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Comic Book Legends Revealed #261

Welcome to the two-hundred and sixty-first 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 sixty.

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 Novel Legends Revealed to find out if Charles Dickens was really paid by the word!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Joe Rubinstein ghost-penciled Wolverine #3 for Frank Miller.

STATUS: False

Reader Jesse wrote in the other day to ask:

Someone just told me one I’d never heard before: supposedly Frank Miller started working on issue #4 of the classic Wolverine mini-series written by Chris Claremont before he finished issue #3. Joe Rubinstein pencilled and inked issue #3 aping Miller’s style and accepting only his inker’s credit, but was paid a full page rate and what would have been Miller’s royalties for the issue.

I just looked at the trade paperback and it sure looks like Miller’s layouts- albeit with Rubinstein’s inks- to me. But now I’m curious.

Well, first of, let’s take a look at a few pages from Wolverine #1, by Miller and Rubinstein…

Here’s a few pages from #3…

And here’s a few pages from #4…

I don’t really see any significant differences in the issues, either, but as it turns out, if there WERE any differences, there was a very good explanation for any difference between how each issue appeared.

I asked Joe Rubinstein about the story, and he graciously answered that he had never heard that story before, but he could explain why the art might look a bit different. You see, Miller laid out all the issues very quickly, all four issues in about a month (Rubinstein called it “almost the Kirby Barrier”).

Rubinstein then spent nearly two months finishing the layouts for #1, then about a month for issues #2 and 3, and finally, for issue #4, less than a month.

So that likely would explain any differences in the issues.

Also, just in a general “this art looks different than Daredevil,” Rubinstein noted that, while Klaus Janson eventually ended up also finishing Miller layouts on Daredevil, for much of their run Janson worked off of actual penciled artwork, hence the change in art style from Daredevil to Wolverine (here are a few Miller penciled/Janson inked pages)…

It IS true to note, though, that Miller is credited for pencils for the entire mini-series as opposed to layouts, so there is something to be said, I guess, for Rubinstein not getting “enough” credit for the mini-series.

Anyhow, thanks to Jesse for the question and thanks to the great Joe Rubinstein for the awesome information! You know who’s a great inker? Joe Rubinstein. I don’t know if he’s doing any regular series since he and Mike Norton left Green Arrow/Black Canary, but if he isn’t, he totally should be, as he’s way too good not to be used on a monthly book.

COMIC LEGEND: For almost the first FIVE years of the Garfield comic, Odie was not Jon’s dog.

STATUS: True

When Jim Davis’ Garfield debuted in June of 1978, it looked a lot different than what people would think of when they picture the famous strip…

And while the visuals were certainly a lot different, Davis was also experimenting with the SET-UP of the strip, as well.

He eventually figured that he needed for Jon to have another human around to talk to, so in August of that year, he introduced a roommate named Lyman….

and with Lyman came a certain familiar canine…

Well, pretty quickly, Davis realized that he really didn’t NEED another human, and after awhile, Lyman was pretty much non-existent in the strip until finally, at the end of April, 1983, he made his last appearance in the regular comic strip…

Odie popped up a week or so later…

And at the end of May 1983 we got our new status quo – Odie and Garfield were now BOTH Jon’s pets…

And that’s how it has been ever since!

Jim Davis has always had a great line when asked about Lyman, something along the lines of “People better not look in Jon’s basement.”

Check out more great Garfield strips at the official Garfield comic strip archive here!

COMIC LEGEND: Mort Weisinger had a rather…adult response to a fan letter regarding marriages that Superman and Lois Lane had both had in early ’60s Superman comics.

STATUS: True

In an era of “imaginary stories,” the Superman titles still managed to have a number of odd “real” ones, as well, especially a pair of stories that came out within months of each other in 1960.

The first one, in Superman #136, written by Robert Bernstein and drawn by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye, introduced us to a man from the future who says he is destined to marry Lois. Superman seems to think that that sounds logical – “I guess if it’s destined, it’s destined” but Lois changes her tune when she sees the weird looking guy (who turned green and alien-looking due to comet radiation in the future) revert back to a good-looking guy…

So yes, Lois was now basically a widow. Trippy, right?

A few months later, in Action Comics #266, it was now Jerry Siegel who teamed up with Boring and Kaye to tell the tale of an alien named Jena the Space Girl who blackmails Superman into marrying her (and to get him to actually love her, she tries a love potion, with disastrous results)…

Okay, these stories are silly and all, but what makes them especially notable is what happened a year or so later, when some fan tried to drop some knowledge in the Superman #143 letter column before Superman editor Mort Weisinger dropped some BETTER knowledge in return…read on!

You sure put that kid in his place, Mort!!!

How awesome is the idea of Mort Weisinger teaching kids about the birds and the bees in a letter column in 1961?

Thanks to Mark Engblom of the amazing Comic Coverage for the letter!

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, in April of last year my book 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!

69 Comments

Those old LOCs are great.

Of course, it’s already been proven that Jon has all the mannerisms of a raving maniac, so we shouldn’t be surprised if that was Lyman’s fate…

http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/

Great stuff, Brian. A few random comments:

1. Miller/Rubinstein: I can’t believe that Frank Miller churned out the layouts for all four books in a month! Talk about, to cop Rubinstein’s phrase, “breaking the Kirby barrier.” Even more impressively, the combination of Miller’s rather hurried layouts and Rubinstein’s finishes looks absolutely fabulous. Indeed, I would argue that Rubinstein’s finishes in the WOLVERINE miniseries are superior to the finishes that Janson did towards the end of Miller’s DAREDEVIL run.

2. Garfield: Man, in the early stages, that was one ugly, obese cat. I tend to doubt that Davis’ early Garfield would ever have been the marketing phenomenon that the later, slimmed down Garfield was (and is). Imagine people sticking that morbidly obese feline in their car windows! The whole thing rather reminds me of the way that Bugs Bunny’s appearance improved over the years.

Wait wait wait.

LOIS LANE MARRIED AMBUSH BUG???!!!???

Are we SURE there was no pre-nuptual hankie-panky in either story? ;-)
(Yeah, yeah, I know..Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex…)

And what of the poor Rebel Robots?
Were they oppressed cyber-sentients with a legitimate grudge who Superman mercilessly obliterated without a second thought?
Genocide performed by The Man Who Does NOT Kill!!! (at least in those days!)

Are we SURE there was no pre-nuptual hankie-panky in either story? ;-)

Mort Weisinger would never lie to us about something so important!!

Here’s a question: did Wayne boring draw Superman with such husky haunches in order to match the poor physique of Steve Reeves? I don’t know if the dates line up, but there’s always seemed to be a resemblance.

I could be wrong, but i seem to remember Lyman making a guest appearance in the 25th aniversary episode, which had the past versions of Garfeild, Jon and Odie in addition to the present day versions.

PowerBook Pete

May 21, 2010 at 10:13 am

George Reeves was Superman. Steve Reeves was Hercules.

Wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen Bizarro with a B on his chest. Artist error, or did he ever actually wear a B-shield other than this one-panel cameo?

Tom Fitzpatrick

May 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

The nice thing about Jon in Garfield these days, is that he finally has a girlfriend who’s Garfield’s veterinary doctor!

I guess there’s hope for all us geek/losers, eh? ;-)

The nice thing about Jon in Garfield these days, is that he finally has a girlfriend who’s Garfield’s veterinary doctor!

Is it the same lady vet he dated back in the early days of the strip (Liz)?

@ Matt Bird: First, Wayne Boring was a MASTER artist/story teller, a frikkin’ god among boys when it comes to Superman adventures! One of the top three Superman artists EVER. Secondly, Steve Reeves was quite simply a true frikkin’ god among boys. Former Mr. Universe, not Earth, not Krypton, UNIVERSE!! As a heterosexual father of three who has been married for fifteen years, I can honest say I had a man-crush on Steve Reeves for years. His height, physique, symmetry, movie star smile, he was the MAN! George Reeves was too cool, Chris Reeves was also cool, but even combined they couldn’t sniff Steve Reeves loin cloth.

P.S. Brian, you’ve really been hitting theselegends revealed outta the park lately with great pages, from great stories, from great eras. Keep up the good work ( ’cause those fuckin’ Favorite Storyline votes are pathetic).

I always wondered if Jim Davis removed Lyman from the strip so folks wouldn’t think he and Jon were gay.

“X-Plam?”

That sounds like the kind of name someone would come up with while they were playing Boggle.

I noticed the “B” on Bizarro’s chest, too. I’ve never seen that either, and I’ve read a good many of the silver age comics over the years. I’m now curious about whether or not this was a simple error, too.

Wow. Lois Lane was a superficial bitch.

Incidentally, notice that Odie’s first appearance was clearly drawn at about the same time as the first Garfield strip? Garfield and Jon have obvious differences in that strip to the ones published the day before and after.

I hate to be a bit of a twit, but that Garfield one was kind of obvious. I mean, the original strips are still in print in book form. It didn’t take a lot of searching to find that.
Yeah, I’m being a twit.

Where can I get a Master Destructo-Ray?

Power-Man, King of Outer Space? Boy, does that need to come back into continuity.

Radiation poisoning is contagious?!?

Do you think Superman really loved acting like such a jerk? I’m sure he gets sick of trying to be perfect all the time, and it must’ve felt great to let all his pent-up crudeness out for once.

Whoops, sorry, I meant George Reeves, obviously! Steve Reeves was in much better shape. And Wayne Boring was an excellent penciller, I just find it odd that he drew Superman with a wider waist than we traditionally associate with him with.

Mort rules. :D

Andrew Collins

May 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Wow, I love the Weisinger explanation. No sex = marriage doesn’t count…

What the-?

P.S.S.- Can anyone tell me who the BREATHTAKING chick in these ConsumerTipDigest ads is? Cheez&rice she’s HOT!

I think that was just normal-looking for a big, strong guy back then, like a football player. Steve Reeves aside, it’s not unusual in the days before bodybuilders on steroids with 2% body fat.

Even so, he doesn’t seem fat or anything, more like he just has a big skeletal frame and his costume isn’t vacuum-packed over his muscles like modern superhero art.

In addition, there is definition to the abs, just a lot of mass. Around the time Steve Reeves came along it was more in vogue to have smaller abs and a big chest to create more of a V-shape.

Can you imagine the look on the face of a parent, whose child asked them, after reading a Superman comic book, what “consummated” meant? LOL

Given DC’s obsession with reviving the Silver Age, someone needs to bring back X-Plam. Maybe he could turn out to be Ambush Bug’s brother, and great hilarity will ensue.

Can you imagine the look on the face of a parent, whose child asked them, after reading a Superman comic book, what “consummated” meant? LOL

Particularly because Mort went on to say, “Technically unconsummated, that is. I mean, sodomy doesn’t count.”

Wow, that’s actually not a bad x-plamation at all, Ritchard.

That second Superman story looks like a MAD parody.

Under most state laws in the time period, marriages weren’t considered official if they weren’t consummated – or, could be annulled very easily.

Technically, Jena’s marriage was annulled by the father, the alien world’s king, so it would be under their law, and therefore wouldn’t have been considered having existed, legally, EVEN IF Supes had done the deed.

Note that the “reforms” that the Catholic church instituted a millenium ago (meant to curb family influence in the church bureaucracy, but all it did was make the church a haven for pedarists, since priest was the only medieval/renaissance job one could have that allowed one to be able to stay single and NOT be looked at with suspicion), that made it to where priests couldn’t marry, actually ANNULLED all existing marriages, instantly making all children born of such marriages retroactively ILLEGITIMATE – allowing the nobility to seize all those persons (and their descendents’) properties for their own, because the no-longer-wife was now considered legally no better than a whore.

Technically, unless the DC universe had laws taking into account time travelers, Lois, while being widowed, could also get HERS annulled from her “husband” not being of age at the time of marriage (after all, technically, he wasn’t BORN for centuries!). Then again, pre-crisis, her wedding might have prompted laws that would later affect Barry & Iris Allen.

Lois Lane looks like she’s going to an Of Montreal concert.

Re: Bizarro with a B on his chest:

It’s a mistake.

The only other comic book appearance of Bizarro with a B is a house ad in Superboy #67, which was previewing Bizarro (Superboy)’s first appearance in the next issue: http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/sreply/23289/t/DC-House-Ads-From-the-30s-to-the-70s.html

But there was also the Superman comic strip, which had Bizarro about the same time (August 25, 1958 to December 13, 1958), and he did have a B on his chest: http://www.thespeedingbullet.com/daily/ep91_105/ep105.html

Yeah, I also can’t get over how wide about the waist Superman looks in those old stories. I wonder if that is a Wayne Boring thing? Any other artists of the time also drew the characters like this?

The “consummated” thing doesn’t really surprise me. I suppose the amount of teenagers and young adults reading superhero comics was higher than people think, even in the early 1960s.

@Rene: Al Plastino.

Superman singing is awesome. I’d love to see Superman be a fun, upbeat character again, not all this gloom and doom.

Agreed. Superman is supposed to be fun, Batman a bit darker (but not too dark). DC has really gotten that mixed up lately. They really should target Superman to kids again, or at least make his stories more accessible to kids. He’s a guy wearing his bright blue-and-red underwear on the outside!

DUM… DEE… DUM… DUM…

Is that Superman story reprinted? I love how all kinds of epic stuff just happens without making a bit fuss about it (throwing an ice-planet into another???).

random surfer

May 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm

It’s a good thing Lois didn’t marry Bizarro.

Me wish to worship you forever, dear Lois!

That’s Bizarro-speak for “I’ll beat you every day until you wish you were dead!”

Brian – Yep, Jon is dating Garfield’s vet, Liz.

And Lyman, with that mustache, the time period, and “roommates.” Kind of fun to read stuff into that.

@azjohnson5: Her name is Mélissa Theuriau. She’s a French newscaster. Please don’t take the time to click on the spam site ad to find that out. :)

I remember seeing some of those old Garfield cartoons once and couldn’t believe how the art had improved. You see artists go from 1 to 1000 in their art ability on occasion. Man, Garfield would of died within a year after eating all that lazagna. What a tubby cat.

I never heard of that Lyman guy.

I got to get that Miller Wolverine series in a trade. That’s awesome. That Wolverine, that Logan, not James generic guy who is invincible. The real Wolverine.

I always figured Davis added the Liz charecter to the Garfield strip because of the movie because she didn’t appear until after the movie. Am I wrong? Or had she appeared earlier?

Alex,

FYI: it has less to do with Davis’ art approving and more to do with him hiring other artists to draw the strip for him, especially considering he hasn’t laid a hand on the strip for decades now (writing or drawing).

I don’t care what anyone says, making it so that Superman couldn’t move3 planets anymore was probably the worst thing to ever happen tot the chatacter. Dum Dee Dum Dum

Man, I just love Wayne Boring Superman art. Al Plastino, too. Curt Swan was great, and I’ll always treasure his LHS work, but Boring and Plastino are my favorite Superman artists.

Hey I have a request for something to be explained. When the SuperPowers toy line first started I am fairly certain a Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott figure was presented on the back card instead of Hal Jordan though I never saw it in stores but I did see Hal Jordan.

Also, aside from comics, I swear I remember an animated Three’s Company hosting Saturday Morning once via bumpers, but no one I know can recall this. I seem to recall Jack tripping over the couch and into the girl’s laps.

Sherman:

Garfield’s vet Liz first appeared around 1980. She appeared occasionally over the years as the object of Jon’s affections. On the rare occasions in which they went out on a date, it was usually disastrous.

Sherman:

Liz is one of the strip’s earliest recurring characters, actually. She’s the vet Garfield has always gone to, and the most frequent target of Jon’s clumsy, inept advances.

You are right in that she and Jon weren’t a couple until the movie, though.

I went back and read the strips from 2006 that got Jon and Liz together, and I think they were pretty well done, really. Better than I expected, at least!

Klaus Janson has admitted that in DKR, he let “more of Miller” shine through, so Frank’s pencils were really loose before then. I always wondered why the Wolverine art looked different from the Daredevil art.

Having said that, I do think Frank’s strengths do lie in technique, layout, and breakdowns.

I look at the Superman stories and think that wayne Boring was pretty amazing artist.It was a shame that he didnt do any other DC heroes.He did draw 1 or 2 Captain Marvel’s for Marvel.Boring made Supes’ look super. Like Don Heck,who was also underated,he also drew beautiful women.He was a great storyteller. You just look at the art and can tell alot about the story.Talk about underated,Joe Rubenstein was one of Marvel’s best inkers.If he could turn layouts into that fine art,he was money.I thought Miller did more of the artwork.Most artists back in the day owed alot to their inkers.Artists created life,but inkers brought soul.

Peter S. Svensson

May 23, 2010 at 1:06 pm

“Is that Superman story reprinted? I love how all kinds of epic stuff just happens without making a bit fuss about it (throwing an ice-planet into another???).”

Both are reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman volume 2. Available in better comic shops everywhere!

Travis Pelkie

May 24, 2010 at 12:27 am

I just thought about this one over the weekend. In a recent Sunday Garfield strip, Liz is on the phone telling her parents about her boyfriend Jon, and says that he’s a cartoonist. Is this an element of Garfield that has been a big part of the series from the start, or was this maybe something that came out of the movie? (Never saw the movie, probably fortunately) Just wonderin’

Dave Blanchard

May 24, 2010 at 9:24 am

If I recall correctly, Mort also used the “never consummated” tactic for annulling the marriage of Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane in JIMMY OLSEN # 100. Lucy says something witty, like, “Since it was a marriage in name only…” which gives her one more opportunity to dump on Jimbo with her usual brand of mean. Jimbo, apparently, saw the annulment of his non-consummated marriage as a blessing since Lucy would never again play much of a role in his comic book, at least not during the Silver Age, and certainly not during the Kirby years.

Travis: The very first Garfield strip, Jon identifies himself as a cartoonist (ostensibly the cartoonist of the strip, as if he were an avatar for Jim Davis). To the best of my knowledge, however, this was never referenced again, and certainly (I hope), Jim no longer considers the increasingly moronic Jon to be autobiographical.

I’ve always figured that Odie was still owned by Lyman (I remember Jon’s friend well enough) but for comic purposes he just visited Jon’s house a lot. Perhaps Davis started with this idea and slowly moved to both been owned by Jon.

With these older renditions of Wolverine, it can sometimes be difficult to see the difference between Wolverine in a colorless, darkened setting and Hank McCoy (the Beast). They must have come from the same “character template”…

Cheers!

Steven G. Willis
XOWComics.com

“Radiation poisoning is contagious?!?”

…If the first person is contaminated enough, yes, it *can* happen. Ever read Gen? Some of Gen’s radiation sickness came from exposure to his family’s bones, which had been irradiated by fallout. Also, if a person is wearing metallic objects when irradiated, those objects can be bumped into radioactive isotopes anywhere from 10% to *100%* of their makeup. Thus the post-Hiroshima/Nagasaki policies that went into effect where Civil Defense of Ground Zero and Red Zone evacuations were concerned. If you could walk out on your own two feet, the first thing you did before you were allowed out of the zones was to remove any and all metal you can from your body, because even if you were protected from the blast odds are you’ll have to go through the fallout. And the fallout *will* exacerbate and energize the electron shells of most metals, turning them into radioactive isotopes. Note that those same procedures called for removal and replacement of metal fillings “as soon as possible” following such exposure, with full surgical extraction of the teeth affected in a Clear Zone recommended in lieu of a dentist and/or replacement dental material.

Transmitted like an infection? Yes and no, but still potentially as deadly.

Captainswift – Jon’s job as a cartoonist was referenced in the last few weeks. Liz was calling her parents to tell them she had a new boyfriend, and they began hyperventilating when she said he was a cartoonist. (The strip from Sunday, May 2.)

Oh, and as to Odie, I always figured Lyman foisted him off on Jon after he moved out. (Well, at least once I discovered that Lyman ever existed…I was born shortly before Garfield started, so my first memories are after Lyman left.)

Andrew Perron

May 25, 2010 at 11:15 am

Very little from the Garfield movies affected the comic. Even the Liz/Jon thing was there, if not a serious relationship.

I’m just surprised so few remember this stuff from when it was in the cartoon!

The lesson (as always) is do not let Superman near the keg.

Also, there are so many TV channels 2360 that one is devoted to old Fortress of Solitude security tapes. Good to know.

Am I the only one who has to believe that X-ray vision wouldn’t actually behave in the manner shown if it really is X-ray vision?

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #261 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

I realize this is an old article, but Mark Evanier recently brought back Lyman in an episode The Garfield Show that explains where he has been all this time.

[…] rather obscure places, given that Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield are not obscure strips: here and here, respectively; in both cases, you need to scroll down to the end, or near the end, of the source to […]

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