New X-Men editor confirms the reason why Deadpool, Cable and X-Force changed their names in the early 2000s ~ Marvel Universe 616


Anyone who lived through the early 2000s must remember this. Amid the fervor for new lines at Marvel with Marvel Knights and Marvel Max, something strange was happening with some parallel titles in the mutant line. In particular, Deadpool, Cable and X-Force. Surprisingly, they were renamed Agent X, Soldier X, and X-Tacticians. At the time, before the rise of the internet, there was little speculation that these renames had something to do with a fight between Marvel Comics and the co-creator of these characters and team, Rob Liefeld. Years later, an article on the website Bleeding Cool, inspired by a publication in the weekly newsletter by new mutant editor Tom Brevoort, clarified in more detail what happened.

Tom Brevoort, executive editor and senior vice president of Marvel Comics, decided to feature in his weekly Substack newsletter a story that many would already consider dead. But lo and behold it came and became a confirmation of something we suspected but had no proof of and had been denied in the past. Tom Brevoort has now reported that at the time Bill Jemas. editor-in-chief of Marvel comics from 2000 to 2004, renamed these three comics to stop paying Rob Liefeld.

Tom Brevoort was commenting on the 2004 series Cable & Deadpool, which Marvel is keen to collect as Deadpool & Cable and wrote:

“In the two years prior to this, in a misguided and unsuccessful attempt to avoid paying creator incentives to Rob Liefeld, with whom he had an acrimonious encounter, Bill Jemas decided to relaunch and rename the three monthly series that Rob had a creator hand in : CABLE, X-FORCE, and DEADPOOL So CABLE became SOLDIER X, X-FORCE became X-STATIX, and DEADPOOL became AGENT

Bill Jemas, the then editor of Marvel Comics and responsible for some of its craziest ideas at the time, denied everything at the time. And it was certainly believed by many. Even an article signed by CBR’s Brian Cronin reported that this rumor was false and classified it as a comic book urban legend. They wrote that:

“At the time, some conspiracy theorists argued that the change was made by Marvel because of a clause in Rob Liefeld’s contract with Marvel that stated they would have to pay him royalties on sales of any titles created by Liefeld, which would include Cable, Deadpool, and X-Force. However, this seems extremely unlikely (so much so that I classify it as false.) On the one hand, it’s highly arguable that simply changing the names would change any deal Marvel had with Liefeld. But most importantly, the change wouldn’t make sense…because Marvel WASN’T PAYING Liefeld ANY DUTIES at the time!!”

And quoting Rob Liefeld, the article said at the time:

“So the idea that they would kill the comics to save on paying royalties to people like me is simply unfounded. It would be much more devious if the comics were selling exceptionally well and Marvel rebranded them in order to keep the riches for themselves, but in the case of these titles, there are no riches to keep, as they barely make a profit. Liefeld had not received royalties on the comics for years. It was likely that any royalties would amount to 100,000 copies sold (or perhaps even more). Sales of all three titles barely (or even) reached 40,000 before the relaunch. And none of them improved dramatically after the relaunch.”

But what Brian Cronin may not have realized is that Liefeld had – and still has – agreements between creators and participants for these characters, who pay when they are used, and not just for how much they are used. It might not have been much. And of course Bill Jemas is someone who never made sense most of the time. And Peter Milligan and Mike Allred even commented something along those lines in X-Force before the title changed its name.

Rob Liefeld at the time spoke dismissively of the change: “X-Force? It was retired and re-imagined as a silly satire book with a floating poop creature. Cable and Deadpool were retired and re-imagined as Soldier X and Agent X and met with universal derision.”

Now, after the Bleeding Cool article came to light, Liefeld himself decided to respond to the site because he didn’t make much progress in the discussion at that time:

“I was in complete denial at the time because it seemed inconceivable given the low sales these titles were experiencing. Then, months later, I was told of a first-hand experience of them trying to figure out a way to do this by someone who was in the same room as me he was…” in addition to adding “Also, I had 3 meetings with Bill Jemas, all pleasant, smiles all around. Never a ‘bitter meeting’ between them.”

As for Cable & Deadpool in 2004, Tom Brevoort added: “Someone, possibly Joe Quesada, contacted Rob Liefeld about doing covers for the series, and he agreed to do the first six. Ultimately, however, he dropped out after four”.

For the time, this was a “white flag” gesture when Jemas left and Quesada became the big boss of Marvel Comics. Since then, the relationship between the Creator and the publisher has been no less than very friendly on both sides. Still, this behind-the-scenes gossip is far from over. Since Liefeld himself defended Bill Jemmas, but pointed out that a third “person” was the one who tried to make the title changes to prevent Marvel from paying the due royalties on the comic books.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: XMen editor confirms reason Deadpool Cable XForce changed names early #2000s Marvel Universe



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