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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #151

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

This was not intentional, at first, but I noticed I had two out of three that were themed, so I added a third one, to make it all a theme this week – “Based on.”

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Stuart Immonen based the cast of Nextwave on the cast of Scrubs.

STATUS: False

Reader Ed sent me the following image (which is apparently making the message board rounds) with the question, “is it true that the cast of Nextwave was modeled after the cast of Scrubs?”

Now, even if this is NOT for real, whoever did the selection and cropping of these photos deserves a commendation – that’s some fine work right there.

Okay, so I asked Stuart Immonen, and he gave a pretty straightforward answer:

No… I’ve never seen the show, and don’t know the characters.

I think that’s about as definitive of an answer as you can get, right?

But boy does that pic look neat!

Thanks to Ed for the question and thanks to Stuart for the answer!!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jan Duursema has a Jedi Knight based on her.

STATUS: True

Artist Jan Duursema is a longtime comic book artist, having worked for Marvel and DC on a number of series, since the 1980s, probably most notably a run on Arion, Lord of Atlantis, a run on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and a run on X-Factor in the early 90s.

However, she really came to prominence when she began drawing Star Wars comics with writer John Ostrander for Dark Horse comics. She has been working on Star Wars comics ever since, so long, in fact, that she has managed to make her way INTO the Star Wars universe, in a way.

Artist Joe Corroney is one of the most notable artists out there for doing Star Wars artwork, as he has done art for LucasFilm on cards, posters, magazines, etc., with perhaps his most noticeable work being on Star Wars Insider, as well as doing a run on Star Wars Empire, which was the sister book to Star Wars Republic, which was drawn by Duursema.

Presumably there is a friendly bond when working on a property like Star Wars, so awhile back, Corroney, on his website, introduced a new Jedi Knight, Ur-Sema Du, as a tribute to Duursema.

At first, this was just a nice tribute by Corroney to his friend, but then, in an issue of Star Wars Insider, Abel G. Peña wrote a short story, “Unknown Soldier: The Story of General Grievous.”

In this story, with artwork by Corroney, Ur-Sema Du is featured, making Corroney’s tribute character forever a “canonical” Star Wars Jedi Knight.

Which is not bad work, if you can get it.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jill Thompson has had at least THREE comic book characters modeled after her!

STATUS: True

There is no doubting that writer/artist Jill Thompson, while being extremely talented, also has a very interesting visual appearance.

With her bright red curly hair, Thompson cuts a striking figure.

Here she is with artist Gene Ha (courtesy of his website):

So it should not come as much of a surprise to find that Thompson has been the inspiration for the visual look of a comic character, but what IS surprising is to note that she is the visual inspiration for at least FOUR comic book characters!!!

First off, just counting work she has done, Thompson used herself as the basis of the character Etain during Thompson’s tenure on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman…

And much later, Thompson based her brilliant children’s comic book/book series, The Scary Godmother, also on herself…

Over in the Invisibles, artist Steve Yeowell appears to have based Ragged Robin on Thompson, although Thompson doesn't seem to think so...

And in Kingdom Come, Alex Ross DID specifically use Thompson as the model for Joker’s Daughter (and her husband, Brian Azzarello, as the basis for another character, the villain 666).

Reader Derek filled me in on Thompson’s inspiration history, and he was curious about one that might make it FIVE characters, as Derek had heard that perhaps Fathom, from Bill Willingham’s Elementals (Thompson’s first comic book work, no less!) was ALSO based on Thompson. I don’t see the resemblance, but if anyone knows for sure, let me know!!

Thanks to Derek for letting me know about this, and thanks to PopImage (I didn’t see a specific credit, so I guess I’ll just credit Andrew Wheeler and Christopher Butcher, who were both editors there), who I see did a feature on just this topic back in 2000 (they supplied the pic of Etain)! Thanks, guys!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

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

While you’re here, check out the Top 100 Comic Book Runs countdown (you can follow it here)!

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!

48 Comments

According to his recent book, Jill Thompson was also the model for Brunhilde in P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of the Ring of the Nibelung.

wasn’t Jill Thompson also the model for Delirium in Sandman?

I always thought Tori Amos was Delirium- at least, that’s what she claims.

I thought Thompson was Delerium as well.

yeah, i’ve heard Tori Amos say she was Delirium, too… but i’ve heard the Jill explanation more.

just went and looked it up and found this:

http://www.popimage.com/feb00/profile/beyondjill.html

[b]Although rumours still persist that the original model for Delirium of the Endless was singer Tori Amos – a close friend to creator Neil Gaiman – she’s actually a composite of many ideas and people that Neil Gaiman had encountered. However, the character was more frequently drawn by Jill than by any other artist. It was therefore quite natural that Delirium should come to look like Jill. In the words of Neil Gaiman, from the Sandman Compendium; “[Jill] put a lot of herself into Delirium, in terms of body language, facial expressions, and so on. … Lots of Delirium’s mannerisms, the way she holds her body and so on, are things that Jill does.”[b]

I’d always thought that delirium was based on the late Kathy Acker.

Even if Steve Yeowell didn’t base Ragged Robin on Jill Thompson, Thompson’s OWN rendition of RR sure looks a lot like her.

RE: Nextwave
I’ll believe the artist. That doesn’t eliminate the extreme resemblence, though. That’s just wierd!

No… I’ve never seen the show, and don’t know the characters.

I already loved Immomen, but the fact that he’s never watched Scrubs just confirms his awesomeness.

Try reading Nextwave while watching Scrubs. There´s a lot of sync there. Like Dark Side of The Moon and Wizard of Oz.

Thanks for the tangent discussion, guys, but if you don’t mind, I’m removing it for the time being, until I feature said urban legend (don’t want to spoil it ahead of time ;)). Thanks!

I remember Jan’s work on Arion back in the day. That’s still one of my all time favorite series right up until it ended so badly and out of character. Every follow up appearance of Arion since then has just torn the character down; recent Superman villain phase included….

I always remember being fond of Duursema’s art, but she rarely popped up in books I was ever reading. I think the last time I saw anything by Jan, was the old Hawkman series by Ostrander back in the 90’s…and she didn’t stick around long on that book. I had wondered if she was still working in comics. I’m not a big fan of Star Wars (outside of watching the movies once in a while) so I doubt I’ll be checking out any of her current work (though I will seek it out to flip through it on the racks now that I know she’s still working in the industry). Hopefully she’ll make her way back to a property I’ve got more interest in. She’s a great artist.

Fathom looked that way for a couple of years before Jill Thompson worked on the Fathom miniseries…

Fathom only looked slightly like Thompson when Thompson drew her, and not at all otherwise.

Ragged Robbin is based off of Thompson (at least in the first volume).

In the book “Anarchy for the Masses: The Disinfo Guide to the Invisibles,” Mr. Morrison says in an interview that Ragged Robin was based partially on Thompson (he says that she was also inspired by the same mental patient that inspired Crazy Jane of his “Doom Patrol” run).

Later on, in Volume 2, Morrison says that he gave Phil Jimenez instructions to draw the character more like “that chick from Starship Trooper” (that said chick would be Dina Meyer) and had the characters of King Mob and Ragged Robbin hook-up.

Even if the Nextwave/Scrubs thing isn’t intentional, it’s still a pretty neat coincidence.

I recall noting that Mike Carey’s initial team of X-Men, plus Northstar and Aurora, mapped pretty well onto the cast of Firefly.

I remember meeting Steve Yeowell and Jill Thompson together for a tour they did with Grant Morrison in 1993 to promote Sebastian O/Sandman, and they seemed to get along great, so I can see Yeowell wanting to base a character on her.

great urban legends this week, brian. but, shouldn’t the thrid one read “Jill Thompson has had at least FOUR comic book characters modeled after her!” instead of “Jill Thompson has had at least THREE comic book characters modeled after her!”?

It was four when I first wrote it, but then I figured, “Let’s just say three, in case Ragged Robin is NOT actually based on her.” ;)

The whole NextWave/Scrubs thing smacks of someone reading too hard between the lines. The characters in the book don’t look anything like the characters in the show. Someone went through the book and picked out close ups of the characters where they had expressions that vaguely paralleled the ones in the cast head shots.

I would watch a Nextwave movie or animated series featuring the cast of Scrubs. Zach Braff could play number one or even the surprise villian at the heart of it all. There is some funny stuff on the Jill Thompson/Ragged Robin connection in the Disinformation Guide to the series. File under ‘Stranger than fiction’.

The site’s new look really suits this column btw

I would watch a Nextwave movie or animated series featuring the cast of Scrubs. Zach Braff could play number one or even the surprise villian at the heart of it all.

That wouldn’t work. Unlike Scrubs, Nextwave is supposed to be funny. The Scrubs cast doesn’t have much experience in doing a funny comedy.

Scrubs was based on Nextwave.

I always thought Anne O’Brien of “Monkeyman and O’Brien” looked a little like Jill.

Also, have you done a report on the “models” from the original Swamp Thing story?

Ha! Yeah, Steve – that’s a pretty awesome story, too! I think it’s among the first Urban Legends installments I did.

Eh. What’s with the Scrubs bashing? Anyway, I hadn’t heard this crazy rumor before, but I did hear the casting suggestion of McGinley as Dirk Anger. I thought it was spot on. Meanwhile, I kinda get the other comparisons or castings funnily enough. Particularly the Janitor as Machine Man. Of course I want a Nextwave movie yesterday anyway.

While I’ve never seen scrubs…

T, it isn’t a comedy? Then why is every commercial I’ve ever seen for it in its syndicated run on WGN been engineered SPECIFICALLY to portray it as a comedy?

Andrew Collins

April 18, 2008 at 6:32 pm

I had no idea that Thompson and Azzarello were married. See, you learn something new every day…

Jill Thompson was definitely the model for Brunhilde: there are photos of her posing in the back of the Dark Horse Nibelung books. That’s not the first time she’s posed for Russell either, I believe. He’s used her at least once before for another Opera adaptation, but I’m not sure which off the top of my head.

Yeah, I think Russell uses Thompson as one of his stable of models for his various adaptations and stories. Don’t know if that counts as established comic book characters, though, although I do believe he used her in the Dr. Strange one shot he did about 10 years ago, IIRC.

Unlike Scrubs, Nextwave is supposed to be funny.

Scrubs IS supposed to be funny. I agree that it isn’t, but your sentence doesn’t make any sense.

I think in the picture you have of Fathom, you can see the resemblence to Thompson in her jaw and nose and the way that the hair flows from both of their heads. Willingham may have changed the color of Fathom’s hair to put a little more distance between the two.

By the way, Duursema worked on Star Wars: Republic, not Star Wars: Rebellion. These days she’s the artist (and I think even co-creator) of Star Wars: Legacy, which started up a little while after Republic ended.

Oh, and I think Scrubs is funny, since everyone’s commenting.

You’re totally right, Ethan! I got the wrong “Re….” book. :)

Possible Urban Legend: Geoff Johns originally had a much different origin in mind for Power Girl than the one she was eventually given in Infinite Crisis.

I believe Jan is married to Tom Mandrake?

I believe Jan is married to Tom Mandrake?

Yeah, but I imagine she’s probably a bit tired of that coming up every time she’s mentioned, so I decided to avoid mentioning it. :)

A friend of mine told me the first apperance of Savage Dragon was in a Marvel Comics Presents issue, drawn by Larson, and featuring Wolverine and Spider-Man. Any truth to this?

Does it really count if you use yourself as a model for a character? I mean, what’s the inspiration there?

I thought Jill Thompson was with Jimmy Palmiotti…

And Neil Gaiman has said that Delirium couldn’t have been based on Tori Amos because he created her years before he and Tori met.

Jan Duursema’s a WOMAN??!! A pretty one too? I had no idea! I’ve read some of her stuff did some hulk work as i recall, but I just assumed… Well, shows what i know.

Scrubs rocks btw, at least the first few seasons. I haven’t seen it in a while but I have always found it inventive and charming.

Hi,
That’s a very nice resource on Ur-Sema Du.
I have been learnt how she has introduced to the SW Universe,
Thanks

Couldn’t Ellis have been referencing Scrubs without telling Immonen?
Not saying he did, but it’s a weird debunking of the legend if it only discounts ONE of the creators.

Couldn’t Ellis have been referencing Scrubs without telling Immonen?
Not saying he did, but it’s a weird debunking of the legend if it only discounts ONE of the creators.

Immonen designed the looks for the characters, and the visuals for the characters were the only thing making people think that they were connected to Scrubs. It wasn’t like their personalities were similar.

So since it was just a visual gag (if it was a gag), then Immonen is the only one we need to talk to.

Cherokee Jack

July 7, 2013 at 5:46 am

Russell also used Thompson for his model when he drew Poison Ivy in LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT.

http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryPiece.asp?Piece=842603&GSub=43082

http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=848670&gsub=99215

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