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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #194

This is the one-hundred and ninety-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and ninety-three.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Robert Heinlein threatened to sue Marvel for ripping his stories off for Star-Lord.

STATUS: False, as Presented.

It’s interesting to see that just the other week, Greg Hatcher featured Marvel Preview #11 in his countdown of his favorite single issues (as an honorable mention), as around that same time, reader Geoffrey wrote in to ask about Star-Lord!

He wrote:

Is it true that Marvel had to change Steve Englehart’s Star-Lord because Robert Heinlein threatened to sue Marvel over the similarities between the character and his novels?

I like these particular legends, as they go to show you how all of these things get sort of jumbled up with various half-truths so that a story that was originally passed around as X eventually gets sent to me years later as X*Y/Z+W-V.

Okay, first off, the Star-Lord at issue is not Englehart’s Star-Lord, but Chris Claremont’s.

Steve Englehart introduced the character in Marvel Preview #4.

Englehart’s idea was (in his own words):

My hero would go from being an unpleasant, introverted jerk to the most cosmic being in the universe, and I would tie it into my then-new interest in astrology. After his earthbound beginning, his mind would be opened step by step, with a fast-action story on Mercury, a love story on Venus, a war story on Mars, and so on out to the edge of the solar system, and then beyond.

Of course, once Englehart established him as an unpleasant, introverted jerk on Earth named Peter Quill, Englehart left Marvel.

So that cosmic evolution never happened.

However, Marvel Preview editor John Warner liked the character, so in came Chris Claremont with Marvel Preview #11, who more or less re-created the character.

This is this version of Star-Lord that most fans of the character remember, with a young John Byrne doing the art for the first issue (with Terry Austin on inks, to boot!) and Carmine Infantino doing the next two parts of the story in Marvel Preview #14 and 15, respectively (Doug Moench eventually took over the character when he went to the “normal” Marvel comic book line, and after a long period of not being used, the character of Peter Quill was revived by Keith Giffen in the pages of the Thanos ongoing and later given a major role in the Annihilation crossover. Today, Quill is the main character in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy comic book).

Claremont’s take on Star-Lord was to greatly reduce the sort of “mad dog” approach that Englehart had and make the character a great deal more sympathetic. He then turned the stories into, as Greg so nicely termed it, “a rollicking Heinlein-esque space adventure ranging across the galaxy.”

The Heinlein part is important.

Claremont clearly was drawing a lot of inspiration from the so-called “Heinlein juveniles,” the 12 novels for kids that Robert A. Heinlein wrote from the late 40s until the late 50s. These sci-fi books were also very adventure-driven, with a lot of themes that appealed to young readers of the time, but also appealed to pretty much any sci-fi adventure fan. Heck, there is a lot of Luke Skywalker in the teen heroes of Heinlein’s juveniles.

Here are the twelve “Heinlein juveniles”…




So here’s where the confusion comes in, and I’m sure where the people who told Geoffrey the story got their info from. While Claremont’s stories were Heinlein-esque, they certainly were not close to direct rip-offs.

HOWEVER, on the original cover to Marvel Preview #11, it plainly says: A novel-length science fiction spectacular in the tradition of ROBERT A. HEINLEIN.

And there, Heinlein DID have a problem.

It’s one thing to use a guy’s books as the inspiration for your story, it’s a whole other thing to use a guy’s books as the inspiration for your story and then put his name in bold letters on the front of your magazine to help sell the inspired stories on the strength of Heinlein’s name.

So Heinlein’s lawyers contacted Marvel and a new printing was done and the text was removed.

In fact, relatively few copies of Marvel Preview #11 exist with the original text.

It took me quite awhile to find a scan of the original cover. I eventually came across it on John Byrne’s forum, where helpful forum member Jason Czeskleba posted a scan of his personal copy of the issue. Here it is…

So there you go, a fun look at telephone, Comic Book Legend style!

Thanks to Geoffrey for the question, Steve Englehart for having such a cool website (www.steveenglehart.com) filled with helpful info, Greg Hatcher for writing about Marvel Preview in the first place (and having that awesome line about Heinlein right in the piece! How serendipitous was THAT?) and Jason Czeskleba for the scan of the original cover of Marvel Preview #11.

COMIC LEGEND: A misunderstanding of an artist’s note made for an amusing mis-identification in an issue of Captain America.

STATUS: True

In 1991, Marvel released an expanded take on the origin of Captain America called The Adventures of Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty.

It was scripted by Fabian Nicieza and drawn (for the first two and a half issues) by Kevin Maguire, with Kevin West stepping in to finish the four-book series.

While Maguire did not draw the entire series, he did plot it all out with Nicieza.

In issue #2, Captain America has just become a national figure, and there is a neat two-page spread where we see the various headlines from Cap’s burgeoning career.

While working on the scene, Maguire left a note for Nicieza. He explained that one of the headlines was going to be Captain America meeting John Wayne. So Maguire wrote something along the lines of “Cap Meets the Duke.”

And that’s what Maguire drew.

When the issue came out, though, it was evident how Nicieza (and the book’s editor, as well) took the note….

The Duke of Windsor never looked so cool.

Thanks to the great interview George Khoury conducted with Kevin Maguire for TwoMorrows’ awesome Modern Masters series. You can buy the Kevin Maguire volume here. You can follow George’s column on Comic Book Resources, Pop!, here. Thanks, George!

For a bonus, here’s the full page spread (click to enlarge) from The Adventures of Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #2…

COMIC LEGEND: Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid, and Tom Peyer had a failed proposal for Superman

STATUS: True

I’ve always held off on featuring this one because I thought it was a bit too “known,” but if I’ve learned anything over the years is that I really shouldn’t be making any judgments about what is or what is not “too known,” as my idea of what is “too known” rarely (if ever) matches the general readership’s idea on the subject.

So when reader Juno asks:

Here’s an idea for an Urban Legend. I heard that Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid, and Tom Peyer had a failed proposal for Superman to radically overhaul the character into a more proactive, politically influential, populist hero sort of thing. Is that true?

I really should just answer the darn thing!

So yes, Juno, in late 1998, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Mark Waid and Tom Peyer developed an extensive proposal for the Superman titles that was scheduled to launch in January of 2000.

The proposal was originally greenlit, but then DC changed their mind and instead decided to go for a much softer revamp of the four Superman titles.

They still basically revamped all four Superman titles, they just did not go as far and as wide as the Morrison/Millar/Waid/Peyer revamp wanted to go.

Here’s a snippet from their introduction:

Historical record tells us that every fifteen years or so, Superman is re-imagined to address the wants and needs of a new generation. Fifteen years ago, John Byrne recreated Superman from the ground up. Fifteen years prior to that, Julie Schwartz and Denny O’Neil engineered the biggest shakeup since Mort Weisinger began bringing in all his familiar lore fifteen years previous.

That fifteen year cycle is upon us again. With all due deference and heartfelt thanks to the creators of all the fine work done since the Byrne revamp, it seems that many of the social trends and historical currents which made those comics so appropriate and so successful in the ’80s and early ’90s have now been replaced by newer, different trends and currents. Sadly, sales would seem to reflect our contention that new times demand fresh approaches.

We believe that the four of us understand the new face of Superman: a forward-looking, intelligent, enthusiastic hero retooled to address the challenges of the next thousand years. The ultimate American icon revitalized for the new millennium as an aspirational figure, a role model for 21st Century global humanity.

The Superman relaunch we’re selling bucks the trend of sweeping aside the work done by those who came immediately before. Unlike the ‘cosmic reset’ revamps all too prevalent in current comics, our New Superman approach is an honest attempt to synthesize the best of all previous eras. Our intention is to honor each of Superman’s various interpretations and to use internal story logic as our launching pad for a re-imagined, streamlined 21st century Man of Steel. The ‘cosmic reset’ notion has been replaced by a policy of ‘include and transcend’ with regard to past continuity.

Our intention is to restore Superman to his pre-eminent place as the greatest super-hero of all and to topple Spawn and every Marvel comic that’s currently in his way.

We don’t think this will be much of a problem.

Superman: Through The Ages has the full text of the proposal up at their website here.

Tim Callahan and Chad Nevett thoroughly examined the proposal on their respective blogs. Click here for the archived discussions.

A great deal of Grant Morrison’s acclaimed All Star Superman run came from the 1998 proposal, so it’s interesting to note that we have basically seen more or less tangible evidence that the revamp WOULD have been successful had it been tried.

Alas and alack.

Thanks to Superman Through the Ages (it is a great site, check it out) for the proposal and thanks to Juno for the question!

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!

104 Comments

I’m really not a fan of that take on Superman (which is a good reason why I didn’t love All Star Superman as much as everyone else, absolutely), but it probably would have made for some real good comics. There’s no denying that.

Speaking of real good comics, I think I reread Adventures of Captain America more than any other comic as a kid.

“So there you go, a fun look at telephone, Comic Book Legend style!”

Er, what?

In addition to Morrison, Waid also got a chance to use his ideas in “Superman: Birthright.” And presumably, Mark Millar’s famed “Superman screenplay he’d write for free” would cover a lot of his concepts, too.

Wonder where Tom Peyer’s gotten to re-use his contributions?

How does one convince Marvel to reprint that Cap series in a deluxe hardcover treatment?

Presumably, “telephone” the game (of sorts), in which one gauges how much a message changes after it’s passed on by a number of parties. I think the UK term is “Chinese whispers.”

I’m not really sure it’s an accurate description of what’s described here, so I may be erroneous in interpreting what Brian meant.

Poor Mark Waid. The guy SHOULD be writing Superman.

And almost did, according to Rich Johnston.

Haha thats funny Superman Topple all Marvel books !!! Hahaha the Action Comics run by Geoff Johns was nice but nowhere near being a no. 1 book, and All Star Superman sucked.

Heinlein was also angry when Their Satanic Majesty’s Request had a sticker on the front of the album reading “A LP-length rock and roll spectacular in the tradition of ROBERT A. HEINLEIN!”

dan, your definition of the telephone game is pretty hilarious, like some sort of alien observing human children

I think anything that happened before the internet got really popular is fair game for an urban legend treatment. I’d use 2002 as my the date. I think that’s the first year I had anything better than a dial-up connection and really started exploring what was available on the internet. Younger people will probably disagree on the date, but that seems right. The proposed Superman revamp was news to me.

Great legends this week!!

Kinda hoped the Duke would have been drawn as Duke Ellington, but it’s funny nonetheless…

Speaking of known, but unknown legends such as the Superman revamp, here’s an older one — how about covring Moore’s proposed DC series — “Twilight of the Superheroes” (IIRC) as his Watchmen follow-up. I beleive it was “Kingdom Come”-like, 10 years before that series.. Maybe a Moore themed week timed with the release of the Watchmen movie?

What was it about, what happened to it? Can (did) Moore revamp it for use elsewhwere?

Love this column!

karl —

Well, as a child I often *felt* “like some sort of alien” …

Come to think of it, as an adult that’s frequently true as well.

*sigh*

Aren’t the covers to Heinlein’s ‘juveniles’ beautiful?

“Have Space-Suit, Will Travel” was one of my first science fiction novels.

>>Aren’t the covers to Heinlein’s ‘juveniles’ beautiful?

Indeed. At least 4 of those were the editions I read out of the library as a kid — RED PLANET, STAR BEAST, TIME FOR THE STARS & HAVE SPACE SUIT — WILL TRAVEL.

Loved Heinlein’s “Juvenile” or “Boy’s own” stories…

Still have them… I particularly enjoyed his take on the Martians and the hinted history of the “Fifth Planet” that became the Asteroid Belt…

“Poor Mark Waid. The guy SHOULD be writing Superman. And almost did, according to Rich Johnston.

…Considering what he did to the Legion, we should be counting our blessings that he didn’t.

I love All-Star Supes as a twelve-issue miniseries.

I sure as hell wouldn’t want that to be the everyday setup for Superman for the next fifteen years, however.

“Considering what he did to the Legion, ”

Made them have some appeal to non-fans for the first time in twenty years? How evil of him.

Boy, seeing those Heinlein juveniles covers brings back a flood of memories. I devoured those books when I was a kid. The only one of the twelve that I don’t recall reading is Between Planets. My favorite of the other eleven was Tunnel in the Sky.

I’d love to see an edition of Legends dedicated to concepts “that never were”. Included could be the “original” Starhawk as presented in the one page promo in Marvel Superheroes, The Deserter and The Vixen from Cancelled Comics Calvacade, Kid Amazo and Acclaim’s Big Max (the patriotic Super-Ape).

“Twilight of the Superheroes”? It’s not hard to find online. Use the Google!

Interestingly there is another JUvenile heinlein in the form of Starship Troopers which was originally written as a kids book up until his publishers actually read it.

A great deal of Grant Morrison’s acclaimed All Star Superman run came from the 1998 proposal, so it’s interesting to note that we have basically seen more or less tangible evidence that the revamp WOULD have been successful had it been tried.

As ASBAR showed us, that’s not really a safe assumption.

People will eat up stuff in non-continuity books that they’d never accept in the main continuity book. (Try writing an issue of Detective that has Bruce pegging the Child Molester meter like ASBAR did, and watch the outrage.)

Of course, that was (mostly) laughing at the bad writing…whether a well-written Superman book in the vein of ASS would have sold can’t necessarily be judged by it, either.

“Try writing an issue of Detective that has Bruce pegging the Child Molester meter like ASBAR did, and watch the outrage.”

So, your evidence that something that didn’t happen wouldn’t have been successful is you stating your opinion that something else that didn’t happen wouldn’t have been successful?

Better evidence would be tracking down the Morrison interviews where he says that ASS has mostly original ideas and only a few cribbed from this proposal.

Why are you trying to start a fight with me, sean? And why, for that matter, are you claiming I said something I didn’t?

Point: ASBAR was DC’s top selling book most months it came out. Near the top all others.

Point: ASBAR, aside from being horribly written, bears no resemblance to the canon portrayal of Batman, Robin, or any of the other characters in it.

Point: Many of the people who read ASBAR have explicitly stated that they wouldn’t like it if it were in-continuity.

Point: Even without that explicit statement, there’s the fact that any change in continuity to any character gets lambasted.

In other words, people eat up stuff in out of continuity books that they would never accept in continuity. So, even if ASS was like the pitch, that is not evidence that a canon Superman book like it would sell.

I read Tunnel in the Sky and Time for the Stars as a kid. I agree that Tunnel in the Sky is really good.

““Considering what he did to the Legion, ”

Made them have some appeal to non-fans for the first time in twenty years? How evil of him.”

If by appeal you mean “a boring mess that dragged on forever w/no clear resolution”, then you’d be on the money…

I was hoping Fabian would mistake Wayne for Bowie.

Freaky-deaky baby.

The John Wayne/Duke thing is true to life. There’s an allegedly true story I recall about a newspaper editor who refused to let his reporters use abbreviations; as a result a story about a performance of Mozart’s Twelfth Mass was edited to read “Twelfth Massachusetts.” I could see someone noting that a picture will be run with The Duke and the caption-writer misunderstanding. (Also a la a previous Legend about an Alien on the cover of a comic book.)

Brian, since you’re going to cover “too known” Legends, how about my previous suggestion of the one about Batman (the now-reviled 60s TV series) saved Batman (the comic book) from cancellation?

“Why are you trying to start a fight with me, sean? And why, for that matter, are you claiming I said something I didn’t?”

You need to calm all the way down. You’re being extremely defensive about a casual response.

I am not at all familiar with Heinlein’s juveniles, but Star-Lord’s sentient spaceship, “Ship,” bears so close a resemblance to the sentient (to the point of having very human personalities) in-board spaceship computers in his late era novels, “Time Enough For :Love” and “Number of the Beast,” that I thought that was the point of the cover blurb. It’s a wonder his name on the cover was all Heinlein was concerned about. I mean, the combination makes a plagiarism lawsuit seem more plausible than many I know WERE filed.

Lothor – Is Batman, the TV series, reviled? Really? I thought most Bat-fans looked on it with at least some degree of affection. I know I certainly do.

Then again, it’s entirely possible that I’m just projecting.

I read and enjoyed immensely “The Adventures Of Captain America” when it was published. I never caught that mistake before! I have often wondered why Marvel never seemed to reference the story after it was published, as I think it was an excellent take on Cap’s “year one.”

Funny thing about the Morrison/Millar/Waid/Peyer Superman revamp is that, according to an old Wizard (around 2000) I just read, the rejection of it (and Morrison’s belief that The Matrix ripped off The Invisibles) almost led to Morrison quitting comics for good. Obviously that didn’t happen, but it was right there in black & white, him saying he was done with comics for good after finishing up some outstanding projects he had.

“A great deal of Grant Morrison’s acclaimed All Star Superman run came from the 1998 proposal, so it’s interesting to note that we have basically seen more or less tangible evidence that the revamp WOULD have been successful had it been tried.”

Not necessarily. All-Star Superman is being presented as an alternate take on the character. There’s no guarantee that ot would have been as well received as the primary take on the character. There’s also the fact that just because something is well-received today doesn’t automatically mean it would have been as well-taken 10 years ago ( or 10 years from now)> Timing is everything.

Omar Karindu, back from an Internet Thogal ritual

February 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm

It’s also a bit stunning to read that Superman proposal and realize that it’s basically Brand New Day in regards to Lois — “We wanna end the marriage and get the old days back, and we need a big-event deus ex machina plot to do it.”

I suspect that at the DC of 2000, that would’ve gotten them booted faster than anything even if the pitch had otherwise been accepted.

The other interesting note is that almost all the Daily Planet suggestions for the supporting cast actually have been implemented, as well as the death of Pa Kent angle, by Geoff Johns.

In Star-Lord there are two minor characters named Arak and Arion, well before DC used those names for totally-unrelated series. What’s the connection there?

Brian –

Once again, virtually everyone who references this column uses the phrase ‘Urban legends’.
I would be much happier if you’d return it to its original title – when I read ‘Comic Legends Revealed’, I just imagine Stan Lee in a posing pouch, and it’s not pleasant. Maybe other readers disagree, but it’s not an image I care for.

“Use the Google”

Well, yeah, and I have in the past, but I still thought it might be an interesting topic for those who didn’t know that there was something to even Google. Plus, you just gave me — and others — a link. So, mission accomplished regardless.

Thanks! :)

You’re being extremely defensive about a casual response.

Nonsense. sean claimed I said something I didn’t. I corrected him. That’s not being ‘extremely defensive’. That’s correcting an incorrect characterization of my post.

Why do I think he’s trying to start a fight by mischaracterizing my post, rather than simply being mistaken? Because he didn’t misinterpret something I was ambiguous about – he claimed I said something I quite explicitly did not. I made no claim one way or the other about whether the Superman book that Morrison et al. pitched would sell or not. I simply pointed out that ASS selling is not evidence that it would, and explained why. Then I went on to specifically say that it can’t be said that it wouldn’t, either.

It would be quite reasonable to get ticked off at that, but, actually, I’m really not. I’m mostly rolling my eyes at a rather obviously incorrect claim about what I said.

“Speaking of known, but unknown legends such as the Superman revamp, here’s an older one — how about covring Moore’s proposed DC series — “Twilight of the Superheroes” (IIRC) as his Watchmen follow-up. I beleive it was “Kingdom Come”-like, 10 years before that series.. Maybe a Moore themed week timed with the release of the Watchmen movie?

What was it about, what happened to it? Can (did) Moore revamp it for use elsewhwere?

Love this column!”

There used to be a website that had the whole thing.

Part of the plot included Billy Batson as a grown up midget or something like that frequenting a… let’s call it “massage parlor” to keep it PG

Loved the Heinlein/Star-Lord connection! I did not know that! I got into both Science Fiction and comics by reading a serialized, comic book version, of Heinlein’s “Between Planets” in “Boy’s Life” Magazine back in the 70s. I went on to devour every one of Heinlein’s juvies a few times. I still have the battered old DelRey paperbacks, as well as some older editions I’ve picked up along the way…

Anyone have any idea who might have done that graphic novelized version of “Between Planets”? I was probably 8 or 9 at the time, so it was probably 74-75… ? I’ve asked on other boards and never got an answer.

Hahaha Millar, and Morrison…are the best! I love their Mercenary Attitudes. They should go ahead and create a euro-superman instead of trying to turn Kalel into one.

Omar Karindu, back from an Internet Thogal ritual

February 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Hahaha Millar, and Morrison…are the best! I love their Mercenary Attitudes. They should go ahead and create a euro-superman instead of trying to turn Kalel into one.

I think you might want to try making sense next time you comment, or at least explaining how the proposal is “euro-superman” for those of us who don’t immediately know what the prefix “euro-” evidently conjures up in your mind.

Seeing all that Lorem Ipsum on the Cap page makes me cringe. Couldn’t they have written SOMETHING? When you use it that much and that large, it looks really obvious and lazy.

Great column as always.

Thanks again. I still think there;s a “Twilight” story beyond what’s on these two sites, which look like they haven’t been updated in ages.

More to the story?

Still, good to revew that stuff, I’ve bookmarked.

So, Heilien invented the Rolling Stones, huh? He should of killed them off when they turned thirty. :)

The problem with Superman is that he’d be the most hated super-individual around… eventually. Because he’s the most powerful guy around and even when he wins a lot, when he loses and those people in a plane die or some supervillian manages to get his evil done, he’ll get the blame. How do I know this? Places like Iraq, Sudan, and Bosnia. It’s our (America’s) job to save everyone. We can’t and sometimes it goes really bad.

I’d never have this guy be as much of a public figure. I just can’t see it that way.

Is Batman, the TV series, reviled? Really? I thought most Bat-fans looked on it with at least some degree of affection. I know I certainly do.

It’s an age thing. While it was running, it contributed to the image of all comics fans as being goofballs who took superheroics as seriously as Adam West did. Then there were all the O’Neil/Adams Bat-purists who seethed in frustration throughout the early seventies at how no one understood that Batman was COOL and SCARY. Really fans only started to calm down about this after the 1989 movie.

I never really let go of my own adoration of the character of Batman but there were times when I was a young teenager that I had a hard time dealing with the reactions of people who only knew the TV show and jeerd at my funnybook habit. I seethed a little too. But I got over it.

The ugly truth about the Adam West Batman that it took YEARS for fans to really deal with was that it was ACCURATE. At least in its first season, that was kind of what Batman comics looked like. Wild costumes, crazy oversized props, fisticuffs at the climax, bright dayglo colors and stilted dialogue. Several early episodes were lifted right out of the comics. That was the joke. And fans are never really very good at taking a joke.

At least not without a lot of time to mellow out about it. I’m glad most of us have. I wish to hell they’d get the rights sorted out so we could get Batman DVDs.

Also, I forgot to add that Claremont was very open and honest about the Heinlein influence on the story in a text piece he did for that issue of Marvel Preview. I daresay they thought of the cover blurb as being sort of a tribute.

Re the Adam West Batman show: I saw it as a kid, and I LOVED it, precisely BECAUSE it was so goofy. Though there were times when, even at 6-7 years of age, I said, “That’s ABSURD!” (Like in the movie, where they “dehidrated” people into dust and then revived them with water.) But even then, I still enjoyed it, because I understood that it was all a live action cartoon. As a matter of fact, when I later discovered comics, I was surprised that the stories were more serious than the show! And I’m talking about reprints of the 60’s type of Batman stories that Greg mentions above- yes, compared to the West show, some of those WERE serious! Though others were just plain zany. And then one day they turned even more serious and realistic on me (this was, of course, because we were finally getting the 70’s Batman comics reprints (The O’Neill Batman.) I liked them even more (though sometimes they were scary) and I’ve been a comic book fan ever since. :)

Speaking of old Batman craziness, I can’t *believe* they actually referenced the Bat-Hombre character, probably the most embarrassing bit of Batman’s history, in the most recent Brave & The Bold cartoon! 0_0 I laughed my head off. And BTW, I AM Latino (Puerto Rican) and I’m NOT offended by that reference, just amused they got away with it on a TV cartoon. Har!

I don’t know how much of that proposal ended up in ASS, but a lot of it seems to have ended up in Morisson’s Batman run and Final Crisis. “A policy of ‘include and transcend’ with regard to past continuity” seems to sum up the attitude to continuity in those works, at least in intention. You could use the sales figures of those books to estimate how well the relaunch would have gone, but that’s probably a stretch.

is that another version of the Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty series? Because I don’t remember the coloring being so bright. The original coloring was done well and all, but didn’t fit with Maguires style in my opinion.

wasn’t the duke of windsor a nazi sympathizer?

I think ASB&R sold, not because it was out of continuity but because it had FRANK MILLER and JIM LEE’s names on one of DC’s most popular characters. I think Quitely and Lee are one of the most popular artists write now as well as Morrison and Miller. Put that with DC’s top franchise titles and of course your going to see sales.

Ian
February 13, 2009 at 4:57 pm
Seeing all that Lorem Ipsum on the Cap page makes me cringe. Couldn’t they have written SOMETHING? When you use it that much and that large, it looks really obvious and lazy.
————————————————-

Yes, the incredibly enlarged section focusing on the Cap/Duke panel does look “obvious and lazy” but that is also INCREDIBLY blown up (by three times). The average reader of the original comic book would not spend his time trying to read each and every newspaper “clip” that’s been included in the spread. If the average reader wouldn’t waste his time trying to read that, why should any letterer kill himself/herself trying to create “real text” for the “articles”?

Cosmic Spacehead

February 14, 2009 at 3:08 am

Ha. I loved that Cap miniseries, but I honestly didn’t remember a second artist. I remember not being too happy about the coloring, though.

Would some of that pitch have ended up in Millar’s Superman Adventures run? I’m reading through it now, and the high points are very similar to All-Star in tone. Or is the timing off there?

I have a feeling Geoff Johns might have been influenced by that pitch, too. Either that or it’s a case of great minds thinking alike, Twilight of the Superheroes/Kingdom Come style.

Yes, the incredibly enlarged section focusing on the Cap/Duke panel does look “obvious and lazy” but that is also INCREDIBLY blown up (by three times). The average reader of the original comic book would not spend his time trying to read each and every newspaper “clip” that’s been included in the spread. If the average reader wouldn’t waste his time trying to read that, why should any letterer kill himself/herself trying to create “real text” for the “articles”?

I don’t particularly care, but the section isn’t THAT blown up.

The letters in the newspaper clippings are about the same size as the letters in the captions, so it is not like you have to squint to see them.

I dont really see hwo the success of all star proves the entire concept would have worked as a complete replacement of the entire property. It’s a great book but it works primarily as a novelty, as an alternative to the main superman narrative. maybe it would have worked. im not saying definitively it wouldnt have. im just pointing out that concretely saying it would have is just presumption at best.

I dont really see hwo the success of all star proves the entire concept would have worked as a complete replacement of the entire property.

Duly noted.

Omar Karindu, back from an Internet Thogal ritual

February 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Kurt Busiek, to his credit, never uses greeking or lorem ipsum or whatever-you’d-call-it. He always writes FULL background text for newspapers, etc. in his comics. It gets especially impressive in places like the cover of Untold Talkes of Spider-Man #15, which uses a newspaper as the entire cover’s background…and it’s pretty much a complete news article covering the events of the story inside for we squinting types.

Upon finishing the 1st of this week’s legends, I immediately headed to the basement to check out my own copy of Marvel Preview # 11. Sure enough, I have one that shows the original Heinlein blurb on the cover, which probably didn’t make the difference in whether I bought it or not (I was buying virtually anything from Marvel in those days, unlike today). But on the other hand, it certainly didn’t hurt (I would have been reading some of Heinlein’s later novels at the time, and was at least a lukewarm fan of his work).

And now, back I go to check out the other 2 legends this week!!

(Great column, as always, Brian!!)

(Great column, as always, Brian!!)

Thanks! I hope the other two legends won’t make you change your mind. ;)

thanks for doing the superman revamp story, i was sick of people referring to it and moving swiftly on, it sounded awesome!

ParanoidObsessive

February 15, 2009 at 1:07 am

>>> but if I’ve learned anything over the years is that I really shouldn’t be making any judgments about what is or what is not “too known,” as my idea of what is “too known” rarely (if ever) matches the general readership’s idea on the subject.

I’ve been reading comics for 25 years – and certainly consider myself a comic geek – but I’ve never been the sort of person who really delves too deeply into the background politics or stuff behind the scenes, or hangs out on comic forums… which means that a LOT of what you consider “too well known” is stuff I’ve never even remotely heard of, let alone know the true story behind. Part of why I check the article every week is because there’s always interesting stuff I had no clue of.

>>> A great deal of Grant Morrison’s acclaimed All Star Superman run came from the 1998 proposal, so it’s interesting to note that we have basically seen more or less tangible evidence that the revamp WOULD have been successful had it been tried.

I’d definitely have to agree with the people who’ve said that the success of an Elseworlds-style story or “side interpretation” doesn’t necessarily equate to sales on the main title – because fans are usually FAR more willing to forgive you for doing horrible things to their favorite character if they don’t have to think of those things as having “really” happened.

>>> wasn’t the duke of windsor a nazi sympathizer?

He was, which sort of makes it even funnier. Hitler firmly believed that Germany could have had excellent relations with England (and that England would have stayed out of the war entirely) had Edward become king rather than abdicated. There were also rumors that Edward leaked some of the secrets he had access to to Germany before the war started.

I always heard about this Millar/Peyer/Morrison proposal, primarily from here, and people here tend to be very enthusiastic about how good it would have been. But it’snot until the comments section of this post that I knew that part of it involved a deus ex machina to get rid of the super-marriage.

So I’m confused. Commenters here were really heated and upset about a deus ex machina being used to get rid of the Spider-Marriage, yet they are gung ho about an unused Superman proposal that did the exact same thing to Superman? Why the difference in reactions?

I don’t mind either, but the Superman one is about 1000 times better than the plot of One More Day. You’d really be hard pressed to come up with a worse story than One More Day.

Besides that, it’s basically a bit of a weird argument because who is to say that the people who liked the Superman proposal were the same ones who disliked the Spider-Man marriage erasure?

Well, being that people were so vocal and adamant about the erasing of the Spider-marriage in the comments sections for One more Day and Brand New Day and every Spider-related column since then on this blog, you’d expect at least ONE of those same commenters would chime in negatively whenever the Milar/Morrison/Peyer proposal is brought up and say that getting rid of the Clark and Lois marriage was a mistake and incredibly disrespectful to fans.

We have a lot of commenters, so I dunno if your expectation would be correct.

As Spider-marriage fan, I wasn’t angry with what they did, rather HOW they did it… For goodness sake, if they really wanted rid of her, they could have killed her off. Or made her give her life for Aunt May. Or lots of other things… The One More Day idea has so many problems beyond simply “making a deal with the devil”…

They tried a (VERY) similar thing with Flash a few years ago, when Wally got the Spectre (then Hal Jordan) to wipe everyone’s memories of his identity, including his own. That didn’t last long BECAUSE of the problems that it caused with the JLA, etc….

One More Day hasn’t even been MENTIONED in New Avengers, Secret Invasion, etc… Even Tony “Mr Brainy” Stark hasn’t mentioned “By the way Spidey, we don’t appear to have a SHIELD file on you suddenly…”

“I always heard about this Millar/Peyer/Morrison proposal, primarily from here, and people here tend to be very enthusiastic about how good it would have been. But it’snot until the comments section of this post that I knew that part of it involved a deus ex machina to get rid of the super-marriage.

So I’m confused. Commenters here were really heated and upset about a deus ex machina being used to get rid of the Spider-Marriage, yet they are gung ho about an unused Superman proposal that did the exact same thing to Superman? Why the difference in reactions?”

We could probably spend the next 18 months on this column alone debating over why that group’s proposal for Superman was utter crap, but we’d only be going over discussions that I’ve been involved in for the last four years and not find anything new.

We could discuss how Waid’s vision of Superman was a complete failure to the point that, a year to the date it was published, it became invalid in the comics (despite what people may think, Birthright was already invalid long before DC announced Secret Origin).

We could debate how, if it hadn’t been for Mark Waid, Superman wouldn’t have spent the better part of the first decade of the 21st Century circling a creative drain that has him stuck revisiting the same four stories over and over again (an origin story, a battle with Brainiac, a battle with Bizarro, and a new Zod).

We could debate over how, despite what many, many, many fanboys may think, Morrison’s ASS is NOT an original story, but a rehash of an old Jerry Siegel “Death of Superman” Silver Age story, and how he (like Waid with BR) didn’t bring one single NEW idea to the character, and how his story reads just like what it is, an outdated take on the character that has no bearing on the present as anything more than a visit to a time long gone.

We could debate over how Mark Millar’s overflated ego has made him believe that he can become the one and only savior of Superman in the movies, and how his comments about how he’s chummy with a producer come off as the rants of someone who is trying to crash a party he hasn’t been invited to (i.e. pitch ideas for a Superman movie. He may have been asked, but every time he talks about it that’s the impression he gives).

We could remark, not debate, how Peyer has been the only honorable one in the bunch as not ONCE in the last decade has he ever spoken about Superman and given the impression that he thinks that he’s the only fanboy turned writer on the face of the Earth that can save him, which is how Waid, Millar, and Morrison sound every single time they open their mouth about it.

We could talk about all of that if the silence about the topic bothers you, but I think that out of respect for Brian and his column we shouldn’t.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Hey Brian,

One thing I’ve never been clear on with the Morrison/Waid proposal is that weren’t the four then ‘banned’ from doing Superman, forever, as punishment for sending the proposal in?
I’ve heard they sent it in because they were asked to, then got in trouble for trying to ‘steal’ jobs from others.

We could talk about all of that if the silence about the topic bothers you, but I think that out of respect for Brian and his column we shouldn’t.

I dunno man, passive aggressive comments are awesome.
Why actually discuss when we could just make comments like that too each other?

See?

Dude, go ahead and analyze the Superman comics from the last half decade and I dare you not to see how the stories have become repetitive and the continuity has become a mess all because of Birthright.

I also dare you to look at ASS objectively and not notice that the story is a big nothing made up of stolen pieces from old comics.

As for your question, at the time it was said that an editor (Berganza I think) contacted the foursome to come up with their proposal while another editor was on vacation, then when this second editor came back he saw the proposal or something and he vetoed it, then banned the foursome from ever working on the ongoing series while at the same time he said that they were free to pitch as many mini series or one shots as they felt like it.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that, to date, neither one of them had worked on the ongoing series (with the exception of Millar, who worked on Adventures of Superman for a time during the early days of Berganza’s run as editor), and both projects that Waid and Morrison have worked on were nothing more than 12 issue maxi series. That ban against them working on the ongoing series must still be in place.

I’m sure you or someone else will ask the reason for the ban.

I remember reading at the time that the reason why this editor banned the foursom from working on the comics was because (at the time) DC didn’t want big name creators on the comics because they felt that the character could sell on its own merits.

10 years later and, thanks mostly to Waid’s efforts, that’s no longer true and, today, Superman can’t sell without the help of big name creators.

Wow, ManOfTheAtom. I’d heard stories about you from the CBR boards, but I thought you were a myth.

I find it odd that Cap would be smiling so broadly while shaking hands with a Nazi sympathiser like the Duke of Windsor.

“Wow, ManOfTheAtom. I’d heard stories about you from the CBR boards, but I thought you were a myth.”

And this is relevant, how?

Are you going to insult me now, or offer something on topic? Because unless you or someone else can offer something to counter my points, whatever may have been said of me on the boards is irelevant to them and wouldn’t mean they’re not right.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 15, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Because unless you or someone else can offer something to counter my points, whatever may have been said of me on the boards is irelevant to them and wouldn’t mean they’re not right.

But from what they say, it’s wiser to just ignore you.

But honestly, what can we argue?
I think Birthright is flawed, but enjoyable – and hardly Waid’s fault if later writers fumbled what he had – and Morrisons All Star Superman is a lot of fun, updating the Silver Age version of the character, and really letting the concepts play.
I don’t know that Geoff Johns going his own way with the character, with editorial’s blessing is any sign of quality to any other version, as DC seems to be making a fair bit of cash by letting Johns do his thing, and so it doesn’t make much sense to say no to him.

It might help if your points were something other than a broadside of opinion. As it is, what exactly is someone supposed to say, other than something like “the comics are not repetitive and boring; All-Star Superman is more than a hodgepodge of Silver Age references, so there!”?

When your primary “evidence” is that Birthright was retconned out — like several other origins over several decades — or that recurring villains, er, recurred, you’re really not making the sort of arguments that anyone should respond to.

You don’t like recent Superman comics. Other people do, and the difference of opinion isn’t reducible to “you’re smart, everyone on the other side is stupid.”

FunkyGreenJerusalem:
One thing I’ve never been clear on with the Morrison/Waid proposal is that weren’t the four then ‘banned’ from doing Superman, forever, as punishment for sending the proposal in?
I’ve heard they sent it in because they were asked to, then got in trouble for trying to ’steal’ jobs from others.

Maybe Brian can clear this up but I also read something similar to that in “Writers on comic scriptwriting” (interesting read if you like this sort of stuff) as told by Mark Waid. All I remember him saying though was that early on in his career while writing Flash/Impact? he was told by the high ups at DC that neither himself nor Grant Morrision would ever be allowed to write Superman. I believe he said something about they weren’t the write type of writers for Superman and never mentioned a purposal. Which seemed to me to be the reason Waid left DC because writing Superman was a life long dream that he could never fulfill. So it’s kind of funny that both eventually ending up writing him in the end.

i’m about 98% sure i have a copy of Marvel Preview #11 with the Heinlein text on the cover at home. i had no idea it was a rare thing!

ManoftheAtom,

You have not made any points. You have expressed an opinion and not provided any evidence or precedent to back it up.

With regard to the Batman TV show, the pure comic fan in me doesn’t like it so much as it arguably trivializes superhero comics (although the release of more sophisticated narratives such as Dark Knight lessens any detrimental effects of the show). However, the comedy appreciating side of me LOVES IT!. I want that show on DVD pronto and Adam West is a god.

Batman’s not on DVD? Hmm.

I’m very curious about the continuing legal ramifications of the Heinlein thing. The reprint of that issue in the Marvel Visionaries: Chris Claremont hardcover from several years ago has the cover with Heinlein’s name on it …

Alex – The Batman TV show’s one of many examples of conflict between Fox (who made the show) and Warner Brothers (who, obviously, owns the rights to the Batman character). There’s also some conflict between Greenway (the production company that partnered with Fox on it) and Fox over royalties and the like, though it’s not entirely clear if that’s involved in this particular case.

There are apparently other issues, but I have no real idea about them.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 16, 2009 at 8:43 pm

You don’t like recent Superman comics. Other people do, and the difference of opinion isn’t reducible to “you’re smart, everyone on the other side is stupid.”

Actually, he’s not saying anything about recent one’s, he’s saying he doesn’t like the one’s from a few years ago, but not that far back.
Which is why it’s odd that he’s expecting us all to fight back and get outraged.

Wow. I hate Mike Carlin.

I would love to become an executive at DC just so I could fire him. He sunk Superman to an all-time low level of creative bankruptcy and confusion.

Funny enough: the three best Superman series to come out in the past 15 years have been by Waid, Millar or Morrison!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm

He sunk Superman to an all-time low level of creative bankruptcy and confusion.

If you ignore the success that was the period when he had four titles a month, continuing the stories from book to book, and the death of superman, which made DC some serious cash.

Hey Brian, I’m posting this question here as a follow-up to your MotU rumor from Urban Legends #75

The question is:

Did the DC Comics writers intend there to be a connection between New God character “Metron” and Master of the Universe character “Zodac, the Cosmic Enforcer”?

I understand you covered the MotU Movie / New Gods Movie connection but my question is different as follows:

The classic Zodac toy was a dude with red space armor and a laser pistol. Originally billed as an Evil warrior, the accompanying EARLY literature had him as more of a neutral keeper of balance, which was what followed ever since.

When he was presented in both the toy-included comic books (apparently all written by DC before Mattel took over) and the short-lived DC Comic series/insert (prior to Marvel’s Epic-line MotU series), if I recall correctly, Zodac flew around in a chair (much like Metron) and did cosmic “stuff”. The Zodac toy did not come with this chair, but if you look at the chair in the manner in which it was drawn, it is identical to the throne that comes with the original Castle Greyskull playset. There was no reason for him to use the chair, but when you go think about it, Zodac of the DC Comics issue(s) is pretty much intended to be Metron.

Is there a connection? Would it be possible to ask the writer(s) of the DC material for MotU?

Here are some reference links (see DC Comics section):
http://www.he-man.org/primary_sects/comics/html/index.shtml
http://www.he-man.org/primary_sects/books/html/other/power_of_pointdread.shtml

As a follow-up to my post, further research shows that it was Paul Kupperberg who wrote the DC miniseries.

The above post doesn’t mean much while the actual question is still pending for moderation. :/

@FunkyGreenJerusalem:

Someone invoking the term “creative bankruptcy” is probably not going to decide Carlin’s work suddenly had all kinds of validity just because it sold pretty well. He’s just saying the stories were bad and uncreative, which isn’t an uncommon sentiment about the Triangle Number era of Supes.

BTW, a new Printing of Heinlein’s “The Rolling Stones” comes out in March from Baen Books.

And, “Tunnel in the Sky” is one of my favorite books – I’d much have rater seen it or “Have Spacesuit, will Travel” turned into a movie, than that horrid bastardization of “Starship Troopers”

The writers and producers of the Troopers movie franchise are clueless about the real setting of the book. All persons had all rights EXCEPT voting, and voting was gotten through ANY form of government service – not just the military – but being in the military just got you voting rights quicker, some branches quicker than others (there is dialogue actually referring to this in the book). The more likely you were to die (or more essential to humanity’s defense) in your service branch, the quicker the voting rights came. One might have to work a decade as a logistics clerk to become enfranchised, as opposed to 2-3 for a soldier. And, the hero of the book chose the most dangerous service of all, partially misguided in his choice by his high school view of the world, but rose to the occasion once in service.

Oh, and it wasn’t a fascist state either – there was still all the freedoms one would associate with a free society (though with some restrictions from being in a major war -think the WWII press). It’s just that the movie writers read maybe a couple chapters, and decided it was a fascist state because people had to earn their voting privileges.

I don’t know if this counts as an urban legend, but given how you guys have done several editions regarding nudity in the comics (and instances misconstrued as nudity), can someone confirm for me that there are two topless ladies in the extreme background of the Marvel Series 2 trading card for Sauron? I noticed this as a kid and would love to hope I wasn’t just pervily sugarcoating my past.

You can find a scan of the card here: http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.1098.Make_Mine_Marvel:_Marvel_Universe_Cards_Series_2|

(Sauron is number 71)

The scan’s a little fuzzy, but it does look like there are two topless females (and one female with a bikini top), and that one of the girls (on the right side of the card), is proudly displaying nipples.

Art Adams, you dog! How’d that get past?

No urban legend there – they’re blatantly topless. I suspect they got away with it because tribal (I’m sure there’s a better word) nudity like that is just a part of everyday life and not at all sexual.

As a Superman fan and a fan of All-Star Superman, I move that from this point forward we abbveviate it as A*S instead of (cringe) ASS.

…(waits for the inevitable “OMG but it *IS* ASS haw haw!” jabs)

I too have a copy of the Starlord comic with the Heinlein blurb on the cover! Never had any idea it was special. Loved all Heinlein’s output (well, maybe not “Number of the Beast”) and rank “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” as one of my all time favourite novels. I’m still catching up on some of the harder to get stuff (and thank goodness someone decided to reprint stuff like “The Door Into Summer” which I’ve been after for years). Now if only I could lay my hands on a copy of “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls”…

“[Superman] will get the blame. How do I know this? Places like Iraq, Sudan, and Bosnia. It’s our (America’s) job to save everyone. We can’t and sometimes it goes really bad.”

On behalf of all non-yanks worldwide, I really hope this is a darkly satirical snipe at the attitude many of us feel occasionally comes out of North America. Sadly, I doubt it…

[…] una sfida che ha sempre cercato di voler portare a termine prima con il suo apporto nel naufragato Superman Now, un rilancio dei primi anni duemila tentato insieme a Grant Morrison, Mark Waid e Tom Peyer, poi […]

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