web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #245

Welcome to the two-hundred and forty-fifth 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 forty-four.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is 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 to find out which James Bond film got its name from a typo!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Stan Lee once tried to ban exclamation points from Marvel Comics, with bizarre results.


It’s funny, I was meaning to feature this one last week, but plans changed, and then earlier this week, in her column, She Has No Head!, Kelly Thompson spurred a discussion related to this week’s topic. Talk about serendipity!

In any event, as you folks all know by now, exclamation points are used a lot in comic books (check out this old Comic Book Legends Revealed for a comic series that was rumored to be pretty much ALL exclamation points!), and in the past they were used even MORE frequently! One good theory as to why they were so plentiful in the early days of comics is proffered by my pal, Jim MacQuarrie, who suggests that it most likely had to do with the printing processes of the time – when comics were not printed on very good paper, periods would not really be too visible, so you would have to put in an exclamation points to make sure the reader knew what you were trying to do. And in addition (and this is something that continued for years, as comics were still a largely “hands on” printing process for decades), a guy getting a comic page ready for print might think that a period was just an accidental spot and then remove it, while the same would not happen for exclamation points.

However, by the early 1970s, exclamation points were mostly used because comic writers wanted them, not because they had to. It was useful in making comics seem dynamic. If everyone is shouting, then some pretty cool stuff must be going on, right (see the TV series 24 for the same basic concept)?

So pretty much every Marvel Comic would be filled with characters using exclamation points.

Here’s a page from Fantastic Four #106 to give you an idea…

I don’t mean to suggest, however, that Marvel ONLY used exclamation points. They had plenty of dialogue by that time where they used periods, they just used exclamation points a lot (and a book like Fantastic Four was particularly filled with them).

In any event, at one point, Stan Lee decided that exclamation points were too juvenile, so he decreed that no Marvel Comics were to feature exclamation points from then on!

Well, the problem was, most of these issues where he decreed would be without exclamation points were already getting ready to be sent out.

So the solution was to just remove the exclamation points from the issues as they lay. The problem with that is that it only worked with exclamation points at the end of the word balloons (whether that was because they literally couldn’t or because they didn’t feel like it, I don’t know).

So here is the issue of Fantastic Four before the decision (#111)…

Note that, as I mentioned before, Marvel had plenty of sentences without exclamation points- just a lot of sentences with them.

Now here is the issue after it…

See what they did?

They just removed the punctuation entirely!

And not only that, but since it was only from the END of the word balloons, you’d have silly stuff like exclamation points in the middle of a long piece of dialogue but nothing at the end (in addition, obviously, extra-sized marks were kept, like Jameson’s shouts here and Johnny’s “Flame On!”)…

Roy Thomas was against the idea, and he kept using exclamation points in the comics he wrote…

So it was only the comics Stan Lee still wrote (which, in 1971, was basically just Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-Man).

Story continues below

Interestingly enough, though, the ban of exclamation points was in place for one of the famous “No Comics Code” issues of Amazing Spider-Man (#98)…

Trippy, huh?

In fact, Amazing Spider-Man #100 was caught up in this, as well!

In any event, these issues of Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-Man also pretty much marked the LAST issues Stan Lee would script of both books, so that likely had something to do with the fact that the exclamation points returned when Archie Goodwin took over as scripter of Fantastic Four (with #115) and Roy Thomas as scripter of Amazing Spider-Man (with #101).

But perhaps Lee just realized it wasn’t a great idea. Either way, they were now back for good!

Thanks to Scott Shaw! (a fellow who is no stranger to exclamation points) for bringing this topic up a few years back on his nifty comic book site, Oddball Comics. Scott asked Roy Thomas about it, and Roy delivered the information I just gave you.

So a big hearty thanks to Scott and Roy! And thanks to Jim MacQuarrie, too.

COMIC LEGEND: Marvel could not do a new Champions book because Marvel discovered that someone else now owned the trademark to the name “The Champions.”


As you likely know, Marvel had a comic in the mid-70s called The Champions, starring a disparate group of Marvel heroes.

It lasted about two years before being canceled.

Well, years later, after the events of Civil War, Marvel was going to have a NEW Champions group (as part of the “Fifty State Initiative,” where each US State would get their own government-sponsored, government-trained superhero team).

They are mentioned in Civil War #6…

However, when the comic debuted, they were now called The Order….

And all the little C’s on their chests (from the initial solicitations) were now O’s.

You see, after Marvel’s series was over (they did receive a trademark on the name, but it came down after the series was over), a Role Playing Game series called the Champions was started by Dennis Mallonee and Heroic Publishing.

Here’s one of their old role playing books…

And in 1986, they did a comic book mini-series at Eclipse featuring the characters…

This was followed by them publishing their OWN Champions comic book series for a little while.

In an interview with Newsarama in 2007, Mallonee stated:

Marvel did seek and was granted registration of the trademark it was using for that title. That registration, however, was not granted until several months after the title had ceased publication. In the mid-80s, on the basis of that registration, Marvel contested registration of the mark Hero Games was using at that time for its Champions role-playing game. The trademark board took notice of Marvel’s abandonment of their earlier mark, and cancelled that registration. In the mid-90’s, although Marvel had never resumed publication of their Champions comic book, Marvel tried again to register their mark. Once again, their mark was declared abandoned.

Heroic Publishing, on the other hand, has since mid-1987 been using Champions as a trademark in connection with Heroic’s small line of superhero comic books, and fully intends to continue to use it. Having resumed publication of their Champions comic book in 2005, Heroic Publishing filed for registration in May of 2006. The patent and trademark office agreed that Heroic’s claim to that mark was both legitimate and eligible for registration. The mark was published for opposition. No opposition was received. Accordingly, Heroic’s Champions trademark has been registered.

And that was pretty much that.

So Marvel changed it to The Order, and all was well…until The Order ended after just ten issues.

But that’s another story (quickly, thanks to Matt Brady for the cool interview with Mallonee)…

COMIC LEGEND: The Order, was canceled by Marvel

STATUS: False Enough for a False

The Order, by Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson, was a very cool comic book series.

And it ended after just ten issues.

The book was seen by many as a symbol of the plight of critically acclaimed, low-selling new titles at Marvel and DC. Heck, just recently, here at Comics Should Be Good, it was cited by more than a few people as a book Marvel canceled when Marvel announced the cancellation of their new title, SWORD.

Story continues below

Hell, I am pretty sure that I referred to it as canceled when it ended.

Matt Fraction, however, disputed this back in 2008, again, in an interview at Newsarama

Newsarama: Do you have anything you’d like to say about the book’s cancellation or future plans for the characters?

Fraction: That the book wasn’t cancelled: I chose to end it. Marvel allowed me to choose to leave the stage, rather than to continue on in a state in which I felt was compromised and decidedly unawesome.

I don’t think I was too clear about that on Word Balloon: it wasn’t cancelled. I killed it. And if you’re looking for the man that killed The Order, it was me.

Now watch, nobody’s gonna read that and nobody’s gonna care, because it’s way more fun the other way. Oh well.

Now, I don’t know exactly what he’s referring to by “compromised and decidedly unawesome,” and you might very well make the argument that while Fraction was the one who said “let’s end it now,” it was perhaps close to being ended by Marvel ANYways (it was still in the Top 100 at the time of its cancellation), but still, I think Fraction’s point is strong.

Whether the book WOULD have been canceled or not, the fact remains that it was NOT canceled.

Fraction notably brought over a character he had invented in The Order over to his new series, Invincible Iron Man…

The character, Ezekiel Stane, became a major antagonist in the book.

Thanks to Newsarama and Fraction for the info!

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, last 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 all next week!


I hit refresh to see that you fixed it, but it was far more trippy – and somehow appropriate – when the “No Comics Code” Spider-Man starred Captain Marvel. A hint of a future legend?

(or the Captain Marvel stuff is now Roy Thomas’s Avengers)

Yep, the Avengers pages were swapped with the Spider-Man pages by mistake. Fixed now!

“Note that, as I mentioned before, Marvel had plenty of sentences without exclamation points- just a lot of sentences with them.”

You keep using the word sentence, but I think you mean “text”, or maybe “word balloon”.

Anyhow, fun entry.

I’m pretty sure the reason Fraction said the book was “compromised” is because Barry Kitson would be leaving the book, partly to work on the Spider-Man Brand New Day relaunch and partly because at the title’s current sales levels, Marvel couldn’t afford having both of them working on the title. It was similar to situation Warren Ellis ran into with NextWave. He could’ve continued the title but only by replacing Stuart Immonen with a less expensive artist.

Oops, I quoted the wrong line.

“The problem with that is that it only worked with exclamation points at the end of a sentence (whether that was because they literally couldn’t or because they didn’t feel like it, I don’t know).”

‘Exclamation points at the end of a word balloon’ is what you meant, I assume.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Oops, I quoted the wrong line.

Phew, because I had no idea what you were trying to say there originally. :)

Now that you quoted the other line, I gotcha. Sure, I can clarify that in the piece. Thanks.

Schnitzey Pretzlepants

January 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I have a suspicion that what Fraction is referring too is more what his workload was going to be coming up – he had a number of projects – in the case of Iron Man, a title that had been his dream for sometime.

I would venture that he simple prioritized for the sake of quality, and that The Order didn’t make the cut. I’m sure the titles sales may have played a factor if they were low-ish, but I bet it was more a case of workload, and he didn’t want the quality of his work to suffer.

The other thing that he may be eluding too is some kind of editorial mandate. Some kind of choice he may have had between following an edict or canceling the title.

Both of these are mere speculation on my part.

I love Fraction’s writing though. I find his work – particularly on Iron Man – to be of an exceptional quality.

Weren’t there 10 issues of The Order?

Weren’t there 10 issues of The Order?

I thought it was ten, as well, but the Grand Comic Book Database said nine, so I deferred to them. But yeah, after double-checking just now, it was, indeed, ten (it was silly of me not to double-check sooner). Thanks!

Good old Roy Thomas. Perhaps the one man who, when it came to being old school comic book hokey-and-proud-of-it, out Stan Lees Stan Lee himself.

Man, I HATE exclamation points. Almost as much as I hate Europeans.

I also think the less awesome bit was the departure of Barry Kitson

The Order being “cancelled” by Marvel is a “comic book legend — REVEALED?” Stretch much?

The Order being “cancelled” by Marvel is a “comic book legend — REVEALED?” Stretch much?

I’m just glad I no longer have the “urban” part in the title anymore. The pissy whining about whether something belonged in the column was so much more prevalent then.

Funny that The Order is still called The Champions in some of the copy on the Marvel Digital site.


Guess it was pretty close to the deadline when they made the switch.

So, was the Marvel lack of punctuation era the inspiration for Grant Morrison’s punctuation-less word balloons during his Batman run?

Using two “l”s in the word “canceled” is chiefly British, fyi.

…In reference to Matt Brady’s article, that is…..

Wow, TEN pages of comic book images just to make the point of odd exclamation point use in old comics? Isn’t that a little excessive? One or two would’ve sufficed.

As for The Champions, the existence of the superhero-based game of the same name has been well-known among fans for decades. In fact, all Marvel had to do was google the words “champions”and “superheroes” together and they would’ve found out that their trademark was still active. Pretty shoddy work on their part.

I have to disagree with Fraction that, if you’re writing characters for someone else, and you don’t feel like writing the title anymore for whatever reason, you should ask for the comic to be cancelled. It gives writers a sense of entitlement that shouldn’t be there. Who says that a later writer couldn’t have made it the hit that he couldn’t make it be? Now, wrapping up plotlines you set up, that is Ok, because it’s good work ethic. But basically saying, “I don’t want it to continue without me?” No. Not that Order would likely have last long anyway, but that’s not the point.

Hey Brian, I’m not sure why you italicized the word “particularly” in the first article. The adverb is supposed to let the reader know something is out of the ordinary and doesn’t really need the extra emphasis. Other than that and the other comments already made, the article would be flawless.


Thanks for putting up with the nitpicking comments. It’s hilarious what some people get hung up on.

Guess it was pretty close to the deadline when they made the switch.

Indeed. As Brian mentioned, I remember seeing the cover of the first issue and some promo art that featured the “C” on the costumes instead of the “O”. It definitely seemed like an eleventh hour change.

Oh, and despite our similar avatars, don’t think that I also minded that you included the info about the Order not getting cancelled, Brian. Personally, I don’t care WHAT you call the column; just keep ‘em coming!

Man I was wondering why there were all those Spider-Man issues I was reading that had no ending punctuation at all… it totally made me feel like I was floating randomly in space.

I’m pretty sure the reason Fraction said the book was “compromised” is because Barry Kitson would be leaving the book, partly to work on the Spider-Man Brand New Day relaunch and partly because at the title’s current sales levels, Marvel couldn’t afford having both of them working on the title. It was similar to situation Warren Ellis ran into with NextWave. He could’ve continued the title but only by replacing Stuart Immonen with a less expensive artist.

Yeah, I remember Kitson’s availability being a key issue, as well. He also seemed to be struggling to maintain with the monthly grind; Khari Evans and Javier Saltares were both tapped to do pencilling assists, while a whole spate of inkers was needed throughout the book’s run. Amazing Spider-Man‘s rotating arc set-up is probably a much better fit for Kitson.

What everybody seems to be overlooking is the fact that Fantastic Four vol.1 #111, is part of one of the best FF sagas ever–Thing can transform into Ben Grim, becomes evil, saves Reed from the Negative Zone, fights Johnny, Hulk vs. the Thing, where Hulk actually KILLS the Thing with ONE PUNCH!!!!!! Lee and Buscema at their very BEST!!! This was in my TOP FIVE greatest storylines EVER!!!!! Thanx Brian!!!!!

Exclamation points, bah.

Someone once said: “Using exclamation points is like laughing at your own jokes.”


F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of my favorite authors.

I’m still sad that no one from The Order has been seen since. I wish that Fraction had used Necrosha as an excuse to bring back that girl with the hammer whose name escapes me and hook her up with Xian.

The odd thing is when Dennis Mallonee did his third Champions series (from the third publisher) in the late ’80s or thereabouts, the title was changed to ‘League Of Champions’. The reason given in the first issue was because of potential trademark problems with Marvel and others who had also used the title. (I don’t remember what the others were that he mentioned.) The game continued to be called Champions, though. So for a while there, they gave Marvel the opportunity to reclaim the trademark, but Marvel didn’t take it.

Rich in Madison

January 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

There’s another Marve/Champions connection that you failed to mention. The “Champions Online” Superhero MMORPG game was originally supposed to be a Marvel MMORPG. When Marvel dropped out, Cryptic Studios hooked up with the makers of the Champions RPG to make the new MMORPG.

That’s not entirely true – Anthem’s turned up a couple times in Invincible Iron Man, and most of the surviving team members had a brief bit during Secret Invasion in Avengers: The Initiative.

Matthew Johnson

January 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Regarding the cancelation of The Order, it’s likely that Fraction didn’t so much have it canceled as cause it to be canceled. Steven Grant once explained how he “canceled” the 90s version of Manhunter: publishers assume that the loss of either a regular artist or regular writer will result in a drop of X number of books sold (I forget how many, and the number would probably be different now.) When the artist on Manhunter left it could have survived that drop, but Grant’s departure pushed it below the survival line. I expect something similar happened to The Order — its sales were such that it could have survived either Kitson or Fraction leaving, but not both.

As for Champions/The Champions — the ironic thing is that it’s Marvel/DC’s joint trademark of the word “superhero” that led all of the superhero RPGs to adopt words like Vigilantes, Golden Heroes, Supers and, of course, Champions. Kind of nice to see it coming back to bite them in a small way…

I think books like ‘The ORder’ examplifies one of the problems with Marvel for the past few years, the come up with a concept and assume that it will make a good story. A ’50 State Initiative’ is not a good story idea. There’s nothing unique about having 50 of the same thing. Every book had ‘The Initiative’ above it’s title, yet I couldn’t find why that was so important. The Fantastic Four had Reed Richards has his fine and dandy old self despite being portrayed as a mad scientist in Civil War. How can Marvel have stuff change then ignore it at the same time. Everythings different yet it’s not.

Spider-man is the best/worst example of this. He was magic, now he’s not. His identity is revealed to the world, yet at the same time nobody seems to notice. Biggest lie in comics by the way. We’re going to have these big stories where everythingchanges, now he’s single and nothing is going to change. He studied chemistry, yet doesn’t have a thought in his head. Now the character is pretty much done.

The Order might of been a great book, but it’s cursed by that title above the title. It doesn’t seem to mean anything. Plus, I guess ‘The Order’ doesn’t have as much impact as the ‘Champions’.

Stan Lee might have a point, those exclamation marks were too many. I would of lessened them if anything. It loses it’s impact, it’s like having an action shot on every page.

“Almost as much as I hate Europeans.”

Kelly Thompson…bringing the hate in two thousand ten. ;)

Josh said:

“Using two “l”s in the word “canceled” is chiefly British, fyi.”

No, it isn’t. I’m in the US, and I’ve always used cancelled. Some spell check programs use the single ‘l’, some the double. Same with most any word ending in an ‘l’.

I have found that no spell check recognizes penciller or penciler, of which only penciller looks correct.

The Order series was called Los Campeones in Spain (which is spanish translation for The Champions). So weird that all the little O’s on their chests were not changed.

HEY! PUSSIES! GET YOUR HEAD OUTTA YOUR ASSES! Who cares about one”l” or two, or the connections of the name Champion?!?! Go out right now and get FF vol1 #107 to #113. They are all that is RIGHT with Marvel books!!!! (I apologize for the “Pussies” comment, just really like this story.)

Not a huge note, but I thought I’d throw out that the “exclamation points are used instead of periods for printing purposes” idea is at least as old as the original Lee-Ditko run of Spider-Man (I know this as I just finished reading the omnibus a couple weeks ago which, interestingly, reprints all the old letter pages, and Lee/Lee-fill-in answered a letter about this very issue).

Sijo: Or they could have asked George Perez who did the cover for Champions 4th ed. (the big blue book).

I hope Fraction didn’t kill the book just because Marvel wanted to put Avengers characters in the book. They were part of the concept of the 52 states Avengers teams afterall.

Looking at Black Widow, it reminds me that she never had full read hair until the 80s. She had mostly dark hair with redish shades.

I seem to remember that the Widow’s hair was pretty red in some ’70s stories, but it was pretty dark in a lot of stories. But then, so was Mary Jane’s, wasn’t it. It was just the ’70s inking style. There were dark shadows everywhere. (I kind of like that style, actually. But I guess there’s no demand for it now, since most shadows are provided by the colouring.)

Jonathan Callan

January 30, 2010 at 2:30 am

My understanding of what Fraction meant by “compromised” and “unawesome” was two fold. One, the book wasn’t doing well enough to gurantee it would avoid cancelation down the line. And who wants to start seeding plot points, building characters, without the freedom to know you will be able to tie these plot points up?

Second, and perhaps more important in the decision to end the book when they did was the conclusion that the book’s sales were not enough to continue to justify an artistic talent like Barry Kitson. So while the book would have continued, it would have been with another, lower tier artist.

Jonathan Callan

January 30, 2010 at 2:31 am

(If I’m remembering right, you can probably find comments on why he decided to end the book in the recent Q&A thread he did for Warren Ellis’ message board. Though you’ll have to scroll through about a hundred pages or so.)

Marvel didn’t know about Champions RPG? Whaaaa? All my hobby shops back in the day had the Champions games about 2 ft from the comics racks.
Next from Marvel…..
Magic: The Get Together and War Of Worldcraft

I love this Column you should make it a coffee table book or something.

Re: Black Widow, she was shown as a brunette in her earlier appearances, but that’s when she was a Russian Femme Fatale, before they reinvented her as a Sexy Superspy. Of course being a spy she might’ve been dying her hair or using a wig. AFAIK her real hair color is red.

Movies and novels can have the same titles with different plots and characters, but comics cannot. Interesting.

The CSBG spell-checker used to insist that I spell “dialogue” as “dialog”, but now it’s decided to accept both. Maybe it’s abandoned its aggressive Americanization campaign.

Just curious, but how long does it usually take for a trademark to be abandoned before the board finds it as such? There’s probably no such a number but with the Champions here and with Marvel scooping up Captain Marvel years and years ago, I can’t help but wonder how long it would take before someone like DC scoops up the trademark name of Prime and somesuch.

Thanks for the shout-out!

There’s one point you neglected; the reason it was difficult to recognize what’s a period and what’s a speck is that the film is touched up from the back. The setup guy (called a stripper, because he strips away masks to expose the parts that will print) is looking at big negatives in reverse, often also upside-down, and he doesn’t have time to read the page anyway, let alone backwards and inverted. Also, in the old days, the art boards would have a lot of pasted-in stuff, a lot of white out and blue-lines and such, and the film would need a lot of touch-up; shadows and cut-lines would show up on the negative and have to be touched up. “When in doubt, opaque it out,” was the motto.

Also remember that for the first 50 years or so, comics were a marginal industry at best; Charlton Comics were printed on a press usually used for printing cereal boxes, and several comic companies only existed to keep the presses occupied between “real” jobs. Production values were negligible and quality control a luxury. Even Marvel and DC were limited in terms of what they could expect from their printer; time is money, and quality takes time.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to find out that all the sentences in the pages you posted were lettered with periods, which were erroneously taken out in the darkroom. That’s also most likely why they gave up on the practice.

“Movies and novels can have the same titles with different plots and characters, but comics cannot. Interesting.”

Copyright law does not protect names or titles. Trademark law can, if there is a product involved. Movies that have a lot of ancillary marketing, such as Star Wars/Trek, Indiana Jones, and Transformers, have trademarked names. Ordinary movies that are one-off standalone projects, like any of the half-dozen different films called “Saving Grace,” for example, are not eligible for trademark protection.

One other interesting quesiton in terms of trademark abandonment is in terms of whether using the trademark in a Marvel Handbook (or DC Who’s Who) is enough to keep the trademark alive or not. They did did have an entry in the first Handbook series, quite a few years after the series giot cancelled.

Another question. For the Champions Classic trades, do they need to make an arrangement with Hero?

It’s not enough. In order to be valid, a trademark has to be actively in use as an identifier of a particular product, a “mark of trade”, identifiying the source or manufacturer of an item. If there’s no product or service, there’s no trademark.

I know a guy who has registered a couple of defunct trademarks and now sells reproductions of the original items those marks represent. He has absolutely zero connection to the original companies, but he is today the “official” vendor for those items, because he owns the trademarks.

Having the trademark used inside a comic is probably not sufficient (I say probably because trademark law really comes down to “my lawyer can beat up your lawyer;” whoever can afford to pursue the case longest wins regardless of merit, all that’s necessary is to bury the opposition under so many legal bills that they surrender); witness “Captain Marvel”: Fawcett abandoned the trademark, Marvel snapped it up, and now DC owns the character but can’t use the name in the title or advertising of the comic.

As to the second question, “Champions Classic” is a different name/mark than “The Champions.” They probably didn’t make an arrangement with Heroic Publishing (the current version of Mallonee’s company), and probably couldn’t, since such an arrangement would undercut the validity of the trademark. It’s not really that complicated a subject, but the interpretations and nuances are extremely byzantine.Basically, if one company’s use of a mark is likely to cause confusion for the customer; implies a nonexistent association, relationship or endorsement; dilutes the value of another mark; deceives the customer as to the source or origin of a product; or denigrates or disparages the other mark, it’s actionable. None of these seem to be the case with “Champions Classic,” or at least Heroic hasn’t asserted the claim that it is.

Thanks for the clarificaiton, Jim. Glad that Marvel can at least reprint old Champions material as long as it’s not seen as a grab at the trademark (and to be sure it would probably hurt Heroic’s rep if they went after the use of the name in historical material, so even if it’s a grey area I can see them not wanting to go there; they probably wouldn’t want to be seen as the people who prevented people from reading 25-year-old material).

I wonder then if the retitling of the new series The Order is a case of Marvel learning from it’s mistakes. Assuming they have a trademark for The Order resulting from a Defenders-related mini-series, if they couldn’t use the name they wanted for trademark reasons, it makes sense they’d look to other trademarks at risk of abandonment.


January 31, 2010 at 5:53 am

>>> No, it isn’t. I’m in the US, and I’ve always used cancelled. Some spell check programs use the single ‘l’, some the double. Same with most any word ending in an ‘l’.

No, Josh was right. Using two “l”s in the word “canceled” (and the word “traveller”, for instance) IS considered to be the “British” version of the spelling, and is more common to see from British writers than American ones. It’s similar to how “gray” is considered to be more of an American variant while “grey” is more British, or how you’re more likely to see “judgment” from an American writer and “judgement” from a British writer.

That being said, it’s not as if using the British variant as an American is wrong. It’s not even really that blatant, like it would be if you went around spelling “color” like “colour”. I’m American, and I ALWAYS use “grey” unless I’m dealing with a personal noun (like “Dorian Gray”). I also tend to use the double-L in words, just because it looks more “correct” to me.

The only real issue with it is that you may have trouble with spell-checkers (like the one that is currently telling me grey, traveller, and judgement are all spelled wrong). Or, if you’re still in school, you may have trouble with pedantic English teachers who insist the British spelling isn’t acceptable in an American context (or vice-versa).

I use “cancelled,” but I wasn’t talking about spelling.

Legend #3 was just about the lamest Legend I’ve read. The worst part is that it’s all in the phrasing; calling it “Marvel didn’t want to cancel the Order,” or “Matt Fraction killed The Order” makes it seem like there’s something intriguing happening. Saying “Marvel cancelled The Order” is the boring, hum-drum, thing that ultimately is what the public assumed already — and since it was such a simple, innocuous thing, there was no reason to ever question it.

Hence my “bit of a stretch” comment.

From Scott Shaw’s Facebook Page:

“People often refer to the Fantastic Four’s Ben Grimm AKA “The Thing” as “the orange guy made out of rocks”. (The FF’s Human Torch once described Ben as “a walking pile of peach pits” — then promptly got clobbered!) But according to Ben’s co-creator, the late, great Jack Kirby, he’s NEITHER! Joltin’ Jack once told my friend Pete Von Sholly that the Thing is “a super-strong gorilla covered with dinosaur hide”! Cool!”

Is this true?

Fantastic Four vol1 #107- #113


Ahh….. BUT, you MISSED mentioning that the FIRST Marvel series that was entitled, “THE ORDER” (the DEFENDERS spin-off) was only named as such because their FIRST choice of names: WARLORDS, was also owned by someone else.

So, Marvel instead dubbed them; “The ORDER”.

So, TWO teams were named “THE ORDER” because comic companies owned the original intended titles.


Oi – Where did my post go?

Peter Woodhouse

February 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I had a reprint of those Spider-Man issues and at the time I was wondering WTF? Sure, Lee’s rationale for the use of exclamation marks etc was fine, but did he have to use 2 or 3!! ???

Man, that Gil Kane Spidey art is gorgeous.

Oops… I meant to type “OVERLORDS”, not “WARLORDS.

The Defenders were going to be called the OVERLORDS, until it was discovered that the name was taken and then Marvel used “The Order” instead.

My bad.


In case anyone wanted to read about the original pitch of
‘Overlords: Defenders Against the Earth’

here’s the link to a Kurt Busiek article:


Busiek’s series was doomed from the start because the artwork was so subpar

Heh. “General Forbush” on the statue.

@Matt Bird:
I think that’s more your browser’s spell checker rather than the spell checker of any one particular web site.

[…] exclamation marks disappeared from Marvel […]

is top 100 good or bad for comics books

[…] number of issues that contained barely any punctuation at all (for the full discussion, check out: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/01/28/comic-book-legends-revealed-245/).   Just another example of the fact that anything, taken to the extreme, causes […]

The lack of exclamation points in the old Hostess ads was surreal. “It’s Batman.” “Let’s get him.” “Try this Twinkie.” “Mmm, cream filling.” They sounded almost bored.

The lack of any punctuation whatsoever at the end of a balloon reminds me of Garfield.

[…] In part, this is my attempt to ape the speech patterns of old comic books and, traditionally, the older books used exclamation marks to end almost every sentence. The theory is that the plain old period “.” would often get overlooked in the inferior printing processes back in the good ol’ days and you would wind up with a bunch of run on sentences. For any of you interested in more on this, take a look here. […]

[…] read his illustrated essay and learn why it happened and why it didn’t work out. You might learn something. Hey, I […]

Well, the order sucked whatever you call it. good riddance. all of marvel’s output sucks. their writers all want to be alan moore but lack his wit, and most of the fan-favorite artists are glorified lightbox tracers. yuck. same goes for dc. in fact dc might even be worse.

[…] put out a role-playing game and comics under that name, the planned 2007 use of the Champions became The Order instead. I guess, now that Disney’s lawyers can be involved, that’s no longer […]

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives