DescriptionJohn Byrne and Terry Austin X-Men #137 Unused Page 34 Original Art (Marvel, 1980). Everybody knows that Jean Grey aka Phoenix died in #137... but that wasn't the original ending of the story. What Chris Claremont and his artist team produced was this page right here, showing Cyclops taking Phoenix home, not dead but merely more or less lobotomized. Yet upon reviewing the story before publication, Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter raised the objection that Phoenix had literally killed billions of beings a couple of issues earlier, and should not get off so easily for something that heinous. Hence a new ending was commissioned. This page, while unused for the issue, is not unpublished, as it did later see print in 1984's Phoenix... The Untold Story. Not only does this page sum up the entire ending to the saga as intended, it's got just about everything the X-Men fan could want. We see all of the new X-Men plus Angel, Beast, and the Imperial Guard, as well as the Watcher and the Recorder in a three-panel epilogue. There's typically momentous Claremont dialogue, and even the wonderfully convincing machinery that was a specialty of this artist team. A minor side note: if we may be so bold, we'll call the attention of the hardcore Byrne/Austin fan to panel three. Just slightly to the right of Oracle (the fourth figure from left), it certainly looks as if a man in a black hat is standing in the back row. Austin has copped to sneaking DC's the Phantom Stranger into Marvel crowd scenes before, so it's possible he did so here as well. This wonderful page is signed by Austin in panel two and by Byrne (with the inscription To Dave -- Thanks") in the lower border. The piece has an approximate image area of 9.75" x 14.75". Parts of the border are cut away at the top and lower left, and there's minor handling wear. Very Good condition.
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