O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
This is the eighty-eighth 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-seven. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC made Bart Allen the Flash because he was the Flash on Smallville.
On October 20, 2004, a new character debuted on the popular television series, Smallville, which tells the story of the young Clark Kent before he became Superman.
The character was named Bart Allen, and he had super speed.
Since Smallville showed the early appearances of Superman, it was presumed that this was the early appearances of the superhero, the Flash.
The only problem is that while three men had been known as the Flash at this point in time, NONE of them were Bart Allen. Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West were the Flash, but Bart Allen (the grandson of Barry Allen) had his own title called Impulse.
This puzzled fans.
Just last year, however, Bart Allen did, indeed, BECOME the Flash, as he was aged during the crossover series, Infinite Crisis, and at the end of the series, Wally West was no longer in the picture, so the now late-teens/early-twenties Bart became the NEW Flash.
Reasonably enough, fans presumed that DC was simply changing their status quo to match that on the Smallville TV series.
However, that was not the case.
Silver Bullet Comics’ Blair Marnell interviewed Smallville producer, Alfred Gough, back in October of 2004, and when asked about the subject, here is what Gough had to say….
Marnell: You’re bringing in The Flash and calling him Bart Allen. Why are you using that name?
Gough: When we had this discussion with DC comics, they told us that was the version we could use. And we actually make allusions to the other Flashes. There’s a scene where Clark finds the Flash and sees he has a bunch of IDs with different alias on them, which are all the names of the other Flashes. But it’s all one guy. That is something that was mandated by DC Comics.
Gough had repeated the same information in a few other interviews on the subject, and since this was all said well before Bart Allen appeared as the Flash, I think it is pretty reasonable to believe Gough.
So there, whatever reason DC might have had to make Bart Allen the Flash, it was not because of Smallville.
An amusing incident happened recently, when Bart Allen returned to Smallville on January 18, 2007..only this time, he was being called “Impulse.”
Ah…the eternal circle….
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: A writer was killed by the Argentinian government over his comic book work.
STATUS: Essentially True
It would not be much of an exaggeration, if one at all, to call HÃ©ctor GermÃ¡n Oesterheld the greatest comic book writer Argentina ever saw. Heck, it might not be a stretch to say he was the greatest comic book writer South America ever saw.
After becoming a popular writer during the 40s and 50s, Oesterheld was able to launch, with his brother Jorge, his own comic book company in 1957. The company was called Ediciones Frontera.
There were two hugely successful comic books launched by Oesterheld’s company, and in wich Oesterheld wrote many stories for, and they were
Hora Cero (Zero Hour)
and Frontera (Frontier).
For Hora Cero, Oesterheld worked with legendary comic artist Hugo Pratt on the popular Ernie Pike series (here is a collection of those strips).
Also, it was in Hora Cero that Oesterheld created perhaps his most popular work, the time travel science fiction epic, El Eternauta, with artist Francisco Solano Lopez (here is a collection of those strips).
An economic depression in the 1960s caused Oesterheld’s company to close down, but Oesterheld continued to write for other comic companies. Eventually, his work took on more and more of a political bent, culminating in perhaps his greatest political work, a biography of Che Guevara titled, Vida del Che, which came out in 1968, with artwork by Alberto and Enrique Breccia.
In 1976, there was a military coup in Argentina. In protest, Oesterheld began work on a continuation of El Eternauta, this time showing a future Argentina, ruled by a dictatorship.
In addition, Oesterheld (and his family) joined the anti-government group, the ‘Montoneros,’ whose existence was outlawed by the government.
Late in 1976, after all his daughters were arrested, he, too, was arrested by the government, and no one ever saw him after Christmas of that year.
There is a famous quote (I do not know if it is a true quote or not) surrounding Oesterheld, which was (supposedly) told to an Italian journalist, Alberto Ongaro, who inquired about his disappearance in 1979. The quote was: “We did away with him because he wrote the most beautiful story of ChÃ© Guevara ever done”.
In the late 90s, there was a documentary made on Oesterheld’s life and tragic death, called H.G.O.
Thanks to Dan Dare for a lot of the info and pictures.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jim Starlin once had Pip the Troll drink a particularly offensive drink.
Reader Robert Roberts wrote in with this one, and I think I will just share with you folks what Robert wrote to me:
About 15 years or so ago, I was friends with former comic book writer Steve Skeates. I was telling him how much I liked Jim Starlin’s old Adam Warlock series, and Steve said — with a nasty grin on his face — that Starlin snuck a fast one by the Marvel editors.
“How so?” I inquired.
“Pip is a shit-eating troll,” Steve said.
Steve explained that in one of the issues featuring Warlock, Starlin had Pip ordering a drink called “merde” — the French word for feces.
I looked it up in my comic collection and — if memory serves me right — it was in one of the “Strange Tales” [vol. 2] stories.
Pip indeed orders a “Flaming Merde” — something that I had overlooked the first time I read it.
Steve Skeates sure didn’t miss it.
And now we will be sure not to miss it!
In fact, one cool point to the first person who can tell me exactly WHICH issue it appeared in!
Thanks a lot for the story, Robert!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!
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