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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #86

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

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Mark Waid took his name off an issue of Captain America because editorial changed his story after approving Waid’s script.

STATUS: True

Mark Waid’s run on Captain America right before Heroes Reborn was a highly critically-acclaimed hit, so it was great news when it was announced that he would be writing Captain America again following Heroes Reborn.

However, Waid’s second run on Captain America hit a bit of a snag with issue #14, which was an issue spotlighting Red Skull (who was seemingly killed in Waid’s first Captain America arc). The controversy actually resulted in Waid requesting that his name be removed from the issue, which Marvel acquiesced to on the interior, but actually failed to do on the cover of the issue!

6023_4_014.jpg

Waid explained the situation in a message on AOL’s message boards (thanks to John C. Baker for transcribing the message):

Subject: Message from Mark Waid
Date: Wed, Dec 23, 1998 14:58
From: M Waid
Message-id: <19981223175811.08163.00000912@ng111.aol.com>
I really, REALLY didn’t want to have to get into this here, but I’m tired of dealing with e-mail after e-mail, so here’s a blanket answer to the question, “Why isn’t your name in CAPTAIN AMERICA #14?”

Despite what the error of having my name on the cover might imply, the contents of CAPTAIN AMERICA #14 aren’t my work. The majority of the image descriptions and many of the early captions are my writing, but weeks after my story received approval from Marvel’s editor-in-chief, and after the book was subsequently lettered, colored, read and approved by several editors, separated, and made ready to print, that same EIC decided, as within his rights yet despite previous approvals, to have the story completely altered and substantially rewritten, dropping entire sequences and pages and assigning several other pages to staffers to redialogue from scratch. As a result, what was printed isn’t even close to the story I set out to tell, nor was I asked for input in any of the alterations made.

It is absolutely within Marvel’s editorial right to make any and all changes to Work For Hire as they see fit, and I in NO WAY challenge that right. They buy it, it’s theirs to do with as they wish, with or without my input. It’s upsetting and warrants the removal of my name only when
Marvel’s editors renege on prior approvals without warning and do so while delivering to me a lecture (as if I’d done Marvel an injustice by writing an APPROVED STORY) instead of even the vaguest hint of an apology or regret. To leave my name on a story no longer mine cheats the readers and cheats me, hence my insistence at distancing myself from the final printed
version.

Waid was kind enough to actually share his original script with readers, which is very interesting, in how closely the book follows his script for the first ten or so pages, mostly changing things to eliminate references like “Japanese” and “Chinese” and replacing them with generic terms, but then the book starts skipping pages from the script, and just completely re-writing the story for a few pages, then re-connects with Waid’s original script in a way that just completely obliterates what Waid was attempting to do. I mean, a complete 180 from his original script.

It’s really quite fascinating, and I wish I could share more of the book with you, but I think I’m pushing it a bit with even these three pages (click on the page to enlarge the image)….

First, here is a page from early in the comic…

Captain America v3 014 (06)_001.jpg

And here is Waid’s original script page…

PAGE THREE

FULL PAGE. IN THE HOTEL LOBBY, SKULL SEES A BIG PICTURE OF SMILING CAPTAIN AMERICA TOPPED BY A BIG “WELCOME” SIGN OR BANNER.

1 BANNER: WILKOMEN CAPTAIN AMERICA

2 CAPTION: The amnesia of my existence is threatened only by the sickening thunder of red JACKBOOTS.

3 CAPTION: Far ABOVE me treads Germany’s LEADER.

4 CAPTION: The AMERICAN SOVEREIGN whose TWISTED LIBERALISM has OVERRUN the fatherland.

5 CAPTION: His preening smile conveys no less than a REPTILIAN COLDNESS to those who might RECOGNIZE his EVIL.

Note that the changes are not dramatic ones.

And, again, on the next page…
Captain America v3 014 (07)_001.jpg

Waid’s original script…

PAGE FOUR

FULL PAGE. THE CENTER OF DOWNTOWN BERLIN–BUT IT’S AWASH IN MULTICULTURAL INFLUENCES, TIMES SQUARE BY WAY OF BLADERUNNER. IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY THREE FEET, THE CULTURE CHANGES: SUSHI SIGNS, BILLBOARDS FEATURING RICH BLACK ATHLETES, ASIAN SUPERMODELS, A JEWISH STOREFRONT TEMPLE–EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, GERMANY’S BECOME A MELTING POT. AND THERE’S SKULL, SMALL IN THE MIDDLE OF IT AS HE WALKS UP THE STREET, LOOKING AROUND IN DISGUST.

1 CAPTION: There is no ESCAPE from his insidious sway even in the city streets.

2 CAPTION: ESPECIALLY in the city streets.

3 CAPTION: How FAR my proud homeland has FALLEN.

4 CAPTION: Once, we were the keepers of the TRUTH. That the ARYAN RACE is the MASTER race. That Nazism is a WHITE LIGHT BRIGHT and PURE enough to BURN AWAY the blacks and the yellows and the reds and the browns which darken the world.

5 CAPTION: Now the lie called DEMOCRACY has POLLUTED our virtue. Thanks to our LEADER, Germany has become INFESTED with strange CULTURES…inferior PEOPLE.

6 CAPTION: Don’t they REALIZE what RUIN they visit UPON us?

7 CAPTION: Of course not.

8 CAPTION: Look at them.

Note the changes – not GIGANTIC ones, but pretty clearly changing Waid’s tune a bit.

The next biggest change is when page eight of Waid’s script is eliminated entirely!

PAGE EIGHT

FULL PAGE. DAY. SKULL, HAVING BEEN HAULED OUT OF THE DUMPSTER, IS BEING HELD AND BEATEN BY THE CHINESE WHO OWN THE RESTAURANT WHICH OWNS THE DUMPSTER.

1 CAPTION: Always.

2 CAPTION: I awake to the fetid stench of the CHINESE or the JAPANESE or the AFRICANS…

2 CAPTION: …or WHICHEVER accursed minority has chosen to pretend it has any right to lay its HANDS upon one who would uphold the Nazi principles.

3 CAPTION: Animals.

Finally, Waid has a drawn out scene in his script designed to echo how Red Skull was discovered by Hitler and turned into the Red Skull. The parallel is that he refers to Captain America as he once did Hitler – he comes to Captain America as the bellhop the same way he came to Hitler as a bellhop.

Note that this is the entire point of Waid’s narrative – to show Skull reliving his first life, with Captain America in place of Hitler, so Skull can break free of this cycle by killing Captain America (his “leader” in this dream) instead of following him.

That’s the entire point.

Which is why, on page seventeen of Waid’s script, we have Skull the bellhop enter to his LEADER…

PAGE SEVENTEEN

FULL PAGE. SKULL, TIMID, ENTERS A POSH SUITE. HE’S PUSHING A ROOM-SERVICE CART. BIG ON CAPTAIN AMERICA AND HIS AMERICAN ADVISORS IN THE ROOM, STANDING AROUND, HAVING A STRATEGY POW-WOW. ANDY, I LEAVE THE ISSUE OF THEIR FACELESSNESS TO YOU AND MATT.

1 CAPTION: My only REFUGE is in dream made FLESH. My only HOPE…

2 CAPTION: …is that our leader will ACKNOWLEDGE me.

The actual comic book?


Captain America v3 014 (18)_001.jpg

The scene then plays out in the comic with Skull killing his enemy, which allows him to break free of his dream-like state, but Waid’s story makes SO much more sense, as he breaks free because he is able to not follow his LEADER, and for him to break free of the cycle of his own life (his leader makes him kill someone, here he manages to turn the table and kill his leader instead).

So, yeah, I really do not know why the changes were made.

Waid actually did not leave the book right after this change to his script. He stayed on the book for another eight or so issues.

Thanks to reader Evan Wiener for suggesting I do this one. I had totally forgotten about it.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marv Wolfman used a rejected Lex Luthor revamp on Vandal Savage, instead.

STATUS: True

In the early 1980s, the Superman writers were all given a chance to pitch revamps of Superman’s major villains, Brainiac and Lex Luthor.

Utlimately, the ideas chosen were Cary Bates idea for a new, more advanced armor for Lex Luthor to wear, and Marv Wolfman’s idea of turning Brainiac into an actual robot.

The revamps showed up for Superman’s 45th anniversary, in the pages of Action Comics #544.

97_4_000000544.jpg

However, Wolfman had made a pitch for BOTH characters. Wolfman explained the situation to Michael Eury in an interview for Eury’s recent (and excellent) book The Krypton Companion, where he detailed his original pitch for Lex’s revamp was to make Luthor into a ruthless corporate businessman, but that pitch was turned down, whether it was because it was “too cerebral,” or because editor Julie Schwartz didn’t want to have both revamps come from the same writer.

With his Luthor idea rejected, Wolfman retooled the idea, and used it for the villain, Vandal Savage, making his debut as the new corporate version, in Action Comics #542.

97_4_000000542.jpg

The idea, while kept with later writers who used Vandal Savage, didn’t exactly catch on big time.

And, of course, a few years later, there was the Man of Steel revamp, where Luthor was, indeed, turned into a ruthless businessman (and I am not going to touch “who came up with the idea to turn Luthor into a ruthless businessman for Man of Steel” with a ten-feet pole, thank you very much!).

Still, I wonder how things would have been different if the businessman angle had appeared earlier on.

Thanks to Graeme Burk for the correct issue of Action Comics featuring Savage.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Rob Liefeld drew the Chaos dimension sideways for no reason in an issue of Hawk and Dove.

STATUS: False

In an earlier installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, we learned the story of the time that Rob Liefeld drew a chaos dimension in an issue of Hawk and Dove sideways without the writer or editor asking him to, leading to the editor actually cutting and pasting the story so that it appeared right-side up, then sending the pasted pages to the inker (and co-writer) Karl Kesel to lightbox on to a piece of paper and then ink.

That much of the story is completely true.

Erik Larsen, however, pointed out that there was one piece of the story that he felt was inaccurate, and explained on the Image messageboards awhile back that Rob based his Chaos dimension on a Chaos dimension that he, Erik Larsen, had drawn a little while before the Hawk and Dove issue, in an issue of Doom Patrol.

Rob was following MY example. When I had drawn the Chaos Dimension in the Doom Patrol I had the pages go to a landscape format. Rob was just following what had been established. The problem was (I was told) that “Rob didn’t ask” and that “if he’d have asked it probably would have been okay.”

The issue Erik is referring to, incidentally, was Doom Patrol #14, which also happened to be the first appearance of Dorothy Spinner, which is neither here nor there, but I just found kinda interesting.

3353_4_014.jpg

Karl Kesel showed up in the comments section of the aforementioned Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed piece to concur with Larsen that yes, it was almost certain that that was, in fact, why Liefeld drew the Chaos dimension that way, pausing only to differ with Larsen’s contention that the Chaos Dimension in Hawk and Dove was the same one that appeared in that Doom Patrol issue, as Kesel states that Chaos Dimensions had appeared differently each time they showed up (as per the “chaos” aspect of the Chaos Dimension).

Well, that was a pretty interesting exchange, wasn’t it?

Okay, that’s it for this week!

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

44 Comments

Your timeline doesn’t quite jibe with the Marv Wolfman/Luthor revamp, partially because you’re using the wrong issues with Vandal Savage. The revamp of Luthor and Brainiac was in 1983; the issues with Vandal Savage you’re showing are from 1980, which was from the first time Wolfman used Vandal Savage.

The revamped corporately accepted Vandal Savage taken from the rejected Luthor pitch appeared (I think, the Grand Comics Database is down right now) in Action 542 (1983). It uses the backstory developed in issues 515 and 516– Vandal Savage changed history in that, and here he has also changed history to eliminate any past reference of his wrongdoing so he can be a corporate citizen even though Superman knows he’s lying.

I’m going to start asking for cool points if I keep correcting your Urban Legends… :)

how much do you tip a bellhop with a giant red skull for a face? 10%? 15%?

how much do you tip a bellhop with a giant red skull for a face? 10%? 15%?

1 punch in the face, according to the ‘Steve Rogers book of courtesy’.

Erik Larson ??!!

Isn’t that supposed to be Erik LarsEn ??

So, yeah, I really do not know why the changes were made.

Although I’ve never read the issue–or Mark Waid’s run on CA–the tone feels like the changes were made because someone at Marvel suddenly got paranoid that people might be offended at the Red Skull actually acting like a Nazi; combined with a little bit of fear about him acting like a Nazi AND referring to Captain America as his “leader.”

People are paranoid.

Brian, I have to disagree with you on the “bigness” of the changes to the first two pages. While the Skull remains an unreliable narrator, the tone is drastically changed, from a subtle, more human evil into a bombastic, blatant evil. The scene would be much more chilling, and thus much more effective, with the original dialogue.

The most striking change between Waid’s script and the revised one is that the Skull idenitfies himself as evil, instead of leaving that judgement up to the reader.

The Skull’s always been more of a “I am an virtuous warrior for my ideals” rather than a mustache-twisting, hand-wringing “I’m so evil” type of antagonist. It looks lie someone at editorial got scared at the last minute, realized that the entire issue was from Skull’s point of view, and ordered some ham-handed changes to make it clear that Skull=Evil (“See, even he knows it”).

I’d say that the most striking change was from good writing to bad writing. :)

Concerning the changes to Waid’s Captain America script:

Note that on the first page, Mark’s “twisted liberalism becomes “twisted ideals.” They just couldn’t allow ANY criticism of liberal thought, not even when coming from a deranged Nazi.

This ain’t a Liefeld bashing but just an observation. His strongest work usually came out early in his career, because of the strength of the talented inkers at his disposal. just look at that hawk and dove cover from that link. it looks pretty decent. of course, as artists gain some fame they grow an ego and leave little room for an inker to place his mark on a page. it’s just tracing the work afterwords. how bland.

Your timeline doesn’t quite jibe with the Marv Wolfman/Luthor revamp,

The revamps had been planned in advance, so Wolfman knew his revamp wasn’t used well before the revamps actually occured.

When you’re working with as many writers as Julie Schwartz was, it is a lot easier to plan out stories well in advance.

And yeah, the Larsen error was just idiotic on my part.

My apologies, Erik!

So that’s why that issue of Captain America was so terrible! I dropped the series with that issue.

“CAPTION: I awake to the fetid stench of the CHINESE or the JAPANESE or the AFRICANS…”

Actually, since the Japanese were part of the Axis (which indicates that Yahweh was in cahoots with the Kami pantheon including Hirohito), that second mention seems odd.

Another nice column. I just want to point out that Germans holding racist attitudes towards the Japanese wouldn’t be odd at all: Nazis and WWII Japanese both felt themselves racially superior, and the alliance made more sense in terms of similarity of national worldview and simple power than actual ideological compatibility. Remember that Nazism and national socialism was absolutely rabidly against Communism, yet Hitler allied with Stalin.

What’s amazing about the issue of Captain America in question is that it’s still a good issue even with the changes: Marvel wasn’t exactly very willing to experiment from a literary standpoint in those days, and this was an issue told entirely from the Red Skrull’s standpoint using splash pages. Yeah, Waid’s script was better than the printed version. But it’s a testament to Waid that even as edited as it was, it’s still a strong and memorable issue.

Ted wrote:

Note that on the first page, Mark’s “twisted liberalism becomes “twisted ideals.” They just couldn’t allow ANY criticism of liberal thought, not even when coming from a deranged Nazi.

I read that change completely differently — that they didn’t want to associate Captain America with liberalism, even if that association is from a fascist POV.

“(and I am not going to touch “who came up with the idea to turn Luthor into a ruthless businessman for Man of Steel” with a ten-feet pole, thank you very much!).”

Why not? I thought it was freely admitted by everyone concerned that it was Marv Wolfman’s idea.

Hey Jerky! Your mother was a tracer!

Did anyone notice the similarities between Vandal Savage and Maha Yogi/Merlin Demonspawn/Warlock?

1. Both have encountered Merlin (Savage in the second run of All-Star Comics)
2. Both have black beards
3. Both are primitive men who became immortal (MY is a Nordheimr Vanir from around 8,000 BCE, the end of the Hyborian Age)
4. Both have their own companies (the Maha Yogi had his in Hulk II#210-211 about 5-7 years before Vandal Savage had his own company)

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/merlinds.htm

Why not? I thought it was freely admitted by everyone concerned that it was Marv Wolfman’s idea.

From the FAQ section of John Byrne’s site:

[quote]JB: It went like this: Marv Wolfman was offered the Second Chair on the Superman relaunch, to write what was then going to be ACTION COMICS, with a new title to be created for the team-up book.

Marv called me to discuss something he had in mind for Luthor, a “fix” he had been working on in his head for several years. Before he would tell it to me, however, he had a couple of stipulations:

1) It must be all or nothing. Either I accept his proposal in its entirety, or I take nothing from it. He was very insistent on this point: he wanted my promise that I would use nothing from his proposal if I did not take all of it.

2) If I decided I did not like his version of Luthor, he would decline the Second Chair and we would have to find someone else to write ACTION.

I agreed to both these terms, since they seemed very fair, to me. Plus I always like it when all the cards are on the table up front. That’s how I play.

Then he told me his version of Luthor in exactly these words:

“Outside Metropolis, on a high mountain, in his palatial Xanadu-like estate, lives Lex Luthor, the world’s richest man, and his mistress, Lois Lane.” He paused, for dramatic effect, I suppose, then said “See, she’s drawn to power!”

It took me about 3 nanoseconds to say “No.” I said I liked the “world’s richest man” angle, but what he was proposing was more of a reboot of Lois than it was of Luthor, and I already knew who I wanted Lois to be — or, more exactly, what I wanted Lois to be: likeable ! And the Lois he presented was not my definition of “likeable”!

So I said “Thanks,” and suggested maybe there would be some project in the future that we might work on together, and I was about to say “Good-bye” when Marv said “Well, we don’t have to use that part!”

“But you said we have to use all of it,” I reminded him.

“Oh, no! If you don’t like the part with Lois, we don’t have to use it!”

Huh.

So I told him I would think about it, and over the next few days, after discussions with a number of people (including Roger Stern and Mark Gruenwald) who all heard the story as I have told it above, and who had suggestions on what I could do with Luthor as “the world’s richest man”, I decided that basic four-word seed was a good place to go with the character. Of course, since I saw Metropolis as New York (quite literally) I didn’t want any mountains poking up along side the city, so that went away, and I built the character as a cross between Donald Trump, Ted Turner, Howard Hughes and maybe Satan himself!

Later, when everything was launched, and ACTION COMICS had become the team-up book and Wolfman was writing ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (the title was my suggestion, to invoke both the George Reeves’ TV series and the old ADVENTURE COMICS home of Superboy), I found out that he was claiming sole credit for “creating” Luthor. I shrugged it off. It did not seem important enough to worry about.

Years later I found out Wolfman got paid a bonus for his “creation” of the new Luthor. Something that, somehow, no one at DC had thought necessary to tell me about.

After a most unsatisfactory first year of “collaboration” Wolfman’s contract was not renewed, and I took over writing ADVENTURES, with Jerry Ordway doing a fair bit of the plotting.
[/quote]

So while Marv Wolfman did come up with the idea of making Luthor a ruthless businessman, Byrne “built” the character.

Yeah, as Gokitalo mentions, Byrne denies the idea being Wolfman’s (which is not to say that he states that Wolfman didn’t come up with the idea as WELL, just that Byrne wasn’t working off of Wolfman’s idea when he came up with his idea).

And, really, it is way too contentious (and way too difficult to prove one way or the other) to get into.

Butbutbut…Brian:

1) the revamp of Vandal Savage you’re describing is nowhere to be found in those two issues you cite. In Action 515-516 Vandal Savage has changed history to become ruler of a dystopic world where Superman is his one-man goon squad.

2) I know there’s advanced planning and all, but 3 years doesn’t make sense.

3) Action 542 (1983) is the first appearance of the Luthor-like Vandal Savage as corporate tycoon whom the world doesn’t know of his misdeeds…which also jibes with the timing of the Luthor and Brainiac revamps.

Whatever source you’re clinging to I think got its issues wrong. The actual content doesn’t conform to your facts.

And yet…Byrne credits Wolfman for the ‘fix’ to Luthor in the 1988 Greatest Superman Stories of All Time hardcover. Go figure.

If the story was “read and approved by several editors” it’s odd that they left a couple of big mistakes.

The first and rather obvious one is that the German word for “welcome” (the only German word in the entire story?) is misspelled. It’s supposed to be “willkommen.”

The second one is perhaps more subtle, but there is no way that people would have put that particular mix of English and German on a banner in the 1940s. Whenever there was an obvious translation of a foreign name, that’s what people would automatically use. Or, alternatively, if the Germans felt it necessary to greet Caps with his native name, they would simply have translated everything and written “Welcome Captain America.” The tradition with localized names was very strong in Central and Northern Europe until about a generation ago, when it started to get more lax, and today it’s almost completely gone.

If you want to trace history backwards, you can compare this recent German comicbook cover

http://www.parnass.scram.de/neu_07_99/indus2_kleinrechts.jpg

to this one, presumably from the early 1970s, where they still used the German spelling of “America” but someone decided that the word “Captain” sounded cooler if it was in English. (It’s not a literal military rank, after all.)

http://www.meinesammlung.com/user-pics_300/david79/250106121536_AddUt.jpg

and I’m almost certain that in the 1940s anything but “Kapitän Amerika” would have been unthinkable.

Rob Steager, concerning Red Skull’s “twisted liberalism” becoming “twisted ideals” (and my apologies for neglecting to close my quote up there) in CAPTAIN AMERICA: “They didn’t want to associate Captain America with liberalism, even if that association is from a fascist POV.”

Good point, that could well be it, but as this was Page One, it might be a little of both.

Gokitalo, on the post–Crisis retcon of Luthor (and I acknowledge that he’s quoting John Byrne):
1. “[ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, written by Marv Wolfman] was then going to be ACTION COMICS, with a new title created for the team–up book.” I thought at the time that the only reason that they dropped the title of DC COMICS PRESENTS, the Superman team–up book, was the combination of the following factors: they had agreed to give Byrne a new #1 for SUPERMAN, they didn’t want to drop the numbering sequence of the then–current SUPERMAN, and they (then) didn’t want to create a fourth Supes series. Hence, the team–up format went into ACTION. Or was the original plan for what we now know as ADVENTURES to take the DCCP format?
2. The first of Wolfman’s two stipulations: “Either I [i.e., Byrne] accept his proposal in its entirety, or I take nothing from it. He was very insistent on this point: he wanted my promise that I would use nothing from his proposal if I did not take all of it.” Subsequently, John indicates that Marv being willing to drop the Lois–as–Lex’s–mistress part when he himself found it unacceptable was in contradiction to this. However, what he says Marv said clearly means, “Don’t say no then use part of it yourself after I’m out the door,” not, “I do this exactly as I outline it or not at all.” I challenge anyone with no bias to find the latter in Stipulation #1 as put forth by Byrne. Did John’s paraphrasing grossly misrepresent whar Wolfman actually said, or is Byrne simply that dense?

I agree with DanCJ that this dispute over credit for the post–Crisis Luthor is news. But I deny that it deserves to be argued over. At the time (again) I saw the new Luthor as a paraphrase of Marvel’s Kingpin, and every comics fan I mentioned this to agreed the simularities were there. This reminds me of somebody filing a complaint with the Writer’s Guild and getting Gene Roddenberry’s name removed from the writing credits of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, that is, it’s literally not worth fighting for.

That rewrite of Mark Waid’s issue was totally PC. Why bother having readers realize that although Red Skull is talking fondly about Nazism, he is really considered evil?

No, dumb it down and just make him “bad guy” and make Cap “good guy.”

Yech.

Waid’s writing is true to life. Good for him for taking his name off that crap.

Butbutbut…Brian:

1) the revamp of Vandal Savage you’re describing is nowhere to be found in those two issues you cite. In Action 515-516 Vandal Savage has changed history to become ruler of a dystopic world where Superman is his one-man goon squad.

2) I know there’s advanced planning and all, but 3 years doesn’t make sense.

3) Action 542 (1983) is the first appearance of the Luthor-like Vandal Savage as corporate tycoon whom the world doesn’t know of his misdeeds…which also jibes with the timing of the Luthor and Brainiac revamps.

Whatever source you’re clinging to I think got its issues wrong. The actual content doesn’t conform to your facts.

Gotcha, Graeme!

“Years later I found out Wolfman got paid a bonus for his “creation” of the new Luthor. Something that, somehow, no one at DC had thought necessary to tell me about.”

Oh, Byrne you funny, funny man.
This bothers you, yet you had no problem taking the “Lois & Clark” royalty checks for coming up with LexCorp… especially when Elliot Maggin came up with that one first.

Here’s a question for you (and apologies if they’ve already been answered)

I own a dictionary published in 1978 called “The Super Dictionary”. Aimed at children, is stars the DC Comics Super-Heroes…along with some interesting additions.

For instance Zatanna has been replaced by “Conjura”, and African-American enchantress with the same powers and “backwards speak” gimmick.

She’s joined by several other heroes of Latino, Native American, and Asian ethnicity, none of whom I can recall appearing in any other DC project.

Were they created just for this dictionary?

And are they the most obscure DC super-heroes -ever-?

“From the FAQ section of John Byrne’s site:”

Thanks for that quote. I didn’t know that there was any dispute over the creation of Lex.

For what it’s worth, he never seemed like a knockoff of Kingpin to me (though I didn’t know Kingpin at the time). I always thought he was inspired by Robert Vaughan’s character in Superman 3.

Ah yes, here it is: “Perhaps the biggest change of all was born out of fellow writer Marv Wolfman’s suggested ‘fix’ for Lex Luthor. No longer a mad scientist, Luthor became a super-businessman, the most powerful man in Metropolis…” – from John Byrne’s introduction to The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told (1987)

I suppose you could quibble about what ‘born out of’ means, but it sure sounded to me at the time like he was giving Wolfman credit. Amazing how perspectives can change and evolve over a 20 year period…

Not much to quibble about in that quote really. Byrne acknowledges that it’s Wolfman’s idea, but doesn’t go into any detail about how much of the creation was who’s beyond that.

Here’s what might be the ultimate comic book urban legend:
I’ve read (most notably in Will Eisner’s Shop Talk)that Jack Kirby and Joe Simon created Spider-Man.

Is this one true?

Waid’s script make so much more sense. It’s unbelievable – Waid actually succeeded in explaining the obsession of fascism in a comic book and marvel basically censored it. Does anyone know where I can find a full scopy of the script so I can staple or glue his Red Skull dialogue in to my issue? I just love the artwork of that issue and would prefer to read it with the complete (or almost complete) Mark Waid script.

The Liefeld story is 100% true. I asked Rob about it personally a couple years back when I had him autograph my Hawk & Dove trade. He said his mistake was he didn’t bother to tell the editor he was drawing the Chaos Dimension sideways and just assumed since he saw that’s how Larsen did it, he’d do it that way too. Well, the editor freaked out and that’s where the cutting and pasting came into play.

BRIAN:

This isn’t showing in the regular CBUL archive list. You might want to fix that.

Liefeld’s mistake was in taking his lead from a coward like Erik “Name Withheld” Larsen.

“recent German comicbook cover”

I wonder what the general feeling in places like Germany are toward characters like Captain America; icons of the American ideal and with a strong history of fighting Germans; albeit Nazi Germans?

In regard to The Red Skull story, if it wasn’t one I have yet to read, someone who was at Marvel at the time telling WHY they changed it would be great. Other thoughts-

I would think the Liberalism line was changed for the reasons mentioned, but I’m sure it was a way to have Waid’s political views in there by identifying Cap with the “virtues of” liberalism.

It really is a sad statement that they didn’t get it was coming from the Skull’s warped view on things, and that the views of a bad guy aren’t supposed to be acceptable. That’s why they’re bad guys.

And though, while I agree he wouldn’t necessarily call his people MASTERS OF EVIL, I wouldn’t necessarily say he sees what he is doing as right and virtuous. As opposed to just about all the other Marvel villains, what made the Skull unique to me was that he was the one guy who really accepted he was evil, and embraced it. His goal was to subject the world to his evil viewpoint. Almost a nihilistic viewpoint, thought not really bent on destruction of the world, but of virtue and good. Magneto thought he was doing right, Dr. Doom thought what was best for Doom was best for the world. But the Red Skull was a corruptor, plain and simple. His pure evilness made him the perfect counterpart for Cap.

Damn, Waid’s original script was so much better. The final version made the Red Skull out to be a 100% two-dimensional villain who’s evil just for the sake of it. I can’t believe they were afraid of showing the Red Skull, an outright villain who’s known for being a Nazi, having racist thoughts.

…Then again, it’s actually not that ridiculous when you take into account many of the ridiculous complains you heard these days (ie: that DC is misogynist and supports rape for having Dr. Light, an outright villain, rape Sue Dibny). People seem to be truly brain damaged these days and totally unable to tell the difference between showing an action in comics while depicting it as being totally wrong, and supporting it.

I just want to correct an historical error made by Julian Darius. Hitler (or correctly NAZI Germany) didn’t ally with Stalin (or correctly the USSR). They signed a neutrality pact – one of many that the NAZIs signed as they had signed them with many European nations, the first being with Poland (which was broken by Germany) and the pact with the USSR was one of the last – which is different, unless we’d like to say that Poland and the UK were allied with NAZI Germany too. The neutrality pact simply meant that Germany would not be allowed to invade an area past the Curzon line which the USSR considered to be stolen from them by Poland – and in truth, it was, which is why the border of modern Poland is very similar to that of the Curzon line – and wanted to reclaim it, which they did. The USSR and NAZI Germany were actually THE archenemies in WWII, and the USSR proposed having a war to contain NAZI Germany before many other nations, but failed to get the future Western allies to agree to this, as they were appeasing Hitler at the time. Facts like these are often left out of history books because just simply disliking an ideology due to aspects of real history and tenants would be wrong for some reason, and thus the need to distort history comes into play.

Yeah, we get it. The USSR is still a bogeyman in the USA, and god knows it had many faults, but when it comes to the outright distortion of historically facts, that is where I draw the line. So to reiterate that simply, Hitler didn’t ally with Stalin.

About Cap’s legend, I just got Captain America #14 in Comixology (along with the rest of Waid’s run), and was surprised to find that the digital comic seems to have been restored to Waid’s original script. Waid’s name is also back in the credits. Does anybody know when and how this got changed?

Marvel did a special new version of it a while back, so I guess after they did that, they decided to put that one on Comixology. Nice of them.

TheAngryInternet

November 8, 2014 at 1:36 am

“I just want to correct an historical error made by Julian Darius. Hitler (or correctly NAZI Germany) didn’t ally with Stalin (or correctly the USSR). They signed a neutrality pact – one of many that the NAZIs signed as they had signed them with many European nations, the first being with Poland (which was broken by Germany) and the pact with the USSR was one of the last – which is different, unless we’d like to say that Poland and the UK were allied with NAZI Germany too.”

I’m unaware of anything in the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact in which the two nations agreed to carve up the territory of a third country that they were preparing to invade and occupy, which was precisely what was entailed in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The UK-German pact was accompanied by the partition of Czechoslovakia (against that country’s will) and almost universally regarded as a shameful act of toadying and appeasement by the UK government, so I’m not sure how comparing it to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is supposed to make the USSR look good.

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