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This is the one-hundred and nineteenth 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 one-hundred and eighteen. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marv Wolfman could not credited as a writer when he began at DC Comics because the Comics Code did not allow “wolfman” to appear in comic books.
For quite awhile, on the wikipedia page for Marv Wolfman (it has since been corrected after I asked Marv about it last month, darn you, Wolfman, and your need for things being “accurate” and “truthful”!!), there was the following tidbit:
Wolfman, on the panel “Marvel Comics: The Method and the Madness” at the 1974 New York Comic Art Convention, told the audience that when he first began working for DC, he was forbidden to use the name “Wolfman” in print due to the company’s interpretation of the Comics Code Authority’s ban on the mention of werewolves or wolfmen
It seemed like an interesting story, so I asked Marv about it, and as it turns out, the basic framework of the story was true, but like a good game of telephone, it had been twisted around so that it was now exactly the opposite of the true story!
In late 1969, when House of Secrets #83 came out, you were not allowed by the Comics Code to mention werewolves or wolfmen in comic books.
So Gerry Conway decided to ask, “Even if that is the fellow’s name?” In that case, they said, it would be allowed.
So that gave us House of Secrets #83…
You can click on the following pages to enlarge the images, but the basic gist is that Abel explains that the following story was told to him by a “wandering wolfman,” and on the very next page we get…”Story by Marv Wolfman.”
A funny after-effect of this amusing move by Conway to get around the Comics Code silly restrictions is that up until that point, there weren’t normally writer credits in the mystery magazines. Once WOLFMAN got a credit, though, EVERYone wanted a credit, so soon, the first page of the comic looked like House of Secrets #87…
Thanks to Marv Wolfman for the information, John Lancaster for some great issue research, and Jeff Albertson for going WAY beyond the call of duty, and checking for (and scanning for me) an issue I didn’t even know to ask for at first. Thanks to all!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Crystar the Warrior was a toy based on a comic book, not a comic book based on a toy.
In the 1980s, as you all I am sure well know, Marvel had a number of successful comic books based on toys, most notably G.I. Joe, whose success led to Marvel getting the deal to produce the Transformers comic book.
In both cases, Marvel worked carefully with the toy companies, and Marvel helped develop a significant portion of each toy line (as noted in a couple of previous Comic Book Urban Legend installments, both here and here).
So when The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior came out in 1983, after the release of the Crystar action figure line, it would not be surprising for people to think that Crystar was another toy tie-in.
However, that is not the case.
As mentioned in a recent installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, Marvel produced a comic called Brute Force in the early 90s, which was an attempt to convince a toy company to make a toy based on the idea of anthropomorphic animals in armor.
As it turns out, that was what Crystar was, as well.
Remco released the action figures in 1982, while the comic did not come out until May of 1983, but Marvel had been shopping the comic around before its release, and Remco bought the concept.
The comic was written by Jo Duffy and drawn by Bret Blevins, but it did not last too long, despite guest appearances from Dr. Strange, Nightcrawler and Alpha Flight.
The toy line was not long lived, either. Should have had a cartoon, Crystar!!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Danzig’s logo came courtesy of an issue of Crystar the Warrior
In 1983, Glenn Danzig began work on a side project from his band, The Misfits, called Samhain.
As it turned out, though, The Misfits were about ready to break up, so Samhain went from being a side project to being Danzig’s main project. In the late 80s, Samhain basically changed their name to Danzig (there were other changes, but for the most part, it was more of a name change than one band ending and a new band beginning).
Both Samhain and Danzig had, for their logo, the following skull…
Well, as you might notice, the skull is directly lifted from this Michael Golden cover for Crystar #8 (note the bottom of the cover)…
Pretty funny, huh?
Thanks to my pal John Mihaly for letting me know about this, and thanks to Revelation Records, which is where John got his information.
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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