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Comic Book Legends Revealed #262

Welcome to the two-hundred and sixty-second 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-one

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 Baseball Legends Revealed to find out what Baseball All-Star played the All-Star Game with a jersey he bought outside the stadium!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: A comment by Stan Lee led to Iron Man getting a nose on his armor for over a year.

STATUS: True

1974 was an odd period in Marvel history as far as upper management went. Stan Lee was the publisher of the company and was still the editorial supervisor, but a succession of people had the job of Editor-in-Chief between 1972 (when Stan became publisher – he had been editor-in-chief since 1945!) and 1978, when Jim Shooter took over for an extended period. FIVE different Editors-in-Chief in six years. They haven’t even had five Editors-in-Chief in the 32 years SINCE then!

So with all that upheaval and Lee’s reduced presence at the company, it is totally understandable how some things fell through the cracks.

One of those things was Iron Man’s nose armor.

When Lee would get a chance, he would make comments about covers and stuff like that, but since he was not around a lot, his comments often were not elaborated upon, and as a result, he began to get a bit of an undeserved reputation as a fickle guy. He would make a comment one week, have it taken out of context and then when he later saw what had happened from his comment, he would make a second comment, seemingly the OPPOSITE of the first one, and it would be “he’s contradicting himself!”

Probably the most famous example of this is Iron Man’s infamous nose armor.

One day, in ’74, Lee made a comment about an Iron Man cover, asking basically “Where’s the nose?” (as my pal Roquefort Raider points out, the phrase most often repeated in this story is that he said “Shouldn’t there be a nose?”). Lee’s remark was based on the notion that he thought that the head was drawn so small that it was practically Iron Man’s face, and that it did not look like as though the facemask would be able to fit a nose under there.

That was taken as “his armor should have a nose.”

And in 1974′s Iron Man #68, that’s just what they did…

You have to love the rationale behind the chance in the comic. Poor Mike Friedrich, to have to come up with that!

The nose was not exactly well-received, getting mocked as early as Iron Man #72, when Shellhead visited the San Diego comic book convention…

(isn’t it funny seeing talk about Star Trek only five or so years before the franchise WAS resurrected?)

but it stayed, since that’s what Stan “wanted.”

Eventually, either Lee made a comment about the nose or people just got sick of it, so in Iron Man #85, the nose departed…

And I don’t believe anyone ever missed it!

Thanks to Jim Shooter for the details of the story, from an interview he did with Gary Groth in the Comics Journal years ago.

COMIC LEGEND: Alan Moore created the term “Sith Lord.”

STATUS: False

Reader Joa wrote in to ask:

Recently, I read a Star Wars story written by Alan Moore in Marvel UK’s The Empire Strikes Back Monthly (Issue 155, reprinted in “Classic Star Wars: Devilworlds #1″). I noticed a character using the term “Sith Lord” in conversation with Darth Vader. This comic was originally published in 1982, nearly 17 years before the term was used in the first Star Wars prequel.

Could it be possible that Alan Moore created the term Sith Lord?

Here’s the mention in the story…

And yes, this usage of “Sith Lord” did, in fact, predate the first usage of the term in a Star Wars movie by nearly 20 years…

However, the term actually predates ALL of the Star Wars movies!

You see, it first appeared in Alan Dean Foster’s NOVELIZATION of the first Star Wars film (credited to George Lucas), Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, and the novel came out in 1976, months before the film’s release!

star-wars-from-the-adventu2

Foster was working off of the early screenplays for the film, so he has all the scenes cut from the film (Han meeting Jabba, Luke’s scenes with Biggs) but also some other bits that were dropped before they got to filming, including the references to Darth Vader as a “Sith Lord” (and mentions of previous Sith lords).

So no, Joa, it wasn’t Moore who came up with it, but at least he did write one very cool story with it!

COMIC LEGEND: Elliot S! Maggin quit working for DC Comics for awhile over Julie Schwartz changing the ending of a Maggin story to the point where Maggin blotched his credit out of the issue.

STATUS: True

Action Comics #461 has a Perry White back-up story that conspicuously has no writer listed.

This is because Elliot S! Maggin actually personally removed his name from the tale!

The story involves young Perry making a scoop – a toyman is trying to build nuclear weapons!

and he stops the bad guy AND gets the story…

In the end, though, Perry’s editor turns down the story.

In Maggin’s original, though, the story WAS told.

Maggin told the marvelous Superman site, Superman Through the Ages, about the problem…

The most significant one was the one I quit over. At some point, I did a story involving Perry White and the idea that as a young reporter he had uncovered the story of the Manhattan Project. Julie changed the ending not for any artistic or narrative reason, but because he wanted to use the story to make a point to me about editorial supremacy. I told him to take my name off the story and he didn’t, so I went into the production room and brushed out my name with black ink, and that’s how the story was printed.

Superman Through the Ages also has another quote from a 2002 Maggin interview:

Julie Schwartz and I were having an argument over editorial/writer turf. I was a fresh journalism school graduate and wrote this story to make a point about the right of the public to public information. Julie changed the ending to make a point about an editor’s right to skew any story any way he liked. So I took my name off the story — covered it over on the artwork with india ink while it was in production.

Maggin would be gone from DC for a few years, but he eventually reconciled with Schwartz and did work on the Superman titles again in the 1980s before the Byrne reboot.

Thanks to Maggin and Superman Through the Ages for the information! In fairness to Schwartz, do note that this is just Maggin’s side of the story. His side is the only one we need for the fact that A. He quit DC for awhile it and B. He blotched his own name out of the credits, but I presume Schwartz would have a different take on his reasoning why the editor in the story turned down Perry’s story other than making a “point about editorial supremacy” or “the editor’s right to skew any story any way he liked.”

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!

89 Comments

I think its cool that Maggin! would go to the production room and basically destroy something because he felt so strongly about it. You do that today you probably wouldn’t ever work for a company again.

Brian, I’m pretty sure that I sent you a question once upon a time about the Iron Man nose story. In Comics Interview #50, In a long interview with David Anthony Kraft, George Perez claims that the nose was added to Iron Man because a toy or statue line had inadvertently added a nose to their Iron Man mold, and it was decided that it would just be easier to draw a nose on Iron Man from then on then to replace an expensive mold. I don’t know if anyone else has ever told this version of the events, but I think it’s at least worth noting there’s another possible explanation out there.

Brian, I’m pretty sure that I sent you a question once upon a time about the Iron Man nose story. In Comics Interview #50, In a long interview with David Anthony Kraft, George Perez claims that the nose was added to Iron Man because a toy or statue line had inadvertently added a nose to their Iron Man mold, and it was decided that it would just be easier to draw a nose on Iron Man from then on then to replace an expensive mold. I don’t know if anyone else has ever told this version of the events, but I think it’s at least worth noting there’s another possible explanation out there.

I knew someone had asked about it, but I couldn’t recall who!

Thanks, Ken. I couldn’t find your original question.

As to the nose/toy thing, I dunno – the nose debuted in the comics in early 1974 and the Mego Iron Man did not come out until a year later, so it seems a lot more likely that Mego was working off of Marvel rather than Marvel working off of Mego, but I assume that is what Perez is suggesting.

Brian, you mentioned that it was Gary Friedrich who had to deal with adding a nose to Iron Man’s mask. Truth is, it was Mike Friedrich who was writing IRON MAN at the time, not Gary.

Thanks, Bill! Silly mistake – it’s fixed now!

Hi, Brian. What about this?:

“An issue of Star-Lord, published by Marvel Comics in 1973, featured a villain, Rruothk’ar, who was described as a “Sith-Lord”. [1] ”

Directly from wookiepedia… Is it true? Did Gerber or Claremont wrote down “Sith-Lord” for the first time?

Great stuff, as usual. A few random comments:

1. San Diego Comic Con: The comic book convention that Iron Man visits in #72 is not just any con. It is the soon to be legendary San Diego Comic Con.

2: Comics creators: If memory serves, several actual comics creators were depicted as attendees at the con, including Roy Thomas and Frank Brunner. As a matter of fact, I think that the artists who were depicted drew themselves.

Fair enough, trajan, I added the San Diego part!

Hey Brian, do you if the Iron Man fan in #72 was based on a real person? His name tag reads Kenny Lupoff. Could he be related to Richard Lupoff, the author of EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS: MASTER OF ADVENTURE, THE COMIC BOOK KILLER, and ALL IN COLOR FOR A DIME?

Chalk me up as one of the kids who actually liked the nose at the time. It never made sense to me to not have it – without a nose, the eye holes would be so far out in front that periferal vision would not only be eliminated, but there would be an incredibly tight tunnel vision. This problem is of course eliminated these days with the internal holographic displays depicted in the comics and films.

And “Sith Lord” vs. “Dark Lord of the Sith” – that goes beyond splitting hairs – that’s splitting an amoeba’s pseudopod!

Yah! you’re right nose of Iron Man is not helping.

Dark Lord of the Sith is the equivalent of a Jedi Master while Sith Lord is more of a generic term that encompasses all Sith much like Jedi Knight includes masters, knights and padawans.

Shnitzy Pretzelpants

May 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

Hey, great column as always – my opiate on a dull Friday morning in the office!

But on the Iron Man nose thing, didn’t Ditko often draw Iron Man with at least a kind of pronounced tweak around the nose on the mask?

Or am I thinking of Kirby – and therefore from this same period that you mention in the above Legends?

Brother Justin Crowe

May 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

Bjo FTW.

Shnitzy Pretzelpants

May 28, 2010 at 10:43 am

On the Star Wars/Sith front:

Is it just me or is that a plain ridiculous name that Moore has either cribbed or invented?

Clat the Shamer?

It seems like a phrase one could use after a having a bran muffin and six cups of coffee:

“‘Scuse me fellas, be back in a second. I gotta go clat me a shamer.”

“So no, Joa, it wasn’t Moore who came up with it, but at least he did not write one very cool story with it!”

So you didn’t like Moore’s story?

I’m confused.

Haha!! What a weird little thing to add in there. Thanks, Todd. So odd that I put a “not” where I did not intend to.

Anyone else catch that, on the second page of the Perry White story, it appears Dick Giordano won an art contest or scholarship of some sort?

Yeah, that was cool.

Who drew that Alan Moore Star Wars story? Is that Ridgway?

John Stokes.

“I think its cool that Maggin! would go to the production room and basically destroy something because he felt so strongly about it. You do that today you probably wouldn’t ever work for a company again.”

Probably but I think that if a creator asked his editor to remove his name from the credits he wouldn’t be denied nowadays. Whatever the case, Schwartz was wrong there, imho.

Something doesn’t sit right with me on that Maggin story, He says I “brushed out my name with black ink” and “covered it over on the artwork with india ink while it was in production”. The image shows 4 widely spaced asterisks where I assume the writer credit would have been. It’s not “brushed out”. Maybe he pasted over it, and he just simplified it when asked. Perhaps I am reading his statements too literally?

So weird to see an Alan Moore Star Wars story. It hasn’t been reprinted anywhere has it?

The Iron Man nose story is one I’ve known about for decades but have anxiously waited to see it appear here in one of my favorite columns! Funny stuff! By the way, the Mego action figure HAD the nose helmet!! Keep “em Burnin’ true believers!

Roquefort Raider

May 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I believe I first read about the Iron Nose story in Marvel Age #8, which had a long interview with both Stan Lee and Jim Shooter. As you point out, Stan’s offhand comments were often received as divine commands and taken out of context. As I recall, when Stan saw that picture of Iron Man with a very flat faceplate, his words were “shouldn’t he have a nose?” which can indeed be taken as a suggestion to add a nasal appendage to Shellhead’s mask instead of just make room for Tony’s. When he saw actually saw the nose a while later, Stan said something to the effect of “what is that??? what’s it doing there??? Doesn’t it look a bit odd???” and off the nose went.

Another confusing situation was based on Stan supposedly saying “never color a cover green”, which at least one colorist took as an unbreakable rule. However Stan had no recollection of ever saying that.

“As to the nose/toy thing, I dunno – the nose debuted in the comics in early 1974 and the Mego Iron Man did not come out until a year later, so it seems a lot more likely that Mego was working off of Marvel rather than Marvel working off of Mego, but I assume that is what Perez is suggesting.”

I’m not sure how long development on a toy line would take back in those days, but isn’t it still possible that Mego had created the mold that far in advance, and that Marvel had made the change before the toys were released so that it appeared the change in the comics happened first?

I wish that I could find an electronic copy of that Perez interview to share with you, but as it is I don’t even have a physical copy to refer to any more (the interview’s over 20 years old now). Perez definitely said that he and other artists drawing Iron Man at the time (as he would have been in Avengers) had to add the nose because of a screwup with a licensee. He never said Megos, but that always seemed like a natural assumption. Anyway, since your info comes from an old Shooter interview, I think I’m satisfied. I’ve heard that story related as an anecdote Stan tells, and, given his memory, it’s never seemed that plausible. But Shooter’s a different story.

Ian, that Alan Moore STAR WARS short story was reprinted in “Classic Star Wars: Devil Worlds #1″ in 1996 from Dark Horse.

There is also an early Alan Davis drawn story in there too!

Ian – I think that asterisk line is just a divider. It looks like Maggin blotched out his credit above Curt Swan’s in the black area of the artwork, making it blend in with the art.

Scott Rowland

May 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Since the Schwartz ending to the Perry White story involves the editor in the story pulling rank on the writer in the story, I don’t have much of a problem accepting Maggin’s story as being pretty close to the truth. You dont’ need to read very deeply to get that moral.

However, the Schwartz ending also adds a final twist to the story, so that may have been part of Julie “Be Original” Schwartz’s motivation also.

In my never ending quest to satisfy my own fannish curiosity, here are the some of the creators who were featured in the Comic-Con scenes in IRON MAN #72 (All identifications are courtesy of the Letters’ Page in IM#74):

Roy Thomas: Drawn by Neal Adams.

Mike Friedrich: drawn by Neal Adams

Frank Brunner: drawn by Frank Brunner

Alan Kupperberg: drawn by Orz (That is how he is listed. I don’t recognize the name.)

Iron Man’s Nose: At least one soon to be Pro liked the nose: Jo Duffy. Again, courtesy of the Letters’ Page in IM #74: “By the way, I like the nose. How would you like to go around without a nose? not much, I’ll bet.” Going by her address (Stone Hall, Wellesley College) she was still a college student when she wrote it. Further proof,MARVEL, that you need to include the Letters’ Page in the ESSENTIALS line. Just look at all the neat stuff that people who don’t own the originals are missing.

Scott Rowland

May 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Oh yeah, I believe that the guy telling Iron Man the stories about him are dull is actually writer Mike Friedrich, drawn by Neal Adams. I think they got Neal to add faces of actual Marvel creators to the figures that George Tuska had drawn. That may be Len Wein behind Mike Friedrich.

Thanks as always for a fun column, Brian.

Scott Rowland

May 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Trajan posted while I was typing. Darn!

Scott Rowland

May 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Oh, and “Orz” would be Tom Orzechowski, who may or may not have been a professional letterer by then.

Scott Rowland: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone beat me to the punch (post?) while I was typing. Say, would you happen to know who this “Orz” guy is?

Scott Rowland: There you go. You answered my question before I even finished typing it!

Perez definitely said that he and other artists drawing Iron Man at the time (as he would have been in Avengers) had to add the nose because of a screwup with a licensee.

Perez’s first Marvel assignment came a couple of months after the nose made its debut, Ken. He didn’t start working on the superhero line of comics until the middle of 1975. He did, though, of course draw the “nose armor” Iron Man in the Avengers when he began on that title.

Ian – I think that asterisk line is just a divider. It looks like Maggin blotched out his credit above Curt Swan’s in the black area of the artwork, making it blend in with the art.

Yeah, that’s what I was figuring.

Looks like the last two images in the Maggin/Perry White section are swapped.

Ethan Shuster

May 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I believe the Star Wars Marvel comic tossed that term around, too, especially in the earlier days. But no one knew what the hell it really meant until 1999. Though some Sith Lords appeared in some mid-90s comics, which were sort of retconned to fit better with the prequel material.

What I find funniest about the Iron Man nose is that they felt the need to explain why it was there, and why it was removed. Costumes get changed all the time now without some explanation. You have to love all the long-winded exposition from those days.

I think the nose makes Iron Man look less robotic which sort of unbalances the whole point of Iron Man. Just like Vision would be unbalanced if he were made to look more robotic. I’m sure someone could come up with a cool-looking Iron Man costume that has a nose, though. And hey, while we’re at it, we might as well make it into a whole universe line event: Rhinoplasty Wars! The schnozzes of the Marvel Universe will never be the same! Might give Paste-Pot-Pete something to do.

Although Alan Moore did not coin the phrase, Sith-Lord, Claremont used the term in Star-Lord in 1973 before Star Wars the novelization arrived in 1976.

“Sith” was the name of a type of giant poisonous insect in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom novels.

An issue of Star-Lord, published by Marvel Comics in 1973, featured a villain, Rruothk’ar, who was described as a “Sith-Lord”. [1]

Forget it, the Star-Lord use came after.

Yep, Marvel was using the term “Sith Lord” starting with the very first issue of the Star Wars comic book series back in 1977, in their adaptation of the movie…

http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryPiece.asp?Piece=83021&GSub=12002

They were probably working from the same earlier version of the screenplay as Alan Dean Foster.

“They haven’t even had five Editors-in-Chief in the 32 years SINCE then!”

Actually, that’s not true. They’ve had 8. Shooter was EIC until 1987. Tom DeFalco was EIC from ’87 to ’94.

In 1994, Marvel had 5, concurrent, EICs each overseeing a smaller group of titles: Bob Harras was EIC of the X-Men titles, Bob Budiansky was EIC of the Spider-Man books, Mark Gruenwald oversaw the “Marvel Heroes” books (which included titles like AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR, and CAPTAIN AMERICA), Bobbie Chase oversaw the “Marvel Edge” books (which included the likes of INCREDIBLE HULK, DAREDEVIL, and THE PUNISHER), and Carl Potts was in charge of Epic and the various licensed properties they were publishing at the time.

I think that arrangement barely lasted a year before Bob Harras was installed as Marvel’s line-wide EIC. Quesada, then, succeeded him in 2000.

As ridiculous as the Iron Man beak is, giving him the features of a deformed canary android, Stan did raise a good point. The classic Iron Man helmet is not shaped in accordance with the proportions of the human head. This is especially jarring when we see Tony’s eyes through the mask; then it looks like he either is bulging his peepers out Looney Tunes-style, or that he banished his nose to the extradimensional space where Optimus Prime stores his tractor trailer.

Modern armor designs have been more conscientious of this and have given us helmets and faceplates that could conceivably store a head with a nose, thankfully.

Matthew Johnson

May 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I wonder if the Perry White story (and perhaps the story behind the story) was the inspiration for the similar story in Astro City #2?

I had always thought the whole nose idea was a feeble attempt to try to shore up Iron Man’s sales. The entire episode coinsided with the book going monthly for several months.

oops, bi-monthly, i meant.

The five EICs in the 90s, that was nuts.

I always wondered why the Star Wars trilogy sometimes ommited names or gave simplistic names like ‘Princess Leia’ in the credits. I heard the name ‘Sith’ before, but it was nowhere in the films. The ‘Emporer’ had no other name in the credits, yet when I sent away for the Emporer Palpatine’ action figure which I got in the little brown box he had a name. I guess they didn’t need to be there. No big deal.

that perry white story is the EXACT same story as the Astro city story! i cant believe how much so! that is a HUGE swipe!!!!!!!

Reading about the Perry White story makes me wonder if it was the inspiration for one of Kurt Busiek’s early Astro City stories where a young reporter has to cut out the details of an encounter with the Silver Agent and his allies because the facts were unverifiable.

Just one nitpick, Marvel has had 8 editors in chief from Shooter onwards:

Jim Shooter, Tom DeFalco, Mark Gruenwald, Bob Budiansky, Bobbie Chase, Carl Potts, Bob Harras, and Joe Quesada. I believe you skipped over the Marvelution period of the company where it was basically split in to five brands headed by five EICs, before it was all consolidated again under X-Men editor-in-chief Bob Harras.

Here was Kurt’s inspiration for “The Scoop” http://www.astrocity.us/cgi-bin/index.cgi?page=news/trolley.html

I agree it’s a very similar story and ending as told. But hardly a swipe. Elliot’s as stated above was about the first amendment and not trying to make a point. Julie was the one who made it about power and control.
Plus, just because one comic book does something, does not make anyone who goes down that road copyists and plagiarists. Kurt used superheroes and supernatural elements we take for granted in comic stories and used that angle. And Elliot Mills was just an observer in Astro City, not the one active in the story. The Perry White story probably echoes hundreds of stories in real life, of reporters who couldn’t verify anything they personally witness because of lack of facts and being too sensational…

Alex wrote: “I always wondered why the Star Wars trilogy sometimes ommited names or gave simplistic names like ‘Princess Leia’ in the credits. I heard the name ‘Sith’ before, but it was nowhere in the films. The ‘Emporer’ had no other name in the credits, yet when I sent away for the Emporer Palpatine’ action figure which I got in the little brown box he had a name. I guess they didn’t need to be there. No big deal.”

Most likely, the FILMS (as well as the novelizations and comics) didn’t need to actually name the Emperor since the character was rather unique to that story. The action figures, on the other hand, would likely have required a more distinctive name to prevent problematic copyright/trademark infringement lawsuits. (“Emperor Palpatine” is MUCH easier to protect than just “Emperor.”)

Roquefort Raider wrote:
Another confusing situation was based on Stan supposedly saying “never color a cover green”, which at least one colorist took as an unbreakable rule. However Stan had no recollection of ever saying that.

He may well have said that, and been repeating perceived wisdom. There really IS a superstition in magazine publishing about avoiding green covers! Here’s one article about it from Slate:

IT AIN’T EASY BEING GREEN:
Are green magazine covers really “death on newsstands”?
http://www.slate.com/id/2153949

“So weird to see an Alan Moore Star Wars story. It hasn’t been reprinted anywhere has it?”

In the late ’90′s, Dark Horse printed two issues called “Star Wars: Devilworlds” which were all five of the Alan Moore Marvel UK ‘Star Wars’ stories.

One of which (I believe the one cited above) is the one that the editor lost the last page of his script, so they just did it and published it not realizing that it had no ending. One of Moore’s gribes against Marvel.

@Nick A: Sure, the number is high if you count the line division, but that’s like counting all the divided Soviet leaders from 1953-1956. In listing Soviet leaders we skip directly from Stalin to Krushchev because there was no clear leader in that period. There was no “Marvel EiC” for that year, so we don’t count any of them but Harras in a list of EiCs.

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #262 | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources (tags: legends alanmoore stanlee ironman starwars) [...]

Brian — far too kind to Schwartz on that Maggin story. Maggin’s version at the least fully comports with the kind of person-as-editor Schwartz was. He was the editor who messed with Alex Toth (chasing from DC as a result IIRC) in the 50s because he couldn’t interrupt his lunch to give Toth a paycheck. This is the same person who had a compulsion to rewrite many if not most scripts he got. So I find Maggin’s version so credible that given what’s out there about Schwartz and what I’ve heard from people who knew him, I can’t even imagine any contradictory version of Maggin’s story.

Iron Man’s faceplate may have a pocket dimension where his nose resides comfortably.

Who are these children of Perry White? Has any other story mentioned them?

Perry had one son, Jerry, who was secretly fathered by Lex Luthor. Did Luthor sire Perry’s other children too?

Ethan Shuster

May 29, 2010 at 8:12 am

Names of Star Wars characters is a funny subject. The majority of characters’ names were probably first revealed on the action figure package. Like how the name “Boba Fett” is never heard in The Empire Strikes Back, but was revealed a couple of years before for an action figure and cartoon.

Some of the names of the characters listed in the credits are even wrong. One or two of the Imperial officer’s names listed for A New Hope were misspelled, I believe.

Re: Iron Man’s nose; I actually have some comics from that period where he had the “nose”, and I kept wondering why since I knew the character previously from the Marvel Super Heroes cartoon and he didn’t have the nose there. Years later I read Lee’s explanation, however. I didn’t know it actually had an in-story explanation (or a criticism) until now though.

Btw, just WHO is Tony explaining all that stuff to? Is he talking to himself- out loud? Shouldn’t they have used thought balloons instead? It looks weird otherwise.

Oh and Tony, you forgot to shout HENSHIN!!! while transforming (fans of 70′s Japanese superhero shows will get that reference.)

Re: The Sith, I had also already heard the term in some Star Wars source material before the Phantom Menace came out. And I guessed correctly that it had been in one of Foster’s novels that it had first been brought up.

Re: S! Maggin quitting his job over his story being changed, that I’d never heard before, and it’s kinda sad given how well he supposedly got along with Schwartz (according to him.) But I guess we all have our bad days. It does sound terribly petty that he would change the ending of a story just to “get back” at Maggin. I wonder if there wasn’t some other reason- like maybe Julie had his own plans for the Manhattan Project in the DC Universe. (For the record, in real life there was such secrecy surrounding the project that anybody who even mentioned atomic bombs (including comic books) were scrutinized by the FBI in case it was a leak. In fact I hear that happened with an early Superman story. I think Brian covered it here once.)

” Oh and Tony, you forgot to shout HENSHIN!!! while transforming (fans of 70′s Japanese superhero shows will get that reference.) ”

Also, fans of Capcom’s vastly underrated video game pastiche, Viewtiful Joe. ” Henshin a go go, baby! ”

Though as of Invincible Iron Man #25, Tony’s storing the entire armor in his body, so we actually do get a transformation sequence. He just needs a catchphrase.

"O" the Humanatee!

May 29, 2010 at 10:06 am

@Mitchell: Are you sure you’re not referring to Mort Weisinger rather than Schwartz? Weisinger was famous for being an a**hole, while Schwartz seems to have been widely loved. Here’s a comment by Alan Moore from an interview at http://www.resilientpress.com/blog/?p=188:

AM: Oh Christ, he [Weisinger] was a monster, I remember Julie Schwarz telling me – who was a lovely man – he told me about Mort Weisinger’s funeral – and this was probably just an old Jewish joke that he’d adapted – for Mort Weisinger – but he said that apparently during Jewish funerals there’s a part where people can stand up and spontaneously will say a few words about the departed – personal tributes, things like that. So it’s Mort Weisinger’s funeral, and it gets to this bit in the funeral and there’s absolute dead silence, and the silence just goes on and on and on and nobody gets up and says anything and eventually this guy at the back of the synagogue gets up and says: “His brother was worse!” (laughter).

Schwartz may have done extensive rewriting, but that would have been well within an editor’s rights in those days, when there were no star writers. Significant rewriting would seem especially likely for inexperienced writers, and as Brian quotes above, Maggin says, “I was a fresh journalism school graduate” when Schwartz edited the story in question. And Maggin did, after all, later return to DC, where he worked extensively with Schwartz.

It’s possible that Schwartz – a founder of science-fiction fandom and no doubt an avid follower of science – was concerned not with making a point about about editorial power but both with the actual history of atomic-bomb development and with what would have been the real-life implications would have been of releasing information about atomic bombs to the general public so early. From Wikipedia’s article on the history of nuclear weapons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_nuclear_weapons): “In 1934 the idea of chain reaction via neutron was proposed by Leó Szilárd, who patented the idea of the atomic bomb. The patent was transferred in secret to Britain’s Royal Navy in 1936.” (I mention only that fact; one can obviously read more.) Moreover, as Sijo notes (after your comment, to be fair), “in real life there was such secrecy surrounding the [Manhattan] project that anybody who even mentioned atomic bombs (including comic books) were scrutinized by the FBI in case it was a leak.”

Of course we have no idea of Schwartz’s reasons, as Brian notes; I’m just pointed out that there are several reasonable explanations other than Maggin’s story.

“Btw, just WHO is Tony explaining all that stuff to? Is he talking to himself- out loud? Shouldn’t they have used thought balloons instead? It looks weird otherwise.”

That was just the way it was in the 1970s. Every character constantly talked to himself…thought balloons weren’t used all that consistently unless another character was around and the writer wanted to remind the reader of a secret one of the characters was hiding.

Ethan Shuster beat me to it when pointing out that, strangely, George Lucas omitted the names of a lot of his characters within the actual movies’ dialogue, and that you needed to refer to credits, or the action figures and comic books, to find out who some of these characters were supposed to be.

Peter Cushing at least gets referred to as “Governor Tarken” within the first film, but you wouldn’t know that he’s also a “Grand Moff” unless you stuck around for the end credit scroll. Boba Fett is supposed to be this major bad@$$ bounty hunter, but Lucas doesn’t even bother to name him a single time within the actual dialogue of The Empire Strikes Back.

You had the same thing going on with a whole host of minor characters in both the original trilogy and the prequels. I like all six of the Star Wars films a lot. But that is one glaring quirk of Lucas’ that always annoys the hell out of me.

Who are these children of Perry White? Has any other story mentioned them?

Perry had one son, Jerry, who was secretly fathered by Lex Luthor. Did Luthor sire Perry’s other children too?

Those are his grandkids he’s talking to above, but pre-Crisis Perry had three sons: Will, Hank, and Perry Jr. And yeah, they showed up from time to time. None of them exist post-Crisis.

Jerry White is strictly post-Crisis — something like Luthor fathering Perry’s kids would never have happened in the Silver or Bronze Age.

@trajan23:

Well, according to this: http://www.ramblehouse.com/triunemanchapter.htm, Richard Lupoff’s son is named Ken, lived in California in the 1970′s, and was a comic book fan at the time his father was known as “the guy who wrote that book on comic-books.” So I’d say there’s a good chance the nametag is a favor/tribute to the Lupoffs.

Simon, Thanks for the info. I agree.

When the first Star Wars film came out I was 10 and in grade school, and the Star Wars trading cards were all the rage. At least one of them called Vader “The Dark Lord of the Sith”. We never knew what the heck that meant, but it sounded so cool! Boba Fett was a highly-anticipated character when Empire came out because we all knew him from the cool cartoon segment of the now-infamous Star Wars Holiday Special that aired on TV between the first and second movies. Fett was mentioned by name several times in the cartoon and he was a very cool and smart character and much less of a screw-up than he turned out to be by the time Jedi came out! There was also the big 12″ Kenner figure of Fett which came out before Empire, and it had details and stuff on the back of the box about his armor, and showed him shooting flames from his wrist. Even back then, many characters with hardly any screen time had a lot of details and backstory to them, even though it wasn’t in any of the films. Helped with the whole immersive realism thing.

About Iron Man, I remember in the early 70′s there was a line of cast soft-plastic statuettes in different colors of several Marvel characters: Cap, Spidey, Hulk and maybe Daredevil (do I remember a Green Goblin?), and Shellhead was in a cool pose breaking chains over his head, but I don’t recall if he had the nose or not. I think he was cast in red, but I’m not sure if ech character had his own distinct color or if it was a random assortment. I don’t think they were made by Mego. Anyone remember those?

Ha! After several minutes of obsessive searching with Google, the phrase “70′s Thor plastic” yielded the following image of the Iron Man figurine, by a company called Marx. Look Ma, no nose!!
http://tinyurl.com/23akhnd
I forgot about the Thor figure, of course. These were awesome, but it’s too bad Spidey was orange! Looks like each character had its own set color and that was it.

I always thought the infamous nose was to IM look more human. Look at the mask’s faces in IM # 159. The face changes from normal to angry and back, and in the last panel of that issue, the mask is actually smiling.

Matthew Johnson

May 30, 2010 at 6:22 am

Just for the record, I didn’t mean to suggest that Busiek had plagiarized the Perry White story — rather that he might have intended his story as in some way a response to that one (as in the Busiek story two characters actually debate the meaning or moral of the story.)

^ It was [b]tivo[/b]‘s comment that suggested it was an open total swipe, that I was responding to…

I always though the Darth in Darth Vader, Maul, etc. was an abbreviation of Dark Lord Of The Sith, but maybe I made that up.

And I didn’t mind the nose on Iron Man’s armor. Humanized him a bit. I prefer it when the character looks more like a man and less like a bug. The current version looks like Annihilus.

could Iron Man’s nose really have been added because of a random comment from Stan Lee? Wouldn’t Stan have seen the issues and asked what the hell was going on? it sounds far fetched to me

i think it’s FAR more likely that they changed it to fit in with the toy

@Jeffmc2000

I remember something about Lucas saying that Darth Vader’s name is derived from Dark Father (Vader being father in some nordic language, dutch maybe)… so it’s more likely the Darth came first (although imo that explanation sounds like a back-splanation to me).

Either way, if you search on the net the early drafts for SW Darth Vader as a name appears in some draft where Luke’s father is still alive.

Ganky – in the link, there’s a red Iron Man and – in the complete collection shot – a green Iron Man, so it looks like the molds were used with Marx’ full variety of colored plastic. Very cool figures!

Keith- yes, I realized that moments after posting my comment, oops! I didn’t think the figures were that old (1966) since I saw them in a toy store bin in about 1975, must have been old stock from somewhere. I remember the Iron Man being red, and that being the main photo of the IM figure here, I guess my brain just ignored the green IM in the group shot. Very cool figures though, I may have to start hunting for a red Iron Man sometime soon.

That original novel for the Star Wars series was actually pretty good. Weird enough, it made the release of the movie just a tad annoying, as many things in the book were not in that first movie (Episode IV). Odd, indeed, considering the book was based on the movie that had not been released yet.

Cheers!

Steven G. Willis
XOWComics.com

That’s quite common. Books are often based on the full script whereas the film gets edited down.

Yet another Dark Lord of the Sith mention prior to the new movies- I’m pretty sure it was after Empire, but Starlog (or one of those magazines) had a big article speculating on Vader, and what his powers were and background. I think they referenced “Splinter’, but they definitely asked themselves what the mysterious DLotS meant. And I think it was after Empire, because I vaguely recall them projecting there had to be a big Yoda-Vader battle of the ultimate users of the force. (It’s amazing even after Empire, where he appears and is not just mentioned, how little people thought of the Emperor back in the day. I mean, Vader bows down to him, but most didn’t think of him as a major part of the mythology till Jedi).

The Probe Droid in Empire specifically repeats: “Scan the defenses……leader of the Sith.” None of the Rebels identify it as recognizable speech (possibly because none of them know what a Sith is), but it’s clear that the Droid is referring to Vader and his mad search for his son.

In the 1979 book Startoons (http://www.amazon.com/Startoons/dp/0872165795) there is a one-panel gag cartoon of Darth Vader roasting chunks of meat on his light saber over a campfire, as a stormtrooper watches with curiosity. The caption says, “It’s a Sith kebob. Any other questions?”

Yup, Vader was always a Sith Lord, right from the original treatment (well, things got shuffled in various drafts, but the term was always there, essentially). It was used often in promotional material and official licensed fiction. Dunno about that probe droid thing, though. Sounds like a canard.
And yes, Boba Fett was named before Empire ever came out, in the Holiday Special, his debut.

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