"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
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 LEGEND: Marvel put out a comic book recently to secure the trademark on a character before the character debuts on a cartoon show.
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.
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!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.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…
See you next week!
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