Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eighth installment in which we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false.
As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions. This time, there will be SIX legends! Click here to see the first part of the legends of this installment. Click here to see the second part of the legends of this installment. Click here to see the third part of the legends of this installment.
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Jerry Ordway and Dan Jurgens were fired from the Superman books and later offered their jobs.
Seems to be true
It’s funny, there are times when I will make a legend and don’t even realize that the legend in question has another side to the story that is just as interesting as the main story (well okay, maybe not THAT interesting, but still quite interesting). I was talking to Jerry Ordway about a DIFFERENT legend that I’m going to run this installment, but realized I really should cover this one first, as it provides the proper context for the other legend.
Well as I wrote in a caption a DECADE ago (I’ll just repeat what I wrote at the time) “[I]In late 1998, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid, and Tom Peyer developed an extensive proposal for the Superman titles that was scheduled to launch in January 2000.
The proposal originally got the green light, but then DC changed its mind and instead decided to go for a much smoother revamp of the four Superman titles.
They basically still renewed all four Superman titles, they just didn’t go as far or as wide as the Morrison / Millar / Waid / Peyer renewal wanted to go.
Here’s a snippet from his introduction:
The historical record tells us that every fifteen years or so, Superman reinvents himself to address the wants and needs of a new generation. Fifteen years ago, John Byrne recreated Superman from scratch. Fifteen years before that, Julie Schwartz and Denny O’Neil engineered the biggest shakeup since Mort Weisinger began bringing his entire family tradition back fifteen years earlier.
That fifteen year cycle is upon us again. With all due deference and sincere thanks to the creators of all the excellent work done since the Byrne renovation, it seems that many of the social trends and historical currents that made those comics so appropriate and successful in the 1980s and early The 90’s have now been replaced by newer and different trends and currents. Unfortunately, the sales would seem to reflect our argument that new times call for new approaches.
We believe the four of us understand the new face of Superman: an enthusiastic, intelligent and forward-thinking hero, renewed to tackle the challenges of the next thousand years. The latest American icon revitalized for the new millennium as an aspirational figure, a role model for 21st century global humanity.
Superman relaunch, we are selling dollars, the tendency to sweep away the work done by those who came immediately before. Unlike the ‘cosmic reboot’ renovations that are so prevalent in comics today, our approach to New Superman is an honest attempt to synthesize the best of all past eras. Our intention is to honor each of Superman’s diverse interpretations and use the logic of the inner story as our launching pad for a reimagined and optimized 21st century Man of Steel. The notion of ‘cosmic reset’ has been replaced by an ‘include and transcend’ policy with respect to past continuity.
Our intention is to restore Superman to his preeminent place as the greatest superhero of all and to overthrow Spawn and all of the Marvel comics currently standing in his way.
We don’t think this is a big problem.
As I pointed out in that caption, then-incoming editor of the Superman titles, Eddie Berganza, had given the pitch the green light, but it was later canceled. This, of course, meant that all four Superman titles would get new writers (Morrison, Waid, Millar, and Peyer) and therefore Berganza essentially fired the creative teams on the book at the time, which were Dan Jurgens / Steve Epting. / Josef Rubinstein on Superman, Stuart Immonen and Jose Marzan Jr. on Action Comics, Mark Schultz, Doug Mahnke and Dennis Janke on Superman: Man of Steel and Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Tom Grummett and Denis Rodier on Adventures of Superman.
But when Berganza was annulled, what happened to the writers he just fired?
Heck, Ordway had actually just been hired to take over as the lead writer for Adventures of Superman (Schultz, too, had just started Superman: Man of Steel)! Ordway explained how it all came down to my friend, Jamie Coville, in a contemporary interview from that period, “They told me that Berganza was not authorized to fire me, but he did it on his own while Mike Carlin was on vacation. When Mike found out, he offered me the job back, but by that time he had already accepted Marvel assignments [a guest stint on Avengers – BC]And I didn’t think it would be a good working relationship to write for Berganza, an editor who wanted me to leave. “
There was still a gap between the official ending of Joey Cavalieri’s editorial direction and Berganza’s time on the book. Jurgens clearly agreed to go back to the book, but then announced his departure on his own terms, telling Newsarama at the time, “I feel lucky to have worked on a character that I have loved for so long and would like to think that Superman and Both I benefited during my tenure. I also hope to tell my own stories once again, without the weight of the ‘chapter approach’ that has become more prevalent over the years. “
Louise Simonson, who had just been kicked out, came in to complete Adventures of Superman until Berganza’s season began.
Berganza made a less dramatic reboot, instead only bringing in Jeph Loeb and Joe Kelly early on in Superman and Action Comics, with Immonen (who at this point was being written by Mark Millar, ironically one of the guys who almost took over. from the books) moving to Adventures of Superman and Schultz / Mahnke / Janke remaining in Man of Steel (while being given a mandate to do more science fiction-centric stories). JM DeMatteis soon took over Adventures of Superman when Immonen left as well.
Thanks to Jamie and Jerry for the information! Later I’ll show an amazing ANOTHER comic that Jerry never made because of all this mess.
SOME OTHER ENTERTAINMENT LEGENDS!
Take a look at other entertainment legends from Legends revealed:
PART FIVE SOON!
Check back later for part 5 of this installment’s Legends!
Hasbro’s new wave of Marvel Legends is all about the bad guys
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