I heard last week that Marvel staffers had been reading John Byrne's fanfic project he has now dubbed X-Men: Elsewhen, posted on his John Byrne Message Board. It intends to carry off where John Byrne left the series in the early '80s. And at the Boston Fan Expo last weekend, the other shoe seems to have semi-dropped.
Chris Hassan of Adventures in Poor Taste reports that Byrne said:
"There was some discussion on my website: 'What if you went back to Marvel?' and it planted this itch in my brain," Byrne replied. "I thought, what if I went back to Marvel? Could I go back to Marvel? Can I do that? I haven't drawn like that in 20 years."
To scratch that itch, Byrne illustrated a sample page featuring a battle between Wolverine and Sauron in the Savage Land.
"And then I did another one," Byrne said. "And what the Hell, I'll do another one. And suddenly, there were 20 pages. And then I got an email from [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] C.B. Cebulski saying, 'Love it! Let's talk about this!' Oh, that's unexpected. So yeah, it just happened as a fun thing. It's still just a fun thing as far as I'm concerned."
John Byrne and Marvel are talking… it's been quite a while.
He also says that he draws one page an hour. You know, Marvel already has one weekly X-Men comic planned from January — why not have two? Though he may not be able to leave well alone…
"Usually I would finish a book and send it away…. But now I've gone back and redrawn the stratojet about 12 times and redrawn Kitty and changed one entire page… I've started to turn into George Lucas."
As for where it would go if those Marvel talks go well?
"I know what the next issue is, and I know what the third issue is, and I know what the fourth issue is, and following Marvel tradition, of course, the fifth issue is Doctor Doom."
On his boards, he did also say regarding the project:
I think the only way I could even get close to these characters again would be if Marvel decided to give HIDDEN YEARS back to me, and then stood back and let me do my job.
Would Marvel be as hands-off as John would like? The discussion continues. Though Byrne may have more pressing matters. After all, he just met William Shatner.
We had lunch together, again in the Green Room, and again I managed to keep it together. I did take a moment to ask if he would be interested in playing Captain Kirk's grandfather in NEW VISIONS, but he politely declined. (I asked if it was true he'd been on the Canadian HOWDY DOODY, but he said he did not remember.)
There were others too…
Another, longer chat with Brent Spiner. We discovered we are close in age, and had a lot of childhood experiences in common. Nice guy.
Introduced myself to Maurice LaMarche, who did a classic double-take and said "JOHN BYRNE John Byrne?" Turned out he was a big fan. which was a real hoot for me. This encouraged me to geek out. "What are we going to do tonight, Brain?" I asked. He tucked his chin into his chest and responded, in character, "The same thing we do every night, John! Try to take over the World!" Super fun!
But he also had time to chat to Marvel EIC C.B. Cebulski in person. A handshake across the great divide…
— Chris Ryall (@chris_ryall) August 12, 2018
They had breakfast together..
This week also sees the release of the John Byrne X-Men: Artifact Edition from IDW republishing original art pages from his work on the comic as close to the original art boards as possible. Perfect timing…