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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #217

Welcome to the two-hundred and seventeenth 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 sixteen.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend this week’s Architecture Legends Revealed, which examines the strange cloak and dagger race in 1930 to see who would be the tallest building in the world!

Warning – some profanity ahead!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: The Comics Code Authority’s Comics Code banned the word “flick” from usage.

STATUS: False

Here’s Jonathan Ross, from the BBC show, QI (thanks to TV Tropes for the quote):

Comics were investigated after a certain Doctor Fredric Wertham brought out a book called Seduction of the Innocent in 1954, calling for the introduction of a self-regulating body known as the Comic Code Authority, that had such ridiculous rules as, you could not use the word “flick” in a comic for fear that the “l” would run into the “i” and Spider-Man would be saying, “Look, he’s got a fuck knife!”

That pretty much describes the legend, doesn’t it? Ross is far from the only person who has said that over the years, he’s just the easiest to source (thanks, again, to TV Tropes).

The belief is that the Comics Code banned the word “flick” because, since comics were all printed in upper case letters, FLICK could easily look like the word FUCK.

By the same token, CLINT could look like CUNT.

Well, this one can be solved easily enough, let’s just look at the Comics Code, as instituted in 1954!

(Just imagine me looking through the Code)

Nope, nothing in there about the word “flick”!

There IS a section that states that there is a ban on:

1. Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.

And I suppose you could argue that “flick” is a word that has acquired undesirable meaning.

That would be a stretch, though, and since this is the same Code that specifically stated:

1. No comics magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.

and

5. Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism and werewolfism are prohibited.

and

11. The letter of the word “crime” on a comics magazine shall never be appreciably greater than the other words contained in the title. The word “crime” shall never appear alone on a cover.

then I think it is safe to say that they were quite precise and specific about what they wanted banned, and the word “flick” was not it.

In fact, while Irving Donenfield has said that DC had a specific rule against the use of the word “flick,” I think he is just misremembering, as I have not seen anyone else at DC mention any sort of codified rule on the topic.

I think it was just a matter of common sense, the letters L and I very easily COULD blend together, and no one wanted some mother picking up a comic and thinking that the comic is saying that a villain will “fuck him like a bug,” as I assure you, said mother in 1955 will not get past the word “fuck” to judge the context of the usage.

But as far as an official Comics Code ban?

Never happened.

Note that in 1969, Marvel also gave us the Comics Code approved introduction of Hawkeye’s real name…

COMIC LEGEND: The third Summers Brother was originally going to be Adam X The X-Treme!

STATUS: True

In X-Men (Vol. 2) #23, in mid-1993, written by Fabian Nicieza, the first reference to the third Summers brother shows up, when Mr. Sinister lets it “slip” that Scott Summers, Cyclops, has more than one brother (Cyclops’ parents were Christopher and Kate Summers, who were kidnapped by the Shi’ar when Scott and his brother Alex were young boys – Kate was eventually killed and Christopher became the space pirate known as Corsair – Alex became the X-Man known as Havok).

The interesting aspect of this line is that it really does not show that there are THREE Summers brothers, does it? It just shows that Cyclops has more than one brother – it doesn’t preclude Cyclops from having even MORE brothers.

In any event, around the same time this comic came out, Adam-X the X-Treme made his debut in the pages of the 1993 X-Force Annual, also by Fabian Nicieza (this was the year that Marvel had each Annual debut a brand-new character)…

Adam-X was a human/Shi’ar hybrid. He was also a mutant.

He showed up again in X-Force…

and then made an appearance in X-Men where he helped save the life of Cyclops’ grandfather, Phillip Summers. In this issue, writer Fabian Nicieza seems to certainly hint that Adam-X has SOME sort of relation to Phillip Summers.

By 1996, Nicieza was off the X-Books entirely, but he had Adam-X show up in the pages of Captain Marvel, and there, Nicieza shows that Adam-X is the son of Emperor D’Ken of the Shi’ar, and a human female – the clear implication is that the human female was Kate Summers.

In 1998, Nicieza explicitly says that this was his initial intent with the character…

ADAM X was INTENDED to be the illegitimate offspring of D’Ken and Kate Summers. Taken from D’Ken and raised on a farming planet.

BUT–and it’s a big but–since I never had the opportunity to tell the entire story, what I intended is worth the screen it’s printed on.

Since Nicieza left the X-Books, his Adam-X storyline was dropped, and heck, Adam-X the CHARACTER was dropped.

A few years back, Ed Brubaker revealed in the pages of X-Men: Deadly Genesis that the third Summers brother was this fellow named Vulcan, who was the son of Christopher and Kate Summers (he was torn from the womb and incubated by the Shi’ar).

Chris Claremont gave HIS take on who the third Summers brother should be when he revealed in his alternate future series, X-Men: The End, that Gambit was the third brother. Of course, though, that was an alternate reality.

Adam-X recently popped up in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, although writer Matt Fraction seems to be mostly writing him as a bit of a joke commentary on 90s culture (specifically the whole “x-treme” thing).

Thanks to Fabian Nicieza for sharing the information about his original intentions! Nicieza is quite helpful that way!

COMIC LEGEND: Robert Weinberg was going to reveal that Apocalypse was actually the third Summers Brother!

STATUS: True

Robert Weinberg began writing Cable with issue #79…

and he lasted all the way to #96…

which may not seem like a lot, but he lasted through a dramatic changeover in the X-Titles, so I think it was really quite an accomplishment – when basically every other X-Title was either canceled or given a new creative team, he lasted a good five-six months longer than everyone else.

In any event, during Weinberg’s run, he, too, was planning on addressing the third Summers Brother topic, only he was going to go in a much different direction – revealing that the third brother was none other than Apocalypse!!!

Under his theory, Christopher Summers fathered a child BEFORE he met his wife, and in fact, he did not even know about it (Summers was in the Air Force, so he could have been stationed somewhere and been with a woman and when he left, she could have been with child without his knowing). This child, this being comics and all, was kidnapped and taken into the past where he became known as En Sabah Nur, Apocalypse.

Weinberg’s thought process was that this would explain why Cable, of all people, “had” to be the one who took down Apocalypse – it would be because Apocalypse was his uncle.

In addition, in an earlier storyline, “The Twelve,” Apocalypse tries to take over the body of the mutant known as X-Man. X-Man was genetically created using Summers’ DNA. So Weinberg theorized that that makes sense that Apocalypse would only take as a host body someone whose DNA was closely related to his.

Do note that Apocalypse ended UP using as a host body….

Cyclops!

That helps fit into Weinberg’s theory – he could use Cyclops’ body as a host because of the genetic similarities.

Really, it’s a pretty clever idea. You can read his full column at Comixfan here to see more details.

Naturally, though, when Weinberg’s run was truncated, he had to drop a number of plots, and this was one of them. It’s too bad, it sounds like it could have been interesting!

Thanks to Robert Weinberg for the information, and thanks to readers eRIC and Billy Ray for suggesting the Weinberg Cable/Apocaylpse story (I think someone else also suggested it, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere – well, sorry person I did not mention – feel free to drop me a line and I’ll add you in!).

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 Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

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 likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!

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

If you’d like to 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!

98 Comments

that x-men 39 cover is AWFUL!

Neat theme this week of brothers. Now I’m going to get the flick out of here!

Cheers,

B

Ha!

I didn’t even think of that as this week’s “theme,” but man, now I wish I had thought of it! Thanks, Brian!

“A few years back, Ed Brubaker revealed in the pages of X-Men: Deadly Genesis that the third Summers brother was this fellow named Vulcan, who BASICALLY had the same origin as Adam-X (son of Kate Summers and D’Ken, at least).”

Vulcan was not actually D’Ken’s son–Kate Summers was pregnant with him when the Summerses were abducted. (Had he been D’Ken’s son, his relationship with Deathbird would certainly have an added twist!)

Other than that, great article as always!

“The interesting aspect of this line is that it really does not show that there are THREE Summers brothers, does it? It just shows that Cyclops has more than two brothers – it doesn’t preclude Cyclops from having even MORE brothers.”

. . .

It just shows that Cyclops has more than ONE brother.

Look forward to this column every week. Keep cranking out the goodness.

“that x-men 39 cover is AWFUL!”

Actually, I thought the X-Force annual cover was worse. And the Captain Marvel cover was just weird – it is marked as “third issue,” instead of featuring the number 3, and the chatty captioning about how Captain Marvel and X-Treme fight then team up eventually seems to give away the whole story (granted, there may be more in there than that, but somehow I kind of doubt it).

For one tossed-off line in a 90s comic, a lot of people certainly tried to find or create that third Summers brother. It even has its own Wikipedia page, where you’ll find that Claremont even threw Gambit some Summers DNA. (In an alternate future, yes, but one with a past that’s presumed identical to the regular continuity–Paul O’Brien gets into the implications here>).

Ethan Shuster

July 24, 2009 at 7:32 am

Honestly , what is Marvel’s obsession with the Summers family? I suppose all these other brothers came up because of Sinister’s line, but really…

I have never seen or heard of Adam-X the X-Treme, and I am glad I never have. He appears to be a parody of that era of comics, but written during the time instead of looking back afterwards. Was he, in fact, intended to be?

I think you’re being way too literal about this. There’s the Comics Code and then there’s the people who worked at the Comics Code actually doing the censoring. And that is, I think, a key difference.

The Code not saying anything explicitly about the word ‘flick’ does not preclude people from the Comics Code Authority from preventing it from happening. As The Ten-Cent Plague points out, the Code was ruthlessly stringent on what could and could not go into a comic well beyond the mandate of what is literally set out within the code– including taking out the sweat from people’s brows, shrinking the size women’s bustlines, etc. None of those things are explicitly set out in the Code either, but the people who work for the Code took the existing guidelines and extrapolated it accordingly. That may well be the case here– there is no literal prohibition against ‘flick’ but the people working at the code took the stance using the guideline around profanity to stop it from occuring.

Good lord, this reminded me of how much I can’t stand the X-Men and their ridiculously complicated bloodines/relationships.

Ethan –

I believe Adam X, the X-Treme was, amazingly enough, meant to be taken as a serious character, and not an ironic commentary on the excesses of ’90s comics (and the ’90s X-books in particular). The version appearing in Fraction’s Uncanny X-Men right now is certainly a commentary on ’90s stupidity, but the original was the real deal.

comicbookreader

July 24, 2009 at 7:58 am

Regarding the whole “flick” thing: Warren Ellis’s and Stuart Immonen’s cover to Nextwave #11 featured Aaron Stack holding a sign in the background that reads, “MARK MILLAR LICKS GOATS.” If I’m not mistaken (although I admittedly don’t have any hard evidence/citation), that sign is supposed to be a play on the whole “flick/f*ck” joke — note that part of Aaron’s sign is obscured to suggest that there could be an “F” in front of “LICKS”, which in turn might be to suggest that Mr. Millar does indeed do more than merely lick goats.

(Brian: perhaps for a future installment, you could ask Ellis or Immonen if the “flick/f*ck” joke is indeed what they were referencing for the cover?)

Anyway, here’s a link to the Nextwave #11 cover if any are interested: http://www.popcultureshock.com/wp-content/uploads/nextwave_11_millar.jpg

Are any of the characters introduced in that year’s annuals still around and active?

Man, I was a die-hard X-Fan when all of this “Third Summers Brother” stuff first happened. As a reader, it was all really intriguing, and my friends and I were all coming-up with our own theories while reading the fan-mags and seeing what THEIR ideas were. Craziness.

And then Adam-X came along, and ruined everything. Was the 3rd brother going to be an existing character, so someone would be correct in their guess? No. They just shat-out one of the most horribly designed characters EVER, with one of the worst names EVER and he was going to be the 3rd brother. I remember that was the rumor almost from day one. So I know I stopped caring, and I’m sure plenty of fans at the time did as well. By the time they finally solved the mystery, they still went with the brand-new character, but I think it had been long enough it was like, “Well…I guess at least the loose-end is tied-up”.

But now…is Vulcan any better? Did the X-Universe need their own Superboy-Prime?

here’s A list of the new characters, not sure if it’s THE list:

http://nslists.com/mrvann93.htm

I believe Genis-Vell was introduced in the Silver Surfer annual. While he’s not around anymore, he was really the only name with any legs to spin out of the event.

Haven’t you done the last two before? I remember seeing those in a previous column …

Man, am I the only one who reads words like Flick and Clint and DOESN’T automatically think of dirty words? I’m no saint, I watch “adult entertainment” when I’m in the mood, but the rest of the time? I just read what is there. Sheesh.

Well, Sijo, I don’t think anyone thinks that the words “Flick” and “Clint” printed out in lower-case are reminiscent of dirty words. But the all-caps versions, combined with some of the murky printing sometime found in early comics, could very well be misread as something dirty, even by those who aren’t looking for it.

Also, as someone who grew up in the bible belt, I can assure you that there are plenty of busy-bodies who scour “children’s entertainment” for anything that is even borderline untoward. The type of person who can find satanic messages by playing a record backward, or who believed that the song “Louie Louie” was actually filled with dirty words, could readily consider “FLICK” to be very nasty indeed.

Oh, 90s art, will you ever stop being painful to look at, or will you just get worse as I get older? It’s so painful to admit I bought those books when I was in college.

Anyway, I always wondered how the Avengers could get away with Clint Barton, if that rumor were true. Thanks for clearing that up.

For one tossed-off line in a 90s comic, a lot of people certainly tried to find or create that third Summers brother.

Come on, that line is SO not just a casually tossed-off line. The foreshadowing is so blatant and heavy handed that it’s natural it fueled so much speculation. As someone who read the original issue when it came out, I can assure you no one took it as a casually tossed off line.

I did a double-take on reading a line in the most recent Fantastic Four Essential which referred to “the flicking remote control”.

that x-men 39 cover is AWFUL!

Yep! My first thoughts too! Took me ages to work out what on Earth was going on…

On the “Clint/Flick” issue. The only time I’ve ever actually misread something was due (I think) to a printing issue – JLA/Avengers (No.3?) when Hawkeye gets killed, Cap screams “CLINT!” and it took me three reads to realise he wasn’t insulting Clint’s killer…

T.

Right, I remember reading that issue when it came out, too. But I was thinking about how many plots and mysteries were hinted at in X-Books through the 90s and reluctantly, if ever, followed up on. X-Men has been notorious from dropped plots. It’s not often that you find three or four writers jumping to resolve an old dropped thread.

Being a genealogist in a comics universe must be tough. Born, died, resurrected, killed, reborn, retconned, unknown siblings, parents killed, not killed etc.

This reminded me of how much I love the X-Men and their ridiculously complicated bloodines/relationships. :)

Though, I’m with BMBG: Back in the day, I was completely enamored with the “Third Summers Brother” mystery, but suggesting Adam-X as the answer just pissed me off, for being a newly introduced character (so no one would have figured it out) and for being lame, even by 90s standards.

then I think it is safe to say that they were quite precise and specific about what they wanted banned, and the word “flick” was not it.

Plus, EC Comics didn’t have any bestselling “FLICK Comics”, so there was no need to ban that word. ;)

Oh, also, I really appreciate the fact the Weinberg’s plan to make Apocalypse the third brother seems to work past continuity (ie his actions during “The Twelve”) into his plan, rather than coming up with a story idea and just ignoring any holes past continuity may shoot into it. You don’t see that too much nowadays.

The best part about this legend is that ONLY a Brit would think that Spider-Man might have to mention “flick knives”.

Thanks, Teebore. Also agreed on the Apocalypse idea; while I’m ultimately glad they didn’t go with it (does EVERY major villain have to be related to one of the heroes they’re destined to fight?!), it at least tried to make use of a major character with an incredibly-convoluted background to begin with. So at least I’m sure those one or two fans that may have guessed it was Apocalypse would’ve been correct, because I know everyone from Mr. Sinister himself, to Professor Xavier, all the way to Shatterstar were popular guesses at one point…

RE: The X-Men 23 cover
Is it just me or does anyone else think that cover only made it through because the character in danger is male? I somehow can’t imagine a female character in a torn outfit being “handled” by a group of male bad guys would have gotten the go-ahead.
(I am rather amused at the idea that Scott’s boots are apparently made of the same fabric as the rest of his outfit and just have to wonder if the soles are made of sturdier stuff. If they aren’t, I don’t see how Scott–and presumably, the rest of the X-Men–can run over all sorts of terrain in such a flimsy material. They’d do just as well going around barefoot.)

Thank you for finally solving the “flick” mystery, I can’t tell you how long I’ve wondering why that was banned while the far more loaded “Clint” was blithey running around in Marvel’s answer to the Justice League.

Also, why has no one ever written a crossover between Adam-X the X-treme and the Disco Dazzler?

As for the whole Clint/flick thing, in Julie Schwartz’s autobiography “Man of Two Worlds” he mentions keeping writers from using those words to make sure a possible printing error wouldn’t turn any comics obscene. That’s probably where all of this began.

Wasn’t there a 90s Green Lantern villain named Flicker? I wonder if that was done intentionall?

Micahel A. Buzzelli

July 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I have a question. If Kate and D’Ken have a son, it doesn’t really make him a Summers, does it? Unless Kate (Maiden Name Here) is the one carrying the bloodline. I assumed Christopher Summers would have to have impregnated Kate or any woman to be a Summers. Adam X could still be related to Scott and Alex as a step-brother but not a Summers. Am I being too literal? FLICK OFF.

You know, flick off your comuter. What? What did you think I meant?

By the way did Stan Lee actually write the line ‘the flicking remote control?” I would have to see that to believe it.

I bought X-men 23 used two or three years after it came out. I was like 12, so I too was fascinated by the third brother concept, and my first thought was “well, no need to wait, surely they’ve resolved the mystery by now. I’ll just buy all the x-books I can get my hands on until someone comments on who it is.”

Clearly, I was an idiot.

Adam X could still be related to Scott and Alex as a step-brother but not a Summers.

You mean a half-brother. They’d still have the same mother after all.

So the Avengers worked with Hawkeye that long and only then learned his name?

Adam X didn’t come along to ruin the 3rd Summers brother idea because he was the 3rd Summers brother the entire time. Fabian Nicieza created him as the 3rd Summers brother before we knew there was a 3rd Summers brother to speculate about. Also, there was never any reason to assume that there was only 1 unknown brother or that it was a Summers. Sinister only mentioned that Cyclops had brothers. Although we know D”Ken is his father, we still don’t have a human mother for Adam X. It be Ma Summers or another woman since Adam X could’ve been created by artificial means.

God, all those X-Men covers are horrible. The 90′s sucked.

Several years ago one of the local anchor babes on the evening news was doing a story about movies that had the word “flick” in it. She was reading off the teleprompter and stumbled over the word a couple of times before getting it out. She came very, very, very close to an FCC violation.

Brian From Canada

July 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

What bothered me about Adam X-Treme is the fact that SINISTER of all people mentioned it. Sinister is the guy who collects mutant DNA and manipulates it — which would suggest that he *created* more Summers offspring in his attempt to figure out what so special about the two mutants at his creation. And that, really, can open up the doors to good storytelling if done right… heck, the Gambit bit by Claremont works much better because of that.

But damn if Weinberg’s idea doesn’t work best. Weinberg’s run on Cable was fantastic — it’s a pity that Marvel was so anxious to revamp the line so many times for the new millennium that we lost that.

Ah, the 90s. Era of ridiculously long hair.

Not only would I like to erase the entire decade of the 1990s from my comic book memory, I’d like to see flogged and beaten the current crop of X-writers who continue churning out this absurdly complex, but wholly irrelevant claptrap they call “continuity.” Seriously, do those books have ANY appeal to anyone who hasn’t already been reading them for years?

Sometimes it looks like this industry limps along on what amounts to little more than the ongoing addiction of a few hardcore fans.

that x-men 39 cover is AWFUL!

By the way, I could have sworn I covered this somewhere, but I couldn’t find it (maybe the old blog?), but the X-Men #39 cover was originally meant to be a gatefold, and was changed last minute, which is why it is so ugly looking.

Wow so we go from the crap-tastic “AdamXTheXtremeXXXXXXXXXXX” to someone possibly less interestingly named “Vulcan” wearing a costume that the Legion of superheroes would call Passe. I believe the third Summers brother was originality and he died decades ago before anyone noticed.

Not for nothing, but Vulcan’s costume was intended to look like an old school costume, since (due to the retcon) he debuted in Giant-Size X-Men #1.

“Are any of the characters introduced in that year’s annuals still around and active?”

Legacy, aka Genis-Vell, got quite a bit of play afterward but he’s kind of dead at the moment. That is to say, he was torn apart across dimensions and memorialized, but he’ll probably get better. Bantam was killed off in Civil War: Front Line. Wildstreak returned during the Civil War too, but she seemed to survive the whole thing.

Really the only character that’s still around on a regular basis is Annex in the Avengers: The Initiative title, but he might be out of the book now that it’s changed directions.

Have a good day.
John Cage

That might be the most really bad comic covers ever collected in one post (that wasn’t about bad comic covers.)

I too was shocked to see that CLINT had been an Avenger that long before they learned his name, and I’m the biggest Hawkeye fan in the world. That’s almost 50 issues!

I’m trying and failing to remember if Hawkeye got arrested after his first run-in with Iron Man. If you are going to recruit a former criminal, wouldn’t you want to check that he hadn’t murdered any babies or some such?

Every mutant is actually a Summers. It would actually explain everything. Atomic incest begets superpowers.

I agree with the other posters: haven’t the X-Books been dropping “throw-away lines” for ages? I remember an issue where a writer thought it would be cool to have Juggernaut thrown across New Jersey and then say that “Onslaught” did it. So, naturally, everyone started wondering who Onslaught was… but the writer only did that because it sounds cool, not to develop a new character that would fight everyone in the Marvel Universe. (If I remember the story correctly.)

Anyway, I think that “brothers” line is a *casual* line, but casually made by the writer, not the character. First, like everyone is saying, the line got fans to scurry around to figure out who the “brothers” (plural!) were. So, naturally, this increases interest in the book and past issues.
Second, like the “Onslaught” line, this leaves the door open for any writer to further develop the story, maybe years later. Then, the scurrying happens again, as a characters says, “You remember back in that 1993 issue when Sinister told you that you had brothers? Well, guess what? One of your brothers is actually the ruthless villain whose first appearance ever was in last week’s issue!”

I really enjoyed the last cover – “Was Superman a Summers Brother?”

Oh I remember when Sinister 1st dropped the 3rd Summers Brother hint. That was my comic book hey day as well before dropping out completely right before Onslaught and the overly Manga look to everything in the mid-90s. It was a great idea that never really panned out well. Adam X was just a joke of a design. Apocalypse would have fit well but I agree that it’s annoyingf when villains are connected to the heroes like that.

I actually don’t mind much when they drop a plot like that and let it simmer for a while. I would love it though if one day a writer decided to actually make Adam a Summers brother in additon to the already established Scott, Alex and Gabe. Like others have said no one said there was only 3. A little DNA here, some Shi’ar test tubes there…

i always thought gambit was the third brother.

Billy Batson said:

“As The Ten-Cent Plague points out, the Code was ruthlessly stringent on what could and could not go into a comic well beyond the mandate of what is literally set out within the code– including taking out the sweat from people’s brows, shrinking the size women’s bustlines, etc.”

Did those working for The Code remove all sweat, or just the sweat on non-white characters.

I heard the Flick/Clint thing as being a DC policy from Julie Schwarz as well as some above–so it’s just a short jump to the comics code banning it I guess.

It made sense at the time.

Adam-X the X-Treme is the Poochie the Dog of the Marvel Universe.

A lot of 90s comics look terrible now, but I’m sure the same will be said about many currently popular comics in the future. One day we’ll all look back at the zombie craze and big event crossovers and shake our heads.

Doug Atkinson

July 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm

“So the Avengers worked with Hawkeye that long and only then learned his name?”

The Avengers didn’t freely share their secret identities with each other at first. Someone who knows their history better than I do could shed some light on when this changed, but their not knowing his name isn’t unusual (in terms of what had been established at that point if not actual story logic).

On the “flick” thing, Peter David has a story about a woman calling Marvel to complain about a story in which Magneto said something along the lines of “I will crush you as easily as I would flick a bug off my shoulder,” even though the mis-read sentence made no sense, so the concern had some basis in reality. (I also remember one of the reviewers here referring to Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim as “Knives Chali,” so it happens in reverse as well…)

Hey Doug, I know exactly what you are talking about with the Peter David story. It was in a column he wrote in CBR back in the early 90′s. I was working at a comic/gaming store in Biloxi, MS back then and I would read the CBR all the time when the shop was slow. It was a great column in general but that specific one was hilarious. Peter David mentioned the story about the woman writing in, and then concluded that the worst name for a character in a comic was Clint Flicker. I showed the article to one of my non-comic friends and he too thought it was a funny read. I wonder if that article is online somehwere….

I agree, that X-Men 39 cover is so hideous, I kept staring at it trying to figure out what was going on. (Is it one contorted body? A body holding another body? wtf?)

I had stopped reading comics by the time this all came about, another casualty of the polybagged/variant cover/die-cut foil/exclusive trading card/hologram age of the early ’90s. Reading this stuff kind of reminds me why. Besides the convoluted retconning and “hidden dark secrets” that seemingly every major character developed, the proliferation of “kewl” characters helped kill the storytelling. Everyone was so bad-ass yet so secretive that it would just stop the story in its tracks every time they were featured.

And this Adam X guy? I don’t know anything about him, but just looking at him, I feel like someone’s idea of an in-joke actually got published. I guess if Jay from “Clerks” decked out in spiky armor was your idea of a cool hero, you’d have been pretty happy back then.

I first heard of the “flick” rule in a fanzine in the early seventies. I remember specifically that it specified DC and it was described as an editorial policy, certainly not a code violation. I remember also noting several appearances by the word in Marvel books around that same time, perhaps tweaking their rivals after the plocy became public knowledge?

In spite of everything, I liked that story with Adam-X and Phillip Summers.

“Legacy, aka Genis-Vell, got quite a bit of play afterward but he’s kind of dead at the moment. That is to say, he was torn apart across dimensions and memorialized, but he’ll probably get better. Bantam was killed off in Civil War: Front Line. Wildstreak returned during the Civil War too, but she seemed to survive the whole thing. Really the only character that’s still around on a regular basis is Annex in the Avengers: The Initiative title, but he might be out of the book now that it’s changed directions.”

X-Cutioner made quite a few appearances throughout the 90′s. Last place I remember seeing him though was Punisher vol.3 so it’s been quite a while.

“So the Avengers worked with Hawkeye that long and only then learned his name?”

The other Avengers not knowing his name isn’t particularly odd for the series, since most characters still had secret identities at the time. It’s true that many of the members knew each other’s identities, but consider this: Captain America didn’t know Iron Man was Tony Stark (or that Thor was Don Blake) until Avengers #216, which came out in 1982. Since that issue, however, most Avengers have revealed their identities to each other. It does make the delay with Hawkeye seem pretty tame by comparison, though.

What is more unusual in this case is that Hawkeye’s name had never been revealed to the readers. In those five years he was only addressed as Hawkeye; even his long time girlfriend Black Widow referred to him only as Hawkeye, including when they were shown having private conversations.

Look forward to this column every week. Keep cranking out the goodness.

Thanks, Dan!

Haven’t you done the last two before? I remember seeing those in a previous column …

No sir.

I did a double-take on reading a line in the most recent Fantastic Four Essential which referred to “the flicking remote control”.

Which volume was that, James?

As for the whole Clint/flick thing, in Julie Schwartz’s autobiography “Man of Two Worlds” he mentions keeping writers from using those words to make sure a possible printing error wouldn’t turn any comics obscene. That’s probably where all of this began.

Oh yeah, I totally buy that Julie Schwartz told people not to do it. I just think it was an informal thing like that.

So the Avengers worked with Hawkeye that long and only then learned his name?

It IS pretty hilarious how his girlfriend even called him “Hawkeye.”

I guess he was sort of like Cher or Madonna.

In spite of everything, I liked that story with Adam-X and Phillip Summers.

That was a pretty good issue – didn’t a young Terry Dodson draw that issue?

The Avengers didn’t freely share their secret identities with each other at first. Someone who knows their history better than I do could shed some light on when this changed, but their not knowing his name isn’t unusual (in terms of what had been established at that point if not actual story logic).

I actually knew this. There were also long stretches of time in various JLA runs pre and post-Crisis where everyone didn’t know everyone’s secret identity. But the reason it particularly shocks me in Hawkeye’s case is e was A RECENT CRIMINAL. That’s the part that trips me out. Wasn’t he even arrested at some point?

It IS pretty hilarious how his girlfriend even called him “Hawkeye.”

I guess he was sort of like Cher or Madonna.

Compare it to today where people can’t stop using each other’s first names. I’m waiting for that affliction to start striking the villains.

Luthor: “I’ve always hated you, Kal!”

That X-Men 39 cover may be bad in terms of layout, but I still see at least four covers in this post that are worst due to sheer 90s-ness.

Mike Loughlin

July 25, 2009 at 7:08 am

If you think Clint’s name-reval delay was bad, Rogue’s real name was unknown for over 20 years!

I knew you said there’d be profanity in the post, Brian, but I was shocked by what I read. I can’t even read the words “Adam the X-Treme” without feeling dirty.

The fact that Clint Barton (Hwakeye) had a criminal past was probably one reason why he didn’t want to reveal his name to the other Avengers. I believe there was a lot of mistrust regarding that version of the Avengers to begin with, so the issue of sharing real (civilian identity) names probably never came up…

and to think for years i thought his name was cunt barton.

“Which volume was that, James?”

Vol. 7.

If you think Clint’s name-reval delay was bad, Rogue’s real name was unknown for over 20 years!

That’s the Claremont X-Men though, that doesn’t count. When it comes on to holding onto secrets outrageously past their shelf life there’s nothing like Claremont’s X-Men!

“and to think for years i thought his name was cunt barton.’

Well, I’m not sure what kind of incestuous gay relationship that would’ve implied in your mind, considering the panel shown above, but I don’t think anyone wants to re-open that can of worms.

The fact that Clint Barton (Hwakeye) had a criminal past was probably one reason why he didn’t want to reveal his name to the other Avengers. I believe there was a lot of mistrust regarding that version of the Avengers to begin with, so the issue of sharing real (civilian identity) names probably never came up…

I understand why HAWKEYE wouldn’t want to bring it up, what I don’t get is why Cap and the others would accept that. I’d think his criminal past would demand an extra act of good faith like revealing his identity or there’d be no deal.

Vol. 7.

Thanks!

I’ll check it out!

Hi, I love the column and had an “urban legend” I wanted to know about. I’m a casual reader of the byrnerobotics and was shocked a few years ago by a mass exodus of the likes of Linda that led to the founding of IMWAN. Is there an official version of what happened? It’s hard to figure it out because so much gets deleted by moderators all over the internet. But I have a nagging curiosity about such things.

Hello Brian. Funny thing about the flick/clint writeup, it came up only a few months ago in the Spider-Man newspaper strip! Check out the second panel in the strip from February 24: http://meekrat.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/20090224.gif

I had to read it a few times over to realize he didn’t say “And why that corny Spider-Man sh*t?”

The only 1993 annuals I’ve read are Uncanny X-Men and New Warriors. I don’t remember any new characters in either of those.

The Peter David column about Clint Flicker is online. By a weird coincidence, I just read it last week. Just type ‘Peter David But I Digress’ into the search.

The 1993 Uncanny X-Men Annual introduced X-Cutioner, Mary, and the 1993 New Warriors Annual had the debut of a new villain, Darkling.

That is hilarious, Craig!

Especially considering the connection between corn and, well, you know…

Does anybody else find it unlikely that Mister Sinister knew about Vulcan? Considering the circumstances of Vulcan’s birth and his disappearance for many years, it would make more sense for Sinister to be referring to another Summers brother.

While the Code may not have had a hard and fast rule against the use of CLINT and FLICK, as others have pointed out in reference to Julius Schwartz’s memoirs, it was at least the rule of thumb in the DC offices not to use them.

In fact, ten years or so ago, Carmine Infantino did an interview for COMIC BOOK ARTIST (I believe it was) in which he recalled Dick Giordano, newly-installed as an editor at DC in the late 60s, making a special point of using FLICK in one of his stories. Infantino, then the Editorial Director, believed that Giordano did this intentionally, knowing that the print would doubtless blur together just enough to ‘inadvertantly’ be a Code violation, and give readers a little snicker. Indeed, based on what Carmine said in the interview, this seemed to be one of the incidents which soured the relationship between the two men, and led to Giordano leaving his editorial position and working as a freelance artist for a number of years.

“what I don’t get is why Cap and the others would accept that. I’d think his criminal past would demand an extra act of good faith like revealing his identity or there’d be no deal.”

It’s been a looooooong time since I read those particular issues and I don’t have the Essential collection to refer to on hand, but I believe that Iron Man vouchsafed for Hawkeye/Goliath and that convinced Cap to let him in without him having to give his real name. If I am wrong, please feel free to correct me.

Btw, I did a little searching, and the panel of the Avengers comic above comes from issue #64 of the original series. which would be in Essential Avengers Vol. 3, if anyone cares to know.

I was reading old Strange Tales issues over the weekend, and somewhere around #110, the Torch ejaculates “Flickering Flames!”

I snickered, but it certainly doesn’t seem to have been policy at early Marvel to avoid “FLICK”.

Couple of notes:

1) Peter David wrote about the “flick/Clint” thing in his BUT I DIGRESS column (from May 22, 1992):

http://www.peterdavid.net/index.php/2009/05/01/bleepin-comics/#more-2590

This was the first I heard about it. The fact that DC almost simultaneous came out with comics featuring a new Green Lantern villain named Flicker was rather amusing.

2) Hawkeye not revealing his identity: To the best of my recollection, he was not captured following his three fights with Iron Man in TALES OF SUSPENSE. As far as his identity goes – Iron Man and Thor’s identities (Thor was Don Blake at the time, as he is again now) were not revealed to the team until sometime around AVENGERS #214. Even then, the revelation wasn’t voluntary.

I really loved Weinberg’s run, it was by far the best run on the original Cable Series, with great artwork as well (Mike Ryan and Tom Derenick) of course that was before the excellent Cable / Deadpool book.

Adam X the Xtreme, I actually thought he was cool at that time…. man, was I young and stupid.

Michael Howey

July 31, 2009 at 6:34 am

Another X-Treme appearance was at the end of Legion Quest. You get a bunch of images showing how all the X titles ended before the AOA story and one extra image of X-Treme facing someone. (Can’t remember who) This story was never shown developed or explained.

Michael Howey:

I know I’m coming to this conversation late, but that was actually the Shi’ar villain Eric the Red (well, one of the several characters who used that name/identity) that X-Treme was fighting, and I believe that battle actually happened (later) in the Captain Marvel miniseries mentioned in this column. I’m a big Fabian Nicieza fan, but I’ve only tracked down a couple of the Captain Marvel issues, so I’m not POSITIVE the Adam-X/Eric the Red fight happened there, but since both characters are in the series, it seems like a safe assumption. Anybody out there know for sure?

I just looked all of those issues up on the Grand Comic-Book Database, and it looks like the Captain Marvel series (late ’95/early ’96) came out almost a year after “Legion Quest” (late ’94/early ’95), but given that Nicieza wrote both books (well, the adjectiveless X-Men issues of “Legion Quest,” at least), I guess Nicieza was just giving us a preview of something he was planning on writing later. (And it looks like the X-Treme/Eric the Red battle probably happened in Captain Marvel #3.)

And since the Adam-X/Phillips Summers issue of X-Men (#39) was in the issue right before “Legion Quest” (X-Men #40 & #41, etc.), I guess it makes some kind of sense that they would show us where Adam-X was at that point—especially if Nicieza was planning on making him a major player in the X-universe (which is what it looks like the plan was). Too bad Nicieza got kicked off of both X-Force and X-Men pretty quickly thereafter. Oh, the horrors that were Loeb’s X-Force run and then Lobdell X-Men twice a month . . .

There should be a crimefighting duo called Clint & Flick.

While it may not have been in the Comics Code, it would make sense if writers were gently discouraged from using “Clint” or “flick” just to be safe.

A few years ago on Scans Daily, someone posted a panel where Captain America greets Hawkeye, saying “Clint! Nice belt buckle!” and the computer lettering was a little too condensed…

DazedGenoshan

July 12, 2011 at 8:07 am

Just for fun… here is a Summers Family Tree from Uncanny X-Men.net
http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/article/showquestion.asp?faq=8&fldAuto=66

Adam X “the Extreme”? Dude, Do the Dew.

As for the Gambit relation to the Summers family, in the “X-Men the End” alternate reality he wasn’t technically their brother, he was a clone of Sinister spliced with Summers DNA (like the South Park where they splice an elephant with a pig, or tried to…) Also, unless they have retconned or given new specifics I am unaware of, Gambit has been revealed to be the product of a yet another top-secret genetic-engineering project in which Sinister played some role, so the Gambit origin given in “The End” could be valid in the 616 reality as well, although I’m sure something much more convoluted will come along. Yet the Gambit Summers connection makes some sense, as he and Cyclops have the same eyes (most of the time, as far as I recall, Cyclops’ eyes are drawn as black with red pupils) and his powers are similar to to those of the 3 confirmed Summers brothers.

And just because they get so much bad press… the EARLY 90s X-Men books were awesome. Uncanny X-Men 273-277 is still one of my all time favorite super hero stories EVER and at least shouldn’t be lumped in with the (much deserved) ire for the literary abortions that came in the later part of the decade. The period between X-Tinction Agenda and X-cutioners Song was what hooked me on comics so I’m biased, but still think a majority of the X-books from then were a lot of fun. I will admit that things got so bad after the Age of Apocalypse story that I quit super hero comics for several years and didn’t come back until around the Grant Morrison run, but hey, it got me to read Vertigo and the Sandman series so I guess it was for the best.

The most ridiculous thing about Adam X is that his costume includes a backwards ballcap. Sheesh.

“I snickered, but it certainly doesn’t seem to have been policy at early Marvel to avoid “FLICK”.”

Oh? Wasn’t Millie the Model’s photographer boyfriend originally called Flicker? It was later changed to Clicker.

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