Read the much weirder, unpublished origin of X-Man Nightcrawler

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

Since his debut in the pages of Marvel Comics back in 1975, Nightcrawler has become a fan favorite among X-Men readers, but the lovable teleporting blue devil was a very different character when he was first drawn into being. For proof, check out these original background notes from one of his co-creators.

Before he popped up in Giant-Size X-Men #1, a relaunch of the mutant superhero team that featured many new characters, Nightcrawler was just a drawing and a paragraph of information from the mind of artist Dave Cockrum, who also helped co-create classic X-Men like Storm and Colossus. Cockrum first came up with the character back when he was the artist for DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes, and according to Marvel Executive Editor Tom Breevort at his excellent blog The Marvel Age of Comics, Nightcrawler might have wound up in that comic had Cockrum not made his way over to Marvel after a dispute with DC.

So what's different about this version of Nightcrawler? Well, apart from the look, just about everything. For one thing, Cockrum didn't make him a mutant, but an alien from a parallel dimension. His real name was not Kurt Wagner, but Baalshazzar. His power set is much the same, featuring agility, the ability to disappear in shadow and his iconic teleportation (though Cockrum notes he "doesn't do it often"), but his personality is very different. Cockrum's original intention was for Nightcrawler to have "the attitudes and personality of a really rotten villain-type" who "chooses to aid the law." He also notes that the character's sense of humor is such that he would "think a truckload of dead babies was hilarious."

With the help of writers like Len Wein and Chris Claremont, Nightcrawler's origin and personality became something very different from what Cockrum originally intended, and as a result he's among the most beloved of Marvel's mutants. Still, you have to wonder what might have happened if this version had made it into the comics.

Check out Cockrum's full notes on the character (click to enlarge) right here:

(Via The Marvel Age of Comics)

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