Watch: John Romita Jr. on Studio 54 and the secret origin of X-Men's Dazzler

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Aug 18, 2017

This week's casting rumors about The Orville star Halson Sage possibly playing the "turn sound into light" mutant hero Dazzler in the next X-Men film have put the character back in the spotlight. So we thought we would hit the wayback machine to revisit the long, glorious, and sometimes bewildering origin story of Miss Alison Blaire with one of her creators.

The original idea for the character was built to capitalize on the disco craze of the latter half of the 1970s. A coterie of Marvel-ites all chimed in with notes at different times about who/what the Disco Dazzler should be. (At one point, Frank Miller told this writer he was asked to draw the character, and he said, "Uh, no.") The character was ultimately birthed and designed by Tom DeFalco and John Romita Jr.

Here is Romita's original, unpublished character design for the character:

original unpublished character design for Dazzler, by John Romita Jr. 

Notice something different?

In her original iteration, Dazzler was going to be a black heroine. When SYFY WIRE sat down with the comic art legend for a deep dive into his career, Romita explained the inspiration behind his original look for the character and revealed why she was ultimately changed to a white character (hint: it has to do with a breakout comedy hit starring Dudley Moore).

Romita joked that he couldn't believe with all the work he's done over the years that we brought up the Dazzler to him. But, c'mon. Despite her infrequent publishing history, Dazzler is a cult favorite, due to her unique skillset and costume design. So getting a chance to learn details about how she came to debut in comics (in Uncanny X-Men #130) was too good to pass up.

Check out the video and let us know your thoughts on JRJR's original concept.