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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #70

This is the seventieth 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-nine. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Due to Don Perlin, a profanity accidentally snuck into an issue of Defenders.


Don Perlin discussed this interesting occurance in a yet another fabulous interview by Daniel Best for Adelaide’s Comics and Books. Check out his archive of past interviews here.

Here’s the piece from the interview:

Don Perlin: I was the first guy, unwittingly, to put profanity in comics.Perlin: This happened in one of the Defenders. There was a character in there who was a lawyer for the Defenders and his gimmick was that no matter where you saw him in his office, there had to be a TV set on – he was always watching TV. And while I was drawing one of the panels I was listening to a talk show and there was someone on telling how bad cereals for kids were – they were all loaded with sugar. So I drew a picture on the TV of a bunny rabbit holding a box of cereal and across the label where the name of the cereal would be I pencilled in ‘shit’. (laughter) So I figured, because I used to write nutty comments in the borders and stuff I thought they‚d get a laugh out of it and change it. So they gave it to Pablo Marcos and I don’t know if he knew how to read English or not but he inked it. I walked in one day and I said hello – everybody used to greet me at Marvel with smiles. And I came in there and they looked at me, boy, like don’t go near him, something might happen to you. Shooter was looking for me and I went up there and Shooter started yelling, “What did you do? Look at it! They called me upstairs and showed me this” and I said, “Wait a minute. That thing goes through an assistant editor, an editor, a proof- reader and then you’re supposed to read it. And no-one picked it up so don‚t blame me.” So what happened was he said fine, just don’t write anymore comments on your pages. (laughter)

Daniel Best: I’m not sure that many people know of that one because I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere.

Perlin: It’s right down near the spine so you might even pass by and not notice it. A friend of mine who had a comic book store called me up and he said, “I have a person who wants to buy the page for $100 At that time $100 was a lot of money. Do you have the page? I looked at what I got back and I didn’t have the page, and I called Pablo up and said you can get $100 if you have that page. He told me he didn’t have the page. Somebody stole that page.

Best: I never knew that and I used to read the Defenders when I was a kid.

Perlin: At that time there was no profanity in it. I didn’t mean for that to be in it. I just thought hey, everybody’s smart enough to take that out, c’mon. (laughter) I guess my estimate of them was too high. (laughter)

Best also provides a scan of the page, courtesy of Hoy Murphy.

The issue was Defenders #89.


Here is the page (click on it for a large version) and the detail from the page follows.


Defenders 89 panel 2.JPG

Pretty funny, eh?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Wolverine originally was going to kill Sabretooth – 25 years ago!


A fan of John Byrne, Cory Vandernet, made quite a discovery recently in his studio closet – a handwritten list by John Byrne of some future storylines planned for X-Men all through issue #150 in 1981.

As you all know, Byrne’s last issue on the title ended up being #143, so those plans never came to fruition.

While the list had some intriguing ideas (including some stuff Byrne has spoken about in the past, namely getting the available original X-Men back on the team (Iceman and Angel) and some stuff I had never heard of, like the multi-part “Robot Cyclops” story), Byrne went into depth on one particular story idea, and the idea is available on his board’s FAQ here.

Byrne relates a story that involves Sabretooth (who, at the time, had only appeared in Iron Fist) attacking Mariko and brutalizing her (just violence, no sexual assault or anything like that) to the point where she’s pretty much dead.

The X-Men find her, though, and get her hospitalization, but she’s in a coma – brain dead. And Xavier cannot do anything to help her, and when Wolverine doesn’t believe him, he connects Wolverine to her mind, so he can experience the emptiness.

Wolverine, naturally, cuts her life support, then goes off and, in a bloody battle, kills Sabretooth – with the reveal then coming that Sabretooth was Wolverine’s father.

It’s pretty similar to Chris Claremonth’s take on Wolverine and Sabretooth, that the two were

Father and son. That’s why Sabretooth (*my* incarnation, that is, not this “Creed” poseur) always considered Logan “sloppy seconds” to his “original” / “real deal.” The other critical element in my presentation of their relationship was that, in their whole life, Logan has never defeated Sabretooth in a knock-down, drag-out, kill-or-be-killed berserker fight. By the same token, on every one of his birthdays, Sabretooth has always managed to find him, no matter where Logan was or what he was doing, and come wihin an inch of killing him. For no other reason than to remind him that he could.

Therefore, this is the one time that Wolverine finally beats Sabreooth – spurred on by the death of Mariko.

And all of this was to occur in 1981.

Trippy, eh?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Namor and the Human Torch had the first team-up in comic history!


This is an interesting one, courtesy of reader John McDonagh, as the story that Namor and the Human Torch were the first superheroes from their own strips to ever cross over with each other has been reprinted many times in the past, most recently in a Wizard Special on classic comics.

However, the team-up between Human Torch and Namor that occured in the pages of Marvel Mystery Comics #8 and 9 in Summer 1940…


actually took place a month or so AFTER the actual first superhero crossover, which happened in Pep Comics #4, between the Shield and the Wizard (it’s a small appearance, but it’s there!), earlier in the Summer of 1940.


The two a month or so later gained their own team-up magazine!


Cool, eh?

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!!


It was always my understanding that Sabertooth being Wolverine’s father was so predictible, that Marvel decided to throw the curve ball in there and just make them old chums/foes/bubs. Sort of like how Captain Atom was supposed to be something lame in that Armaggedon story, so DC goes “Uhh…Hawk! It makes perfect sense!”

Ugg, why can’t Superboy punch THAT out of the wall?

Sabretooth being Wolverine’s father is one thing – the real hook here, though, is that Sabretooth was going to be Wolverine’s father all the way back in 1981.

Remember, Sabretooth didn’t even APPEAR in an X-Title until 1986!!

I didn’t realize Sabertooth was such a “young” character who’s x-debut really date back to the mid 80’s.

Yep, Sabretooth and Wolverine didn’t meet (real time, not retroactively) until the Mutant Massacre crossover, in Uncanny X-Men 212 (in 1986, as Brian noted).

I’m pretty sure Sabretooth did appear in an issue of Spectacular Spider-Man between his Iron Fist debut and his first Uncanny appearance, if that means anything.

Congratulations on the seventieth edition.

Oh Don Perlin, you cad….

The one I like is how Al Milgrom lost his job at Marvel because he slipped a nasty message about Bob Harris into a comic after the latter was fired as EIC. It’s not all one big happy like Stan led us to believe, is it?

If this sort of thing interests you, there’s a Fantastic Four letters page — I’m pretty sure it was sometime during the John Byrne run on the title — in which a description of a scene in an earlier issue includes menion of Reed Richards causing a machine to “shit itself off.” This was a typo on the part of the staffer who entered the text for that letters page, and I don’t think she got into any trouble for it because it was clearly a typing error and nothing deliberate. Everyone just pretened it never happened…except her friends, who teased her mercilessly about it when the issue was published. Because we were vile people.

There’s also the issue of Wolverine with the Jewish slur in it. I believe that was chalked up to a “lettering mistake.”

Adam: funny enough, DC sort of did punch that wall. At the end of the post-Infinite Crisis mini Battle For Bludhaven, an erupting Captain Atom is placed in a containment suit that resembles (or actually is) the Monarch/Armageddon suit.

Adam Jones said …
Sort of like how Captain Atom was supposed to be something lame in that Armaggedon story, so DC goes “Uhh…Hawk! It makes perfect sense!” Ugg, why can’t Superboy punch THAT out of the wall?

I love Hulk bawling his eyes out on that Defenders cover.

I love the fact that the big team-up book was actually called “Shield-Wizard.” It almost makes “Superman/Batman” seem reasonable.

And yes, there was a big furor over a caption that called Sabretooth a “kike.” It was supposed to be “the killer known as Sabretooth,” so at some point “lettering mistake” just doesn’t cover it. The weird thing about it was that the word got out before the issue shipped – there was a press release about it – and the issue got pushed back a week or two, but when it reached stores, the typo was still right there. WTF?

That’s right, I totally forgot about the “kike” issue.

I should do that in a future installment!

Killer/kike: The most likely version of the story that I read somewhere was that the author intended to write ‘killer’ in his electronic manuscript. The letter ‘L’ is just one keystroke away the letter ‘K’, and so he probably typoed ‘kikker’ by accident. When someone’s spellchecker ran over the word, it may have substituted ‘kike’ as the perceived intended word, which slipped past the proofreaders until too late.

Who has “kike” programmed into their spellcheck? That’s even weirder.

Okay, nevermind – I just checked my spellcheck and there it was. Yeesh. Still, what happened? Did they just think Todd Dezago and Brian K. Vaughn were adding some new backstory to the character?

If this does show up as a future Urban Legend (issue 131, by the way), here’s hoping for a complete investigation into just how this got through X number of editors, perhaps with commentary from said eds.

Have any other comics had to be recalled for stuff like this? Wasn’t there some hub-bub about Typhoid Mary’s bare breast in one of the Bendis Daredevils?

There was that Universe X Spidey special (which I think has already been covered here a while back), and issue 5 of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where the Victorian-style advertisements recommend a ‘Marvel brand Douche’. That issue was recalled and reprinted although a small number did survive.
I think there must be tons more of those sneaky extras hidden out there. Come on, what other ones have people spotted?

heyyy, Brian Cronin…

do you happen to be Brian Cronin the illustrator?


If you look up Typhoid Mary on Wikipedia, you can see the original illustration of the character that appeared on the cover in a slightly edited form.

Cronin, if that’s your art, youi got some explainin’ to do.

Namely, why you never mentioned that you’re immensely talented.

Comic Book Urban Legend: Yours truly is that Brian Cronin.

Status: False

im sick of people complaining about Wolverine, Comic’s GREATEST character EVER. the stuff with Sabretooth as his Dad is trippy and mind-blowing, and people just hate on Wolverine because hes the best super-hero ever created.

Stuff that’s sneaked through? How about the Comics Buyer’s Guide cover with a couple bad girls on it (forget who they were, somethng not worth rememebring these days) and the bare breat-with-nipple. CBG claimed that it wasn’t a nipple, it was a *wart* because it was colored the same as the rest of the breast.

A wart. Riiight.

“My warts explode with delight!”

For more boobie goodness, see cover of issue 4 of “The Intimates” from Wildstorm. It shipped with a different cover than what was previewed. Caused a bit of a kerfuffle.

must look up word “kerfuffle” now.

Who has “kike” programmed into their spellcheck? That’s even weirder.

Okay, nevermind – I just checked my spellcheck and there it was. Yeesh. Still, what happened? Did they just think Todd Dezago and Brian K. Vaughn were adding some new backstory to the character?

Well, to be fair, that’s not a very typical term that everyone is familiar with. I had never heard the term before the controversy….but then again, I was only around 18-19 at the time, I think.

Incidentally, if I remember right, word got out after the book had already shipped to Diamond, so issues had gotten in the hands of stores before a recall was issued. All copies were supposed to be returned, and a “corrected” edition was printed, but plenty of unscrupulous retailers sold them anyway….at a higher price for the “Rarity”, too….

Actually, Sabretooth appeared in the original Ms. Marvel title, fighting her in a subway on the cover, and I believe that came before Byrne planned to use him to fight Wolverine. That makes one other appearance other than his classic fight with Power Man and Iron Fist.

Sabretooth was supposed to appear in Ms. Marvel #24 but the series was cancelled before the issue came out. It is listed that he was to be the villian for the next issue in the back of #23.

I have 2 for you:

1) I heard Chris Claremont was removed from the X-Men because Bob Harris wanted to give the book to a friend of his (Scott Lobdell I think)?

2)Jack Kirby left DC because he thought they lied to him about the sales of his New Gods titles in order to pay him less money?

Great site – glad to have found it.

You’re looking for myths, by gum I’ve got a pile of them on the boil. After all this time I know more than I should, and all of it will come out.

Have you mentioned my favourite myth that I proved to be true? That Neal Adams did indeed do some penciling on the first Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man book?



Yep, Daniel!

And I credited you for it, a few weeks ago! That was a great find by you!

Ahhh cool stuff! Just saw it.

I’ve got a good one for you, and it’s a myth that I’ve helped spead, but now I know the full truth about Alan Weiss and THAT ‘lost’ issue of Warlock that was supposedly left in the back seat of a taxi…

Did I bring the Shield/Wizard error to your attention?

Here is a legend:
Roy Thomas wrote a Conan issue under the pen name Justin Arthur.

Status: True

In the early 1990’s, a long storyline ran which attempted to tell further the origin of Conan. The framing sequence had him addressing his son Conn with tales of his youth. Sadly, it flatly contradicted established continuity about Conan’s family from Savage Sword of Conan#119 and elsewhere.

Using the pseudonym Justin Arthur (pace Shining Knight), Thomas wrote an issue showing that, after talking to Conn, he admitted to spouse Zenobia that he fibbed.

Thomas admitted the pseudonym in an issue of Conan Saga.

Hey, John!

When I was writing the piece, I searched my “records” (quotations because they’re not exactly the most elaborate of records), and I couldn’t find for the life of me who told me about the Wizard/Shield thing, so I convinced myself that I guess I just saw it somewhere.

But I thought someone told me, so it very well could have been you! I’ll go give you credit.

“im sick of people complaining about Wolverine, Comic’s GREATEST character EVER. the stuff with Sabretooth as his Dad is trippy and mind-blowing, and people just hate on Wolverine because hes the best super-hero ever created.”

Yeah, that’s why. You should be a psychologist.

I always thought that issue of DEFENDERS with the “shit” drawing was Issue #75, the one where Nighthawk is yelling “This Is The END of The Defenders!” on the cover.

My memory must be going……

Hi! Very nice site! Thanks you very much! WE6FXkNp293qRA

Water finds it own level every time. Conceptually this article (Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #70) is sound and I agree whole heartedly. I personally think it relates to CAD as well, IMHO.


November 10, 2008 at 9:10 pm

>>> I’m pretty sure Sabretooth did appear in an issue of Spectacular Spider-Man between his Iron Fist debut and his first Uncanny appearance, if that means anything.

It was #116, in which Sabretooth fought against the Black Cat, and later Spider-Man. He was basically acting as a sort of freelance assassin at the time.

It was also shortly after Spider-Man had Dr. Strange remove the “curse” on him, only to discover it was actually a side-effect of the Black Cat’s bad luck power… and that by “uncursing” Peter, Strange also cancelled out the Black Cat’s powers. So she was powerless for the first time in a while, forced to fight against a psychotic killer, and became incredibly pissed at Peter for basically making her lose her powers.

Way back in the last days of the Platinum Age, there was an New Adventure Comics (#26, May 1938) that had the police characters from Siegel & Shuster’s “Radio Squad” from More Fun turn up in a “Federal Men” strip (also by S&S).

Seems like the first comics crossover to me!

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