During a spotlight panel at Fan Expo Boston 2018, Byrne shared how was self-publishing a continuation of his early Uncanny X-Men run, called X-Men: Elsewhen.
“There was some discussion on my website: ‘What if you went back to Marvel?’ and it planted this itch in my brain. I thought, what if I went back to Marvel? Could I go back to Marvel? Can I do that? I haven’t drawn like that in 20 years,” Byrne said (as transcribed by Adventures in Poor Taste).
Byrne has drawn over 20 pages of X-Men: Elsewhen, saying it as a fun project he doesn’t intend to publish. Even so, Marvel’s editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski found out about it.
“And then I got an email from C.B. Cebulski saying, ‘Love it! Let’s talk about this!’ Oh, that’s unexpected,” continued Byrne. “So yeah, it just happened as a fun thing. It’s still just a fun thing as far as I’m concerned.”
Newsarama has confirmed that Byrne has spoken with Cebulski both by e-mail as well as during this weekend’s convention. Skybound’s Chris Ryall, who was with Byrne at the convention, shared with Newsarama this picture of Byrne and Cebulski from this past weekend.
Byrne quit Marvel in 2000 following Marvel’s decision to cancel his X-Men: Hidden Years title. It was an effort by then-Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada to reduce the X-Men titles.
“I was officially informed yesterday that, despite the fact that they are still profitable, several ‘redundant’ X-Titles are being axed,” Byrne told the CBR back in 2000. “X-Men: The Hidden Years is one of these, ending with #19. No one at Marvel was able to provide a reasonable explanation of why, in today’s marketplace, profitable books are being canceled. Since I have no interest in working for a company apparently so intent on committing suicide, I have terminated my association with Marvel Comics effective immediately.”
Quesada acknowledged at the time, that he and Byrne “were not going to see eye-to-eye.”
“I think John made it very clear that he had no intentions to work with Marvel, but if he ever has a change of heart, he knows where to find us.”
Cebulski has spoken previously about how Byrne and Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men #121 was one of the first comics he ever read as a child. Byrne’s longtime X-Men creative partner Claremont recently returned to the publisher, writing October’s upcoming X-Men Black: Magneto story.