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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #135

This is the one-hundred and thirty-fifth 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 thirty-four. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Phil Jimenez was going to do a major relaunch of the Global Guardians.

STATUS: True.

Reader Robert Pincombe asked me awhile back on some background on something he had heard about writer/artist Phil Jimenez doing a Global Guardians relaunch.

I asked Jimenez about it, and here is what he had to say:

I have indeed pitched a Global Guardians series featuring revised versions of those characters. Doing my research years ago, I was asked by DC Comics to create a bible of all of their international characters. I wrote this bible, over 200 pages long, featuring as many characters as I could find (hundreds), cataloging their histories and powers, as well the histories of DC’s real and fake countries ( and created maps of the Earth of the DCU locating all of those countries). Unfortunately, DC Editorial and I couldn’t come to a meeting of the minds about the tone or the team, and my plans (along with cowriter Anton Kawasaki) for the Global Guardians were scrapped back in 2004, I think.

My great regret is that the new uniforms I designed for so many of the characters have never been seen, and that we couldn’t take this character and flesh them out into a real, 21st century, international Legion of International Heroes.

Robert (who has an interest in Canadian superheroes), talked to DC writer/editor, Paul Kupperberg, who actually gave Robert a glimpse at Jimenez’s encyclopedia entry for the Canadian hero, Centrix (who appeared in one panel of an issue of Justice League Quarterly).

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CENTRIX

Real Name: Mark Armstrong
Occupation: Former advertising executive; adventurer
Identity: Secret
Legal status: Canadian citizen with no criminal record
Place of birth: Selkirk, Manitoba
Marital Status: Divorced
Known relatives: Laura (ex-wife); Julie (sister)
Base of operations: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Group affiliation: The Global Guardians
First appearance: JUSTICE LEAGUE QUARTERLY #17 (winter 1994)

History: Mark Armstrong was a young, ambitious man raised in Manitoba, Canada. Mark was an excellent student, athlete, and son to his parents, mostly to compensate for his sister, a drug addict. Mark went to university in Ontario, majoring in business, and joining an advertising firm in the city. Mark became a high powered advertising executive, aquiring a vast amount of wealth through excessive work and smart investing. Mark also developed the use of his super human powers, which allowed him to create force waves in equal and opposite directions from his body. Mark perfected the use of his powers, and became one of Canada’s only public super-heroes, taking the codename Centrix.

Eventually, Mark grew disillusioned with his high powered job and the spiritual void he felt in the business world. He divorced his wife of three years, moved to British Columbia and, living off his wealth, settled in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island. Mark became a relative “hippie”, hiding his fortune from others to blend in with the simple, bed and breakfast crowd. He began studying star charts and reading tarot while, at the same time, making wise investment moves that kept his bank accounts and investments robust. He was also an avid consumer of computer gadgets. He continued to fight crime as Centrix, mostly on trips to Vancouver and his occasion returns to Ontario.

Mark was one of several recruits to the Global Guardians in its last incarnation. After watching and recording Centrix battle low level criminals in Canada for years, J’Onn J’Onzz, the Martian Manhunter, recommended Centrix to Owlwoman for membership. Unfortunately, this collection of Guardians remained together for only a short time, and Centrix returned to his home in Ladysmith.

Height: 5’9″
Weight: 160 lbs.
Eyes: Green
Hair: Bonde

Strength level: Centrix possesses the normal strength of a human being of his height and build who engages in moderate regular exercise.

Powers: Centrix has the ability to project invisible energy in equal and opposite directions from his body. If Centrix projects a bolt of energy north, for example, one of equal size and power will be projected from his body in a southern direction. He can create a rotating series of shapes using this energy, and is not limited to simple, large bursts of invisible energy. He can use the force as a battering ram, to lift himself aloft, and, if he focuses it, to project weaponry.

Weapons: Centrix keeps various small pellets and tips in pockets laced throughout his costume, to place in the force fields he projects from his body as weapons. Centrix also carries all sorts of computerized gadgets, ranging from a cell phone and palm pilot to a small translator, in several of those pockets.

Character notes: Centrix possesses a duality to his personality. On one hand, he’s very “spiritual” in a new age, sort of way, constantly experiment with astrology and numerology, chakra aligning, etc. to find inner, spiritual peace. On the other hand, he’s has an incredible mind for business and technology, is particularly savvy with making advancements in each. Centrix speaks English and some Canadian French. His family is Protestant, although he has chosen to embrace new age philosophy over a more traditional set of religious beliefs.

Thanks to Robert, Paul and Phil for the question and the information!

By the by, Phil, if you happen to read this, if you just so happen to have a Centrix costume drawing laying around, I know Robert would absolutely FLIP if he got to see it…just tossing that out there…hehe….

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Brian Bendis was fired from Sam & Twitch because he turned down the job writing Hellspawn.

STATUS: False.

Reader yo go re asked:

[I]s it true that Brian Bendis was fired from Sam & Twitch because he turned down the job writing Hellspawn?

Story I heard was that McFarlane asked Bendis to write the new Spawn spin-off, Hellspawn, but Bendis didn’t think he had the right “voice” for it. When he declined, Todd threw him off of Sam & Twitch, too…

This one is pretty easy to debunk because, well, Brian Michael Bendis DID write Hellspawn – he wrote the first few issues of the series.

That said, Bendis’ involvement with Todd McFarlane’s comic company is an interesting story in and of itself.

In 1999, Bendis began working on the Spawn spin-off, Sam and Twitch.

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The comic was quite good, and after original series artist, Angel Medina, went to work on the main Spawn title, Bendis began working with Alex Maleev, who, as most of you know, has worked extensively with Bendis since then, primarily on their popular Daredevil run.

In 2000, Bendis helped launch the Hellspawn spin-off, with art by Ashley Wood.

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Soon after, though, Bendis helped launch, for Marvel, Ultimate Spider-Man.

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Bendis then asked to leave Hellspawn, at which point he was removed from both titles.

The one last bit of interest here is that, although Bendis had finished scripts for Hellspawn, his issue #6 was really written by Steve Niles…

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and was credited as plot by Bendis, script by Niles, something that Bendis took issue with, as he feels the written work had nothing to do with his original version, and he felt it was wrong to use his name in conjunction with the issue.

McFarlane’s company did not think it was that big of a deal, as they felt Bendis’ plot was still sort of being used, so it was okay to use his name.

And that, as they say, is that.

The film adaptation of Torso is still going through McFarlane’s company.

Thanks to yo go re for the question!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Sal Buscema was the original artist on Secret Wars II.

STATUS: True.

Reader Donovan wrote in to tell me that the first issue of Secret Wars II was originally drawn by Sal Buscema, NOT the published artist, Al Milgrom.

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I asked Jim Shooter about it, and he said that he was not pleased with the job that Buscema did on the first issue, and that Buscema was not enjoying the series, either (Shooter said it was because of having to draw so many characters – I do not know if that would be Buscema’s take on it). Shooter countered that it was worth doing anyways, because the royalties would be high.

Buscema was still not happy doing the book, so Shooter had him removed, and had Al Milgrom and Steve Leihola re-draw the first issue, so the book would have a consistent art team throughout.

Shooter noted that Milgrom and Leihola did, in fact, make a sizable amount of royalties from the series.

Donovan mentioned seeing artwork from Buscema’s finished issue show up on eBay. If anyone has some scans of the artwork, I’d greatly appreciate it if you could send me some so I could post them here.

Thanks to Donovan for the question and Jim Shooter for the info.

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!

45 Comments

Cool stuff, I’m loving the urban legends. I gotta think of a question sometime.

“Bendis then asked to leave Hellspawn, at which point he was removed from both titles.”

I’m still a bit confused by this. So why was he removed from both titles?

Huh.

I was the one who passed this one on to yo go re about this, and I heard it from Bendis himself, in a conversation at the signing table at a con back in 2002 or 2003.

Bendis said, essentially, that he asked to leave _Hellspawn_ after three or four issues and that MacFarlane said, essentially, “Screw you then!” and kicked him off both books.

Now, Bendis himself is not always the most reliable source, especially in terms of short anecdotes, but that’s what I passed on.

And your “debunking” of that myth actually seems to confirm it. I think it only counts as “False” if you interpret the question to mean that Bendis _never_ wrote _Hellspawn_. Otherwise, you’re confirming that it’s true that Bendis was removed from both books after requesting to quit one of them.

I recall reading an interview where MacFarlane gave Bendis the boot for writing Spider-Man. Something about it being like Bendis was boinking his ex-girlfriend. Or something like that…

*google*

Ok, here’s the only link I could find in my strenuous 2 minutes of searching:

http://www.malibulist.com/mt/mt-commentsantispam.cgi?entry_id=3051

Do a search on the page for “girlfriend” and you’ll see it pop up about a third of the way down the page. Some guy references an issue of The Comics Journal, #255, Feb/March ’05.

But it was an interview with Bendis, so I guess this isn’t necessarily MacFarlane’s reason, just what Bendis believed at the time.

I am quite surprised about the art on Secret Wars II. I really disliked Milgrom’s art on the series. My feeling on Milgrom’s art is the same as my feelings on Klaus Janson’s art – he is a SUPERB inker but should be banned from penciling.

I think Sal Buscema would have done a much better job on SW II, but of course changing the writer may have made it decent…

I honestly can’t imagine there being much of a market for a Global Guardians series. I read all of those Guardians stories from JL Quarterly, and it was always a real pain to have to get through them. There were a few mildly interesting characters among the lot, but by and large they were a group that was quite justifiably banished to the back pages of another team’s book.

So *why* didn’t Sal want to draw Secret Wars II? Did he not want to leave his gig on Thor (some of the best work he ever did)? Or did he recognize it for the exploitative crapfest it was?

Speaking of Secret Wars, is it true that Marvel is considering a new Secret Wars, similiar to how DC has gone back to Crisis for their storyline crossovers?

One of my friends claims that he overheard someone at the Mid Ohio Comic Con say that the Beyonder was going to make Ultimate and non-Ultimate characters fight on a created world in a pocket universe.

Theno

Holy crap! Stu! I didn’t know you read this (since I never, you know, SEE YOU). Hi!

I think I conflated the Hellspawn story with Ultimate X-Men – or am I also wrong that Bendis was, at one point, going to write both Ultimate books. but left UXM in favor of Millar? Still, it’s good to see that this one is pretty much true, save for my mis-wording of the question…

I like how Centrix went to work in the city…no named city, just the City. Maybe the Tick takes place in Canada? :P

I recall hearing once that Grant Morrison gave Emma Frost her secondary mutation Diamond Form because he had wanted Colossus on the New X-Men, only to be denied during the “dead means dead” era. Any chance we can see an Urban Legend Revealed on that?

“I think it only counts as “False” if you interpret the question to mean that Bendis _never_ wrote _Hellspawn_.”

The question is pretty specific. The question is “Did he get fired because he turned down the job?” That answer is false. He then goes on to explain that he did take the job, and when he asked out of it, he was then fired, which is the *true* story which led to the urban legend.

What’s not to understand?

where did Mark Alessi get the capital to launch GrossGen Comics. I’ve heard evrything from winning the lottery to insurance payoffs from his wife’s death.

I spoke to Bendis the at the Atlanta comicon just after Ultimate Spider-Man #1 came out, and asked him what happened.

He told me Todd said he didnt want to help sell Spider-Man comics in any way shape or form, and if Benids was gonna work on Spider-Man, he wouldnt be doing anything at McFarlane.

“I think I conflated the Hellspawn story with Ultimate X-Men – or am I also wrong that Bendis was, at one point, going to write both Ultimate books. but left UXM in favor of Millar? Still, it’s good to see that this one is pretty much true, save for my mis-wording of the question…”

in the hardcover of Ultimate X-Men volume 1 there is a script for Ultimate X-Men that bendis wrote, but i think he was denied in favor of millar, because his version was closer to the movie version.

“Speaking of Secret Wars, is it true that Marvel is considering a new Secret Wars, similiar to how DC has gone back to Crisis for their storyline crossovers?”

Mark Millar has said he is going to do a story called 1985 which he says is a sequel to the original Secret Wars series.

As yo go re said, he misworded the question, or was inprecise: Bendis wrote a couple of issues, decided he didn’t want to do anymore, and turned down the job. He was then taken off S&T.

Everything else about the question is true, including what I think is the real meat of the question:

Did Bendis lose his job writing _Sam and Twitch_ because Seth MacFarlane is a petulant bastard who got angry when Bendis decided he didn’t want to write _Hellspawn_?

True or false. The only thing that makes the original question “false” is that Bendis wrote a couple of issues before he decided he didn’t want to.

“where did Mark Alessi get the capital to launch GrossGen Comics. I’ve heard evrything from winning the lottery to insurance payoffs from his wife’s death.”

As a simple Google search would tell you, Mark Alessi made his money with Technical Resource Connection, Inc, which he founded in 1986. He was CEO of the company until 1996, at which time the company was sold to Perot Systems Corporation. He founded Crossgen two years later.

“Shooter had him removed, and had Al Milgrom and Steve Leihola re-draw the first issue, so the book would have a consistent art team throughout.”

Unfortunately, there were those issues that had Josef Rubenstien ink the last couple of pages and making Milgrom look really good, thus causing inconsistent art in individual issues.

whats with the hate fest on Secret Wars II, it was one of the fist series that i read all the way through when i was growing up i loved it. it reminded me of Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” i really think that it gets a bad wrap cause it has the number 2 in front of it. got anymore dirt on this series i would love to hear about it.

interesting as usual.

phil jiminez’ art is ugly.

whats with the hate fest on Secret Wars II, it was one of the fist series that i read all the way through when i was growing up i loved it.

You have automatically defeated any and all arguments against Secret Wars 2 being good.

So *why* didn’t Sal want to draw Secret Wars II? Did he not want to leave his gig on Thor (some of the best work he ever did)? Or did he recognize it for the exploitative crapfest it was?

I edited the piece to add what Shooter said about the reasoning – but please note that it is strictly Shooter’s take on Buscema’s reasoning – it might very well not be the case, which is why I didn’t use it originally, but you’re right, the piece does look a bit empty without mentioning it.

In either event, it appears clear that it was just a matter of Buscema not being pleased on the project, for whatever reason (did not like the comic, as you mentioned – or did not like drawing that many characters, as Shooter mentions) – as opposed to not wanting to leave a separate title,

“Bendis then asked to leave Hellspawn, at which point he was removed from both titles.”

I’m still a bit confused by this. So why was he removed from both titles?

I have yet to see McFarlane give a public statement on the issue, so I figured it better to just give the basic facts (Bendis asked off of Hellspawn, and was fired from both books) rather than go with rumors, as Bendis has tried not to do much more than state the basic facts, as well (“He fired me”).

But the rumors are as people mentioned here – McFarlane was said to be irked by Bendis going to work for Marvel, for whatever reason (“It’s like he went to work for my ex-girlfriend” or “I thought it would distract from his work on my company’s titles” or whatever).

I think I conflated the Hellspawn story with Ultimate X-Men – or am I also wrong that Bendis was, at one point, going to write both Ultimate books. but left UXM in favor of Millar?

Bendis and Salvador Larroca were the original creative team on the series, yeah. If I recall correctly, Bendis wanted the team — which included Mystique — to be backed by the government (maybe acting as black ops?).

Although their run never happened, Marvel used Larroca’s designs anyway. Adam Kubert only had to design a few of the costumes, including Iceman’s, I believe.

Of course, Bendis would later write the book, and Larroca is now the series’ artist.

That Hellspawn #1 cover is HILARIOUS.

The Global Guardians has always been a great team concept -and one of the few DC has that Marvel doesn’t- but they’ve never been handled well. Justice League International basically stole their gig and used them as villains; then they were reduced to a joke in the pages of JL Classified, an extension of the Bwahaha League style; and finally they were recreated as “Primal Force” which was a half-baked approach, with heroes like Red Tornado on the team. I’m impressed to learn of Jimenez’s efforts to make the series and saddened that it never came true. It would’ve been more interesting to me as a reader than the (also half-baked) international Spy-Hero combination that is the current Checkmate series.

On the other hand, given that these days DC cannot seem to publish a series without filling it with death (gruesome deaths, to boot) perhaps it was better than the project didn’t come forth at the time. Hopefully somebody will find that Bible and decide on a launching a *good* GG series, AFTER Didio’s influence on the DC Universe has passed.

Seth MacFarlane is a petulant bastard

Todd McFarlane. Seth is the Family Guy guy.

phil jiminez’ art is ugly.

huh? Are you sure you’re not thinking of someone else? because “ugly” certainly isn’t a word I’d equate with him. Whoever drew that JLQuarterly cover, sure, that’s some ugly art. But it’s not Jimenez.

I have yet to see McFarlane give a public statement on the issue, so I figured it better to just give the basic facts (Bendis asked off of Hellspawn, and was fired from both books) rather than go with rumors, as Bendis has tried not to do much more than state the basic facts, as well (”He fired me”).

Heh. Can I have a followup question, then? :)

I don’t see Todd ever speaking up about the real reasons, because I can’t imagine a situation in which he wouldn’t come across as petulant child. As he has on so many other issues. This may be one of those things that permanently gets reduced to facts without any sort of context, sadly. Thanks for answering it (and setting my recollection straight in the process)…

Millar 1985 is due out next year – Tommy Lee Edwards had some preview art up on his site (the book was originally going to be Fumetti, but it would be too expensive and less effective, so they went with conventional comic art instead.

My Urban Legend? X-Force 5 (1st series) – ghost pencilled by Marat Mychaels or actually pencilled by Rob Liefeld?

“Mark Millar has said he is going to do a story called 1985 which he says is a sequel to the original Secret Wars series.”

The only problem with this is Marvel’s sliding timeline. The Marvel Universe perpetually began “10 years ago”.
Fantastic Four #1 took place in 1997 now, so the Secret Wars would have been around 2002.

BC! You have the hookup with JIM SHOOTER?! Ask him to unveil that Dazzler film screenplay he wrote!

huh? Are you sure you’re not thinking of someone else?

No, he’s right. Stiff, overly photo-realistic, and everybody has the George Perez/Eastern-European nose.

“The film adaptation of Torso is still going through McFarlane’s company.”

Is this ever going to get made?

“everybody has the George Perez/Eastern-European nose.”

everyone in Phil Jimenez’ art has George Perez EVERYTHING. that guy swipes more stuff from Perez than Rich Buckler did with Neal Adams. well, except for that Earth 2 Superman returns last panel from Infinite Crisis #1, that was ‘influenced’ by JL Garcia Lopez…

That Superman panel in question was acknowledged as an homage in the original printing. “After Garcia-Lopez” was there in the art. The credit to Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was removed for the HC. Phil Jimenez is a classy guy, and doesn’t swipe without crediting.

Also, a chunk of Phil’s pitch for the Global Guardians with costume designs was printed in the Prism 2006 (or was it 2005?) Comic Guide. A little pamphlet promoting LGBT comics and comic creators. Dr. Light was going to be the leader.

Also, 1985 isn’t a sequel to Secret Wars, but a story set in the “real world” in 1985, the year Secret Wars came out. (And the Secret World comics are a part of the storyline.)

Peter

you’re right, i just noticed the IC panel is credited (vertically in the spine), which elevates it from ‘swipe’ to ‘homage.’

but the homages would be a lot easier to take if the majority of his artwork wasn’t already an ‘homage’ to another artist. since Mr Jimenez acknowledges the Perez influence on his work, ‘derivative’ is a probably a better term than ‘swipe’.

still, classy guy or not, it doesn’t make the work any more original or creative in my eyes. although i suppose the masculine/ugly women (esp E2 Lois Lane and Power Girl in IC) is a fairly singular take.

Interesting about the Global Guardians…. what was the deal with the Ultramarines who showed up near the end of Waid’s run on JLA? It seemed like they were pushing for a relaunch of the GG there, but nothing came of it. Of course, it could have only been so good if Vixen had ended up on the team, but Warmaker One and Jack O’Lantern probably would have made it worth reading. What happened to that concept?

Is it true that Joe Quesada is so against Spider-Man being married that he published a comic in which Peter Parker made a deal with the devil to save Aunt May that completely altered the entire time stream of the Marvel universe?

Danny asked, “whats with the hate fest on Secret Wars II…?”

I honestly think that most people connect the mega-crossover concept with SW2, and therefore hate it for starting the marketing mess, regardless of whether or not it was a good story.

A second reason why I think it isn’t received as well as I think it deserves is because of inconsistant quality. Some of the crossovers came naturally to the story, and some were incredibly forced. And, the longer the series went on, the more forced the crossovers felt.

The crossovers between issues one and two, I liked. The Hulk issue, all the Spider-Man and X-Men ones I thought were good. But, many of them were really bad.

And, if you happened to be a fan of some of the titles that crossed over, then that issue was really a throw away. It seemed that some issues were able to crossover and continue both the book’s plot as well as the Secret Wars plot, and some issues (like Daredevil) were able to be a stand alone story that didn’t advance either. But, many of them advanced the Secret Wars plot without really contributing to the host title, and without taking away anything. So, if you had a subscription, you suddenly got a book that had nothing to do with anything you were reading. And, if you were following the crossover, you had to get this relatively low-selling title that you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Now, today this is fairly commonplace. But, 20+ years ago it was incredibly annoying.

Theno

Oh man. I would kill to see that international bible Jimenez put together. A map of the DCU Earth…profiles on all international heroes…DAMN YOU PHIL! WHERE IS THAT BIBLE???

My feeling on Milgrom’s art is the same as my feelings on Klaus Janson’s art – he is a SUPERB inker but should be banned from penciling.

I’m with you on Janson.

As for the True/False thing, I agree that calling it false is a bit misleading. A better status would have been “Mostly true”.

[…] This is the one-hundred and thirty-fifth 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 thirty-four. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject. Lets begin! COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Phil Jimenez was going to do a major relaunch of the Global Guardians. STATUS: True. Reader Robert Pincombe asked me awhile back on some background on something he had heard about writer/artist Phil source: Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #135, Comics Should Be Good! […]

“Did Bendis lose his job writing _Sam and Twitch_ because Seth MacFarlane is a petulant bastard who got angry when Bendis decided he didn’t want to write _Hellspawn_?”

TODD McFarlane. He does the Spawn stuff. Seth MacFarlane does Family Guy.

If you’re going to criticize a man, at least have the courtesy to get his name right so that the criticism is correctly targeted.

I know that admonishment is over a year late, but it bothered me THAT much.

I’m glad Jono11 wrote that first….I thought I would be the only one who would pay to see that bible on all the international heroes…imagine it updated now with the Batmen Morrison introduced… And if Dr. Light was going to be the leader, I would have bought the series too.

That’s an interesting backstory on Secret Wars II. My recollection is that Milgrom’s art was truly horrible. With all the characters, he tended to draw everybody really, really tiny. I felt like I needed a magnifying glass to read it. One commentor asked what was so wrong with it. Well, in addition to the art, the script was pretty self-indulgent on Shooter’s part. The idea of the Beyonder coming to Earth was fascinating, but Shooter didn’t really know what to actually do with the concept. There were many pointless tie-ins that Marvel insisted you needed to buy for the whole story to make sense, but they often had virtually nothing to do with the main series. Shooter took time to try to kick some of his enemies in the nuts, like a long sequence involving a guy who’s obviously supposed to be Steve Gerber in #1. I think the whole series was kind of indicative of how the Shooter regime was near collapse.

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