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Comic Book Legends Revealed #272

Welcome to the two-hundred and seventy-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 seventy-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 Basketball Legends Revealed to learn if it is true that Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon played Michael Jordan’s son in Space Jam!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on your Facebook page!). As I’ve promised, at 2,000 Twitter 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 on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Geoff Johns had been pursuing Lex Luthor as being the donor of half of Superboy’s DNA for years (starting before he ever worked in comics!) until he finally got it into the comics.

STATUS: True

Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett created the 1990s Superboy, who was a partial clone of Superman, for the “Reign of the Supermen” storyline that led to the return of Superman.

In the 1995 Superboy Annual, they finally revealed who the HUMAN half of Superboy’s cloned DNA came from, and it turns out it was the villainous Director of Cadmus, Paul Westfield!!

Well, less than a year later, in 1996′s Superboy #26, a fan named Geoffrey Johns wrote in to suggest that rather than Westfield, it would be a cooler idea if Superboy’s human half of his DNA came from Lex Luthor.

Here is his letter and the reply from the Superboy editor…

Fast forward five years, and Johns was now working for DC, writing the original series, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. for a year or so…

and co-writing JSA (heck, by this point, Johns was actually writing the book by himself for a spell)…

and writing the Flash…

So while Johns perhaps was not a “star” at DC yet, he was definitely a major up and coming talent. At around this same time, Superboy had a change in direction. Writer Joe Kelly was off of the book and DC was accepting pitches for a new creative team.

While now he is well accepted as a writer, back in 2001, Keith Champagne was pretty much known solely as an inker. In fact, he was the inker on Joe Kelly’s Superboy (with artist Pascual Ferry)! After discussing his chances with a DC editor, Champagne realized that he would likely need to pitch with an established writer as co-writer to have a chance at the book. Champange asked Johns, and he agreed. So the pair got together and pitched for Superboy.

Champagne has the original pitch available on his site here.

But suffice it to say, the plot of their initial arc was Superboy learning that Paul Westfield was NOT the human donor of his DNA, and their initial story would take Superboy on a journey to discover who IS the donor, with Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor being the two top contenders. Then, in #100, Luthor would be revealed as the real donor.

Their pitch was not picked up. DC decided to instead go with one by co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Dan Didio.

Fast forward about two years, and Geoff Johns was now part of a major reboot of DC’s third and fourth generation heroes, with Judd Winick restarting the Outsiders and Johns restarting Teen Titans.

And in the first issue of Teen Titans…

That’s some pretty darn impressive dedication on Johns’ part, huh?

Thanks to Keith Champagne for sharing his pitch with us all. Thanks to David Uzumeri of Funnybook Babylon for getting a nice scan of the letter (I’ve been looking for a good scan for some time now) and thanks to CBR poster bongoes for noting that Uzumeri had the scan up. And thanks to Geoff Johns for showing us the power of “stick-to-it-ness”!

COMIC LEGEND: Every character who ever starred in their own series was featured in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

STATUS: False

Over the years, I’m sure you have heard someone say that Crisis on Infinite Earths featured every DC character, but really, I’m sure you didn’t take that seriously, as well you shouldn’t. It’s just way too outlandish a claim – there has just been waaaay too many DC characters over the years to take such a claim seriously. So when I see the claim made, I don’t really treat it like a “legend,” as I don’t think anyone could seriously believe it.

However, the claim that Crisis on Infinite Earths contained “all of the characters who ever got their own series” in a fight against the Anti-Monitor, as asserted in the TV Tropes feature on Crisis on Infinite Earths (here), THAT I can believe that someone actually believes, as that’s a much lesser claim.

And it is true that Crisis on Infinite Earths has pretty much every character who ever starred in their own series for DC (while understandably limiting the discussion to just the superheroes and action heroes). Marv Wolfman and George Perez put a LOT of disparate characters into the series.

But, naturally enough, they did not include EVERYone.

And amazingly enough, one such character who is absent from the entire 12 issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths is Hal Jordan!!!!

Yes, one of the most famous DC heroes of all-time and he is not present, even in cameo form, in any issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths!

You see, at the time, Hal had quit as Green Lantern…

and John Stewart had taken over…

And John was certainly front and center during the storyline (here he is in #2)…

And the Green Lantern Corps were also present (here they are in #5)…

And when the title DID tie in with Crisis, it was through the introduction of the new Guy Gardner Green Lantern costume…

which is addressed in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9…

but you see, when Green Lantern finally officially tied in with Crisis, it was at the very end of Crisis and the storyline ENDED with Hal becoming Green Lantern again…

By the time Hal had returned, Crisis had ended the previous month!

That said, it is still surprising that Hal did not even get, like, a one-panel cameo at some point in the series.

What other characters who starred in their own series (action and superhero, that is) did not get featured in Crisis?

Thanks to TV Tropes for the quote (do note that I only cite stuff like this to show that the claim IS reasonable, I don’t mean it as a slight in any way) and thanks to reader Fritz for suggesting I feature this one!

COMIC LEGEND: Through lyrical osmosis, David Bowie worked in a comic strip reference into one of his most famous songs!

STATUS: True

Vincent Trout Hamlin (he went by his two initials, VT) began the caveman comic strip, Alley Oop, in 1932. The series followed a cave man named Alley Oop during the Stone Age. In 1939, the strip made a major change, as Hamlin used time travel to bring Oop to the present, opening up the series to all sorts of extra wacky adventures.

alleyoop

(click on the image to enlarge)

In 1960, musician Gary Paxton put together a group of session musicians and friends to record a song written by Dallas Frazier based on the comic strip (Hamlin was paid royalties for the song).

The “fake” group was called the Hollywood Argyles…

and the song, “Alley Oop,” became a #1 hit in 1960…

The song gained an intriguing fan by the end of the decade in a young David Bowie. At one point at the beginning of the 1970s, Bowie was asked what his five all-time favorite records were. His answer displayed the broad eclecticism that defined his musical style.

He picked two albums, Charlie Mingus’ jazz record, Oh Yeah, Frank Zappa’s album We’re Only in it for the Money and three singles, the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man,” the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” and, of course, the Hollywood Argyles’ “Alley Oop.”

And sure enough, in his legendary 1971 song, “Life on Mars?” (which became a hit when re-released as a single in 1973)

he DIRECTLY quotes the song “Alley Oop” with the line “look at that caveman go.”

So, well before the Venture Brothers, David Bowie and the world of comics had a connection!

A couple of commenters had some other interesting information in regards to Bowie and comics.

Commenter Greg points out that another song off of Hunky Dory, “All the Pretty Things,” has a reference to “Homo Superior” in it (commenter Squashua notes that Bowie even uses the Homo Superior quote in an episode of Venture Brothers)

Also, commenter Mr. D. wrote in with a very interesting little tidbit of info:

My mum’s first boyfriend was a certain David Jones (a fact I’ve dined out on for years), circa 1964-5 or so. I can confirm that he was a comics fan, particularly the new wave of American comics that were starting to filter through – certainly Fantastic Four. He showed my mum the Galactus saga, which got her hooked. She, in turn, got me interested in comics. So, in a roundabout way, you could say that David Bowie is responsible for getting me into comics…

Thanks for the info, Greg, Squashua and Mr. D!

Thanks to Zack Smith for suggesting this one (Zack has another suggestion that I’ll be featuring in the near future)! Thanks to Christopher Sandford’s David Bowie: Loving the Alien, for the info about Bowie’s interest in “Alley Oop.”

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!

155 Comments

Wow the Geoffrey Johns dedication to that storyline is almost creepy.

I did think it was a really good addition to the character’s lore, though.

Of course he didn’t have to wait long for Black Manta to revert to his original helmet though, right? I’m sure someone can prove me wrong, but I can’t actually recall seeing him in anything other than his regular helmet.

Wait, did they ever clarify what ‘genetic material’ meant?

it certainly wasnt hair they used, so was it blood,saliva,skin, or did Mr. Luthor have to go into the little room for 5 or 10 mins with a Playboy and fill the cup?

Matter-Pooper Lad

August 6, 2010 at 11:18 am

That Hollywood Argyles album cover mentions a Gary Paxton, but not Gary Dexter. Could you have gotten the name confused?

So let it be known folks, if you don’t like a character’s origin , start writing comics to a superstar-status and change it for yourself without any opposition.

@Adam-I have no idea how much Black Manta was even used until Johns just brought him back for Brightest Day, so we can assume the goofy helmet never left.

@InfoMofo: Creepy, and pretty depressing, too.

How is it creepy, exactly? Champagne went to him for help with Superboy, why not use the Superboy idea he already had?

Technically, the current Green Lantern WAS in CoIE!
He just happened to be John Stewart!
It was HIS book at that point.
If you want to nit-pick, the Batman of Earth-2 wasn’t there, either, having died several years earlier, and since HE was the one introduced in DETECTIVE COMICS #27, and had his own title from BATMAN #1 (1940) on…

I’ve known about Hal not appearing in Crisis for some time, but I’ve still been obsessed with the possibility that there was some hidden cameo that Wolfman and Perez worked into the series. Maybe this will convince me to give that up.

That Hollywood Argyles album cover mentions a Gary Paxton, but not Gary Dexter. Could you have gotten the name confused?

Yep. I must have some obsession with the name “Dexter” – I accidentally called a character with the name “Desmond” “Dexter” the other day in another post!

Technically, the current Green Lantern WAS in CoIE!

Every character who EVER starred in their own book is the quote.

I’ve known about Hal not appearing in Crisis for some time, but I’ve still been obsessed with the possibility that there was some hidden cameo that Wolfman and Perez worked into the series.

I know, you would think, right?

They actually worked a statue of the Earth-2 Batman into the background. They made such aoncerted effort to get everybody in that Hal’s absence is glaring.

Francisco Gonzalez

August 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

I don’t have the Green Lantern issues anymore, but I think it isn’t as you say:

“And when the title DID tie in with Crisis, it was through the introduction of the Howard Chaykin re-designed Guy Gardner…”

… I think one of those issues says that it was Joe Staton who designed Guy Gardner’s new look…

Maybe I’m wrong, but you should check it out…

Thanks.

” a concerted” . Oops.

I’d say Bowie’s song “Oh You Pretty Things” is also a comic connection, as it’s clearly talking about the X-men with lines like these:

Look at your children
See their faces in golden rays
Don’t kid yourself they belong to you
They’re the start of a coming race
The earth is a bitch
We’ve finished our news
Homo Sapiens have outgrown their use
All the strangers came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stay

Oh You Pretty Things (Oh You Pretty Things)
Don’t you know you’re driving your
Mamas and Papas insane
Oh You Pretty Things (Oh You Pretty Things)
Don’t you know you’re driving your
Mamas and Papas insane
Let me make it plain
You gotta make way for the Homo Superior

You’re missing a link in this sentence:

“…as asserted in the TV Tropes feature on Crisis on Infinite Earths (here)” <<<

You’re probably spot on, Greg, with the X-Men connection. That would be TWO comic-related songs on Hunky Dory! Cool!

I read Crisis for the first time a few years ago and I was really surprised that Hal wasn’t in it. Though I think there is a reference to him by someone who had not seen John before.

The Superboy thing was a pretty good ret-con, and as a reader at the time I found the Didio/Palmiotti follow-up losing my interest. I wonder when I can sign up with DC so I can get my Ultra Boy origin ret-con in; that’s no Space Whale that ate him up.

You’re missing a link in this sentence:

Thanks, Ron!

They even have “Bowie” stating, “Make way for the Homo Superior!” in Venture Bros.

Apropos of nothing comic related I’ve recently been watching the original Life on Mars and the follow up Ashes to Ashes and I cannot get enough Gene Hunt. Bring on a 90s version!

Though I think there is a reference to him by someone who had not seen John before.

There is, when they’re in the past a Western character who had met Hal before refers to the other Green Lantern and John tells him he replaced that guy.

Apropos of nothing comic related I’ve recently been watching the original Life on Mars and the follow up Ashes to Ashes and I cannot get enough Gene Hunt. Bring on a 90s version!

The US version is not terrible.

Come to think of it, the Earth-2 Plastic Man (who was the one in POLICE COMICS and PLASTIC MAN) and the Blackhawks MILITARY/MODERN COMICS and BLACKHAWK) all died in JUSTICE LEAGUE (“Crisis on Earth X”)long before CRISIS…
And which Spectre was in CRISIS? Earth-1 or Earth-2?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

August 6, 2010 at 11:53 am

Black Manta stayed in his Underworld manta-man form in his next appearances in the Peter David Aquaman series; Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow had Manta wearing the old costume over his manta-man physique; and finally, when Will Pfeifer took over the 2003 series that gave us a magically-powered Aquaman he had Aquaman magically restore Manta’s original form and fix a newly-revealed neurological problem in a (failed) bid to rehabilitate his old foe. So Manta was a freaky fish-guy for seven years or so.

Manta’s an odd character in a great many respects. He first appeared as if he’d already been an established Aquaman foe, and was introduced to readers battling Ocean Master to see which of them would get a crack at revenge on Aquaman. He finally got an origin story in the mid-80s that everyone ignored, and Pfeifer gave him another one in 2003 that has never ben referenced again either.

Everyone remembers him from Super Friends and for killing a baby, but I suspect that even most superhero fans couldn’t tell you much more about him. Despite popular misconceptions Manta’s race wasn’t revealed until the late 1970s, and while most fans will tell you race is Manta’s motivation, the stories that reveal it make it explicitly clear that he’s lying to his African-American henchmen about that, and just wants money and power for himself.

His main “power” is his helmet’s laser eyebeams and his tendency to make mutant manta-people as henchmen. Honestly, he’s a very thin character whose big claim to fame is that he was “spiced up” by having him do an unthinkable (in 1977) thing, and that everyone has kept on trying to revamp ever since. I guess Black Manta really is the Aquaman of supervillains.

Weirdly, no one but me (and the late Neil Posner) seems to like Aquaman’s other major foe, the Ocean Master, even though OM came first and has a working backstory. Maybe if Orm ever got to kill an infant or a sidekick he’d catch on. Or perhaps his mask is just too goofy, though that’s never stopped Manta.

Those GL covers are pretty cool. Makes me wish DC COLLECTED STUFF FROM THE 80′S! Oh well. (I guess the blame should go to Gibbons, Staton, Englehart, et. al. for not renegotiating royalties — or maybe that’s what DC wants you to think)

@Brian: I plan to watch it, how could something with Keitel and Imperioli be bad? I guess “time travel” is too high a concept for most viewers.

I have inspired myself to listen to some Hunky Dory. Man, “Life on Mars?” is such a great song.

My mum’s first boyfriend was a certain David Jones (a fact I’ve dined out on for years), circa 1964-5 or so. I can confirm that he was a comics fan, particularly the new wave of American comics that were starting to filter through – certainly Fantastic Four. He showed my mum the Galactus saga, which got her hooked. She, in turn, got me interested in comics. So, in a roundabout way, you could say that David Bowie is responsible for getting me into comics…

I think the Plastic Man in Crisis was from the 1940s– like many of the All-Stars and Earth-2/Earth-X contingents. The core JSA was from the 1980s, as was Infinity Inc., but most of the other characters from Roy Thomas’ corner of the multiverse were there from an earlier time.

And that’s what makes Hal’s absence especially odd. By the rules of Crisis, characters could appear from any time in the DCU timeline– from Anthro to Kamandi, as Morrison would put it. The Legion and Barry Allen showed up from the 30th century. The All-Stars came from the 1940s. The old west characters came from the old west. The macguffins in the early issues were spread throughout time, so various historical eras got visited. The Monitor or Harbinger could’ve grabbed a Silver Age Hal Jordan, when he was at the height of his confidence, and said “for this part of this mission, we need the man without fear, or doubt, or basic common sense, the greatest Green Lantern of them all,” etc.

Omar: Manta is NOT a freaky fish guy!

Superboy was never a partial human clone of Superman in any of his series or books before Johns’ run in Teen Titans. In the “Funeral For A Friend” storyline after “Death of Superman”, Cadmus stole Superman’s body after Lex Luthor and his team stopped Cadmus from taking Superman and Doomsday’s bodies and Westfield had his government authority over them revoked (Action Comics #685). They couldn’t clone Superman since he was indestructible even in death so they made a close approximation based on guesswork (The story where Auron debuted. Legacy Of Superman #1). Later Cadmus made a human clone, whose DNA Westfield hid from all of Cadmus, and gave the clone a telekinetic field to mimic Superman’s aura (from John Byrne’s explanation on how Superman flew and etc.). Lex Luthor never knew what Cadmus was doing and he learned about Superboy after the fact when he saw him on TV and by his informant Carl Packard, the man who created Superboy, in Adventures of Superman #501 (big reveal at the end of the book).

Cadmus revealed that Superboy wasn’t cloned at all from Superman in Adventures Of Superman #506, Emil Hamilton examined him saying that he was fully human in Superboy #0, and other issues in Superboy’s series stated he was human (like when his clone Match debuted). Superboy’s DNA was stated to belong to a Cadmus member in Superboy Annual #2 before Westfield’s reveal. Then Superboy’s DNA got pattered after his friend Roxy Leech in Superboy #41 when they couldn’t use Westfield’s DNA to cure him of his cells breaking down when Match was created.

I admit that I didn’t like the change to “Half Superman/Half Lex” because Luthor was never involved in Superboy’s creation (especially since Lex and Cadmus were enemies at the time) and it was never anything stating that Superboy was half Kryptonian/Human (whole point of him having telekinesis in the first place was because he wasn’t Superman’s clone and he was always stated as human). Johns should have done a lot of reading before he changed Superboy’s origin.

Omar: Manta is NOT a freaky fish guy!

He was for a few years after Underworld Unleashed.

As for Johns’ simplified origin of Superboy, yeah, he changed stuff, but no more than Alan Moore changed Swamp Thing’s origin. Johns just streamlined it to a much easier to describe to current readers origin. ESPECIALLY when the guy Superboy was a clone of originally hadn’t been used in years (and was only known to readers of the early-90s Superman titles).

My mum’s first boyfriend was a certain David Jones (a fact I’ve dined out on for years), circa 1964-5 or so. I can confirm that he was a comics fan, particularly the new wave of American comics that were starting to filter through – certainly Fantastic Four. He showed my mum the Galactus saga, which got her hooked. She, in turn, got me interested in comics. So, in a roundabout way, you could say that David Bowie is responsible for getting me into comics…

That’s awesome, Mr. D! Thanks! I’ll edit your comment into the piece!

Jacob, at the time DC wasn’t about the fixation with “Iconic” characters that it has now. John Stewart was GL, so that’s who gets to go to Crisis.

I don’t recall the 50% clone thing from the real Superboy stories. Byrne established that Kryptonians couldn’t be cloned in Man of Steel, and Superboy was 100% human clone, that was then altered to give an approximation of Kryptonian powers. the whole “half superman/half lex, kryptonite affects him, heat vision” is all from Johns and the fixation I mention above.

Homo superior is a reference to Olaf Stapleton, not to the X-men.

Brian: I’m pretty sure Omar was referencing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gnmh8oRlfE (Well the original abridged vids this is taken from). I certainly was :D

Ha! Good stuff, Todd! Thanks.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

August 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Scavenger (another forgotten Aquaman foe!) is right. But the only reason Manta’s not a freaky fish-guy is that he’s THE freaky fish-guy.

I hate, hate, hate the Superboy retcon. When a creator didn’t answer a question in his stories, I don’t have a problem with it being answered differently. But the creator did answer the question, and it made sense. Luthor doesn’t make sense to me because Luthor forging a genetic tie to Superman seems so out of character. Now Luthor lying to Superboy and make him think there is a tie — that makes perfect sense. So I look forward to the “John Geofferson” out there who will one day undo this version of the origin.

I never realized that about Hal not appearing in Crisis. Wow. given all the work Perez did to include obscure folks, I think I just assumed he was in a crowd scene somewhere. Brian, could you get Perez and Wolfman to comment on this?

Obviously, Hal would be the biggest name character, but I think there are others who didn’t appear: I don’t recall Spanner from Spanner’s Galaxy appearing, nor the characters from the Barren Earth, both of which had mini-series in the early 1980s. Also, did Brother Power appear?

Green Lantern by Engelhart and Staton was good stuff, once you get past the “underage girl willing herself to grow up so she can have a relationship with Hal” and “Hal being OK with having a relationship with an underage girl who wills herself to grow up” aspects of the stories. I don’t know what they were thinking with that one, since they could have just had her . . . grow up.

I can’t believe there hasn’t been a mini-series revealing Hal Jordon’s secret role in Crisis.

You would at least think that Johns would bother to take the time to say “no all that stuff you thought you knew was wrong” when he wanted to change Superboy’s backstory.

Ha! You just have to love the fact that the Superman editor has no idea that he is talking to a future DC superstar. :)

Wasn’t there another band that recorded ‘Alley Oop’ before Hollywood Argyles, and didn’t it make the charts as well? I remember hearing it on oldies radio back in the early ’90s. The DJ explained a little bit about the history of the song, but I don’t really remember what all he said. Was Kim Fowley one of the Argyles, or was he in the other band? I know I’ve heard of him being on one of the records.

Well I guess all those who called Johns’ work fan-fiction have another leg to stand on now.

Kim Fowley was writing partners with Paxton. I presume he had some involvement with “Alley Oop.”

The Argyles sang “Alley Oop” first, but another band had a hit with it soon after, as well, so I presume that’s who you’re thinking of, Mary.

I can’t believe that, in 25 years, I never realized that Hal Jordan did not appear in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Almost certainly due to licensing complications, but no CAPTAIN ACTION in Crisis. I’ll have to ask Marv about that next time I see him.

Ah, the Kesel and Grummett run on Adventures and Superboy…Good times.

REGARDING AQUAMAN FOES

What about “The Fisherman” (my first introduction was via the “Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure” episode of Brave and the Bold)? Didn’t it turn out his weird yellow hat was actually some sort of alien parasite?

I’d like to see that thing go up against a Starro starfish.

His main “power” is his helmet’s laser eyebeams and his tendency to make mutant manta-people as henchmen.

I would argue that Manta’s main power is the ability to get henchmen and technology easily. And a cool sounding modulated voice, which is why he’s more useful as a TV foe than as a comic book foe.

“Scavenger (another forgotten Aquaman foe!) is right. ”

Wasn’t Scavenger also a Superboy foe?

Or is that THE Scavenger?

WAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

They Changed Superboy’s Origin, no way Lex Luthor was half of Superboy because he didn’t even know about any of it waaaah!

Who cares. MINOR LEAGUE. You know what ticks me off? They used the HELL out of Matrix Supergirl in most of the Death of Superman stuff, and now any reference of even PAD’s iteration is completely ignored (beyond the occasional reference attempt in “Reign in Hell” or “Batman/Superman”).

Go figure that ret-con fill-in out.

Re: Matrix/PAD Supergirl acknowledgement.

At least Jason Todd got a costume in a tube in the Batcave.

I may be off here with the ongoing series characters in CoIE thread, but I don’t think Karate Kid appeared either?!

…so, if we consider the names showing up in the titles of the books (and thus counting all Green Lanterns together), every title in DCU was represented in Crisis?

Well, I checked Wikipedia. Dante and the Evergreens had a hit with ‘Alley Oop’ the same year as the Hollywood Argyles, but it does look like the Argyles were first. However, Dallas Frazier’s original version was a hit back in 1957, on the country charts. He also wrote and recorded the original version of ‘Elvira’, which sounds very similar (he could’ve sued himself, I suppose).
I guess the version I heard on the radio was the Evergreens, since I don’t remember it sounding all that country. So I guess the DJ was wrong when he said it came first.
(And Wikipedia said Kim Fowley was co-producer of the Argyles record. I knew he had something to do with it.)

I wonder if that editor’s snarky response is what has motivated Johns all these years. It’s kind of like “Screw you, Superboy editor! I’m going to become the most popular writer in comics one day and then I’ll do whatever I want to Superboy’s origin!”

Most characters that were considered “not part of the DC Universe proper” didn’t appear in the Crisis. Spanner’s Galaxy being one of them; Atari Force would be another example. Did Rex the Wonder Dog appear? If not, that’s probably why it took 12 issues. Rex would have wrapped things up in 7.

Great…now I have to re-read Crisis after I finish re-reading Watchmen. Damn these interesting tidbits!

A few random notes:
* The Golden Age Sandman does not appear in Crisis On Infinite Earths, aside from a partially-blocked head shot on the cover of #5. God knows I’ve scoured the books trying to find him more than once and he’s just not there.
* I’m pretty sure the Plastic Man seen in CoIE is the contemporary Earth-One version, since the Earth-Two Plas was long dead in ’85 and was not among the All-Stars who were brought forward through time by the Monitor.
* Karate Kid was also dead by the time of the Crisis.
* And there was only one Spectre. The Earth-Two Jim Corrigan was his host body until Spec’s “death” in Justice League of America #83, after which he inhabited Earth-One’s Corrigan, beginning in Adventure Comics #431

I’ve got to wonder if Hal being completely left out of Crisis – not even a cameo – was some sort of editorial mandate, to keep the focus on John and Guy.

“And there was only one Spectre. The Earth-Two Jim Corrigan was his host body until Spec’s “death” in Justice League of America #83, after which he inhabited Earth-One’s Corrigan, beginning in Adventure Comics #431″

That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that the ADVENTURE Spec was on Earth-Prime — the Earth seen in that series doesn’t seem to have had any super folk (or even supernatural folk) aside from the Spectre — and that there wasn’t a body, Corrigan or otherwise, for the Spectre to inhabit, making him even more judgmental and more violent (and more creative!) than at any other point in the character’s history. (As hinted at in the 1960s series and expressly picked up on in the 1980s title, the Spectre needed to rest in its host body to maintain mental and emotional stability. And ADVENTURE’s Spec never had that body, dissolving between forms rather than re-entering a host.)

i don’t know why no one sees Superboy as the dream of to men having a baby without a girl, ’cause that is what he is.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

August 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm

– The Fisherman was revealed by Kurt Busiek as the pawn of his headgear, a Lovecraftian alien connected to some sort of undersea portal to a realm of implied cosmic horrors. Just before this story, the Fisherman had been killed off unceremoniously in Gotham Central #38′s Infinite Crisis tie-in story, and this was a way to bring the guy back with a twist. Just after it, no one used the Fisherman ever again.

— The Scavenger who fought Superboy, an apparently paranoid schizophrenic old man with ages’ worth of stolen super-technology and artifacts, its wholly separate from the occasionally-seen Aquaman villain. Aquaman’s foe was a guy in a modified diving suit who eventually e-aged himself into protoplasm thanks to a faulty stolen gadget. Restored in a later series, he eventually appeared to reform and teamed with Aquaman. Unfortunately, he turned out to be both a pedophile and the avatar of a barracuda spirit, and fought the hawk-avatar version of the Katar Hol Hawkman in the late 90s. Katar killed him. He’s since turned up again in his older villainous form, though, perhaps resurrected by some cosmic crisis or merely by writers’ desire to forget the Post-Crisis Hawkman mess and especially the failed “hawk-avatar” direction for the book. The Superboy Scavenger, on the other hand, may be immortal, as he apparently lived into the 31st century of one version of the Legion of Super-Heroes, where he fought them and a time-traveling Superboy.

Unfortunately, he turned out to be both a pedophile and the avatar of a barracuda spirit, and fought the hawk-avatar version of the Katar Hol Hawkman in the late 90s. Katar killed him.

La la la can’t hear you must not have happened la la la

Didn’t Black Manta turn into an actual black manta ray for a while in the 90′s? needless to say it was crap, the helmet is classic.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

August 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Master Bruce…that’s been the subject of a long discussion in a number of the comments above on this very page.

A more recent Bowie/comics reference is from (a song and album that eldues me right now).

The line, anyway, is “see my life in the comics/like they did with the Bible”

I THINK the song is “New Killer Star” off, I think, Reality But it’s been a while since I listened to it.

And that’s fascinating that Hal Jordan doesn’t come up in COIE at all. Especially given how, in the late 90s or so, JLA Year One and that Brave and the Bold title (both by Waid et al) played up how close Hal and Barry were. And since Barry died then…

Actually, come to think of it, in that JLA/JSA crossover that happened early on in the latest versions of those 2 titles, both Batman and Hal have visions of Barry, don’t they? (Before the Legion does that weird lightning rod stuff that SPOILER brings Wally back.) Batman’s is when BarryFlash appeared to him dying during Crisis, but how did Barry appear to Hal? Now I gotta look at that again, and Crisis… Brian, you’re killing me!

To echo the Mutt and tie in with the other legend, Geoff Johns is gonna write a “Hal Jordan secretly did everything cool in COIE” mini. It’ll be the 2012 DCU crossover series.

I’ve browsed my COIE TPB numerous times, but aside from a headshot on a cover, I haven’t seen Oliver Queen in the inside pages. Can anyone confirm or dispute this?

“That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that the ADVENTURE Spec was on Earth-Prime — the Earth seen in that series doesn’t seem to have had any super folk (or even supernatural folk) aside from the Spectre — and that there wasn’t a body, Corrigan or otherwise, for the Spectre to inhabit, making him even more judgmental and more violent (and more creative!) than at any other point in the character’s history. (As hinted at in the 1960s series and expressly picked up on in the 1980s title, the Spectre needed to rest in its host body to maintain mental and emotional stability. And ADVENTURE’s Spec never had that body, dissolving between forms rather than re-entering a host.)”

While it’s true that Michael Fleisher wrote the series as if it took place in its own little universe, Jim Corrigan is very much a part of the Spectre’s Adventure run. Unlike the earlier Earth-Two version, however, where Spec and Jim were separate manifestations of the same, one physical, one ectoplasmic, each capable of independent existence, the Adventure version was a single being (which harkens back to the original Siegel/Baily series). This version was explicitly tied to Earth-One in Ghosts #97-99, where he (and journalist Earl Crawford from the Adventure cast) encountered Dr. 13. It was not until America Vs. the Justice Society that Roy Thomas finally established that the E1 and E2 Spectres were the same being.

Check out my article in Alter Ego #93 for more information.

That should say “seperate manifestations of the same personality”

When was the 1st use of the term “Homo Superior” in X-men. I’d be willing to bet it was after Hunky Dory came out (1972?)

So Howard Chaykin basically reused his cover for GL #196 for the cover to his Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage #1 mini-series?

charles foster kane

August 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm

the Johns story is just another example of the third generation of comics readers gaining power in Big Two companies and inserting their own ideas into company continuity. Aka Officially Sanctioned Fan Fiction.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

August 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Homo superior was used in the very first issue of X-Men in 1963, when David Bowie was 16 years old.

I’ve browsed my COIE TPB numerous times, but aside from a headshot on a cover, I haven’t seen Oliver Queen in the inside pages. Can anyone confirm or dispute this?

He’s there – in the old school costume (sans goatee), but he’s there.

That’s the Earth-Two Oliver Queen, Brian. I’m referring to Earth-One Ollie (yes, the one with the goatee).

Yeah Brian, don’t you know the difference?

Me neither.

Seriously, if Ollie AND Hal are missing, does this mean something significant? Or were they just off helping the potato skins and such? (Comics Critics ref, dontcha know)

And really, hasn’t nearly every new generation of comics writers started out as a generation of fans, so ALL of the stories are essentially “officially sanctioned fan fiction”? I’m thinking of Roy Thomas in particular, but every writer takes their pet ideas and tries to fit them in where they are allowed to.

And the next gen immediately reverses every decision made that way.

The Earth-2 Green Arrow had brown hair (in CoIE, at least)
Presumably, he was going gray and decided to dye it… ;-)
He’s the one in the “classic” garb who dies.
The Earth-2 Speedy was blonde in CoIE, as opposed to the red-headed Earth-1 version.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I agree with C above, who points out, among other things, that Luthor had nothing to do with Superboy at the time Superboy was created. I don’t really like the change, although it is an INTERESTING change.

What I think Johns was doing though, was bringing the MOVIE sensibility to comics. That is, he’s simplifying and streamlining things a la the Tim Burton Batman movie where the Joker is the killer of Batman’s parents, and other examples. Remember, Johns was an assistant to Richard Donner (or something like that.) However, doing it in the comics world where us fanboys are nit pickers extraordinaire is a bit dangerous. (I’m sure people bemoaned the Batman change, but I read somewhere that Bob Kane said that that’s what they would have done back in the day had they thought of it. Or had Bill Finger do and take the credit for ;) )

I think Brian mentioned the streamlining point, so I apologize for going on about it again.

And let it be known that I do like some of that early Johns stuff. I like what I’ve read of Stars and STRIPE, and the start of his Flash run was pretty good. Somehow I backed into it, and just started picking it up when it was coming out. Dunno why I did, I guess it was a “new jumping on point” after the Waid run. But as someone pointed out above, (I’m paraphrasing) it’s fine if you come in and “solve” something that hasn’t been revealed before, but when there was a perfectly logical explanation for the issue at hand, to ret con it seems…picky.

And I would say that given that this was post-Death of Superman stuff, that the Superman titles picked up a bunch of readers in that time period who would know about Westfield and Cadmus, et al. But that might just be me…

Hal doesn’t appear in Crisis proper but I remember reading Englehart’s issues prior to the series becoming GREEN LANTERN CORPS and there’s a scene (I think it’s in issue #200) where Hal (as GL) sees Barry Allen’s spirit, a vision which makes Hal realize that Barry is gone. It was a likely a nod by Steve and Joe to the various GL/Flash team-ups of the Silver and Bronze Ages.

That panel from Crisis #9 with Guy Gardner and the Guardians was the first time I ever saw Guy. I thought he looked more like a rogue GL but I could also tell that he was going to be a “breakthrough” character somehow. And I just noticed that he started out without his Moe Howard haircut, which means he’s come around full circle.

A young Kurt Busiek got a letter of praise printed in Captain America 251 (Nov. 1980), and another in 252 where he goes on for quite a while telling Roger Stern how to write comics, specifically to tighten up a lot of scenes in order to fit more story into the book, which is kind of a laugh considering how little actually happens in an average issue of some comics in these days of “uncompressed” storytelling (I stopped reading JMS’ Fantastic Four when Reed and Johnny spent six pages in a donut shop (!!) talking about Reed’s never-before-or-since mentioned gay uncle, but I digress). Busiek also mentioned he’d like to have Cap reminisce about his favorite old film stars from the 1940′s, but I don’t know whether he ever worked that into an Avengers story.

Lex Luthor has always been envious of Superman (or Superboy, in the pre-Crisis stories) for his special abilities but hated the fact that Superman was naturally endowed with special powers (while under a yellow sun.) Luthor was not always the xenophobe you see now. Pre-Crisis Luthor didn’t mind beings from another planet, dimension, time, or what have you as long as they served his needs. He even had his own planet where he was worshiped as the supreme ruler, for crying out loud (and he enjoyed it tremendously.) His hatred for the Man of Steel derives from the simple fact that Superman’s presence has always led to some unfortunate accident (the loss of his hair, the destruction of his planet, etc.). His desire to “one-up” the alien Superman and show that an Earthling could rival Superman’ in powers/strength would have definitely driven him towards creating a clone. Since Luthor believes himself to be the smartest man on Earth, there is no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t let the opportunity to clone himself and imbue that clone with super-powers pass him by.

excellent as always. I look forward to these every week.

Myself, I always kind of thought of Bowie’s “The Supermen” (from 1970′s “The Man Who Sold The World”) as very comic-book inspired, posb an inspiration for Alan Moore’s revisionist take on superheroes in the ’80s.

I seem to remember that back in the early 1980′s Forbidden Planet when based in Denmark Street, London used to have carrier bags that included a drawing of some of their famous clientele including David Bowie and Mick Jagger.

Earth-1 Ollie is in Crisis. He shows up when all the heroes are on the monitor’s satellite.

Pete Woodhouse

August 7, 2010 at 7:42 am

@Travis Pelkie – you’re right: I put Reality on & the “New Killer Star” line is “All my life in a comic/like the way they did the Bible/with the bubbles and action” (it could be Action of course, I dunno!).
Wings did ‘Magneto & Titanium Man’ (with Crimson Dynamo references), so McCartney also a comix nut?

@Witney Devil: early 1980′s Forbidden Planet in Denmark Street – you’re right, a lot of the promo stuff was drawn by Brian Bolland (who also did stuff for Dark They Were & Golden Eyed, another early UK comic shop, I think). Bolland drew Bowie (in his Aladdin Sane make up), Jagger, Debbie Harry (who Bolland based Judge Anderson on) & others on the bags.

There was a lovely Kirby piece on Ebay a few years back that he did for Paul and Linda when meeting them backstage after a concert so he must have had some interest!

Ah, so it really is all the fault of Geoff Johns! So glad I ditched DC Comics.

“Superboy was never a partial human clone of Superman in any of his series or books before Johns’ run in Teen Titans. In the “Funeral For A Friend” storyline after “Death of Superman”, Cadmus stole Superman’s body after Lex Luthor and his team stopped Cadmus from taking Superman and Doomsday’s bodies and Westfield had his government authority over them revoked (Action Comics #685). They couldn’t clone Superman since he was indestructible even in death so they made a close approximation based on guesswork (The story where Auron debuted. Legacy Of Superman #1). Later Cadmus made a human clone, whose DNA Westfield hid from all of Cadmus, and gave the clone a telekinetic field to mimic Superman’s aura (from John Byrne’s explanation on how Superman flew and etc.). Lex Luthor never knew what Cadmus was doing and he learned about Superboy after the fact when he saw him on TV and by his informant Carl Packard, the man who created Superboy, in Adventures of Superman #501 (big reveal at the end of the book).

“Cadmus revealed that Superboy wasn’t cloned at all from Superman in Adventures Of Superman #506, Emil Hamilton examined him saying that he was fully human in Superboy #0, and other issues in Superboy’s series stated he was human (like when his clone Match debuted). Superboy’s DNA was stated to belong to a Cadmus member in Superboy Annual #2 before Westfield’s reveal. Then Superboy’s DNA got pattered after his friend Roxy Leech in Superboy #41 when they couldn’t use Westfield’s DNA to cure him of his cells breaking down when Match was created.

“I admit that I didn’t like the change to “Half Superman/Half Lex” because Luthor was never involved in Superboy’s creation (especially since Lex and Cadmus were enemies at the time) and it was never anything stating that Superboy was half Kryptonian/Human (whole point of him having telekinesis in the first place was because he wasn’t Superman’s clone and he was always stated as human). Johns should have done a lot of reading before he changed Superboy’s origin.” – posted by C.

Thank you for posting this. Not a Johns hater by any means – can admire his dedication also – but “C” summed up why I didn’t really like this ret-con (why it shouldn’t work) to Superboy. And as others posted it will last until some other up and comer ret-cons it out of existence anyway.

“And amazingly enough, one such character who is absent from the entire 12 issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths is Hal Jordan!!!!”

Yeah the fact that Hal isn’t in COIE is a black mark on the book, that’s part of why i’m such a fan of Johns and what he has done with GL these past 6 years. Because done are the days of one of DC’s icons being ignored because of stupid editorial decisions, funny how the biggest event up to that point killed Flash and ignored Hal. Then in the last big event both guys were front and center saving the universe, too bad it took almost 30 years for that to happen.

Paco DeBastante

August 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

Avid readers of this column will recall the legend that the Brian Bolland Forbidden Planet bag artwork appeared here, in reference to the legend about Judge Anderson being based on Debbie Harry.
—> http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/11/19/comic-book-legends-revealed-234/
—> http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Forbidden-planet-2.jpg

This is a great column because I have actually been reading my Superboy comics this past week! More to the point,

Geoff Johns’ explanation of Luthor as the genetic father to Kon-El makes sense!

In the Hyper-Time plotline Paul Westfield gets hit by one of Black Zero’s “annihilator” (whatever) rays and gets erased from every continuity in the DC Universe, leaving the two genetic father’s of Kon an unknown, unknown, mystery.

Now where’s my Go-Prize DC!

Say..That was a great bit about Bowie,even though it was a tidbit.That puts David and I being wowed by the very same comics.I remember buying all of the great FF run from 30-63 durin the Silver Age ’60′s.To think now that he was reading the Galactus Saga at about the same time I was is very cool.Since he is my #1 music guy of all-time,its neat to see where some of his inspiration came from.I wish he would do a comeback album and tour.I also have a friend that is Alley Oop crazy.Huge collection of items from way back.That caveman has been around for a long,long time.

Clegane, Sandor

August 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

Re Hal Jordan not showing up in Crisis: Some years ago there was an interview with Marv Wolfman and George Perez, where they both realized this “snub”.

Barry Allen was seen as the first big superhero of the Silver Age, which they said is why his arc is so prominent; it was important to harken back to the beginning of the DCU, and the character that paved the way for the Silver Age, the JLA and the multiverse. His death signifies the end of that era. And yet the 2nd big superhero of that era – Hal – is nowhere to be found.

They both considered that one a big “whoops”! But it wasn’t intentional – they had a million characters to fit in. And besides, at that point Hal was retired in the GL series. An understandable oversight.

Re: Shaq Fu

That didn’t happen like that. In the “Hypertension” storyline (Superboy #60-64), Paul Westfield wasn’t erased from Superboy’s continuity at ALL. When the Paul Westfield from another reality dived into Metron’s Hypertime reactor, he and all of his alternate reality selves were deleted at the same time. Not wiped from continuity, but “erased from existence” with no way to reverse the erasing (the “ultimate death” mentioned by Metron). Westfield from Superboy’s reality was already dead and his history with Superboy was still intact. Amanda Spence, his biological daughter, still existed and wanted revenge for Westfield’s death during the Lexcorp vs. Cadmus “Battle For Metropolis” arc (killing Superboy’s girlfriend Tana Moon and other things later in his series) In “Hypertension”, Black Zero, the alternate reality Superboy, was hit by hyperstorm lightning. That left a window for Black Zero to return since Superboy didn’t disappear (not proving that Superboy wasn’t originally of Westfield’s DNA). And again, there were no two donors of Superboy at all. Just one single donor and that was explained in Adventures of Superman #506.

They both considered that one a big “whoops”! But it wasn’t intentional – they had a million characters to fit in. And besides, at that point Hal was retired in the GL series. An understandable oversight.

Thanks for the info!

And just in case I wasn’t clear in the piece itself, I don’t mean to suggest that Hal’s omission was a KNOCK on Wolfman and Perez. It’s just a little oddity that’s worth pointing out.

Eeh, who was or wasn’t in the first Crisis is an exercise in continuity porn that even as much a geek as I am I will pass on. Considering how many of them were just one-panel cameos (and so many were included JUST TO BE KILLED OFF) it doesn’t matter much either.

One thing about Superboy that rarely gets pointed out is that the reason Cadmus created Superboy from someone else’s DNA was that THEY COULD NOT CLONE SUPERMAN AT ALL. It had been established in the early Byrne stories that his DNA was too alien (having something like a triple-axis if I recall); that’s why attempts to duplicate him resulted in Bizarro. They also COULD NOT get any DNA from his “dead” body while they had it (briefly) in their possession (he was still invulnerable, which should have clued them that HE WAS STILL ALIVE.) So they decided *imitate* him as closely as they could using somebody else’s DNA (Westfield’s as it was later revealed.)

It’s not so much that I mind the retcon (these are comic books after all, you’re gonna get them sooner or later) than the fact Johns was SO obsessed with his idea that he HAD to implement it even when there was no story-driven need for it. But that’s one of his flaws as a writer, and this is hardly the only example.

Re: “Simplified origin”

The original premise was “Project Cadmus couldn’t make a Superman clone after he died, so they made a human version of their own to replace him with the director of the whole show secretly using his own DNA. The cloning team made Superboy to look like Superman, gave him certain powers that mimicked powers that they couldn’t duplicate, and the clone escaped before he was aged to Superman’s age and without any mental commands for Cadmus to control him”. That was the premise for Superboy’s 100 issue run from 1993 to 1999, spinoff series, the Superman books, and Young Justice (which ended one month before TT #1) with the same premise mentioned in “Titans/YJ Graduation Day”. It’s not exactly a complex origin and could be explained without much confusion many a time. I can understand streamlining, but adding someone with no ties to Superboy like Lex Luthor (who tried to stop Cadmus from taking Superman & Doomsday’s bodies, personally helped take Supes’ body away from Cadmus by force with Lois and Supergirl, enemy of Cadmus who went to war with them, etc.), making Superboy a Kryptonian/Human hybrid, or the other additional changes made didn’t exactly streamline or simplify Superboy’s origin. It added even more changes that contradicted a LOT of established material (Especially that every Superman from Reign of the Supermen was not Superman resurrected or cloned). It just seemed like Johns didn’t read the origin issues or certain storylines. That was evident by his fan letter and his “an amalgam of Superman and Paul Westfield” in his original pitch.

As far as Westfield goes, he was a presence before, during and after Death & Return of Superman. In Superboy’s own series, he was a presence even after he died early in the series in a Superman crossover (during a war between Cadmus and Lex Luthor), after every parallel version of Westfield was deleted, and when his daughter wanted revenge for his death. It was more than just early 90′s readers knowing about him when he was around or a focus in some shape and form from 1991 to 1999. He wasn’t used after Superboy’s series ended (until TT when he was changed to a “wacked out scientist” when he was just a government bureaucrat), but that didn’t make him or other people from Superboy’s series irrelevant by default. One thing that changed during Superboy’s series was Superboy’s DNA wasn’t even patterned after Westfield anymore and was explained in-story. How it changed from Westfield to being Roxy Leech to Westfield/Lex retcon is a big “wha?”. But it’s comics *shrug* Things happen.

Re: Scavenger

Even though Superboy didn’t have it at the time, the heat vision thing and Kryptonite weakness were mentioned in Superboy’s series. In Superboy #0, Prof. Hamilton mentioned that when they made Superboy, Westfield’s team and Superboy’s creator Carl Packard did manage to replicate some things. He absorbed solar energy like Superman and Hamilton guessed a Kryptonite weakness. The Kryptonite thing finally happened during a team up with Robin. The heat vision was foreshadowed during DC One Million when Superboy was shown glimpses of the future with a voice saying “use your heat vision!”. During the “Hypertension” storyline, his adult alt. universe self Black Zero told him that they were made to be as close to Superman as possible and to “wait a few years” for heat vision. When he aged to an adult during “Sins Of Youth”, adult Superboy was able to use heat vision while kid Superman didn’t. The “Half Superman/Half Lex” thing and even the “Part Superman/Part Westfield” thing were Johns additions like Westfield being a scientist that made Superboy and etc. There are examples of the human thing like the mentioning of Superboy being full human in the series or the reason why he had his signature power “tactile telekinesis”. But another example is Superboy’s own name “Kon-El”. The reason why Superman gave him the name was in honor of a cousin from another House Of El who weren’t blood relatives and that he considered Superboy family.

The Ugly American

August 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm

When I first found out that Black Manta was black (I discovered this fact within the least couple of years), I thought it was hilarious that his supervillain name is BLACK MANta.

Travis Pelkie asks…
“…hasn’t nearly every new generation of comics writers started out as a generation of fans, so ALL of the stories are essentially ‘officially sanctioned fan fiction’?”

Most of the the first generation of comics writers; Bill Finger, Otto BInder, Gardner Fox, Stan Lee, Edmond Hamilton, et al, were professional writers (primarily from pulps) who produced material in almost EVERY genre from westerns to mystery to sci-fi to romance.
They weren’t “fans” of a particular genre. They were just trying to make a living!
The obvious notable exception was Jerry Siegel, the ULTIMATE sci-fi fanboy turned pro! (You’ve heard of him, I trust?) But even HE wasn’t a comic book fan, per se, since they didn’t exist as an ongoing original material source until he came along!
So, I’d say that everything up to the first Roy Thomas stories aren’t “officially-sanctioned fan fiction”?
From then on, it’s open to debate!

I loved Kesel & Grummett’s Superboy (especially their second run.) I prefer that version to the Geoff Johns retcon. I’ve made similar arguments as to why Geoff’s story shouldn’t work.

The simple truth is that the post-retcon version is arguably more popular than the earlier one. So for better or worse DC’s picked the backstory that they’re running with based on fan reaction and numbers. I’m not thrilled with it but more power to ‘em, I guess.

I remember thinking as COIE was winding down how odd it was that Hal Jordan had been excluded. Heck, even SUGAR & SPIKE’s Bernie the Brain and the Inferior 5 had brief shots!

In an oooold (80′s?) Marvel comic somewhere that I can’t remember, In Stan’s Soapbox, Stan Lee teases a super-secret project coming up with David Bowie. I never found out what it was or if it even happened, but there’s another Bowie-comics link.

Zor-El of Argo

August 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

It should be noted that while Hal Jordan did not appear in COIE proper, he did figure prominently into the Green Lantern magazine’s Crisis tie-ins. Hal, without his ring, joined Guy Gardner and pretty much all of Hal’s most prominent enemies in a mission to Qward where they tried to take the fight to the Anti-Monitor.

Back when COIE was first starting I caught a rumor that the real reason for Hal quitting and John becoming GL was that Wolfman wanted to kill Green Lantern in Crisis, but DC didn’t want him to kill Hal. John Stewart was supposed to go down in COIE, setting the stage for Hal to get his ring back. Is there any truth to this one, Brian?

I don’t like everything Johns does, but this instance only shows why he is a successful writer, while tons of his critics will never publish anything professionaly.

Superboy as a clone of Luthor/Superman: Intriguing, full of storyline potential, making Superboy connected to two very popular characters in a big way.

Superboy as a clone of whoever: “Huh? Who is that dude Superboy is a clone of?” Asks the casual fan.

So Byrne decided that Kryptonians couldn’t be cloned. Duh. This is comics, whatever the pseudo-scientific explanation given in today’s issue, it can be easily reversed in the next one. Maybe they can’t be cloned normally, but Superboy was the unexplainable fluke, like Captain America’s shield.

I am not automatically advocating altering other heroes’ origins in favour of more inter-connection, Hollywood-style. Batman’s origin DOES work better if a common criminal kills his parents, and not the man-who-would-become-the-Joker. The senselessness of a common thug ruining his life works a lot better than if the killer becomes has a well-known face to him.

Likewise, Doom being in the same accident as the rest of the Fantastic Four makes him somehow more pathetic, a victim of Reed’s hubris – and we already have Ben Grimm in that role. Doom is greater and more menacing if his origins are different from (and their details unknown to) the FF. The hint of mysticism in Doom’s Central European background also sets him apart from Richard’s all-american science.

But Superboy? I don’t see why his origin is more interesting if he is cloned from unimportant evil Cadmus dude.

Regarding the real-world reasons for John Stewart becoming a Green Lantern, at the time I wasn’t reading any DC comics as I was strictly a Marvel kid, but it seemed to me that Marvel had already taken the bold step of making Iron Man black. I was reading IM each month then and looking at all the various comics covers on the rack, and it seemed to me like a plain case of “me too-ism” when a few months later DC made one of their leading heroes black as well.

Similarly I skipped over COIE when I saw it as it seemed like DC was doing a “starring everybody” limited series like Marvel had just done with Secret Wars (Marvel also had the first Limited Series with Contest of Champions, Wolverine and Hercules limiteds, right?). I’m sure the editorial buildup to a project as complex as COIE may have required planning well in advance of SW, but SW hit the stands first, didn’t it? SW sure holds together as a much better story to read, though DC had major editorial housecleaning issues to deal with in getting ready for all those cool post-crisis stories when I started to read DC with Man of Steel and Batman Year One. DC was a much older company with roots and story ideas that pre-dated the Marvel Age focus on continuity that made sense, and it needed cleaning up. Maybe in decades to come it will be necessary to have a Marvel Crisis of some kind, to unite and make sense of the story dilution that’s come from all the various tacked-on universes (Ultimates, 2099, OMD) that have cropped up since.

I recall back in the early 70′s a very close musician friend of Bowies (Marc Bolan – RIP) did a tv interview with Stan Lee here in the UK. They went through all the characters he liked and Marc said his favourites were Dr Strange, FF, Silver Surfer etc. He even worked the Surver into the lyrics for his song “Teenage Dream”.

I also seem to recall an interview in one of the weekly music papers (possibly NME or Sounds) where Bowie was asked about his friendship with Bolan and he remarked about their mutula love of American comic books.

I think I agree with Rene to an extent, that the Superboy retcon “works” better with the Luthor connection.

But I do see where other posters have a point, that it wasn’t an absolute necessity to retcon –

AT THE TIME.

When Teen Titans happened, yes, that was a good time because, as someone mentioned, the Superboy title and Young Justice titles were over, so it was a good spot to introduce a new status quo.

But when this Superboy was created, the Superman titles seemed to want all those neat old elements that were part of the Superman mythos that were eliminated by the Byrne retcon. They had already reintroduced a new Supergirl, I think Kandor was back (if not by that time, a few years later), and there were other elements that were “reimagined” to add to the new Superman mythos. This Superboy, with no direct ties to Superman or Luthor, fit into that mold.

But as Rene points out, the new TT status quo (Superman/Luthor clone) presents intriguing story possibilities. And that made the retcon, if not NECESSARY, at least INTERESTING.

I’d also like to point out that the “Hollywoodizing” (if you will) of making everyone’s origin connected isn’t new. I mentioned Roy Thomas in a previous post here, and from what I know of his stuff, he certainly liked to take old stories and connect everyone’s backgrounds together. And if you believe what some people think, one reason Ditko left Spider-Man was due to Ditko not wanting the Green Goblin to be someone connected to Peter Parker’s life (SPOILER: he’s Norman Osborn ;) ), but wanted him to be just a random crook.

As Rene points out, it depends on the character and background. I think in this case, the Goblin works better as “hey Peter, I’m your friend’s crazy dad” than “hey, I’m some guy”.

Oh, and above, I meant to make it clearer that I thought that the Superman writers wanted all those neat old elements to the Superman mythos, but wanted to rethink them so that they had a different spin to them.

As in Superboy then: Superman as a boy; Superboy now (well, 1993): attempted Superman clone tied to Project Cadmus (which was a group I think Kesel loved writing — he does likey those Kirby Koncepts. Check out his contributions to Amalgam, Spider-Boy and Challengers of the Fantastic. Good good stuff)

Dave Blanchard

August 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Does the Superboy of Earth-1 — you know, the one who lived with Ma and Pa Kent on the farm and starred in his own title as well as ADVENTURE COMICS for several decades — actually appear in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS?

@cliff poolie:

Bolan also mentions Dr. Strange in the lyrics to “Mambo Sun”.

Byrne never established that Superman couldn’t be cloned. Just that Luthor and his lackey, Dr. Teng, couldn’t do it. Their first (and Luthor’s subsequent) attempt resulted in Bizarro. IIRC Cadmus had “broken the code” to Superman’s alien genetic make-up but Auron (another Cadmus product) took off into space with the “recipe” to prevent it them cloning the Man of Steel.

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #272 | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic … [...]

Much as I enjoyed SW and love Jim Shooter – I have to disagree that it read much better than CoIE – SW always seemed more “staged” and appeared to be (in some parts) set pieces cobbled together in a rather artificial situation – Crisis IMHO was more of a progressive story to achieve a desired (and some would say necessary) end, but each to his own!
The cramming in of so many personnel in CoIE was probably more to do with George Perez being the artist and Marv Wolfman knowing his capabilities and likes!

I think “C” and Rene presented both sides the arguments with great panache and erudition.

While every choice essentially boils down to personal preference, at least this discussion on Kon-El/Superboy gave me something to think about. I enjoyed reading both posts. And in this internet forum world of mostly ‘gotcha, SCREAMING, insults’ it was a great moment of what should be… instead of sadly what is.

“He even had his own planet where he was worshiped as the supreme ruler, for crying out loud (and he enjoyed it tremendously.) His hatred for the Man of Steel derives from the simple fact that Superman’s presence has always led to some unfortunate accident (the loss of his hair, the destruction of his planet, etc.).”

No, he wasn’t supreme ruler, he was considered their greatest hero, the man who’d saved them from extinction (which was sort-of true). And yes, he did enjoy being treated as a good guy, which is what made it interesting.

“And if you believe what some people think, one reason Ditko left Spider-Man was due to Ditko not wanting the Green Goblin to be someone connected to Peter Parker’s life (SPOILER: he’s Norman Osborn ;) ), but wanted him to be just a random crook. ”

An article in Ditkomania quotes an essay of Ditko’s in which he states that he’d envisioned Gobby’s identity from the first, and gone on to plant it among Jonah’s cronies and his son among Peter’s friends. He doesn’t specifically say “It was Norman!” but who else fits? And they’d already done the random-crook thing with the Crime Master–I can’t see it would be effective twice.

As for Hal’s absence from Crisis, this doesn’t surprise me entirely given the plotline in GL involved his hanging up the ring–forever! Of course, today, the writer would probably be told he has to bring Hal back for the duration of the big crossover, then drop him out of costume again, regardless of what it does to the ongoing story.

Personally, my problem with the Superboy-origin retcon is that it *could* have resulted in interesting stories… but it didn’t. It mostly resulted in Connor moping around for a while, then turning evil for no reason.

When it comes to having a direct connection to Superman, Superboy already had a legitimate connection to Superman from the beginning and that was the important one needed in order to have the name “Superboy”. It just so happened that he had one without being a straight up clone of Superman. That was the entire focal point of his own series, his role in Young Justice, books “Superboy & The Ravers”, and his role in “Reign of the Supermen”. He was unique in that while he was linked to Superman by name, physical appearance, and by the fact that Superman was the entire basis for his creation, he was his own distinct character with his own distinct super powers, origin, villains, personality, secondary characters, hometown, physical makeup, etc. It was interesting because it was a new take on “The adventures of Superman when he was a boy” with new concepts implemented like the fact that he was human. I can honestly say that it was the reason why I read the book and remember the stories. Everything from the setup in “Funeral For A Friend” to “Legacy Of Superman” to explanations in”Reign…” was a cohesive story and laid the groundwork well.

Paul Westfield wasn’t an “unimportant evil Cadmus dude”. He ran the entire Project Cadmus with a background of taking extreme measures to accomplish something (killing his commanding officer to save his men, using his “Project: Bloodhound” to successfully capture Superman, etc.). His belief that Superman was a danger that should be controlled based on Superman going rogue on two occasions was the basis for him trying to capture Superman to learn his secrets and for Superboy’s creation. He was just about as Machiavellian as Luthor but with different motivations because Lex hated Superman while Westfield thought of him as a danger that should be reigned in. If a casual fan goes “who?”, that is what in-story explanations are for. There was storyline potential for Westfield being Superboy’s DNA donor and it showed during the series. A writer could tap into that for an intriguing story and he could be resurrected easily & brought back (due to his DNA kept by mad scientist Dabney Donovan) But when it comes down it, Superboy’s battle with his heritage wasn’t exactly a new thing when it was already a focal point in his old series. TT to Adventure Comics felt like familiar territory just with more changes like Superboy now having Lex Luthor commands when it was established that he fought and won against all mental programming. Or Johns’ reason why Lex created Superboy was to make a sleeper agent to get close to Superman in TT 25…..which is a very hard premise to swallow because of one big fact: Superman was already dead when Superboy was created. It was like it was about shoehorning Lex in there without looking at Superboy’s past.

The man who was responsible for Superboy is important and Westfield is. Sure there are many reasons why the Luthor retcon is problematic like the above lists of issues that contradict it all, but tying in Luthor into the origin because he’s “more known” is on the same level as “Who cares about Tony Zucco? He’s unimportant. Let’s replace the Graysons’ killer with Two Face.” or “*Insert hero’s dad* wasn’t important. Replace him with *popular character here*”. That does take away something from the stories when you remove a vital part of a character’s history like that. Every hero or villain in the Superman mythos does not have to be connected to Lex Luthor in order to be relevant. And so far, we have Bizarro, Metallo, Superboy, Parasite, and a few others’ origin stories all connected to Lex Luthor.

I re-read the CoIE a year or so ago and I noticed that Hal Jordan wasn’t in it at all. Being a GL fan, that stood out to me. I figured out that it must have been due to something ongoing in the GL title and it turns out I was right!

There’s another Bowie/comics connection that occurred to me: The latest iteration of Allred’s Madman (M. Atomic Comics, iirc) had a couple homages to Bowie. One cover featured Madman a la the Aladdin Sane cover (issue 15), and the title of the first issue “Jumping Silent Cars that Sleep at Traffic Lights” is a line from “Panic in Detroit”, on the Aladdin Sane album. So the influence goes back and forth. (thanks to comics.org for the info on the title and issue number)

* I think Orion and Lightray as many of the New Gods and the Forever People does not appear in Crisis On Infinite Earths. i may be wrong, but I couldn-t find Barda either.

Here’s a page from Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 featuring Earth-1 Green Arrow…

That’s just an incorrectly-inked Merlyn.

“Superman was already dead when Superboy was created. It was like it was about shoehorning Lex in there without looking at Superboy’s past.”

It was my understanding that Superboy was in-utero (or in-testtubero) when Superman died; he would have been under creation prior to Superman dying, with Superman’s death being an unexpected side-effect.

It’s actually interesting that during the Death of Superman, the only think Lex Luthor “II” (the red head) did was screw around with Matrix Supergirl. He had no other involvement whatsoever in any of the four “pretenders” to the throne or anything else. Big red herring.

Zor-El of Argo

August 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

No, Superman was “dead.” Westfield stole his body out of the crypt and attempted to have it cloned. However, he couldn’t get any cells off the body to work with as the wounds had healed and the invulnerability had kicked back in… which really should have tipped off everyone involved that maybe he wasn’t completely dead after all. So instead they read his DNA and genetically engineered cloned human tissue to mimic it as closely as they could manage.

Upon learning of the body theft, Luthor had a team led by Supergirl go in after it. Superboy was already well under way by that time.

Luthor did have a plant inside Cadmus all that time, however he wasn’t part of Westfield’s trusted inner circle therefore he was not privy to what was going on with the body or with Superboy. All of this was laid out in-story. There is no way Luthor could have replaced Westfield’s DNA with his own without the help of his trusted inner circle. That he did it on his own while keeping his most trusted people in the dark is just silly.

Verdict: Bad ret-con!

Luthor clearly didn’t tell his inner circle everything, like, as a for instance, very few people knew that he was, in fact, a clone of himself.

Zor-El of Argo

August 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm

“Luthor clearly didn’t tell his inner circle everything, like, as a for instance, very few people knew that he was, in fact, a clone of himself.”

Granted, but I still don’t see how he could have switched his DNA sample for Westfield’s when his inside man didn’t even know what Westfield was up to.

“It was my understanding that Superboy was in-utero (or in-testtubero) when Superman died; he would have been under creation prior to Superman dying, with Superman’s death being an unexpected side-effect.”

Superman was dead as a doornail from the Doomsday battle before and after Superboy’s creation. Westfield believed that Cadmus could make their own replacement Superman to fill the void that Superman’s death had made. He had to steal Superman’s body since Lex Luthor “II” and Team Luthor stopped him. They did their research, couldn’t clone him, and Lex/Supergirl/Lois took Superman’s body back from Cadmus. They found another way and after 12 attempts, they grew a clone in one week’s time, gave him some powers, and he was going to be grown to match Superman’s age until he escaped at the same time the other Supermen started showing up.

Because his OTHER inside man did. ;)

I mean, come on, it’s Lex Luthor, if there were ever a dude who would just have tons of weird and sometimes seemingly even counter-intuitive plans, it’d be Luthor.

I’m not even saying that it makes a lot of sense, I’m just saying that with a guy like Luthor, you can pretty much write off ANYthing as “it was a secret plan.”

A good comparison is when Nick Fury died. Marvel went WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of their way to expressly point out that there is no way that it could possibly be a Life Model Decoy. It HAD to be Nick Fury who died. Then, when he DID come back, “Oh yeah, it was a special LMD that no one knew about.” Yeah, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s Nick Fury – one of the few people who can pull off “oh, it was a super-secret plan I told no one about.” Luthor is another one (Batman and Doctor Doom would definitely be two other ones).

Zor-El of Argo

August 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Okay Brian, I’ll give you that. If anyone could pull it off it WOULD be Luthor. Come to think of it, he never said he didn’t have another inside man, he just went off on the one who didn’t deliver.

I still think it’s weak, though.

Re: Zor-El of Argo

Lex had an arrangement with Carl Packard, who was the lead scientist of Westfield’s secret team that created Auron in “Legacy of Superman #1″ and was on the “Project: Man Of Tomorrow” team (when the Newsboy Legion refused to help Westfield when he didn’t tell them about Auron). He wasn’t a plant because the arrangement happened after Superman’s body was taken and all that came out of that arrangement was that Packard told Lex that Cadmus couldn’t clone Superman when they had the body and that was it. Then Lex watched the news and was upset because he felt that Packard lied to him when he saw Superboy. Packard told him that Westfield rushed the project and revealed what happened to Luthor.

Westfield didn’t have an inner circle that he trusted with the DNA because he trusted no one with that information and never told anyone. He didn’t tell Packard or any member of his secret team and even went as far as wanting the DNA destroyed after it was used for Superboy (but Packard refused feeling that it was his duty as a scientist to keep it). The DNA was on file at Cadmus and the only men had access to the DNA files were the head of security (Guardian) and the directors (Westfield). Besides Lex being clueless to what Cadmus did, Lex wouldn’t have known the DNA or the project because only one man knew about the DNA and the inner workings of the project were top secret (unknown to even the other directors).

Even if we accept that Lex pulled it off–admittedly not inconceivable–the idea Connor is part-Superman really doesn’t make any sense (not being a follower of Johns’ Titans I’d missed that little detail).

“A good comparison is when Nick Fury died. Marvel went WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of their way to expressly point out that there is no way that it could possibly be a Life Model Decoy. It HAD to be Nick Fury who died. Then, when he DID come back, “Oh yeah, it was a special LMD that no one knew about.” Yeah, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s Nick Fury – one of the few people who can pull off “oh, it was a super-secret plan I told no one about.” Luthor is another one (Batman and Doctor Doom would definitely be two other ones).”

How about Professor X?
“Died” in Uncanny X-Men #42 (1969) and buried,
Turned up alive in X-Men #65, with Marvel Girl saying “I knew it all along”, even though the intervening issues were loaded with “I can’t believe Charles Xavier is dead!” thought balloons…from Marvel Girl!
(The “dead” Prof X was actually The Changeling, a mutant with previously-undefined powers who had “dropped off the radar”. Changeling was shown, during Prof X’s explanation of what happened, to be a shapeshifter who took the Prof’s place during the fatal battle in #42…)

Oh, and that IS a shot of the Earth-1 GA .
It’s just that he’s so small, that there’s not enough room between ink lines to put yellow in his beard. (Merlyn never wore a costume with that detailing…or a hat! He had a hood!)
But can you really count a tiny mostly-hidden background shot as a legitimate “appearance”?

Which Blackhawks are in CoIE #5? Conflicting indexes list them as being EITHER the Earth-1 or Earth-2 versions, but either way, one Earth’s Blackhawks DON’T appear in CoIE (and BOTH had their own titles)!

And which Plastic Man? One Earth’s Plaz isn’t there either! (Even if you don’t count the B&B appearances, JLA #144 firmly established an Earth-1 Plastic Man.) And BOTH had their own books!

Everything was a lot simpler back when Superboy was just Superman as a teenager.

Evidence that Fleisher’s Spectre series did not take place in the DC Universe: The reporter Earl Crawford, who was tracking the Spectre, was drawn to look a lot like Clark Kent. In one story, a cop derisively calls him “Clark Kent” and asks, “Hey, Clark Kent, are you really Superman?”

I never realized that about Hal Jordan-amazing the things this site teaches me!

While I think, to my knowledge and from the posts about Superboy’s origin above, that the Luthor involvement is stupid, I agree with Brian that “it’s Lex Luthor, he was able to do it” is a … I’m not sure REASONABLE is the right word, but “argument that fits in comics”.

And remember, Superboy is supposed to be young. The comics being referenced above are nearly (gulp) 20 years old. Good lord, there are a number of readers that WEREN’T BORN when the Death of Superman came out. (Boy, I shouldn’t feel old at 31, but something like that…)

What I think is dumb is given that all this info that other posters are providing about the ins and outs of Superboy’s creation AT THE TIME HE WAS CREATED shows that the Luthor idea doesn’t work all that well. Johns’s idea as expressed in the letter shown above doesn’t fit. However, he may have come up with a reasonable way to shoehorn in his retcon so that it made sense when he did get the chance to use it. (I haven’t read it myself. Why am I responding, then? I’m a nerd.)

The Fleisher Spectre (and Earl Crawford) appeared in the Dr Thirteen: GhostBreaker series in Ghosts.
Dr. Thirteen in that incarnation interacted with other Earth-1 characters including The Phantom Stranger.
Plus I think the Spectre’s appearances during this period in Brave & Bold with the Earth-1 Batman reference his Adventure Comics appearances.

Ultimately, Earth 1&2 Specters were indistinguishable from each other. Same goes for Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Batman. Therefore there was no need to include both versions in COIE. Earth 2 Superman and Robin had long since been established as different from thier Earth 1 counterparts, and Wonder Woman 2 had seen enough recent usage to be thought of as “independant” from Wonder Woman 1.

DC had a strict rule of time-travel theory back then that insisted a person could not exist in two places at once, and so whenever a time-traveler crossed thier own timeline the “visitor” became a wraith who could only observe and not affect. Firebrand and Arion were brought from the past because they were not alive in 1985. Everyone who lived in ’85 were summoned from the current moment. This is why Hal Jordan was not in COIE. He was no longer Green Lantern, but he was still alive, preventing the Monitor from summoning him from a time in which he was Green Lantern. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, he WAS prominent in the Green Lantern mags Crisis Crossovers.

Zor-El of Argo writes…
“Earth 1&2 Specters (sic) were indistinguishable from each other.
Same goes for Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Batman.
Therefore there was no need to include both versions in COIE.
Earth 2 Superman and Robin had long since been established as different from thier Earth 1 counterparts,”

How are the two Supermen and Robins “established as different”, but not Green Arrows and Batmen?
For example, The Batman of Earth-2 was dead at the time of CRISIS. That’s a pretty obvious difference!

Zor-El of Argo writes…
“DC had a strict rule of time-travel theory back then that insisted a person could not exist in two places at once, and so whenever a time-traveler crossed thier own timeline the “visitor” became a wraith who could only observe and not affect.”

A rule which didn’t apply to Earth-1/Earth-2 counterparts in the same time/space locale, whether they share the same civilian identity (Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, etc.) or not (Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, etc,). Otherwise the epic Superman vs Superman fight of JLA V1 #74 couldn’t have happened!
Note: Hawkman is a unique case, since he’s “Carter Hall” on both Earths, but one is a reincarnated Egyptian prince, and the other is an alien policeman.

But even so, several characters have clear Earth-1/Earth-2 versions, but only ONE of each appears in Crisis!

I just re-read my previous post and thought…are we geekin’ here, or what?
It read like dialogue from The Big Bang Theory! :-O
Does that make me Sheldon or Stuart?

My mention of the time travel thing was to explain Hal Jordan’s absense, why he couldn’t be summoned from a time when he was still a GL. Crossing over to a parallel universe is not time travel. Superman 1 and Superman 2 could stand side-by-side, but Superman 1 and Superboy 1 could not.

Dick Grayson 2 had a grown-up Robin costume and was a member of the JSA, whereas on Earth 1 Grayson was by that time Nightwing and Jason Todd was running around in the original Robin costume. Superman 2 was married and his powers were diminishing as he grew older. More importantly, he appeared in far more “Earth-2″ stories that drew diffences between him and his E-1 counterpart than Batman 2 did. I think from the first JLA/JSA crossover Robin was filling Batman’s seat at the JSA brownstone as Batman 2 had already retired.

Zor-El of Argo wrote…
“My mention of the time travel thing was to explain Hal Jordan’s absense, why he couldn’t be summoned from a time when he was still a GL. Crossing over to a parallel universe is not time travel. Superman 1 and Superman 2 could stand side-by-side, but Superman 1 and Superboy 1 could not.”

But they DID, on several Pre-Crisis occasions!
Just because Hal wasn’t a Green Lantern at the time didn’t mean he couldn’t have been brought up to the Monitor’s satellite.
He’s still fearless Hal Jordan, with years of experience in battling evil menaces! At the very least he could’ve consulted on tactics!

Zor-El of Argo wrote…
“Dick Grayson 2 had a grown-up Robin costume and was a member of the JSA, whereas on Earth 1 Grayson was by that time Nightwing and Jason Todd was running around in the original Robin costume.
Superman 2 was married and his powers were diminishing as he grew older.
More importantly, he appeared in far more “Earth-2″ stories that drew diffences between him and his E-1 counterpart than Batman 2 did.”

How MANY stories he appeared in is irrelevant. It’s whether the events affected the world around him, and in the few post-Golden Age tales he appeared in, the Earth-2 Batman was a major player!
By the time of CRISIS, the differences (marriage to Catwoman, a child who would become the Huntress, becoming Gotham City Police Commissioner, and, oh yes, dying) pretty well set the Earth-2 Batman apart from his Earth-1 counterpart, and thus he could’ve been plucked from the past, as was the Earth-2 Green Arrow, [who died during CRISIS].)

OK, I’m Sheldon. You’re Stuart. ;-)

hey,bowie also mentions batman on “uncle arthur”

I too was a bit surprised when I learned of Superboy’s changed origin (having read the full Death, Funeral, Return trilogy recently) but when it comes down to it I find the Superman/Lex origin much more interesting.

I don’t care how you truss him up Westfield is NOT as interesting an origin. At all. In a DC where we can have the original Supergirl back there’s no reason to not have Connor have a real tie to Superman.

Having read “Boy of Steel” I know I’m really excited for his new ongoing this Fall.

“Come to think of it, he never said he didn’t have another inside man, he just went off on the one who didn’t deliver.”

It was actually said in the comic that Lex only had one Cadmus informant. Before Packard, it was Dr. Teng (the original creator of post-crisis Bizarro. Lex wasn’t a geneticist). Lex killed Teng to cover up his new clone body’s origin (but failed to kill Dabney Donovan, the other man responsible). In “Funeral For A Friend”, Lex is wondering if Westfield really did take Superman’s body and told Happersen, his lackey, that he wanted a new mole to find out what Westfield was up to since Teng was dead. He learned about Cadmus’ cloning plans for Superman from Lois Lane showing him her unpublished story on Cadmus and that led to Lex and co. returning Superman’s body to the crypt with Lex’s “I win” celebration at the end. Packard’s arrangement with Luthor started after Lex took the body and Packard was Lex’s only connect during the war between Cadmus and Lexcorp much later in “The Fall of Metropolis”. As already stated, Superboy’s production already happened immediately because production was rushed by Westfield so he could avoid red tape questions. Lex may be “man of many plans” with Deus Lex Machina. But Lex had no idea what they were doing and Packard, his only informant, didn’t tell him and the reason was in story.

I know I’m really late with this, but I just now remembered that Bowie said, ‘You can fly around like Superman’ in ‘Have You Ever Had A Dream Or Two’, one of his earliest songs.

Since Mary mentioned the Bowie thing again, let me point out that the Diamond Dogs album led to (at least) 2 Marvel character names. From what I understand, XMen 2099 had a character named Halloween Jack (from Jean Genie “now Halloween Jack he’s a real cool cat and he lives on top of Manhattan Chase”). Also, the Milligan/Allred X-Force featured, I think in the first issue (the prologue to the series, kinda), Gin Genie, also from the song “Jean Genie”. I’m guessing that was an Allred bit, since he loves him some Bowie.

[...] book history. One of his first published works in a DC comic book wasn’t a story but rather a letter to the editor suggesting that Superboy, Kon-El should be cloned half from Superman and half from Lex Luthor. [...]

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