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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #155

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

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Google’s name is not derived at all from the comic strip Barney Google.

STATUS: Likely False, in an Extremely Roundabout Way

Barney Google was a comic strip begun by Billy DeBeck in 1919, under the overly wordy original title Takes Barney Google, F’rinstance. It was soon changed to Barney Google, and in 1922, Barney, who was a short hard on his luck fellow, was gifted an inept race horse named Spark Plug.

With the addition of Spark Plug, the strip became a huge smash, leading even to a popular song of the period by Billy Rose, called Barney Google.

Here is a sampling of the lyrics of the 1923 smash hit:

Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.
Barney Google bet his horse would win the prize.
When the horses ran that day, Spark Plug ran the other way.
Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.

Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.
Barney Google had a wife three times his size
She sued Barney for divorce
Now he’s living with his horse.
Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.

In 1924, the strip went to even greater heights when Barney and Spark Plug found themselves in the mountains of North Carolina, where they met up with the equally tiny hillbilly, Snuffy Smith. Americans sure loved them their hillbillies (see L’il Abner for proof of that), so Snuffy was a great addition to the strip, and soon it was retitled Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.

In fact, during the 1950s, Barney and Snuffy parted company, but Snuffy got to keep the strip!!! It continues to this day as Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, but Barney only occasionally shows up to visit.

Anyhow, on to the Google fellows. Did Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, get the name of their company from Barney Google?

Yes and no – it is tricky.

First off, they specifically took the name of the company from the word googol, which is a very large number (1 with one hundred zeros after it), after first thinking of the word googolplex, which is 1 followed by a googol of zeros, as a symbol of the immense amount of data their search engine would search through. Through an accidental misspelling, it became “google” and that name stuck.

And that would be it, the answer would be no, the name Google did not come from Barney Google.

However, where did the word googol come from?

And that’s where it gets tricky.

The word was developed in the late 1930s by mathematician Edward Kasner, based off the suggestion of his young nephew, Milton Sirotta. Kasner popularized the term with his book, Mathematics and the Imagination (1940).

Kasner asked Sirotta to come up with a word that could describe a massive figure, and Sirotta came up with “googol.”

Now the question is – how likely is it that Sirotta came up with the world “googol” on his own, and was not influenced by the massively successful comic strip of the same name, which was EVERYwhere (comics, cartoons, toys, you name it)?

I say the odds are extremely unlikely, to the point where I think it’s safe enough to say that he DID get the term from the comic strip, suggested it to his uncle, who made it into the number which, half a century later, inspired the name of the company Google.

So while not intending to do so, the founders of Google did choose a name that was derived from Barney Google, the one with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Savage Dragon appeared in an issue of Marvel Comics Presents before he appeared in Savage Dragon #1

STATUS: Kinda True

Erik Larsen is an extremely creative guy.

Massively creative.

He has been creating new characters since he was a little kid, and even created a whole superhero “line” of comics built around these characters (sadly, I believe most of these comics were lost in a fire in the early 90s).

He introduced his star character, The Dragon, in the pages of Megaton in 1983.

When Larsen began working for Marvel in the late 1980s, he could not help but let some of his established characters sort of seep into his Marvel Comics work.

Rapture was reworked as Powerhouse…

Superpatriot was reworked as Cyborg-X, who, in turn, was part of a rejected pitch Larsen had made with Fabian Nicieza for the title X-Factor before Marvel went with Peter David.

Cyborg X was written as though he was Crimson Commando, the former member of Freedom Force who had been critically injured in a recent storyline in the X-Men annuals – Larsen had Cyborg X use actual dialogue from that storyline, showing the post-traumatic stress he felt about those events (later on, Crimson Commando would show up in X-Factor explicitly a cyborg).

And yes, in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents #48-50, which I believe was the first time Larsen wrote a comic for either Marvel or DC, Larsen featured as a guest villain, The Savage Fin, who was a reworked Dragon…

That same story had some amusing take-offs on the Marvel Family and Spider-Man’s origins, including this amusing Ditko homage…

So yep, Savage Dragon (and other Larsen creations) made a Marvel Comics sidetrack on their way to finally appearing in Larsen’s own comic, Savage Dragon.

Reader Fig Logan asked me about this one, but I know some other people that I have forgotten have also asked me about this over the years.

Thanks to the Appendix to the Handbook to the Marvel Universe for the scans!! That site is amazing! You all should check it out!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Erik Larsen wanted to reveal Elektra to be a Skrull years ago

STATUS: True

Since I’m on the subject of Erik Larsen’s Marvel days, it reminds me of a topic that I think deserves some clarity, because there seems to be a bit of confusion over what Erik Larsen is stating re: Elektra as a Skrull.

Back when Larsen was having a bit of a renaissance at Marvel in the late 1990s (drawing some Spider-Man issues and writing Wolverine), he was given a title he had wanted to do for years – Nova the Human Rocket.

In his Comic Book Resources column a few weeks back, Larsen explained that in Nova #3, he wanted to have it revealed that the Elektra Marvel was using at the time was a Skrull, as a sort of show of creator good faith to Frank Miller, who Marvel had promised that they would not bring Elektra back. Larsen figured that if the Elektra who they had been using since her return was a Skrull, then Marvel’s promise would still have sort of been kept.

His editors caught his sly attempt to sneak it into the issue, and told him to remove it.

Instead, he had the Skrull be a familiar face to Larsen fans…

Now what is causing some confusion some places is the assertion that Larsen is claiming that the idea of Secret Invasion was his – that is not the case.

Larsen is not even necessarily saying that Brian Michael Bendis (or whoever) took the “Elektra is a Skrull” plot directly from his unused plot.

All he is saying is that he wanted to have it revealed that Elektra was a Skrull in 1999, but Marvel would not let him, and now they’re doing that same plot eight years later. He is not taking credit for the story, just the fact that he tried to do the “Elektra was a Skrull” plot eight years before Marvel ended up doing it (and eight years after they rejected his idea). He may think that Marvel remembered his Elektra idea and used it as part of Secret Invasion (whether that’s true or not), but he is not claiming that Secret Invasion was his idea, which I have seen suggested at a a few different places.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for 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!

63 Comments

First, bitches!

…my grandmother used to sing that Barney Google song. I’m rather shocked that I know a song from a comic book of 1923.

Another interesting Barney Google trivia item is that Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, was nicknamed “Sparky” after Barney’s horse Spark Plug.

SanctumSanctorumComix

May 16, 2008 at 7:30 am

Back in the late 1970’s (maybe early 1980’s) there was a brand of Peanut Butter that had the Jelly swirled into it (predating the Smuckers version) and it was called “googly” or something.

There were “Google eyes” affixed to the jar (on the cap?) and the commercial was a variation on the Barney Google song.

Something along the lines of:
“Googly pb&j…with the goo-goo-googly eyes””

Sadly, I can’t recall the actual brand or find the song anywhere, but it’s been stuck in my head the whole time.
I should call some of my siblings. I know at least ONE of them will recall it.

~P~
P-TOR

The Elektra reveal in Secret Invasion (or New Avengers, whichever it was) doesn’t work anyway. Wasn’t she killed off and resurrected by the Hand during Mark Millar’s run on Wolverine, during ‘Enemy of the State’? Wouldn’t she have had to revert to a Skrull during that storyline? And wouldn’t the ninjas in the Hand *kind* of noticed that little detail?

I don’t know, the whole Google/Google-Thing seems a bit far-fetched to me. I mean, it’s interesting but the giant leap of faith in the middle?

“Now the question is – how likely is it that Sirotta came up with the world “googol” on his own, and was not influenced by the massively successful comic strip of the same name, which was EVERYwhere (comics, cartoons, toys, you name it)?

I say the odds are extremely unlikely, to the point where I think it’s safe enough to say that he DID get the term from the comic strip, suggested it to his uncle, who made it into the number which, half a century later, inspired the name of the company Google.”

It’s just not enough proof to convince me.

SanctumSanctorumComix

May 16, 2008 at 8:02 am

Hmmm… for some reason, this post won’t manifest.
Perhaps it’s because I placed a link in it.

I’ll delete the link and repost now.
If this becomes a double-post, my apologies in advance, perhaps a moderator can delete one of the dupes).

————-
Ah!
Found it!

It wasn’t GOOGLE… it was KOOGLE (I guess to avoid lawsuits for using the Google song).

Koogle Peanut Butter
It was in the early 70’s, and was a flavored peanut butter. Available in; chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla and banana.

The commercial jingle’s lyrics were:
“here comes Koogle with the goo-goo-googly eyes”

ah…. now I can sleep tonight without having this on my mind.

~P~
P-TOR

Re: Skullektra,

It’s possible that Elektra died (again) in the Enemy of the State storyline (or whenever that was), and the Skrulls did the ol’ switcheroo on the Hand, swapping out the real corpse for the Skrull replacement. I’d by that the Hand wouldn’t notice.

There was some exposition in one of the SI books where the Skrulls said they were specifically picking used-to-be-dead, now alive characters.

Perhaps you are thinking of a product called Goober Grape, a jar with both peanut butter and grape jelly in the jar.

Chris Franklin

May 16, 2008 at 10:02 am

The Larsen/Elektra thing wouldn’t be the first time an unused plot was recycled after initially being rejected. Chuck Dixon planned for the Spoiler to become the new Robin during his first run on Robin but was told no. A few years later and…

Chris

Has it been established yet exactly when the Elektra Skrull “took over?”

I know Larsen’s idea was to say she’d been that way since her first resurrection (to maintain the sanctity of Marvel’s deal w/Miller) but I don’t recall that Marvel has made explicit yet the moment in which the current Skrullektra took over for the real one.

Of course, the real question is if Marvel hasn’t established that yet, will they ever? Or will the exact times that the Skrul infiltrators took over never be established, because Marvel would say that is “continuity getting in the way of telling a good story?”

It hasn’t but that Enemy of the State storyline suuuuure would be a convenient time to pull the switcheroo without obliterating years of continuity (really, is Skrullectra going to drag Matt Murdock’s unmasked behind to the Night Nurse, fight Bullseye AND Supply a buncha buncha Hand Ninjas as private security?)

That did happen prior to “Enemy”, right? Or was it concurrent?

Actually, here’s a question I’m too lazy to look up– Was Skrullektra a self-aware Skrull? Did she reveal her alien nature prior to her death, or did she fall under circumstances that one could argue she didn’t know what she was? That’s where it might be tough to consider how long its been since she “went green”.

I remember reading somewhere that Larsen tried to use a pre-published version of his Savage Dragon in a Marvel book but was told his character was pretty much the Hulk in Triton’s skin.

On the subject of Skrulls, I thought it would have been cool to suggest that every Marvel character who was on the Beyonder’s world in the first Secret War were captured and replaced by Skrulls on their return home. This would have been a great way to disclaim a lot of garbage thrown at us since then without messing at all with continuity. DC did the same type of thing with a single character, when years after Black Canary came to Earth 1, it was revealed that it was actually Dinah Lance’s daughter that came over in her stead.

It’s established in the latest issue of New Avengers that Skrullektra had awareness of what she’it was: the Skrull gave a report to the Skrull queen in that issue.

I always thought Barney Google’s theme was as follows:

“Oh,oh,oh. Great balls of fire, I’m “audacious?”. Oh,oh,oh, great balls of fire I’m “alive?”.
Oh,oh,oh great balls of fire, goodness gracious. I’ll chop,chop,chop,chop, chop away all of my life”.

(Not sure if “audacious” or “alive” are the right words here.) Now that I think of it, it might have been Google’ spin-off – Snuffy Smith.

Can anyone confirm?

SanctumSanctorumComix

May 16, 2008 at 11:34 am

Fantome:

“Great Balls of Fire” was Snuffy Smith.

DoubleWide:

Nope. KOOGLE.
Many years before Smuckers’ Goober Grape.

~P~
P-TOR

“It’s established in the latest issue of New Avengers that Skrullektra had awareness of what she’it was: the Skrull gave a report to the Skrull queen in that issue.”

Thank you QJ. In that case, I hope its an “Enemy of the State switcheroo seeing as how the interactions between Matt and Elektra during Bendis’ run are simply too poignant (I think Bendis used more subtext there than in anything else he’s ever done) to be retroactively shuffled off to “Oh, she’s was a Skrull, I’d had that planned for YEARS.” Liar.

Ahem. That constitutes the last of my thread hijack. Thanks!

Nice one, Brian. I couldn’t believe it when I logged on the Bendis Board and saw some douches trying to characterize Erik Larsen’s well thought-out and timely criticism of SECRET INVASION as jealousy that his idea was stolen. He actually calls it an “underhanded cop-out” in the column!

Ha! And the Marvel zombies have always picked on DC for having a convoluted and confusing universe!

Loved Barney Google and Snuffy Smith when I was a kid. It was always funner when Barney came to visit.

I always thought that a googolplex was googol raised to the googol power. It’d be a 1 followed by as many zeroes written in normal-sized handwriting on enough sheets of standard 8 1/2″ X 11″ sheets of notebook paper to fill the entire observable universe. Don’t remember if I have that right, or where I heard it, but I think maybe it was Carl Sagan on his show Nova when I was a kid.

No Kid Z, a googleplex IS 10 to the power of a google. As for how much paper it would fill, THAT is correct, and yes you DID hear it from Carl Sagan in Cosmos which aired on PBS like Nova.

It’s just not enough proof to convince me.

That’s cool – really, my biggest interest in the piece was to lay out the various facts of the situation, and show the conclusion I’ve personally drawn – it’s totally fine if you look at it and see it the other way, I’m certainly not claiming that it is some definitive open and shut case (hence my “likely” :) ).

How about “Grant Morrison originally wanted to name the comic Seaman, but had to change it to Seaguy for obvious reason” as a suggested Urban Legend.

I can seed it around by posting it as fact at a bunch of boards so it comes up as a question from others. :)

I really hope we don’t start getting those obnoxious “First!” posts all the time. Do they honestly think it’s impressive that they spend so much time on the internet?

“The Elektra reveal in Secret Invasion (or New Avengers, whichever it was) doesn’t work anyway. Wasn’t she killed off and resurrected by the Hand during Mark Millar’s run on Wolverine, during ‘Enemy of the State’? Wouldn’t she have had to revert to a Skrull during that storyline? And wouldn’t the ninjas in the Hand *kind* of noticed that little detail?”

I think it’s been suggested that’s when the “real” Elektra died. We’ll find out soon enough the deal with Sktullelektra.

Oh, that’s funny. I should still have that issue of Nova around somewhere.

On a related note, people are right, the Skrull-Elektra thing doesn’t work, but that’s the way Marvel’s going, stories that don’t make sense and the the histories are all messed up.

I also have the Millar Wolverine thing, probably the last Millar stuff I’ll ever read. It was a great story, something he was good at and he could pull off.

just a small nitpick here, but i believe the Snuffy Smith strip is only Snuffy Smith, not Snuffy Smith and Barney Google.

Unless they changed it in the last month, it’s still Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.

Andrew Steven Harris

May 16, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Regarding Savage Dragon’s Marvel comics appearance–this isn’t the only “pre-Image crossover” of later Image characters. Rob Liefeld’s Shaft (okay, no way around that pun) first appeared in an early issue of X-Force under the name “Balaban”; and except for a change in the coloring of his costume, the McFarlane-drawn Spider-Man villian The Prowler is a dead ringer (there’s that pun again) for Spawn.

If Rob Liefeld named a superhero after Bob Balaban, I may have to grant him one shred of credit.

Don’t forget the one about Cougar appearing in Marvel Age, that was going to be in New Mutants/X-Force and he saved it for later.

This all proves ‘it’s not easy being green.’

Ehm, Larsen does know that there is only Tom Brevoort and Ralph Macchio left from editorial almost ten yeara ago, right? And depending on who Larsen’s Editor was, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Bendis tapped in on the same juice Larsen”s been drinking to have Elektra become a skrull, or rther the other way around.
_________________
To: Andrew Steven Harris
The Prowler is a creation of the mighty Romita, from way back in the ASM 80’s. And the only similarity between The Prowler and Spawn is the eye-piece and the cape. And that is most likely more due to McFarlane wanting to create Spider-Man and Batman, and decided to blend them. And, that’s the design I’m talking about.

I’m a fan of Image Comics, and I’m a fan of Larsen the creator, but I dislike Larsen the artist.

“Unless they changed it in the last month, it’s still Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.”

that is unusual. in the paper i get, it is Snuffy Smith, and Barney has never appeared in any of the instalments i have read.

What you missed in the Kasner/Sirotta story was the fact that Sirotta, at the time, was an infant., and that Kasner interpreted his gurgling baby-talk as the word “googol”.

Rapture wasn’t “reworked” as Powerhouse. Rapture wasn’t even created until Larsen was developing the Savage Dragon series. There are some superficial similarities, namely black chicks with swatches of white hair. Also, “the Savage Fin” (whom I don’t believe was even referred to as such in Larsen’s MCP run) was most certainly not “reworked” into the Savage Dragon. He was merely a nod to the character Larsen first conceived as a child. Of more interest is the oblique reference to DC’s Captain Marvel at the conclusion of the story. Larsen’s Marvel work has a lot more depth a subtlety to it than a lot of folks realize.

that is unusual. in the paper i get, it is Snuffy Smith, and Barney has never appeared in any of the instalments i have read.

The strip only stars Smith – Google only very rarely shows up. His name is in the credits solely because, well, it has always been there! :)

Rapture wasn’t “reworked” as Powerhouse. Rapture wasn’t even created until Larsen was developing the Savage Dragon series. There are some superficial similarities, namely black chicks with swatches of white hair.

Black chicks with swatches of white hair who fire energy blasts out of their hands.

They have the same “superficial similarities” as Cyborg X and Superpatriot (that is, they look the same and have similar powers)

That said, I’ll certainly allow that perhaps Rapture was not one of the Savage Dragon characters who Larsen created years before the series debuted. If that’s the case, then fair enough, rather than Powerhouse being a reworked Rapture, Rapture is a reworked Powerhouse.

This is not a knock on the guy – they’re all Larsen creations, after all.

Also, “the Savage Fin” (whom I don’t believe was even referred to as such in Larsen’s MCP run) was most certainly not “reworked” into the Savage Dragon. He was merely a nod to the character Larsen first conceived as a child. Of more interest is the oblique reference to DC’s Captain Marvel at the conclusion of the story.

He reworked the Dragon into the comic the same way he reworked Mary Marvel in the comic. He had already introduced the Dragon years earlier, so it’s not like Larsen’s being accused of anything here. Just saying he worked the Dragon into a Marvel comic before Savage Dragon came out. You seem to be reacting as though that’s a shot at Larsen.

It is not.

Larsen’s Marvel work has a lot more depth a subtlety to it than a lot of folks realize.

Again, Justin, you seem to be seeing arguments where there are none. Who’s saying his work didn’t have depth? I am not taking issue with Larsen in the above piece at all. In fact, if you note, I COMPLIMENT the guy more than once in the piece. Larsen’s neat-o.

Wait, so is Marc Guggenheim based on Barney Google or not?

As for Urban Legends, I’d say this whole “Frank Miller made Marvel promise not to revive Elektra” thing warrants a look at.

I already did, Frank! I honestly don’t recall when I featured it, but it’s somewhere in the archives! :)

I believe that Barney Google´s influence in search engine Google´s trademark name and the influence of the scientifically derived word googol (I was certainly not aware of Edward Kasner´s concept, and much less the role that Milton Sirotta played in the development of the concept ) is maybe a small detail, something that can possibly be of no real consequence, but it still is a really hard to note small fact (always speaking subjectively, since I would never could have guessed almost all the real information presented in this and the other urban legends, mostly due to the lack of cultural and historical knowledge that Brian has, as well as the intuition showed to link several other factors that probably wouldn´t be associated by someone with a less inquisitive mind). I would have rated the legend in a very ambiguous or ambivalent state, considering it Likely False and perhaps related in an extremely roundabout way, or to put it a different way, linked in a subtle but probably unrelated way.

On the other hand, due to my inclinations and according to a different point of view, one that I reached just by reading and interpreting the article in my way, I would at least grant this legend the status of “Maybe False or True, but as Likely as Probably completely off track”. i´m of course not stating that the only way to view any concept is by presenting opposing positions/hypothesis/valuable POV´s, etc, but sometimes comparing two different views that oppose each other in a few or several aspects, helps to get to the point one is trying to reach without boring everyone to hell with what may be considered unnecesary side notes or mumbling . I mean, it sure is in a roundabout way, hell I even sometimes think that I only function roundabouting everything (I don´t believe this word exists at all) and that´s even taking into account that by slightly magnifying any linked comment or silghtly associated small fact in a way that benefits the personal point without modifying the facts, an “objectively possible” theory can be presented, and a lot of different opinions will arise. That´s why I don´t pretend to express more than what occurs to me in this particular moment, and influenced by whatever ideas this article moved in me.

The criticism and ambiguous point of views I try to present can be applied to a lot of the Urban Legends, almost exclusevily to the more Lie/Truth mixes of them, that´s why am posting so much on something that is a small scrutinized fact of more than 400 comic urban legends discussed.

Anyway, and sorry if I sound pretentious with all the long disclaimers inserted before an opinion on something which is not too relevant, my point of view is that both facts (Barney Google´s comic and the concept behind googol´s word) influenced whoever chose Google´s name.

I´m certainly not trying to be scientific here, but I don´t accept the concept of randomness on something that ended being a worlwide household resource that the majority that have the possibility to access internet choose to use on a daily basis to get whichever knowledge, entertainment, etc that one was looking, and also obtaining these results reliably fast and accurately; I believe that the urban legend source probably has at least tangentially hit the spot, and by jumping on the wagon of the meme concept (which is a concept hard to prove or refute) i´d say it is theoretically possible that the comic influenced the mathematical concept of googols, and the fact that it was suggested by the scientist´s cousin, which is not a scientist per se, can lead one to assume that this person could have had at least a moderate knowledge on the mainstream cultural products of its country (in a different level that one has today with the internet handing out almost everything one wants to find) but it still has a good enough change of having happend. And then, decades later, a word that hadn´t been actively used in all that time is choosed to represent what got to be the bigger Internet search engine ever. Assuring or even thinking that the Barney Google´s comic and/or the mathematical concept were fundamental in Google´s naming is a huge stretch, but I believe that they still hold a chance to be related in a way.

It´s obviously equally likely that both facts are completely unrelated, but associations that end having at least a minor significance are not to be overlooked without stopping by on them at least for a moment, IMO (I also believe that you can´t give it more importance than it deserves or you may end with the paranoid concept that every loosely associated quasi-esoteric concept is likely true, hehe). Milton Sirotta was more than likely a regular down to earth person that may have had the opportunity to come into contact with what probably was a moderately to barely known icon in the existing entertainment culture, and among the not-so-diversified options that one had, even if there were several options, strictly speaking. What I try to say is that there werent´s so many comics, so many characters with an existence that allowed them to reach popular knowledge, even if there were many, being located at an earlier time, the comic storytelling tecnique was very far away to what it got to be, even as a general and normal community entertainment resource (no superhero or trend-dominated, strategically crafterd comics created around “almost flawless hit concepts” existed yet, and would not start appearing for several years more, and obviously lacking in its entirety the diversity and freedom that allows things like The Invisibles or Sandman to happen and exist) So Milton may have known it and it may have never even heard of it, but it still was the person that applied that concept to what his uncle developed, probably guided mostly on an intuitive cognitive process, because obviously a scientific mathematical concept is not going to be directly based on funnybooks.

At this point you can choose to adscribe to the Jungian “collective unconscious” concept (not because this urban legend directly touches a critically important idea or complex concept, but because of the almost non encouraged success it had, which gradually turned Google to one of the major identities in the present world, which is a company that has more global relevance and presence than what anyone would have initially estimated. And I think that this happened mostly by having accomplished the task of making things (saying things in a general way and applying it to a lot of aspects) in an original, close to the people, powerful, simple but strong, generally known and easily used way. Hey, of 100 people I know, probably 95 wold choose Google to search for something, and I don´t believe a hard statistic would fall far from a supreme Google majority.

Another approach is the classical critic of a cryptomnesiac process present (classical critic to any “collective unconscious” related argument), in which only a brief glimpse of a simmilar word would explain any simmilarity and analogy, because cryptomesia bases itself on the theoretical concept that everyone´s unconscious, or at least most people´s have an eidetic memory trait, and everything that one perceives at any given moment including all types of information, is stored somewhere in the big pool that is a person´s mind (in the most abarcative version of the concept of mind). This is a POV that may not sound so opposite from the previous one, because it ends basing itself on a concept that ends being as much esoteric as the initial “directly esoteric” one, but cryptomnesia (always speaking from the limits of the theory itself) only works if a strictly personal contact with each fact and real life examples exist, even it it´s extremely brief. It could still apply here, and it sounds more “scientific” and hard, and it tries to rise above obscure and primitive conceptions, but I still like to believe everything is a bit more influenced, even if it´s loosely connected and wether we all like it or not.

Anyway, what I´m trying to say amongst what may be considered the pompous ravings of a person that exaggerates or over-analyzes a somewhat trivial aspect of human life, is that Google grew to be a bigger enough concept, meme, real life internet/information resource, that it may be perfectly plausible that its simple and catchy name was not just a chump putting together random consonants and vowels, chump that also had the luck that all the stars alligned at that moment to propiciate the result of Google turning great.

I still obviously realize that Google´s biggest logical strength was crushing all the other Internet finders of desired knowledge and achieving the corporate image and status of an organization of colossi-like resource, infalibility, but also as a great workplace for the people that work for them, due to the impressive list of unusual advantages that the people that work on the company have. I only have hard information of how employees of a Google office in Switzerland operates, the structure, premise, facilities and liberties available to any worker, and that´s enough for me to want to work there. And i think that the majority of people that work in a employee status for a big company and several others that were convinced that they would never work for a big corporation would very much like to work for them.
This obviously touches on several representaion complexes, possible family inconscious impositions, but it mainly, or at least initially, encourages this feelings on most cases due to the sheer feeling of liberty and status one would get from working in Google.

A (really!) shorter way to express the basic idea behind all my ranting, is that there is reason why Yahoo is and will always be named second to Google, as well as past internet resources that almost became significantly popular, like Altavista and many others. This reason (always expressing my opinion, and never imposing) is that Google does have the ability to stand out from the rest simmilar corporations in a huge catalog of aspects, from inserting itself in the basic Internet knowledge everyone learns since it exists, by showing to the world the great, original and really tempting way its employees work (everyone knows that in life there are downside to everything, but with the advantages shown to press I think a lot of people would be willing to risk almost any possible downside), to the increasing field of traits it absorbs and creates. I think they realized or applied the really basic concept that a company that reaches and strives to keep a global operation, with people from all over the internet connected world accesing it to search for anything, needs to touch and cover the most that it can, with the minimum cost and loss of corporate identity that it can afford, and ideally placing itself as the best resource for the initial concept and utility of the company (in Google it would be the first search engine to turn to) as well as a place to constantly come back due to the ever-increasing field of influence.

I want to strongly stress the fact that Google, as well as any other corporation will never be perfect, and will never be entirely or majorly at the service of what people need, require or ask for, but I think it does stand out due to the fact that they make, concentrate on and focus on investigating and developing applications and capabilities that a significant portion of the internet using population will take advantage of.

To conclude, and it may sounds silly or whatever, but I think that any corporation that ends being so global touches a great amount of fields of influence, and that spending so much time on a seemingly common Comic Urban Legend related to Google just points that anything can come from anywhere and can change and grow to be anything.

I´d also like to include some extra remarks, the bigger one being that I know that I am probably being too romantic in my symbolic and connected point of view that I apply to something that with cold rationality is only one more big corporation in a world of more profound and superficial but important things, but I accept that I only speak what I think, and I don´t impose any view on anyone.

Also, I can be mistaken on scientifical facts and I am subjectively oriented to finding a symbolical and linked relation to the most unconnected facts, results, etc, or at least trying, but I like it that way. I try not to take myself too seriously, so don´t spend too much time trying to empirically or speculatively deny what I think at this moment, I feel I am right as much as anyone else will feel with the result of their reflections.

I like this blog, and decided to make my first post when I noticed I kept reading intelligent, analytical, and strongly backed up opinions that derive from informed minds (I don´t mean Nobel Prizes prospects, but it´s not so easy to find good opinions and analytical people, mostly). I probably wrote too much on something that did not warrant it, but this being my first post, I wanted to be as nitpicky as I could on everything, without trying to be pompous troll. I know that a lot of people will probably get bored reading this if it gets posted, and will not finish it. I know I probably ended being more complicated and confusing than necesarry while expressing my opinions, but I wanted to share my point of view on this and see if I get ignored (what I expect, because I analyse too much what´s probably considered irrelevant details). I know thay probably not many people will end up reading this to the end if it even gets posted, but I wanted to at least add a different point of view, and my numerous remarks about being pompous, arrogant, etc, are because I really don´t believe myself more intelligent than the fine people that post here.

Finally wrapping this up I wanted to congratulate Brian Cronin, for many things. The quality and dedication of his work here and on the top comic runs, which is what I read, and his strong analytical sense, plus the hugely significant bonuses of being able to contact several authors to verify/discuss some of the urban legends make this a great column to read . I would buy tp´s of this urban legends, or magazines, if only to support you and any collaborator to keep up good analytical work on the huge venue for creativity that comics are, and all the rich underlying topics, stories that exist, as well as the symbolical importance of a lot of characters and ideas that appeared in this often underestimated medium.

So… keep up the great work, and keep moving people to dedicate time to reflect on more than one side and aspect that anyone can grasp from general comics!

Please overlook my many gramatical, sentence and paragraph making mistakes, I´m reading what I wrote and I now understand the significance of being able to edit previous posts

SanctumSanctorumComix

May 17, 2008 at 5:44 am

To JCBakken & Andrew Steven Harris,

The Marvel character that isa SPAWN RIP-OFF was NIGHTWATCH.
He had his own series (blessedly short-lived) after he spun out an appearance in Spider-Man.

EVERYTHING about his look was ripped off of Spawn.

Prowler, of the other hand, WAS created by John Romita. But it was John Romita JR as a young boy.
He did a drawing that his dad thought was great.
Then SR asked JR if he’d like to see him become a Marvel character.
What little kid would say no?

I loved those old Romita SR era Spidey’s (even the newspaper strip when SR was drawing it)

~P~
P-TOR

So does this mean Jennifer Garner is a Skrull?

i still think bendis is still swiping the idea from DC’s “skrulls,” durlans, and the whole Shrinking Violet storyline where she’s been kidnapped for months/years and was replaced by a durlan. Ok, inspired if not swiped. but i mean so much of his stuff just seems reused to a degree. he’s reduxing previous spider-man story arcs for ultimate spidey, for example. i’m not saying it’s not good, but you know, it’s just … i’m just really pissed if it’s true about spider-woman. heh. big fan and so going to want to beat him if all this time …

jennifer IS married to ben affleck.. when everyone knows the real jennifer is in love with me..

Frank Miller made Marvel promise not to revive Elektra

Pardon my ignorance, but wasn´t Miller the first person to bring her back in “Elektra Lives” GN?

Actually, Secret Invasion seems to be a mash of ideas that have been presented before – Millenium, the Shrinking Violet/Durlan story, the SW6 Legionnaires when they were first introduced…it’ll be interesting to see if anyone major or a big A-lister will be revealed permanently as having been a Skrull for the last 20 years or so.

Hey Brian!
How can you say “Savage Dragon first appeared in an issue of Marvel Comics Presents” is even “Kinda True”?

1983: Dragon first appears in Megaton #3.
1990: Savage Fin appears in Marvel Comics Presents.
1992: Dragon appears in Savage Dragon #1.

Granted, the MCP story predates the Image book, but still…?

Semi-interesting note:
The character called Savage Fin was in fact NOT named in the Marvel Comics Presents serial. The guys at the Unoffial Appendix to the Marvel Universe website called him “savage fin” in quotations, just to have something to refer to him by. When the guys who maintain the website pretty much became the guys that write the current Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe books they “officially” named the character Savage Fin in a text passage somewhere. However, Erik Larsen called the character FishFace – in the letters page of an issue of Savage Dragon, someone asks Larsen to list all the characters he had created at the “Big Two.” On that list (among numerous others), the character is called FishFace.

Yeah, Wilbur, totally fair point. I erred in saying “first appeared” when I meant “appeared in before.”

I’ll fix it!

No need to be defensive, Brian. The comment about the depth of Larsen’s Marvel work wasn’t even directed at you anyway, rather “a lot of folks”. My points were based largely on semantics. The chronology suggested in the wording seemed backwards.

Rapture had electrical powers, also. I guess that’s still a form of energy projection, so that’s just splitting hairs, but as characters they couldn’t be more different. Powerhouse was a one-off, one dimensional foil. Rapture was far more developed than that.

No need to be defensive, Brian

Hey, you stole my point! ;)

Finally wrapping this up I wanted to congratulate Brian Cronin, for many things. The quality and dedication of his work here and on the top comic runs, which is what I read, and his strong analytical sense, plus the hugely significant bonuses of being able to contact several authors to verify/discuss some of the urban legends make this a great column to read . I would buy tp´s of this urban legends, or magazines, if only to support you and any collaborator to keep up good analytical work on the huge venue for creativity that comics are, and all the rich underlying topics, stories that exist, as well as the symbolical importance of a lot of characters and ideas that appeared in this often underestimated medium.

So… keep up the great work, and keep moving people to dedicate time to reflect on more than one side and aspect that anyone can grasp from general comics!

Thanks, Semsu!

For what it’s worth, as a former Googler, I’d be very surprised if either Larry or Sergey had any knowledge of Barney Google before naming the company. To the best of my knowledge, neither is particularly into comics (for example, both had no particular interest in meeting Neil Gaiman when he spoke at Google the first time. At that point, there wasn’t the formal Authors@Google program, so it was just a case of my asking Neil if he’d like to and him agreeing. I then asked Larry and Sergey if they’d like me to schedule any time with them and Neil, and both declined). Also, I did once ask Sergey, when we happened to both be in the same cafe line for dinner, if they’d deliberately chosen a name that could be verbed. He replied that they hadn’t; it was pure accident that the name was one which ended up being verbed. Personally, I think the misspelling such that it ended with an “e” rather than an “l” contributed to the verbing, which I think strengthened the brand awareness.

Also, worth noting that the main Google campus is named the Googleplex, after, of course, a googolplex. At the second company HQ (currently on the third), buildings were named (in order) 0, 1, e, and pi, after variious mathematical numbers. And if you look at the IPO for Google, you’ll note that the various numbers with respect to number of shares, amount to be raised, etc., are obvious multiples of things like the square root of two and e. In general, at least from the Larry and Sergey level, you’ll see a lot more math references than comics references. Although I think there’s still some Will Eisner references in some of the Google Desktop documentation, courtesy of myself.

Yeah, I have no doubt that they did not base it on the comic strip.

“i still think bendis is still swiping the idea from DC’s “skrulls,” durlans, and the whole Shrinking Violet storyline where she’s been kidnapped for months/years and was replaced by a durlan”

“Actually, Secret Invasion seems to be a mash of ideas that have been presented before – Millenium, the Shrinking Violet/Durlan story, the SW6 Legionnaires when they were first introduced…”

I may be misremembering, but I think at some point Bendis himself had cited his inspiration for Secret Invasion being the Cylon infiltration of humanity in the current Battlestar Galactica series. In fact, the “final five” Cylon subplot had (up to a point), beings exactly like the current “classic” heros who aren’t even aware they are skrulls.

The Fantome said “I remember reading somewhere that Larsen tried to use a pre-published version of his Savage Dragon in a Marvel book but was told his character was pretty much the Hulk in Triton’s skin.”

I don’t know where you could have read that (and I have my doubts) but it’s completely untrue. Not only does the Savage Dragon NOT have “Triton’s skin” (Savage Dragon has body hair, after all–not scales) but at no point had I ever considered giving the character to Marvel Comics.

As noted by others in this thread–the Savage Dragon-inspired character from Marvel Comics Presents was unnamed. He was a visual tip-of-the-hat to Savage Dragon but he was a throwaway parody character that was never intended to have any life beyond a few panels in those couple issues.

And yes–I was not accusing Brian Bendis of stealing my “Elektra was a Skrull” idea. The idea was, however, rejected by Ralph Macchio who went on to edit Ultimate Spider-Man and work with Bendis so it’s not impossible. It’s most likely a coincidence, worth noting only because it was the same idea that had been rejected earlier.

Actually, IIRC, Nightwatch appeared before Spawn, during McFarlane’s run on Spider-Man. So, Spawn is a rip-off of Nightwatch.

You know how you hear something and you blow it off then later you think of something that sounds remarkably like what you heard, but you can’t remember where you heard it? This may be the case here.

I don’t understand why everyone is getting their panties all twisted about when The Skrull began impersonating Elektra. It’s not like we are shown every single second of Elektra’s life, so is it really that hard to accept that it occured off-panel at some point?

I guess you’d guys would prefer a note at the beginning of every comic that says “The following events take place last Tuesday at 10 pm Mountain Standard time.”

We know it occured off-panel, at some point, Desert Son. We’re just curious when. Speaking for myself, yeah, I would like to know as well, since she has already died once since coming back in the mid-90s. And doesn’t Bendis use those types of notes anyway?

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