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Comic Book Legends Revealed #249

Welcome to the two-hundred and forty-ninth 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-eight.

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 the history of Robin Williams’ strange dispute with Disney!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Bruce Banner as a victim of child abuse was originally going to be a Barry Windsor-Smith one-off issue of Incredible Hulk in 1984.

STATUS: True

As I discussed a few weeks back in an installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, if you turn down a Barry Windsor-Smith project, he’s going to re-purpose the pages (which is totally fair enough, of course, as they are his pages).

However, what’s particularly interesting about the origins of his current project, Monster, is what it would have represented at Marvel Comics had it been published when he intended it to be, twenty-six years ago.

In an interview with Comic Book Artist, Windsor-Smith shared his July 1984 pitch:

Plot centers around Bruce Banner’s childhood. The Hulk relives a particularly harrowing day in his past.This is the story of Banner’s working-class, middle American childhood. In a mannered fantasy – Twilight Zone – tradition, The Hulk, when entering an abandoned house in refuge from a pressing military attack, relives the last days in his childhood home.

Thanksgiving Day 1950 was the day when his father, Tom Banner, a recent and embittered W.W. II veteran, turned on his family for the final irrevocable time.

Employing a battered and disconsolate childhood as the springboard for the modern-day Bruce Banner’s anti-social and violent attitudes, the story explores the damage caused by mismatched parenthood and effects of the Second World War on the heart and mind of the veteran Tom Banner.
Bruce Banner, an 11 year old in 1950, is represented as the full grown, seven foot Hulk throughout this fantasy. The story is called Thanksgiving and details the tensions the Banner household suffers when it becomes apparent that the family dinner, planned with eight relatives in mind, falls apart as one by one, brothers, sisters and in-laws cancel the visit with feeble excuses.

The truth is that Tom Banner has alienated his family with his explosive, argumentative temper.

Windsor-Smith continues to note that he felt that the issue was important enough that he was going to do what he could to make sure the story could run as a single issue of Incredible Hulk – withOUT Comic Code Approval…

It is of considerable importance to point out that this somewhat extraordinary story requires the use of what the comic book publishing world might consider profanity.

The terms I need to use in the script (all spouting from the paranoiac and drunken Tom Banner) are actually mild when paralleled to other – perhaps more sophisticated – media such as film, print and (at this date) television.

To cut to the quick: I need to employ the following terms:
Goddam
Bitch
Hall (as in “Like Hell you will”)
Slut

These are comparatively mild terms, in my opinion. I’ve edited it down from stronger, more believable coinage.
The upshot is that for this story to have IMPACT, it must be published in the standard format (The Incredible Hulk) and without any special fanfare (I brought what could have been a 30-odd page story down to 22 for this very reason). Approval – within Marvel and to the satisfaction of the Comics Code Authority – is paramount and I’m prepared to offer any raison d’etre if it isn’t apparent.

This story is about parent abuse and childhood trauma, which is an important issue. I believe that by sliding the topic into a regular comic book involving an established Marvel Comics character, a greater, more significant understanding of the idea can be achieved. This as opposed to (I feel inclined to suggest) the Spider-Man/Drugs issues of a decade ago that, due to their pre-publicity and etc., were ultimately regarded as hype for a medium that needed attention and was asking for recognition as a relevant form of art.

While I am unsure as to the specifics (but most likely, it is because of Windsor-Smith holding to his guns vis a vis the whole “not Comics Code approved” situation), for whatever reason, the story was shelved by Marvel.

And then, a little more than a year later, Bill Mantlo penned Incredible Hulk #312, where it is revealed that, yep, you guessed it, Bruce Banner was a victim of child abuse.

Windsor-Smith was none too pleased.

Since his original story, Windsor-Smith has been working on the comic for years and it has expanded and expanded and expanded to the point where it is almost 300 pages long. It is now called Monster, and it will be Windsor-Smith’s next project.

Here are some (absolutely gorgeous) previews of the work (you don’t need to use your imagination too much to imagine the Baileys as the Banners)…

It’s certainly possible that Mantlo came up with his story on his own, but I don’t imagine that Windsor-Smith thinks that is all that likely (and do note that if the story WAS based on Windsor-Smith’s idea, it would almost certainly have to be an editorial edict for Mantlo to write a similar story, not something that Mantlo would have done on his own accord).

Monster sure does look like a great comic.

Check out Windsor-Smith’s web site for more preview pages here.

Thanks to Dave Elliot for recommending I feature Monster, thanks to Comic Book Artist (I believe Jon B. Cooke did the interview – if that’s wrong, please let me know) for the interview, thanks to Windsor-Smith for being so free with his original pitch, and thanks to HulkMovie.com for the transcription of the interview. Finally, thanks to Marv at Superpouvoir.com for the head’s up regarding the HulkMovie transcription (click here to read some pages of Incredible Hulk #312 following Windsor-Smith’s plot outline – it makes for a fun contrast).

COMIC LEGEND: There’s a clever visual gag in a Watchmen panel intending to show two of the retired Golden Age superheroes from the Watchmen universe in a relationship with each other.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis were two of the Golden Age superheroes in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen.

Here they are in a panel from Watchmen #2 (I circled them for your convenience).

In that same issue, we got our first hints that would ultimately lead us to understand that Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis were a couple.

First, a scene from Watchmen #2…

Besides Comedian’s lurid “this is what gets you hot” line, an important notice is that Silk Spectre refers to Hooded Justice as “H.J.”

Later, in the back matter of Watchmen #9, we get the basic confirmation that Captain Metropolis (Nelson Gardner or “Nelly”) and Hooded Justice were a couple…

Note that earlier in the series, Silk Spectre’s daughter mentions that she thought Hooded Justice was her father (that goes along with the whole “I know you provided a pretty steady alibi for H.J.” part).

ANYhow, this is important because of a scene in Watchmen #1.

Both Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis are presumed dead in the Watchmen “present.” Hooded Justice disappeared in 1955 (possibly murdered by The Comedian) while Captain Metropolis was decapitated in a car accident in 1974.

A popular theory was developed by James Gifford that the two actually disappeared together and retired from superheroing to live a normal life together (the theory is presented here).

This is based on the following panel from Watchmen #1…

The date of that panel in the story was October 13, 1985, exactly 47 years from Hooded Justice’s original in-costume debut.

When you add in the fact that they’re at the forefront of the panel and they’re both wearing domino mask bow ties, it sure sounds like the theory works, right?

Well, in an installment of Lying in the Gutters last year, Rich Johnston e-mailed Dave Gibbons, who replied:

That wasn’t our intention, but it’s such an interesting and plausible theory that I’m reluctant to deny it!

And since then, Gibbons had repeated that in a number of places – that he thinks it is a great idea, but it was not what they intended when they were doing the comic.

I don’t see any real reason why Gibbons would lie about something like that, so I’m going to say I believe him, and notch this one down as a false.

Thanks to Jim Gifford for the original theory, thanks to Rich Johnston and Dave Gibbons for the answer about it, and thanks to my pal Funky for reminding me of this one recently.

COMIC LEGEND: Mike Sekowsky sneaked a bit of profanity into the first issue of Atlas Comics’ The Brute as a bit of a protest.

STATUS: True

Atlas/Seaboard was a comic company formed by former Marvel publisher Martin Goodman during the mid-1970s.

It was not a successful comic book company, although there was a lot of strong talent involved and some good characters.

The Brute, though, would probably not be put on the “good” side of the ledger when it comes to tallying up good and bad Atlas characters.

The Brute was a less than human prehistoric creature who was frozen during the Ice Age and thawed out in 1975. He accidentally killed two young boys who discovered him.

This then led to him becoming a fugitive. Meanwhile, a young female scientist tried to help the nearly mindless creature.

Here are the last few pages of issue #1, written by Mike Fleisher and penciled by veteran comic book artist Mike Sekowsky.

At the time, Atlas was trying to push not to be released under the Comics Code, and they pushed for this right up to the production of the first issues of their titles, but in the end, they lost out and had to “clean up” their issues to be Code-Approved.

This aggravated the editors, and it might have aggravated Mike Sekowsky, as well.

According to Brute editor Jeff Rovin, Sekowsky was upset (as was Rovin) that the Brute had to be Code-approved.

According to other versions of the story that I’ve heard, Sekowsky was not a fan of the script, and he let his feelings be known in a very subtle fashion.

Whatever Sekowsky was protesting, the fact remains that he did sneak a protest into the issue.

Look back to the last page.

Check out the airplane’s tag.

5H17.

Or, in other word, SHIT.

Either Sekowsky’s attempt to stick it to the Comics Code or his attempt to voice his feelings about the issue, I don’t know which one it was, but either way, there it is. And as Rovin says:

Childish? You bet. But at Atlas, we learned not to let any victory slip through our fingers, no matter how moronic.

Thanks to Scott Shaw! for the info behind this one (he mentioned it awhile back on the Comic Book Resources forums – it just took me awhile to get a copy of The Brute #1. Check out Scott’s neat site, Oddball Comics, here!) Thanks to Jeff Rovin and the Comics Journal for the quote (and thanks to Phil at The Atlas Archives for transcribing the quote).

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics 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!

72 Comments

The great part about Watchmen is that it can mean that, as Gibbons acknowledges. It’s similar to Aaron Copland’s statement about great music: “music which always says the same thing to you will necessarily soon become dull music, but music whose meaning is slightly different with each hearing has a greater chance of remaining alive.” That’s very much true in a literary sense for Watchmen. There are innumerable ways to unpack it.

That guy on the phone on pg. 19, panel 2 of the Sekowsky story is giving the finger, also. It looks awkward enough to make me wonder if it was deliberate. The placement of that gun under the word ‘blow’ on pg. 17 panel 2 looks a little suspect to me as well. Maybe I’m just looking for trouble at this point, but if he did it on the plane, I wonder if there was more thrown in there.

Great point, Dan.

I agree – whether Gibbons and Moore intended it or not, you can definitely still go for such an interpretation.

What about page 19, panel 5 or page 20, panel 3? Makes me wonder what the rest of the book looks like.

Oh man, that Page 19 one really DOES look like it could be Sekowsky having even more fun. Damn, I guess I really should go back and re-read the book closely!

Page 19, panel 2, that cop is giving us the finger!!!

Wow — Sekowsky invented leet speak!

Hmm, is the Jeff Rovin of the Atlas legend the same Jeff Rovin who wrote those great Super Hero/Villain/Monster encyclopedias in the late 80s/early 90s?

A quick Google search tells me probably not…

That Windsor-Smith art is, as always, absolutely gorgeous.

Great to see someone else remembered Atlas comics. For years, I thought I’d just made up that stuff and that the issue of PLANET OF VAMPIRES that I had was just some sick delusion!

I’m pleased to see that I wasn’t crazy. Wonder if I can get a rebate for all the psycho-inhibitors I took…

I’m looking forward to reading Windsor-Smith’s story at long last.

In the Watchmen restaurant panel, I don’t see those bow ties as domino masks at all. It reads to me as highlights along the center, where the ties fold in. Domino mask bow ties would be a bit too cutesy, IMO. The HJ / Captain Metropolis theory is a neat one, but I can’t help what wonder what Nelson Gardner would have done for the 19 years between Hooded Justice’s disappearance and his own “faked” death. That’s a LOOOOONNNGGG time to wait for someone!

What happened to the Captain America legend I thought you were going to feature this week, Brian?

Although I was familiar with two of the three legends this week (Hulk and Watchmen), I always like getting your magisterial take on such matters, Brian. Regarding the Watchmen alternate interpretation, I have never understood how it ever gained any traction, as the hints concerning The Comedian’s murder of Hooded Justice (as with the Comedian and the JFK Assassination) are so strong.

The Barry Windsor-Smith art is, as always, beautiful beyond words. However, I do think that BWS could use some help with the writing. A lot of the dialogue (especially from the Nazi scientists) seems rather stiff and cliched. I don’t see the shame in admitting the need for a collaborator. After all, Alan Moore does not attempt to draw his own stuff.

What happened to the Captain America legend I thought you were going to feature this week, Brian?

I think I said it likely would be this week. ;)

As of right this second, I see it going up within the next three weeks – this time as part of a theme week!

As of right this second, I see it going up within the next three weeks – this time as part of a theme week!

Cool, looking forward to it!

Windsor-Smith’s idea would have been a novel idea at the time (and better done from the sound of it than I remember the Mantlo story) but I’m so sick of giving supervillains (and a few heroes) abused childhoods. It’s become a cliche.

Alan Moore is actually a very good artist and does draw some of his own comics: http://www.mustardweb.org/dodgemlogic/alanmoorecomicpage.png

As a side note, what’s with the turkey in the Watchmen panel..the turkey with apparently two drumsticks on one side? A Veidt brand genetically engineered bird?

A few days ago I watched a horrible little movie from 1970 starring Joan Crawford and Michael Gough (“Alfred” from Tim Burton’s Batman) called TROG. I mention this because that entire scene in “The Brute” where he is let out of his cage and then turns on the person who freed him plays out almost EXACTLY like a scene from TROG. Probably a coincidence, but I’m wondering if that movie wasn’t some sort of inspiration for Brute…

>>Hmm, is the Jeff Rovin of the Atlas legend the same Jeff Rovin who wrote those great Super Hero/Villain/Monster encyclopedias in the late 80s/early 90s?

>>A quick Google search tells me probably not…

I’d be pretty shocked if they weren’t the same person, actually.

I love it when I read about things that people managed to sneak past the Comic Code Authority!

They ARE the epitome of all censorship and therefore the bane to creativeness!

CCA should be the ones to be abolished!

at one point I was collecting all the ATLAS comics I could with an OCD fixation. DC should buy up the characters and do a “Milestone Forever”-like 2-issue prestige series wrapping up al the stories…or maybe not:)

I’m not sure that Mantlo swiped Windsor-Smith’s story. Windsor-Smith only told people about his intended Hulk story AFTER Mantlo was brain damaged in a car accident and couldn’t defend himself. Shooter couldn’t remember who had the idea about Banner being a victim of child abuse first.

I read an interview with Moore last year where he said the central theme of Watchmen is that life is built around all sorts of weird little patterns and coincidences. So I bet he’d be tickled by this one.

If I recall correctly, Alan Moore had written background material for the Mayfair games role playing Watchmen.

“Is any of this part of the official “Watchmen” continuity? Clearly not. But what’s interesting is that Alan Moore was actually involved with the game supplements – if not this one, then the Ray Winninger-written one at least. That’s the one that reveals the Captain America-like origin and describes more information about “The World of Watchmen,” as co-written (at least, according to the credits) by Alan Moore. It not only explicitly identifies Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice as gay, but it also provides other information that isn’t directly mentioned in “Watchmen” itself…The supplement also states that the Comedian secretly murdered Hooded Justice in 1955 out of revenge for the beating he received after raping Sally Jupiter.”

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17707

Sekowsky pushed a few limits elsewhere in this “Brute” story. Look at the hand placement when Brute grabs the gunman on Page 18, panel 3…

That COULDN’T have been Code-friendly.

J.

“Rectum? Damn near killed ‘em!”

I’ve “voting” for a happy retiremnet for the 2 old mystery men.
There’s gotta be some light at the end of the Watchemen tunnel.

I’ve always been under the impression that Ozymandias’ pet Bubastis was cloned and genetically modified from the severed head of Captain Metropolis. Nelson was Adrian’s lover and also one of his first genetic experiments.

Here is the flimsy evidence that the teen-aged me saw:
1. Rorshach’s “possibly homosexual” line regarding Adrian
2. Captain Metro was referred to as decapitated in a car crash. It just seemed weird to mention that instead of just saying he died.
3. After the failed Crimebusters meeting Adrian stayed behind to “console” Nelson.

I’ll admit that all the clues from Rorschach’s point of view could probably just be symptoms of his abrasive personality. However a quick wiki search reveals that the name Bubastis comes from a rather large Egyptian city. You could say that it was an ancient metropolis.

There are also aesthetic reasons, besides “authorial intent, for not going along with the the alternate interpretation of the fate of Hooded Justice. I would argue that the muders of H.J. and the Comedian are meant to be seen as parallel events:

1. Note that H.J., before his murder by the Comedian, easily bested the Comedian in a physical confrontation (Watchmen chapter 2, page 7). Given Edward Blake’s personality, we can be sure that such an humiliating defeat provided the impetus for H.J.’s murder.

2. Note that the physical encounter between Ozymandias and Blake was caused by Veidt’s investigation into the disappearance of H.J. (Watchmen 11, 18).

3. Note that Ozymandias was similarly bested by Blake. Also note Oxymandias’ defensive account of the battle: “I studied his limitations:skillful feint; devastating uppercut;little else…He won. In the short term” (Watchmen 11, 18).He sounds almost like a child claiming that it does not count.

4. Thus, although Ozymandias had strategic reasons for killing Blake (the security of his project), he also wished to overturn his previous defeat. Indeed, this personal motive helps to explain the nature of Blake’s death. Instead of using a weapon, Ozymandias uses his bare hands to kill Blake, thereby proving his physical superiority.

5. The two events emerge as parallel events, linking Blake and Veidt. Veidt, then, for all of his claims to enlightenment, emerges as little different from Blake.

6. For these reasons, The murder of H.J. is a thing apart from the mental problems of Mothman or the vehicular death of Captain Metropolis. Their fates are incidental, mere grace notes in the rich tapestry of Watchmen. The murder of Hooded Justice, in contrast, is an integral component in the texture of the work.

An abused childhood is a cliche now, but you got to admit: it totally makes sense for Bruce Banner. All that anger had to come from somewhere.

Adam, that was a poor choice of words on my part. I am, of course, aware that Moore can draw. Indeed, I seem to recall some artists saying that Moore provides thumbnail sketches in his scripts. What I should have said is that Moore, in his strongest works (Watchmen, From Hell, Miracleman, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc) , prefers to have someone else provide the visual component to his scripts. Although Moore is a reasonably competent artist, he realizes that his abilities as a writer far outstrip his mediocre talents as an illustrator. Similarly, Barry Windsor-Smith should understand that his phenomenal talent as an artist is not matched by his, at best, journeyman skills as a writer.

Great column, as always, Brian.
It’s a treat to see the beautiful pages from BWS’s Monster and half-remembered art by the great Sekowsky, but I’m writing about the Watchmen rumour. I always figured, right from first reading, that the couple in the restaurant scene is the Fifties Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Look at their faces and their hair. Bruce is even wearing a moustache (as he was often shown to do in Imaginary Tales about the future). Dick is even wearing a red vest. Anyway, that’s my opinion. What do the rest of you think?
I’ve never heard this proposed elsewhere Brian, and thought you might care to look into it.

I KNEW I read your middle legend somewhere. I was wondering, “Is he just repeating an old one of his? I thought this was debunked here.”

Nope, close. It was in LITG. Heh.

BWS pages are friggin’ shweet!

“Hmm, is the Jeff Rovin of the Atlas legend the same Jeff Rovin who wrote those great Super Hero/Villain/Monster encyclopedias in the late 80s/early 90s? ”

Of course it is. If you look through those books (as I have many times – “The Encyclopedia of Super-VIllians” was my favorite book ever when I was a kid and I checked it out of the library at least a dozen times), you will note that they are filled with characters and images from Atlas/Seaboard comics. As those books were not particualrly popular or important, and even by the mid-eighties more or less forgotten by mainstream fans, why else, aside from Rovin’s self-promoton, would they even be in there?

Rovin also wrote “How to Win at Nintendo Games” and similar books. Anyway, his Wikipedia page lists a whole lot of books, mostly licensed tie-ins and such.

I love BWS’ work. All of it. He was a big part of the success of the early days of Valiant and has done some great stories : Weapon X, Storyteller, his Storm issues of X-Men. Amazing to me someone doesn’t somehow get some more out of him.

The childhood abuse theme really adds a whole new dimension to the Hulk. Genius.

As for that panel of Watchmen, yes, I always thought it was a nod nod wink wink to the Wertham fueled homosexual rumors from the days of Seduction of the Innocent.

…Actually, Brian, it was just Sekowsky self-criticizing his own work, which, for the most part, was 5H17. Although the guy could draw women in a 60′s style of sexy – mostly due to the fact he was lightboxing poses of his daughter, whose figure in those days could produce instant erections – his beer barrel torsos, limp wrist gestures, and flight that looked more like uncontrollable falling and tumbling in mid-air made looking at any book he drew akin to sheer 7734.

Wow! L33T speak is older than I thought. :)

Doesn’t suprise me that you are finding gay supeheroes where they don’t even exist. CBR is so overrun with militant queers it’s not even funny. When did you people take over the comics industry?

“Militant queers”? Man, that gave me a good giggle. I’d take a militant queer over an angry homophobe any day, heh? ;)

*sigh*

@ Anonymous. Isn’t it funny how you are here, amidst all the ‘militant queers’ on CBR. Come to check out the action, hm? Frankly, I think you are seeing things where they don’t even exist.

Actually, about the ‘hidden messages’ in that Sekowsky art– like the first poster said, that gun’s position in the very second panel is so obvious– I don’t even know if it’s possible to hold a gun like that, where the finger seems to be *behind* the trigger. Then that finger in the last panel on page 19– pointed right at the woman’s mouth….

That is why Dave Gibbons is pretty brilliant. He is cool enough to know that even though that is not what he originally intented, its such a great interpretation that it shouldn’t be dismissed just because its not the conscious intention of the work.

And that is why we love fiction.

Another great column, but I really had no particular comments, until I saw the “militant queers taking over the industry” remark by Anonymous – and guffawed loudly. You know, to an outsider looking in, it probably appears that superhero comics – rife with (mainly) handsome, muscular men, as well as teenage boys, running about in absolutely skin-tight spandex outfits – had always been the domain of “militant queers.”

I’ve collected all the Atlas/Seaboard titles, except for Tippy Teen. It would be great to see some of them again especially for Tiger Man. However, DC should NEVER get their hands on them, they’ve ruined the Red Circle heroes and will probably destroy the THUNDER Agents. It might be better if Boom, Dynamite or IDW tackle the properties.

Angry Homo(phobo)

February 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm

“Doesn’t suprise me that you are finding gay supeheroes where they don’t even exist. CBR is so overrun with militant queers it’s not even funny. When did you people take over the comics industry?”

QFT. But then again remember that if you look hard enough for something that you really really want to find, you will surely find it.

Maybe Anonymous should go hang with the homophobes and mouth-breathers over at Chuck Dixon’s message board.

That 5H17 jumps right off the page to someone old enough to know the word already, but to any kids reading it who didn’t know the word already I’m sure it meant nothing. In a way, everyone wins.

I think Sekowski was having some additional fun with his art as well. Take another look at page 19; if someone had asked him to draw caricatures of DC editors Robert Kanigher, Joe Kubert and Julius Schwartz, I’d guess they’d look a lot like those two cops and the judge.

You know, used in another format, BWS’s Hulk could have been Marvel’s Dark Knight Returns. I don’t know how much it evolved from 1984, but in the Monster story, apart from childhood abuse, there’s also a whole segment about the creation of the creature and how it came from Nazi experiments in the camp in WW II and how the US brought these scientists in America, etc…If BWS had this in mind too in 94, you go into Batman: Year One territory as it explains the whole creation of Hulk. If this story would have been done, it could have been epic. Several of the top Marvel characters never had their origin redone or further explained, except maybe in the Ultimate books.

Wouldn’t be stellar if Marvel would approach BWS now and do an Hulk origin, given how he took on the idea many times of goverment secret progect experimentation via Weapon X, Solar and Rune. And now with Monster book and how it has been refined in his mind and he could do so much crazy concepts with it? He could use the camps, could use clonage, could use nuclear energy, along with goverment conspiracies and so forth.

I think Sekowsky was making a comment on the quality of the script he’d been given.

[...] Banner“, disse Windsor-Smith em um entrevista realizada em 1984, conforme resgatada pelo Comic Book Resources. “O Hulk revive um atormentado e muito específico dia de seu passado. Esta é a história da [...]

“As a side note, what’s with the turkey in the Watchmen panel..the turkey with apparently two drumsticks on one side? A Veidt brand genetically engineered bird?”

I believe that’s the implication, yes. There are four legged birds recurring throughout the book, and I believe there’s a throwaway line added into the restaurant scene in the movie to make it a bit more explicit.

No, no one believes this is a pro-gay SITE. It’s so cute that’ you’re such a disgusting, hateful human being. Even if it was, what does it have to do with you?

It is my POV that people who truly are disgusted by something, they avoid it, not harp on it, ESPECIALLY if they can do nothing to change it.

There are so few gay characters in all of comics, especially when you compare them to straight heroes. So, in summary, get over yourself guy.

I know you’re going to continue down your anti-gay agenda, so at least post your name, or “a” name. Why do you need to be anonymous? The scary gay boogey man gonna get you? :)

I think that CBR is USER-friendly. Maybe in your mind that doesn’t compute. You can be whatever (including anonymous) and hang with everyone else.

You can be whatever (including anonymous) and hang with everyone else.

Well, I will say that you can’t be like that fellow and still post here.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm

So why doesn’t CBR come out of the closet and admit that it’s a gay comic site?

Why don’t you come out of the closet and use your name, or even a handle, when posting?

feature a big picture of Batman wearing a strap-on.

I bet you’d like that.

Why the heck would Batman need to wear a strap-on? He’s GOT a penis….

[...] sobre el avión 5Hi7 aquí, por [...]

About BWS vs Mantlo, there are some facts that bring me some doubts about the matter:

- BWS apparently didn’t say a (public) word about this thing until 2003. why? BWS proposal is dated in July 1984. Hulk #312 was published in 1985. Bill’s accident was in 1992… why didn’t BWS tell anything until 2003 when Mantlo couldn’t be asked? (Maybe the film based in it? It would be interesting know which were exactly the BWS words from Comic Book Artist #1)
- Looking at those two stories, the only thing in common is the childhood trauma, nothing else: The atmosphere is different. The structure is different (a unique thanksgiving day vs. different life time moments). In one the father is disturbed by war and goes wild when drunk. The other is obsessed by thinking his genius child is a Monster. We see Hulk in one as a metaphor of the child he was (from Banner’s memory), in the other we see a reminiscence of Hulk that means Hulk was always there (a flashback).
-There is a point no one seems to notice: 312 is the end of an argument arch. In 312 one of the main things Mantlo tell us is the origin of the Triad, an arch that started several months before, and had nothing to do with BWS story.
-One weird thing is, BWS story was titled “Thanksgiving”… Mantlo story was titled “Monster” and played with “Who was really the Monster?” theme. But now, BWS’s graphic novel, that uses his original story… is titled “Monsters”!! That doesn’t make any sense to me to put your Graphic Novel the title from the story you say is a plagiarism from yours…

I think it’s very difficult to determine that Mantlo conscientiously plagiarized BWS’s story, and I think it’s unfair to say it since he can’t answer.

Anyway, in my opinion, #312 is not the best of Bill’s work in Hulk. I think, the best ones are from 295 to 300. Those are really great!

Peace!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Why the heck would Batman need to wear a strap-on? He’s GOT a penis….

Yeah, but according to Batman himself in the story ‘Broken City’, it’s not very big.

I can understand Smith being upset, but it’s Marvel. This is work-for-hire and if you’re working for them and submitting stuff to them they may give you something else to write and have someone else write your idea. Some years ago one could ask Jack Kirby about that.

It’s pretty clear they shot him down because of his desire to push the envelope on the profanity issue rather than the child abuse topic itself.

All that said, it’s hard to be sure that another writer was given his marching orders from Marvel because of Smith’s story. The Hulk is all about psychology and split personalities. Around the same time the original proposal was made and the final story was written, psychologists were beginning to tell us they believed there was a definite connection between Multiple Personality Disorder and childhood abuse. It’s not so arcane that two people couldn’t have had the same idea.

I think Marvel probably did swipe the notion, for the record. That’s what Marvel and DC do, profit from the ideas of their employees. That’s just how American capitalism works, love it or hate it.

Citizen Scribbler

March 2, 2010 at 10:21 am

I just recently got and read a copy of the Watchmen Sourcebook by Winniger from 1990 and, although it reprints much of the Moore material from the backs of the issues, it includes a bunch of additional material written by Winniger alone presented from a variety of fabricated sources in keeping with the theme of the Moore material. Winniger did a lot of consultation with Moore over his ideas for fleshing out the material and Moore was indeed enthusthiastic about the project and Winniger’s contributions to the Watchmen universe. The adventure modules (which I haven’t read) come from before the Sourcebook and likely includes more substantial material.

An important fact to note, however, is that Winniger’s material was composed in association with Moore while Moore was still writing Watchmen. Therefore, even in the Sourcebook, there are discrepancies in dates, characterizations and the gear used by characters. In other words, although the role-playing game offers helpful possible additions to Watchmen world, due to their conflicts with cannon, they should not be read as law. Therefore, the Comedian’s nearly outright admission to the murder of Hooded Justice in the Watchmen Sourcebook is not written in stone.

Also, although I’ve long held to the same beliefs as trajan23 for the same reasons he pointed out so well and succintly, I may be able to offer a possible reading which partially keeps the essential elements of symmetry intact. We don’t know for sure that Comedian killed HJ, only that Ozy highly suspected it- plus, for him, it validates his later murder of the Comedian. But what if the Comedian, after tracking down HJ, either failed or refused to kill him. We know that the government wanted HJ tracked down (which is why they hired the Comedian) because of his refusal to participate in the House of Unamerican Activities Committee investigation into the Minutemen. If the Comedian didn’t take in HJ, he’d have to report HJ’s death, whether it was true or not.

But why would Comedian spare HJ’s life? One scenario I have trouble imagining is one in which HJ gets the upper hand on the Comedian a second time- it just doesn’t make sense to me dramatically. One can only speculate on what might inspire the Comedian to come to terms with his bitterness for HJ, but it sounds like a great story and one which may fit in well amongst the many emotional turnarounds of the actual Watchmen story. A common foe? A common vice? Although it might seem obvious that the Comedian’s reaction to HJ’s besting him would be to kill him, the Comedian has a demonstrated tendency to behave in unexpected ways (confessing to Moloch, accepting Sally’s denial of him and Laurie’s abuse). I don’t think it’s impossible that the Comedian, at the last moment, decided to give HJ a chance to get his keister out of Dodge for good and another body was used to fake the death of HJ’s assumed secret identity.

This changes the parallels, explained by trajan23, into a contrast between Comedian and Ozy. Whereas Ozy was willing to kill one of his own kind (costumed vigilante) and push his own big red button on the world, the Comedian couldn’t bring himself to cross that line. The Comedian, though atrocious in his conduct at times, truly had a heart which could be (and was) broken beneath his body armor. Ozy, on the other hand, would sacrifice even his own beloved pet to get the last laugh.

The final element here is CM (Captain Metropolis). The deliberate detail of his having been decapitated has always stuck out to me. Why not just say he was killed in a car wreck or a collision? As pointed out by another fan of this topic, one significance of a decapitated corpse is that it is much more difficult to properly identify the body, especially if, say, the fingerprints have been burned away in a car crash fire. The only other mention of a severed head in the book is the part of Ozy’s plan where he explains that they used the brain patterns from the stolen head of a psychic sensitive. Are these two references to severed heads supposed to be related? Is it to be implied that Ozy had a hand in faking CM’s death by virtue of having at least one headless corpse lying around not being put to good use? Could sympathy for the lover’s plight account for the time, resources and effort he would put into such a scheme? The car accident occurred in 1974, I believe; just a few years before the passage of the Keene Act. Not bad timing for dropping out of sight through a faked death- and we all know Ozy was ahead of the curve on that one.

Personally, I really like the idea that HJ and CM got to live happily ever after, especially after being led to believe in the high probability of their demise. It creates a parallel with Dan and Laurie, who are in the background of the same panel and would also take on new identities at the end of the story and persue a life together.

-Citizen Scribbler

I don’t begrudge others wanting to see CM and HJ alive and happy together. For me though the problem is it doesn’t jibe with my interpretation of Rorschach. I see Rorschach as someone who often gets the “why” wrong but tends to at least get the “what” correct. It seems to me that if there was any question about what happened to CM, Rorschach would have investigated (and probably come up with his mask killer theory much earlier). That someone as paranoid and cyncial as he is accepts without question that CM was killed by decapitation to me suggests that this is in fact what happened. Most likely despite his disdain for homosexuals he probably looked into the matter personally because he wanted to ensure there were no mask killers and because of his obsession with people knowing the truth at all costs.

Don’t get me wrong: I like CM and wish he’d had more time in the book; I just accept his death.

Citizen Scribbler

March 3, 2010 at 7:31 am

@ Andy-

One of the factors which might effect this would be where it was that the accident occurred. The Watchmen Sourcebook claims the accident occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike, but that is not necessarily likely to be true. Point is, depending on how far away from New York the accident occurred, Rorschach would be less likely to turn up. He tends to stick to the city, it appears,

Also, Rorschach was far less likely to investigate CM’s death as it wasn’t accompanied by the same suspicious circumstances as that of the Comedian- who was straight-up murdered, and tossed through a window at that. A car accident, by itself, is unlikely to have aroused Rorschach’s suspicions. Plus, don’t forget that, at the very start of the story, in his secret identity, Rorschach actually walks by the two detectives and hears them talking about how concerned they are of Rorschach getting involved- that’s like an open invitation to the man!

And don’t forget, Rorschach was wrong about Ozy all along, as well as a number of other things. I don’t believe he’s intended to be classified as an infallible Batman/Sherlock Holmes-type detective who knows the secret truth behind everything. Rorschach is awesome, but flawed.

-Citizen Scribbler

Citizen

You make some valid points but you misunderstood one of my points I said, “I see Rorschach as someone who often gets the “why” wrong but tends to at least get the “what” correct. ” I never claimed he was that good of a detective; his not suspecting Ozymandias would definitely qualify as more “why” than “what.” All I meant is that for all his paranoia/insanity his grasp of the basic details of a crime is good. So I equate CM’s decapitation with the fact that Blake, clearly the Comedian due to the hidden closet. was killed by a fall from a great height.

In contrast, Rorschach not suspecting Ozymandias would be more comparable to him incorrectly deducing who caused the car crash that caused CM’s head to be separatedfrom the rest of his body. A detail like that Rorschach easily could have gotten wrong; it could even be argued that since Moore viewed Rorschach as a fool, Rorschach likely *would* have gotten that detail wrong unless there was no doubt.

So your other points are valid, but in that last paragraph you were counterarguing something i wasn’t arguing.

Aside from the reasons mentioned above, it’s occurred to me that there’s an even more important reson to treat the Watchmen Sourcebook as apocryphical. the Sourcebook was written for a role-playing game, and such games are by their very nature fairly open ended, unless the Gamemaster is wound up so tight that players have little choice in their actions. Assuming the former, if players use the Sourcebook for any length of time, sooner or later Dr. Manhattan’s “predictions”/forward memories are going to be wrong, something that is normally impossible for the comic book version or even the movie version. The only way for Dr Manhattan to be wrong about a future event in the comic or movie versions is if something keeps blocking his views of the future, leading to incorrect speculations; and if the Gamemaster keeps playing that card all the time, things are going to eventually get.pretty rediculous. So it’s reasonable to assume that role-playing uses of the Watchmen occur in similar but universe worlds.

[...] According to this Comic Book Legends Revealed, Mike Sekowsky snuck a profanity into this [...]

DazedGenoshan

July 15, 2011 at 9:52 am

“Why the heck would Batman need to wear a strap-on? He’s GOT a penis…. ”

“Yeah, but according to Batman himself in the story ‘Broken City’, it’s not very big.”

Wow, really? That’s terribly disappointing; so all this slash art I’ve got has been misleading me all this time? Or is Nightwing just good at faking it?

Seriously though, “finding gay supeheroes (sic) where they don’t even exist” is, in this specific case, hilarious because the creators have said numerous times they fully intended for HJ (get it?) and Cap. Metro (tee-hee) to be gay, unlike how Batman and Robin are totally homoerotic but not on purpose.

Yet, speaking as a militant gay (being gay and formerly of the USMC, so I guess its an apt label?) who reads several gay comic book geek blogs I can tell you CRB is not such an entity. (Hint- striking lack of male nudity) Just because it discusses gay topics now and then does not make it “gay” anymore than it discussing examples of racism or political connections make it a racial or political themed site. It just discusses what’s already there, all of it, in what I find to be a refreshingly neutral manner.
Yet, there is some merit in the baffling, barely coherent commentary of Anon. Since I got back from the sandbox I was kind of shocked to discover how extensively popular comic books and super heroes are with da gays, and apparently we collectively spend piles of money on comics and hero movies related items. So, taking the liberty for speaking on behalf of gay militants everywhere, make mine Marv… er, I mean, sorry?

I think the missing question to the Watchmen story is “why did Gibbons draw those two in the foreground”? I completely believe him that it wasn’t his intent for them to be “surviving heroes”….but then, what was the intent? They’re in the foreground, and so well drawn it’s obvious there’s a story behind them. It might not even be a “gay story”, but they’re not just sitting there, or shaking hands. There’s obviously a moment of some sort between them. And none of the other characters seem to be anything other than background (or foreground, as it were) filler. Maybe he doesn’t want to say, because the myth is too fun, and he doesn’t want to ruin interpretations…but it’s not fans reading too much into it. Just maybe reading the wrong thing into it. Because there’s obviously something there.

As for Batman’s small penis….wha? When Broken City was sold out, I was obviously missing something. Or not much.

Jim Shooter wrote a blog entry that sheds some new light on the Hulk story:

http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/06/plagiarism.html

If you gave credit to Jim Shooter words, I think it’s also fair that those who read your text know what Bill Mantlo used to think about Jim Shooter. This is what Mantlo said about him, before his accident:
“(Shooter) had been trying to destroy me as a writer ever since he became an editor… He would attack me either directly, or through the editors, by making it miserable for the editors who had to edit my stuff. Some of the editors did not want to work with me because Shooter would be so hard on them”
(…)
“Shooter breached my contract at Marvel by refusing to give me the amount of work they were contractually obligated to give me. I took Marvel to arbitration over this. Shooter bitterly opposed any settlement with me… In the course of our negotiations, it became apparent that Jim Shooter was irrational, and I think this was the first time for management to see this. They basically kept it in mind when his contract came up”

That’s all great…but it doesn’t say WHY Shooter supposedly didn’t like Mantlo. Just didn’t like his face? The cut of his jib? It sounds paranoid, more than anything.

And it completely fails to address why there are a number of his stories that are seen as remarkably similar to the work of others. If Shooter was just making stuff up out of spite, it wouldn’t be too hard to contact the other parties (Ellison, etc.) and prove him wrong. Since that hasn’t happened, it sounds like Bill was dodging the issue and making excuses.

Of course he said why, he gave his reasons, I just resume what he said about him. We can’t ask him anymore. It doesn’t stop Mr Shooter.

Bill Mantlo wrote more thna 500 stories in 10 years… it would be quite dificult that none of them looked similar to any other written.
For example: You could say Star Brand is a plagiarism of Green Lantern. You know: an etraterrestrial comes to earth and gave the main character a source of incredible power before he dies. Is it a plagiarism?

If I recall correctly (and its been a number of years since I’ve read it, so forgive me if I’m a little hazy on the details), only the first third or so of Mantlo’s story bears a strong resemblance to Ellison’s tale; the remainder veers off in a different direction (although there are similarities between the two with the very end). I suppose it’s possible that in Bill’s own mind, taking the germ of the story from another source and then going a new way with it wouldn’t constitute plagiarism.

Interestingly, I believe Ellison later successfully sued the producers of the first “Terminator” film on the grounds that they also plagiarized that very same “Outer Limits” episode.

Jim Shooter covered the BWS/Mantlo story on his blog in June:
http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/06/plagiarism.html

Summary is the Mantlo swiped the idea of the story, and had done the same with other stories during his time at Marvel, including swiping from a Harlan Ellison story (and we all know how that would end up!).

[...] In the 1980s, writer/artist Barry Windsor-Smith proposed a story which would reveal that Bruce Banner had been physically abused as a child. The revelation would suggest that the Hulk was not merely Banner’s repressed anger, but a physical manifestation of the anger of an abused child, to some degree explicating the Hulk’s childlike demeanor. Marvel ran a version of  the story, but without Windsor-Smith (and interesting account of the behind-the-scenes story of how Marvel passed and then ended up using the story anyway can be found here). [...]

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