O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
This is the one-hundred and twentieth 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 nineteen. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The Ravers in Superboy and the Ravers were intended as analogues for the Legion of Superheroes.
So, I was talking with my pal Mark and another fellow last month, and somehow, the topic of Superboy and the Ravers comes up, and Mark remarks about how the Ravers were meant to be analogues of the Legion of Superheroes.
So I say, “Seriously?”
And he goes on to explain it, and I had to admit, it sure seemed plausible. Then I thought, “Hey, this sure sounds like a Comic Book Urban Legend, doesn’t it?”
So here it is!
Superboy and the Ravers was a spin-off of Superboy that launched in late-1996, when Karl Kesel, creator of and writer of the first two years plus of Superboy’s series, left the ongoing title. Kesel and co-writer Steve Mattsson told the story of an intergalactic traveling party for superbeings, that you had to have a special stamp to get into. Superboy and a few of his fellow “ravers” ended up forming a loosely-knit superhero team.
Among the team was Sparx, who controlled electricity, Aura who controlled magnetism, Hero, who had a force field and Kaliber, who could shrink in size.
Well, that sure does sound like Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Brianiac Five and Shrinking Violet, doesn’t it?
In fact, it sorta seems like a clever way to update the whole “Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes” thing.
However, as it turns out, it was nothing more than some inventive thinking on Mark’s part.
I asked Karl Kesel about it, and here’s what Karl had to say:
No. Never even entered my (or Steve Mattsson’s) mind. I can’t even begin to think who Half-Life would be a stand-in for.
Half-Life was a sort of Zombie James Dean character who also ended up joining the team.
So there ya go!
Thanks, Karl! And thanks, Mark, for giving me the idea for this one (also, so long as we’re talking credit, here is some long overdue credit, Mark is also the fellow responsible for the title of this feature – I was torn between “Uncovered” and “Revealed,” and Mark said “Revealed” sounded better. I think he was right!)!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Ghost Rider’s origin was changed so, at least in part, to not offend religious readers.
As revealed in a previous installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, a character Tony Isabella added to Ghost Rider to basically be Jesus was revealed to be a demon, mostly because Editor Jim Shooter felt that it would offend religious readers to have Jesus featured as a supporting character in a comic book.
Well, awhile later, in Ghost Rider #68, writer Roger Stern made another change to the Ghost Rider mythos.
Now, rather than being SATAN who Johnny Blaze was involved with, it was the demon, Mephisto!
Reader Jakob asked me about this one, curious if this, too, was an example of Marvel not wanting to offend religious readers by featuring a part of their religion in the comic, and if writer Stern was forced to make the change to the origin due to editorial edict.
I asked Stern, and he told me that no, the decision was solely his, and it was partly because Mephisto was an existing Marvel character, so they might as well use him over just a nameless “Satan,” and yes, that it was better to use a fake demon than an actual religious figure, for, as Stern says, “while I don’t believe in Satan, he is a part of some peoples’ religions.”
So there ya go!
Thanks to Jakob for the question and to Roger Stern for the answer!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Dazzler came into being because of Bo Derek
In a previous installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, I discussed how Dazzler was created as a cross-promotion between Marvel and Casablanca Records.
In fact, we even showed the piece of John Romita, Jr. art that a pal of mine, Ben, actually owns, which, while looking like Grace Jones, was most likely an attempt to get Casablanca Records owner Neil Bogart to go with the idea and have one of his disco artists be “The Disco Queen,” which is what Dazzler was to be called.
They were to have a film called “The Disco Queen,” with songs. So it would be a whole multi-media thing going on – movie, album AND comic book.
However, Casablanca Records decided against the project, most likely due to financial issues.
So the Disco Queen was then, in effect, dead.
It was only almost TWO YEARS later that the project was resurrected, this time strictly as a film project starring Bo Derek (at least, I’m pretty sure just as a film project, the record aspect might still have been in play), now called Dazzler.
So the name was changed, her features were now to be based on Bo Derek, and ta da – the Dazzler we now know and love (some, like Ben, more than others – he sure loves him some Dazzler something fierce).
Thanks to Ben for supplying all this neat-o information (and for sharing the JRjr picture with the world)!
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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