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Creator / John Byrne

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© Luigi Novi
John Lindley Byrne (born July 6, 1950) is a British-American Writer/Penciller/Inker. Has worked for Marvel, DC, and many other comic book companies. One of the best known and influential comics creators (and at one point, among the best paid as well.) He is also fairly controversial, due to his attitudes both with comics fans and pros.

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  • On Marvel, together with Chris Claremont, was responsible for what many consider the formative run on Marvel's Uncanny X-Men book, with their storylines still reverberating through the Marvel Universe (especially the Dark Phoenix Saga.) He helped expand Wolverine's past into a full Super Team, Alpha Flight, which he then wrote and drew in their own series for a few years. His work on Fantastic Four redefined many of its characters and helped him earn his gig on Superman (see below.) Other Marvel series he worked for include Spider-Man, She-Hulk (to which he gave an unusual fourth-wall-breaking humorous twist - this was before Deadpool), Sub-Mariner, and others.
  • On DC, he reinvented Superman for the 80s after the company-wide Retcon of Crisis on Infinite Earths. He recycled some of his ideas for the character Gladiator (a Superman Captain Ersatz he drew in X-Men and Fantastic Four) for this series. He also worked on Wonder Woman (1987) briefly.
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  • He also created some original series of his own, such as the Next Men, Danger Unlimited, and Babe for Dark Horse Comics. He also scripted Hellboy: Seed of Destruction.
Not to be confused with the Scottish playwright and artist John Byrne, or with Irish screenwriter for All Creatures Great And Small and Doctor Who, Johnny Byrne.


Works by John Byrne with their own trope pages include:


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Tropes common throughout Byrne's comics include:

  • Age-Gap Romance: An oft-remarked element of his work. The most famous is that he was the main pusher of Kitty Pryde and Colossus in his time on X-Men, something that Jim Shooter disliked so much he tried to pull some Ship Sinking in Secret Wars (1984), but it also pops up in Man of Steel, Generations, Fantastic Four, and a number of others. Notably, Byrne has implied that he has been in such relationships in real life.
  • Armed with Canon: Quite a few of Byrne's runs are, by his own admittance, attempts to bring a series to how he thinks it should be. This includes removing as many elements as possible that he doesn't like or trying to enforce a Snap Back, especially when involving characters created by Jack Kirby (ironically, Kirby himself loathed Byrne).
  • Creator's Pest:
    • With a few exceptions (She-Hulk, Batgirl...), John Byrne hates legacy characters because he feels they "de-unique" the original character.
    • Since Byrne hates Supergirl because she supposedly invalidates Superman's "Last Son of Krypton" title, he approved DC's decision to kill her off in 1986. So they didn't feel tempted to bring Kara Zor-El back for trademark-keeping reasons, Byrne created a genderless artificial lifeform who called itself "Supergirl".
    • Byrne has hated the Legion of Super-Heroes since their inception because he regarded Superboys Secret Test of Character as plain bullying:
      "Most folk 'round these parts know I have no fondness for the Legion. I was "present at conception", having read the story that introduced them when it was first published. My younger self — often the butt of cruel tricks played by the other kids at school — instantly hated these punks from the future for the trick they played on Superboy. My older self has never quite been able to get over it."
  • Old Shame: In the 2010's, Byrne declared he regrets doing a Superman run because of perceived hassle from DC's editors and other writers.
  • Protection from Editors: invokedSought to obtain this for much of his career, to the point that his run on Wonder Woman only happened because he demanded to be able to do it with no editorial oversight (in exchange, he would write, draw, and letter the book himself).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After returning to Marvel in the late 1980s, he became known for quitting books abruptly, often because he clashed with editors. He quit She-Hulk after only eight issues, though he returned two years later under a different editor, and he quit the Avengers comics in the middle of an arc after his planned ending was rejected.
  • Snap Back:
    • One of Byrne's most famous elements is his tendency to revert continuity to whatever he thinks was its "best" period—usually by citinginvoked Only the Creator Does It Right.
    • One of the most infamous was his attempt to revert Doom Patrol to ignore every run past that of Arnold Drake, despite Drake having spoken positively of later runs.
    • In West Coast Avengers, disliking the way other writers had made the Vision more human and emotional, he turned the character into an emotionless robot and had Vision's teammates claim that he was acting just like he did in his early appearances... even though those stories actually had him shedding a tear and being openly emotional.
    • In The Man of Steel, one of his goals was to "scrape off" the Silver Age's "barnacles", claiming he was taking Superman back to his Golden Age roots...even though Siegel and Shuster's Clark Kent was a mild-mannered pushover (instead of a daring hunk), Superman was the real identity (instead of Clark), his parents were dead, and he would never let laws or Kryptonite rings stop him from putting a rich asshole as Lex Luthor in his place. Also, Siegel's second run proved he had no issue whatsoever with the Silver Age's additions to the lore.
  • Take That!: Byrne is fairly incendiary towards his editors and fellow writers, and very frequently pulls these kinds of things—for instance, there's a lengthy, entirely plot-irrelevant segment in Legends where a very obvious Expy of Jim Shooter shows up, is portrayed as a complete buffoon, and gets his ass kicked.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Every title he's been the main writer for, from Wonder Woman (1987) to Babe, has had this trope, to the point one wonders if it's Byrne's private fetish.


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