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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #234

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

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 Peotry Legends Revealed to learn what poet was asked to come up with a name for a line of Ford cars (her suggestions alone are worth the read!).

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: By reprinting an issue of X-Men in their Essentials format, Marvel inadvertently showed nudity where none was intended.

STATUS: True

An interesting thing can happen when something meant to be produced in one particular format gets changed to another one. This was made perfectly evident when an old issue of X-Men was re-done in the Essentials format by Marvel.

X-Men #123 came out in 1979. It was penciled by John Byrne and inked by Terry Austin. It was colored by Glynis Wein.

At one point in the issue, the following scene occurs…

Now, if you happened to be reading the issue, it’s likely you wouldn’t have even given a second thought to the page.

Check Storm coming out of the shower…

Again, nothing really to see there, which is just how the issue was intended to be read.

However, years later, this issue of X-Men was reprinted in Essential X-Men Vol. 2…

There, however, that same Storm panel shows up in an entirely different light…

It seems pretty clear that, as a guide to himself in drawing Storm’s body in the towel coming out of the shower, either penciler Byrne or inker Terry Austin slightly drew in Storm’s naked breast, with the idea (which clearly was correct) that the colorist would then cover it up when the panel was colored (note that Austin, if he did not draw it himself, inked the piece so that it is barely visible anyways).

And that DID happen.

However, two decades later, Marvel reprinted the scene…sans the color!!

So you get a funny example of a reprint causing nudity that was never intended to be seen!

Thanks to reader Andy S. for the head’s up (and the scan)!

COMIC LEGEND: Judge Anderson of the Psi Division was modeled after Debby Harry.

STATUS: True Enough for a True

Judge Cassandra Anderson was one of the few notable female Judge characters in the popular 2000 A.D. Judge Dredd series. She was introduced pretty early on, in 2000 A.D. #150, by writer John Wagner and artist Brian Bolland.

She soon became popular enough to maintain her own series in 2000 A.D. (here is the trade paperback collecting many of her solo adventures), written by Alan Grant mostly (if not solely), highlighting her psychic powers.

For years, folks had wondered if Anderson had been modeled after singer Debbie Harry of the band Blondie.

David Bishop got to the heart of the matter in his extensive history of 2000 A.D., Thrill-Power Overload…

when he interviewed Brian Bolland…

Bishop: According to legend Debbie Harry was the model for Anderson – true?

Bolland: She pretty much was… The thing I always found about drawing for 2000 AD was we never got to draw women. There just weren’t any. I don’t know why. I think it came out of the tradition that boys comics and girls’ comics were separate. There were artists in America whose work I admired who did gorgeous women and I wanted to have a go at it. I thought this was a great opportunity to draw a sexy looking girl. See if I could draw that.

She was based on Debbie Harry. I think I did a Forbidden Planet advert and I draw a lot of famous people into that, such as Debbie Harry and David Bowie. I think I must have just drawn her. I’m not sure she’s particularly Debbie Harry…

Here is that Forbidden Planet ad…

And here is a cover of Judge Dredd by Bolland featuring Anderson…

Thanks again to Mark S. (who wrote in for last week’s installment on Rocky Balboa, as well) for the head’s up (and the scan of the Forbidden Planet ad)! Thanks to David Bishop for the interview and thanks, of course, to Brian Bolland for the information!

COMIC LEGEND: Zodac in the Masters of the Universe was meant to be connected to Metron of the Fourth World.

STATUS: Basically False, With Some Truthiness to it

Reader Squashua has been wondering for a long time about a possible link between Zodac of the Masters of the Universe and Metron of the New Gods.

Here is Zodac on the cover of DC’s Masters of the Universe mini-series (written by Paul Kupperberg and drawn by the late, great George Tuska). He is the fellow behind Skeletor’s sword…

And here, of course, is Metron (from his first appearance in New Gods #1)…

Squashua asked awhile back…

Did the DC Comics writers intend there to be a connection between New God character “Metron” and Master of the Universe character “Zodac, the Cosmic Enforcer”?

The classic Zodac toy was a dude with red space armor and a laser pistol. Originally billed as an Evil warrior, the accompanying EARLY literature had him as more of a neutral keeper of balance, which was what followed ever since.

When he was presented in both the toy-included comic books (apparently all written by DC before Mattel took over) and the short-lived DC Comic series/insert (prior to Marvel’s Epic-line MotU series), if I recall correctly, Zodac flew around in a chair (much like Metron) and did cosmic “stuff”. The Zodac toy did not come with this chair, but if you look at the chair in the manner in which it was drawn, it is identical to the throne that comes with the original Castle Greyskull playset. There was no reason for him to use the chair, but when you go think about it, Zodac of the DC Comics issue(s) is pretty much intended to be Metron.

Here they are in their respective chairs (thanks to Squashua for the pic)…

Well, just the other week, Sean T. Collins at CBR’s own Robot 6 blog was discussing Masters of the Universe, and Squashua showed up in the comments and so did Paul Kupperberg!

Squashua presented the question and Paul answered it as follows:

DC signed the rights to MOTU before the toys were released. They had virtually no back story set up besides a very basic good guys vs. bad guys idea. A rep from Mattel came to DC and editor Dave Manak and I spent an afternoon on the floor of DC’s conference room playing with the prototypes of the figures and accessories and making shit up as we went along. I took a few notes, talked out a few very basic ideas with Dave and the rep and then went home and started writing. Zodac and the flying chair were part of the presentation, so I went with that–don’t recall for certain if the Metron parallel was brought up at the time, but with fan-boy-me in the room, I’d find it tough to believe I wouldn’t have at least mentioned it. They might have gotten rid of the flying chair (or switched it to a spot in the Castle) because of the similarity by the time the toys came out but after I’d written the comic.

A big fan of the Fourth World material, but I don’t think I ever wrote any of it, certainly not around that time…unless I’ve got a major brain fart going. My first connection with any of the Kirbyverse was when I tied TAKION into The Force, but that wasn’t until 1996.

I’m told — and I don’t know because I never watched the cartoon (being, y’know, in my 20s when it came out) — that a lot of the back story was based on the DC comic, so I guess I’m to blame, but I doubt I would’ve had Zodac in a flying chair if it hadn’t been part of that original presentation.

So it sounds like basically a no on the connection.

Thanks to Paul Kupperberg for the information, thanks to Sean for the blog entry that got this one resolved and thanks to Squashua for the stick-to-it-ness to finally get a reply to the query!! Good job!

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!

65 Comments

On that He-Man cover, that actually looks more like Mer-Man on an Attack Sled or whatever they were called. Zodac is the guy with the gun behind Skeletor’s sword.

Splint Chesthair

November 20, 2009 at 9:38 am

Minor correction to the MOTU bit: Zodac is standing behind Skeletor on that cover. The guy in the flying thing sort of looks like Mer-Man.

Noted! Thanks, fellas. I’ll admit that I stopped looking as soon as I saw the red helmet! :)

Ha! I’ve read through that Essential X-Men volume a few times now and never noticed the clandestine nipple there. I even went and flipped through my copy and sure enough, there it is. Fun stuff.

And that MOTU cover brings back so many childhood memories for me. I think I must have owned all of the toys and vehicles on that cover, as well as the Castle Grayskull playset. I was such a big He-Man fan as a kid…

Do note that Marvel may have corrected it in later printing of the Essential trade (they’ve gone through a few printings by now).

Splint Chesthair

November 20, 2009 at 9:57 am

My favorite part of that X-Men scene is Spidey in a phone booth trying to warn the X-Men about Arcade, and no one being around to answer the phone while Storm’s in the shower. Invest in an X-Signal, guys!

Thanks, Brian. From the link provided, here’s a link to a better pic that shows both Metron and Zodac in their respective space chairs:

http://www.poeghostal.com/images/motuc/metrodac.jpg

Am I completely blind? I can’t see the nudity in that Storm pic. Is there a nip?

“Devils take the man…”

“Sleepy-Bye, Honey-Chile.”

Yep, I don’t see the nipple there much at all either. I think blown up so big the grain obscures the image.

Also, that’s funny about that issue, because it was also reprinted in small paperback format (re-laid out and everything to fit the smaller pages) in B&W, and that was the first time I ever read this issue. And while my focus was constantly on Ororo’s erect nipples (how cold was that shower??), I never noticed any nudity in that specific panel.

And believe me, I’m the guy whose eyes bugged out at the nudity in the Sauron Marvel series 2 trading card.

Fair enough, I shrunk the image for ya.

Thanks for the shrink. I totally see it now. John Byrne, you ol’ rogue!

The thing Mer Man is in is a Wind Raider

Funny that the Storm story was brought up, literally at the same time I was debating which Claremont/Byrne storylines should I put into my top ten favorite storylines for CBR, literally. Sitting at #4 is The Phoenix Saga, then Days of Futures Past @ 3, preceded by X-men vs. Vindicator/ Alpha Flight, while sitting in the #1 spot is X-men vs. Arcade. I was about to chose one that I thought had a chance at being on the list (obviously 3 and 4) as opposed to my favorite. Karma speaks when you least expect it.

Storm used to be naked a lot in the old days (although aside from this time, there was always something covering up the visual). I don’t know why they stopped doing all the nude scenes. I’ve often wondered if that’s what attracted half the readers back then.

I don’t know if you’ve covered it before, but your discussion of MOTU and New Gods reminds about something I read regarding the MOTU movie with Dolph Lundren.

I recall reading a quote by one of the producers that the story for the movie was inspired by Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. I probably haven’t seen the movie the movie in several years, so I can’t recall how close that connection actually was.

Here’s one: I know Kevin Maguire is a big Bond fan. I was wondering if he came up with the “Bruce Wayne in Bialya” issue of JLI.

Hisham – yep, he covered it.

Invest in an X-Signal, guys!

Yeah, you’d think Cerebro could at least take messages or something. :)

Huh! I never would have guessed when I got up this morning that I would see Storms nipple today. Funny how life works.

Speaking of Byrne and nipples, didn’t he also do that for She-Hulk as well after her clothes were torn up, but this time the colorist actually colored it in.

@Hisham, in my original request for research from Brian, I mentioned that my MotU/New Gods request is a different one from the John Byrne quote regarding the live action MotU / New Gods.

Also, if you look CLOSE ENOUGH at the colored version, you can also see Storm’s nipple, albeit 98% blacked out.

Uh, forget the X-signal, how about beefing up their security? lol

Ah, those early He-man comics…interesting how unplanned things were. Teela being the Sorceress, He-man losing his powers if his harness was removed…

I’ve always loved what came after the Spider-Man/Arcade phone conversation. Namely, Spidey destroying the phone booth because he was so pissed.

A little nipple never hurt anyone. ;-)

Is it true that Chris Claremont’s original plan for fall of the mutants involved doing over the jasper’s warp storyline with Jim Jaspers as an anti mutant villain and also that the villain nimrod was originally suppsoed to be the fury?

[url=http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showpost.php?p=2208948&postcount=40]Post on He-Man.org[/url] with some pics of a custom Zodac chair, plus a pic of Metron and a pic of Zodac.

(Brian, you can kill the prior post and this sentence; I always forget there is no UBB code here).

Link: http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showpost.php?p=2208948&postcount=40
Goes to a pic of a custom Zodac chair, plus a pic of Metron and a pic of Zodac.

Also, here is a pic of the interior of Castle Greyskull, which shows the throne I mention:
http://www.toyarchive.com/STAForSale/NEW2001+/MOTU/Toys/Loose/PlaysetGreyskull3a.jpg

Actually, I’ll bet that Terry Austin was the one who added that nipple to Storm in that panel. I believe Byrne has said something to that effect on his site. And I know for a fact that inker Kim DeMulder was the one who drew in the She-Hulk’s nips in the Graphic Novel (Kim was one of my teachers at the Kubert School).

Speaking of comic book characters based on Debbie Harry’s look, Walt Simonson has stated in a number of interviews that his character Lorelei, sister of Amora the Enchantress, was based (visually – specifically, her face) on Debbie Harry as well, in his classic THOR run. A street thug/extra even says to her in one early scene “Hey, you look like Blonde. Anyone ever tell you that you look like Blondie?”

I think John Byrne said that the 87 He-Man movie was merely a ripoff of New Gods. I thought I read somewhere that it was originally based off a New Gods script but instead got it confused with the He-Man sequel which became the Jean Claude Van Damme movie, Cyborg.

“Truthiness”? Heh. :P

Storm’s nipple doesn’t bother me, I’d heard that some artists often draw their figures nude before “dressing” them up for more realism (especially since so many heroes wear ridiculously tight costumes.) However, since (in that particular panel) the breast wasn’t supposed to be visible *at all* it seems pointless there. In the panel where she is struck down it feels more justified.

“Do note that Marvel may have corrected it in later printing of the Essential trade (they’ve gone through a few printings by now)”.
There´s several editions of that volume of Essential and I think they all have the nip slip.

You really can’t introduce a character more thoroughly than Kirby did Metron in that one page from New Gods #1.

“You icy mask!”

I’m sitting here just blown away by that one page.

Was He-man a part of the Epic line from Marvel? It was the Star line for kids, right?

@opeu38
As mentioned earlier, the first MotU movie being associated with New Gods via a comment by John Byrne was debunked a long while ago by this very column. Yes, there was a script for a MotU sequel, but there was no second MotU movie produced. Yes, this sequel script was massaged and produced as the Van Damme movie, “Cyborg”, which had one or more sequels itself.

@Reno
There were several Masters of the Universe comic lines.

The first books were produced by DC Comics; not sure if they include the minicomics that came with the figures, but the ones published by DC were released as a several-page insert in some DC comics. This includes an issue of Captain Carrot (issue #4 I believe; Captain Carrot itself was an insert in an issue of Teen Titans).

In this small insert and the 4 issue miniseries that followed, Superman crossed over to the universe of “the Masters of the Universe” and fought Skeletor alongside He-Man.

Later, Filmation got the cartoon rights and created cartoons that had nothing to do with the pre-established continuity in the short-lived DC Comics and the books that came with the figures. When Marvel produced their Star/Epic line, they got the MotU license and followed the Filmation continuity (not verbatim).

The later continuity established by the Four Horsemen-designed re-launch of MotU was followed in the comic series produced by, I think, Devil’s Due.

I’ve wondered for a while if the look of Metron and his throne by Kirby was influenced by Phillipe Druillets early Lone Sloane adventure “The throne of the Black God”, perhaps you could enquire of mark Evanier if the King had knowledge of french artists like Druillet and Moebius?

you can see some images of Lone Sloane and his throne on the following link http://billiambabble.livejournal.com/90691.html

Yep, it was Star Comics, and, generally, it was really terrible. Like stealing forty cakes terrible. However, the last two issues of the series were probably the most mature He-Man storyline ever written until the aborted relaunch a few years back- it was like a post-apocalyptic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (I had a subscription as a kid, largely because they canceled Star Wars and Indiana Jones halfway through my subscriptions and I needed to pick a new comic to replace them. Marvel don’t do no refunds.) Interesting, though, that Paul Kupperberg is taking credit for the He-Man backstory when it has generally been established that the MOTU Bible, by Michael Halperin, was based largely on Don Glut’s work.

Kupperberg is talking about the DC comics series, which as he says was conceived very early and on the fly just to have anything to actually publish – as I understand it Don worked on conceptualising the animated cartoon, probably completely independently.

Man, John Byrne could draw hot women.

OOOOOO MUST TRACK DOWN ESSENTIAL X-MEN VOLUME 2

I can’t check my copy because it’s in the half of my collection that’s on the other side of the country at my mom’s house, but I’m pretty sure it’s a first printing, so it’ll be there. Knowing my luck, my sister will probably decide to start reading more mainstream stuff (so far I have her reading Bone, Abadazad, and the Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow comics adaptations) with the Essential X-Men series and my mom’ll see it and throw it out . . .

I fail to see the nudity in the Storm panel. There’s no nudity there. Just an awfull unnatural shading covering a breast. This only shows the hipocrisy running in american comics. The human body is something natural, not something to hide. It’s just a nipple, what’s the big deal? The CCA was really one of the worst inventions in this business, castrating the authors from doing their best work…

The supposed nipple being debated here is about as legit as the alleged penis in whatever shadow of whichever other misinterpreted panel as described in another column of this series, just as fake as the Howard Hughes will, the Hitler Diaries, or the Emancipation Retraction.
If outrage is to be had over titillating superheroine depictions on this page, one need look no further than the panel immediately below the alleged nipslip where arcade shoots Storm. Clearly a black dot on her left and a slight deviation in the ample curve of her right indicate both nipples in clear depiction for any under-sexed reader to giggle endlessly over.

The supposed nipple being debated here is about as legit as the alleged penis in whatever shadow of whichever other misinterpreted panel as described in another column of this series,

Seriously? You can’t see that nipple that’s blatantly visible in the black and white panel and slightly visible in the colour versions? It’s blatantly there and blatantly not an accident of shading.

The penis on the other hand, I could easily see, but can see how it was an accident of the shading.

“The supposed nipple being debated here is about as legit as the alleged penis in whatever shadow of whichever other misinterpreted panel as described in another column of this series, just as fake as the Howard Hughes will, the Hitler Diaries, or the Emancipation Retraction”

…Certainly. We all know that Ororo has no nipples whatsoever. However, the real surprise in this week’s CBLR is that Kupps didn’t try to tie in MOTU with Arion, as he did almost everything else he did in the 80’s. Including the pathetic post-COIE Power Girl origin retcon that thankfully was relegated as not only never having happened, but totally swept under the rug and forgotten.

The Power Girl retcon was perfectly legitimate, and, I might add, had been in place for twice as long as her original, derivative origin had lasted by the time a bunch of Pre-Crisis fanboys who COULDN’T LET GO took over DC and gave us the oh-so-new, oh-so-exciting, Silver Age Mark II.

The B+W version is blown up probably 400% on this webpage, and if stare at it long enough I can force myself to see what you are all going gaga over. it took about 40 views to see anything. Mostly I see an indecipherable blob At normal resolution it must be completely unnoticeable. The color version, if you see something there, you’ve lost your marbles. Get out of the house people, cripes.

Awesome!

@OM – Coincidentally Arion, or at least the Warlord Action Figures (of which I’m not sure Arion was one) were “compatible” with the Masters of the Universe line.

Checking http://www.action-figures.ca/lost_world_warlord.htm

OK, they were REMCO figures and the designs included Arak, Warlord, and Hercules. Arion not included. Close, though.

Are you kidding? Naked breast? Come on…. I may not be a hormone enraged tween but IT JUST ISNT THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

if we see NIPPLE in comic books, then the terrorists WIN ;-)

I agree that we’re all trying to see something that isn’t there. I think the combination of reprinting the page and enlarging the blurriness is playing tricks with the eyes. ;)
After all, which is more likely:
1) We’re seeing something because we want to be “titillated” (pun intended)? (For example, seeing the penis in a panel when even the artist says it’s it was simply a coincidnece of the shadows on the page.)
2) The penciller, inker, AND colorist all decided to take the time to draw, ink, and colorize a part of the body which they all knew would be covered in shadows and inked-out in the final version of the page.

Personally, I think it’s time American comics got over the whole nudity issue. The fact is that every super-hero in a spandex outfit is simply the nude human figure but with color. So what’s the big deal about seeing a body part colored the normal way? ;)

I agree that we’re all trying to see something that isn’t there. I think the combination of reprinting the page and enlarging the blurriness is playing tricks with the eyes.

The image actually gets sharper when you decrease the size of the image. It’s clearly there, and was clearly meant to be covered up with the coloring. When the coloring was removed, the image was shown – when it was never intended to be. There is no controversy here. It’s just a funny situation where the removal of the color showed something that was never meant to be shown.

Jeeze – some people must be blind to not see that nipple.

The Ugly American

November 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I do believe those of “us” who do not see the nipple are actually trolling for reactions from the rest of the general populace.

My mutant power is the ability to detect my own kin.

Actually, I’ll bet that Terry Austin was the one who added that nipple to Storm in that panel. I believe Byrne has said something to that effect on his site. And I know for a fact that inker Kim DeMulder was the one who drew in the She-Hulk’s nips in the Graphic Novel (Kim was one of my teachers at the Kubert School).

Yeah, I’ve covered the DeMulder one before!

That’s a fair enough point, John, though, about Austin/Byrne. I edited the piece the other day to note that it could have been Austin who added the nipple.

Maybe I’m just dense and this was obvious to everyone else, but for everyone saying they don’t see it….

Well, I was one of those people, because I was looking for it Storm’s left breast (the one on “our” right in the image), the one covered by her robe. But it’s the other breast, Storm’s right (our left), the one beneath the towel with which she’s drying her hair, and it’s plain as day.

So maybe the people that aren’t seeing it aren’t looking for it on the correct breast. Or maybe I’m the only one dense enough to screw that up…

Hooray, the he-man.org forums (which are notoriously tough to register on, apparently) have linked here via
http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=180233

My original thought when reading the article was something along the lines of, “Huh… whatever” but after reading through the comments I currently believe that anyone who cannot see a nipple on Storm’s right breast, the one not covered by a towel, in that picture (hint: the one on your left) should definitely consult an optometrist before climbing behind the wheel of an automobile ever again.

One bit of irony is that for some other Essentials, specifically ones reprinting material from B&W magazines, nudity has actually been taken out

I seemed to be recommended your site by the cousin. %KW%

“And while my focus was constantly on Ororo’s erect nipples (how cold was that shower??)”

It was actually warm, and now she’s hit the air there’s a sudden decrease in surface body temp.

“A little nipple never hurt anyone”

Tell it to Elaine Benes.

Man, the fact that people aren’t seeing it makes me wonder if there WAS a penis in that Dr. Doom panel…
I think the problem must just have been the size they were viewing it at, though.

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