“See, thing was, altho Chris and I worked pretty well together, we were often at odds on who the characters were. As noted, until just a short time before I left the book, he had read no issues of X-MEN other than those produced during the Thomas/Adams run, and so, while I kept trying to maintain the characters as they had been for 60+ issues, he kept trying to turn them into other people. People I largely didn't like.
And the problem was, no matter what I drew or scribbled in my margin notes, Chris would write the characters and the scenes as he felt moved to do when the pages where in front of him -- often completely changing my or even our original intent for a scene -- and THAT was what was seeing print. So, if the fans were loving the X-Men -- and it seemed they were! -- it was Chris' X-Men they were loving, not mine. I Chris had left instead of me, I very much doubt the book would have proved as popular as it did in the long run.”
From Fantagraphics' X-MEN COMPANION II (1982), Byrne revealed:
"In my mind, [Sabretooth] was created [with the intention of making him Wolverine's father]. I don't think Chris originally conceived him that way, but I said, 'Hey, here's another Canadian guy who has a lot of the stuff, so I'll just draw him in such a way that he could be Wolverine's father -- or brother.' I wasn't sure in the early days. I figure Sabretooth is 120 years old.
In response to the revelation of an outline of planned storylines for UNCANNY X-MEN through issue #150:
JB: Something that jumps out at me is the "death of Mariko" referece. That was going to be a hugely powerful story. In fact, when this list was made, with the death of Phoenix not even in the cards yet, it was probably the most powerful story we had planned.
I'm going to break one of my own rules here, since I have, at one time or another, discussed most of the details of Mariko's death as I had worked it out. So here it is all together, for those who haven't seen it before (and even those who have):
Sabretooth attacks Mariko as a way of getting to Wolverine. He brutalizes her beyond imagining. (Nothing sexual. This is sheer animal violence.) He leaves her for dead, torn and bleeding in a alley.
But she isn't dead, and the X-Men, tracking Sabretooth, find her. They race her to a hospital, and over the next several issues she lies in a coma, on life support. Other things occupy the X-Men's time for a while, but their thoughts keep coming back to Mariko. Wolverine returns to her bedside as often as he can. Her condition remains unchanged.
Finally, he can take it no longer. He begs Jean and Xavier to do something, to save her. Xavier scans her and makes a sad discovery. She is brain dead. Only the machines are keeping her alive.
Wolverine refuses to believe it. But Jean links his mind to Mariko, and he feels the emptiness where her soul used to be. He asks to be left alone with her.
Xavier and Jean depart, to wait outside. Wolverine sits by Mariko's beside, holding her hand, stroking her hair. He rises. He looks at the machines that are maintaining her life functions. In a sudden, swift movement he pops his claws and slashes the power cables. The machines fizzle and shut down.
Outside, in the hall, Jean and X have both "felt" what has happened. They move toward the door, but Wolverine comes out before they can enter. He stands for a moment in silence, looking at them. Finally he speaks. "She ain't meat," he says softly. And in an instant, he is gone, disappearing down a stairway.
Next issue, he finds and, in the most horrifying battle the Code would allow, kills Sabretooth (who was, at this point, to be revealed as his father.) (8/29/2006)