Tom Cruise's Face Made Marvel Destroy Thousands Of 'Mission: Impossible' Comics
The Mission: Impossible movies are practically superhero films with less colorful clothes, so you probably won't be too surprised to learn that Marvel once published a comic based on this franchise. It came out in 1996, which you can immediately tell because the cover has all the ingredients of a 1996 comic book: explosions, migraine-inducing anatomy, excessive pouches, etc. The surprising part here is that Marvel ended up destroying thousands of copies of this comic -- and no, it wasn't because Tom Cruise saw the way Rob Liefeld drew him and threatened to sue Marvel if they didn't throw every single issue into a volcano. In fact, Cruise liked Liefeld's art so much that he even wrote him some fan mail:
Cruise's face doesn't even appear in the comic because he's notoriously stingy about lending his likeness to companies. That's why the Mission: Impossible game for Nintendo 64 (also known as "Aw, GoldenEye is rented out at Blockbuster, what else is there?") stars some random guy as Ethan Hunt.
Similarly, the various artists in the comic had to draw Hunt as a generic action hero, even though it was an official prequel to the first movie that reveals why Ving Rhames' character was kicked out of the CIA and foreshadows Jon Voight's heel turn. Despite the fact that the character looks nothing like Cruise, Marvel still sent him an advance copy of the comic for approval ... and, as the unconfirmed but highly likely story goes, he refused to give it. Why? Because apparently, Marvel made Ethan look "too feminine" in two panels. One actually looks more like Ethan visited the same plastic surgeon as Jack Nicholson's Joker:
And the other was a panel of Ethan just standing around that was replaced with someone's crudely copied and pasted leg:
Whether it was Cruise himself or not, whoever objected to those panels raised enough of a stink that Marvel reprinted the comic with the new art above and ordered the original printing destroyed (hopefully the comic gave readers a five-second warning before spontaneously combusting). As a result, very few copies of the edition that went to comic book stores still survive today and they currently go for as much as $700, presumably because a mysterious eBay user called xenu_lover keeps buying and destroying them.
But, if you find non-Tom Cruise's duckface irresistible and absolutely must own it, you're in luck, because the versions of the comic that were sold in foreign newsstands also have this "printing error" and are a lot more common than the US printing (they go for like $20). Anyway, as for the story itself, it may not be the greatest comic ever but it does raise an interesting question: does it count as "blackface" if the person is wearing a latex mask?
Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com.
Top image: Marvel Comics, Georges Biard/Wikimedia Commons