Logged | 9  

Wasn't AWC actually out selling The Avengers for a while?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 11:19am | IP Logged | 10  

One element of AWC that was most definitely no fun at all, was that my time on the book seem to coincide with the rise in fandom -- the increase in decibel level, mainly -- of those "fans" Roger Stern has often described as being unable to figure out where a story is going, and so loudly assuming the writers haven't got it figured out, either.

This was especially apparent when I "ruined" the Vision. {"Ruined" became a popular word with these folk, around this time. It was not enough that they did not like a story turn, it had RUINED the characters!) Apparently, despite my long history of "breaking" characters and then fixing them (that being the point of the story, or story arc), it was assumed I had no way of "fixing" the Vision, after I "broke" him, and so he was "ruined".

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 11  

I'm sure part of it is that I read the book during my own "Golden Age" of fandom, but West Coast Avengers is my favorite of JB's works, and it made Hawkeye one of my all-time favorite characters.  It killed me that the book lost all that great momentum so soon after Acts of Vengeance wrapped up, but at least I had Namor, Classic X-Men and all of the older stuff I hadn't discovered yet to take away some of the sting.

I never really warmed up to the Paul Ryan/Tom Palmer combo on Avengers, so that felt like the "second string" book to me when JB was on West Coast Avengers.  If John Buscema had stayed on as penciler on Avengers with Tom Palmer, and Paul Ryan had stayed on as JB's inker on West Coast Avengers...well, it's fun to play "What If?", isn't it?
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 12:43pm | IP Logged | 12  

Really enjoyed Mike Machlan's inks on AWC

***********

I did, too. Especially the first few issues before his style totally changed.

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 1:12pm | IP Logged | 13  

Yeah, enjoyed Mike Machlan's inks especially on that first issue, but lost enthusiasm for them as the run continued.

JB's run on AWC was great fun; I distinctly recall looking forward to the next issue each month (this was egged on by all the clever cliff-hangers, such as Wasp opens a jail door and 'YOU!!' and then you had to wait for the next issue to find out just who...)

I was perplexed and aggrieved when the run was cut short with nothing tied up. really wanted to see how things panned out with Wanda's kids.

It was a great line-up of characters. Wasp, Hawkeye and Iron Man are all top-draw members of the Avengers and would all make it into my favourite Avengers team. Hank Pym, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Wonder Man are not far behind either.
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Leigh DJ Hunt
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 3:08pm | IP Logged | 14  

Loved the AWC run but the inking and printing of the time did hinder my enjoyment at times. 
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Steve Jamrozik
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 6:08pm | IP Logged | 15  

it was assumed I had no way of "fixing" the Vision,

JB:

If you didn't leave the books suddenly, would there have been further developments regarding the Vision? When you left the book he was with the East Coast team without a personality. If so, would the Editor have known about them?

I read both of your titles but not Spotlight. Nine months after your last issue, they gave the Vision the brain patterns of a new character in the final issue of Spotlight. They didn't acknowledge this in the main book for over a year after the Spotlight issue. Considering the Vision's second appearance established that even an android could cry, two years of "toaster" Vision after you left seemed like the new status quo.

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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 7:21pm | IP Logged | 16  

I liked - and still like - the JB "broken" Vision better.    

"Spectral...unearthly..." 


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Michael Hogan
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 7:24pm | IP Logged | 17  

I also preferred the "spectral" Vision, since his scarier appearance
could be used to his advantage. Also, the "colder" persona
differentiated him more.

In total, the roster of JB's AWC beat the heck out of the East Coast
team at the time.
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Bill Guerra
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 8:06pm | IP Logged | 18  

JB's West Coast Avengers/Avengers West Coast was my favorite title, hands down back then! I loved the line-up of characters, Iron Man rejoined, the Scarlet Witch was a member (I've  had a crush on here since I was around 5...actually, she was drawn by JB the first time I saw her, so its his fault!), the cliffhanger endings, the subplots...it had it all.

I had already liked the West Coasters and I remember reading that JB was coming back to Marvel and taking over the title as writer/penciler and I was very excited to see what he'd do with it. That was the first time that I had ever gotten pumped up for a specific creator coming onto a series.

Thanks for those great times, JB!

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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 15 May 2012 at 9:34pm | IP Logged | 19  

I was just happy to have the original Human Torch back!

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Nathan Greno
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Posted: 16 May 2012 at 1:12am | IP Logged | 20  

IMHO some of JB's best writing can be found in West Coast Avengers/Avengers West Coast. I still read those issues from time to time... even though the "ending" is painful --

  

Those are some FANTASTIC stories!!!!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 May 2012 at 2:28am | IP Logged | 21  

I was perplexed and aggrieved when the run was cut short with nothing tied up. really wanted to see how things panned out with Wanda's kids.

You did. That was one story, at least, that I got to finish. That later writers chose to revisit my story and muck it up, in no way should be taken as an indication that I had not told my tale in full.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 May 2012 at 2:43am | IP Logged | 22  

"Darker Than Scarlet"

There is an old saying, to the effect that one should never attribute to malice anything that can be explained by sheer incompetence, but as time went by on AVENGERS WEST COAST I could not shake the feeling there were people above me in the food chain who were trying to deliberately force me off the book.

The worst example was what actually caused me to quit the title, that being the declaration from the EiC that he had "forbidden" the Scarlet Witch storyline when it had first been pitched. That was not even remotely true. What I had planned for Wanda led to a really big storyline (elements of which turned up later, mysteriously, in the "Age of Apocalypse" story), and when a group of writers and editors were called into the EiC's office to pitch ideas for that summer's arbitrary crossover "event", Howard Mackie (the AWC editor) and I suggested our story might work well there. The EiC didn't think so, and Howard and I left the meeting thinking no more of it. We went ahead with our story as planned. Only later did we find out it was the whole STORY that had supposedly been rejected. Funny how we'd missed that.

But the "last straw" element of this came when I was called to task for changing Wanda's costume "without getting permission". Since this was a "change" in the same vein as Susan Richards becoming Malice, or Wanda herself having been possessed by Chthon years earlier, or even what I was doing with the Vision, none of which had required "approval" from on high, it had occurred to neither Howard nor me that this TEMPORARY change was something that needed to be "approved".

I took the hint, and left the book. Which is really too bad, because -- and you will forgive my towering immodesty -- if I had been left alone, I would have delivered a story arc that I'm pretty sure would STILL be being talked about, right up there with Dark Phoenix or my Galactus storyline in FF.

Writers get used to stories going sour on them. It happens. But when a story is FORCED to go sour. . .

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William Roberge
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Posted: 16 May 2012 at 3:33am | IP Logged | 23  

It is times like this I don't like reading about the behind-the-scenes workings of the comics I loved to read, leads to a lot of "what might have been" feelings.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 16 May 2012 at 3:45am | IP Logged | 24  

if I had been left alone, I would have delivered a story arc that I'm pretty sure would STILL be being talked about, right up there with Dark Phoenix or my Galactus storyline in FF
------------------------------------------
Rub salt in the wounds why dontcha? We already said we felt bad you left now you drop this bomb! :)

Shades of FF where you had the Doom War arc planned, which also sounded awesome.

Real shame what might have been.

Something fairly superficial that I'm very grateful you sorted out: Wonder Man's mullet.
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James Revilla
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Posted: 16 May 2012 at 4:13am | IP Logged | 25  

I have loved your work on other books JB, but I really think that WCA is a textbook of how comics should be plotted and paced. The way you layered the subplots, wound the main storyline into the next one, just a car firing on all cylinders. I am a hug fan of your art, but I remember that run changing my perception of you as a writer. To this day I cite you as one of the best comic book plotters in the business, WCA is one of the many reasons.
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