web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #130

This is the one-hundred and thirtieth 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 twenty-nine. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

This one is a day early, because, well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! And this week’s installment contains what I thought, at least, was a bit of a Thanksgiving miracle!

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Ramona Flowers’ second ex-boyfriend was going to be Jason Lee.

STATUS: True

Here’s the Thanksgiving miracle!

Awhile back, reader Tom K. asked me, “I heard that in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the boyfriend was going to actually be Jason Lee before Bryan Lee O’Malley changed it to Lucas Lee.”

In case you don’t know the basic concept, Scott Pilgrim, in each of the volumes of his series, ends up having to fight one of the evil exes of his girlfriend, Ramona Flowers. Lucas Lee is a skateboarder who becomes a movie star (and he is a real jerk, too).

25829_4_002.jpg

Here comes the Thanksgiving miracle part! At the time, I did some research, and the closest I came to the topic was that Lee O’Malley said about Lucas Lee in some annotations for Scott Pilgrim he did on his livejournal (check them out – they’re quite interesting), “Lucas Lee is kind of an amalgamation of Jason Lee and Luke Wilson, I guess.”

So, that seemed to be about that, right? Done deal.

So I just put it aside and didn’t think about it again, until Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together came out last week (and it was awesome, by the way) – so I’m reading the various interviews Lee O’Malley was giving, and sure enough, right there in an interview with Kiel Phegley at Wizard, Lee O’Malley goes over various pop culture references in Scott Pilgrim, and there it is:

jlee.jpg

Lucas Lee, the skateboarding ex-boyfriend who battles Pilgrim in Vol. 2, was inspired by the “My Name Is Earl” star. “Lucas was originally going to be Jason Lee, but I changed it because I was a little worried,” admits O’Malley. “My friend was a big skater, so we’d always talk about Jason Lee and how he’s a big sellout, even though we really liked him.”

So when I read that last week – a week before Thanksgiving, and it was about Scott PILGRIM?!

A Thanksgiving miracle!!!

So there you go, Tom! A little late, but there it is, nonetheless!

Thanks to Tom K. for the question and Bryan Lee O’Malley and Kiel Phegley for the answer!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel was once sued TWICE over the name of ONE comic book!

STATUS: True

Back in the early 90s, Marvel attempted to make a big push with their British line of comics, dubbed Marvel UK.

One of the launches was a title called Hell’s Angel.

4454_4_001.jpg

Surprisingly (okay, not surprisingly), a certain motorcycle club took issue with Marvel’s use of the name, and then sued Marvel.

46.jpg

Marvel acquiesced to the demands, and with issue #6, changed the name of the book to Dark Angel (As my pal Loren mentioned to me, part of the deal was also that Marvel had to donate $35,000 to charity).

15041_4_006.jpg

Okay, but the only problem was, that was ALSO the name of a comic from Hart Fisher’s Boneyard Press!!

ca-71.jpg

They ALSO filed suit, and eventually, Marvel just “settled” by canceling the title with issue #16.

15041_4_016.jpg

I guess Shakespeare was a bit off back when he said “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Greg Rucka requested that Trevor Barnes be killed before he took over Wonder Woman.

STATUS: False

Reader Carrie sent me this one last week,

Phil Jimenez introduced a love interest for Wonder Woman during his run on the title named Trevor Barnes. In an arc between Jimenez and Greg Rucka taking over, Walt Simonson killed off Trevor Barnes. I heard that Greg Rucka requested that Barnes be killed off because he did not like the character, but didn’t want to piss off fans by doing it himself. Is this true? I’ve been wondering about this one for years!

Well, Carrie, this one has a pretty simple resolution – No, Rucka did not request that Barnes be killed.

Although, it is a BIT trickier than that.

It was true that Rucka was not planning on using the character (I cannot speak to whether Rucka disliked the character or not), but that is as far as it went.

Walt Simonson cleared the matter up a few years ago on usenet (as apparently this rumor was widespread back then):

I didn’t have any chats with Greg–never have as far as I know–but I did know, going into my story arc, that Greg was not going to be using Trevor. The character simply wasn’t going to be around after WW #194 one way or another. Neither Greg nor anyone else asked me to see to the character’s death.

But I think most good stories are about sex, death, and betrayal. ;-) And by the time I was done, I’d gotten to work all those things into my Wonder Woman story. Having Trevor die wasn’t done simply to add ‘punch to my ending’; it was an essential part of the story from the beginning, foreshadowed by Trevor’s relating the Aesop’s fable.

However, knowing that Greg wasn’t going to be using the character suggested story possibilities that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.

So there ya go!

I wish I could find a darn picture of Trevor Barnes! Anyone out there have one you could send me?

BBayliss dropped off a link to this photo. Thanks!!

116031-trevor-barnes_400.jpg

Frankly Delano ALSO sent me one, too! Thanks to you both!

Thanks to Carrie for the question and Walt Simonson for the answer!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

27 Comments

For the record, as part of their acquiescence to the Hell’s Angels demands, Marvel not only changed the name of the comic book, but they also had to donate $35,000 to the Ronald McDonald House charity.

Thanks, Loren!

I’ll add that in!

Doesn’t Marvel have lawyers whose job is to watch out for these copyright issues? Were they all asleep that year? That’s just bad. I knew about the Hell’s Angels lawsuit, but not the other one…

In the early 1990s, Marvel’s lawyers were apparently too busy working out deals for buying up other companies that Marvel could then sell at a loss to do any trademark research.

O’ Malley’s a bit hard on Jason Lee. What was the guy gonna do – skate until he was 50? Gotta make a buck somewhere…

…Heh, I could just see the Marvel offices besieged by hundreds of biker scum, having an “Altamont Flashback” and bringing the entire building down to the foundation.

“Oh, and your goddamn ‘Ghost Rider’ is a fuckin’ f***** too, Perlman! Just like your sorry ass! Here, have some chain!”

“Sellout” is a term used, more often than not, by those who have significantly less money than the person they are trying to dis.

I’ve heard a lot about Scott Pilgrim lately. I’ve been thinking about giving it a try.

Marvel should have also been concerned about the complete swipe of Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 art for two of those “Angel” covers- talk about blatant!

im not really seeing the x-men swipe… not directly anyway…

I’d thought that the issue with the name “Dark Angel” had something to do with the “Death’s Dark Angel” character. A name Marvel should have been aware of, since they’re the ones who asked that it be change from Death’s Head.

RD Francis

“But I think most good stories are about sex, death, and betrayal. ;-)”

Eh… no, not really. Especially when they overdo it. See DC’s current “kill a lot of characters cheaply and grossly to sell comics” approach for an example.

Yes, I know Simonson was kidding, but still, killing off characters to get rid of them is just lazy writing.

Not really, Sijo. It’s not any lazier than just saying, ‘they got a new job somewhere else/lost their powers/just stopped showing up/whatever’. At least if you kill them off, you have to actually write their death. It’s not always smart to kill a character just because nobody’s using them anytime soon, but I don’t think it’s lazy.

Re: Hell’s Angel cover swipe

On the cover of Hell’s Angel #1, the Cyclops figure is a poor imitation of Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 Cyclops cover.

On the cover of Dark Angel #16, Death’s Head II is drawn in nearly the exact pose as Lee’s Magneto cover from X-Men #1.

Lord Alfred No Balls

November 25, 2007 at 8:05 am

Eric S said: “I’ve heard a lot about Scott Pilgrim lately. I’ve been thinking about giving it a try.”

I wouldn’t bother if I were you, Eric. Scott Pilgrim is probably the most overrated comicbook ever. It’s achingly unfunny and eye-wateringly desperate in its attempts to seem hip. Hateful. Just hateful.

Oh God, thank you for that, Lord Alfred. I thought I was the only person who saw that the Emperor had no clothes. I cannot believe the positive word of mouth that book gets. Cannot believe.

Hilarious!

I had no idea that my lawsuit with them was a comics urban legend. If you’re readers are interested, I can add a couple interesting facts to the case.

One: A year or so before I sued Marvel Comics over Dark Angel, they had sent a “Cease and Desist” order to Northstar (Dan Madsen, the publisher, was a grade school friend) when they were going to publish a comic book called Omega. Marvel had a latino character in the seventies called Omega, the character had been long unused, but they acted on their trademark there. Northstar changed the name to Omen (a Tim Vigil sci-fi book that went nowhere) even though you can’t trademark a solitary word like Omega because they didn’t want to spend $ on legal fees.

Marvel has been brutal with copyright infringement and guarding it’s trademarks. Make no doubt that their lawyers knew about my Dark Angel comic book and they knew about the Dark Angel comics that been published by ex-pro wrestler Pat Gabrielle in the 80′s (I published several of Pat’s books in the 90′s including a Space Giants comic based on the Japanese television show).

Two: When I sued Marvel, they sent over a packet claiming that one of my comics, The Thanatos Syndrome, was infringing on their trademark character Thanos (from Warlock’s Jim Starlin). They threatened a counter suit over this character. I told them to go ahead. My book was based on greek mythology, they had a purple gargoyle in tights.

Long story short, the editor at the time told me they weren’t interested in another lawsuit over a failing book, and he wasn’t interested in having me burn his genitals with cigar butts (Our copyright notices at Boneyard Press were slightly more stringent than your average publisher).

I started my comic book company with Dark Angel as my flagship title back in 1991. When the Dark Angel television show came on the air (John Cameron’s show on FOX) and they were advertising it in comic conventions around the country, I was considering filing suite. I could prove confusion in the marketplace. I could prove a long term use of my trademarked title, far longer than they could, and it wasn’t likely at the time that my book did not come up in their title searches and clearances because of my previous lawsuit with Marvel.

I felt it wasn’t worth pursuing them in court because they weren’t going to last, and the show didn’t and I had just gone through bankruptcy, no money to pursue a new court case. With the success of shows like Dexter and characters that are rip offs of me appearing on Law & Order SVU, I’ve got more studio interest in my work than ever before. Even the Dark Angel script that had been adapted to comics format by John Cassaday (before he hit it big) is making the rounds at the studios.

But I’ve got one last nugget for this story. When I started my lawsuit with Marvel, I called up the Hells Angels legal representation for talk (I’ve known more than my fair share of 1%’s) about how they pursued their case, and the outcome. We started taking about Tattoos. He was covered with them, until he was in a fire and they all burned off.

He was a funny guy to talk to. Comics Urban Legends, who’d a thought?

Hart D. Fisher
Publisher/Boneyard Press
President/Crime Pays Inc.

ooooh…Space Giants comics! Yippee! I used to love that show…where was I?…oh yea, I agree about the killing off characters thing. It’s annoying and stupid when it’s overdone and DC passed that line a long long time ago. Have the Urban Legends covered the “We need a rape” comment from Dan Didio that’s floated around for years? Has there ever been confirmation on it? Not that I doubt he would say it. He seems to enjoy the filth.

Oh God, thank you for that, Lord Alfred. I thought I was the only person who saw that the Emperor had no clothes. I cannot believe the positive word of mouth that book gets. Cannot believe.

Yeah – I’ve only read the first volume, but the only compliment I could think of for Scott Pilgrim was “at least it’s better than Sharknife”.

I might try the second book some time but so far it seems pretty crap

With the success of shows like Dexter and characters that are rip offs of me appearing on Law & Order SVU

What?

“Yeah – I’ve only read the first volume, but the only compliment I could think of for Scott Pilgrim was “at least it’s better than Sharknife”.”

Aha, good to hear this! Read the 1st volume of Scott Pilgrim and couldn’t really see what ANY of the fuss was about. Still, I thought it was OK though, entertaining enough.

Unlike Sharknife, which I am struggling even to finish. Or even work what is going on in a typical panel…

AAH…someone remembers…thanks…;o)

–Neil Vokes

Thanks so much for stopping by, Hart and Neil!

Here’s what doesn’t make sense to me. As has been explained in previous Urban Legends (I think, I confuse my sources sometimes) the Hell’s Angels would have to be producing a “Hell’s Angel” comic book to seek suit. So, how could Marvel’s lawyers have been so bad to throw away what would appear to be an open and shut case?

Good point. Maybe because the comic was pretty crap and selling badly the couldn’t be arsed.

I see the Jim Lee influence in 2 of the covers (wasn’t everyone ripping him off back then? ;), but the second one (Dark Angel #6) is by Brian Hitch (sp?), who was really into his Alan Davis ripping-off period…glad he’s developed something of his own style by now (I still think Davis is a better artist, but that’s just my own taste).

ParanoidObsessive

November 20, 2008 at 8:58 pm

>>> “Sellout” is a term used, more often than not, by those who have significantly less money than the person they are trying to dis.

I’ve always seen it as being a term used by people who are jealous that they themselves lack the talent necessary to interest a buyer.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives