Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #57
This is the fifty-seventh 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 fifty-six.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Doomsday made his first appearance during the end of the “Panic in the Sky” storyline.
One of the interesting things to note about the Superman titles circa the Death of Superman was that, while all of them were solid sellers (enough so that they DID have FOUR titles, for crying out loud!), they weren’t exactly heating up the sales charts. Nor were they “hot” books, either.
Therefore, when the Death of Superman happened, and the books became huge hits, speculators looked into the past for “hot” books they could sell. And one such “hot” book was Superman #66, the last part of the “Panic in the Sky” storyline, which was about Superman leading Earth’s heroes against the evil Brainiac, who had taken over Warworld.
At the end of the story, after Brainiac was defeated, he released a device.
The story was that THIS was the “first appearance” of Doomsday, who would go on to kill Superman nine issues later.
The issue even made Wizard’s “Top Ten Hottest Books of the Month” list!
The only problem was, if you were actually READING Superman, you would know that the device was explained…the very next issue!
In Superman #67, Superman faces “the Swarm,” who are sent in the wake of Warworld to destroy whatever life is remaining on the planet.
So there was some decent detective work to find #66, but not good enough to find #67…hehe.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Plastic Man was originally named India Rubber Man.
Jack Cole produced a superhero for the first issue of Busy Arnold’s Police Comics in 1941.
The hero, Plastic Man, became a big hit, and by the fifth issue it was clear he was a star. For a time, Plastic Man was selling as well as Batman and Superman (if not better!).
However, Plastic Man was not the original name of Cole’s hero! According to Gerald Jones’ seminal work, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book…
Cole’s mind went where no power-hungry geek or pulp melodramatist or imitator of Seigel and Shuster had ever gone. Instead of a hero tougher and stronger and faster than any normal man, he created one more free and absurd. “India Rubber Man” could bend and bounce and flatten himself like a rug and transform himself into a red-and-yellow divan. What Superman was to bodybuilders, India Rubber Man was to contortionists. The publisher liked him, but his promotional instincts were sharper than Cole’s. Make him futuristic, Busy said, name him after a new miracle substance so your readers feel like they’re experiencing freedoms yet to come. Call him “Plastic Man.”
Arnold’s instincts sure seemed to be on the money, eh?
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: John Byrne got the idea for Darkseid vs. Galactus from a fan.
In 1995, John Byrne wrote and drew this neat one-shot: Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger.
Recently, Byrne told the story at his forum of the genesis of this project:
I was at a Con — don’t recall which one — and the aforementioned fan approached and said he had an idea for a DC/Marvel crossover; “Galactus tries to eat Apokolips.” I was sitting next to George Perez at the time, and we looked at each other with kind of “Why didn’t we think of that?” expressions on our faces.
Flying home, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a great idea it was, especially if I could convince the Powers that Were that it should be only Darkseid and Galactus, and not FF vs New Gods or any other such expanded version. I pitched the idea to DC, who immediately liked it, and set wheels in motion. Then I embarked upon the difficult task of finding the fan so I could give him proper credit.
Marc Galinus McFinn was the fan, by the by.
Pretty neat story behind a pretty neat story!
Well, that’s it for this week, thanks for stopping by!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!!