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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #142

This is the one-hundred and forty-second 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 forty-one. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Kevin Maguire changed the ending of JLA Classified #9 as a sort of protest to the ending of Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

STATUS: True.

Reader paperghost let me know about this bit, which he learned courtesy of another fine TwoMorrows product, Modern Masters #10: Kevin Maguire, by George Khoury and Eric Nolen-Weathington.

First, the background.

Kevin Maguire, as you may well know, made his first big splash in the comic business drawing Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis’ Justice League.

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Years later, that creative team reunited for the 2003 limited series, Formerly Known as the Justice League.

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The series was well received, and a follow-up mini-series was started. In the meantime, however, DC decided to kill off one of the characters, Sue Dibny, in the pages of Identity Crisis. Suddenly, the follow-up mini-series seemed to be in trouble.

Eventually, a the follow-up was released, only now wrapped up in the new series, JLA: Classified, which was the place for stories starring the Justice League at various times in the Justice League’s history.

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Only, right after the series began, Countdown to Infinite Crisis was released.

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In it, another one of the cast was killed, this time, Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle.

The kicker being that the killer was ANOTHER member of the cast, Maxwell Lord, who was, apparently, secretly evil.

This led to the scene in question, which came at the conclusion of the last issue…

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According to Maguire:

Originally it was a shot of Fire and Mary flying away from the mall, but I decided no. I made it as a shot of Max and Beetle side by side, laughing. Because those were our characters. Not the evil guy shooting people in the head.

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Here is the full page. Nicely done by Maguire, I think. Not over the top, but I recall figuring that was likely his intent at the time.

Thanks to paperghost, George Khoury, Eric Nolen-Weathington and Kevin Maguire!!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: One of the reasons Judd Winick decided to bring Jason Todd back to life was because Winick voted for Jason to survive in 1988.

STATUS: False.

False stories get started all the time, through a variety of ways. A rare occurrence (although not without precedent) is when they are created by the person the story is ABOUT!

Such an occurrence took place with the story about how Judd Winick, who brought Jason Todd back to life during his Batman run, had originally voted for Jason Todd to survive the 1988 interactive comic stunt, Death in the Family.

The story originated in an article written for Newsarama, where Matt Brady interviewed Winick about his new storyline.

The article ended with the following:

And finally, for those wondering, yes, Winick was reading Batman in 1988, and, when the time came, he called in and voted for Jason to live. 16 years later, he got his wish.

Such was the state of the story. You’d see it referenced every once in awhile (like on a messageboard discussion here).

However, in the latest issue of Wizard, Winick did an interview with Denny O’Neil, and the subject came up, and Winick decided to clear the air, when the moderator of the interviewer (Danny Spiegel, I presume) asks, “Judd, did you vote in that phone poll?”:

WINICK: I was giving an interview about bringing Jason Todd back [and] the reporter had said, “Last question, Judd. Back then, for ‘A Death in the Family,’ did you vote?” So, Denny, actually, I hadn’t. I just thought it’d make a better ending for the story. I mean that I lied. I said, “Oh, yes, I did.” How did you vote?” “I voted for him to live.” Because I knew it would make a good button for the interview…and it did. It got reported that “Winick finally gets his wish in the end here!” And the folks on the Internet, of course, took and ran with that, that I am purely doing revisionist history, that I am reliving my adolescence and taking back how the readers wronged me. But I didn’t get a chance to vote. But had I been given the opportunity I think I absolutely would have voted for him to die.

So there ya go.

While one could argue, I presume, that perhaps Winick was telling the truth then, and lying now – I suppose, but seems pretty unlikely, doesn’t it?

Unlikely enough that I’m confident going with his current stance on the issue (and enough to use that to verify the debunking).

Thanks to Matt Brady, Judd Winick and Danny Spiegel!!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: British copyright law resulted in the Adversary’s identity being changed in Fables.

STATUS: True.

NOTE: Reader Sean made a fine point that I don’t HAVE to include any spoilers in this piece, so that’s what I’ll do!

Probably the most prominent mystery in Bill Willingham’s Fables series for Vertigo was who is the evil Adversary, who took over the Fables’ homeland, forcing all the Fables to escape to the relative safety of Fabletown?

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We knew it was a notable fictional character, but who?

As it turned out, the “who” part was determined, in part, by British copyright law.

Perhaps one of the most notable strange copyright law was the particular circumstances surrounding the copyright to JM Barrie’s classic play, Peter Pan. In 1929, Barrie gave over the control of the copyright to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital, a children’s hospital in England. During the 80s, when the copyright was set to expire, England made an exception in just the case of Peter Pan (later standardization of English copyright law with the rest of the European Union made it a standard 70 years, so it expired in 2007).

So while Willingham knew that Peter Pan was considered public domain (at the time – since then, Great Ormond Street Hospital has made the argument that it is not) at the time, he was unaware of the English situation, so he planned for Peter Pan to be the evil Adversary. He explained his reasoning to the Onion’s AV Club:

Even when I was a kid, I couldn’t understand why he was considered the good guy in these stories. Basically, he would come to our world and steal our kids. That just seemed pretty sinister. I thought, “Okay, we’ll do a little turnaround on that, and make Peter Pan the evil Adversary, and that means that Captain Hook and his pirates were really were a crew that were going to Neverland and rescuing these kids, and they were painted as pirates only because Peter was doing the press releases.” That was, I thought, a pretty good idea that we didn’t get to do, because even though I carefully worked out that Pan was in public domain in America, he’s still under copyright in England, because the Parliament did a special extension of copyright because all the income from Peter Pan books went to the Ormond Street Hospital for kids. So to keep the hospital having their income, they extended the copyright, and since we were going to sell Fables in England, we couldn’t do it. That’s why we had to come up with a new villain, who, in hindsight, I think was much better. That worked out pretty well.

That villain?

Click here if you really must know. Otherwise, read Fables and be surprised!!

Thanks to Bill Willingham and the Onion for the information!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for all this week’s covers!

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!

93 Comments

Great read, as ever.

I love what Maguire said, and he’s absolutely right.

He mentions in his Masterworks interview Dan Didio excitedly showed him the art from Countdown to Infinite Crisis of Lord blowing Beetle’s head off and thinking Maguire would dig it like him.

Kinda sad.

That’s because Didio = clueless.

That’s a fascinating Urban Legend about the enemy n Fables, I hadn’t heard that one before. I knew there were problems/concerns about Alan Moore’s usage of the Peter Pan characters in Lost Girls, so it doesn’t surprise me to hear that those same issues affected other works as well. So, what is the current copyright status, does Ormand still have the rights or is Peter public domain in the UK now too?

I absolutely love that Maguire story. Thanks for including this!

Albeit the AV Club is separate from the more famous part of The Onion, I’d still just as soon have an additional cite besides The Onion regarding the truth (or not) of the Fables UL.

I dunno, his eventual choice makes a far more interesting Mastermind villain than Peter Pan.

But hey, Willingham can always do one of his famous one-two parters about Peter Pan in Fables.

He mentions in his Masterworks interview Dan Didio excitedly showed him the art from Countdown to Infinite Crisis of Lord blowing Beetle’s head off and thinking Maguire would dig it like him.

Kinda sad.

Wow. Had no idea Didio was THAT tacky and clueless. I guess his only saving grace was that at least he (hopefully) didn’t do that with the pages of Sue Dibny’s rape.

A Peter Pan Squeal, Peter Pan in Scarlett was released 2006 authourised by GOSH I think to extend their copyright on the characters.

as for a future legend, I read once that the reason Baby May was was not confirmed to eb miscarried was because Bill Jamas thought it be nice to give Fans who had followed the three years of pregenancy a bit of hope but had not intention of it ever being mentioned or brought back.

WIllingham told the same story in Comics Buyer’s Guide, Lothor, as well as in numerous places online. It’s legit.

I wouldn’t even have bothered giving the guy additional sources. If Onion AV, the nonfiction part of the Onion, has an interview with the creator and he says something is true, that should be good enough.

i’m glad Kevin Maguire made that decision, because that last panel really resonated with me.

it’s funny that he said “Because those were our characters. Not the evil guy shooting people in the head,” because that is exactly what i felt upon looking at that last page: “These are our characters and this how we should remember them.”

to me, that panel showed the final appearances of Ted Kord and Max Lord. the figures who appeared in Countdown to Infinite Crisis could have been alternate reality versions or Skrulls as far as i was concerned… that story is non-canon to me.

Is the Bill Willingham from Fables the same BW who did some illustrations for 1st edition AD&D and later drew some indie sex somic? (I can’t remember the name – maybe Wormwood?)

I think he’s the guy from AD&D, but I know he did Ironwood for Eros Comics and Elementals for Comico, which was for mature readers.

“A Peter Pan Squeal, Peter Pan in Scarlett was released 2006 authourised by GOSH I think to extend their copyright on the characters.”

They might have done that to help maintain the trademark but the original book would not be affected.

““>Here is the full page.”

Or not.

“Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments!”

Already did in another talkback.

Guess you don’t read ‘em.

Not necessarily an urban legend, but here’s a question, Brian: why is Leprosy Lad such an asshole?

Regarding Fables I also heard once he couldnt use peter pan he changed his captain hook character to bluebeard.

A number of people have written addendums to the Peter Pan legend in recent years. From the announcements I’ve gotten, it looks like Dave Barry (the humor columnist from Miami) has co-written several new Peter Pan books, and Peter David’s TIGERHEART novel appears to be related to Peter Pan as well.

I’m pretty sure the Peter Pan/GOSH arrangement is up this year because I vaguely remeber something in the papers here (Scotland, UK) about it. So there!

I like both Identity/Infinite Crisis — AND the Maguire Justice League — and yeah, I can’t make them fit together either. So I DO treat them as separate realities. :D I do the same thing with Marvel — the stuff after Shooter and before Quesada leads to the MC-2 Spider-Girl future, the stuff from Quesada before Avengers Disassembled includes Waid’s FF, Rucka’s Wolverine, Morrison’s X-Men, Johns’ Avengers, Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men, and leads to X-Men: The End — and all the Disassembled, Decimation, Civil War stuff is a separate continuity of some kind. It’s not just my taste per se, it’s that I genuinely can’t make the different takes on the characters fit together — Waid’s Reed Richards is just not the same person (Skrulls aside) as the one in Civil War. Heck, even new repentant Tony Stark (as will be seen in Matt Fraction’s new book) is not the same person as Kurt Busiek’s pre-Civil War Tony Stark, even though they’re both going to be dealing with his moral center. In the same way, I don’t see Max in Maguire and Max in Infinite Crisis as the same guy at all. But for that matter I don’t see Batman circa 1987 and Batman circa 1997 as quite the same guy.

I have an entire thread on this; the Maguire finale to Justice League with everyone living happily ever after is “Earth-K” and the other stuff is “Earth-IC” for lack of better names. :D

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4422

Yes, I am a geek of terrifying magnitude. ;)

And oh yes, it did my heart good to see benevolent Max one last time in Maguire’s book…

David

Good for Maguire, and thanks for another reminder of what a sleazy jackass is running DC Comics these days. The anti-JLI vendetta that’s been an ongoing fixture of the DC Universe since Identity Crisis is one of the more pathetic and petulant things I’ve ever seen a comics creator (and I use the word loosely) pull.

For me “Identity Crisis” and “Countdown” were just two mean spirited spur of the moment, designed for shock value only. Making Mawell Lord a villain was an all-out act of ignorance.

“Identity Crisis”, along with “the Dark Knight Strikes Again” were one of the few comics, in my history, that i threw out in the trash after reading, because THAT´S where that belong.

Long live Maguire and Giffen.

No, pathetic and petulant are the fanboys who think there’s some kind of grand scheme to screw over the Giffen/Maguire characters. I’m all for Maguire doing his part to “reclaim” the fun of the characters he worked on for so long (because at least, unlike Green Lantern: Rebirth, it was done outside of continuity), but pretending there’s a vendetta going on just because you didn’t like a particular story is definitely sad, and borderline delusional…

Yo go re, it’s not because I “didn’t like a particular story,” that I say DC’s current management has a problem with the JLI, it’s because character after character who’s associated with the JLI era has been killed off in big stupid event after big stupid event.

Just look at the characters on the JLI revival covers above: Blue Beetle is dead, Sue Dibny is dead and retroactively raped for good measure, Elongated Man is dead, Max Lord is revealed to have “always been a villain” even though that characterization makes no sense, and is dead, Captain Atom’s a villain, Mary Marvel’s enduring the indignity of appearing in Countdown, and Fire’s been turned into a killer.

Nope! No vendetta here! No overgrown fanboy editor who wants to show the world how important and dark and sinister comics about people in colored tights and capes can be!

Love that Maguire one. And the Fables one is neat; hadn’t heard that before.

What a weird coincidence that today in 1852 the Great Ormond Street Hospital admitted its first patient.

What? Don’t look at me like that. Sometimes I get bored in class and look up the day’s historical events on Wikipedia.

On a related note (related in that I found this out in the same article), happy birthday Art Spiegelman!

An adendum: Also, happy birthday Matt Groening!

Blue Beatle is alive, at least for the moment.

Sue and Ralph are undead, and apparently ghost detectives which is an awesome idea and a series just waiting to happen.

Captain Atom was supposed to turn villain years ago, reigniting a 10 year old plot device that was dead and buried is hardly a conspiracy.

“…and Fire’s been turned into a killer.”

Okay, that one bugs me. Fire’s black ops past has been a part of the character for 20 YEARS. And when you’re in that line of work, you sometimes kill people.

So, someone was planning to take money from orphan kids?
Yeah, that’s really nice..

“I guess his only saving grace was that at least he (hopefully) didn’t do that with the pages of Sue Dibny’s rape.”

Type “The rape pages are in!” into a search engine. The quote isn’t attributed to Didio specifically, though.

And thanks for another good one, Brian.

It’s good that you have the spoiler warning, and I don’t actually care about Fables much at all, but, reading that entry, I don’t see the need to include the spoiler. The Peter Pan story is interesting; I’m not really sure why it needs the capper “Here’s what he really did,” since, presumably, if you care about the series, you already know, and if you don’t care, then you don’t care.

Not necessarily an urban legend, but here’s a question, Brian: why is Leprosy Lad such an asshole?

I don’t think there’s a polite answer to that. :)

if you care about the series, you already know, and if you don’t care, then you don’t care.

I imagine there’s a decent enough group of folks who are reading Fables in trade form, and the Adversary reveal wasn’t THAT long ago, was it? You’re probably right that it should be fair game by now, so I didn’t NEED to do the spoiler warning (like, “Oh man! Blue Beetle died?!?!” :)), but it couldn’t hurt, right?

Peter Pan IS creepy. I think that would’ve worked well.

Maybe you should do Spoiler things for the Adversary reveal? (If you CAN do them: I couldn’t figure out how .) It’s a couple years old, so it’s not THAT big a deal, but I was glad I didn’t know it comin’ in.

yo go
but pretending there’s a vendetta going on just because you didn’t like a particular story is definitely sad,

I wouldn’t say “sad” or “delusional,” but I very much doubt there’s a personal vendetta or anything.

I do think the number of dead heroes is indicative of a change in the tone of DC superhero comics in general.. Which is why I’m not buying any of ‘em after Steve Gerber’s Countdown to Mystery ends.

But an organized conspiracy because adults have personal vendettas against a set of fictional characters? Seems REALLY unlikely to me.

Awesome reveals this week! If I hadn’t already read Fables and you hadn’t put the spoiler alert in, I would have hunted you down and gone mideval on your @$$. Although I think sean’s point might have been that you didn’t have to mention the published Adversary to get the point of the legend across. But whatever. Why didn’t Willingham just donate some of Fable’s proceeds to the hospital to use Peter Pan. Although I think the published Adversary was really really nifty, Peter Pan would make an awesome addition to the cast.

In any case, what the hell is Leprosy Lad’s problem?

Ah, that makes sense! Thanks, josh.

Yeah, sean, you’re right, I could have just skipped who the actual Adversary was – I thought it made the piece read fuller, but I can definitely see it making sense not to include it, as well. So I’ll take out the spoiler! Thanks!

Oh, by the by, I also fixed the broken link above that Leprosy Lad noted.

Max wasnt exactly a saint always in “bwah-ha-ha” days and even in between the times. Hasnt he actually turned “evil” three times?

Unfortunately, the Adversary’s identity was blown in comment #5.

Nice try, though.

Max wasnt exactly a saint always in “bwah-ha-ha” days and even in between the times. Hasnt he actually turned “evil” three times?

Oh yeah, as I’ve said before (recently, I believe), Johnuckanick was not the first writer to come up with the lame idea of making Maxwell Lord a supervillain.

Gerry Jones came up with the same dumb idea back in 1994.

Actually, compared to Gerry Jones’ idea, Johnuckanick was practically brilliant (although, of course, they lose points for Gerry Jones, you know, already doing the story before).

Unfortunately, the Adversary’s identity was blown in comment #5.

Nice try, though.

Too late for you, but your sacrifice allows future readers to be warned, as I’ve now edited comment #5!!

Yup, there was this one time where he became Lord Havok and started killing people all over the place. So, Max Lord was never a saint. And you should see him in JL Unlimited . He is one smarmy SOB.

Also, did DC have a grudge against the original Robin in the 40s? Batman thought he was dead, like, five times.

Victor Hugo said:
“For me “Identity Crisis” and “Countdown” were just two mean spirited spur of the moment, designed for shock value only. Making Mawell Lord a villain was an all-out act of ignorance.

“Identity Crisis”, along with “the Dark Knight Strikes Again” were one of the few comics, in my history, that i threw out in the trash after reading, because THAT´S where that belong.

Long live Maguire and Giffen.”

I am fine with IDENTITY CRISIS as a stand-alone book, almost like an Elseworlds. In fact, I think I remember Brad Meltzer saying that was how he originally intended the story. It was Didio and his editorial staff that latched onto it and decided it would mark the new direction of their entire line of superhero books. And that’s where I have the problem with it. I don’t need a superevil Dr. Rape…er, Light, or Zatanna’s reputation ruined, or a dead Sue Dibny, or a psychotic Jean Loring. Those are horrible and needlessly cynical ideas to build your canon universe around. Everything that has come from DC since then has just disillusioned me more, and after getting into DC for the first time since Zero Hour, I find my interest dwindling back down to just a few DC books, such as the really fun ones like Blue Beetle and Birds Of Prey,

And yes, long live the JLI! Giffen, DeMatteis, Maguire, Hughes, Jones, Sears, Wozniak…they put out the comics I consider “my” Justice League.

I don’t necessarily think DC deliberately targetted the JLI, and things like having Ralph and Sue become ghost detectives and Ted at least temporarily coming back are nice concessions- it feels a lot like “we needed these things to happen to set up our crossovers, but we can still acknowledge that these were fun characters and give a little hope for them.” But the abruptness of Max’s heel turn has never really been acknowledged. I might even go with it temporarily if they did some in-depth story showing how Max went from the guy in FKATJL to the guy who developed the OMAC operation and wanted to control all the metas in the world. If we got into his head for a bit and saw what happened there. Instead he is/was/is kind of two dimensional in his role as supervillain.

What made Max interesting was that you weren’t sure whether you could trust him, and there was a streak in him that was seeking redemption. I think that’s the part that’s been forgotten.

MarkAndrew said …
But an organized conspiracy because adults have personal vendettas against a set of fictional characters? Seems REALLY unlikely to me.

If you’ve ever worked in comics you wouldn’t say it’s REALLY unlikely, just SOMEWHAT unlikely. ;-)

I have all the Giffen JL/JLI/JLE books in my collection. I read ‘em all and loved ‘em.

And I have no problem with Max being revealed as a bad guy.

The thing with Max’s heel turn, I believe, Didio explicitly acknowledged to be the result of writing backwards. They wanted the villain to be a sort of shadowy power-player with some mental powers that could be used for mind-control. Before they thought of Max Lord, their candidate was freaking Mr. Saturn, who hasn’t been in a book for something like thirty years (as I recall, anyways).

I’m not fond of their Evil Max characterization at all, but for the story they wanted to tell, Evil Max Lord was a damn sight better than Evil Mr. Saturn would’ve been. At least people knew who Max Lord was well enough to care. Of course, an evil Mr. Saturn wouldn’t have bothered anyone…

I’m not a fan of FABLES; I admire it but I don’t read it. Just not my idea of fun. So, to me, finding out spoilers for the series is OK; I think Brian handled it well. And yeah, I never liked Peter Pan, not even when I was little. He’s got “selfish jerk” written all over him. Doesn’t he even threaten to kill the Lost Boys if they ever grow up?

Speaking of Dicks, Winnick is certainly one for toying with fans like that. How about writing a comic about your Viet Nam experiences now, Judge? ;)

“But an organized conspiracy because adults have personal vendettas against a set of fictional characters? Seems REALLY unlikely to me.”

You’d think so, but comics pros CAN be just as petty as fans sometimes. Check out The Beyonder’s entry on Wikipedia; from Shooter to DeFalco to Bendis, the poor character has been abused over and over again.

And DC’s problem MAY not be *specifically* against the Bwa Ha Ha League, but there’s DEFINITELY an attitude problem going on there respecting heroes, especially funny ones. The fault gotta rest on somebody and like one of the Presidents said, “The buck stops here.”

I’m glad to see that at least one major contributor -McGuire- felt offended by the Beetle treatment.

>Sue and Ralph are undead, and apparently ghost
>detectives which is an awesome idea and a series just
>waiting to happen.

Already has happened. Neil Gaiman did Dead Schoolboy Ghost Detectives in Sandman 10-15 years ago. They had a mini around 2000, too.

Not that reprising a Neil Gaiman idea is something to be ashamed of!

Good points, Evan. It’s also worth noting that one of the most prominent members of the Giffen/DeMatteis League, Guy Gardner, has been treated very well by DC lately.

I like both Identity/Infinite Crisis — AND the Maguire Justice League — and yeah, I can’t make them fit together either. So I DO treat them as separate realities. I do the same thing with Marvel — the stuff after Shooter and before Quesada leads to the MC-2 Spider-Girl future, the stuff from Quesada before Avengers Disassembled includes Waid’s FF, Rucka’s Wolverine, Morrison’s X-Men, Johns’ Avengers, Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men, and leads to X-Men: The End — and all the Disassembled, Decimation, Civil War stuff is a separate continuity of some kind. It’s not just my taste per se, it’s that I genuinely can’t make the different takes on the characters fit together — Waid’s Reed Richards is just not the same person (Skrulls aside) as the one in Civil War. Heck, even new repentant Tony Stark (as will be seen in Matt Fraction’s new book) is not the same person as Kurt Busiek’s pre-Civil War Tony Stark, even though they’re both going to be dealing with his moral center. In the same way, I don’t see Max in Maguire and Max in Infinite Crisis as the same guy at all. But for that matter I don’t see Batman circa 1987 and Batman circa 1997 as quite the same guy.

Interesting way to go about it. Although there is some “universe” overlap, as Bendis’ Daredevil started out with Nick Fury as head of SHIELD and ended with Maria Hill. Unless you consider the end of Daredevil #50 to be part of the “break” between universes, of course ;)

Thanks for the comment edit, CSBG gang!

Not sure if this is quite an urban legend or not, but I heard recently that one of the most underrated artists ever, Steve Lightle, died in a car accident. I’ve not been able to find anything confirming or denying this. Any answers?

Sue Dibny and Ted Kord were needlessly slaughtered for no reason at all in TOTALLY shitty comics.

I completely agree with Eric S. I’m in the process of reading all the JLI-era comics, and I have absolutely no problem with Max being a bad guy. Sure, there’s some moments here and there where Max seems too funny to be evil, but that could be said about pretty much every character that appeared in that run. Essentially, Max is a smarmy, manipulative creep who abuses his powers- he’s got ‘villain’ written all over him.

I must admit, though, that I found one eerily prophetic panel- in which Blue Beetle expressly says that it wouldn’t be Max’s style to shoot him in the head- pretty funny.

“I’m glad to see that one major contributor-Mc Guire (sic)-felt offended by the Beetle treatment.”

And another (if anything a more major contributor, having been there for the WHOLE run), Keith Giffen, wasn’t offended. He has stated a few times that he’s cool with Max being a villain and Beetle’s being killed by him.

Victor Hugo said …

For me “Identity Crisis” and “Countdown” were just two mean spirited spur of the moment, designed for shock value only. Making Mawell Lord a villain was an all-out act of ignorance.

“Identity Crisis”, along with “the Dark Knight Strikes Again” were one of the few comics, in my history, that i threw out in the trash after reading, because THAT´S where that belong.

What I meant to add was:

NO book belongs in the trash.

“And another (if anything a more major contributor, having been there for the WHOLE run), Keith Giffen, wasn’t offended. He has stated a few times that he’s cool with Max being a villain and Beetle’s being killed by him.”
That’s precisely why I note Maguire’s reaction, because Giffen’s was so disappointing. Then again, judging from how Giffen’s work has flip-flopped in quality through the years (it’s hard to believe he did both the Bwa Ha Ha League and the Adult Legion stories) it isn’t that surprising. Besides, in this type of situation, even if you’re angry with a company you often pretend not to be in order to stay in good graces. It takes cojones to come out and say that “The Company head creeped me out” much less to change the ending of a story as a protest. Go Maguire!

Judd Winick is such a dick. He says in an interview that he did something petty and revisionist, and then complains that people think he’s petty and revisionist.

But it’s everyone else’s fault because he was lying when he said it.

If I’m not mistaken, Rohan, I believe Max starts leaning more towards the side of good (as opposed to amorality) near the end of Giffen and DeMatteis’ stories, particularly during “Breakdowns.” Been a while since I’ve read any of “Breakdowns,” so perhaps my memory is fuzzy…

The character was a conceived as a villain- hence his appearance being based on Sam Neill in THE OMEN: THE FINAL CONFLICT- but when they got to the twelfth issue they decided they’d like to keep the character around so they added a bit of nobility to him. He never completely lost his scumminess, but in many later issues it was scumminess for the sake of the League- deep down he believed in it. That’s why it was particularly odd for him to say in COUNTDOWN that he was deliberately making the JLI ineffectual (though you could simply say he was lying.)

Yo go re, it’s not because I “didn’t like a particular story,” that I say DC’s current management has a problem with the JLI, it’s because character after character who’s associated with the JLI era has been killed off in big stupid event after big stupid event.

Sorry, Chris G. I didn’t really mean YOU you, more of a general “you.” Blame English’s lack of a proper second person plural. It wasn’t supposed to mean “just because [Chris G.] didn’t like a particular story,” but “just because [Generic Fan X] didn’t like a particular story.” And a lot of “Generic Fan X”es do indeed seem to think that DC editorial is specifically trying to do bad things to characters JUST because they were in JLI.

(Mary Marvel having to suffer the indignity of being in “Countdown” was funny, though. One Cool Point to you!)

To add to the list, though, here are some other Giffen/Maguire mainstays who have been purposely screwed over for their affiliation with the JLI:

Batman’s history was rewritten so his parents’ killer was never caught. Black Canary lost a daughter and married a clone. Grant Morrison tried to do away with Mister Miracle off-panel. Dr. Fate has been replaced TWICE. Guy Gardner lost his ring, gained new powers, lost his new powers and gained a ring. Ice died. Killowog died. Martian Manhunter had his book canceled – TWICE. Power Girl went through an identity crisis because she couldn’t remember who she really was. And all because DC hates fun characters.

Okay, I kid – but my point is, it’s not that anyone at DC dislikes the JLI era, but that the characters who appeared in those books 1) mostly aren’t starring in their own (or any other) books, and B) still have enough of a fan-following that readers will CARE when bad things happen to them. As evidenced by the fact that we’re all still talking about it – passionately – years after the fact.

Who on Earth would care if the mastermind of OMAC had been Mr. Saturn? No one. Who’d be talking about it now? Same, no one. But put Max Lord in there, in a role that isn’t (entirely) out of character for him, and what do you get? A story that actually strikes at people’s emotions, whether they agree with the decision or not. Even if you think that never should have been done, the REASON you think it shouldn’t have been done is because you care about Maxwell Lord more than Mr. Saturn.

However, there are fanboys out there who really believe it when they say “Dan Didio hates fun comics,” and honestly think he’s trying to scour them from the company’s history. It’s THAT sort of extremism that’s ridiculous, and that sort that hates the book because of their imaginary vendetta…

Hey Brian, here’s a topic for your next Urban Legend:

“COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Dan DiDio and/or DC editorial have a vendetta against Giffen & DeMatteis’ JLI characters.”

True or false?

Sure, why not?

I can predict that one.

“Certain fans say yes. Professionals say no.”

Mr Saturn? Do we mean Mr (Loren) Jupiter, from the Haney Teen Titans and, much more recently than 30 years ago, the Dan Jurgens Teen Titans?

He had his own rubbish revisionism moment, being ‘revealed’ as the father of Lilith.

“However, there are fanboys out there who really believe it when they say “Dan Didio hates fun comics,” and honestly think he’s trying to scour them from the company’s history. It’s THAT sort of extremism that’s ridiculous, and that sort that hates the book because of their imaginary vendetta…”

Except Didio HIMSELF has given away his attitude by making disparaging comments on characters like these, mainly during Conventions (I read them right here in CBR.) I’m not given to judge people without knowing them, but his attitude is clearly “killing characters is a good way to sell them”. Which certainly works FOR PART OF THE READERSHIP, but effectively says “screw you” to the rest. No, like I said: He’s DC’s President, and that means taking the blame along with the credit. Put up or shut up.

Here’s a topic I hope will be covered:

VIP, the group who contested legal ownership to some of the Valiant properties was affiliated with Dynamic Forces. True or false?

[If there is a better way to phrase this for the purposes of this column, I'd appreciate it. The key question is who was really behind the VIP bid for ownership of the Valiant Comics characters]

This column is a must read for me whenever a new one comes out. I am hoping to see this question resolved for the record, once and for all. perhaps its too controversial, so if it helps, I dare ya! :)

Well, Sijo, just as long as you have the same feeling towards Joe Quesada whose personal dislike of Peter Parker’s marriage led to the end of it. This was, incidentally, the SAME man who wholeheartedly supported getting the Black Panther and Storm married all because of a SINGLE BACK-UP story from 25 years before. Of course, that asinine marriage led to the incredibly awful Storm mini-series written–using that word VERY LOOSELY–by Eric Jerome Dickey in which Storm’s virginity is given to/taken by a teenaged T’Challa. (If Dickey’s prose writing is as lame as that Storm mini-series, I can’t see how the man makes a living.)
Given the choice, I’ll take Didio’s “trashing of” the JLI characters any day.

Oh, I’m not defending Quesada either. But at least Death doesn’t seem to be “The Answer to Everything” in Quesada’s Marvel the way it is in Didio’s DC. I think the last controversial Death in Marvel was Captain America’s (and NOBODY believes it); compare that to how every major storyline on DC since Identity Crisis has featured multiple, gratuitous character deaths, often gross or disturbing ones. Storm’s handling doesn’t begin to compare.

I have to add my agreement to those who are applauding Kevin Maguire–I wondered about that when I read the TPB collection of the story. I’m glad to hear that’s the case. Roy Thomas did some of the same things in the fallout over the original CRISIS–that is writing in characters in the story that weren’t in official continuity. They weren’t major characters in the stories–but they were there. I think it shows an artist or a writer cares about their characters and their work.

I never bought the Max Lord is evil bit, I mean c’mon! he was mind controlled by both Dreamslayer and Lord Havoc (the originals, not the watered down versions who have thier own limited series)

Sure they ahve officaly denied Max was out under control of an ouside force, and the old extremists are…well I have no idea I think ti’s something liek the Crime Syndicate/Crime Socirty thing

but bottom line we’ve seen evil max at least three times before, not sure why I should buy th 4th time

I applaud Kevin for standing up for his work, and am totally disgusted and appalled at Dan diDio’s callousness and sadism toward some very beloved characters.

I’d also like to thank Da Fug for bringing the matter of how eagerly DC’s other editors were looking forward to getting the pages of Sue Dibny’s rape out in the open.

Murder, rape torture, corruption; DC’s used all of those to get shock value and increased sales. Perhaps some sales increased *temporarily*, but at the cost of enraging and antagoinising long-term fans. Fans who may no longer be tolerating the destruction of their characters, and are voting with their dollars. As I certainly am …

Back in the 1990s there were many fans who started to promote the idea that ALL superhero comics should be dark and cynical and gritty. I didn’t like it.

And in reaction to that, many other fans promote the idea that ALL superhero comics should be “fun” and optimistic and hopeful. I also don’t like it.

Why don’t we promote diversity of taste and tone? Unpredictability? Constant change? Why lock ourselves into these patterns? The comic book industry is already too limited, why limit it further campaigning for a similar tone to all books?

I never really understood the notion that a story’s outlook (meaning, whether it’s cynical or hopeful) has anything to do with quality. I also don’t understand why “dark”, “adult” things can’t be considered “fun”.

Particularly, I don’t have any problem with the Avengers (or any other character) being light-hearted in a decade, and dark and cynical in the following, and then reverting to light.

Let different writers have the opportunity to express different views.

I vaguely recall that, in the late 80s, Walt Simonson was to have followed up Frank Miller’s “Born Again” storyline in Daredevil with a brief story arc of his own. Or was it John Byrne’s six- or seven-issue run on the Incredible Hulk that he was to have followed? It’s all a bit hazy.

Urban legend or figment of my imagination?

I’ve got two Urban Legends for you, which, oddly, revolve around D.G. Chichester.

1) I heard that he was going to make Matt Murdock the mayor of New York City, but it was ixnayed by Marvel’s editors because it would make it too tough on continuity (y’know, back when that mattered)

2) In the Shadowlines books, there is a character who has the same powers and look as Terror Inc., both of which were done by Chichester. I’ve heard that they weren’t just supposed to be alternate versions of each other, but the same character, who somehow made the leap to the mainstream Marvel Universe. Any truth to that?

Huh, that’s interesting. I remember reading back in the day about him saying that that ending wasn’t a rebuttal to Identity Crisis/Countdown. Or perhaps that was Giffen.

Also, wow. Peter Pan as Adversary… I’m really glad that didn’t happen in the actual comment. It seems like it would’ve been the most annoying kind of deconstruction; straight-up changing “innocent” to “evil”.

Personally, I always suspected Max was evil. Not that kind of Bondesque, omni-controlling evil, but a bad person. About if there was any need to rape Sue, turn the League into either manipulators, helpers in manipulation or “I don’t want to hear about it” cowards or killing BB… well, my opinion is quite different. Personally I haven’t still read anything past The Omac Project (I’m from Spain and it’s being released now, here) but I’ve been told that the final “abuse” on the Golden Age, Earth-2 spirit is despisable.

Winick never took part in the 1988 Jason Todd poll

Judd Winick is an overrated writer whose dialect in interviews may be even more alienating than his own scriptwriting in comics. Now, Comics Should Be Good revealed just a few weeks ago that the whole claim made on Newsarama 3 years ago that he’d vot…

I just started reading Fables on the basis of this page. Thanks for not revealing the Adversary.

I guess what would drive me nuts about Maxwell Lord becoming a bad guy (if I were still reading comics on a regular basis) would be the scene back in the day where the Martian Manhunter probed his mind and gave him a JLI communicator indicating the Jonz found him to be … trustworthy

Winick is VERY overrated. I can’t stand much of his work, unfortunately, he tends to write stories featuring some of my favorite characters…and writes them. So. Badly.

I think Didio also needs to go…he prob noticed how Marvel was getting critical acclaim and sales for it work in 2001-2004, and thought, “Hey, let’s make our comics ‘edgy’ like Marvel! We’ll make them dark and sadistic and retcon half our already-convoluted history by making it MORE convoluted and…” shut up, Didio.

Him showing McGuire the art of Beetle getting shot was a level of tackiness even JQ has yet to reach.

What a collection of manchildren we have reading comics today when they can’t take someone getting shot in the head or an implied rape in their reading. I hope you clowns were as upset when the flesh melted off Barry Allen’s bones way back in Crisis.

Oh, and nobody cared about the JLI in the ten years prior to Countdown to Infinite Crisis. You guys that were fans of that era should be grateful for the renewed light on those characters. It probably got you some trades of the old stuff published, not to mention a successful “Booster Gold” series.

Yeah!

You Sue Dibny fans out there should be PLEASED she was raped and murdered! That was awesome for fans of Sue and Ralph!

And you sniveling Blue Beetle fans, if he wasn’t shot in the head, then he’d be alive, and who wants that? Show a little more gratitude, why don’t you!!

And sure, there was that popular mini-series featuring the characters right before they were killed off, but who wants to actually read new comics with Sue and Ted Kord? There’s always reprints of old stuff, nerds!!

[...] la cambio a ultimo momento cuando se entero de lo que estaban por hacer en DC con esos personajes ACA esta el [...]

[...] Who was the Advesary supposed to be? [...]

So, when you guys are watching the news and there is a story about a woman getting raped, do you fly into your school-girl hissy fits?

OMG!!!! I DON’T NEED RAPE IN MY NEWS!!!!!!!

The stupid.

It burns.

Ow.

Don’t forget Rocket Red.
He’s dead too.

“So, when you guys are watching the news and there is a story about a woman getting raped, do you fly into your school-girl hissy fits?”

Do you have any comprehension of the difference between the news and what is supposed to be entertainment?

And I know full well that there are many dramatic books and even comics that are meant for adults that deal with themes like rape and murder but mainstream comics with solid histories of being meant for a general audience are not a place for an in your face “I’m gonna shock you” storyline especially when it turns conventions around 180 degrees for no other reason than an attempt to increase sales.

As someone who loves the giffen/maguire/demattis etc era of Justice League, one of my favorite “runs” ever, I wasnt so much “outraged” because Max was evil before!!!! That concept of Max Lord being evil wasnt anything new really (whether possesed or not hes always been a prick!)

And they always used to mix in some serious stuff it wasnt all BWAHAHA ..the big Despero story was pretty intense, as was the Gray Man and others.

As much as I love the original run and collected everything until the end I was let down by the 2 “minis” just seemed to be going back to the well nothing terribly wrong with the stories but just werent the same.

I must add I can never get too worked up even if someone is “out of character” because many different editors and writers are going to be handling all these characters in different ways, thats comics! And there will be thing that people see as “revisions”. Regardless of what came after DC felt the need to use two central characters from that era to kick off a big series/crossover etc so they must have thought some people cared about them.

Wonder if there were some new readers who were like “Who is this Lord guy” when reading him as a main villian. I mean I know they gave backstory in Countdown and all but just saying.

While I agree that, if comics are supposed to be set in a “real world” type environment, then awful things like murder and rape very well must occur, as they so often(sadly) do in our world; I wanted to add that, Brian, your response to the poor way that dbats stated as much, was awesome.
On that first note, though, why DO fans seem to get so upset(in the wrong way) that these things happen to the characters they enjoy? If they’re going to happen, then they must, by definition, happen to a character that at least SOME people like. People claim to want more realistic comics, and I think the grittiness adds to the realism, certainly; it’s a sad fact, but we live in a pretty rough world. So, as long as it’s approached well, and well-thought out, why do people take it like such poor sports? I understand being upset, it’s SUPPOSED to be an upsetting event, but it always seems more that it’s because it happens to a character THEY enjoy, more so than because of the harshness of the situation. I think that, when a major, intense, hateful event such as that takes place in a comic(as long as it’s not overused), it hits you hard, makes your head swim, fills you with anger…all signs of great writing, being able to make you feel something. It gives the affected characters a MAJOR conflict, as well, and conflict is what makes for storytelling. Just something I’ve always wondered about.

The last post kind of leads to the point I was going to make. Death and such is a cheap and easy way to create shock value, but only creates DRAMA if used sparingly. If you have a major character like Jean Grey die, it means something. But if you’re just offing as many characters as you can knowing they will be brought back right away, it doesn’t mean anything. And if fans get upset that you’re killing “their characters”, that’s natural, because it’s most often done now by people who don’t card about the character they’re offing (which if the writer doesn’t feel anything for the character, how will the reader?).

Geoff Johns defended the JLI purge in that generations change and everyone has characters that mean something to him or her, so that’s life. But I couldn’t help wondering how he’d feel if in ten years someone killed off his pet character, Stargirl, in some horrific way (or had the really bad taste to do it in a plane crash), since he based her on his dead sister. She’s probably less important than most of those JL characters, and isn’t really ever going to support her own book. So all the justifications for killing her are just as valid. But it’d be just as lazy writing; and I bet he’d object then. I thought we learned a lesson with the Scrourge that while there may be a few bad characters, it’s mostly bad writing.

I’m not a Fables reader, but have heard good things. And I have to say the idea of a villainous Peter Pan is a wonderful concept, and one that seems right there in his characterization. And seems like a better choice than the one they came up with (if I’m judging the link right). Not that how it played out couldn’t/didn’t work; just that the original plan seems a stroke of genius to me.

I had predicted it was peter pan, and was pretty disapointed when it wasn’t since that Pan would have obviously been a much better reveal and interesting villain. who they went with turned out to work in the long run but still Peter Pan would have been the ultimate

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