web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #265

Welcome to the two-hundred and sixty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and sixty-four.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Football/Soccer Legends Revealed where you can find out if the Italian National Team was threatened to be killed by Benito Mussolini if they did not win the 1938 FIFA World Cup!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter. As I promised last week, at 2,000 followers I’ll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week we hit 2,000. So go follow us (here‘s the link to our Twitter page again)! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Warren Publishing dedicated an entire one-shot to photos of a 14-year-old model.

STATUS: True

Reader Cary wrote in to ask if it was true that Warren had a one-shot devoted just to swimsuit shots of a 14-year-old girl. And his specific question is not really true, but it is close enough to being true.

This brings us to the strange case of Heidi Saha.

Art Saha was a science-fiction author and editor who was a major part of early fandom. He is credited with coining the term “Trekkies” to describe Star Trek fans. In any event, Saha also had a close relationship with Jim Warren, head of Warren Publishing.

Likely as a result of this relationship, Saha’s daughter, Heidi, would appear at some conventions dressed as Vampirella to promote Warren’s comic of the same name.

Heidi and her mother, Taimi, and her father attended conventions frequently, and Heidi was known by pretty much all the big names in science fiction and fantasy. She also dressed up in costumes frequently.

In any event, in 1973, when Heidi was 14 (going on 15), Warren Publishing actually devoted a short print one-shot to her. I don’t know WHY they did it, but most likely it was done as some sort of favor to the Sahas for Heidi doing publicity work for Warren.

The one-shot was called An Illustrated History of Heidi Saha: Fantasy Fandom’s Famous Femme.

Here are some samples from the magazine…

Most of the pictures are along the lines of this picture of 10-year-old Heidi getting an autograph from Arthur Clarke….

or this one of Heidi just hanging out…

And a lot of the jokes are just silly innocuous puns like this one…

but there are some odd jokes in the book, like this one of 7-year-old Heidi…

and this one of Heidi dressed as Sheena…

At one point in the book she is referred to as Lilith, Lolita and Lorelei combined, so, well, yeah…

And the book ends with this as the back cover…

By 1974, Heidi was finished with costumes at conventions.

Richard Arndt has a nice interview up with Angelique Trouvere, who is a legend of fandom herself (when Heidi’s Vampirella picture showed up in a Warren article in 1971, it was along with a picture of Trouvere, as well). Trouvere has her own particular insights on Heidi – I can’t say whether they’re true or not, but I think they’re worth linking to simply as Trouvere’s take on things. I’m sure all of you have your own particular take on things, as well. Some, like Trouvere, posit that Taimi Saha was a stage mom pushing for her daughter to be a model or an actress, which is why she wanted a magazine devote to her. I don’t know. Sounds plausible, but I presume only the Sahas know for sure.

Saha has mostly been out of the limelight since the mid-70s, although she did do a nice tribute to her father in 2000 in the pages of Locus after her father died (he died in 1999).

Thanks to reader Jeff P. for the scans of the very rare collectible book. And thanks to Cary for the question! Thanks also to Richard Arndt and Angelique Trouvere for their informative interview!

COMIC LEGEND: Thanos was created as part of a school project.

STATUS: True Enough

Reader Jamie wrote in a couple of weeks ago to ask a good question (well, I thought it was good) – which was basically “Why the heck was Thanos, Drax and Eros introduced in the pages of Iron Man of all places?”

I think it is a good question because it IS pretty odd for cosmic characters like these to be introduced in the pages of a book like Iron Man.

However, there’s a very good explanation, and once again, my expert on all things Starlin, the great Daniel Best, has the answer.

As it turns out, Starlin first created Thanos when he was in college (Starlin went to college after serving a stint in the military in the late 60s) for a short time before getting involved in comics. Starlin developed the character during a psychology class.

After getting started working in comics in the early 1970s, Starlin was given an opportunity by Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas to do a fill-in issue of Iron Man. And here’s what I love about story (I’ll let Starlin explain it from the great interview Best did with him):

I felt that this may be my only chance ever to do a character, not having the confidence that my career was going to last anything longer than a few weeks. So they got jammed into it. Thanos was a much thinner character and Roy suggested beefing him up, so he’s beefed up quite a bit from his original sketches from Iron Man, and later on I liked beefing him up so much that he continued to grow in size.

Isn’t that a fascinating explanation for why Thanos was introduced in such an odd place? Starlin didn’t think he would ever get the chance to write another comic, so he went “all in” with his first work!

Here’s some snippets from Iron Man #55…

Luckily for all of us, this was NOT the “only chance” Starlin ever had to a character, and he was soon given Captain Marvel and Warlock to work with and that began an amazing stint at Marvel for Jim Starlin, one of the greatest writer/artists Marvel has ever known!

Thanks to Jamie for the question and thanks to Starlin and Best for the answers!

COMIC LEGEND: A “Sith-Lord” appeared in the Star-Lord feature in Marvel Preview before the term was used by Star Wars

STATUS: False

In the column from two weeks ago, I did a bit about whether Alan Moore used the term “Sith-Lord” before it was used in the Star Wars Universe.

Reader Kliku wrote in to say:

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?

Simply put, no.

The first appearance of Star-Lord came just a little before the Star Wars novelization that introduced the term “Sith-Lord” in 1976 and Rruothk’ar came around much later than that.

So that’s a pretty easy “no.”

I’ve read that the term “sith-lord” originally appeared in a John Carter of Mars story, with that likely being the origin for both the Star-Lord usage AND the Star Wars usage. Can anyone confirm that?

Thanks to Kliku for writing in with the suggestion! Reader PB210 ALSO wrote in with the same suggestion, then quickly wrote back to correct himself. Thanks to both of you folks!

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. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

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!

101 Comments

Eurrgh- that Heidi thing was…icky

I remember receiving a bunch of costume-show snapshots — maybe Polaroids, even — from an epistolary friend of mine in NY back around the time the ’73 Seuling con mentioned in the Angelique Trouvere interview would’ve occurred, & I know at least a couple of the photos featured a Vampirella. Makes me wonder if (a) they were from the same con &, if so, (b) that was Touvere or Heidi.

And yeah … what Blair said. The photos in TwoMorrows’ Warren Companion (cited in the Trouvere interview) are offputting enough, but some of the ones you reprint are even more so.

Hey Brian, according to the BARSOOMIAN.NET, the term “Sith” refers to to an insect-like creature that appears in the WARLORD OF MARS.

Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if more writers today went “all in” on an issue because they thought it could be their last?

(Sorry, guys, I’m feeling grumpy today.)

I’m sorry, but I don’t even understand your answer in the Item on Star-Lord and the use of “Sith-Lord.” Could you please make it clearer, and maybe perhaps even attach dates to the items? Because what I’m getting from it is that “Sith-Lord” DID appear in Star-Lord BEFORE Star Wars, but that it was used in John Carter, Warlord of Mars even before that.

Is that what you’re meaning to say? Because I can’t tell from reading the item.

Roquefort Raider

June 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

A sith is indeed a creature from Barsoom (as seen in ‘The warlord of Mars”, the third John Carter novel). It is a big hornet-like thing. I don’t know if any one ever lorded over them, though.

Wow, that Heidi stuff is the epitome of mega-creepy.

Wow….promoting your little girl with photos and writing about her in a sexual manner is a bit creepy.

Carlton, I found it a little confusing, too.

He says that though Star-Lord first appeared in 1973, the “Sith Lord” character did not show up until some time after 1976. The Star Wars novelization came out in 1976, so this Rruothk’ar guy showed up after that novelization.

The whole Heidi thing is bordering on child porn. A seven year-old kid pictured with that sort of caption underneath? Not funny at all.

I expected better from Warren, but then again, this was the 70’s.

“The first appearance of Star-Lord came just a little before the Star Wars novelization that introduced the term “Sith-Lord” in 1976 and Rruothk’ar came around much later than that.”

But… the year given for Rruothk’ar in the question is 1973! Unless the term was coined by Emmet Brown, that doesn’t come “much later” than the novelization in 1976.

As a bit of trivia, reprints of Star-Lord comics showed up as back-up stories in Marvel UK’s Star Wars Weekly in the 1970s and 1980s. Like this issue in 1979:
http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/File:Mswuk81.jpg

Schnitzey Pretzelpants

June 18, 2010 at 11:28 am

“The whole Heidi thing is bordering on child porn. A seven year-old kid pictured with that sort of caption underneath? Not funny at all.”

Yeah, well said – certainly a totally creepy sexualization of a child. It’s quite appalling. I know the comics code wouldn’t have extended to something like that Warren Mag – but some advisory board should have.

This shit just gets me – I am so NOT in favour of censorship of sexual material, pornography, what have you -provided it is for sale to adults, and only depicts consenting adults.

The ilk of all these Meese-like twits that went after the tame things like Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler and as per usual, miss this kind of stuff. And in my opinion this is the kind of stuff that does real harm.

I think this came up a few weeks ago, but count me as one of the people who liked Marvel’s in0house reminders on the bottoms of pages (if I recall, some found them distracting). “Don’t yield, back Nick Fury and his agents of SHIELD”

On the other hand, DC used to put “continued on 2nd page following” or words to that effect for a long time…as if we wouldn’t be able to figure out how to turn the pages!

That was my post directly above… sorry.

By the way…

“And a lot of the jokes are just silly innocuous puns like this one…”

I’m not entirely sure that this one is such an innocuous pun.

I agree, that I wish writers went “all in” every issue, with the “this could be my last” mentality. Part of the problem is, we’ve made celebrities of many writers — not that they don’t deserve it, but it often trumps their work. Grant Morrison’s Batman has little to do with Batman and more to do with what kind of craziness Grant can cook up next. Writing with a long-term goal is awesome and admirable, but if he had to wrap all this “Batman & Son”-to-“The Return to Bruce Wayne” stuff suddenly in one issue, could he do it and be fair to the readers that have enjoyed it this long? And what of multi-title crossovers — Could the bare bones plot of “Blackest Night” have lasted more than 3 dynamic issues? Sometimes, especially in the case of Stalin’s intro of Thanos, shorter is better! Now, a cosmic villain like that would be hyped for months, make his first appearance in the last page of a special miniseries, and wreak havoc via multi-title arcs and cameos before a full origin was even revealed — which would most likely be in some $4.99 annual! It’s like the Infinity Gauntlet would go on — for infinity!

But… the year given for Rruothk’ar in the question is 1973!

And that date is wrong.

Star-Lord didn’t even appear until 1976 (shortly before the Star Wars novelization as Brian says), so no character could have appeared in Star-Lord in 1973.

Yowza, those photos are definitely unsettling. The shot of a 14 year-old girl barely dressed as Vampirella is bad enough, some of those others just seem sleazy beyond belief. I’m not passing any judgments on her father, but I certainly can’t imagine the mindset that would lead a parent to parade their child around in skimpy, sexualized attire like that.

@Karaoke: Do you seriously just want “bare bones plot”? Except for the occasional Daniel Way issue most long arcs are long because most people want more than bare bones plot.

Yow, you didn’t mention that Forry Ackerman wrote the text for that magazine.

I don’t know if it’s for the same photo of Arthur C. Clarke used here, but one caption with a shot of the two of them reads “take one look at those pictures of him and Heidi and you can’t help but wonder if (stand in line) he isn’t waiting for ‘Childhood’s End’?!” (Jungle Frolics, http://junglefrolics.blogspot.com/2010/01/much-of-whats-written-about-heidi-saha.html),

Anyone who knows his reputation at all knows that bad puns were Forry’s shtick and that even here they were in all likelihood really, honestly were intended to be innocuous, but still, yow, Forry. And also, eeeww.

Drusilla lives!

June 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm

“By 1974, Heidi was finished with costumes at conventions.”

… And hopefully put into child protective custody.

*gasp*

Btw, who painted that cover to the Star Wars paperback? I’ve seen it before, but I don’t recall who did it… nice.

KaraokeFanboy – You’re really going to hate on Morrison’s Batman? Hang your head in shame.

I can’t believe her parents weren’t arrested for child exploitation or something along those lines, and Warren for publishing that. I’d most definitely consider that abuse and sexual exploitation… it’s one step away from pimping her out. And frankly, based on how openly they were inviting thousands of sweaty fanboys to masturbate over their 14 year old daughter for the price of a comic, I’m not so sure they weren’t willing to go that extra step. Truly revolting and disturbing.

Btw, who painted that cover to the Star Wars paperback? I’ve seen it before, but I don’t recall who did it… nice.

That artist was fantasy illustrator John Berkey, who reportedly never saw the movie with which his art was so closely associated. He also painted the original poster for the 1976 remake of King Kong.

Berkey passed away in 2008.

Now we know why Thanos has purple skin; Mentor and Starfox were purple too!

From this site: http://www.vampilore.co.uk/models/saha_heidi.html

“Modern myth focuses on the “dubious content” aspect and there are so few people who have seen a copy that it is hard to refute, but I have a quote from someone who has a copy:- “I have paged through the book, and though the logic of its existence may be puzzling, there is NOTHING objectionable contained here. It’s a goofy / innocent tribute to some girl that went to conventions dressed as various sci-fi / fantasy characters. There are no colour pics, no Vampirella pics, and NO inappropriate pics in this book. Heidi is seen at conventions with Forry Ackerman, Arthur C Clarke, etc.””

Yikes.
Now that’s creepy.
The site owner then goes on to ask Heidi Saha to contact him if she ever sees the site.

And some pretty good commentary from Colleen Doran on the issue – includes excerpts from the previously discussed interview with Angelique Trouvere: http://adistantsoil.com/2009/12/01/my-god-its-full-of-wank/

Concerning the Heidi mag, yeah the mag seems exploitive but a young girl dressed up as Vampirella is really no different then cons today when you see young girls dressed up as slave Lea or one of those Manga school girl outfits or any of a number of superhero outfits, photos of which show up all around the web, so in some ways things really haven’t changed as much as we think they have. OTOH while you can find pics of young girls in costumes like that all around the web, usually posted by young girls themselves on Facebook or MySpace, there is no freaking way a legitimate publisher would ever put out a magazine dedicated to such photos today. Not gonna happen. In the 1970 this apparently went unnoticed, if this came out today the publisher would be condemned and investigated before it even got to the newsstand. (Or the website as soon as it went live). We are for more sensitive to the exploitation of children in that way today then were back then.

The bit mentioned on Colleen’s page about the mother making her dance at a private party for some comics pros takes even further in the direction I was concerned about. I can’t imagine what kind of people could have observed and condoned this kind of treatment of a child. Noted sci-fi and fantasy professionals too, apparently. I am learning things about our hobby that I’d rather not have.

How could parents do that to their daughter?? Just watch the clips from Toddlers & Tiaras on The Soup or try to watch an actual episode on TLC. It seems like pimping out the kid to you and me but to these moms it’s the closest they will ever come to showbiz. Sad to say, there are far too many parents even worse but they end up on the news when they get caught.

Yeah, sorry if there was confusion on the dates – I was saying that the 1973 thing was off completely, and that Star-Lord PERIOD didn’t start until 1976, and the Sith-Lord character in question didn’t show up until a good deal later than that, so clearly it did not appear earlier than the 1976 Star Wars novel.

ParanoidObsessive

June 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm

>>> You’re really going to hate on Morrison’s Batman? Hang your head in shame.

To be fair, his point WAS a good one. A lot of what Morrison is writing on Batman now seems to be less a story that is tailor-fit to Batman, and more Morrison writing the sort of metaphysical fiction he feels like writing and is sort of slotting Batman into it after the fact.

Some people like that sort of thing, others don’t.

In truth, though, it’s a major part of why I personally tend to like Morrison more when he’s either writing with original characters or with obscure and/or minor characters, and not so much when he’s working with deeply established and popular characters. He’s definitely a writer who seems to feel like the story is more important than the characters – which is not necessarily a BAD thing! – but which is not always the best mentality to have when you’re writing for franchise characters for a company that is NEVER going to accept major dramatic changes (ie, killing off Magneto) or extreme divergence from core identity for the long term.

To his credit, he IS a very good writer. But his style isn’t necessarily compatible with every possible story.

I remember reading Warren mags back in the ’70s, seeing pictures of Heidi in the advertisements in the back, and thinking, “Who the heck is this girl? Is she famous or something?” I knew nothing of conventions or fandom, so I figured she’d been in some sci-fi B-movies or somesuch. Also, because I was pretty young at the time, I didn’t realize Heidi was just a kid; she was older than me, and that was the end of my thinking on the matter. When I was much older I started filling in gaps in my Warren collection, and while leafing through them, realized how creepy the whole Heidi thing had been. Bizarre stuff.

That was the 70s, just look at Brooke Shield’s old movies.

Better yet, don’t.

“if he had to wrap all this “Batman & Son”-to-“The Return to Bruce Wayne” stuff suddenly in one issue, could he do it and be fair to the readers that have enjoyed it this long?”

Are you seriously suggesting that any writer should be able to suddenly resolve years worth of plots in one issue in a way that would be satisfactory to readers? That’s ridiculous. No one could do that, if the storiess leading up to it were any good.

I’m glad writers today don’t try to throw every single idea into their first issue. That would just result in awkward cluttered books. I totally understand why Starlin did what he did, but I don’t think it’s a strategy that should be followed by others.

You army of Helen Lovejoys idiots!

June 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm

What a bunch of puritanic prudes.

How much have we de-evolved since the 70’s.

All parents should strong arm their kids into dressing like Vampirella.

Honestly, if you DON’T make your 12 year old dress up like Vampirella, I think you are doing a disservice to your child.

Hahahahahahah

Comments closed!

The problem with the whole Heidi Saha thing is not the pictures themselves, it’s the context. If you were leafing through a photo album or someone’s facebook/MySpace/whatever photos, you wouldn’t blink twice at those pics (the quality’s not great on the “comic…strip” pic, I assume she’s not naked…). It’s when those captions are added onto the photos that they become sexualized and that’s where the problem is. Who knows what the intent was; maybe in their close-knit fandom community it was all harmless joking around and they didn’t realize, “oh yeah, someone on the outside would take this in a completely different way.” I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to vilify the parents without knowing all the facts, but Warren should have been wise enough to not publish it that way. Having said all that, the way the story is presented, it does make everyone involved seem like sleazy men drooling over the girl.

On the other note, I’m sick and tired of crossovers and “event” stories, and except for the Invisibles, I’m not really a Grant Morrison fan, and stories with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in can be lots of fun if they’re done well, but how on earth could you possibly think it’s beneficial to a story to restrict it, compress it, and force it to be finished quickly regardless of what the story calls for?

The story about Thanos is interesting, but I’m wondering- how does Moondragon fit in? She first appeared in Iron Man 54 called Madame McEvil, but later in Daredevil, written by Gerber, she explains that she’s not really evil, just trying to stop Thanos. The weird thing in that story is that she flashes back to her childhood on Titan with Thanos, and then later on in Captain Marvel it’s revealed that Thanos killed her parents when he was an adult, which made the previous flashback completely nonsensical. How did Heather get passed around from writer to writer?

The story about Thanos is interesting, but I’m wondering- how does Moondragon fit in? She first appeared in Iron Man 54 called Madame McEvil, but later in Daredevil, written by Gerber, she explains that she’s not really evil, just trying to stop Thanos. The weird thing in that story is that she flashes back to her childhood on Titan with Thanos, and then later on in Captain Marvel it’s revealed that Thanos killed her parents when he was an adult, which made the previous flashback completely nonsensical. How did Heather get passed around from writer to writer?

I dunno, it was pretty typical of Marvel at the time (heck, even now) to tie in different characters to another.

About Thanos: I guess this proves he wasn’t based on Darkseid as many assume? Who appeared first anyway?

(One thing I know for sure is that DC’s Mongul was first drawn by Starlin, so his resemblance to Thanos was likely no accident!)

Oh, and I wonder if all Titans were supposed to be purple skinned in that story or if it was an error. Later stories not only had Thanos being the only purple Titan, but it is *because of that* he became a villain- he was a mutant and was reviled for his appearance by his peers.

Also: where did Thanos appear next? Sure, he became Warlock’s personal nemesis, but I think he appeared on Captain Marvel (also done by Starlin) before that.

About Thanos: I guess this proves he wasn’t based on Darkseid as many assume?

He could still be a class project that was based on Darkseid.

Who appeared first anyway?

Darkseid.

Starlin’s stuff was so good, and it just got better as he did Capt Marvel and Warlock. True bronze-age gold. they just don’t make ‘em like that any more. “grief is but a hollow substance if not backed with resolve.” ya gots to love that kind of “deep-thinkin'” stuff – in a story with a guy called “The Destroyer” and 2 others called the “Blood Brothers; the page of titans’ history w/shellhead’s face all “you what?” in the middle and then that last page w/Thanos full on the left and the little grid down the right. Loved it then, love it still. Such focus and craft. He really was “all-in.” (sigh, compare it to death of the new gods — which was ok, but no warlock)

Mike Loughlin

June 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Mike Esosito’s feathery inking just didn’t work with Starlin’s pencils.

Also, Brian, didn’t Starlin’s Captain Marvel issues come before his Warlocks? He used Thanos in those comics, too.

That poor kid. I hope she turned out okay. “Lilith, Loilita (!), & Lorlei combined?” Jeez.

"O" the Humanatee!

June 18, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Luckily for all of us, this was NOT the “only chance” Starlin ever had to a character, and he was soon given Warlock to work with and that began an amazing stint at Marvel for Jim Starlin, one of the greatest writer/artists Marvel has ever known!

Not sure I understand your point here, Brian. As Starlin says in Daniel Best’s interview, his “stint at Marvel” began with “a love story, written by Gary Freidrichs [sic] and inked by Jack Abel.” The Iron Man story introducing Thanos came a little later.

Starlin didn’t begin working on Adam Warlock until Warlock #9 (October 1975). A couple of years before that came his significant run on Captain Marvel. He began working on that book as artist in Captain Marvel #25 (March 1973), and got involved with the plotting in the very next issue, with scripting still by Mike Friedrich. He became sole plotter with issue #27. In #28 he shared scripting duties with Friedrich. He took full control as writer/plotter/artist with issue #29, in which role he remained till issue #34. The vast majority of Starlin’s Captain Marvel run (including as plotter) is where he went into his in-depth development of Thanos.

In that same period Starlin also co-created Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, with Steve Englehart – though neither worked long on the character. Shang-Chi first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973).

And of course Starlin didn’t create Adam Warlock, as he did Thanos. Warlock first appeared in Marvel Premiere #1 (April 1972), written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane. You could argue that the character debuted in Fantastic Four #66, September 1967, where he is called “Him.” But Warlock is different in such important ways from Him that I wouldn’t count that.

"O" the Humanatee!

June 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm

And now I see that several other people got there first. Oh well, at least I supplied some detail.

There is more to the Thanos story than what what you’re telling. A New Gods connection, according to Starlin himself.

From the Jim Starlin interview , in Comic Book Artist #2, p. 63…

CBA: In that “Blood Brothers” story in Iron Man, you started to introduce concepts that you later exploited fully in Captain Marvel. Were you developing a whole mythology of sorts?

Starlin: That was the one exception where there some long term plotting on Thanos. Kirby had done the New Gods, which I thought was terrific. He was over at DC at the time. I came up with some things that were inspired by that. You’d think that Thanos was inspired by Darkseid, but that was not the case when I showed up. In my first Thanos drawings, if he looked like anybody, it was Metron. I had all these different gods and things I wanted to do, which became Thanos and the Titans. Roy took one look at the guy in the Metron-like chair and said : “Beef him up! If you’re going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!”.

I don’t see how Morrison pursuing his Morrisony ideas in Batman is any different than Starlin pursuing his Starliny ideas in Iron Man, though. The story related here, after all, is basically Starlin having this story and slotting Iron Man into it because that’s the book he was handed.

The thesis I am getting at here is that Morrison and Starlin are both rad dudes.

When did Starfox and Mentor turn pink, rather than purple?

Extensive (fifteen pages +) discussion about Heidi Saha in this thread, with first-hand recollections from many who were around at the time: http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1632192
Poor kid.

Also:

Honestly, if you DON’T make your 12 year old dress up like Vampirella, I think you are doing a disservice to your child.

I will keep this in mind when my son is older.

I know I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think the Heidi pictures are so bad. Lots of young girls pose for pictures like these; they just don’t get published. I know there’s been a great effort over the past few decades to convince society that any hint of sexuality in young kids is a crime against nature, but the fact is kids love playing dress-up and imitating adult behaviour, including sexy poses. It’s normal. I would expect we all did it at times, although most of us were never photographed. As long as Heidi enjoyed taking the pictures and having them published (and I’ll assume that’s the case unless there’s evidence otherwise) then there’s no real offence here.
It is true the captions are a little offensive.

There are much worse things done to kids to entertain people.

Willie Everstop

June 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm

When my son was 3 years old I made him dress up as the Flash and run in circles for my amusement.

In re that comment about Arthur C.Clarke looking at heidi Saha and “waiting for ‘Childhood’s End”, this would be extremely unlikely since – as was well known in SF circles, though not to the public at large – Clarke was gay.

Re: the Heidi Saha pictures/situation. Thanks for an interesting post, Brian, as I had never heard of her until reading it (just a wee lad in the early ’70s, only occasionally picked up a Warren mag, never been to a con, even when I was older…). Thanks also to the other commenters for providing the fascinating links, just finished reading them. All in all, a very disturbing story – I have to second Matt Adler’s sentiment about learning unsavory stuff about our past-time.
So I kind of disagree with Mary Warner’s point: it’s one thing for kids (girls or boys) to play dress-up in the privacy of their own homes with a few friends and showing off in front of your parents or older siblings for a few laughs, and quite another to do so in a packed convention hall full of (mainly) men aged 20 and up who are complete strangers. Also, if you haven’t, you should read a few of the links provided, especially the interview with Angelique Trouvere, who was at some of the same cons in the ’70s where Heidi was put on display by her parents. It would appear that she really was not enjoying the convention appearances very much, and the impression I get is that she was indifferent at best to her pictures being published in a special issue of a magazine intended for comic and SF/ geeks.

I have no idea of how to find it, since a quick Google search doesn’t do the trick, but a few years ago on the Classic Comics forum we had a thread called “Dirty Old Monster Men” about the Saha situation. Can’t remember if it was in the thread itself or appeared on a site someone linked to, but I recall reading an account by someone who knew Heidi a bit later outside the fan universe & reported that she turned out to be a nice, perfectly norma individual. I think he said they shared his first kiss, or something. Very sweet, particularly in comparison to, uh, the above. (Like a couple of others here, I remember seeing ads for the mag back in the back of various early ’70s Warrens & having no clue as to why it existed.)

>>perfectly norma individual.

Yes, that’s right. She changed her name to Norma! “Heidi” carried all sorts of unpleasant assocations, after all!

Typo? Moi?

In the spirit of which, I should note that yet another, even better Comics Legend cropped up above, & I demand that Brian address it ASAP —

>>Sometimes, especially in the case of Stalin’s intro of Thanos

I’m by no means any sort of world-class expert, but I’m pretty knowledgeable about (a) communism as implemented & perverted in the earlyish days of the Soviet Union & (b) comics … & I have to say I’d never heard even an *inkling* about this.

I’ve always regarded Lenin & Trotsky as infinitely cooler than Stalin ever thought about being (just for starters, they had much better facial hair, y’know), but now I just might have to reassess that stance.

Lord, that Heidi business is horrible. And the kid had to keep going to cons dressed in icky outfits after that? She must have had to turn down many a lollipop.

I’m surprised anyone would be surprised at cosmic characters debuting in a big shiny tech hero book like Iron Man.

I’m more surprised that Drax thinks announcing he’s come across ‘half a continent’ is a suitable measure of urgency.

John Trumbull

June 19, 2010 at 6:41 am

I’ve never been able to get into Thanos as a character. His roots as a Darkseid ripoff are just WAY too obvious to me.

He was also a child molester and an advocate of man-boy love. The entire reason that he was living in Sri Lanka in the firs place was because of the loose enforcement or lack of child abuse laws there.

There are much worse things done to kids to entertain people.

Like this? “Her mother once forced her to dance in front of a gathering of comic professionals at a private party like some trained animal. Friends who witnessed that said that her discomfort was obvious to everyone except Taimi who was too busy playing the cassette recorder she brought with her and shushing the audience.”

Jesse Farrell

June 19, 2010 at 7:55 am

When was the connection between Starlin’s Titans and the Eternals made?

RE Brian’s remark: “Honestly, if you DON’T make your 12 year old dress up like Vampirella, I think you are doing a disservice to your child.”

Brian, are you a parent? I am not sure I get your meaning on this.

Iron Maiden, don’t take that comment from Brian seriously – think of him as the Invincible Irony Man.

Martin, I just don’t get the humor I suppose. Maybe Brian didn’t read the comments in the posted link with Angelique’s comments about how Heidi herself seemed to be in turmoil at that time. Thankfully, it looked like her father woke up and put a stop to all of it.

Iron Maiden: Cronin and Mark Black’s comments were obviously responses to the fellow who said that people who found the photos creepy/exploitative/off-putting were ‘puritanical prudes’.

Maybe there need’s to be an irony emoticon. To me It read like he was agreeing with the post about the puritanical prudes. :-O . My apologies if I misunderstood.

Roy Thomas did not start Atlas/Seasboard, Martin Goodman and his son did. Thomas wouldn’t leave Marvel till long after the Atlas/Seasbord comics were a distant memory. Also that company came about after long after Vampirella was created. The first issue of Vampi was September 1969, The first Atlas Seaboard comic had a cover date of June 1974. So it’s much more likely that Vampi inspired Devillna not the other way around.

“When was the connection between Starlin’s Titans and the Eternals made?”

In a What If backup story in the 1980’s. In the original 1970’s stories the Titans were descendants of the Greek Gods, (which would have made Hercules and Starfox cousins or something). For some reason Marvel felt the need to change that, and since Jack Kirby’s Eternals were sometimes mistaken for Greek Gods that became the new origin.

How about an article on the more recent Vampirella (and Pantha!) models? I doubt they would have any ‘legend’ stories around ‘em, but they are at least legal age…

As I recall, while they were the publisher’s model, their names were kept secret. Or maybe that’s a basis for a legend?

Dave

I Heidi says she was pressured to do all this against her ill, then it was clearly wrong. I am definitely opposed to all the parents who force their kids to perform against their wishes. (And even kids who want to perform mustn’t be pressured to do it on days they don’t want to.)
I just wanted to clarify for those who might’ve misconstrued my earlier comment, which was based on the assumption that she wanted to pose for the pictures.

“”When was the connection between Starlin’s Titans and the Eternals made?”

In a What If backup story in the 1980’s. In the original 1970’s stories the Titans were descendants of the Greek Gods, (which would have made Hercules and Starfox cousins or something). For some reason Marvel felt the need to change that, and since Jack Kirby’s Eternals were sometimes mistaken for Greek Gods that became the new origin.”

I first learned of it in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe in the early 80s; the “What If?” stories predated that?

Mary, I think it’s hard to get a sense of what’s going on until you get deeper into the links, especially the one from the message boards that described the private party and what Heidi went through.. Here is an excerpt from the guy who admits lampooning her mother in a parody of Stairway to Heaven from the MB link http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1632192&fpart=10

“…However, I always was polite to the Saha’s and their daughter, even when Heidi’s mom pestered me for photo’s of past events with Heidi.

The turning point came when Phil held a reception for the guests and workers of the ’73 July Comic Art Convention [for which I ran the dealers room]. Held in one of the smaller ballrooms with large banquet-style round tables, one table was taken by Neal Adams and his Crusty Bunkers, and so on.

I witnessed the following up close:

Heidi’s mom physically dragged an on-the-verge-of-tears Heidi into this reception, along with a cassette boom-box, which she turned on and nastilly [sic] ordered Heidi to pirouette around the room. Heidi refused. Her mom got louder and nastier. Heidi again refused and started crying. Her mom then slapped her hard

The conversation in the room stopped, all eyes on this embarrassing scene. The entire Adams table got up and walked out, followed en masse by most of the guests. the reception prematurely over.

I felt really bad for Heidi. And my suspicion of that *spoon* of a mother’s politic in USING her to vicariously live through her daughter was confirmed in spades.”

As I said, thank goodness the parents both snapped out if it eventually. According to some of the sources, Heidi herself is more than a bit reclusive today.

[…] Comics Should be Good: Comic Book Legends Revealed #265 […]

This week’s legends were great. And as usual, I love reading everyone’s comments about the legends. :)

I do have one issue, though: when you talk about a legend or explain something, could you please finish explaining it?
This sentence comes across as if you ran out of time to finish your research:
“I’ve read that the term “sith-lord” originally appeared in a John Carter of Mars story, with that likely being the origin for both the Star-Lord usage AND the Star Wars usage. Can anyone confirm that?”

To ask other people to confirm or deny something is almost a cop-out. If you can’t finish a legend in time, have you thought about hiring a research staff? ;)

“I first learned of it in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe in the early 80s; the “What If?” stories predated that?”

By a year or two yes.

To ask other people to confirm or deny something is almost a cop-out. If you can’t finish a legend in time, have you thought about hiring a research staff?

Huh?

The legend was complete – this was something separate I was just curious about. If it was “Hey, does anyone know if Starlin created Thanos as a school project?” then yeah, that would make sense as a complaint. This? Not so much.

Yeah, jeez, Brian, using the power of the internet to ask other people to help flesh out another interesting bit to the free entertainment that you provide us? You make me sick.

And for those that don’t get it, yes, that was meant to be ironic.

How about this for an ironic emoticon: FE)

Holy crap.

That Heidi legend just blew my mind. Even if “it was just the 70s”, holy crap. The con stories that follow don’t make it much more pleasant.

I can say, at least Heidi, or her father apparently put a stop to the exploitation. Shame it didn’t come before the publication, but damn.

For irony I tend to use this ;) (wink smilie)

As for the Titans being related to the Eternals, I don’t know for sure but I suspect it was Mark Gruenwald’s idea. Or maybe Roy Thomas'; they had already established that The Eternals DID exist in the Marvel Universe during the Celestials Saga in Thor (circa # 300), and in fact had a deal with the actual gods to allow them to “represent them on Earth”. Pretty clever. Besides, since the Titans have advanced technology- something the Eternals had but the gods didn’t- it makes *much* more sense that way.

I don’t remember if Mark Gruenwald wrote those backup stories in What If, (can’t find it online and I don’t have the books handy) but it sure wouldn’t surprise me if he did, (or even if he didn’t write them that the idea generated from him). Thomas had already moved to DC by the time that story was published, which doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been his idea, just that it was more likely to be someone else.

I had no problem with them being an offshoot of the Gods, sure they had technology instead of magic but that was because they were a split off group and developed differently over millions of years. (I looked at it the same way Vulcans and Romulans were related but developed differently in the Star Trek Universe). I have no problem with them being offshoots of the Eternals either . Hell I wouldn’t have had any problem if they were just a completely separate race. The important thing is they’re there, they’re either immortal or live a very long time and the black sheep of the family wants to destroy/rule the universe. Who they evolved from is just Marvel Handbook minutia IMO.

I don’t see the problem. I regularly make my 16 year old daughter dress up like Ms. Marvel and Power Girl and parade her around in front of crowds of people. She hates it, but as long as she lives under my roof she’ll do exactly as I tell her.

The Heidi stuff is disturbing due to the context and how it was published. A 7 year old, naked, with that caption is sexualized. However, when the pop trio Wilson Phillips came out in 1990, People magazine and various other publications showed the girls topless at the beach, probably around 5 years old. The difference being that the captions commented that the girls were life time friends. The Superman movie has a naked boy in it, which was to show that Superman was built like a normal male.

What happened to Heidi was indeed horrible.

But to wonder how parents could exploit their kid so? Naive. We still have whole cultures where parents marry their kids very young (younger than Heidi was) for reasons nowhere related to the kid’s wishes. Hell, I think once upon a time it was a trait of almost all human societies?

Parents can be twisted son-of-a-bitches, and the tendency to see their kids as simply continuations of themselves is depressingly common under the façade of many happy families.

It sounds like Heidi was forced to do this against her will and that’s terrible.

However, if the facts were that she enjoyed dressing up in the outfits and attending cons, I don’t have the same problem most of you do. You act like any hint of sexuality in a teenager is a bad thing.

OTOH, those abominations called child beauty pageants have to go.

Yes, they do. Child beauty pageants, with all those little Jon Benet’s, are sick.

e360: Pretty powerful accusations. Care to back them up with any proof?

From Wikipedia:
“Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving,[9] and lived there until his death.”

“In his biography of Stanley Kubrick, John Baxter cites Clarke’s homosexuality as a reason why Clarke relocated, due to more tolerant laws in regards to homosexuality in Sri Lanka.”

“On 26 May 2000 he was made a Knight Bachelor “for services to literature” at a ceremony in Colombo.[11][39] The award of a knighthood had been announced in the 1998 New Year Honours,[10][40] but investiture with the award had been delayed, at Clarke’s request, because of an accusation, by the British tabloid The Sunday Mirror, of paedophilia.[41][42] The charge was subsequently found to be baseless by the Sri Lankan police.[43][44] According to The Daily Telegraph (London), the Mirror subsequently published an apology, and Clarke chose not to sue for defamation.[45][46] Clarke was then duly knighted.”

Exactly, Josh. The pedophilie accusations against Clarke were found to be baseless. He was gay. He wasn’t a child-molester.

@Hudak: I agree with most of your post, except this part: “Who they evolved from is just Marvel Handbook minutia IMO.”

Obviously, Starlin’s original intention was to have the Titans be related to the Greek Gods. That was a nice touch, and the fact the Titans had developed technology didn’t bother me that much- just because other immortals are too lazy to change their society *in any way* since ancient times doesn’t mean they ALL have to do it. However, linking the Eternals and the Titans opened up a lot of story possibilities that have since been used in many stories; it wasn’t just “minutia” that is made up and then forgotten. One of the things that I liked about Marvel under Gruenwald was that he sought to have everything they published -even stuff from Silver Age stories that just plain look silly today- *make sense*.

@Sijo, as I said I have no problem with it, the reason I refer to it as minutia was because I’ve never read any story involving the characters where it came into play in a way such that the story couldn’t have been told if that background element wasn’t there.

To my mind the original connection to the greek gods did two things, acknowledge that Starlin was playing with well established mythological archetypes (and names) and instantly establish them as powerhouses in very fast way. Once done, it really didn’t come into play save to remind readers how powerful they were, (in the Avengers Annual there was a thought balloon Iron Man had along the line of “Thanos is descended from the greek gods, how could we possibly beat a god?”, (apparently forgetting the team came together because they beat a god in the first place)).

When Starlin came back to Marvel in the 90’s he revived Thanos and I don’t recall the connection to the Eternals (or the Greek gods for that matter) ever being mentioned in any of the stories he did after the characters were back in his hands. It simply wasn’t that critical an element.

The background story is always there, it’s just a nice piece of history for those readers, (and I acknowledge I’m one of them sometimes), who like reading the handbooks and stuff like that. Hence the Marvel Handbook Minutia comment.

It’s like when the Star Trek writers came up with the concept of a super race, (the Preservers if I remember correctly), that at some point in the distant past seeded a lot of planets with human type species. Nice bit of trivia to know, explains why the Enterprise always runs into planets populated by people who look just like us, but you could do a thousand Star Trek stories without ever once mentioning it, or the reader even needing to be aware of it to understand the story.

Re: Star-Lord/Star Wars:

Star Lord came out about a year before Foster’s anonymous novelization of Star Wars. Marvel Preview #4 is dated January 1976 (so it would have hit the newsstands in November of 1975). The first printing of Star Wars (here’s a link to the original cover: http://www.screamingmonkeys.com/whills/whills_cover.jpg ) is dated December 1976, likely on the shelves in November, which gives Englehart & Gan the upperhand over Lucas & Foster.

I read somewhere that Rob Liefeld’s wife used to model as Vampirella. Does anyone know if that is true or not?

Theno

[…] comics, the strange case of Heidi Saha. […]

The Heidi Saha Story is a sad reminder of SF Fandom’s history of tolerance of blatant pedophilia within its ranks. Here’s the real reason she eventually dropped out of the con circuit. Her parents ‘coming to their senses’ had nothing to do with it:

“Rumors that she got into alcohol and drugs by age 16.
Finally, at one sci-fi con at the end of the ’70s, Heidi went into a bathroom, wrapped herself heavily with toilet paper, came out and announced something along the lines of “I know this is what you all have been waiting for”, and set herself on fire! She survived the burns, but pretty much disappeared from the
convention circuit.”
http://adistantsoil.com/2009/12/01/my-god-its-full-of-wank/

This is nothing compared to an earlier situation, though, involving Marion Zimmer Bradley’s husband.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_H._Breen
http://www.smithway.org/history/chap8b.html

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

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

Browse the Archives