web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #196

This is the one-hundred and ninety-sixth 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-five.

This week is a special theme week – “Additions and Omissions.” Doesn’t that have a heck of a ring to it?

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: The original Punisher mini-series was expanded from four issues to five based on the high pre-orders of the first issue of the series, which explains why there is additional artwork in the final issue from different artists.

STATUS: False on Both Accounts

Once upon a time in an almost mythical era known as the early 1980s, the Punisher did not have his own comic book series.

That gross injustice was corrected when Steven Grant and Mike Zeck teamed up for the 1986 Punisher mini-series. The mini-series proved a massive sales success, and soon the Punisher would gain an ongoing series (and soon after THAT, he had his first spin-off series! At his peak, the Punisher was starring in three ongoing monthly series plus the semi-regular Punisher Armory series plus seasonal specials).

Fans, however, noticed something strange about the covers of the comic.

Look at the covers for #1 and #2.

Anything seem odd to you?

The first issue notes that the comic is a four-issue series.

The second issue notes that the comic is a FIVE-issue series.

The third and fourth issues go back to four-issue series…

while the fifth issue, naturally, says it is a five-issue series.

After the somewhat surprising nature of the Punisher’s popularity, the rumor began that the reason for the change was because Marvel saw the order numbers for the first issue and quickly moved to expand the series to five issues.

In addition, the fifth issue was not drawn by Mike Zeck, but by Mike Vosburg. This was attributed to the fact that the move from four issues to five necessitated a quick fill-in artist, as Mike Zeck was only scheduled to do four issues, not five.

In fact, the Wikipedia entry for the Punisher limited series says basically just that…

The first issus was bannered on the cover as the first of four. After this first issue immediately sold out, Marvel expanded the miniseries to five issues. The miniseries was such a success that the Punisher was brought back the next year in his own ongoing monthly title.

Issues #1, #3 and #4 had banners promoting a four-issue limited series and issues #2 and #5 promote a five-issue series. Mike Zeck was the artist on the first four issues and Mike Vosburg was the penciller of #5. The splash page of issue #5 has a caption stating “Special thanks to true pros Mike Vosburg (pencils), Jo Duffy (script), and Big John Beatty (inks)” alluding to the difficulties of expanding a four-issue limited series into five issues.

I asked both Grant and Zeck about the situation, and here’s what they had to say.

First, writer Steven Grant…

Originally Mike and I wanted to do the 4th and 5th issues as one double-sized like the first one, but Marvel wasn’t keen on it, so we split it in two. But that was long before production started, so it shouldn’t have been a factor. I think the first issue reads “of a four-issue limited series” and Mike and I raised holy hell over that so the second issue has “five” on it. But production couldn’t keep it straight because nobody DID five issue series. People did four issue series. Mike and I had a bet with each other that the fifth issue would read “#5 In A Four-Issue Limited Series,” but they managed to get it right that time.

Next, penciler (and cover artist) Mike Zeck….

Grant is right in that it was always planned to be a 5-issue limited. The logo mix-up was really just a matter of the production department being in a habit of pasting “#X in a 4-issue Limited Series” with almost all other limited series. I noticed it right away when I caught sight of the first issue and called the editor right away. We were just in time to contact the printer and have the line corrected on the second issue. I figured it was taken care of until I saw the third issue with the same “4-issue Limited Series” banner. I figured it was useless to try and correct that fourth issue at that point since readers wouldn’t know what to believe anyway.

The Vosburg fifth issue was the result of deadline problems. I spent more than my usual time with the art on the first double-sized issue. Then spent even more time re-coloring it once I saw the originally submitted colors. It was already scheduled at that point, and I was well behind by the time I was into the second issue. So,.. breakdowns were suggested again to speed things up, and even with that, the editor figured it best to assign the last issue to another artist just to make sure shipping dates were met for all issues.

I think that basically settles that, no?

Thanks so much to Steven Grant, whose column, Permanent Damage, is on this here very site, Comic Book Resources (click here to check it out) and thanks again to Mike Zeck (who has been quite open with information in the past with me, as well). You can check out Mike’s site, MikeZeck.com, here.

COMIC LEGEND: Vince Colletta once accidentally omitted the head of a character in a panel.

STATUS: True

Vince Colletta inked many great comic books during his long and varied career in comics. He worked for DC, he worked for Marvel, he worked for basically everybody.

One of the drawbacks of Colletta’s style as an inker was that sometimes, to make the job go faster (Colletta was a guy you would call if you ever needed a job inked FAST), Colletta would actually remove details from the penciler’s original drawing while inking it, sometimes even including removing figures from panels.

However, I don’t think anything quite matches the hilarity of what Colletta did in Journey Into Mystery #112, where Colletta accidentally dropped the HEAD of a character!!

Interestingly enough, Colletta’s inks on Jack Kirby on Kirby’s Thor and particularly his Tales of Asgard back-ups were likely the highlights of Colletta’s career as an inker.

However, in Journey Into Mystery #112, Colletta inked Kirby on a story that was just recently revisited by J. Michael Straczynski in a recent issue of Thor (#12, to be precise), the tale of how Odin came to kill Loki’s father and take in the child to raise as his own son.

Here are the first two pages (click to enlarge)…

Notice anything screwy?

Check out this panel…

Okay, now check out the original Kirby pencils…

Colletta erased Laufey’s head!!!!

I get erasing details or erasing a background figure, but erasing the HEAD of a character?!! Wow!

I don’t think Colletta ever made a mistake that hilarious, but I’m prepared to be proven wrong if there’s folks out there who know of a worse/better story than this one!

Thanks to the Jack Kirby Collector (and Jack Kirby Collector reader Shane Foley who originally pointed this error out) for the original Kirby scans! Thanks to Mark Evanier, too, who wrote the piece the scans appeared. Check out Mark’s site here! If you’re interested in Jack Kirby at all, the Jack Kirby Collector is a great read from a great company, TwoMorrows Publishing! Be sure to check them out at their site here!

COMIC LEGEND: Marvel had Jack Kirby add a couple of figures to the cover of the first issue of the Fantastic Four.

STATUS: True

The cover for the Fantastic Four #1 is already a pretty odd cover.

My pal Kurt Mitchell has asked the hilarious question, “Who exactly tied Mr. Fantastic up on this cover?”

And almost as amusing as that is Sue’s exclamation – “I–I can’t turn invisible fast enough!” Don’t worry about your speed, Sue, somehow I don’t think turning invisible was going to be a huge factor when the monster already has you in its grasp.

But all of this being said, the Jack Kirby drawing is still a cool looking cover.

Interestingly enough, Kirby’s ORIGINAL drawing was actually changed – and it was changed in a very odd little way.

Here is the published cover for Fantastic Four #1 (cover scan courtesy of Gary Shikles’ Comic Island store – I wanted a really big scan of the cover, and he had one – he’s actually selling this very copy on his site right now, check it out here)…

Here is the ORIGINAL cover for Fantastic Four #1, which Marvel has used in reprints of the issue…

(Click on both covers to enlarge)

Notice the change?

Here, to make it clear, I’ll put details from the two covers, going from the original (left) to the published (right)…

Isn’t that weird?! What odd little changes to make!

Maybe Stan felt that there should be police on the scene? I have no idea.

Marvel did this to Kirby on a few other covers, making slight corrections to Kirby’s original covers which have only been re-discovered years later when Marvel used the original covers as the basis for the Marvel Masterworks reprint editions. Another two examples are the original covers of Avengers #4 and X-Men #10. The published covers have “corrections” that were later reverted to the original covers for the Masterworks editions.

Unlike those covers, however (which were a correction of Cap’s wings and Ka-Zar’s hand), this is less obvious of a “problem.”

Why has no Fantastic Four writer ever explained this?! Maybe they were Skrulls!!

Thanks, again, to the Jack Kirby Collector, and specifically Chris Harper, who was the first person I had seen to notice this odd little addition!

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.

In case you didn’t hear about it, Plume Books (a division of Penguin Books) is publishing a collection of my Comic Book Legends Revealed columns (half expanded “best of”/half new stuff) and it is due out on April 28th.

Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to pre-order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you next week!

80 Comments

wow a book, congratulations!

Talk about self-promoting, you vainglorius capitalist, you.

Congratulations on this fantastic accomplishment. I’ve been digging this site for quite a while and I cannot wait to read the book!

The punisher one is neat. You should also check out transformers #80. “#80 in a 4 issue limeted series”.

WOW. I thought that Punisher rumor was obviously true before scrolling down.

And congratulations on the book.

gaastra: I always loved that on the final issue of “Transformers.” Like “yeah, we’re done, but this book’s come a long way and you can’t take that away from us!” Hell yeah. :)

Great column this week.

The head isn’t the only thing missing from that Kirby panel… The original pencils are amazing! The sheer energy bursting from the clash comes across perfectly in the pencils… the inked version looks almost static in comparison…

On the Punisher side of things, didn’t a similarly confusing thing happen a little while back with “Neil Gaiman’s Eternals”? Something about how Gaiman’s original script would fit 6 issues, but JRJR’s breakdowns needed an extra issue?

Love the FF cover too!

I do enjoy this column. Every Friday without fail, you dig up something new! Cheers, Brian!

Re: The Fantrastic Four Cover – what’s even more interesting is that one of the figures added in to the cover (the second from the left, closest to the policeman) is clearly Rorschach from Watchmen. Is this a sunliminal nod to the future Alan Moore, who then reversed the compliment by naming the Marvel universe “616″ in tribute to this very comic?? Solve that Comic Book Legend if you can!

Yeah, that TF cover was great. It said, “#80 IN A FOUR-ISSUE LIMITED SERIES” I believe.

The heck with the additional people, what about that guy on the right?!

Well, in one version, he’s taking a poo on the sidewalk, and in the other one, in the doorway of a beauty shop. The dreaded Incontinent Terrible. Obscure FF foe. I hear they’re bringing him back, though.

You’ve come a long way, Transformers. Marvel should have ended Power Pack (which came out around the same time as Transformers, and also as a 4 issue limited series, IIRC) the same way.

I understand about the art on Punisher#5, but why was Joe Duffy brought in for scripting?

Well, i don´t remember any omissions, but additions.

Disney artists sometimes drew 4 Donald´s nephews instead of 3, to see wich ones featured better on panel. Sometimes the inker – or the artist – forgot to erase one of the nephews, creating the mith of the “fourth nephew”, that was nicknamed Phooey Duck.

I don´t remember if this story was ever featured here on CBLR.

Congratulations on the book! I will be picking up a copy!

Very, they are amazing, those Scions of Asgard! Note, thou filthy mortals, how they are able to have epic arguments of astounding length WHILE EXCHANGING LIGHTNING-FAST BLOWS! Eat thine hearts out, Gilbert and Sullivan! :D

If anyone can answer the question about the FF cover change it’s Mark Evanier He knows everything.

The last issue of DP7 (yes, I own it, it was cheap and I think in a grab bag, and not quite as bad as you’d think) also claimed to be #32 in a 32 issue limited series. I believe it was the last of the New Universe titles to survive.

There were also several Vertigo titles that were originally announced as longer than they were when published. Scarab started as an ongoing and ended after 8, Ted McKeever’s Faith was listed in the On the Ledge columns as both 4 and 5 issues, and Chaykin’s V2K series Pulp Fantastic was originally 4 issues cut to 3. I’m sure other books were like this too, but I have been looking through my Vertigo stuff since getting the Vertigo Encyclopedia (cheap at $4 at a Penguin warehouse sale!)

I know I’ll get maligned for this, but I think Colletta nicely simplified that panel, as the pencils are awfully “busy”. With the height difference in characters, it seems possible for Laufey’s head to be back out of panel, so it’s not really “missing”, although we know it is. I actually had trouble seeing the head in the pencils for a time, so imagine trying to ink that on deadline.

The FF cover is interesting in the seemingly minor and unecessary changes that occurred. Why add some figures and reposition another? Anyone know who inked it, as I would guess the changes occurred then, maybe.

Wait, I just noticed, Brian, you say the bright white “original” cover is the “original published cover”. What exactly do you mean by that? Was one printed in a certain quantity and then redone for future printings, or what? I believe you covered on this site before about FF being “snuck in” on Marvel’s publishing schedule due to the distribution deal with DC, any connection there?

Another missing head that I haven’t seen myself, but read about, is in From Hell. Towards the end, Eddie Campbell forgot to draw in a head of a main character. I believe it is corrected in the collection. Alan Moore mentioned this in his dialogue with Dave Sim in the back of Cerebus (hm, forgot the issue numbers, somewhere around 215-220, and reprinted in the book about Moore that the Strangehaven guy published) (I’m a fount of knowledge, huh?)

Anyway, great column as usual. Hope the book does well for you, as I’ve enjoyed CSBG and this column especially over the time I’ve read it. (How long have you been on CBR? I thought CSBG about 4 years old, right?) Will the book be in Previews so I can order at my LCS?

I don’t know about “everything”. Does he know what I had for lunch yesterday?

Seriously, I have seen the Fantastic Four cover a billion times (literally) and never once stopped to consider how hilarious Sue’s words are or why Mr. Fantastic is tied up. Now I can’t stop laughing.

Even as a kid, I always wondered why Mr. Fantastic was tied up on the FF #1 cover. I thought that the Thing had done it while he was throwing a fit or something. I also never understood what good turning invisible would do for so, since she would still be solid!
Oh well…

Travis Pelkie…
All the New Universe comics at the time were cancelled. Every one of them had the “limited series” banner on them…including Star Brand which ended with #19. And, as much as I can recall, they all had the correct numbering on them…lol.

The idea was that if she turned invisible, the monster would be startled and loosen its grip on her. Sue Storm was to later develop better control over her powers, but since she had just discovered these new powers, I imagine it would have taken mental effort for her to control what things she wanted to make invisible… Of course, a more adept Sue would have been able to do a wider variety of things, but at that time, she was just beginning to use them.

And as for Reed being tied up… well, the FF (excluding Ben, who was hiding from public view) were actually showing their new powers to the bystanders, and Reed claimed that he could easily slip out of any kind of binding… It was a bystander who tied him up moments before the monster emerged from the subway….

It doesn’t take Mark Evanier to figure out everything…

And as for the guy “taking a poo” on the cover of FF#1 — well, if you saw a gigantic monster come up out of the ground, a man burst into flame, the girl you were ogling slowly disappear, a guy stretch his arm like rubber, and some humanoid “thing” running in your direction, you just might poo on the street, too!! :D

re: turning invisible fast enough. Could this be an early reference to the force field? Sue knew that becoming invisible made her slippery (note how she slips past people in the first few pages of the story). Later Reed realized this slipperiness was evidence of a force field.

There’s a deadly trap I’ve never seen in comics before: Laufey tries to stop Odin by opening a “fatal pothole”!

Trust me, we have a lot of those around my neighborhood this winter, too. No need to visit Jotunheim…

@ScienceDad: How is 616 a tribute to Fantastic Four #1?

A great Evanier quote about Steve Ditko, which really hits the nail on the head about how I also feel about Colletta’s inks:

“In 1970 when Steve Sherman and I met Steve Ditko, he asked us about the new Kirby books that were then about to debut at DC. When we told him Colletta was handling the inking, he winced and said that he would probably not look at the comics. Back when he was working for Marvel, Ditko said he’d pick up the latest issues in the office and always check the credits before taking the comics home. If he found Colletta’s name — especially as Kirby’s embellisher — he would make a point of putting the comic back, or even in a wastebasket. And he’d make sure Stan saw what he was doing and knew the reason why”.

Then again, I can understand that most of the time Colletta was just doing his job: Get the books out on schedule! That is something that often seems very foreign to comic creators today…

Has CSBG ever done a post strictly devoted to discussing the awesomeness of Mike Zeck?

He might be my favorite comic book artist of the 1980s, especially for his cover work (though his interior work is great, too). I wonder why he doesn’t seem to do much for Marvel and DC anymore…

“ScienceDad: How is 616 a tribute to Fantastic Four #1?”

FF #1 was published in June, 1961. When abreviated, this becomes 616. The first two numbers are the last two in the year, and the last number is the month, june.

Hey, I don’t mean to be all…y’know…jerky but…how, exactly is, “Marvel asked the artist to add more characters to a cover” an Urban Legend? It just, y’know, lacks that sort of ZING.

I CRY FILLER! :-)

Congrats on the book, though!

Regarding the FF cover, the initial statement you make is “Marvel had Jack Kirby add a couple of figures to the cover of the first issue of the Fantastic Four” but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that you provided that the change was at Marvel’s behest. You suggest that maybe Stan Lee asked him to make the change. For all we know, it could have been Kirby thinking the scene needed a couple of more bystanders. Interesting change nonetheless, and thank you for sharing, but was the change made at Marvel’s urging? As majorjoe23 suggests, Evanier would likely know.

Isn’t it kind of ironic that even though Johnny and Sue ARE brother and sister, by having Johnny say “Wait and see sister,,,” it kind of implies that they’re not…
I mean, how many people call their actual siblings “sister” or “brother”??
“sis” or “bro” I understand…
This just makes them sound like Sunday School kids…

“Then again, I can understand that most of the time Colletta was just doing his job: Get the books out on schedule! That is something that often seems very foreign to comic creators today…”

I think the Punisher legend is a testament to why this isn’t always a good thing. A (very good) story which has been continuously in print for some ten years in numerous formats, and which forever will be marred by subpar art in the last chapter.

“I mean, how many people call their actual siblings “sister” or “brother”??”

I do, but while talking like Dexter since my sister is essentially DeeDee.

why would an inker remove stuff any way? i thought (i know, Kevin Smith moment) they just traced over the top of the pencils.

I found out several years back from Mike Zeck himself about how the original Punisher miniseries was always intended to be five issues, and that he didn’t draw #5 because the editor wanted to meet the deadline, which led to Steven Grant declining to script the issue. Ever since then, I have wondered why Marvel never subsequently asked Grant & Zeck to come back and do a new #5 for a “director’s cut” type TPB edition of “Circle of Blood.” Yeah, okay, Marvel would need to pay Grant & Zeck to do it, but they’d probably end up making a ton of money when they reissued the TPB with the new material.

In any case, I find it very ironic that in the 1980s a self-contained miniseries like “Cirlce of Blood” had the last issue rushed out with a fill-in penciller and a fill-in scripter, but twenty years later something like Civil War , which tied into a whole bunch of other titles, was allowed to come out late, holding up half the Marvel line of books. How times have changed.

Somtow Sucharitkul, popular SF author of the 80s and 90s and now artistic director of the Bangkok Opera and Siam Philharmonic Orchestra, wrote a book that he described as the “third book of my four-book trilogy”

Books one and two were by another publisher , so when he brought the last book to a new publisher, they asked that he create an interim book to get people up to speed on the series rather than force them to by another company’s books. So he added n book three. Book four came out later, followed by expanded versions of books one and two. So at the last count there were SIX books in his four-book trilogy.

Not quite germane to the topic, but any chance to turn more people on to Somtow Sucharitkul, the better.

I still have my suspicions about that Punisher story. I seem to recall rumors at the time, that said something like this: “Grant and Zeck were commissioned to do four issues, then decided on their own to expand it to five, but then Marvel balked about paying them for the fifth issue, which they hadn’t been hired to do. They were offered less money, and turned it down, and that’s why other people did the last issue.” That still makes a little more sense, given that the above explanation doesn’t address why Grant wouldn’t write the last issue. I appreciate that Brian goes right to the horse’s mouth on these things, but, in a monopolized industry like this one, they rarely have any incentive to dish up real dirt.

Forget the missing head, just comparing that powerful Odin drawing to the Colletta-inked version is enough to make anyone weep. The continual pairing of Kirby and Colletta is so tragic! It’s as if Richard Pryor spent his entire career stuck in a comedy duo with Carrot-Top.

Travis Pelkie: “I actually had trouble seeing the head in the pencils for a time, so imagine trying to ink that on deadline.”

Not only can I find no hint of it at all after a great deal of effort and with Brian’s assurance that it is there –letting Colletta even further off the hook than Pelkie does, though I certainly admit that the character’s dialogue balloon points to a strange place, so Vince isn’t fully exonerated, unless that’s credited letterer Artie Simek’s mistake?–I do see what seems to me to be the edge of his helmet (and therefore his head) miscolored in the finished version to be his torso armor. Whatever it is, compare its design to what we see of the character’s outfit in the other panels, and I believe you’ll see my point. Whatever is in Kirby’s pencils, it is by no means possible that it was clear to Colletta what it was supposed to be, not from just looking at the pencils and plot/script (if he even had the latter, which seems unlikely since Simek had already done his job).

Great column as always Brian. I’ve pre-ordered your book – I’m looking forward to it!

BTW, since Marvel has a new New Mutants series coming up – I seem to remember around the time Age of Apocalypse was announced, “Generation Next” was first rumored to be “New Mutants #101.” Maybe something about the varied different Age of Apocalypse titles that were once rumored would be a good Legends Revealed column?

Plus – and I apologize if this was ever covered on here before – a few months before Heroes Reborn was announced, there was a Wizard article talking about Marvel’s Avengers plans to come after The Crossing…. including Force Works being replaced by a book called “Mighty Avengers.” Was that ever a plan, or was it just a smokescreen to distract people from the pending deal with the Image folks?

RE: Fantastic Four cover for #1 “Together for the first time” — really? Had they appeared seperately before that?

@McK: If the alternative is headless frost giants then I’ll take some late books, thanks.

“Interestingly enough, Colletta’s inks on Jack Kirby on Kirby’s Thor and particularly his Tales of Asgard back-ups were likely the highlights of Colletta’s career as an inker.

…And yet most Kirby fans and historians view Colletta’s work on Kirby’s pencils as Colletta’s career nadir. The guy was quite possibly the worst hack inker of his era, and the sheer irony of his becoming art director for DC just goes to show you that those who can’t do the job usually get put in charge of those who can.

@Stephen: Really? Cool! Does she come with her own soundtrack?
:D

Douglas “A trilogy in five parts” Adams would have liked that Punisher mini.

“Not only can I find no hint of it at all after a great deal of effort and with Brian’s assurance that it is there –letting Colletta even further off the hook than Pelkie does, though I certainly admit that the character’s dialogue balloon points to a strange place, so Vince isn’t fully exonerated, unless that’s credited letterer Artie Simek’s mistake?–I do see what seems to me to be the edge of his helmet (and therefore his head) miscolored in the finished version to be his torso armor. Whatever it is, compare its design to what we see of the character’s outfit in the other panels, and I believe you’ll see my point.”

Anonymous,
It took me awhile to see it too. It’s much lower than you might expect, but you can see the outline of his forehead and nose and helmet just to the left of (behind) his fist. All of which is certainly omitted in the inked version.

If I’m not mistaken, I believe X-Men: Forever Started out as #1 (of 3) and switched to #2 (of 6).

There was also a series, and I’ll forget which, that started out as 1 of 5, then 2 of 6, 3 of 7, and then 6 of 6.

I also think there’s a weird Numbering mistake on X-Men: beauty and the beast from 84 or so, but I can’t remember.

Regarding Sue Storm turning invisible fast enough: I take that to reference that if she could have turned invisible fast enough the monster never would have seen her and wouldn’t have had a chance to grab her. I’ve got no problem with her exclamation on that cover. Cool ULs though. Nice work.

Ron – like others, originally, I couldn’t see any sign of his head in the pencils, but now that you point it out, it’s kind of unmistakable…but, like you said, totally not where it was expected.

Scott – an inker doesn’t necessarily just trace – they often fix, elaborate on, and so on (sometimes to good effect, sometimes to bad*) – but in any case, even if they are just a tracer removing details or entire unimportant figures speeds up the process – even if you’re just tracing, the more details you need to trace over, the longer it’s going to take.

* See the third legend here http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/01/03/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-136/ for an example of an inker going beyond tracing to good effect.

Brian from Canada

February 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Tom Breevort, IIRC, explained that Civil War was allowed to hold up the line because of the trade. They didn’t want to end up with a collected edition that changes art dramatically between issues — something DC did to meet a deadline and wasn’t looking so great later on. It’s important at Marvel because they now look at the later trade as helping to fund the line.

Regarding the Punisher, I’m a little confused by the “four issue” pre-done masthead given that by this time there were larger minis at Marvel. (Case in point: Kitty Pryde & Wolverine, six issues, 1984.) The only issue I seem to recall that was misnumbered like that in the masthead was Transformers #5 — because the original ending of #4 was scrapped to make it possible for an ongoing, making the series clearly longer than the limited series.

Personally, I love the fact that Marvel did what they did to the Transformers and New Universe titles. It confirms right at the top that this was an idea that was popular enough to go past its initial offering — and was now finishing off. Much better than today, were the series gets cancelled with barely a mention and then shows up a few short years later “because you demanded it.”

If FF #1 came out in June 1961 why does the cover say November?

I’m probably asking a dumb question.

“If FF #1 came out in June 1961 why does the cover say November? ”

Comic book distribution back then was pretty poor. Depending on where you were, it could take several months for a comic to reach your location. Obviously, you don’t want a comic with a June cover date on the stands in September, as it looks like something old that you should be taking off the shelf by then.

Even in larger cities where the comics did arrive in a timely fashion, the advanced cover dating gave the books a longer shelf life. Retailers were more likely to leave a comic on the stands a bit longer if it’s now August, and the comic says November instead of June.

Wow, say what you will about Colletta but those issues of Thor sure were Lee and Kirby at their best (especially the Tales of Asgard back-ups). Right up there with the very best FF issues.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that newsstand retailers used a magazine’s cover date as a pull-by date; in other words, if it was still sitting on the shelf in November they would pull it to strip & return for refund.

Anonymous asked:
> [i]RE: Fantastic Four cover for #1 “Together for the first time” —
> really? Had they appeared seperately before that? [/i]

It’s been stated numerous places that the FF was started as a result of
the success of the Justice League. In that light, a blurb implying this
was a team-up book does make a kind of sense.

Something else that makes sense in the other Lee-Kirby legend, the missing
head, is where the missing head is supposed to be. It’s a pose Kirby used a
number of times: combatants confronting each other with raised arms, often
both grasping at weapons, glaring at their opponent face to face. Looking at
it that way, there should be a head where the missing one is.

Old Bull Lee asked:

“I understand about the art on Punisher#5, but why was Joe Duffy brought in for scripting?”

Surely Old Bull is pulling our collective leg, because there never was anybody who worked at Marvel named Joe Duffy.

Colletta got paid by the page. It was much faster to just erase figures or omit some lines so as to get more pages done in one day. Many artists refused to work with him because of that. Colletta was capable when he wanted to be, but mostly he just hacked it out as fast as possible.

Yes cover dates are for when to pull periodicals from the shelves, they still use them actually. Also there are the color bars up top of the pages for comics which were used as an additional way to know when to pull books from the shelves.

Also depending on who talks about it 616 may or may not be based on FF#1. Based on what Alan Davis says it has to do with the Number of the Beast – 666.

http://www.marvel.com/blogs/Tom_Brevoort/entry/719

Is it me or is that Stan Lee in the window on Punisher #4?

The weapons dealer? I can hear him now, making a pitch in classic Lee-styled hyperbole. LOL

the Wintermen mini from wildstorm came out as (I think)
1 of 8
2 of 8
3 of 6
4 of 6
5
(two years later) a “winter special”.

Ron wrote:

“Anonymous,
It took me awhile to see it [the head in Kirby's pencils] too. It’s much lower than you might expect, but you can see the outline of his forehead and nose and helmet just to the left of (behind) his fist. All of which is certainly omitted in the inked version.”

Yeah, thanks. I can now also see that the other I mentioned is the character’s body armor with his torso turned almost horizontal. Thank you very much. However, and as I said, I doubt very much Coletta had any similar help.

As for finishing on Kirby’s THOR and this THOR-related material being ‘the highlights of his career as an inker,” I’d have to say that “the shallowest of his lowlights” might be better phrasing. But I thought his inks were less damaging to Mike Grell’s pencils (I’m particularly thinking about Vince’s long run on THE WARLORD) than to anybody else’s. General compatibility or more effort on his part, I wouldn’t know. And I do mean LESS DAMAGING, as the finished comics still did not look too good.

Looking at Mike Zeck’s early artwork always makes me pause to appreciate his work. That man was a GOD when I was growing up…

Great article, as always. Like so many others, I’d long assumed that the Punisher mini-series got expanded in-transit, although I could never figure out why the cover billing went 4-5-4-4-5 like that! Now I know.

LOL to Michael Mayket who claims to have “seen the Fantastic Four cover a billion times (literally)” as he really ought to know that you should never combine obvious exaggeration with the word “literally” if you want to be taken seriously. I know that the current U.S. financial crisis has people throwing “billions” and “trillions” around now like they don’t mean anything anymore, but let’s do the math here. There are 60 seconds in a minute, 3600 seconds in an hour, 86,400 seconds in a day, and therefore 31,536,000 seconds in a non-leap year. So to do something a billion times, and assuming that you could do whatever it is (in this case, see a comic book cover once again) once per second, you’d have to be doing that, 24 hours a day, for more than 30 years (30 X 31,563,000 is not quite yet a billion). If he’d said “a thousand times”, I probably would have bought it.. but even “a million times” is probably ridiculous, never mind a billion. Let’s all reserve the word “literally” for when we mean it… literally. ;-) (And yes, this is just a pet peeve of mine.)

Well, if Michael began staring at the cover to FF #1 for every second of every day, he would have seen it a billion times by 1994! :)

No mention of how the cover of FF #1 was an um… homage to the cover of the JLA’s first appearance? Brave and the Bold #28.

Also depending on who talks about it 616 may or may not be based on FF#1. Based on what Alan Davis says it has to do with the Number of the Beast – 666.

I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that 616 being the number of the beast was only discovered a few years ago – long after Marvel had started using it.

People in the know have always been aware that 616 is the number of the beast, it’s just that it’s only recently become common knowledge.

As a practising Occultist, I’d say that Alan Moore would probably be in the know.

Re: FF 1 cover. Stan has noted that he was very particular about covers and would often ask for changes both big and small. If one compares covers in many of the Masterworks and Essentials you’ll see backgrounds and figures either added, deleted, simplified or changed in other ways. There were also occasions that Martin Goodman requested a change. Often other artists made the changes, usually whoever was in the office, but early on people like Production man Sol Brodsky made changes, later it might be John Romita, Marie Severin, Herb Trimpe or John Verpoorten.

The general consensus coming from people like Timely-Atlas expert Michael Vasallo and Mark Evanier (and I agree with them) is that George Klein inked the cover of FF # 1, as well as the interior and the cover and interior of FF # 2.

Nick Caputo

Another, newer example of the Punisher book numbering is the recent Adam : Legend of the Blue Marvel series. It begins as #1 of 6 and the rest of the issues are numbered to 5.

Anybody who thinks the penciled version of that panel looks better than the one that Vince Colletta inked has no business commenting on art. Kirby’s pencils are a tangled mish-mash, thank God that he had Colletta to make sense of them.

[...] Kirby’s pencils are a tangled mish-mash, thank God that he had Colletta to make sense of them. – Blog Commenter Henry Moreno (4/20/09) Comments [...]

Amen, Henry, and to all the others who agreed that the panel looked better the way Colletta inked it. Kirby drew action all the time but sometimes got carried away. Inkers like Vinnie, Sinnott and Stone helped make sense of it.

How is it that nobody has commented how much better the Vince Colletta inked panel looks (head missing and all) than the penciled page? Jack Kirby got a little crazy at times and this is a pretty good example of that.

[...] could be successfully transferred to film, we’d be in business. See the image full size here, halfway down the page, where there’s also a comparison showing Jack Kirby’s original [...]

[...] Comic Con time, so here is a comic book related storyline. The image is an homage to the classic Fantastic Four #1. I’m writing this the night before getting up early to drive to Con. So, when you read this, [...]

[...] Apparently there was an error where a double sized issue 4 got split, and these sites here and here have more [...]

I still can’t see that ruddy Kirby head! And yeah, comics being a real production line job back then, who knows how long Colletta had to do the job.

Anyway, I always rather liked his sleek style.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives