web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #203

Welcome to the two-hundred and third in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and two.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series of legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Marvel put out a comic book recently to secure the trademark on a character before the character debuts on a cartoon show.

STATUS: False

As I’ve mentioned in previous installments of Comic Book Legends Revealed (like here), when a comic company has a deal with an animated program involving the licensing of characters, sometimes the comic book company will try to rush out a character in a comic so that they can claim the ownership of the character in question.

Recently, it was announced that the Super Hero Squad (you might remember them from last week’s installment) was going to be getting their own animated TV series.

Well, very recently, Marvel put a one-shot comic called Avengers Initiative: Reptil #1, which featured the debut of a new Marvel hero named Reptil, who has, for lack of a better description, dinosaur powers.

As you might notice from this cover of a recent Super Hero Squad one-shot, Reptil is a new character created for the Super Hero Squad.

So, reader Kevin Garcia wanted to know if

the issue was produced just so Marvel could own the full trademark on this character who may have a role in the upcoming cartoon series.

The problem here is (and Kevin figured this out quickly, and e-mailed me again saying as much) that Reptil is a brand new character for the TV series, but the TV series is owned by, you guessed it, Marvel Animation, which is, for all intents and purposes, the same thing as Marvel Comics.

So no, Reptil was just introduced in the comics to give him a bit of a profile before the TV series came out.

Christos Gage discusses the book over at Marvel.com in an interview with Kiel Phegley. Check it out here.

Thanks to Kevin for the question (check out Kevin’s new blog, Monomythic, here – the blog is “dedicated to everything iconic about the hero, and every version and evolution of the hero myth – from ancient poems in dead languages to blockbuster movies, colorful super-heroes and state-of-the-art video games.”). And thanks to Christos and Kiel, because, well, why not?

COMIC LEGEND: Magog was created based on Cable.

STATUS: True, in Part

Reader Billy Ray Hodstetter wrote in after the recent column on the origin of Cable with a tip regarding the creation of Magog, the hero/anti-hero of the future who appears in Kingdom Come. It was Magog whose acts of brutality first drive Superman into isolation and later draw Superman back OUT of isolation for the events of the Kingdom Come mini-series.

Created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross (the above drawing is by Ross of a new Magog who was introduced recently in the pages of Justice Society of America – it is unclear if this Magog is the same as the one from Kingdom Come), Magog had an interesting design origin.

In an interview with Comic Book Resources’ Jonah Weiland back in 2006, Alex Ross had this to say about the creation of Magog:

Weiland: Now, wasn’t Magog a character created as a response to all those characters that were popping up in the early ’90s?

Ross: Yeah. That’s a character that Mark Waid invented that was really just put to me like come up with the most God awful, Rob Liefeld sort of design that you can. What I was stealing from was – really only two key designs of Rob’s – the design of Cable. I hated it. I felt like it looked like they just threw up everything on the character – the scars, the thing going on with his eye, the arm, and what’s with all the guns? But the thing is, when I put those elements together with the helmet of Shatterstar — I think that was his name — well, the ram horns and the gold, suddenly it held together as one of the designs that I felt happiest with in the entire series.

Here’s Cable from his first cover appearance in New Mutants #87…

Here’s Shatterstar from his first appearance in New Mutants #100…

Now here’s Magog again.

Interesting. I never knew that was Ross’ intention. There sure has been a lot of characters created to look like Cable over the years, hasn’t there?

Thanks to Billy Ray Hodstetter for the head’s up about the info, and thanks to Jonah Weiland and Alex Ross for the info itself!

COMIC LEGEND: Batman got his name from two historical patriots.

STATUS: True

Reader Connor wrote in recently referring to an installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed from a looong time ago, #21, to be precise, which discussed where Superman got his secret identity from. As you might know from reading that legend, Siegel got the name Clark Kent from the actors Clark Gable and Kent Taylor.

That was a common enough naming practice for characters, take one name from two different people and viola, there’s your name!

Barry Allen, for instance, was named after…

Barry Gray and Steve Allen

So Connor wanted to know where Bruce Wayne’s name came from. Well, I’ll tell you (that would be the point of this exercise, right?), and boy is it a doozy!!

Quoted in Bob Kane’s “Batman and Me” (and yes, I know that that book is not one you would go to for historical truth normally, but in this instance, we’re talking about a quote by Bill Finger, and if Bob Kane is giving credit to someone, you can pretty much be sure it is for real), Bill Finger explains how he came up with the name “Bruce Wayne” for Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27.

By the way, for the heck of it, here’s Bruce Wayne’s first appearance (and the “twist” at the end of the story, where it is revealed that Bruce is…BATMAN! I rearranged the formation of the second group of panels so it would fit into one line)…

Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock … then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.

Robert the Bruce was the King of Scotland from 1306–1329, and in 1314 (nine years after the death of William Wallace), Robert secured military independence of Scotland from England via the Battle of Bannockburn.

Anthony “Mad Anthony” Wayne was an acclaimed general during the American Revolutionary War, known for his tenacity and fighting spirit (hence the “Mad Anthony” nickname).

After the formation of the United States of America, President George Washington enlisted his former comrade Wayne out of the civilian life and back into the service of the United States, serving as the head of the so-called “Legion of the United States,” a U.S. military force in the untamed wilderness of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

Wayne’s popularity as a leader is why so many places in that region are named Wayne something or other.

In later years, writers have expressly laid out Bruce Wayne’s relation to General Wayne, and furthermore, longtime Batman writer (and Scot) Alan Grant and a Scottish artist by the name Quitely (or something like that) explored Batman’s Scottish heritage in an original graphic novel (the first by Quitely) titled Batman: The Scottish Connection.

That book really ought to be reprinted, no?

Anyhow, so there you go – a bit more interesting of a name heritage than Barry Gray and Steve Allen, no?

Thanks to Connor for the question, and thanks to Bob Kane and Tom Andrae for the information!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the cool new logo for Comic Book Legends Revealed!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

As you hopefully know by now, 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!

73 Comments

They should get that Quitely guy to draw more Batman someday. He has potential.

Is Thursday the new day for CBUL, or did this one just go up a bit early?

It’s always intended to be up very late on Thursdays – some days are just much later than others. ;)

Andrew Collins

April 17, 2009 at 2:26 am

I’m sorry, but both the comic and Herosquad versions of Reptil look stupid…even in a column also featuring the mindnumbing badness that is Liefeld…

I remember the Magog/Cable resemblance being adressed either by Waid or Ross a couple of years ago. Ensued a response by Liefeld arguing that Cable made him a load of money…

Another part of the naming of Batman and Robin’s secret identities, though is that both names also begin with the same first letter as the costumed name–“B” for Batman and Bruce and “R” for Robin and Richard (shortened, of course, to “Dick”).

This “first letter” convention also applies to “B” for Batgirl and Barbara as well as “H” for Helena (Wayne) and Huntress. For some reason, it wasn’t used for Kathy Kane in the 1950s.

Also, wasn’t the “Bruce Wayne” name also intended to reflect the name of “Bob Kane” in that the “B” is for Bruce and Bob and “Wayne” rhymes with “Kane”? Which is not to say that the Robert the Bruce and Mad Anthony Wayne history is wrong, but that Bill Finger was seeking names that would also reflect on Bob Kane?

Digging the new logo!

yay, the archive is back!

Hm? The archive was here last week, too, right (and the weeks before, but last week specifically)?

Thom – I recall reading something like that, about Wayne/Kane, also.

(Also, I wasn’t going to say anything but since it’s already been brought up… NOT digging the new logo. God my eyes.)

Global Honored

April 17, 2009 at 5:48 am

Always interesting to find out how these characters were named. Keep ‘em coming.
So should we be seeing some new alter egos like Brad Cruise or Conan Letterman anytime soon?

Faster than a rolling O. More powerful than Silent E. Able to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet. It’s a word. I’ts a plan. It’s Conan Letterman!

“Hm? The archive was here last week, too, right (and the weeks before, but last week specifically)?”

you’re probably right, but i just noticed today.

Brian, how did you not ever catch that Magog was intended to be a cross between Cable and the biblical golden calf?

Thanks to Anthony Wayne, the town of Wayne NJ (unitl 2007) had a catering hall named Wayne Manor. To answer the question you are all wondering, yes, it was stately.

I knew about the Cable thing, but I wasn’t aware Ross modeled Magog’s helmet on Shatterstar’s. Nifty.

I would really like to check out the Batman: Scottish Connection book. Hopefully it will be reprinted some day.

Another interesting Cable-like anti-homage is in Astro City, during one of the Jack-in-the-Box stories. Two different future versions of Jack-in-the-Box come back in time to try and affect the past, each one trying to make sure his reality is the one that happens, and of course, Jack is caught in the middle. The two future versions (both designed by Alex Ross) are supposed to be comments on the state of the comics industry, and how dark the mainstream storylines were turning. one of them is supposed to be a Cable like figure, while the other is very reminiscent of Venom.

Actually, “Clark Kent” comes from Clark Savage (AKA “Doc Savage”) and “Kent Allard” ( the true identity of The Shadow in his original pulp version).

Brian McDonald

April 17, 2009 at 9:21 am

cst, even if Siegel & Schuster hadn’t said differently, Superman was created in 1932, and Doc Savage premiered in 1933.

By the way, Brian, I tried to look at the other legends on your site, and the Music legend page is throwing an error while it’s loading.

Brian.

I think the Cable thing was covered in the original Wizard annotations of the series, but I’d never heard of the Shatterstar thing. That’s a neat addition to the story.

That Shatterstar scene is swiped from Frank Miller’s Ronin. Though calling attention to Rob Liefeld swiping is like pointing out that water is blue…

I believe the idea that “Clark Kent” is derived from Clark Savage and Kent Allard is something that Philip Jose Farmer proposed in his fictional biography of Doc Savage (HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE):

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/f/philip-jose-farmer/doc-savage.htm

<<>>

I’m all but positive the Barry Gray you’re referring to is the one known as the Father of Talk Radio here in America (and who reigned on WMCA radio in New York at the time the Flash was created), and not the one you have pictured, the composer of the Thunderbirds (et al) theme (who at the time had just started on The Adventures of Twizzle which never came to America).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Gray_(radio)

Brian, did anyone ever investigate the relationship between Cincinnati’s Union Terminal and the Superfriend’s Hall of Justice? Was there a rationale behind the cartoon design, or was it just taken because it looked cool?

Sorry to multi-comment, but here’s a piece from Cincinatti.com about the terminal and its connection to the Hall of Justice.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090325/ENT/903250327

Man, I love Bill Finger.

I would not be surprised if the Wayne/Kane thing is something that Kane made up, since for most of his life he took credit for everything related to Batman’s origins. Why, exactly, would Bill Finger want to honor him like that?

And can we please just have one thread with Rob Liefeld art without the dozens of “that sucks” posts that inevitably follow? We all know it sucks. Trying to win the “I had the cleverest Liefeld diss” award is pointless.

Shatner's Bassoon

April 17, 2009 at 11:34 am

Funny though.

How about less Rob Liefeld period?
It seems like half the legends somehow mention his work in one way or another.

And by the way, water is transparent and colorless, not blue…….. not that I want to give Rob any credibility by refuting your metaphor.

It’s pretty funny that someone would make the obligatory Bob Kane bash and then complains about other people making the obligatory Rob Liefeld bashes.

Another Liefeld legend? Woah!

You really do not want to read Batman: The Scottish Connection.

I was elated in high school to find they ahd a comic book in the library, and that was it (I’m scottish btw). Already a seasoned comic fan at this point, i read it and was…underwhelmed. Put it this way, at one point, Bats throws down a smoke bomb and actually shouts “SMOKE BOMB!”

Its just a very cheesy book, like the simpsons irish special, if it was batman instead of the simpsons and scotland instead of ireland…

Regarding names, I’ve seen several times that Alan Scott was a reference to Aladin (and his wish fulfilling genie, much like the wish fulfilling ring) since Alan Ladd was already taken by the Actor. Pretty sure I read it first in the GL Archive introduction, but it is all over the web as well.

Actually, “Clark Kent” comes from Clark Savage (AKA “Doc Savage”) and “Kent Allard” ( the true identity of The Shadow in his original pulp version).

That’s the legend at hand in the Comic Book Legends Revealed #21 column I linked to above! :)

I’m all but positive the Barry Gray you’re referring to is the one known as the Father of Talk Radio here in America (and who reigned on WMCA radio in New York at the time the Flash was created), and not the one you have pictured, the composer of the Thunderbirds (et al) theme (who at the time had just started on The Adventures of Twizzle which never came to America).

You’re absotootly right. I’ve corrected it accordingly.

Regarding names, I’ve seen several times that Alan Scott was a reference to Aladin (and his wish fulfilling genie, much like the wish fulfilling ring) since Alan Ladd was already taken by the Actor. Pretty sure I read it first in the GL Archive introduction, but it is all over the web as well.

Yeah, it was definitely a reference to Aladdin, but I believe it was only ever a suggestion, and changed not because of the actor, but just because of, well, you take your pick – too goofy, too pun-like, just not the name Marty Nodell wanted, etc.

I am pretty sure I’ve featured that one, as well, in the column. I will go check!

Here it is!!

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2005/09/29/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-18/

How about less Rob Liefeld period?
It seems like half the legends somehow mention his work in one way or another.

Like him or dislike him, people keep talking about him and sending in legends about him.

By the way, Brian, I tried to look at the other legends on your site, and the Music legend page is throwing an error while it’s loading.

Thanks for the head’s up, Brian! I’ll take a look, although I saw some people commenting on that thread just a little while ago, so I dunno…

That’s quite the “chubby” that Mad Anthony Wayne is sporting in that painting. But I’m sure John Byrne isn’t responsible for it.

ParanoidObsessive

April 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm

>>> Thanks to Anthony Wayne, the town of Wayne NJ (unitl 2007) had a catering hall named Wayne Manor. To answer the question you are all wondering, yes, it was stately.

Damn it. I’ve lived in NJ my entire life and I never knew that. If I had, I’d totally have tried to rent the place at least once.

>>> Like him or dislike him, people keep talking about him and sending in legends about him.

It’s human nature. Evil is always more interesting than good.

Something I’ve always wondered:
Stan Lee claimed that Marvel heroes have alliterative names because they’re easier to remember:
Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Scott Summers, Warren Worthington, etc…

…but what’s the deal with all the DC heroes having two first names?
Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Barry Allen, Alan Scott, Kent Nelson, Hal Jordan, Wally West, etc…

‘West’ is common enough as a first name to count in this list?

didn’t batman meet mad anthony wayne in a time travel adventure ?

“a catering hall named Wayne Manor”

Old friend and passably well known SyFy fan Kevin Duane used to call his house Stately Duane Manor.

Thanks for the shout out!

I felt a bit silly solving my own “legend” after e-mailing you, but as you say, false myths should be addressed…

Marianne Farleybaconcheeseburgercombo

April 17, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Nate Grey Summers. So is he Jeans’ foster father now/raising his mother? Oh nononono wait, Maddy Pryor is his mom who might be raising his step mom in 3 issues. This shit ain’t right folks…

Rohan Williams

April 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I always thought the Cable thing was obvious from the text itself, but count me in as another one who didn’t know about the Shatterstar connection.

Not a fan of The Scottish Connection, and I say that as an admirer of both Grant and Quitely. Worth it for completism, I guess.

Is there a character already named “Reptile”? What’s the point in calling him “Reptil”? Is it pronounced with a short i?

I wouldn’t recommend Scottish Connection to anybody. It’s nice to look at, but not really to read.

To complete the negative trifecta (I’m usually pretty positive!), Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana weren’t really untamed wildernesses to the millions of people who had lived there for thousands of years.

I think Alex Ross misspoke when he said Shatterstar’s head gear, I think he meant the equally ridiculous looking Scourge who was around at the same time.

Hey dude I picked up your book last night and can’t put it down! It’s absolutely addictive. Great cover, too!

Maybe Reptil is Hispanic? That would explain the spelling. Btw, I don’t think it’s a good idea to give his own comic (even if only a one-shot) to a character JUST to introduce him. They should’ve just featured him in X-Men or something. Heck, I would have waited to see if he “caught on” from the show before porting him over to the comics…

Thanks for expanding on Batman’s background (and posting the first story! I had no idea Comm. Gordon was on it from the start!) I also did not know that the “General Wayne” who is Bruce’s ancestor actually existed, I thought they made him up (as with many other Bat-ancestors.) Shows what I know. :P

Thanks for expanding on Batman’s background (and posting the first story! I had no idea Comm. Gordon was on it from the start!)

Commissioner Gordon was not in on Bruce Wayne’s identity as Batman in that first story. The last panel states that the commissioner would be “amazed to learn” that “his young friend” is Batman.

[…] awesome new blog, Monomythic.com, got a mention this week on Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good […]

>>‘West’ is common enough as a first name to count in this list?

Also, I seriously doubt that “Jordan” was at all common as a first name back when the Silver Age GL was introduced.

The best thing about the two Magog paintings here? You can’t see his feet in either of them.

“Commissioner Gordon was not in on Bruce Wayne’s identity as Batman in that first story. The last panel states that the commissioner would be “amazed to learn” that “his young friend” is Batman.”

I know, I meant it was a surprise to see Gordon IN the first Batman story, I thought he came up later. In fact it is surprising that it was a one-page thing with virtually no facts or other related characters!

[…] the meantime, Monomythic.com has received shout outs from MikeMoody.net, Comic Book Legends Revealed, The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge and Comics Blips. Check these people out and tell […]

I know, I meant it was a surprise to see Gordon IN the first Batman story, I thought he came up later. In fact it is surprising that it was a one-page thing with virtually no facts or other related characters!

Oh, sorry. Yeah, Commissioner Gordon first appeared in Detective #27.

Brian,
As always, I love the column, and as soon as I’m done here I’m headed over to check out legendsrevealed.com, how about… just for laughs you have a column or two based on legends from the convention circuit?

I can tell you a few that I’ve heard…i.e. Lou Ferrigno once took a guests camera after said con guest took a picture of him without permission, or James O’Barr (creator of the Crow) had coffee spilled in his lap by a conventioneer, causing burns that required treatment, or two Image comics creators came to blows after a Q&A panel in Chicago.
Y’know…that sorta thing. Just a thought.

By the way, you say that your book isn’t due out until April 28th, but I’ve got one in my hot little hands now and I got it 04/17/09, ordered from Barnes & Noble @ bn.com. Great stuff, and even though I’ve read this column weekly for the longest time, still the book is full of great info and surprises. Loving it…so, thank you.

“I believe the idea that “Clark Kent” is derived from Clark Savage and Kent Allard is something that Philip Jose Farmer proposed in his fictional biography of Doc Savage (HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE)”

Phil was responsible for a lot of great work on Doc Savage, but not for proposing this derivation of “Clark Kent.”

Me: “…but what’s the deal with all the DC heroes having two first names?
Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Barry Allen, Alan Scott, Kent Nelson, Hal Jordan, Wally West, etc…”

Kamino Neko: “‘West’ is common enough as a first name to count in this list?”

Um, actually, no. I just had a brainfart after just listing the alliterative names… On the other hand, I missed Ted Grant, Selina Kyle, Dinah Lance, Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon, Kate Spencer, Travis Morgan, Ronnie Raymond, Roy Raymond, Steve Trevor, Mal Duncan and Nathaniel Adam. So there’s plenty of examples to prove a point.

Maybe we could get Hart Fisher to publish a comic where Rob Liefeld goes to jail and meets O.J. Simpson. It would be right up there with Jesus Christ VS. Jeffery Dalmer.

So Batman was named after an Indian killer. Huh.

So was my high school in Ohio.

The best thing about the two Magog paintings here? You can’t see his feet in either of them.

We have a winner in the “cleverest Leifeld bash” competition! I like the way you bashed Leifeld by comment on Alex Ross paintings!

I agree. That “footless” Liefield slap is pretty tight.

My my. General Wayne was certainly… well-endowed, wasn’t he?

“…is like pointing out that water is blue…”
Um….
Water is clear, dude.

“Mad” Anthony Wayne is my great great great great uncle.

Frank Quitely got started drawing “The Greens” in the Scottish underground comic “Electric Soup”. This was a parody of “The Broons”, a humorous one-page strip about a Scottish family which has been appearing weekly in the “Sunday Post” newspaper since 1936. The Greens actually make a cameo appearance in “The Scottish Connection” – they’re the family in the mini-bus which is forced off the road during a car-chase, IIRC – it’s been a while since I read it. Until today when I found it was the same artist, I could never work out why!

It was a devil of a time to find it, because I remember reading this story in the mid- seventies. I did finally locate it on the DC Wikia website and I pulled this synopsis of the story, “Bow Before Satan’s Children” from World’s Finest #225: “Superman and Batman go to Castle Wayne in Inishtree, Scotland to investigate a rumor of possessed children with great powers.”

That’s the earliest reference to Bruce Wayne’s Scottish heritage that I recall.

Michael Powers

May 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

So Bruce Wayne and John Wayne both got their last names by way of Mad Anthony Wayne. When director Raoul Walsh cast a prop boy as the lead in his stunning 1930 widescreen epic (that wasn’t a typo–widescreen in 1930!) shot on location all across the west, he changed 23-year-old Marion Morrison’s name, choosing “Wayne” because Walsh happened to be reading a biography of Mad Anthony Wayne at the time. I’ve seen the restored widescreen movie, “The Big Trail,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York any number of times, and it’s one of the greatest westerns ever shot with a sensational performance by John Wayne that was as good as anything he subsequently did, including “The Searchers” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”

I wanted to mention this earlier (specifically for the entry entirely devoted to Cable’s origins), but never got around to it ’til now…

For all the (deserved) trash talking that Rob Liefeld gets, he does seem to have an innate ability to create characters that (in my opinion, and that of many people I know) later become great when written by other people. I’m a big Deadpool fan (though I’m definitely happy that they recently “trimmed the fat” and got rid of most of the bloated Deadpool line), I’ve seen some great stuff done with Cable over the years, and I even liked a lot of the Copycat/Domino stuff that later X-Force and Deadpool teams did.

I recently went to WonderCon in San Francisco and got a great photo of a dude in a very accurate, very ridiculous Stryfe costume.

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