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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #84

This is the eighty-fourth 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 eighty-three. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC produced in-continuity Superman comics specifically for Germany.

STATUS: True

As everyone knows, the Germans loves David Hasselhoff. What you might NOT know is that Germans also love Superman, or at least they did in the 1980s.

In fact, the demand for Superman material was so great that, in the early 80s, DC struck a deal with Ehapa (the company that they licensed Superman reprints to in Germany) to produce NEW Superman material just for Germany.

However, unlike other companies who did such deals, rather than just letting Ehapa get their own artists and writers to do the comics, DC produced the comics themselves.

If you are at all familiar with how Julie Schwartz worked as the Superman editor, he was a big fan of having multiple writers work on Superman, so therefore, it was fairly simple to find writers who would do the extra works, which were directly tied to stories going on in the Superman stories of the time.

Here are examples of the Superman Albums that these works appeared in.

superman-album2.jpg

superman-album.jpg

Some of the comics were later reprinted in Action Comics and Superman (Action Comics #547, for example:

97_4_000000547.jpg)

However, when Superman was revamped after Crisis, suddenly these stories did not fit into continuity, so most of them were never reprinted in America.

So see, die-hard Superman fans? There are some stories for you to seek out!! You just need to learn some German…hehe.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Chris Claremont intended to return Colossue from the dead, but was halted by editorial.

STATUS: False

Reader yo go re asks, “Is it true Chris Claremont wanted to bring Colossus back to life (possibly in the pages of X-Treme X-Men), but was turned down? If so, what were his plans to do it?”

While Chris Claremont did not have any plans to resurrect Colossus, this struck me as interesting because it may be confused with a resurrection Claremont WAS planning that DID, in fact, get struck down by editorial.

In the second issue of X-Treme X-Men, the big bad guy, Vargas, shows up and is beating up Beast pretty severely (leading to Beast having his secondary mutation jump-started by Sage, leading to the Cat-Beast we have today).

10197_4_002.jpg

Psylocke leaps to his defense, but is killed by Vargas.

10197_4_003.jpg

Claremont’s intent was to bring back Psylocke in a future X-Treme X-Men story, with the idea being that her return could eliminate a lot of the baggage that Psylocke had accumulated over the past decade or so (mostly the Crimson Dawn stuff).

However, when Claremont killed her off, there was something he was not planning for – an overall editorial edict!

Editor in Chief Joe Quesada instituted that year (2001) a “Dead is dead” rule for Marvel Comics, stating that characters wouldn’t be resurrected.

This led to Claremont, in 2002, saying the following about Psylocke:

Vargas killed her. There were no convenient miracles available to save her. Sometimes, even in comics, it happens. If not for a change in editorial policy, Jean Grey would be dead today — and I suspect, the series as a whole that much the better for it. Because it would have established the potential for jeopardy for all the characters, not simply the ‘red shirts.’ I’m truly sorry for your loss. I miss her too. (More so, because I created her.) But she’s gone.

Then a funny thing happened…a new writer, Joss Whedon, began to write the X-Men, and he had a big idea involving the resurrection of the character Colossus.

This story occurred in late 2004.

11653_4_005.jpg

With “Dead is dead” no longer the rule of the day, Claremont was now free to finish his story as he originally wanted, and later the next year, we saw the return of Psylocke.

2605_4_0455.jpg

Currently, Psylocke is set to become a member of the Exiles when Claremont takes over that book next issue.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Ghost Rider was originally intended to have no ties to the supernatural.

STATUS: True

As hard as it is to believe, when the character of Ghost Rider was originally conceptualized, it was NOT as a supernatural demon with a blazing skull!!

Roy Thomas had created a villain in the pages of Daredevil called the Stunt-Master.

1636_4_0058.jpg

The character was a moderate success (if not the greatest character, mainly just literally a dude in a bike and that was it), returning a couple of times.

1636_4_0064.jpg

When writer Gary Friedrich took over the title, he pitched Roy Thomas on the idea of a new motorcycle-riding character called Ghost Rider.

This was very similar in nature to a character Friedirch had just created the previous year for Skywald Publications called Hell-Rider.

2011_4_1.jpg

The character as Ghost Rider was approved by Stan Lee and all set to give its debut, but somewhere in the development (and here is where it gets murky, as no one seems to know for sure who did what, and if someone could give me some verified info here, that’d be neat – maybe a separate installment itself!), the character developed into a supernatural character, and then, finally, the blazing skull was added, and we got…

1992_4_05.jpg

And everyone lived happily ever after!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!

70 Comments

Right on with the NOW super hero!

Interestingly enough, Morrison wanted to revive Colossus during his run on X-Men (very early on, IIRC–it’s in the extra materials at the back of the ‘E is for Extinction’ TPB), but was stopped by the “Dead is Dead” rule.

Personally, I think the rule shouldn’t be against capricious resurrections, but against capricious killings. They wouldn’t have had to resurrect Hal Jordan if he hadn’t been mishandled for about ten years prior to that. :)

John, I agree with you completely. If you want to eliminate silly resurrections, eliminate silly deaths. It’s become a convenient shorthand for writers to add a false sense of gravitas to their story arcs.

Hal Jordan is arguably the absolute worst example of this. The core concept of the character allows for quick and easy replacement, if you want a new editorial direction. All he has to do is give the ring to someone else and walk away. Why the senseless death?

Frankly, I think the subsequent storylines would have been a lot better with Hal around functioning as a mentor to Kyle. And since there would have been the possibility that he would take the ring (or a ring) again, more people would have been willing to give Kyle a read.

SanctumSanctorumComix

January 5, 2007 at 8:45 am

As for the Supernatural aspect of Ghost Rider, after reading interviews with Michael Ploog & Roy Thomas in ALTER EGO # 62, it seems to be that after the original concept for “Ghost Rider” to be a DD villain, and get his OWN title (due to the strength of the NAME “Ghost Rider”) Mike Ploog did some costume designs and along the way he did one with a flaming skull for a head.

Thomas asked why he had done that and Ploog replied that “it just looked better that way”.

SO, while they don’t come right out and SAY how or why he eventually became a supernatural character, it’s not hard to see the leap in the process wherein they saw the dynamic visual and tweaked the nature of the character.

~P~
P-TOR

I think you have a typo Brian…you say that the German Superman stuff hails from the late ’80s and yet for Julie Schwartz to be editing it and for it to be pre -crisis it has to be from the EARLY ’80s (also the reprinted Planeteer story is from ’83!)

Don’t forget that Marvel, from their Western comics of the fifties and sixties, already owned a character called Ghost Rider. He wasn’t a supernatural character, either–he was a cowboy hero who masqueraded as a ghost, dressed in a phosphorescent outfit.

I wonder what impact, if any, the existence of this (admittedly obscure) character had on the decision-making process at the time.

(Of course, the cowboy Ghost Rider has now been revamped, retconned, renamed Night Rider and–yes!–given a supernatural origin. What goes around comes around… and around… and around…)

That Hell-Rider cover is priceless, by the way; a painting that looks like it belongs on the side of a modified van, pseudo-lesbian titillation, a villain whose look prefigures Cobra Commander, “heroin-spawned terror” and a bare-chested, Hasselhoffian “hero” who lights his enemies on fire before running them over with his boss chopper–it’s like a mash-up of every 70s B&W comics magazine EVER.

SanctumSanctorumComix

January 5, 2007 at 9:18 am

Ghost Rider (the western character) was originally published/owned by MAGAZINE ENTERPRISES (Vin Sullivan publisher) with Gardner Fox writing and Dick Ayers on art.

Marvel bought the rights long afterwards, and incorporated him into their universe.

Oddly enough, Ploog first thought he’d be working on a WESTERN Ghost Rider, and was surprised when they said he would be as motorcycle rider.

~P~
P-TOR

“Then a funny thing happened…a new writer, Joss Whedon, began to write the X-Men, and he had a big idea involving the resurrection of the character Colossus.”

Actually, I’m fairly sure (though I don’t recall a specific source) that Whedon has said he as *asked* to bring back Colossus. Which makes earlier refusals to let writers bring him back to life funny in a sad way. (Of course, Piotr was killed *right* before the Morrison run, so bringing him back then would admittedly have been worse.)

Not only does Hell Rider light his enemies on fire, but his flame thrower is connected to his motorcycle. Um, isn’t that extremely dangerous? If the flame acccelerant somehow leaks into the engine, wouldn’t the bike (and rider, er, Rider) go up in a fireball?

There’s also something “off” on that artist’s rendition of Hell Rider. It looks like the left arm is more developed and muscular than the right, to the point that it’s distracting.

Can we stop the urban legend that germans love David Hasselhoff?

Did Stunt-Master catch DD taking a crap in an alleyway while having a quick smoke?

Can we stop the urban legend that anyone loves David Hasselhoff?

Can we stop the urban legend that germans love David Hasselhoff?

Not a chance! :)

Not only is Hell-Rider wildly misproportioned (TINY HEAD, TINY HEAD!), but wouldn’t his flamethrower blow back on him as he drove around with it?

Those bad guys look like the villains from G-Force.

Wow, I remember when Stuntmaster turned up in Busiek and Perez’s Avengers. He tried to break through a force field by ramming his motorcycle into it. It didn’t end well.

That Superman Red/Superman Blue album was also published in France (in July 1982), I remember buying it, but I thought it was translated from US comics.
http://www.comicsvf.com/scans/vf/sagedition/collectionsupermanetbatman/lepopeedesupermanrougeetsupermanbleu.jpg

By the way, I also remember buying a pocket sized album of Superman in German, drawn by Keith Giffen at the top of his form. I think there was the skull-faced Brainiac. I’ve never found the corresponding US comic.
Anyone know if it was one of those original works for Germany?

“Actually, I’m fairly sure (though I don’t recall a specific source) that Whedon has said he as *asked* to bring back Colossus.”

I read this as well. And like you, I can’t provide a source. It was an interview somewhere…Newsarama or Wizard, perhaps?

Here’s an urban legend I heard: Conde Nast(the owners of The Shadow copyright) made DC Comics publish The Shadow Strikes!(a series faithful to the original pulps) because they were unhappy with Howard Chaykin’s Shadow updating and threatened to pull the license if DC didn’t comply.

I heard this from an eBay seller. My scant research follows: After the pulps ended in 1949, the Shadow license lay dormant(publishing-wise) until 1964, when Archie turned the Shadow into a gaudy-costumed superhero. The less said, the better. DC began a faithful Shadow series in 1973 and even incorporated him into the DC universe in Batman #253. The series died in 1975. In 1986, Howard Chaykin wrote and illustrated a 4-issue miniseries that brought the Shadow into the present. I can see Conde Nast taking offense, since many of the Shadow’s original agents were brutally killed early on and the Shadow was shown gleefully killing his enemies. A series by Andrew Helfer followed, but the quality of the art outweighed the writing. The series ended with issue 19, in which the Shadow became a cyborg. Eight months later, The Shadow Strikes! launched, written by Gerard Jones. It was set in the 1930s and was much more faithful to the original stories. It lasted 31 issues and was canceled in 1992. The license went to Dark Horse just in time for the 1994 film.

So what’s the story on Morrison’s plan for Colossus? I don’t forsee buying “E for Extinction” in trade form any time soon…

Well, the Shadow brutally killing his enemies isn’t particularly ‘off’ for the character. The pulp Shadow was a really trigger-happy sort and his stories were heavy on the gunplay. Though he was never quite as violent as the Spider, who would brand his victims’ corpses with his symbol.

I can see Conde Nast getting cranky about the cyborg thing, though.

Ulf, Bully… don’t Hassle the Hoff.

Here’s the deal about Ghost Rider becoming a hero, from the mouth of Roy Thomas (though open to debate, if you believe Gary Friedrich’s rebuttals in various places), pulled from the just-released GHOST RIDER VISUAL GUIDE:

“I had inherited the scripting of Daredevil from Stan Lee, and for that series had created a motorcycle riding villain called the Stuntmaster. Soon afterward, Gary, who was on staff as an assistant editor, took over Daredevil because I was busy with my duties as associate editor and with other scripting. Gary soon decided it was time for Ol’ Hornhead to face a heller on wheels, but he didn’t particularly care for the Stuntmaster, either. instead, he came to me one day in the office and said he’d like to make up a new villan on a motorcycle — and call him the Ghost Rider!

I thought about it for a minute, and then responded, “I don’t think you should do that.”

Gary looked at me like I was crazy. Didn’t I recognize a good idea when I heard one?

My next line was: “I think that’s too good an idea to waste on a villain. We should make him a hero.”

Gary smiled. Maybe I wasn’t as loony as I looked.

Stan liked the idea so much, when we told him about it, that he immediately okayed the concept of starring this Ghost Rider in a mag all by himself. I’ve no memory of whether that had been in Gary’s mind or in mine, or if we were just checking to make sure it was okay to make up a villainous Ghost Rider. At this point, I don’t think we had much of anything but the name and mode of transportation. At any rate, Ghost Rider metamorphosed almost at once into a truly supernatural Super Hero.

“3.Bryan Long said …

Hal Jordan is arguably the absolute worst example of this. The core concept of the character allows for quick and easy replacement, if you want a new editorial direction. All he has to do is give the ring to someone else and walk away. Why the senseless death?

Frankly, I think the subsequent storylines would have been a lot better with Hal around functioning as a mentor to Kyle. And since there would have been the possibility that he would take the ring (or a ring) again, more people would have been willing to give Kyle a read. ”

Brian, Emerald Twilight did not end with Hal’s death, he didn’t die for another few years in a heroic sacrifice in Final Night.

And sales went UP after Kyle took over.

(A message from REHEAT – Return Evil Hal’s Entertaining Alterego Today)

As I understand it, Conde Nast didn’t pay much attention to the “updated” Shadow UNTIL the cyborg thing… then they yelled at DC to be “more faithful” to the pulps. (Ironically, one of the pieces of merchandizing tied into the Shadow movie was an “action figure” that was virtually identical to the “cyborg Shadow” of the comics!)

The Superman Red/Blue title was printed in graphic novel size and had a $1.95 cover price in the US.

I have a copy, that’s why i know…

That HELL-RIDER cover is a priceless piece of 70’s goofball pulp. Thank you.

A message from REHEAT – Return Evil Hal’s Entertaining Alterego Today

“Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

–yo
founder of Barry’s Official Scarlet Saviours

The original western Ghost Rider wasn’t bought from Magazine Enterprises, it was stolen. That’s how Roy Thomas tells it in an issue of Alter Ego. ME had gone bust and Marvel understood the character to be up for grabs because there would be no one to contest them.

And as for the urban legend that Germans love David Hasselhoff, that’s because “I’ve been looking for freedom” made #1 in the German Top 40 charts. That doesn’t mean they like Hasselhoff, because, in truth, the ammount of one-hit wonders to hit #1 in Germany is large.

” “Actually, I’m fairly sure (though I don’t recall a specific source) that Whedon has said he as *asked* to bring back Colossus.”

I read this as well. And like you, I can’t provide a source. It was an interview somewhere…Newsarama or Wizard, perhaps? ”
*********************

A little search turns up this comment from JW:
“And when they asked me to bring Colossus back, there I had Kitty and her first love. It was actually terribly romantic, to me anyway. I think I care way too much about these characters. ”

From
http://www.time.com/time/arts/printout/0,8816,1109313,00.html

So unless he was misquoted, it sounds like editorial wanted Colossus back?

But elsewhere Joe Q makes it sounds like the idea was Joss':
NRAMA: …Going with the X-Men first and Colossus… dead is dead? Wasn’t Colossus your original example four years back as a character who was going to stay dead, because it made sense, story-wise?
JQ: Absolutely, I believe the term was “significant death.” I also said that in order to bring a character like that back, who has suffered a significant death, the writer has to come up with the best resurrection story ever. What, do you think Joss is the first person to pitch me the return of Colossus? Come on now, let’s be real. However, he pitched me a resurrection story that I couldn’t say no to and that’s the point of “dead is dead.”

First and foremost, it makes our creators think before they just off a character and secondly it makes them think even harder if they want to bring them back. Who benefits from that? The reader does because they get better stories because of it. Also, because of the “dead is dead” policy, things like Colossus’ return, if done correctly, are incredible surprises, something that is completely missing in the world of comics.

From http://www.newsarama.com/pages/Marvel/JoeQ4Years.htm

“Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

REHEAT central:
http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?t=158177

In post #19, “Crooow” brought up the Conde Nast/Shadow/DC situation. It has already been discussed here, on the board for CBUL #71, beginning with post #12. The problem with your scenario is that in “…Strikes!”‘s letter column, the editor repeatedly promised his readers, who kept asking about it, that a special would finish off the Helfer/Baker ongoing continuation of the Chaykin mini that had been abruptly cancelled (I think DC had announced such a plan even before “…Strikes!” #1 was out, but am wide open to correction there). That just doesn’t jibe with threats by CN to pull the license causing the cancellation in the first place.

So what’s the story on Morrison’s plan for Colossus? I don’t forsee buying “E for Extinction” in trade form any time soon…

From what I understand, Morrison basically substituted Emma (with her crystalline secondary mutation) for Colossus. Obviously, the storylines must have evolved since the initial ideas were formulated, I don’t think he had a Cyclops/Colossus romance planned…

Yeah, Morrison wanting Colossus was just an initial thing and I don’t think he was too broken up about the switch to Emma.

Here’s the deal about Ghost Rider becoming a hero, from the mouth of Roy Thomas (though open to debate, if you believe Gary Friedrich’s rebuttals in various places), pulled from the just-released GHOST RIDER VISUAL GUIDE:

Yeah, thanks, Chris.

I’ve seen stuff like that, but with Friedrich basically competely denying all that stuff, I’m a bit iffy on it (not saying that Friedrich is RIGHT, just that his take of the situation is a fairly important one).

Thank you for sharing the quotes, though. It’s important to share quotes.

I think you have a typo Brian…you say that the German Superman stuff hails from the late ’80s and yet for Julie Schwartz to be editing it and for it to be pre -crisis it has to be from the EARLY ’80s (also the reprinted Planeteer story is from ‘83!)

Yep, thanks, Graeme! Fixed it!

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

Not great, but an interesting interview with Gary Friedrich. Something tells me he doesn’t have high hopes for the Ghost Rider movie.

In the “E for Extnction” tpb they published the “Morrison Manifesto”; this was basically Grant’s initial proposal for his entire run. In a few paragraphs he precisely pins down what makes the X-Men great and where certain iterations of the concept went wrong. I would recommend tracking it down to any X-fan.

However, he doesn’t intend to resurrect Collosus. He states in his proposal that he wishes to use Collosus and Moira MacTaggart. The editors margin notes indicate this is impossible as both characters were recently killed. Emma Frost does not replace Collosus, she was always there. Moira MacTaggart is replaced by the Beast.

It’s funny, I have never read the Manifesto, which is silly, as I’m obviously a big Morrison fan, and I loved his X-Men.

The fact that he had MacTaggart in the Beast role is quite interesting, as it explains perfectly why he first passed on Beast, allowing Claremont to use him, then abruptly changing his mind and taking him back from Claremont’s team.

Does anybody know about this Keith Giffen European Superman story mentioned above. I am a huge fan of Keith’s and would love to know the specifics.

There was a post-crisis in-continuity Superman album (1990), which was published in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Niels Sondergaard wrote and Teddy Kristiansen drew it. They’re from Denmark.

Superman and Lois Lane visited all the capitals of the five countries.

I liked the weird Shadow series Helfer(?)and Baker. It was such a bizarre take on the character and you never knew what was going to happen with the story.
The Shadow became a cyborg when he had his head cut off the previous issue. Name another comic where the lead character had his head cut off.
Too bad the Shadow Special that was promished to finished the storyline never materialized. Was it ever finished?

A little search turns up this comment from JW

So unless he was misquoted, it sounds like editorial wanted Colossus back?

But elsewhere Joe Q makes it sounds like the idea was Joss’s

Reading both of those back-to-back, it sounds like Quesada went to Joss and said “pitch me a story to bring Colossus back,” and Joss came up with one good enough to use, in which case both their stories check out.

Though I still think “secondary mutations” are lazy…

A series by Andrew Helfer followed, but the quality of the art outweighed the writing.

That is so not true. The art was great in Hefler’s Shadow, but the writing was fantastic too – and far better than the Chaykin miniseries it followed

It looks like someone tweaked my attempt at putting quoted text in a word balloon so it actually works. Could anyone tell me how you’re supposed to do those quotes?

Ta

Dan

Hell-Rider lasted only two issues (I have the second issue.) It was as cheese-tastic as you can imagine. If I recall, Hell-Rider’s civilian name was Brick Reese. It was also pretty racy for it’s time (not Comics Code approved, and in a larger, magazine-style format.)

Jon Vinson: “I liked the weird Shadow series Helfer(?) and Baker [did]….Was it ever finished?”

Andy Helfer was indeed the writer on that, and no, DC never wrapped it up.

May I ask a question about a Marvel version of the Shadow? They put out a graphic novel (back when the dimensions were those of an album rather than of a book) in hardback—I think—and then reprinted it in paperback. It was by Denny O’Neil and Mike Kaluta, who had previously teamed on a regular comic version for DC. The paperback was all I’ve ever seen—hence my doubts about the other—but every copy, three or four, were incomplete: the panel across the bottom of the “last” page is obviously setting up the next scene! As I found the one I bought in a bargain bin for an incredibly cheap price, I first thought it was there because it was faulty, but I subsequently found other copies in various shops that “ended” exactly the same way. The GCD has absolutely nothing about any such publications. Does anybody know just what the hell happened here, and if the hardback, assuming it exists, is complete?

I have definately seen the hardcover version of the Shadow graphic novel by Marvel, but I don’t know how complete it is.

I’ve got the hardcover (It’s called Hitler’s Astrologist somewhere in the smallprint IIRC).

I’ll check it out tonight

DanCJ:

Looking forward to reading your findings. Thanks in advance. “Hitler’s Astrologist” eh? I’ll try that in the GCD’s search engine….No, no luck that way, either. Didn’t really expect any, of course, but no harm in trying.

I got it a bit wrong – It’s Hitler’s Astrologer (come to think of it I don’t think Astologist is a real word).

I see what you mean. The last panel in the book just has the caption “NEW YORK CITY; V.E. DAY, 1945.” and doesn’t seem to relate to anything else. I just checked Google and found someone else asking about it here http://www.comicscommunity.com/boards/dennyoneil/?frames=n;read=1761&expand=1

Re: the Helfer/Baker Shadow…I always heard (so it would be great if Brian could examine it one Friday) that Conde Nast objected to ‘updating’ it to the 1980s and the dark, satirical tone. Which is a shame as I loved that series– it was risky and dangerous and funny in ways that I think probably overstepped the mark for a licensed character, but it made great comics. The cyborg Shadow was part of an ongoing storyline that was actually quite interesting and I was disappointed it was never wrapped up.

My hardback copy of Hitler’s Astrologer also seems to have a missing page…that’s also something worth investigating for this column. Hey Brian, how about an ‘all Shadow’ column– add Jerry Siegel’s awful Archie version from the 60s and you’re good to go!

I remember hearing Marv Wolfman say at a convention in the ’80s that a big chunk of DC’s business came from foreign sales and that books like Sugar and Spike were still going strong there even though they hadn’t been published in North America in years. More recently, I remember someone (maybe it was Paul Levitz) say that a large amount of their market was actually Germany. Then there are characters like the Super Jrs (kind of like a Muppet Babies version of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman only it actually pre-dates Muppet Babies) which are so obscure I can’t even find a reference to them online, but I know from European friends that this was a popular DC-licensed series in the ’70s (or at least popular enough to get their attention).

I’ve always gotten a sense that one of the main reasons DC has been able to do comics for such a tiny market as the direct market world became over the past 25 years is that the profit from sales in foreign, non-English speaking markets is actually quite stronger than we realize. (And DC may be the only publisher outside of Disney to really benefit from this) It’s one of the largely untold stories about DC.

Thanks about the Marvel/Shadow graphic novel guys. Glad to know I’m not imagining it (like I apparently was with the last page of Warlord #2) or didn’t just misread it. Not even sure which would have been worse. But, again, thanks guys (or gals, as the case may be; pardon my sexism!).

Forgot to say that I wondered about the word “Astrologist,” but didn’t doubt it as it seemed a plausible error to make, in the event that it wasn’t an obscure but officially acceptable alternative to astrologer. So don’t kick yourself, DanCJ. And it doesn’t turn up anything in the GCD, either.

Wow. I read part of that Hell-Rider comic somewhere online, and it was terrible – the “OMG we’re adult!” attitude of the 90s, filtered through the style of the 70s.

“Obviously, the storylines must have evolved since the initial ideas were formulated, I don’t think he had a Cyclops/Colossus romance planned…”

I dunno, I wouldn’t put it past him.

Steve Englehart claims co-creator credit for Ghost Rider. A fan-boy at the time, it was one of his earliest times of contributing to Marvel.

His story goes that Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog and Roy Thomas were in the Bullpen’s one office (it had been Stan’s). They were trying to make the new character work, but there were problems. Steve was either called in for a fresh perspective or wandered in on his own, and joined the discussion. They ran things up, down, and backwards, and he was able to contribute – which is why, since he was still new, he saw it more as a fan-boy’s dream date than anything else. Steve suggests that whilst the events happened like this, he can’t swear that it was Gary and Mike and Roy in the room. Mike’s the dimmest in his mind, and it could have been Stan instead of Roy, though he doesn’t think so.

Brian:

You indicate that nobody seems to remember just how Ghost Rider became supernatural. This is pure speculation, I admit, but I’ll bet you’ll agree that it makes a lot of sense: As the visual look of the character was being developed, an artist drew him wearing a helmet that was “painted” to look like a skull, and that appearance put a whole new slant on the concept. Ask those who are still around and it may spark memories. At worst, they’ll say, “No, that’s not how it happened.” Worth a try, though, you think?

“Name another comic where the lead character had his head cut off.”

I can.

Not that anybody remembers or read it, but in the 1996 series MICKEY SPILLANE’S MIKE DANGER from Tekno*Comix, writer Max Collins had the hero’s head cut off and plugged into a computer. An issue or so later, it was grafted onto a cloned body.

Why do I remember? Well, I edited that series.

Christopher Mills:

WOW! I liked that series, but it suddenly became virtually impossible to find, at least in Dallas. When visiting a comic shop somewhere else, there it was, still being published. Surprised me. It DID change publishers—or at least imprints—when he got back to his own time and it became a more or less “normal” private eye series, shortly before it seemed to disappear. But anyway, I liked it. My compliments on the work.

“It DID change publishers—or at least imprints—when he got back to his own time and it became a more or less “normal” private eye series, shortly before it seemed to disappear.’

Yeah, the company changed their name after a year and a half or so, “re-launching” all the titles mid-stream with new #1’s. It was the sort of thing that desperate companies did in the 90’s to artificially generate interest and hopefully inflate sales.

It was stupid. But then, the powers-that-were were basically idiots anyway, and never listened to us lowly editorial types.

Glad you enjoyed the series. Of all the Tekno/Big Entertainment titles, I think it was arguably the most consistent, quality-wise. We all worked extra-hard on that one.

“Name another comic where the lead character had his head cut off.”

Was it the first or the second issue of the revival of “The Question” where he was just flat out killed?

The links for #85 all lead back to #84, as of 9 am Central, Saturday the 20th

Dave

Here in the U.S., Super Juniors were a set of four vinyl toys in the shape of a baby Superman, baby Batman, baby Wonder Woman and baby Robin. I have owned Batman and Robin at different times and I wish I still had them for my toddler today. There were adorable, standing maybe 6″ high, with cute, childlike faces and bodies but wearing fairly accurate costumes of their adult counterparts. These items came out around 1979 or so and you can still see them today in the ads in comics from that time (look for Mego ads). I have also seen the Super Jrs advertized in some of those 1970s ads as being ‘plush’, but I have never seen these fabric versions in person.

There was also one issue of those square little DC Digest books featuring the Super Jrs in a Christmas story complete with Santa Claus — it was OK (not as cute as the X-Babies if you ask me!). It came out around 1981 or so. English language. Bought it right at the grocery store back in the day. Never saw them appear again.

I thought these were some sort of licensing experiment that went nowhere and I never heard of the European versions of these things until now. Now I’ve got something else to collect and translate!

Ghost Rider Maniac

January 29, 2007 at 4:26 pm

I’m so excited with the new Ghost Rider movie that’s comming out. I’ve always been a fan of the Ghost Rider comic. Have you guys ever checked out GhostRiderWasHere.com? I just can’t wait to see the movie!

Ghost Rider supernatural origin

February 20, 2007 at 7:29 am

Despite some contrary claims by Thomas, Ploog and apparently Englehart, the truth is that Gary Friedrich created the tormented antihero complete with motorcycle, leather garb, flaming skull and the “jusifiable” pact with the devil, etc. two years before he took the prepackaged hero to Marvel and cut a deal for them to go with it.

The colossus thing is weird. Claremont wasn’t allowed to resurrect Psylocke because of the rule, but the rule was used primarily to shield the end of GM’s NXM run, but he wasn’t allowe to use two recently dead characters. But then, after he’d gone the character returns and ead is dead no longer applies. It’s like a circle of madness.

Been looking myself into the Superman story, and I found 12 German Ehapa-publishing albums, which were also printed in Dutch. Research gave me this:

German Ehapa Album # 1 (1982) ==> US: Superman Spectacular #1 (1982)
German Ehapa Album # 2 (1982) ==> US: Superman # 387 (1983) & Action Comics # 547 (1983)
German Ehapa Album # 3 (1982) ==> US: Action Comics # 548 (1983) & Action Comics # 549 (1983)
German Ehapa Album # 4 (1982) ==> US: Superman Special # 1 (1983)
German Ehapa Album # 5 (1983) ==> US: Superman Special # 2 (1984)
German Ehapa Album # 6 (1983) ==> US: unknown
German Ehapa Album # 7 (1983) ==> US: unknown
German Ehapa Album # 8 (1983) ==> US: unknown
German Ehapa Album # 9 (1984) ==> US: unknown
German Ehapa Album # 10 (1984) ==> US: unknown
German Ehapa Album # 11 (1985) ==> US: unknown
German Ehapa Album # 12 (1985) ==> US: Superman Special # 3 (1985)

For a cover-overview see my page: http://www.superman-comics.nl/e/eaf.htm

“Don’t forget that Marvel, from their Western comics of the fifties and sixties, already owned a character called Ghost Rider.”

You know until I read that I hadn’t made any connection between the original ‘ghost rider on horseback’ in the movie and the comic book character of the same name…

Here in the U.S., Super Juniors were a set of four vinyl toys in the shape of a baby Superman, baby Batman, baby Wonder Woman and baby Robin. I have owned Batman and Robin at different times and I wish I still had them for my toddler today. There were adorable, standing maybe 6? high, with cute, childlike faces and bodies but wearing fairly accurate costumes of their adult counterparts. These items came out around 1979 or so and you can still see them today in the ads in comics from that time (look for Mego ads). I have also seen the Super Jrs advertized in some of those 1970s ads as being ‘plush’, but I have never seen these fabric versions in person.

There was also one issue of those square little DC Digest books featuring the Super Jrs in a Christmas story complete with Santa Claus — it was OK (not as cute as the X-Babies if you ask me!). It came out around 1981 or so. English language. Bought it right at the grocery store back in the day. Never saw them appear again.

I thought these were some sort of licensing experiment that went nowhere and I never heard of the European versions of these things until now. Now I’ve got something else to collect and translate!”

So that’s where the “Superman Jr.” raincoat I had as a kid around that time came from! You’re blowing my mind, dude! (Several years after you posted your comment, but nonetheless!)

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