Monday, September 19, 2011

1980's Flashback: Dazzler

Dazzler #1 (Mar.1981); cover by Bob Larkin
Marvel Comics superheroine, Dazzler first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #130 (February 1980). A mutant with the ability to convert sound vibrations into light and energy beams, Dazzler was originally developed as a cross-promotional, multi-media property between Casablanca Records and Marvel Comics. The character was created by a committee of Marvel staffers, including Tom DeFalco, John Romita, Jr., Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern.

She later starred in her own solo series which ran for 42 issues, plus a Marvel Graphic Novel titled Dazzler: The Movie, and a limited-series co-starring "The Beast", before finally joining the extended cast of X-Men.

Originally conceptualized as a "disco queen" with abilities to make people tell the truth; her powers were changed and the disco connection diminished, as the creators recognized that the fad itself was fading. The initial character was also intended to resemble model, actress and singer Grace Jones, however, movie representatives wanting to promote model and actress Bo Derek, insisted on design changes to reflect Derek's Caucasian features.

 Constant conceptual changes to the character's appearance and personality, led to several cancellations of the project before it even got off the ground and eventually, Casablanca Records backed out altogether due to financial concerns. Marvel Comics, left with a much-publicized new character, decided to launch the project as a monthly series.

In a revolutionary move at the time, Marvel decided to release Dazzler #1 exclusively to comic specialty shops, bypassing the wider circulation market. This was the first comic exclusively delivered to comic shops - a relatively new industry for 1981 - and over 400,000 copies of issue #1 were pre-sold (more than double the average comic sales amount).
Dazzler #20 (Oct.1982); cover by John Romita, Jr. & John Romita


Andy 7 said...

When Uma Thurman was on The Howard Stern Show she told him she liked comics, and he said, "Really? What's your favorite comic?" and she said, "Dazzler". Kinda looks like her.

Chuck Wells said...

Uma Thurman is already pretty awesome in the first place, but knowing that she has a soft spot for any comics character just adds additional layers of fanboy gravy.

Jacque Nodell said...

I love Dazzler, especially those amazing Sienkiewicz covers towards the end of the run!