Sunday, 18 August 2013

John Byrne's head found in alien trophy collection!

I'm currently making my way through Tom DeFalco & Paul Ryan's excellent (and underrated) '90s run on Fantastic Four. Last night, as I was reading Fantastic Four #359 (1991), I found a particularly entertaining Easter Egg hidden by artist Paul Ryan.

The issue features the first appearance of Devos the Devastator, an alien who has dedicated his life to eradicating any beings that are a potential threat to peace throughout the Universe. Unfortunately Devos sees this potential in pretty much everybody he meets. On Page 4 of issue #359 we see Devos wandering through the trophy room on his spaceship. Upon the walls are the heads of lifeforms he has slaughtered in the course of his mad quest. These heads include Xemnu the Titan, a Skrull, a member of the Elan race, and a Kree Sentry. Particularly observant readers may have noticed the silhouette of another head in the foreground of the panel, a bearded head that seems to be wearing glasses. Could it be that upon his wall Devos has on display the head of John Byrne, the famously truculent comics legend who wrote and drew Fantastic Four from 1981 to 1986? 'Cos it certainly looks like he does!

The amusing thing is that Byrne had previously made himself a character in the Marvel Universe, first in the pages of Fantastic Four....

Fantastic Four #262 (1984)
....and then in Sensational She-Hulk.

Sensational She-Hulk #31 (1991)
Could this then be the actual head of the Marvel Universe version of John Byrne? Could the John Byrne of the 616 (Marvel's designation for the Universe in which most of their stories are set) have been identified as a potential threat to Universal peace by Devos the Devastator, and as a result been given the chop!? Or could it have just been a cheeky little joke hidden in the panel by Paul Ryan? 

Probably the latter.

For more comic book Easter Eggs check out Duy Tano's excellent Comics Cube and Brian Cronin's fantastic Comics Should Be Good!

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