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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #233

Welcome to the two-hundred and thirty-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 thirty-two.

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 Music Legends Revealed, where we learn the answer to the question “Was Barry Manilow’s ‘Mandy’ written about a dog?”

This week is a theme week, of sorts. One of the most most off-beat theme weeks I’ve had yet – every legend this week involves basing a comic on someone!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Rocky Balboa appeared in a comic as a member of G.I. Joe.

STATUS: True

By 1987, Rocky Balboa had already single-handedly destroyed the Soviet Union (it would just take a few more years for their total defeat to sink in)…

So who was left for him to fight?

Well, Cobra, naturally!

In 1986, Sylvester Stallone was working on a deal with Hasbro to license his likeness and the character of Rocky Balboa as an action figure, making Rocky Balboa a member of G.I. Joe.

To commemorate this deal, which seemed like it was definitely going to happen, Marvel released the second issue of G.I. Joe: Order of Battle in late 1986.

Order of Battle was a listing of all the current members of G. I. Joe, with descriptions by Larry Hama and character art by Herb Trimpe.

In the second issue (M-Z), we met a new member of G. I. Joe…

Note that Trimpe made sure not to do a likeness of Stallone just yet, as the deal was not official.

Well, the deal, as you might have guessed, fell through. Stallone had instead signed a licensing deal for toys bearing his likeness for Rambo action figures.

Here is the unused artwork for the G.I. Joe Rocky Balboa action figure (thanks to YoJoe for the art)…

The next issue of Order of Battle had a great retraction at the end…

That same issue also had a page devoted to Big Boa, a member of Cobra who had been created to be Rocky’s nemesis…

We never got Rocky, but at least we got Big Boa!!

Thanks to reader Mark S. for writing in suggesting this one, and thanks again to YoJoe for the unused packaging artwork!

COMIC LEGEND: Doug Moench named one of Moon Knight’s secret identities after fellow comic book writer Steven Grant.

STATUS: False

Doug Moench’s creation, Moon Knight, was unique in that he did not just have ONE secret identity. Instead, he had THREE!

His “real” name, Marc Spector (mercenary), plus Jake Lockley, cab driver and Steven Grant, rich guy.

It has long been thought that Doug Moench named the Grant character after fellow Marvel writer, Steven Grant, as a little in-joke.

However, that is not the case.

Moench DID name the character after a friend of his, but it was an entirely different Steven Grant.

Moench began working for Marvel in early 1974….

He quickly became the de facto head of their black and white horror comic magazine line…

His work with horror comics continued in color, until he introduced, in the pages of Werewolf By Night, Moon Knight…

That was 1975.

Grant was not working at Marvel until later in the decade.

So Moench did not name the character after Grant.

Amusingly enough, one of Grant’s very first stories at Marvel (if not his very first)?

A Moon Knight team-up in Marvel Two-In-One!

Thanks to Doug Moench, who wrote about this in a text piece awhile back, and thanks to Steven Grant, who also wrote about it in a column of his (here at CBR! His old column, Master of the Obvious), as well!

COMIC LEGEND: Al Feldstein based the look of a character on the actress who played the character on the radio!

STATUS: True

It is normal enough, when writing a comic based on a celebrity, to draw the character to look like the celebrity.

Like the good folks at Welcome Back, Kotter, for instance…

However, interestingly enough, Al Feldstein did the same when working with a VOICE actress!

The popular radio series, Meet Corliss Archer, ran on CBS radio from 1943 until 1956.

The series was about a quirky teenaged girl named Corliss Archer.

The original Corliss was played by Priscilla Lyon, but JAnet Waldo is most known for the role.

In 1948, Fox Publications did a short-lived comic book adaptation of the series.

Fox art director Al Feldstein wrote and drew the comic.

Feldstein decided to use Waldo as his model, both for the character AND on the top of the comic book cover to show you that it was based on a radio show…

Here’s a picture of Waldo…

Oddly enough, when the series went to television in the early 1950s, Waldo turned down the chance to star in the series, choosing to remain just the voice Corliss.

Waldo, by the way, has had a long and illustrious career as a voice actress ever since.

She did the voice for Penelope Pitstop in Wacky Races (she even recently did the voice for the video game based on the show – by the by, in this installment of TV Legends Revealed, you can read all about Penelope Pitstop’s vibrator)…

She did the speaking voice for Josie on Josie and the Pussycats…

And, most famously, she has been the voice for Judy Jetson ever since the Jetsons first aired back in 1962.

We’re quite lucky to still have both Ms. Waldo AND Mr. Feldstein still with us today!

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 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!

61 Comments

That drawing of “Big Boa” is absolutely atrocious.

Oh man, we missed out on a Rocky Balboa/Sgt. Slaughter team-up.

Wow, I did not know that Big Boa was actually created to be Rocky’s opposite number over in the ranks of COBRA. I just assumed he was just another COBRA agent introduced in 1987. :-o

And I guess this Rocky deal really destroyed BB’s career, because he wouldn’t appear in a Joe comic until the Devil’s Due Publishing series (which was continued from the Marvel continuity). He appeared once, maybe twice, during the series……….and was then promptly killed off near the end of their first series at DDP.

As I recall, there were other members of GI Joe taken from actual character. Refrigerator Perry and the much more visible Sgt. Slaughter to name two. Neat to find out about Rocky. Were there others?

I actually thought Big Boa was created as a replacement for Rocky, to make use of already-sculpted boxer accessories, and made into a villain as a ‘screw you’. BalBOA, Big BOA.

In G.I. Joe, don’t forget Sneak Peek, Owen King, based on one of Stephen King’s sons…

I had no idea Crossfire dated back that far. I always assumed he originated in the Hawkeye limited series. So did Stallone’s contract with Coleco for the Rambo dolls stipulate that he couldn’t do a Rocky toy for Hasbro? It seems to me that since they are different characters he should’ve been able to do both.

I have that Order of Battle issue w/Rocky and had heard the story about Stallone turning down the licensing deal, but I’d never seen the unused character art before. Pretty neat!

As I recall, there were other members of GI Joe taken from actual character. Refrigerator Perry and the much more visible Sgt. Slaughter to name two. Neat to find out about Rocky. Were there others?

Those are the only ones I can recall offhand, too.

I actually thought Big Boa was created as a replacement for Rocky, to make use of already-sculpted boxer accessories, and made into a villain as a ‘screw you’

I’ve also heard that, though I suppose maybe that’s a question more suited for a “Action Figure Legends Revealed” column?

RE Other real people in Joe: While the data cards specified that the names and bios of the Joe members “did not represent any known living person”, that wasn’t always true. Many Hasbro employees got their names used as Joe and Cobra members. Vinnie D’alleva was the head of boys toys marketing at hasbro when he got Tuckerized as Cesspool, one of the bad guys in the pro-ecology sub-line they did.

And damn I had NO idea Janet Waldo was such a hottie back in the day. So was Penny Singleton, voice of Jane Jetson et al. She played the titular Blondie in the long-running film series.

In G.I. Joe, don’t forget Sneak Peek, Owen King, based on one of Stephen King’s sons…

And now that I’m forced to double post, I suddenly remember that Tunnel Rat was based on Larry Hama’s likeness.

Does that make him the only comic book writer with his own action figure?

Not the only one. Kevin Matchstick of MAGE leaps to mind.

Stallone can’t fight Cobra. He *is* Cobra!

BTW — small typo: the header info claims it’s the two-hundred thirty-second edition, rather than the #233rd.

Interesting bit about Stallone and the G.I. Joe.

I do believe that Stallone did a movie called Cobra, which actually had nothing to do with Cobra in G.I. Joe.

Thank the Maker that there was NOT another Judge Dredd with Stallone in it.

Wait … so why didn’t they put Rambo in G.I. Joe? That would have made a hell of a lot more sense than Rocky!

Teebore – Both Todd MacFarlane and Stan Lee have been immortalised in action figure form. Now if Mattel would make a Jack Kirby….

spidertour02: “so why didn’t they put Rambo in G.I. Joe? That would have made a hell of a lot more sense than Rocky!”

Because Rambo could hit what he was aiming at.

>rimshot<

OK, probably more of a cheap shot at the TV show than the comic book, where people did actually get shot (occasionally). More seriously, I doubt Hasbro would have allowed a character from an R-rated movie in the comic book tie in for a toy line aimed at kids.

“she has been the voice for Judy Jetson ever since the Jetsons first aired back in 1962.”

You forget that Tiffany (mall concerts in the ’80s Tiffany) was the voice of Judy Jetson in the animated Jetsons movie.

Who would have thought the tagline: “Everything you ever wanted to know about… Gabriel Kaplan” would be a selling point for a comic book?

I don’t know about you ugys, but my new toon crush is Corliss Archer

cameronbrown: you beat me to it. Apparently they printed blank pages in comics back then.

Buh-DUM-Pum! (pathetic attempt at a rimshot sound effect there)

Corliss Archer is indeed cute. Those 40s hairstyles were nice.

“Does that make him the only comic book writer with his own action figure?”

Todd McFarlane showed up as a homeless guy in a Spawn toy line.

I love Rocky IV in retrospect. My favorite scene is when the Soviet doctors inject Dolph with steroids, while at the same time Rocky perfects himself as a fighter by becoming one with the rustic landscape of Mother Russia. It’s accidental and funny critique of how far the U.S.S.R. had wandered from the essential ideal of communism: the subordination of one’s one desires for the collective dream of a better world. Communism has no place for a superman like Dolph. It reminds me of an excellent piece in the NYT Magazine about the reasons the Soviets lost the space race, particularly failing to put a man on the moon: because we were better communists than they were. At NASA, scientists worked together to solve the problem while in Russia they fought over who had the better plans and who had the greater standing with party leaders. It’s like Czarist Russia never died, just put on new clothes.

You forget that Tiffany (mall concerts in the ’80s Tiffany) was the voice of Judy Jetson in the animated Jetsons movie.

Even there, they used her voice initially – they just overdubbed her with Tiffany!

More seriously, I doubt Hasbro would have allowed a character from an R-rated movie in the comic book tie in for a toy line aimed at kids.

That and I imagine that Stallone knew (or at least had a pretty good hint) that he would make more money from a line of toys devoted to Rambo than just having Rambo be part of G.I.Joe.

Now Rocky, however, did not lend himself as automatically to a line of action figures as Rambo did.

Re: Real people as GI Joe figures:

Scoop was based on an actual American newsreader, can’t remember who though.

Rowdy Roddy Piper was made into a figure a few years back, as the trainer of Destro’s Iron Grenadiers.

“Does that make him the only comic book writer with his own action figure?’

Kevin Smith has also had several action figures.

“Now Rocky, however, did not lend himself as automatically to a line of action figures as Rambo did.”

But there was a line of Rocky figures (recently, and in the 80s). Here’s Apollo Creed:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-1983-Apollo-Creed-Action-Figure-MOSC-%22ROCKY%22_W0QQitemZ350241192874QQcmdZViewItem?rvr_id=&itemid=350241192874

Right, but he did not lend himself to a line of figures the way Rambo did (just talking money-wise).

I’m betting he got paid more money for the Rambo line of toys than the Rocky ones, because the Rambo stuff would be easier for the toy companies to sell (with the specialty toy market boom, now, of course, everyone has toys! The current Rocky line of toys even has a toy of Brent Musburger!!!).

And if the Rambo line of toys said, “Okay, we’ll do the deal, but we want to be the only people out there making toys with your likeness,” he’d certainly quickly say “Sure.”

ParanoidObsessive

November 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm

“Rowdy Roddy Piper was made into a figure a few years back, as the trainer of Destro’s Iron Grenadiers.”

This is quite possibly the greatest thing I have ever heard.

Stephen's Keyboard

November 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Isn’t that Bolboa, Rocky figure drawn by Paul Smith? Through the decades, I still remember his blank staring faces, the angular cheekbones and horizontal mouths.

And did Corliss change into that bikini in front of pipe-droppin’ Papa Archer? Why else would the box be sitting on the floor, if not?

COMIC LEGEND: Doug Moench named one of Moon Knight’s secret identities after Steven Grant.

Well, yes he did, but not THAT Steven Grant.

On Corliss Archer, ‘America’s favorite teen-age radio and SCREEN star’:
Yes, there were films.
Somehow Shirley Temple as a teenager seems…. wrong.

Wasn’t Mr. T also a Joe figure at some point?

Big Boa sounds absurd as a character. If Cobra training is that though, how come the Joes beat them so easily? (The faceless goons, anyway?) Heck, with that kind of training it’s any wonder they even get any members at all!

Also, that gloved stick just makes Rocky look silly.

Great info on the proposed Rocky Balboa ‘Joe, Brian.

For everyone interested…Hasbro did actually sculpt & prototype the Rocky figure. Great new information on it was recently uncovered. The full story, great pictures and more info are at the Gijoe website Joeintel.com. The link. is

http://206.188.22.144/general_page_desc.php?left_search=&cat=&countries_id=OTg0OTg0&cat_id=OTg0OTg5ODQ=&cat_content_id=OTg0MTQxMzk4NA==&desc=desc

Ha! Fair enough, onion3000! I’ll change that.

As a long time fan of both G.I. Joe and Steven Grant (he even wrote a couple of issues early in the comic’s run) I was glad to see them featured in this week’s installment. Stallone did sign off on toy lines for both Rocky and Rambo, but Rambo turned out to be the more lucrative deal. Ironically enough, both the toys and cartoon seemed to borrow a lot from G.I. Joe’s whole premise: U.S. forces fighting a terrorist organization.

It’s also nice to see that Janet Waldo was such a doll back in her prime, much like Penelope and Judy in their respective cartoons. Janet is a real treasure and I wish her the very best.

Man, I remember when action figures were actually made and aimed at CHILDREN as opposed to the man-children that those children grew up into. This statement isn’t meant to be as snarky as it sounds, but I do know quite a few more 20+ year old men who buy toys than I know children or even the parents of children who buy them. God forbid I ever come across a kid playing with one ever again.

Play with them??? I thought you were supposed to keep them in mint condition, unopened in the box!

She played the titular Blondie in the long-running film series.

*snicker* You said “titular.” *snort*

About Janet Waldo, here’s an interesting little tidbit. She appeared on an early episode of “I Love Lucy” (“The Young Fans”) as Peggy, a teenaged girl with a crush on Ricky. The trivia bit is the fact that Ms Waldo at the time was 34 years old, about 7 years younger than Lucille Ball and about 1 year younger than Desi Arnaz Even more amazingly, Ms Waldo was pregnant when the episode was taped. The teenaged boy that Lucy and Ricky eventually manage to get Peggy with was played by Richard Crenna (who was, in real life, 8 years younger than Janet Waldo). Crenna, just to bring in another link to the legends, played Col Trautman in the “Rambo” movies (which, of course, starred Sylvester Stallone).

I am embarassed to admit that I had the Big Boa action figure.

http://timetravellertoys.co.uk/action%20force%20gi%20joe/1987/Big%20Boa.jpg

The removable gloves were kinda cool. Other than that, not so much.

And as far as Janet Waldo goes… in doing research about old-school X-Men appearances in cartoons? Well, Janet was a guest voice on a few episodes of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. She did a stint as Shanna the She-Devil in one episode, and in another, was Verona, the Frost Giantess from Asgard with a crush on Iceman.

I think I remember somewhere that somebody’s kid (I thought it was Joe Hill, aka Joe King) wrote the bio for a GI Joe character. Is that right?

It was Owen King again – he created Crystal Ball…or else he suggested the idea to his father who fleshed it out and gave it to Hasbro on his behalf. That’s apparently why they modelled Sneak Peek after him.

There are three columns I look forward to on CBR each week. CBLR is two of them. :)

The Ugly American

November 14, 2009 at 11:42 am

There was also a mail-away figure that was customized after yourself.

Of course, it wore a helmet.

“so why didn’t they put Rambo in G.I. Joe?”

There’s several reasons; Stallone has more inherent rights to Rocky than he does to Rambo (Rambo is based on a character from a book and Stallone wasn’t the only writer on the project. Beyond that, if this was late 1986, Rambo already had his own cartoon show for kids. (The main writer of that was the guy who wrote the book, and Stallone wasn’t involved at all, even as an executive producer, which suggests that he didn’t have any rights to the character at that time.)

In that bio pic, it looks like Rocky’s been drinking milk. Ah, the days of white upper lips in an effort to color teeth…

Corliss Archer actually began on Broadway, in the play KISS AND TELL. Broadway used to be a fertile source of material for both Hollywood and radio.

MOON KNIGHT has company in the multiple identity business. THE SHADOW, known on radio as the alter ego of Lamont Cranston, was actually the aviator Kent Allard who switched places with rich man-about-town Cranston when he needed a public face. From time to time, The Shadow also impersonated businessman Henry Arnaud, elderly gentleman Isaac Twambley, and old Fritz, a janitor at police headquarters (according to Wikipedia. I just remember Allard from the pulps).

[...] Did you know that Rocky Balboa was almost a member of the GI Joe team? He was and you can read why it didn’t happen at CBR.com: Comic Book Legends! [...]

Funny that Rocky is a GI Joe and not Rambo.

CameronBrown beat me to my comment on the idea that info about Gabe Kaplan would be a selling point.

“”It reminds me of an excellent piece in the NYT Magazine about the reasons the Soviets lost the space race”"

But the Russian got to space first, so they won the space race… changing the goal posts to the moon should be counted as the moon race or something.

My favorite bit is the line on the retraction:

“Rocky is not now nor has he ever been a member of G.I. Joe”

Suuuure G.I. Joe, I get it. I’ll just pretend I never saw that Rocky bio page.

Adriaaannn!!! =P

“Rocky is not now nor has he ever been a member of G.I. Joe”

Now that’s some light-speed retcon.

If they ever made a figure of Dan ‘Terrible’ Turpin for the Superman: TAS toy line, then you’d *basically* have a Jack Kirby toy!
(They based Turpin’s model design on Kirby as a tribute. Looks just like him, too.)

Anyone know if Terrible got a toy back then?

Also, sorry to double-post, but I MUST comment on the “Pugil-Stick”, Rocky’s weapon.
Actually, no. I don’t need to. I’ve drawn your attention to the Pugil-Stick (*really*, just *try* and say it out loud), and that’s enough.

[...] ^ Comic Book Legends Revealed #233 (includes Balboa’s profile and the retraction) [...]

Janet Waldo was also the voice of Lana Lang on the Superboy Filmation cartoon.

akkadiannumen

May 24, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Rocky as a combat instructor for the Joes sounds pretty dumb. Rocky’s technique sucked. He had no knowledge of the “finer points of the sweet science of pugilism”. The guy was an ignorant moron! :D His fighting spirit was great but any of the veterans could have taught the Joes about fighting on and keeping their morale high until the other guy gets tired and slips up. :p

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