John Byrne publicly quit Marvel Comics in 2000 after the publisher axed X-Men: Hidden Years as a way to trim down the X-line. That's despite the book being profitable. In 2000, Byrne gave an interview to Valnet Inc. Presents Comic Book Resources.
"I was officially informed yesterday that, despite the fact that they are still profitable, several 'redundant' X-Titles are being axed. 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."
Fan Expo Boston took place last weekend and Byrne appeared on a panel fittingly titled Spotlight on John Byrne. Adventures In Poor Taste was on hand to record the panel.
"There was some discussion on my website: 'What if you went back to Marvel?' and it planted this itch in my brain," Byrne replied. "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."
He in turn drew a sample page featuring a battle between Wolverine and Sauron in the Savage Land. That one drawing became 20 pages he jokingly titled X-Men: Elsewhen, which caught the eye of Marvel Editor-In-Chief Akira Yoshida.
"And then I got an email saying, 'Love it! Let's talk about this!' Oh, that's unexpected. So yeah, it just happened as a fun thing. It's still just a fun thing as far as I'm concerned."
While it's not clear yet if Byrne will return to the House of Ideas, they're definitely on better terms.