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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #2!

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This is the second in a series of examination of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. The first one can be found here (spurred on by me falling for an urban legend regarding Walt Simonson keeping a list of Doom Bot appearances during his Fantastic Four run).

Let’s begin!!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Youngblood was a reworking of a pitch Rob Liefeld made to DC for Team Titans.

STATUS: True

Yes, amusingly enough, in the early 90s, Liefeld was in negotiations with DC to create a spin-off title of the Titans, tentatively called either Titans Force or Team Titans.

From an interview with Newsarama, here is Liefeld discussing the situation:

Question: And for fans who may not know, in the early ’90s you were in negotiations with DC about doing a Titans limited series with Arsenal and Speedy which eventually morphed into…

Liefeld: I proposed a new Titans book in 1991, Team Titans was the proposal, Jon Peterson who edited the book approved it, Marv Wolfman signed on to co-write it and then I couldn’t make the deal with Dick Giordano. God bless him, we just couldn’t make the numbers work. So I took my proposal and merged it with an existing indie project I had called Youngblood. Next thing you know, POOF…Image comics was born.

Question: Can you tell us about the circumstances surrounding that time and that project?

Liefeld: Shaft was intended to be Speedy. Vogue was a new Harlequin design, Combat was a Kh’undian warrior circa the Legion of Super Heroes, ditto for Photon and Die Hard was a Star Labs android. I forgot who Chapel was supposed to be. So there you have it, the secret origin of Youngblood.

Thanks to Ian Gould for the suggestion!

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18 Comments

Whoa….that was horrible to hear about for Fawcett. Thanks for clearing that Urban Legend up.

And I never knew that Rob Lefield was pitching for a Titans series in the 90’s. Wow…the things ya learn online.

Hi Brian,

I’ve been reading through your columns and I gotta say they’re awesome.

Great work!

Thanks, Daniel!

[…] That is why, going all the way back to one of the very FIRST Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, folks still think Fawcett lost the rights to Captain Marvel to DC Comics due to DC Comics suing them. […]

Comment 4 can't read

March 30, 2007 at 10:17 am

[…] to ONE OF the very first Comic […] not the FIRST but ONE OF the first. Don’t read much, do you?

[…] As I discussed in the second installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, after a lengthy lawsuit with DC Comics and with sales dwindling, Fawcett Comics decided to simply cease publication of their comic book superheroes, putting such notable heroes as Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. into mothballs. […]

[…] A couple of years later, Liefeld helped co-found Image Comics, and in his new title, Youngblood (which, as mentioned in the second Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, was mostly a reworking of a pitch Liefeld made to DC for a new Titans book), he featured a character named, interestingly enough, Cougar. […]

There was a small comic book company named Megaton that put out a free promotional comic that featured the first published appearance of Rob Liefeld’s “Youngblood.” So, if the Image Youngblood was a re-working of a pitch for the TEam Titans at DC, then that was, in turn, a re-working of his ideas for Youngblood at Megaton.

Good point, Matt!

Thanks.

[…] As I discussed in the second installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, after a lengthy lawsuit with DC Comics and with sales dwindling, Fawcett Comics decided to simply cease publication of their comic book superheroes, putting such notable heroes as Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. into mothballs. […]

[…] A couple of years later, Liefeld helped co-found Image Comics, and in his new title, Youngblood (which, as mentioned in the second Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, was mostly a reworking of a pitch Liefeld made to DC for a new Titans book), he featured a character named, interestingly enough, Cougar. […]

Erm–

Isn’t Steranko himself invariably the source of all the “Steranko the Escape Artist” stories? In all the years I’ve heard of these wondrous tales, I’ve never seen a shred of convincing evidence.

I’d love to see come corroboration by his supposed contemporaries in the field, like James Randi, for instance.

I’d love to see a little more skepticism when writing about urban legends. ;)

[…] * Mr. Miracle, my favorite Fourth World character in concept, is also my favorite of the original creations in the issues contained here. Partially because of the stories, but mostly because I’ll always prefer the adventures of a super escape artist based on Jim Steranko to any other character, I enjoyed his story the most, even if the character synonymous with him, Barda has yet to appear. […]

Mike Tiefenbacher

November 6, 2008 at 10:27 am

Without dismissing anything else Bob Ingersoll wrote about the DC vs. Fawcett lawsuit, I must add that he is wrong on one point: DC was not known as “National Periodicals (sic) Publications” or even “National Periodical Publications” or, for that matter, “NPP” when this suit was going on. Before 1947, while the suit was going on, it was “Detective Comics,” as publisher of “Superman” and “Action Comics.” After 1947 (following the buy-out of Max Gaines’ All-American Comics) the new company was redubbed “National Comics Publications.” It would not be renamed “National Periodical Publications” until 1961 (perhaps in preparation to going public–“NPP was its stock-exchange abbreviation). This is a common error which few comics historians seem to acknowledge, but it’s kind of an important distinction.

I’m not a lawyer and I assume Ingersoll is, but even so, the bit about (and I quote)

“the necessary copyright notices which are required by law to secure and maintain a copyright”

sticks out at me as problematic. I don’t know how copyright law worked in the forties, and I gather it’s changed a lot, but at least nowadays copyright is automatic. No notices are required, though they can help take certain legal arguments away from violators. What he describes sounds more like trademark law, with which copyright law is often confused but which is actually a different beast entirely.

Perhaps such notices were required back then, but at the very least it’s misleading to speak of such a requirement in the present tense, because it certainly doesn’t exist today.

Yeah, you needed notice for copyright for many years.

Well i guess the 50ies was tough on all Superheroes – (and I bet even Superman and Batman felt the genre shift)

i wonder would have Captain Marvel found new sales strength in the 60ies? Would it have stolen some thunder from Superman? :)

Oh well, in the meantime I still have quite some more Red Cheese issues from 1942-53 to read….

Timothy Markin

June 16, 2013 at 6:03 am

Fawcett did continue to publish comics after Captain Marvel. They published numerous Dennis the Menace comics, ceasing publication of those in the Spring of 1980.

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