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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #20!

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This is the twentieth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous nineteen.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The characters in Watchmen were originally meant to be based on a defunct line of superheroes.


When Alan Moore first came up with the idea that became the comic series, Watchmen, he thought that what would work perfectly would be a line of superhero comics that was not being used at the time. The comic company that Moore initially considered?

The MLJ/Archie Superhero line!

Says Moore, in Comic Book Artist #9:

That was the initial idea of Watchmen-and this is nothing like what Watchmen turned out to be-was it was very simple: Wouldn’t it be nice if I had an entire line, a universe, a continuity, a world full of super-heroes-preferably from some line that has been discontinued and no longer publishing-whom I could then just treat in a different way. You have to remember this was very soon after I’d done some similar stuff, if you like, with Marvelman, where I’d used a pre-existing character, and applied a grimmer, perhaps more realistic kind of world view to that character and the milieu he existed in. So I’d just started thinking about using the MLJ characters-the Archie super-heroes-just because they weren’t being published at that time, and for all I knew, they might’ve been up for grabs. The initial concept would’ve had the 1960s-’70s rather lame version of the Shield being found dead in the harbor, and then you’d probably have various other characters, including Jack Kirby’s Private Strong, being drafted back in, and a murder mystery unfolding. I suppose I was just thinking, “That’d be a good way to start a comic book: have a famous super-hero found dead.” As the mystery unraveled, we would be lead deeper and deeper into the real heart of this super-hero’s world, and show a reality that was very different to the general public image of the super-hero. So, that was the idea.

As luck would have it, DC happened to purchase a DIFFERENT defunct line of superheroes, the Charlton heroes, and Moore took this idea that he had based on the MLJ/Archie heroes, and applied it to the Charlton heroes. This was what led to the original proposal for Watchmen, which later, due to the fact that Moore pretty much made the characters unusable after the series was over, changed to being ORIGINAL characters based on the Charlton heroes.

However, even after the changes, a remnant of the MLJ/Archie influence remained in Watchmen, as Hooded Justice is very likely based upon the Archie superhero, Hangman.

Imagine…Who Watches….The Crusaders? Coulda happened!

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Marvel must have been pretty happy about the outcome of killing off Thunderbird. Years later when they created Generation X they repeated the performance of creating a character to be immediately killed off.

But, in a twist of irony she was likely the best character of the whole bunch. Fans demanded her return and she only did after Generation X finished. She is the only character of that bunch that is still being regularly used today (she’s the headliner of one of the titles).

There’ve been variations on Thunderbird over the years that might have saved him if they’d been initially included. In his appearance in the old “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” TV show, John Proudstar has the power to shape-shift into different animals. As an animalistic metamorph, he might have had a longer lifespan than he did. But oh well, bygones.

Personally, I never really saw why Blink was so popular. She’s basically a purple female Nightcrawler. Not that I dislike her, I just don’t entirely get it.

Now thats some damn continuty….13 years later Mark G. has the prisioner from X-Men #104 resolved. Wow…things ya learn.

Hey Brian,
Check the wording of the third legend:
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: A character once escaped from X-Men custody in 1977 and did not have the plot resolved into another comic book…thirteen years later!!

Should maybe be ‘…resolved in another comic book until…thirteen years later!!’

Just purchased Quasar #15 in an effort to have an interesting nugget in my collection, and I do not find any reference to Dragonfly….am I missing soething????

Ahhh….Comics.org list #16 as having Dragonfly…..

Sorry for my typo misleading you, MOCK!

After Quasar I think Dragonfly ended up in an West coast avengers or avengers annual backup story. I think dragonflys sister has her captured at this point.

Dragonfly isn’t in Quasar #15 but in Quasar #14.
What’s about Unus , who was prisoner with Magneto ?

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