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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #43!

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This is the forty-third 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 forty-two.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Julie Schwartz once had to write a comic story in a day because of an mistaken cover instruction

STATUS: True, just that it was Bob Kanigher, not Julie Schwartz

Reader Dave Lartigue dropped me a line about a possible urban legend he was curious about,

I was fortunate enough to hear Julius Schwarz speak at a comics con. He basically reminisced about old times, and it was a very entertaining talk. He told one anecdote that has stuck with me.

He said that during his days at DC he was looking at the proof for a cover to a war comic. He felt that some element on it needed to be moved down, so he wrote on the proof “Drop One Inch”. Someone misinterpreted his instruction, thinking there was a story called “Drop One Inch” in the book and changed the cover to announce this. The cover was then printed and Schwarz was alarmed because now it was announcing a story that wasn’t inside. Consequently, he had to quickly write a story called “Drop One Inch” to cover the goof.

After doing some checking, I found that Julie Schwartz told this same story a few years back, but when speaking of the recently departed Robert Kanigher.

Said Schwartz then (in a press release DC Comics issues upon Kanigher’s passing),

Longtime officemate Julie Schwartz considered Kanigher a fast and versatile talent. “There was one day when he was looking at a cover,” Schwartz recalls, “and it didn’t look right, so he wrote a note on the side that said, ‘drop an inch,’ meaning to adjust the art somehow. Anyway, the page came back with a caption added that read ‘Drop an Inch!’ So Kanigher immediately sat down and wrote a story called ‘Drop an Inch.’ I think he did it over his lunch hour.”

Looking into the matter, I discovered the following.

July 1958’s G.I. Combat.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Right there on the cover, “Drop an Inch.”

The first story? A nine-page Robert Kanigher story titled “Drop an Inch.”

I think we can safely say that this one is true.

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I don’t know about Aguirre-Sacasa, but I have some pages of original art by McNiven from most issues of MK4 and the first issue is labeled “issue 513″ IIRC, so I think Steve McNiven was under the impression their work was for the main title!

Thanks, fedres! Interesting stuff.

I found the same thing on a Marvel Knights 4 page I have from issue 2, indicating issue #513 on the top of the page.

See it here: http://art.ebabble.net/mcniven-steve/

Oh yeah, Aguirre-Sacasa only mentions writing the book for three different types of FF comics. He doesn’t mention McNiven, so McNiven might very well have started work on the project after it was decided to put them on the regular FF title.

And thanks, Scott, for the page link! Very cool.

Of course, since Kirkman, who wrote the Sleepwalker story in the Epic Anthology, later effectively wrote it out-of-continuity in Marvel Team-Up on the basis that it wasn’t finished and was never likely to be…

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So Doctor Strange has a daughter “with all his powers”. Does she also automatically inherit his medical degree? Because that makes about as much sense. Hey, Batman has a son, maybe he’s a traumatized orphan like his dad! Evidently comic books take place in a Lamarckian universe.

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