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Comic Book Legends Revealed #230

Welcome to the two-hundred and thirtieth 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 twenty-nine.

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 you check out this installment of Movie Legends Revealed, which takes a specific look at movie soundtracks.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Don McGregor intentionally created the first interracial kiss in mainstream comics.

STATUS: False

In last week’s installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, we discussed how Dick Giordano sneaked in the first interracial embrace in mainstream comics (note that independent comics were doing pretty much whatever they wanted during the 1960s, so this stuff was practically passe in indie comix of the late 1960s/early 1970s).

Well, Don McGregor and P. Craig Russell are responsible for the first outright interracial kiss in color mainstream comics, which happened in Amazing Adventures #31, part of their acclaimed run on Killraven.

Killraven was a freedom fighter in a post-apocalyptic Earth where the planet has been invaded by Martians.

Killraven is aided by the “Freemen,” a group of, well, free men who also fight the aliens.

Here are the Freemen in battle!

M’Shulla Scott was Killraven’s “mud-brother” and his closest friend. Carmilla Frost was a scientist (but she could also carry herself very well in a fight).

Well, in Amazing Adventure #31 (in 1975), the two had an intimate moment…

Okay, so McGregor was responsible for the first interracial kiss in color mainstream comics.

But McGregor actually wrote the first interracial kiss in black and white mainstream comics, too!

So knowing that McGregor was later responsible for the kiss in color comics, it seems reasonable to believe that he intentionally had the early kiss, right?

However, the interracial kiss that happened in Warren Publishing’s Creepy #43 in 1972 was a mistake! It was a case of mis-communication between McGregor and his artist, Luis Garcia.

The story involves an African-American private detective investigating the disappearance of a young man (SPOILER – the kid turns out to be a werewolf).

García decides to draw the private eye like Sidney Poiter for whatever reason…

Anyhow, McGregor had the detective interview the young man’s girlfriend.

McGregor only had a page to work with here, so he wanted the scene to be as dramatic as possible. The girl here is really upset, ya know?

So for the last panel, McGregor added the phrase “This one is the clincher.”

Well, García took that to mean that this would be the scene the two characters would kiss!

And that’s what he drew.

As you no doubt notice, the scene really doesn’t make much sense. They just kiss out of nowhere.

And likely BECAUSE it was a matter of just a clear mistake, Warren did not make McGregor take it out (there was likely not enough time to get it fixed, either), so by way of a misake, the first true interracial kiss in comics came to be!

Funny stuff, eh?

Thanks to Don McGregor and Jon B. Cooke for the information, courtesy of a great interview between the two men in Cooke’s The Warren Companion. And thanks to David Frankel for pointing out that Garcia could have been a name that the young Jose-Luis García-López was going by back then. There’s debate over whether it was Jose-Luis García-López or Luis Garcia Mozos – it doesn’t really matter for this story, so I’m just ignoring it.

COMIC LEGEND: Mojo Jojo was partially inspired by the Super Dictionary!

STATUS: True

Last year, I did an installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed on the Super Dictionary, the cult classic dictionary put out during the 1970s by Warner Educational Services.

What makes Super Dictionary stand out is how oddly it was written.

The most famous bit from the dictionary is this piece for Lex Luthor…

That’s just bizarre, right?

It’s the sort of thing that sticks in your mind, ya know?

Back to that in a bit…

So, during the late 1990s, Craig McCracken debuted the Powerpuff Girls!!

The greatest enemy of these superpowered tots was Mojo Jojo, a talking mad scientist chimp..

Mojo Jojo had a very funny way of speaking.

Here are some sample quotes:

Excuse me sir, but can you direct me to the location of where I can locate some eggs for I would like to purchase them so that I can take them home with me and I can eat them today.
[pause]
And maybe tomorrow.

Hey you kids, get out of my moat, it was not meant to be played in. I must remember to destroy those kids after my breakfast has been eaten.

In the grading system, I would have assigned you all with an “F,” which, if I had control of the grading system, I would make the lowest grade a “Z” since that is the final letter in the alphabet, which starts with “A” and ends with “Z.”

Now to catch up on the world’s latest events that have happened that this paper has reported with the words that they wrote.

Now, as you see, the gag is that he over-explains everything.

Primarily, this is a subtle mocking of the way the characters on Speed Racer talked…

However, McCracken ALSO remembered the Super Dictionary, and in an interview for Newsarama, he explained how it, too, was an influence on Mojo Jojo…

It was a book called The Super Dictionary. It was basically a dictionary for little kids that described words in paragraphs. For instance, it would say something like “Krypto made Superman laugh. It makes a positive sound come from Superman’s belly.” Reading it made me think what were these guys doing? We would sit around reading that book and just laugh over it.

Isn’t it awesome when the seemingly most random things are connectied?

Thanks to Steve Fritz for the interview in question and thanks to Craig McCracken for the info!

COMIC LEGEND: Spider-Man is called Super-Man in an early issue of Amazing Spider-Man.

STATUS: True

This is just one of those extremely simple ones.

Reader Jody wrote in to ask:

Is is true that Spider-Man was called Superman in an early issue of Amazing Spider-Man?

Simply put, yep, Jody, that’s pretty much exactly what happened!

But tell ya what, rather than just showing you that, I’ll show you a couple of other silly typos/mistakes in early issues of Amazing Spider-Man!

As we’ve established in a previous installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed (over 200 columns ago!!!), Stan Lee would often forget the name of his characters.

That’s fair enough, but in the FIRST issue of your character’s title, Stan?

From Amazing Spider-Man #1, here are how two panels appear now in reprints…

But here’s what they originally looked like…

Now as to Jody’s original question, I believe this mistake was actually that of letterer John Duffy, not Stan. So this was a typo, not a matter of forgetting the character’s name!

From Amazing Spider-Man #3…

From the original…

Ta da!

Thanks to Jody for the question and thanks to the classic Marvel No-Prize Comic Book for the original panels!

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!

57 Comments

Marvel should re-publish an expanded Marvel No-Prize book. I LOVED that thing as a kid. The quick n’ sloppy ’90s would provide a gold mine!

Ah, you didn’t include my favorite Mojo Jojo quote, from Los Dos Mojos, when he responds to Bubbles speaking like him (Bubbles had taken a blow to the head and thought she was Mojo Jojo.)

“I do not talk like that! The way I communicate is much different! I do not reiterate, repeat, reinstate the same thing over and over again! I am clear, concise, to the point!”

I actually won a No-Prize. It’s an empty envelope with some Marvel crap printed on it.

One mistake I recall is from Tales of Suspense 49, where Anthony Stark is called Anthony Blake. Perhaps someone was channeling their inner Thor.

:-)

I enjoyed this week’s column. I have a question to ask, so I will send an email.

Cheers,

B

Weird that they corrected “Peter Palmer” back to “Peter Parker,” but “Bruce Banner” is still printed as “Bob Banner” in some early books. (Yes, I know a retcon established Robert as Banner’s first name.)

I’ve never even heard of that No-Prize book, I would love to hear more about it.

And I was hoping for another quote from “Los Dos Mojos,” where he suddenly lapses into the Holy Hand Grenade passage from the Book of Arnaments (chapter 2, verses 9-21):

“That’s all just well enough, because in reality, there is only room enough in this world for one Mojo Jojo. One shall be the number of Mojo Jojos in the world, and the number of Mojo Jojos in the world shall be one. Two Mojo Jojos is too many, and three is right out! So, the only Mojo Jojo there is room for in the world shall be me! And being the only Mojo Jojo in the world, I will rule the world, in which there is only one Moooooojo Jojo!”

This could easily become a discussion of the greatest Mojo Jojo quotes if we’re not careful. Powerpuff Girls was so not a kiddie show.

Weird that they corrected “Peter Palmer” back to “Peter Parker,” but “Bruce Banner” is still printed as “Bob Banner” in some early books. (Yes, I know a retcon established Robert as Banner’s first name.)

I believe it was because it happened so frequently that they just said, “Forget it, leave it. We explained it, after all.”

Some of Mojo Jojo’s hand gestures came from Dr. Gori, the ape villain on the tokusatsu show Spectreman (who also talked too much).

Luis Garcia who drew that Creepy McGregor kiss is better known by his full name … Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez!

Ha, you’re right, David. I totally forgot that he started at Warren! Thanks!

Although some sites credit these Creepy tales to the Spanish artist Luis García Mozos, the official JLGL checklist, with JLGL input, credits these to JLGL.

Hi,

I just wrote a blog post about an recent event featuring comic book historian Kent Worcester on New York City portrayed through comic books and the future of comics.

http://blogs.journalism.cuny.edu/interactive2010/2009/10/23/new-york-in-comics-future-of-the-medium/

It makes perfect sense that McGregor and Lopez would use Sidney Poitier as the model for their detective. He’d just recently starred as a groundbreaking detective in “In the Heat of the Night” and its sequel “They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!”. And ironically, though the kiss in the Warren story was a miscommunication, it ties in with Sidney again as the star of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”, which challenged the ‘interracial’ taboo in mainstream movies.

Science knows there’s no such thing as ‘race’; there’s just the single Human Race we’re all part of. When people divide each other by false concepts (gender, ethnicity, orientation, nationality), it’s like old superstitions. Stories like these were important for pointing toward our progress together. Good story, great art, better intent!

There was also a short film on Saturday Night Live in the mid-80s in which the characters spoke like Mojo Jojo. The film was “Ponjo, Giant Dog of Tokyo” or something like that, and it was filmed using toys as the characters. I saw it when it first aired, but it was not shown in reruns of the same SNL episode.

No, those are Luis Garcia Mozos stories at Warren, as confirmed by JLGL via Kevin Nowlan to the GCD. JLGL’s first American work was at Charlton and Western (Gold Key).

I LOVED that Super Dictionary when I was a kid. I remember making my parents read it to me before going to bed instead of, you know, an ACTUAL story. I can only imagine how excited they were to be reading me the freakin’ dictionary, especially one as…descriptive…as that one.

In Amazing Spider-Man #17, Liz Allen’s father is addressed as ‘Mr Brant’. I always thought that was funny. Stan seemed to forget whose father he was. And Anna Watson was named Watkins the first time she appeared.

On the subject of Poitier and interracial kisses, Tym above mentions Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. The only kiss in that film is just barely glimpsed in a rear-view mirror. Supposedly that was all the studio would allow. Which is really silly when you realise that a year or two earlier, Poitier had kissed a White girl in Touch Of Blue, and the camera zoomed in for a tight close-up. (It was a very long and passionate kiss as well.)

Another great column as alway, Bri…

I’m grateful that the 800-plus page ASM Omnibus restored the Super-man typo for authenticity! I just pretend that Doc Ock would mockingly call Spidey “Super-Man” having never seen a superhero before. As for Peter Palmer, the captions just reflect a narrator’s gaffe, like the ones that show up on YouTube! :)

After reading about the Spider-man errors, I remembered to check out my Pocket Books collection (the first Spider-man volume I have actually had since I was in HS in the late 70s). Sure enough, they STILL had those errors in them (you’d have thought that the 2nd editor would have spotted them, but…okee-doke ^_^).

(and I think Marvel should definitely do an expanded version of the No-Prize book…they have a partial reprint of the original in The Marvel Vault)

That García-López art is just superb

I always wanted one of those damn No-Prizes as a kid. Then they changed the rules, you couldn’t just point out a mistake, you had to come up with some way to explain the mistake. And no, I don’t mean something like, “And then the letterer was in a rush and misspelled the name.” No, you had to explain the mistake within the context of the story, and that was just too much for my 10 year old kid brain. By the time I could pull it off I think either Marvel wasn’t giving out No-Prizes anymore or T.M. Maple was taking up entire letter pages and winning them all or something.

One more thing, has anyone noticed that, on the Weather Channel’s morning show, Wake Up With Al, that Al Roker has stolen the use of the term “No Prize” for some viewer contest he runs? Quesada needs to kick his lawyers in the pants and get them on the ball here!

Hi Tym S!
You wrote, “When people divide each other by false concepts (gender, ethnicity, orientation, nationality), it’s like old superstitions.”
There are distinctions between people from different cultures & nationalities tho’. My wife and i are different races/ethnicities/cultures and are different genders. There are plenty of differences that could divide us, and there is much that we can learn from each other. So, i don’t think that those are ‘false concepts’ but realities that we can use to either learn from and honestly discuss, or let them divide us. If we believe that there are no differences, we fall into a trap just as real as if we believe that we are totally foreign to each other.
Just my thinkin’
DFTBA

“No, those are Luis Garcia Mozos stories at Warren”.

Right. I’m from Spain, Luis Garcia is an artistc completely different from Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, I’m afraid.

Here you can find many thing about THIS Garcia (this is also my last name. In fact is the most common last name in Spain):

http://www.tebeosfera.com/1/Portada/edicion/0018.htm

Yeah, those Creepy stories are definitely Mozos, not Garcia-Lopez.

“…this is a subtle mocking of the way the characters on Speed Racer talked…”

This has me a tad confused. Obviously, the Speed Racer cartoon’s original language was Japanese. I don’t know if the original used any funky Japanese speech patterns. Perhaps the English translation wasn’t that great. Maybe something got lost (or unintentionally added) in the translation.

Loved that No Prize book. Bought it for a buck in a back-issue bin. I bought it, back in the day but it went the way of I-Don’t-Know-Where.

The BEST one was Captain America, making a speech, facing down a villain. “Only one of us is going to walk out of here alive …” Cap sez. The next panel, he’s delivering a two-handed blow and exclaiming “…AND IT WON’T BE ME!” (Which is funny for several reasons, the first of which is the obvious. Nextly, he sounds more like Bucky-Cap, who is not Cap but obviously Bucky, aka Bucky-Cap, aka the Winter Soldier, which is a TERRIBLE name for a superhero or even a house-pet. Thirdly, it reveals COMPLETE EDITORIAL INCOMPETENCE.)

I always wanted a No Prize and agree Al Roker should be sued, on general principles.

Was Superman a Spy…der-man?

@ rolly:

I haven’t watched Speed Racer, but I’m pretty sure what happened. Dialog in another language is likely to be longer or shorter in translation. If the translation is shorter then the character’s mouths are going to move longer than the speech takes. So that this doesn’t happen, dubbers would have the characters repeat themselves to fill in the time. This is something that has happened with all sorts of dubbed shows, but Speed Racer may be a particularly egarious example.

A few Spidey writers over the years have dusted off that “Peter Palmer” gaffe and used it in a story. There’s at least once instance of Peter thinking up an alias on the spot and ends up with Palmer as a last name. IMO it also seems to be poking fun at The Incredible Hulk television show where David Banner would just use different last names as he drifted from town to town.

Why don’t these guys bother to think up a GOOD alias with a different first name? :-)

My favorite entry from the No Prize Book was the panel from Avengers #2 where Rick Jones reminds the Space Phantom badly posing as the Hulk that he turns back into Doctor Donald Blake. I believe they even retconned that moment as Rick noticing the Hulk’s toes (3 of them in a rare Kirby goof) and deliberatly tricking the Space Phantom. Uh yeah, I’ll just blow *someone else’s* secret identity to protect yours. LOL.

Marianne Farleybaconcheeseburgercombo

October 23, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Never seen that Killraven series before. Might have to check that out…

That Lex Luthor page from the dictionary is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Oh, that dastardly Lex Luthor! He took 40 cakes! Bad, evil Lex Luthor!

Lovely art from Garcia =)
Great Powerpuff girls info (Mojo Jojo!)
and Oy…it’s Peter PALMER, SUPER-MAN!

=D

Someone definitely needs to write the adventures of Peter Palmer, The Steeltacular Super-Man….

Though, I will say using a different last name can be a better alias than first name for the simple reason that if your name is Peter, and someone yells out Mark, you wont naturally react. So if you use your own first name as part of your alias it removes an entire layer of possibility for you to screw it up.

And Ted has the right of it where it comes to Speed Racer. When they dubbed Mach GoGoGo to create Speed Racer, they did their best to match spoken words to the movements of the animated characters’ mouths, which went a mile-a-minute and in much greater amounts than any neccesary dialogue for any given particular scene.

“One more thing, has anyone noticed that, on the Weather Channel’s morning show, Wake Up With Al, that Al Roker has stolen the use of the term “No Prize” for some viewer contest he runs? Quesada needs to kick his lawyers in the pants and get them on the ball here!”

Marvel’s claim to the phrase may have expired, especially if they never trademarked it.

Jose-Luis García-López or Luis Garcia Mozos – whoever drew it, that’s some gorgeous artwork.

rolly (not dubbed)

October 24, 2009 at 9:32 am

@ Ted

Thanks for trying to be helpful. But the thing is, it’s a cartoon. From the 60′s, no less, which means that the lips aren’t going to match the voices for the majority of screen time anyway. They probably never matched in the original Japanese either, for all I know. The odd thing is, we insist that the dubbed version and original match, when the languages and cultures are vastly different. That cracks me up.

That Luis art is really amazing. Like I would really consider framing it and hanging it.

the lips aren’t going to match the voices for the majority of screen time anyway.

It depends what you mean by match. If you mean that the movement of the lips wont match the words, then absolutely they wouldn’t have matched, probably even in the original. However, I was more specifically talking about the lips moving for the same amount of time as the dialog takes. It’s one thing to have the lips say “watermelon watermelon watermelon” for five seconds to match five seconds of dialog, it’s much more noticable for the lips to say “watermelon” for five seconds to match one second of dialog.

A better question is why they didn’t just recut the thing. It might have been a hatchet job but it probably would have been less noticable. Either way it’s certainly odd.

I loved the way Mojo Jojo talked, but didn’t he gradually stop talking that way?

For his earliest work at DC (1975), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was credited as just “Garcia Lopez.” I would think any work he did at Warren before 1975 might also be credited as Garcia Lopez, though I’m not certain.

@rolly

“They probably never matched in the original Japanese either, for all I know.”

Probably not. Anime has been fairly loose about lipsync from the first TV cartoons down to the present day.

Ted – reducing a half hour show to 20 minutes to fix lip sync would be a lot more noticeable than just having the characters speak idiosyncratically.

Yeah, but then you’d get ten more minutes of ads. I’m suprised that wasn’t reason enough for the networks.

Mojo Jojo and Chim-Chim have nearly the same hats….I think more than his speech patterns were influenced by Speed Racer.

I remember Kurt Busiek picking up on the Palmer and Watkins gaffs from early Spider-Man issues and having Peter Parker use the name Peter Palmer as an alias in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #7 and having Aunt May refer to Anna Watson as Anna Watkins as an early sign of her failing health (which necessitated a blood transfusion in an early issue of ASM).

Have a good day.
John Cage

"O" the Humanatee!

October 26, 2009 at 10:23 pm

There really shouldn’t be any “debate” over whether that art’s by Jose-Luis García-López or Luis Garcia Mozos. Not only does it not look like Garcia-Lopez’s art at any known stage of his career, but as can be seen at http://lambiek.net/artists/g/garcia_luis.htm, Mozos was working from 1973 to 1980 for the French magazine Pilote in a style similar to the Creepy piece, and has continued to work in a similar vein for (primarily?) Spanish publications since then. Garcia-Lopez started working for DC in 1974 – drawing in a style not at all reminiscent of Mozos – following periods working in Argentina and drawing for Charlton. They’re just not the same person, and as far as I can tell David Frankel’s comment is based entirely on the partial overlap between their names.

In David Frankel’s defense, that misidentification is out there. I’m pretty sure the source is Richard Arndt, who did an index of Warren Magazines http://www.enjolrasworld.com/Bibliographies%20by%20Richard%20Arndt.htm and who thought those were JLGL stories. From there it briefly got into comics.org and my own http://sites.google.com/site/joseluisgarcialopezchecklist/ until JLGL (through inker Kevin Nowlan) corrected it. So I suspect David is referring to Arndt’s Warren bibliography or other places dependent on it.

"O" the Humanatee!

October 27, 2009 at 7:32 am

@jefhamlin: Thanks for that clarification. I didn’t actually attribute the mistake to Frankel (nor do you say I did). I just said that that his comment was “based on” the name overlap, without saying who did the basing-on – but I can certainly see why someone might think I said that.

Peter Palmer.. Oh god, does that mean there’s ANOTHER clone running around out there?

Luis García Mozos

January 23, 2010 at 3:16 am

Yes, I did, Luis Garcia Mozos, who misunderstood McGregor’s script, and drew in the comic’s first interracial kiss. Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, is a generation after mine.
A greeting.
Luis Garcia Mozos.
PS. Excuse my English.

I own the marvel No-Prize book and as others have mentioned the only real problem with it was the 32-page length (minus intro). Even back then it could have been longer. My favourite bit is Captain America’s “Only one of us is walking away under his own power… and it *won’t* be me!”

Another No-Prize Book favorite….in a story Hercules moves the whole Island of Manhattan. Beyond how even Hulk with a wedgie strong this would have to be to move all that mass, when he puts it back Herc puts it in backwards, with the Battery facing the wrong end.

John Byrne made reference to the “Super-Man” line in SPIDER-MAN: CHAPTER ONE, where he has Doc Ock say something like, “You may consider yourself a super-man…” But since “Bob Banner” led to the Hulk’s full name being Robert Bruce Banner, why didn’t Spider-Man’s full name become Peter Palmer Parker?

Timothy Markin

May 12, 2013 at 9:01 am

Maybe when Stan used the name Peter Palmer, he was subconsciously thinking of Peter Palmer, the actor who played Li’l Abner in the movie version of Al Capp’s daily strip.
And I read somewhere that Doc Ock calling Spidey “Super-man” was actually him being sarcastic and deriding the neophyte hero. And that Pocket Books Spidey volume also has all the non-hyphenated “Spiderman”s in Amazing Fantasy 15.

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