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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #170

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

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Peter David’s Aquaman run was delayed due to a religious misunderstanding.

STATUS: Basically True

One of the seemingly mysterious events at DC Comics in the 1990s was the timing of Peter David’s tenure on the Aquaman title.

After a number of failed Aquaman relaunchs (our own Greg Hatcher had a nice look at the various failed relaunches last year here), DC seemed to score at least a critical hit with Peter David’s 7-issue mini-series, The Atlantis Chronciles, in 1990, which was edited by Bob Greenberger.

Peter David returned to the character with the popular mini-series, Aquaman: Time & Tide, in 1993.

That mini-series followed up on some of the plots of the Atlantis Chronicles, and led directly to a new ongoing Aquaman title in 1994, written by David, which would go on to be a success.

That is a fairly normal progression, right?

Except that there was an Aquaman ongoing series launched out of Atlantis Chronicles by a totally different writer, Shaun McLaughlin, even though clearly Peter David was interested in writing the series!

Luckily for David fans, this ongoing series lasted only a year and eventually led to David getting a crack at the title.

But why was David passed over?

As it turned out, the problem came down to an odd disagreement that incoming editor, Kevin Dooley, had with David’s Atlantis Chronicles, specifically certain religious implications of David’s origins for Aquaman.

Under David, in Atlantis Chronicles, Aquaman’s birth involved a good deal of magic, as his father, Atlan, WAS a sorceror. Dooley read the scene as suggesting that Aquaman’s birth itself was a magic one, or in other words, an immaculate conception (or at the very least, a metaphor for an immaculate conception).

Dooley had problems with this, either for strictly personal reasons or perhaps he thought it looked bad for the comic, period. In either event, he did not want to work with David on the new title, so Dooley brought in Shaun McLaughlin, instead.

Eventually, though, David explained to Dooley that the scene was merely intended to be a sorcerer having sex with a woman and impregnating her – nothing was intended to be a religious metaphor. At the same time, Dooley was having problems with McLaughlin (or, from McLaughlin’s perspective, he was having problems with Dooley), so he decided to bring David back. DC then canceled the Aquaman series, and eventually gave David a brand-new Aquaman series, which led to a successful four-year run on the title with David, until he eventually left (for reasons enumerated last week) after arguing with his editor…Kevin Dooley.

It’s the Circle of Life!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Multiple artists ghost-penciled some of Marvel Superheroes: Secret Wars.


In 1984, Mike Zeck was given the prominent assignment of being the artist on Marvel’s first maxi-series crossover, Secret Wars.

The deadlines for the book (which involved drawing a whole pile of different heroes and villains each issue) were brutal, and Bob Layton ended up coming in to help with the deadlines by drawing issues #4 and #5 for Zeck.

In addition, for the final issue (and perhaps more), inker John Beatty was joined by other inkers to get the job done.

However, over the years, a number of readers have asked me about what they felt to be different pencilers drawing some of the series, un-credited.

Awhile back, reader Mario wrote in to say:

I was at my favorite comic shop in Dallas, Keith’s comics, and I started flipping through a copy of “Secret Wars”. It’s been awhile since I looked at it and the one thing I remember most was that although most of the book was laid out by Mike Zeck, many pages were drawn by a bunch of different artists. There is one panel in particular, I can’t remember the page, with a close up of Wolverine and Nightcrawler. Was this panel drawn by Michael Golden? I would almost bet my entire collection that he did it. I also remember seeing some early Jackson “Butch” Guice in there somewhere.

Story continues below

More recently, reader Fred wrote in:

I was reading the trade for Marvel’s Secret Wars and noticed in issue 12 when Ben Grim is fighting some blue monster that Klaw creates the art looks nothing like Mike Zeck’s previous rendering of the characters, but instead maybe Todd McFarlane.

If you look closely at that page with the blue monster you notice that the rocky surface on Ben Grim is different and more detailed than any other image of him during the whole series. Also on that same page She-Hulk’s face looks like a traditional Todd McFarlane. Later in the same issue there is a splash page featuring the same blue monster and all of the heroes. Again the art looks more like McFarlane than Zeck’s art – mainly in the detail and shading/cross hatching of the characters.

Some guy at my local comic shop said that McFarlane did help out… I don’t believe him but I do see a major difference in the art on these 2 particular pages of Secret Wars 12.

I’m also pretty darn certain I was asked this more than once on the old blog, as well.

Anyhow, I asked Mike Zeck about it, and he was kind enough to give a detailed answer:

Other than the two fill-in issues (#s 4 and 5), the pencils, or more often breakdowns, were mine only. We were always right up against the deadline wall with every issue, which is one reason why it was necessary for me to revert to breakdowns. Also a reason why pages were given to other inkers as needed. I remember Art Nichols being somewhat regular as a last minute inker. Joe Rubinstein too, I believe. They were both local and able to come into the offices to pick up or deliver pages. That double-sized final issue was spread even more widely among inkers. I’m not even sure how many guys or who they were. I do recognize a few Art Adams inked pages in that last issue though. That last issue is the one that could easily confuse readers in terms of various ink styles.

The Art Adams inking in #12 is also what I thought of when Eric mentioned the different styles, as looking at the comic myself, the Adams’ inked parts of the book DO stand out.

Anyhow, there ya go!

Thanks to Mario, Eric and many others for the question and thanks a lot to Mike Zeck for the information!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: A fairly offensive joke was snuck into the background of a Marvel comic.

STATUS: True, depending on what you term “offensive,” I suppose.

Isn’t it amazing how popular the Punisher was at one point?

He was so popular that a series of pin-ups at the back of some issues of his title detailing his armory were so popular that they got their own semi-regular series! That’s right, a series just detailing the Punisher’s various weapons!

The writer/artist of the Punisher Armory series was Eliot R. Brown, who was best known for his in-depth drawings of various Marvel paraphernalia for the Official Handbooks of the Marvel Universe. You know, like showing how the Quinjet works or Wolverine’s claws – stuff like that.

In any event, in a move that evokes past legends involving Don Perlin sneaking shit into an issue of Defenders, Joe Staton sneaking a pedophile joke into an issue of Brave and the Bold and, most famously, Al Milgrom sneaking an insult of Bob Harras into an issue of Universe X, reader RL noted that, in the Punisher Armory #1, Brown slipped in a joke relating to an Arabic man..

Click on the following image to enlarge.

Once you do so, if you look at the Most Wanted poster in the background, the man on the absolute bottom right (so close to the edge of the page that he’s partially cut off) is referred to as “Towelhea” with the rest cut off, and his crimes involve something along the lines of “humping camels.”

Now this certainly does not mean anything about Elliot Brown or any views he holds – heck, he might be making a comment about racism in the government or something like that. Who knows?

All I know is that RL is right, whatever the purpose of the joke, it does exist.

So thanks to RL for the heads up!

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!


A quick correction; “immaculate conception” does not mean the same thing as “virgin birth.” In Catholic doctrine, it was *Mary* who was immaculately conceived – that is, born without the stain of Original Sin.

It’s such a common mistake that it almost feels futile pointing it out, but there it is.

True, Jack! Thanks.

The Punisher Armory series is a great reference for writers and artists, I’ve got a heavily worn run in my office that I pull out whenever I want a little more realism in a story.

I’s not just weapons either, there’s boats/cars/armor/fire suits/camouflage. It’s really a writer’s dream.

Maybe it’s some kind of secret superhero code. Racist joke + Brand of cigarettes + bottom right corner = Silver-Age Daredevil villain attacking the Baxter building. The FF are completely helpless and need someone with a knife that can cut through his stilts/spring-boots/Gladiator armor.

That would have provoked some outrage from some people if it had happened today. The fact of “Punisher: Armory” more than the joke itself would have provoked outrage, actually. There was actually more than one issue of this?

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 29, 2008 at 5:08 am

30 more urban legends to go.

just 30 more to go ….

I read every issue of the Punisher Armory, and rooted for the increasingly scant pages where guns showed u. Motly it was a bunch ofspy technology. THERE’S a writing challenge for you: Tell 22 one-pages Punisher stories, with no visuals. Oh, and they have to be J. Peterman stories about how a set of carabiners helped him this one time.

I’d still take McLaughlin’s Aqua-run over David’s. (Sorry, PAD.)

I’m with Bill. McLaughlin’s Aquaman is underrated. Not enough puns, I guess.

I just wanted to pipe in and say that I enjoyed Shaun McLaughlin’s run on Aquaman. I even sent in an LoC that didn’t get published, but McLaughlin sent me a personal response. How cool is that?

I’ve seen his name on some DC-related animated series. Is it the same guy?

That era of Punisher was awesome.

I knew those pages in Secret Wars #12 were touched by the hands of Art Adams! Ever since I first read that issue many moons ago, I thought it looked like he drew it. Now I know the truth!

And knowing is half the battle.

“His Thoughts! His Feelings! His Weapons!” Classic!

That Punisher Armory series was great fun and educational for me as an adolescent. I’m not a huge gun enthusiast now as an adult (and somehow I managed to not shoot up my school, despite what all the panicky studies suggest is likely), but a lot of what I do know about guns and other military/law enforcement technology started with those books.

And Jeff Ryan is right, each page was a mini-story, J. Peterman style, and I thought it was some impressive writing. Educational with some clever dry humor and gritty atmosphere. I remember several where the scene would be during a stakeout, or after a raid where there was blood on the ground or walls.

Also, I was re-reading it a couple of years ago and came across the Master Mat from a company called Ransom, a heavy rubber mat you can put on a table to clean guns on. So I Googled the company and bought one!


“There was actually more than one issue of this?”

There were either 6 or 8 issues, spread out over several years.

They did at least one for Iron Man too (the “Iron Manual” which, I believe, recently got republished).

10 issues, actually. The first one was just a collection of the items that previously appeared in the backs of the other Punisher books, annuals, etc. Eliot Brown has done other similar stuff, too. He did a spec for the Tim Drake Robin costume, and a few G.I.Joe vehicles.

Clearly, Kevin Dooley was NOT a good editor.

Anyone care to ask Mike Zeck why Thor is not in the cover of the first issue of the series?

I loved Secret Wars.

Well, Kevin Dooley was assistant to Andy Helfer, who WAS a GREAT editor. At the same time, I think Dooley was the criminal behind Green Lantern #48, so yeah, lousy editor. :)

Bernard the Poet

August 29, 2008 at 11:31 am

Okay, I’ll accept that Mike Zeck did all the breakdowns for issues 1-3/6-12, but are you sure that Bob Layton pencilled every panel of Secret Wars 4 & 5?

I remember a page in issue five, where the X-Men battle the villains, which looks a lot more like Barry Windsor Smith than Bob Layton.

With respect to the various comments about different panels looking like they were drawn by different artists, I have come to appreciate that inkers have more of an impact on how the art looks than I previously suspected, so an issue with one artist (i.e. penciler) could have pages that look completely different because different inkers were used, and it sounds like Secret Wars 12 was such an issue.

Contrary to what you may have heard in Chasing Amy, inkers aren’t just tracers, and they have a bigger impact than most people probably realize.

re:punisher poster.
i’m pretty sure that the picture on the top left of the 6 is ELLIOT BROWNE himself.he featured in an “assistant editors-take-over-for-a-month-sketch” which replaced the marvel bullpen page for one month in the 80’s.
my guess is that the 6 pictures are rough sketches of marvel employees and this is an in-joke by BROWNE making fun of them and himself.
i think the bottom left picture has the caption “can eat broken glass” underneath it.
so don’t write ELLIOT off as a racist.i think he’s just having a bit of fun.i don’t think the arab is a generalisation.i think he is a very specific individual,who i’m sure wouldn’t have taken offence as everyone was being made fun of.
please note,i’m not sure of all this-just that the picture on the top left is almost BROWNE and the rest follows.
someone else may be able to add more info to clarify.

Well, you can take offense at the ‘possible’ towelhead joke, or you can be offended by the penetration of the very phallic knife into the very female genitalia looking orange. Did no one else see that?


Thor and Mr Fantastic are not on the Secret Wars cover (probably do to space issues). I remember seeing a poster however, where both characters appear above the logo.

Also, Kitty Pryde appears on the cover even though she was cut from the series.

Craig said:

I’ve seen his name on some DC-related animated series. Is it the same guy?

As far as I am aware, yes– same dude.

Wow. You’re right. That does look incredibly suggestive, now that you mention it. Too suggestive to be an accident, I would say.

haha, the guy in the middle of the bottom row “can eat babies for lunch.”

As an atheist I first have to point out that I recognize the good in religion. Having said that, it is also freaking silly. Jesus was far from the first nor was he the last deity born of divine intervention and one human parent.

I think the suggestiveness is a bit of a stretch (and I even found the Giordano panel a few columns back to be racy), but it sure does make all the captions hilarious.

Speaking of offensive jokes: DC had a Christmas/Holiday Special which had a wrapped hammer-shaped present with a “to” tag to a DC artist fist name.

Why was it offensive? That DC artist was arrested for assult on his girlfriend. Wanna guess what the weapon was?

so don’t write ELLIOT off as a racist.i think he’s just having a bit of fun.i don’t think the arab is a generalisation.i think he is a very specific individual,who i’m sure wouldn’t have taken offence as everyone was being made fun of.
please note,i’m not sure of all this-just that the picture on the top left is almost BROWNE and the rest follows.
someone else may be able to add more info to clarify.

Of course not, that’d be silly.

It’s an off-hand joke hidden in the corner of a page of a comic from 18 years ago – I wouldn’t dream of characterizing Brown as ANYthing based off of this.

I liked Shaun McLaughlin’s run also. Not more than PAD’s run, but I enjoyed his political take on the character as a world leader.

I recall PAD mentioning that as a Jew (and as Bob Greenberger is also Jewish), that the sex scene in AC might be misconstrued as a Jesus parallel.

re: my previous post:”so don’t write ELLIOT off as a racist”
sorry BRIAN,you misunderstood.i was not suggesting you saw ELLIOT as a racist but that some other posters might.eg…see post #3 by LORD PARADISE.

I never made the J Peterman connection with the Punisher Armory , but that is dead on. One of my favourite Punisher lines came from one of those “Some people say I’m a senseless killer. That’s absurd. I’m a very sensible killer.” I wish more writers and artists would have used those as reference. I’d read an issue of the Armory and feel like a pre-teen gun expert and then you’d read an issue of the regular comic and he’s doing something absurd, like firing an uzi with pinpoint accuracy at somebody 200 feet away.

Is there even a question that calling someone “towelhead” and saying they hump camels is offensive? If it were a similar reference to African-Americans or Jews or Asians, I don’t think anyone would question the language as offensive.

In re: the suggestive oranges – I’m not sure we’ve been looking at the same species here. Nothing about that looks even remotely imaginably suggestive, and my imagination is pretty active. As far as the joke goes, yeah, it’s definitely offensive. The fact that it was 18 years ago doesn’t excuse it any more than the blatantly racist towards blacks…well, basically everything that came out in the forties. Racism is racism, no matter how long ago it was.

This joke is the textbook definition of racist and offensive.

And I speak as someone that has little love for theocracies that practice violent sexism and homophobia.

For some odd reason I’ve always been a fan of Aquaman and I agree with the about posters. PAD’s Aquaman was OK but I remember buying multple issues of McLaughlin’s run because I thought it was so good.

Yes. “Towelhead” and “Humping Camels” is exceptionally racist… But… they could have been satirising the whole media attitude of teh time…. but then again, with the Gaddafi and Khomeini jokes, it really comes across as racist…

On Aquaman- I have always loved the character. Time and Tide is one of my personal “Gems” in my collection that I can’t actually explain why I liuke it – I just do… In general (and ironically, I hate generalising) I don’t really enjooy Peter David’s take on characters (probably because he tends to take over from a writer who I WAS enjoying, like Dan Slott) but I really liked Time and Tide… What I’m trying to say is I really liked McLaughlin’s Aquaman series more than PAD’s … Possibly because of the uniform… I loved the orange chainmail…

I was okay with the whole hand thing, until the “water-hand”…. That was when it started to get silly…

“In Catholic doctrine, it was *Mary* who was immaculately conceived – that is, born without the stain of Original Sin.”–Catholic doctrine, however, does a pretty poor job of reconciling that with the fundamental teaching that everyone is born in sin. There is no justification for Mary being birthed sinless; Catholic doctrine, and possible the Bible, depending on how you read it, simply state that it is so. God isn’t even invoked on the matter; it’s just doctrinal. The only immaculate conception that can be theologically justified IS a virgin birth, and I think that is probably at the root of a lot of the confusion among non-Catholics. You are either born in sin through sex, or your are born to a virgin, not through sex, and therefore not in sin. (Disclaimer: I don’t believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, PLEASE don’t believe that I am a Christian, a Catholic, or any kind of strict doctrinal believer in religion. I am a radical Jew. Just wanted to clarify that.)

“after arguing with his editor…Kevin Dooley.”–You have to wonder how some of these editors even get jobs, and beyond that, how they can pull these bullshit moves without comparing themselves to all the other jagoff editors that we’ve all heard of and have passed into legend. How they can do this stuff without realizing what dicks they are, and what dicks we all think they are.

“30 more urban legends to go.”–What means this?

Hang down your head, Kevin Dooley, hang down your head and cry…

> The fact of “Punisher: Armory” more than the joke itself would have provoked outrage, actually. There was actually more than one issue of this?

Yes, because they sold well enough that it went from a one-shot to a sequel to another sequel and so forth.

I remarked to Eliot that I was surprised he could turn out so many issues on the Punisher’s weapons; he replied that he could have gone on for several more issues if he had been asked to.

I seem to remember Steve Englehart leaving a DC series because he couldn’t use a gay character he had introduced in an earlier miniseries. I don’t recall the name of the series, but it featured the little blue Oa guys from Green Lantern who were teaching a bunch of misfits the ways of the universe. One of these misfits was a homosexual, and Englehart wanted to use him later but the editor refused. Englehart indicated the editor was a homophobe. Is this a true story? some fever dream I once had? If it is true, was the editor Dooley?

Moox –

The bunch of misfits you’re think of are the New Guardians. Steve Englehart created them in the Millennium mini-series crossover thingie. He then proceeded to write a New Guardians regular series, but I believe it was cancelled soon. The gay character was called Estraño, and he was a walking stereotype. And I heard he was used in the series. I didn’t read it though.

As a gay person, I think Englehart’s heart was in the right place, and I have to admit that you could find one or two gay males that are as ridiculously and flamboyantly effeminate as Estraño, if you looked hard enough, but damn… the New Guardians were ALL extreme stereotypes.

I can’t say if there was homophobia involved too, but the cancellation came as no surprise. Obscure characters + stereotypes + big name creator starting to lose his touch. And as much as I admire some of Englehart’s work, he seems to be the sort of guy that plays the martyr a lot and has a very elevated idea of himself. He did the same in Fantastic Four, damn, his work sucked so bad there, but he always said it was all Marvel’s fault that his run didn’t work out.

“30 more urban legends to go.”–What means this?

No idea but he was previously counting down as though it was going to end with 150, so it’s more of the same schtick…

@Jono11: PLEASE don’t believe that I am a Christian, a Catholic, or any kind of strict doctrinal believer in religion.

You know what? Looking your hilariously uninformed take on Original Sin – especially your (frankly bizarre) attempt to link it to sex – I don’t think there’s any danger of that.

Kevin Dooley seemed to have been responsible for a lot of crap at DC.

I liked McLaughlin’s run but I LOVED Peter David’s run and I told him this at Fanexpo this weekend. I hung on through Larson’s crap and enjoyed Dan Jurgens little bit at the end.

I would never wish ill on everyone, but I was very happy when Dooley was fired.

The wanted poster may not have been intended to be quite as heinous as it’s being made out.

It looks like the specific infraction being cited is “RE-humping camels” (emphasis added), which I took to be some kind of fraud (along the lines of “rolling the odometer back”) instead of a deviant sexual practice.

That said: yeah, it’s still pretty bad.

Rene, thanks for filling in some of the blanks. I remembered the gay character was a clutch of stereotypes but also thought that was in a way part of the point. But Englehart’s run on FF around that time was a debacle.

Jack Fear, jono11’s interpretation of original sin isn’t that off base. Sex as the link that keeps us all in original sin — in effect, a reminder of man’s trespass against God; the first thing Adam and Eve realize after partaking of the fruit is their genitals — is a fairly common concept, and Mary’s immaculateness is indeed asserted rather than justified in the Bible. I didn’t read his comment to mean that we are all born into sin because of sex, but rather to express the concepts and a bit of a history behind the doctrine of original sin.

There was a nod to the Armory comics in the Punisher computer game, which was a LOT more fun than any licensed product has a right to be. Click on his weapons, and you get a voiceover in that style describing the weapon.

“Hang down your head, Kevin Dooley, hang down your head and cry…”–Oh yes. Poor editor, bound to die.

“You know what? Looking your hilariously uninformed take on Original Sin – especially your (frankly bizarre) attempt to link it to sex – I don’t think there’s any danger of that.”–Always fun to watch Catholics squirm when you nail their theology. The history of the theology of original sin, going all the way back through early Jewish theologies, is inextricably linked to sin. Whether or not Catholic doctrine explicitly links them, or ever did, original sin has always been obviously and inextricably tied to sex. That’s what it is, and that’s what it represents in the Judeo-Christian psyche.

“I would never wish ill on everyone, but I was very happy when Dooley was fired.”–So…you wished ill on Dooley.

“I didn’t read his comment to mean that we are all born into sin because of sex, but rather to express the concepts and a bit of a history behind the doctrine of original sin.”–No, not that sex causes sin, but rather that sex and sin are and always have been linked, and that original sin is probably a kind of primal expression of repression.

re:”towel head”
the text is incomplete for this picture.what is visible is “towel he”.people are completing the word on assumption.surely assuming the word is towelhead is in itself in some way racist.
a lot of the text doesn’t make sense eg one of the texts reads “killed in 3 boats can eat babies for lunch”

also re:”towelhead” and “humping camels” as racist terms.
towlehead is without doubt a racist term.
“humping camels” is not a racist term per se.it is more a sexually derogative term.where i come from some people use the term “sheep-shaggers” as a derogatory term.but it is not racist.it is attemping to belittle someone by casting doubts on their sexual practices-not their race.i’m not excusing it if it was used in a derogatory way but it is not racist.
if the phrase “can eat babies for lunch” had appeared under the bottom right picture would that have made it a racist joke?it wasn’t a racist joke when placed under one of the other pictures.by attatching different meanings to the “jokes” because the picture is of an arab ,we would be acting in a racist way.

No one else sees a penis and vagina in the interaction between the knife and the orange?

Was Kevin Dooley really that bad of an editor, and that difficult to deal with? That in itself seems like an urban myth to uncover.


Being happy after an event cannot in any way be misconstrued as wishing ill on someone.

Okay Im a lil confused about the immaculate birth, i used to go to a catholic primary school and i dont rememeber them saying that mary was sinless could someone explain this some more

although I dont remember a lot of what went on in class

If you need more data on the birth of Mary and the Catholic doctrine of her sinless state, you could google it like I did.

It took me two tries (that is, I clicked on two links) before I found a comprehensive explanation. Here is the link I found, if anyone is interested. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm. (Cut and paste into your browser window.)

I’m not Catholic, and never understood why Catholics are so devout to the worship of Mary. Now I do.

Check it. It should be noted that the Immaculate Conception is pretty much exclusively Roman Catholic dogma, and is not shared by other Christian sects.

Dooley was a very bad editor, if you were a fan of the characters.

And it’s NOT “wishing him ill” to be glad he’s no longer editor. I don’t care if he’s gone off and become a zillionaire. I just want him, now and forever, nowhere near control of the characters I like.

Since we’re nitpicking theological points, I have to point out that Mary isn’t worshipped by Catholics – only God (in all his 3 forms) is worshipped, Mary and the Saints are venerated.

The word ‘worship’, as defined in the dictionary:

1a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
1b. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.
2. Ardent devotion; adoration…..

Catholics are ardently devoted to and adore Mary. They have festivals in her honor and pray to her. Call it what you want, but the fact is, they worship her.


August 31, 2008 at 6:30 pm

‘His thoughts, His feelings, His weapons’.

That made me laugh out loud.

On a tangent, but Cyclops yelled “You! You camel-jockeys did this!” at a bunch of Middle-Eastern villain-types X-Men 57 (Roy Thomas/Neal Adams). Yeah, that was 39 years ago and not sneaked into the story as a gag or whatnot.

Just sayin’. DIscuss,

Camel-jokeys is a little less offensive than humping camels, I suppose.


One very politically incorrect thing I’ve re-read recently in a comic is from Flash Annual 1, written in 1987 by Mike Baron. Wally West is depicted as completely sexist, with a whole first-person caption speech on how women just aren’t fighters.


August 31, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Wally West is depicted as completely sexist, with a whole first-person caption speech on how women just aren’t fighters.

But wasn’t he meant to be sexist back then?

I was looking at all of the bios on that “wanted” poster, and something struck me.

Each name had a villain-style code name or media nickname as part of the first 2 or 3 lines.

The last line or two appeared to be silly or derogatory commentary, such as “Can eat babies for lunch” & “Can eat broken glass”, “nerdy if (something)” & “Cheap (something; “date”, I think)”

It could well be that “towel-Head” was the guy’s own self-deprecating code name –

OR, more likely,

The FBI poster was the FBI info and the pics only, and that was Frank’s OWN commentary on each of the wanted perps (the fact that at the time, it was near-impossible to use different fonts in the art – these days one could use computer editing to differentiate the text), so as a result the text isn’t visably different between what is supposed to be a printed area and Frank’s printing.

But I agree with the earlier posters – the orange & knife looks more disturbing than the text.

(Silver Age voice…. start)

“Must….. take….chill-pill before………. too late!”

(Silver Age Voice….. finish)

Somehow I’ll survive this little poke at middle eastern terrorists.

“I can’t say if there was homophobia involved too, but the cancellation came as no surprise. Obscure characters + stereotypes + big name creator starting to lose his touch. And as much as I admire some of Englehart’s work, he seems to be the sort of guy that plays the martyr a lot and has a very elevated idea of himself. He did the same in Fantastic Four, damn, his work sucked so bad there, but he always said it was all Marvel’s fault that his run didn’t work out.”

Take a look at the comments on his work he has on his site. The guy thinks he is God’s gift to comics! Never saw anyone so immodest on my life…

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Limerick—That was a racist comment, by association. Arab man= camel lover. But this does not shock me, I consider literature IE books, comics, movies as snapshots of the period in which they are written. Read a few Silver age or Golden age comics and you will see the example. When the Punisher Armory’s were distributed—At the height of the Reagan years, our President and the Shah of Iran were at loggerheads with ruler Saddam Hussein as our Ally.

No doubt this played a role in the decision to make such a crude allusion. Not to mention the country club mentality of those in publishing. None of these things take place now of course. :I think:

I cannot speak to Dooley the editor but Dooley was, however, a very funny man the one time I hung out with him some 15 years ago in San Diego.

Funky – Yes, Mike Baron’s depiction of Wally West was supposed to be a little unsympathetic. He was immature, self-centered, sometimes rude, and also sexist. I just wonder if Baron could get away with painting one of DC’s major heroes in those colors today. I think not. Sexism was already seen as bad and old-fashioned in 1987, but not as much as now.

Borça – I agree. Steve Englehart is even more egomaniacal than most comic book writers (and as a rule, they’re not the most modest of people).

Offensive? Yes. Joke? No. Jokes are supposed to be funny, after all…

Well, *I* laughed.

my takes on the two hotly discussed topics:

1. So WHAT if Extraño was characterized as effeminate? Are we to delete or erase our brothers and sisters who are effeminate or masculinized? Are they not gay or lesbian, or better yet, are they less dignified people because they are like this?

What I see in this very homophobic attitude (and yes, rene, you might have sex with people of your own gender, but your comment was homophobic because it invalidates the existance of effetes and dykes as not being representative of the ‘gay / lesbian’ aesthetic and behaviour). As a gay man, I don’t mind having characters as Extraño because they DO exist in our community and they are the ones who REALLY are heroes because they don’t hide behind a ‘masculinity’ based on being gym marys or dressing up in tight tshirts and pants. the more delicate ones are the ones who are macho enough to act in ways which are not hidden or ‘blending in’. For them, homossexuality is much, much, much more than ‘the only difference between straights and I is that i bed men,,,the rest is the same”.

so, i voice my opinion against the systematic erasing of the effeminate gay man and the dykish lesbian and the constant tentative redefenition of a very authoritarian and suffocating new “stereotype” : the hot strong pumped up tight jeans disco dancing faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous modern rich gay man.

in addition, i’d love it if we had fatter heroes (big bertha and hindsight lad at marvel are less than enough), different mobility heroes (silhouette, xavier, doom patrol chief are not enough)…also, some uglies, shorties, compulsive-obsessive heroes, … heroes that believed in other causes, or heroes who would be devout religiously… we need more variety… not just white straight protestant men drawn as hot afro-american women, or gay white men or etc…

the second point i have concerns re-reading stuff using contemporary parameters, such as the race issue. Our sensibilities are extremely different to the ones at the time, so it is quite useless to affirm that the joke is racist. It is quite racist for our sensibilities…and no matter how we look at it, we will never be able to dissociate it from anti-arab discourse. … but that’s because we are here and now.

what i think is more fruitful is to observe exactly how the times have changed and focus not on the joke itself, but to our reactions to it and to how others reacted to it at the time. the sheer fact there has been so much tsk tsk’ing here is quite motivational, for it shows that campaigning, discussing and dealing with problems can change perceptions over time. we CAN become a better world. it’s not a lost fight.

but it’s useless to condemn things retroactively.

wow. sorry for the rant.
but i love this site and most of the discussions here.

“So WHAT if Extraño was characterized as effeminate? Are we to delete or erase our brothers and sisters who are effeminate or masculinized? Are they not gay or lesbian, or better yet, are they less dignified people because they are like this?”

But Extraño wasn’t just effeminate, he was a horribly offensive caricature. I do believe Englehart meant well, but he was clearly clueless as to how to write a gay character as a human being rather than a stereotype.

It’s tempting to say that I hope the character never sees the light of day again, but it might be more interesting to see someone come along and write him in a serious manner (wanna hear something funny? I originally typed this sentence as, “write him straight”, with no sense of irony whatsoever).

I totally agree with you, James. I think the problem with attempts to depict homosexual people in comics is that writers tend to pick out one small spot on a wide spectrum and use that spot (usually at the extreme) in an attempt to define the whole. Maybe the writers don’t have enough exposure to the target cultures/races in real life to understand the complexity of the true spectrum.

If the very limited representation of gay people in comic books is the cardboard character known as Extraño, then I would prefer not to see that at all, because the majority of gay men are not defined by effetes, or ‘gym marys’ or what have you. As for any culture, and any race, the spectrum of possibilities makes it impossible to peg down the things that define the whole.

And homosexuality IS defined simply as “having attraction to members of the same sex”– nothing more. So anything beyond that is a PERSONAL trait, an aspect of the INDIVIDUAL, and not a characteristic of the whole gay culture. While there may be communities based on the sharing of certain PREFERENCES, I don’t appreciate having extraneous labels like “effete”, “gym mary”, “wearer of tight jeans”, ad nauseum slapped on me by either gay or straight people because none of them are ME.

And being comfortable as an effeminate male does not necessarily make one more of a ‘hero, “Rio”. Same goes for playing a sport well, parlaying a good singing voice into a recording contract, or being able to write an entertaining story. While you may respect someone for their abilities or their courage under pressure, a hero is defined by one’s actions above and beyond self-expression.

first of all, i appreciate your reply, James. I see much in common and i follow your thinking quite well due to the well written text. i will not dive into it much because i mostly agree with or see where you come from. my points are directed to Rolf P because i see fit to reply.


thanks for tackling my post in a non-offensive and direct to the point manner. that was very civilized. I do see things differently and i’d like to make my points more clear. please, don’t take any of this as a direct attack, for i am trying to aim hire than just personal controversy.

you state that it is better to be invisible than to be poorly represented, as far as minorities go. i disagree because i think negative representation is exactly a good point of initiating the discussion. enough people today can recognize extraño as being one of the possible (and perhaps the most ‘attackable’) depictions of homossexuality and the reaction to it shows me that there have been competing representations of homossexuality which might be more acceptable to gay people themselves.

(pause) it is fundamental to point out the double-standards when it comes to the depiction of lesbians, who are always the hottest, most sexual, rrrrrrrr-feline, yummy ‘lesbians for straight men’. they are basically straight women who “do” other straight women.

this discussion takes us back to the representations of african-americans in media (uncle thomas cabin, blackface, mammy, jemima, etc.) and how these symbols of oppression where re-signified. I would personally prefer to have ANY gay person represented, even if to hate the representation and get things to the discussion table. to each of us our own.

I think there are enough ‘better’ representations, albeit incomplete or superficial due to the own lack of experience of authors in writing these voices. I could mention josiah power, norhstar, montoya to a degree, tasmanian devil,,,(sorry, it’s two a.m. and there’s more to this post…)…and then there is coagula, a transexual lesbian written by a gender-corrected woman, possibly the most complex and interesting portrayal of a sexual sub-minority…

which brings me to your second point about not wanting representation, just the BEING ME feeling of the individual. sorry, mate, but you’ve been punked. there’s no such thing.

whatever you call “me”, only you have access to it. all the others rate and push and shove you towards their own “me’s” and their subsequent network of perceptions and values. your are only a “me” to yourself and your more intimate groups. all others will read your haircut, your piercings or lack thereof, your tatoos, your sneakers, your socks, your perfume, your gestures, your voice, your tone of voice, your choice of vocabulary, your pants, the youghurt you are eating, etc….and, inasmuchas you kick and scream and holler and turn blue from holding your breath,,,,you’ll never be an individual, just a figure of a group.

rolf, just the fact that we are here debating puts you in a social-cultural subgroup which gets judged at all times. just by “BEING” gay, you are much more than just sleeping with a person of your own gender. it IS a socially relevant topic (unfortunately) and we get classifed and judged and pigeon-holed.

thankfully, as more “blended in”, one can avoid violence, slander, fewer job opportunities, prejudice, et al. heck, even i, a bit effete can get away with it…(mainly because i am white and middle class — in poor and racially tense country)…but then again, why must there be so much HETERO-normativiy, as in being straight-ACTING being more important than straight ( see: EMO bashing as an example of straights being violently offendend because they are not straight-ACTING macho enough)…

did i make it clear that my problem is with our own gay folk diminishing the existance or the importance that the more effeminate gay person might have just because he (or the dykish lesbian) can also be an easy target for gay-haters? I believe that if we secure our easy targets, all the other bases get covered. I just feel like sometimes i’m treated the same way i would if i were defending a woman’s right to wear a shador if she so would wish to….

there is so much that needs to be changed. i hope for a day where there will be an extraño and a green lantern just chatting away about their latest missions while a midnighter and a john stewart share a beer.

A friend of mine claims that the editors at Guns and Ammo magazine loved Punisher Armory and contributed to issues 6-10. Is there any truth to that claim?

Along the other topic of discussion, I find it funny that one over the top stereotypical character in a group of over the top stereotypical characters is “proof” of someone’s insensitivity.

But, then again, I’ve always found it odd that any negative quality exhibited in a character is so often attributed to the writer. Because, I suppose, you couldn’t write it if you didn’t believe it? As an enjoyer of fiction, I’ve never understood the attitude.


I disagree with the assessment that individuals cannot be individuals… Yes, I assume a lot of society tends to be judgmental, but if that’s the way the choose to be, that’s their problem, not mine. It they can’t see beyond the labels, and the stereotypes, then their chances of being a friend are pretty minuscule, and trying to conform to their viewpoints is a waste of my time. I feel sorry for you if you believe you have to conform to the expectations of any particular clique to be accepted, but I maintain my individuality just fine, thank you.

As to the issue that Thenodrin raised — why does “Extraño” stand out? Well, try looking at it this way– where can you take that character that is nothing more than a caricature? How well can writers incorporate Extraño into a mainstream comic, when all you know of the character is really nothing but the label, “flaming gay”? How do you get inside the character if you know little or nothing of the gay culture, and that precise section of the gay culture, and then express that to the readers who probably know even less, and do it in a way that does not draw the wrath of the readers, parents, churches, or members of that culture, etc.?

Stereotypical characters can be fleshed out in the hands of a good writer, Fire and Ice are two examples of women who started out as two-dimensional characters who were given personalities that allowed them to grow. They even matured enough to make the jump from Super Friends to Global Guardians to the Justice League. And partly, that has to do with the fact that they didn’t have a lot of ‘baggage”.

The reason you don’t see a lot of comic book characters from foreign countries, paraplegics, amputees, etc., even as supporting characters? Too much baggage. Why does most of the action in comic books take place in cities that resemble Metropolitan areas of the East Coast? Any other locale has too much baggage. By that, I mean if you’ve never walked the streets of City XYZ, how can you accurately describe a fight taking action in it? If you know nothing of the difference between the cultures or languages of China, Korea, and Japan, for example, how can you separate them in your depictions? Writers tend to veer away from things they do not know.

Thank you Rolf, for adding to my point of view. You did it magnificently.

(except for the first paragraph, where you clearly show you didn’t understand my point). What you got wrong was the part about conforming to others. Nowhere did I say that. What I said was that, independently of your desires, you are constantly “being read” by people. And it is quite clear that people who see you, or read you, or whatever you, will have THAT as pieces of judgement, whether you have any intention to befriend them or not.

The clothes you choose, etc. will be flags or markers even if you don’t want or care about this. There is no way someone can KNOW you fully. We all work with what we get shown. Let’s just imagine you’re the nicest person in the world, yet you have the word “x” as part of your daily speak. Now, let’s imagine another lovely person, full of great ideas, etc. but has a problem with the aforementioned word. The first time she or he hears this word from your mouth, an impression is made — and you didn’t even know that issue would be relevant. The person has judged you with what she or he had. simple as that.

regarding the second point: ……… you yourself answered them beautifully when you talked about Fire and Ice. They were taken beyond their “stereotypes” and fleshed out. Who’s to say a more competent writer wouldn’t have done the same with Extraño — MEANWHILE discussing and showing people who have very little idea of what being gay means the power of stereotyping, the homophobia associated to being more flaming than others, how hard it is to live in oppression, etc.

Your fire and ice example was very good in showing what competent writers can do to characters (and last time I read those comics, THE AUTHORS WERE NOT WOMEN, thus invalidating your last point.)…. If straights aren’t able to write about gays, should men be writing women characters? should whites be writing blacks?

should normal humans be writing superheroes, then? we don’t fly or bend steel or invade people’s minds…

HERE is the crux of the problem: ALL THE MINORITIES GET WRITTEN THROUGH A MAJORITY POINT OF VIEW, unfortunately, because we have very few non-white,straight, males writing superhero mainstream comics.

I believe writers can write about that which they aren’t. After all, that’s what fiction is all about. It is their ability to do so, and the amount of love and effort and passion and work that they put into it which makes a difference.

you RARELY see critique in this direction geared towards miller, moore, azzarello, etc. because the effort in writing characters in a more realistic, less WASP light is clearly there.

Well, thank you for not putting words in my mouth. Nowhere did I say men can’t write about women, or people can’t write about superheroes… how ludicrous. Clearly you’re missing the point.

Women are around men every day. You don’t have to look or search for data about how women act. We see it all the time, unless, perhaps, you are living in a cave or in jail. So trying to identify how women speak, or walk, or do things is not hard to do. It is very easy to imagine, whether you’re straight or gay. Whether that image in your head jives with reality is beside the point. Anyone can imagine a woman…. unless you throw in a lot of ‘baggage’.

It’s harder for a writer living in or around New York to depict what a woman with breast cancer living in sub-Saharan Africa may be thinking/doing, for example, especially if one has never been seen the area, doesn’t know the culture, or understand her medical treatment options. Oh, a story could be written, I suppose– total fiction– and it may even be passable (i.e., a ‘good story’) to the casual reader. There is enough information out there about women (a lot of info) and breast cancer (less info) and sub-Saharan African culture (even less info) to help a male writer create a convincing story. The thing is, the more “baggage” there is, the harder it is to write, and write well. Nowhere did I say that it couldn’t be attempted.

Science fiction and fantasy should be easier to write because you’re freed from many conventions that we would expect in real life. For example, death can be practically meaningless in these genres. We can understand it when Wolverine heals– he has a ‘healing factor’. That’s a convention established for that character. Batman’s protégé get’s bludgeoned to death? No problem, he was brought back without a scratch on him! Now that’s a little more difficult to accept, because that convention was NOT established for any character in the Bat-franchise.

New ideas and new characters can be introduced at whim. But if you start bucking the conventions, and fail to maintain any kind of consistency in your treatment (this is normally called ‘continuity’), things get confusing. For example, let’s say Superman has a female cousin. Who knew!? How could that be!? Superman was the sole survivor. Oh, she came from a whole city that was spared Krypton’s destruction. Look, she has the same powers!! Cool! (Naturally, she has the same powers as Superman. That follows the conventions established for “Kryptonians”.) Oh, no, she died?! How sad! Oh, wait, she’s back?! She was never introduced? That was ‘another Earth’? Or an ‘imaginary story’? Or an ‘alternate timeline’? That wasn’t her? Oh, wait, here she is again, reappeared out of the blue… What?!? Just ignore her past appearances?? We’ve never seen her before??? What the- ???

Fiction still has its constraints to make it a compelling read. (And by compelling, I mean it has be be good enough that you don’t cringe when you read dialogue, internal or external, especially when it’s coming from a ‘good guy’). You can’t write about just anything and serialize it and make it sustainable without making it palatable too. And that is why “New Guardians” wasn’t and still isn’t at the top of everyone’s “Must Read” list. Kudos to DC for trying to put something out there that showed a “different perspective”. There is something to be said for the attempt, but next time, I suggest making the characterizations a tad more palatable.

And you obviously made a mistake, “Rio”., when you said there are very few non-white, STRAIGHT males writing… unless you know something I don’t. Not that I care. I don’t plan on dating any of them. Or any of the characters they write.

Rolf: I unfortunately don’t have the time now to expand on my points. thanks for answering them, albeit a few ‘snipes’ here and there.

i thank you for correcting the bit about the “non-white, straight”…should read “non-white, non-straight”. As English is not my first language, i thought it read naturally, but that’s because i was thinking in portuguese.

My final quick point for now is that a. you should ask women if they are being appropriately depicted in comics instead of just generalizing that machista point you made. One of the reasons women are not into comics currently (except manga because of how differently it deals with this) is the fact that they are poorly represented. They are either sluts, incapable, or men in women’s bodies (ie. looks like woman, acts like men). there are very few women writers in this little field of comic book authorship. THAT is what is clear to me. And i find it hard to believe that only Grayson or Avery are talented.

Women might be around men all the time, but that makes no difference. Rarely do they get written to satisfaction, but, since most readers are teenage (up to the age of 36, ehehehhehe) men on hormones, that means little.

And thanks for adding the sub-saharan example. Authors like Gaiman and Moore would probably write them accurately for two reasons: they’d never add a character they couldn’t flesh out (why add a woman with breast cancer in subsaharan if you can’t write her?) through research, reading, and studying. They are erudites and they care for such issues.

I agree with most of the rest that you wrote, but we are irreconcilable in terms of the rest. At least it’s good to know we are able to debate ideas, and not just ourselves.

i have to travel today. i am presenting a paper in a national congress here in brazil. it’s a congress of media and communications, where i will present my dissertation on comic book narratives and time-displacement strategies in american, japanese, and brazilian comics. wish me luck.

I think this bears repeating, since I noticed the same thing, and Bob was ignored in the name of people wanting to continue to be righteously indignant:

Bob said:

“The wanted poster may not have been intended to be quite as heinous as it’s being made out.

It looks like the specific infraction being cited is “RE-humping camels” (emphasis added), which I took to be some kind of fraud (along the lines of “rolling the odometer back”) instead of a deviant sexual practice.

That said: yeah, it’s still pretty bad.”

Also, showing surprise that something that came out 18 years ago is more racially insensitive than the way things are today is kinda silly, though it’s good to point it out. “Out of sight, out of mind” eventually becomes “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” if this type of thing gets hidden away from future generations.

Dear Friends,

I am amazed that such silliness has provoked your laser-beam-like attention– as noted– some 18 years later! (What about the burned flag page? The Vietnam Memorial page? Castle’s kid’s cap gun page? That stupid security robot page?)

Bob and Thlayli– I wish I could get a prize of some kind to you both, you are the only people to note the “RE-” part of “re-humping camels.” I hope everyone above who did not spot that feels appropriately sheepish! Ahem, a bit of back story for that “joke” — a terrible 3D exploitation movie “Comin’ At Ya!” (1981) was released and the ad campaign was far superior to the movie. They had hired Phil Proctor (of Firesign Theater fame) to do a bunch of TV and radio spots. One of them had the announcer ask a question about seeing the movie, and Phil replied in a Middle Eastern accented voice, something like, “I was just re-humping my camel…” Now I found this terribly funny and waited for just the right time to make use of it.
Enter deadline pressure and tedium at the board yielding up: the right time.
Limerick, you are correct! Those heads are all Marvel staffers, save for the gal who is my wife’s cousin (and an innocent in all this!). They are starting top: Me, Mike Carlin, Mark Gruenwald– second line, Isobel (wife’s cuz), Jack Morelli and finally Ralph Macchio. Now Ralph was often called “Raf” and the careful reader might see a space between “towel” and the two letters next, “he–“. What I was referring to was our many pleasant afternoons spent at Ralph’s family’s pool where he would hand out towels. I left the word incomplete to suggest many things, but “herder” was in my mind. Ralph is also a dark-complected Italian-American with an extremely heavy beard. So the poor likeness no doubt contributed to the misperception that the individual was of Middle-Eastern extraction.

As for the orange thing– guys, you gotta get out more! Really–!

I actually bought a shooting knife to get the details exactly so. It was shipped without a spring.

Old Bull Lee– you are quite nice in your praise and I thank you for it. I tried very hard to get all the facts right– for a little while I was a “gun expert.” But a few mistakes slipped in, as hard as I tried (I confused .380 and .38 for example!). That specific page you mention, what I call the “blood trail story” was intended to show blood– red blood, but not show its origin directly. Rather, make it a crime scene that the reader could follow. At least that’s what I hoped. It was a bear doing the old-fashioned color-hold that printed the blood separately from the rest of the page. My tolerant editor, Don Daley went for it. Blood was usually depicted as solid black. I wanted something more honest without being grotesque. Also, I avoided drawing people as I really wasn’t very good at doing that (you might tell from those wanted poster images).
My hat’s off to whoever noted that I reduced the number of weapons as time went on. I attended a SWAT Expo and gathered up a lot of high-tech and military equipment info thanks to that. I also wanted to widen my base of appeal– if possible. I do reflect that this may have been Marvel’s oddest title– 32 pages of “weapons” pin-ups! No ads! and yes, 10 issue’s worth.
Thank you, Mike Hoskins (co-Marvel Atlas colleague), for weghing in! I had assembled a huge collection of reference in the form of many magazines, specialty offprints, militaria and many books. I could have gone on for many more issues. No– no one helped me write any of those pages. I would lean heavily on gun magazine articles but I usually pulled two or three together for a page. I got reviewed/criticized by an ex-state trooper pal of mine (credited in the later books) who did take me shooting one fine, winter morning! He is now a TV and movie prop gun specialist. I am slowly telling some of my crazy history (if I do say so myself) and posting pictures of that shooting day at “eliotrbrown.com” It’s a big job to post all the pages too, and that’s happening slowly.

The one thing Marvel should have printed was the all-gag issue “NOT The Punisher Armory.” I had gotten some dozen pages into it, when it was cancelled. Those will be posted at eliotrbrown.com soon!

I happened to have been the assistant editor on the first Secret Wars and you got it straight from the horse’s mouth– Zeck worked hard to stay on top of the penciling. Shooter, the writer of the book (and editor in chief) did not make it easy to do so. The last ultra-late issue was done in a Park Avenue hotel penthouse suite with a dozen of us working all night long, Zeck penciling, several inkers, letterers and colorists — with the nearby office left open so we’d have access to a stat camera! That I have pix of and will post that incredible night soon!

Thank you all for being so even-handed and willing to talk things over. I have fought racism and bigotry all my life. But as for that half-breed magician and regular human, Aquaman– well, I don’t know…


Hey all

I’m extremley proud to say i own all ten issues or the Punisher Armory. And for several months, whenever I went to work, on the bus or train, I’d sir back and read through it. It was very informative, and well researched. The Iron Manual, which i also own, is great too. But the Punisher Armory is all too real. It’s given me a basic knowledge of firearms, which can be a relativly difficult subject. Also, the spy tech was informative. It’s interesting how a theoretical Punisher type vigilante could use this knowledge in this way. It is for me preferable to the Iron Manual, or any of those Batman gadget cutaways…This is well researched. In fact it would make an excellent TPB. 10 issues. I’m getting the new improved Iron manual too, i have had 2 copies of it, and the Punisher Armory has got well read.

And Mr. Brown…Yes , I read that bit about Castles kid’s cap gun….Man, brought a tear to my eye, and I am not ashamed to say it.


Will G

For any in doubt, heres that very page about Castles Kids Gun


Please, Will, I’m Eliot to my pals. I was in a small road side store, with the wife somwhere in New Jersey and there on a rack was an old-fashioned “Cowboy and Indians” type gun and holster set. It was one of those moments where I worked on two levels… one was seeing the gun as being from a time when a kid like Castle’s would have one and two— well, I’d been in the character’s head too long. So I wept a little in the quiet of the store.
But, between you and me, Will, I couldn’t get through it then without tearing up– and still can’t. A lot of time has passed– but I have a kid of my own. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if something bad happened to him.

Ah well.

Thanks again for noting the somewhat “higher tech” stuff I worked into the series. Those years were an interesting time for technology– what was officially out there and then what *had* to be out there– what one could guess at from the results mentioned in stories. Remember the US consulate built in Moscow that was so heavily and completely bugged, that they didn’t bother to open it? Stuff like that. Even when I made stuff up, I tried to be as plausible or non-trademark infringing as possible– like the flying surveillance rig or Micro Chip’s home-made bomb disposal robot. All based on real equipment. (I got a letter from a flying surveillance machine manufacturer wanting to know if I had any further info on that… !)

I appreciate the kind words, Will

Happy This Year! to you and all the forum people here,

Oh my…

*checks Eliot’s website…*


Thanks for the reply. Means a lot.

On a side note, i recently bought the new Iron Armory, mainly for the page with the diagram on the original iron man suit.

I’m especially interested in the idea of the 3D knitting of the iron, istead of the assumed plates of Iron. I thought that was something on the later suits.

What research did you do for the Iron Armory?

Will G


March 3, 2009 at 6:09 am

Concerning the Punisher picture…seriously, people don’t recognize the caricatures from What If?, Vol. 1, #31?
It was the best issue of the run! (Actually, the #31’s were the best issues of both runs.)
Then again, many have accused fanboys of not possessing a sense of humor…and those issues were the humor issues…

And as long as you’re explaining stuff…why not do a column on 100th issues…and why Groo, Ninja High School, and Gold Digger’s 100th issues aren’t really their 100th issues. I always wondered why they did that.

Also, is it true that DC and Marvel both passed up on buying Elfquest when they had the chance to own it?
And was Irwin always the one meant to die when Stark’s new company was destroyed? I always got the feeling that someone more important was meant to die in that issue of Iron Man.

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September 13, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Yeah so… the pervy child that I am really wanted to see some sexual connotation in the knife and bag of oranges, but while I agree that the knife is rather penile… the orange leads me to ask if you guys have ever seen an actual vagina. Maybe it’s a cloud-looks-like-an-ice-cream-cone sorta thing and I’m just not seeing it but…

Either way, I *do* think the artist was trying to insinuate that Frank had sex with Micro’s printer.

Pinnacle Books had put out the Executioner’s War Book and in the Penetrator series, they had the Penetratror’s Combat Catalog as a sometimes feature. I have seen the latter and they definitely featured profiles on weapons and paraphernalia of the Penetrator, who mostly if not exclusively used conventional weapons.

This concern over cultural sensitivity shows why adventure films have moved away from topical political matters to Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and so forth. People such as Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Scott Harvarth, perhaps David Hagberg and Daniel Silva may make the best-seller lists, but they will have trouble having their works turned into films.

(Of course, the huge success of Star Wars, one would have expected to have caused all adventure films to turn into space adventure stories. The reception of Dune, Flash Gordon, Supergirl, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace seem to prevented that.)

This column is amazing. I love how Eliot R. Brown showed up to clarify his work. So cool.

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