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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #66

This is the sixty-sixth 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 sixty-five.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Scott Lobdell was fired from Alpha Flight over controversy regarding Northstar “coming out.”

STATUS: False

In 1992, there was quite a stir caused by the release of Alpha Flight #106, in which team member Northstar officially “came out” as a homosexual.

2737_4_106.jpg

Oddly enough, the writer who wrote the issue, Scott Lobdell, was removed from the book a few months later, during the middle of a storyline, leading to rumors that Marvel was displeased with him over the hoopla surrounding Northstar’s coming out.

A few years back, Lobdell dispelled the rumors by explaining the circumstances behind his departure from Alpha Flight. According to Lobdell,

Essentially the outing of Northstar came about because Bobbie Chase (who I miss!) was the editor at the time and as a stickler for schedule, she wanted an inventory story in the draw, just in case. I pitched her five story ideas and one of them was NORTHSTAR coming out of the closet. In my pitch at the time, I essentially said the problem with writing NORTHSTAR is that he has always been pretty much and asshole–rude to people, always angry with the world. Now, this may or may not get me in a world of trouble, but my feeling was “Yeah, I guess I would be angry at the world too if I was spending all my time saving it and yet I feel I couldn’t be myself because people wouldn’t accept me. And people that I’m saving to boot?! Grrrr!” So I felt the way to start to bring JEAN PAUL away from his angry young man mode was to let him be himself…let him tell the world “this is who I am, deal with it.”

My goal was, once this story was written and published, was to start to bring him around…make him happier in his own skin. (We can actually see the start of this is the issue before that issue when he humiliates the gay bashers at BOX’s bachelor party…) It would have taken some time, but the outing of Northstar would have had a profound effect on the character and his interactions with others.

So any way, the story was written and then BOBBIE started the MIDNIGHT SON’S UNIVERSE…which meant she had no time to edit ALPHA FLIGHT. As she was leaving, she wanted to burn off the inventory story before she left and so it was sheduled–and no one really gave it s second thought (Not me, not Bobbie, not Tom DeFalco, not Gruenwald…no one) until the issue was published and the media frenzy started.

When the new editor came on, he had very definite and conflicting ideas as to where he wanted to go with the book. (I had shrunk the team to what I felt was a managable 5, he wanted it back at its 13 membership, etc. etc. etc…) As was his right, he booted me. As it turned out, he booted me the week that AF hit the stands…and believe me, that was the last thing anyone at MARVEL would have liked to have happened at the time because it appeared to be “punishment” for outing Northstar.

As it was, that same week I landed UNCANNY X-MEN. I can think of worse punishments, eh?

The incoming writer was Simon Furman, with issue #110.

2737_4_110.jpg

The book was cancelled with #130.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: In the 1970s, Marvel had a designated “first page” letterer.

STATUS: True

This came up a year or so ago on Usenet, when poster Glenn Simpson asked,

I’ve noticed a lot of Marvel comics from the late 1970s had a different, uncredited letterer for page 1 according to the Grand Comics Database). Usually Gaspar Saladino.

Anybody know what was up with that?

Luckily, everyone’s favorite “guy who knows a lot about comics” (and proprietor of the super-fun blog, News From Me), Mark Evanier, was there to answer the question. Evanier explained,

Yeah. There was a letterer shortage and Marvel was using a couple of folks who were okay for lettering the balloons but (it was felt) unable to do good story title lettering or the other special captions and credits that usually go on the first page of a story. So the company began the practice of having Saladino letter opening pages whenever possible. The idea was that the rest of the job would go to one of those letterers who wasn’t, they felt, as strong at display lettering.

It didn’t always work exactly like that. In a few cases, jobs were running so far behind that there wasn’t time to get them to Gaspar. In a few cases, Gaspar lettered Page One and then the rest of the story wound up going to a good letterer who could have done Page One. But the reason for what you noticed is that Marvel’s editorial folks felt that some of their letterers couldn’t handle opening pages.

Interesting, eh?

For your further viewing pleasure, I compiled the first pages of three of the comics in question, Avengers #138, Captain America #196 and Iron Man #75, as well as a random later page from the same issue, so you folks can see if you can tell the difference!

Click on the pages to see a larger version of the page.

Avengers #138 – First page by Gaspar Saladino, rest of the book by Charlotte Jetter

Avengers138-01_002.jpgAvengers138-05_002.jpg

Captain America #196 – First page by Gaspar Saladino, rest of the book by D. Bruce Berry

Captain_America195_01_002.jpgCaptain_America195_08_002.jpg

Iron Man #75 – First page by Gaspar Saladino, rest of the book by Karen Mantlo

Iron Man v1 075 - 02_002.jpgIron Man v1 075 - 08_002.jpg

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Grant Morrison took an old French character out of the public domain and made him an X-Men character.

STATUS: True

In France, before World War One, writers Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain released a series of novels about a character called Fantomas, who was basically a kingpin of crime. He did all sorts of nasty, evil things, but at the same time, he was so interesting that people liked the character, no matter how evil he was.

The character was so popular that he received movie serials in the 1910s, a sound film version in the 30s, another movie version in the 40s, and a series of films in the 60s and finally, a short-lived TV series in the 70s. Each adaptation varied in how they presented Fantomas, with some making him more of an “anti-hero.”

Here is a poster from the 60s film:

fantomas.jpg

It starred Jean Marais as Fantomas. It was not a huge hit in Europe, but became very popular in Latin America.

In fact, while Fantomas had already inpired a Mexican comic book, the comic became even more popular as it incorporated the version of Fantomas from the 60s film. Here’s a cover:

comic02b1.jpg

Note the garrb. That will be quite familiar to fans of New X-Men, for in 2001, writer Grant Morrison took advantage of the fact that Fantomas had fallen into the public domain by essentially just straighforwardly adding Fantomas to the X-Men as FantomEX.

9855_4_0129.jpg

However, Morrison, while ostensibly using Fantomas, is really basing Fantomex more upon a SECOND character who was, himself, BASED on Fantomas, the Italian comic strip character, Diabolik, who ALSO had a European film in the 1960s. It is the film version of Diabolik (more of a rogueish type, unlike the comic strip character, who tends to be crueler) that most resembles the character of Fantomex.

Here is the poster from the Diabolik film from 1968:

danger-diabolik-ital.jpg

Pretty similar to Fantomex, no?

9855_4_0143.jpg

Likewise, Diabolik’s lover and partner’s name is Eva. Fantomex has a flying-saucer-like ship called E.V.A., which contains his central nervous system (outside his body, so he can be protected easier) and which he has a symbiotic relationship with (also a telepathic one, as Fantomex can see via E.V.A.’s “eyes”).

Fantomex was a supporting character for the rest of Morrison’s run, but sadly has not been seen much since then (a short appearance in Mystique and Weapon X being the exceptions).

Pretty cool stuff, no?

For more info on Fantomas, check out this highly informative website, Fantomas Lives!

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!!

64 Comments

“Stranger in a Strange Man” – I’m resisting the temptation to Bwa-ha-ha that title, for fear of being shot, raped or retconned.

What an awesome title.

Hehehe I was thinking that, too. Fabulous title.

And I was watching that Diabolik cartoon on Fox Kids a while back and noticed his similarity to Fantomex. Nice to know the full story.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

September 1, 2006 at 1:33 am

Good stuff!
Probably one of your best yet, Brian!
I hadn’t heard of any of those rumours before, and yet all were quite intresting.

They should use Fantomex more.
Deadpool, Sabretooth, Omega Red and any other crappy Weapon X related character gets used endlessly (even though show they were made in the 90′s) and yet a new, completely different one gets ignored (much like everything cool in Morrison’s run).
Damn shame.

I never really liked Fantomex, but that’s possibly because I hate the French.

The 60′s Diabolik movie was also spoofed in the Beaste Boys’ video for ‘Body Movin’.
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcnTxcqcNEE ).
Pretty funny video in which they basically do the whole movie in a few minutes. Lots of footage comes from the original movie but in the video all characters are played by the Beastie Boys. Clever editing don’t you think?

Cool. I suggested a Comics Urban Legend without even trying…

Although it’s “glennsim”, not “glennism”. Although I kinda like “glennism” now.

“What did he mean by that?”

“Pay no attention, it’s just a Glennism.”

Yeah, the “Lobdell in trouble for outing Northstar” thing never worked for me precisely BECAUSE they moved him from Alpha Flight to X-men – I mean, if they really wanted to punish him they would have left him on Alpha Flight…

And I like that back in the 70′s not only was the cover of the book important, but the FIRST PAGE was a marketing tool as well. Nowadays, the first page is often boring – and its not so common to have the title and credits right there on the first page anymore. Interesting how things have shifted.

The Diabolik movie – one of ‘em, anyway – also showed up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I think it may even have been the final episode.

Man that Northstar cover was hideous, wasn’t it? Terrible artwork. That’s why I read so few superhero comic books in the 90s. That, along with the fact that writers like Scott Lobdell were actually getting a lot of work.

The Northstar cover is bad, but (having never read an issue of Alpha Flight, ever), I half like the cover to #110. I’m guessing this is a new team of villains introduced (the art implies as much). Let me explain why I half like it. The three characters in the middle are dull looking and embody the worst cliches of 90′s comics (feral character, muscle-bound “asskicker” character, “cyber” character). But the trenchcoat guy looks semi-interesting, and the two in the background (brain guy and the large woman) are nifty looking. They seem like characters who might have original personalities and neat backstories. Of course, for all I know, they might have all been lousy.

“I’m guessing this is a new team of villains introduced (the art implies as much).”

Kind of, yeah; the thing is, it was pushed as an “Infinity War” crossover (which, if you don’t remember, involved heroes being attacked by evil doppelgangers), but I’m pretty sure the evil doppelgangers idea was either non-existent or barely touched upon in the three part storyline, instead focusing on “Beta Flight”, those villains. Over the rest of the series, they popped up a few times. I’m pretty sure that their leader is not pictured, and was a guy called “The Master”, with a beard and (for lack of better description) a colander on his head.

Things I remember from the remaining issues of ‘Alpha Flight’:
- A cover with “The Master” saying [I'm sure this had never been done before this] “I did it! I killed ALPHA FLIGHT!” and they’re all lying dead on a hill behind him
- Canada passed a Superhero Registration Act, which I can only assume Marvel is ignoring at this point (what with the “we’ll escape to Canada” stuff)

That’s about it, but I didn’t read every issue. I think I may have sold my Infinity War crossovers on Ebay at some point, ’cause I sure can’t find ‘em anywhere.

Julio Cortazar, the great Argentinian writer, did a short story that featured Fantomas. It includes artwork from a real Fantomas comic book story that featured Cortazar himself. If you understand Spanish, you can read Cortazar’s story here:

http://www.literatura.org/Cortazar/Fantomas/index.html

I thought of a possible urban legend for this site. I’ve often heard that the word “FLICK” was not allowed to be used back in the day in comics because with all caps comic lettering it looked a lot like “FUCK”. Was this actual policy? Are there examples out there of the word being used. I’ve always heard Marvel and DC didn’t allow it, but there has to be a book out there from the 60′s or before with the phrase “flick of the wrist” or something.

I call B.S. on Lobdell for saying the Northstar outing “wasn’t given a second thought” until the “media frenzy started”. Everything was such a big deal in the ’90s and a character coming out of the closet was no exception. There’s no way Marvel didn’t think the issue would bring notoriety.

Rob: If that’s the case, tough luck for Hawkeye, given that his alter-ego is named “CLINT.”

I’m just sayin’.

Cool. I suggested a Comics Urban Legend without even trying…

Thanks, Glenn! I preferred to write your full name there, but couldn’t find it! Now I can. :)

The 60’s Diabolik movie was also spoofed in the Beaste Boys’ video for ‘Body Movin’.

Yeah, I initially had a picture from Body Movin’ in the piece, but then I figured that it didn’t fit all that much thematically.

However, it is a great video, and hilarious to see how TWO people (Morrison and the Beastie Boys) just flat-out used Diabolik in their work! :)

The Diabolik movie – one of ‘em, anyway – also showed up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I think it may even have been the final episode.

You are correct (on both counts)!

Man that Northstar cover was hideous, wasn’t it? Terrible artwork. That’s why I read so few superhero comic books in the 90s. That, along with the fact that writers like Scott Lobdell were actually getting a lot of work.

Well, like Lobdell noted, the issue was an inventory story. So that wasn’t the main Alpha Flight artist or anything – just a fill-in artist.

Then again, I guess that depends on what you think of Tom Morgan, who was the regular artist. :)

I thought of a possible urban legend for this site. I’ve often heard that the word “FLICK” was not allowed to be used back in the day in comics because with all caps comic lettering it looked a lot like “FUCK”. Was this actual policy? Are there examples out there of the word being used. I’ve always heard Marvel and DC didn’t allow it, but there has to be a book out there from the 60’s or before with the phrase “flick of the wrist” or something.

While I have no doubt that someone at either company said, “Don’t say stuff like ‘Flick off,’ etc,” the problem is that I’ve never seen stuff like that CODIFIED. If anyone could ever find something like that codified (or even a quote from a higher-up like a Wiesinger or a Schwartz), then that’d be great.

I call B.S. on Lobdell for saying the Northstar outing “wasn’t given a second thought” until the “media frenzy started”. Everything was such a big deal in the ’90s and a character coming out of the closet was no exception. There’s no way Marvel didn’t think the issue would bring notoriety.

I believe it’s an instance of the totality of the circumstances.

Keith Giffen has already mentioned how he was able to destroy the Earth in the Legion presisely because the book was between editors, so no one stopped him.

I believe that’s what happened here. The book was between editors, and since it was such a minor Marvel title, no one noticed.

The cast of Omega Flight, as depicted on the cover of Alpha Flight #110, was comprised of Bile, the man in the trench coat who was riddled with disease; Brain Drain, a telepathic guy with his brain in a glass dome for whatever reason; Strongarm, who had cybernetic implants in his arms; Sinew, the feral man who had the typical berseker rage associated with animal-types in the MU; Miss Mass, the large lady in the back who had super-strength; and Tech-Noir, the woman in the front who had some sort of high-tech armor.

No idea whatever became of them, though.

Face it – if Marvel REALLY expected the Northstar story to get any kind of attention in 1992, it would have 1) been a “round” number, like 125, and 2) a foil cover. Alpha Flight was such a low-tier book by that point that it was pretty much left alone, and in that way was a bit of a throwback to the days when an “event” could happen at any time, not just in the big issues.

Of course, the fact that it got so much attention from Northstar’s outing meant that it was no longer left alone, and was dragged into things like Infinity Crusade to help it get more attention.

Also, I like the fact that Jean-Paul is a mutant, a militant Quebecois separatist, has been banned from the Olympics, has a fraternal twin sister with Disassociative Identity Disorder, and is half-pixie or something, but being gay is what makes him “weird.”


Bile…Brain Drain…Strongarm…Sinew…Miss Mass…Tech-Noir… No idea whatever became of them, though.

The nineties ended. I think that explains it.

I believe in the days of all capitals lettering, the word “FLICK” got banned because ONE person complained. I think I got the story from Peter David’s blog. Basically back in the day, there was an Ant-man story (or some generic superhero) that had the villain say something like (paraphrasing from memory), “I SHALL DESTROY YOU LIKE I WOULD FLICK A FLY OFF MY SHOULDER!”

Well, apparently some lady got a hold of that comic (from her kid or something – as is usual in these stories) wrote a long nasty letter to Marvel about how innappropriate to have villains threatening to copulate with insects on their shoulders. She threatened all sorts of legal actions and complaints (and forwarded it to CCA). Of course it was obvious to everyone in the Marvel Bullpen that she misread the word.

It was just one person that complained but even in those days (pre-PC), it was better to bend in the wind of one rather than make a stand. In the end, the legal suits had to write a nice letter letter to placate her and sent a missive to the Marvel Bullpen that the word “FLICK” should never be used again in a comic in any context.

Thats how I heard it.
I may be wrong about it being from Peter David though (from either his website or BID columns). The source could also be from Mark Evanier. Its a story I read years ago.

Thanks, Ed!

That sounds like pretty good Urban Legend fodder if I ever find it!

Wasn’t Northstar’s reveal in #106? Long before the I.W. crossovers. His stament of intent came in a battle with Major Maple Leaf. And his preference had apparently always been part of J.B.’s way of thinking in the early issues of the title.

I am pretty sure that the whole FLICK thing was a later editorial edict, not a formal rule such as in the Comics Code. I also remember reading that Hawkeye being named CLINT was meant as a joke against that concern.

the real problem wasn’t just the all caps lettering — it was also the crappy printing which tended to run the inks.

At least one of the teen humor books from the late 50s/early 60s — it may have even been an Atlas book had the main character’s boyfriend named FLICKER — so they weren’t as concerned prior to the Marvel era about using the word in all its variations.

“The Diabolik movie – one of ‘em, anyway – also showed up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I think it may even have been the final episode.”

You are correct (on both counts)!

I think the last episode of MST3K was MITCHELL.

Mitchell was Joel’s last episode. Diabolik was the show’s last episode.

I can’t speak for American comics, but I’m (almost) certain that in 2000AD there couldn’t be a Judge Flick or a Judge Clint because the letter style of a Judge namebadge would leave them both looking very much like other words.

>>.Tony Bell said …
I never really liked Fantomex, but that’s possibly because I hate the French.

Racism and fascism seem to be popular in USA…

Fantomas and his Diabolik connection also live on in the Mike Patton band Fantomas, as art from a Diabolik comic is used as cover work

The whole “nervous system outside of the body” that Fantomax had sounds alot like Monark Starstalker – a sci-fi oneshot in Marvel Premiere #32 created by Howard Chaykin. The adventurer/computer romance sounds like Star Lord and “Ship” – so basically Morrison just cut and pasted some older characters and made him.

Brian, a question, if I may:

Who was the writer behind the early ’00s Marvel “Brotherhood” series?

He/she was known only as X and his true name was never revealed by Marvel. As for the series, I really dug the first story arc (1-3), but after 9/11 happened, I couldn’t see how Marvel would keep publishing and with issue #9 it hastily wrapped.

If this has been explained elsewhere, pray post here a link.

thank you

Brian, an off topic question, if I may:

Who was the writer behind the early ’00s Marvel “Brotherhood” series?

He/she was known only as X and his true name was never revealed by Marvel. As for the series, I really dug the first story arc (1-3), but after 9/11 happened, I couldn’t see how Marvel would keep publishing and with issue #9 it hastily wrapped.

If this has been explained elsewhere, pray post here a link. If not, I’d appreciate your insight on an upcoming column.

thank you

I’m pretty sure the Northstar issue was hyped at the time. Maybe when they originally put it together and scheduled it, they didn’t expect much out of it, but by the time it was coming up to be released, people were talking about it. I remember debating whether to get it when it originally came out because it was getting all of this media attention.

I don’t know, maybe my memory is faulty, but I don’t think it was QUITE the shock upon release that Scott Lobdell made it out to be. Maybe the reaction once it was solicited, but it seems to me there was a definite buzz about it before it came out.

“I never really liked Fantomex, but that’s possibly because I hate the French”

Well he was only pretending to be French but I guess his ethnicity can’t be your only reason you dislike him.

I first realized Morrison took the idea of FantomEX when I heard of Fantomas in the French film District B13. They only mentioned the character, like Superman in Kill Bill, but it was enough to realize that Morrison took the idea from there. Also, I vaugely knew of that Diabolik character.

And, of course, is it any surprise Morrison injected a bit a bit of himself into it. Gee, you don’t hear fanboys bitching about him pulling a Gary Stu. Yet they’re all Mary Sue this and that with Devin K Grayson’s Nightwing. Then again Morrison’s X-Men was awesome, while Devin’s Nightwing was… meh.

re: FLICK

back in the late 70s – early 80s, Eddie Campbell (and a friend) released a photocopied comic book they called FLICK, as reference to that little apocrypha. You can read a a bit about it on Campbell’s GRAFFITI KITCHEN, now collected in THREE PIECE SUIT.

The identity of X has never been revealed, as far as I know. But the most popular rumor around comics circles was that the identity of X was Howard Mackie. Never confirmed, though.

Good Lord, it’s only me or Northstar looks like he is going to do something with that alpha flight leaf…

another Fantômas refference: the Mike Patton band with the same name. google ‘ipecac records’ and ‘amenaza a el mondo’

Fantomas also appeared in the Almanac section of “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2″. He was a member of Les Hommes Mysterieux, France’s equivalent to the League, along with Jean Robur, Arsene Lupin, the Nyctalope, and the Phantom of the Opera.

I really enjoy these columns for the most part. I digged the Morrison/Fantamex urban legend and will check out the others. Great stuff.

Mitchell was Joel’s last episode. Diabolik was the show’s last episode.

I sit corrected.

“re: FLICK

back in the late 70s – early 80s, Eddie Campbell (and a friend) released a photocopied comic book they called FLICK, as reference to that little apocrypha. You can read a a bit about it on Campbell’s GRAFFITI KITCHEN, now collected in THREE PIECE SUIT.”

Yeah, that story was the first time I’d ever encountered the flick urban legend.

@Tony Bell
“I never really liked Fantomex, but that’s possibly because I hate the French.”

WTF?

Would you ever, EVER say “I never really liked Banshee but that’s because I hate the Irish”?

Or “I never really liked Storm but that’s because I hate the blacks”?

Prejudice is prejudice pure and simple. If you can’t outgrow it at least keep it to yourself.

Although oblique reference to it has been made above, no story involving Northstar’s sexual orientation is complete without mention of how he was handled in the Byrne and Mantlo eras of the book.

NOTE: the handling, especially Mantlo’s, could have been by editorial fiat, for all I know – I’m simply identifying the writers at the time.

Under Byrne’s hand, Northstar was fairly firmly established as being homosexual, without it being overtly stated. we see scenes with him and a friend, and only the most obtuse of readers could interpret the scene as not being two men who are gay and romantically involved.

When Byrne and Mantlo swapped books (Byrne took over INCREDIBLE HULK), Mantlo didn’t really do anything of the sort. Then again, on this book at least, Mantlo’s writing didn’t really seem to have the subtlety necessary to pull off what John had done.

During Mantlo’s tenure, Northstar appears to be ill. The illness may have started while Byrne was writing the book, and was interpreted to be AIDS. However, in ALPHA FLIGHT 50, the illness is revealed to be magic-oriented, and Northstar and Aurora are revealed to be magical beings. Addendum: A check of Wikipedia implies that Mantlo started the illness, that he intended it to be AIDS and to have Jean-Paul die in #50, and that it was indeed editorial fiat that changed things. Also, that Northstar’s magical heritage being able to be stated as him being part Faerie was intended as a subtle jab back at editorial. Like I said, Mantlo didn’t do subtle real well in this book. In fact (another aside, I know), the one page of his ALPHA FLIGHT run I best remember was the second or third page of the issue (somewhere around # 46). There were four panels, which where about 50% word balloon, with 6 footnotes. It was an info dump about the preceding several issues, and was a testbook example of why the current recap page at the front of each book can be a very good thing.

moose n squirrel

September 4, 2006 at 8:03 pm

Grant Morrison took an old French character out of the public domain and made him an X-Men character.

This is somewhat overstating it. Yes, Fantomex is clearly based on the character of Fantomas (and on Diabolik), but Morrison didn’t just grab the original, public domain character and port him into the X-Men universe (in the way that Alan Moore used the public domain characters of the League of Gentlemen books). Loads of comic book characters are based on preexisting characters, but that doesn’t make them direct grabs. The Mandarin and Ra’s al Ghul are both based on Fu Manchu, for example, but Denny O’Neil didn’t literally “take” Fu Manchu and make him a Batman villain.

While I think the Fantomas/ex thing is pretty interesting, I’ve got to agree with moose. It’s not really an urban legend as such is it? It’s just an explanation of the character’s origins; there are no big secrets or anything involved.

The Fantomex thing someone told me on the X-Boards back in 2003/2004 . Yeah , its not a big Urban legend but I did like the column and the pictures of the character that Grant Morrison lifted in some ways.

http://forums.millarworld.tv/index.php?showtopic=60837&st=100

What if… Alan Moore wrote Action Comics in 1986?

This screams to be an item in an upcoming instance of Comic Book Urban Legends.

In 1986, Alan Moore was supposed to write Action Comics, with John Byrne pencilling. Alan Moore dropped the project (either because Byrne wanted to co-plot or because Moore had his hands full with Watchmen), so Byrne and Marv Wolfman were the only Superman writers after the Crisis. Combine this with the anecdote of Alan Moore and Frank Miller arguing over dinner what the best Superman ever would be (told in the Complete DC works of Alan Moore TPB), ending with Alan Moore just saying “Superman in Hell”… oh, what could have been…

Here’s a non-urban legend, just a chunk of comic history that never resolved…

When SESAME STREET was announced back in 1968 or 69 as a new sensational kid’s education program, there were ads in DC comics with Superman and Batman saying THEY would be on this new Sesame Street. The ads were half-page and fairly common. My little brother watched Sesame Street, and I’d ask if Superman or Batman ever appeared, but he said no. DID they ever appear? My gut feeling is that someone decided two super-fighters were a bad idea for a little kids’ show, or the deal may simply have fizzled over rights and revenues, or for some other reason. Anyone know?

Clayton Emery
http://www.challengersoftheunknown.com

Very interesting, Clayton. Any Sesame Street fans out there that could help?

Did you ever cover the one about aunt Harriett getting added because of the TV show? It is wrong, since she showed up long before.

Arguably Fantomex is as much Midnighter as he is the other characters we’ve touched upon.

I’ve got one for you. The guy I used to buy comics from said that due to the right of characters rolling back to creators, DC lost the rights to Hawkman. Which was the reason why you didn’t see Hawkman from the end of Hawkworld to Geoff Johns returning him in JSA. This guy also claims DC lost the rights to Swamp Thing in the contracts for the movies and tv shows. Or at the very least, there was some sort of confusion over who had the rights of Swamp Thing.
I’ve found this guy to be full of it, so these are probably lies he made up like lots of other things. So, anybody?
Thanks

American Hawkman

September 8, 2006 at 1:28 pm

Since nobody else has mentioned it, I will: Brain-Drain from Omega Flight ISN’T a 90s character. He’s a dusted-off 70s character, who was actually created to be a Golden-Age villain to menace the Invaders, and did so in the Marvel Premier issues featuring the Liberty Legion. I’m still tickled Marvel brought him back.

Oh, and to add fuel to the fire of the Aunt Harriet rumor from above: While she wasn’t created for the TV show, since she originally appeared in 1964′s Detective Comics #328, her history’s somewhat interesting as well, since she wasn’t the first Aunt added to the Batman cast. The original aunt was named Aunt Agatha, who predated the Aunt Harriet name by 10 years. Agatha first appeared in 1954′s Batman #89. Agatha finally has got the respect she was due in modern DC continuity, since she was revived in this month’s Batman issue by Grant Morrison. No idea if Aunt Harriet wasn’t just originally a misnamed Aunt Agatha making a second appearance, but it’s an interesting possiblity.

If one can believe YouTube ande the person who posted it, this Batman and Robin short purports to have appeared on Sesame Street:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpG6_FjgY4w

That French Guy

August 3, 2008 at 9:05 am

Hi

Just a minor correction Maybe the Fantomas films didn’t have much success when they came out, I don’t know I wasn’t born yet. But decades of TV reruns every other year means they’re very famous now (I was actually joking about one scene with my office pal last week).

anyway, keep up the good work Brian, I just found out about your site and spent the whole afternoon reading CBULR.

For old-school, thrift-shopping Swedes, Diabolik was published there as “Kilroy”, but you probably knew that.

Patrick Zartman

April 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Has anyone mentioned that the Diabolik movie was the film shown on the final episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Also, the original comic was reprinted shortly after that episode.

Patrick Zartman

April 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Also, the lead singer of Faith No More has a side band called Fantomas.

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