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Comic Book Legends Revealed #275

Welcome to the two-hundred and seventy-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 seventy-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 Legends Revealed to learn what extreme methods NBC took to delay an NFL Championship game after they lost their TV signal!

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: Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin’s Deadshot revamp occurred because of a scheduling problem.


Steve Englehart’s run on Detective Comics is one of the most memorable runs on the title, and it lasted only eight issues. The first two issues were drawn by Walt Simonson and Al Milgrom and the final six were drawn by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin.

The run was always INTENDED to be a short run, as Englehart actually wrote all of the scripts before the first two-parter was even finished. Instead of the Marvel method of script writing, where Englehart would have to interact with the artist on the final product, he just wrote out full scripts which were then given to Rogers and Austin to draw. Englehart and his wife were taking some time off traveling in Europe, so they were not even in the COUNTRY when the famous Englehart/Rogers/Austin issues of Detective Comics began to come out.

A notable aspect of Englehart’s run is how he worked in a spotlight for most of Batman’s most notable villains, as well as a spotlight for Robin. On top of the return of an old villain Englehart got a kick out of, Hugo Strange, Englehart provided spotlights for both the Penguin and the Joker – but also in the middle of it, he also brought back Deadshot, a character who had not appeared in nearly three decades after debuting in 1950’s Batman #59.

Here is Deadshot in his original appearance…

And in Detective Comics #474 (cover-dated December 1977), here is Deadshot…

Marshall Rogers’ new design for Deadshot made the character relevant for the first time since his first appearance and he was used a couple more times in the early 1980s before John Ostrander, while flipping through issues of Who’s Who to find characters to use in his new book, Suicide Squad, was intrigued by the Rogers design and put Deadshot on to the team. The rest is, of course, history for the character, as he became probably the most famous character in the Suicide Squad….

even getting his own mini-series…

and to this day he is a popular character, appearing regularly as a member of Gail Simone’s Secret Six…

But get this…Deadshot’s inclusion in Englehart’s run? It came AFTER Englehart had already finished his SEVEN scripts for the series. Yes, the issue with Deadshot was NOT part of the original scripts Englehart did for the run. Bat-Editor Julie Schwartz requested an eighth script by Englehart and he complied, putting the Deadshot issue between two stories, and fleshing out the sub-plots a bit more.

So originally, the Penguin issue…

was going to lead directly into the famous Joker issue…

Why was this change made?

Well, you see, at the very same time Englehart was making comics history in Detective Comics, over in the pages of Batman, writer David Vern and artists John Calnan and Tex Blaisdell were doing ANOTHER memorable storyline, the famous “Where Were You on the Night Batman Was Killed?” storyline where each issue features a different villain explaining how THEY were the one who should be credited with finally killing Batman…

Story continues below

(of course, Batman turns out not to actually be dead)

And the issue featuring the Joker was scheduled to be released with a cover-date of December 1977.

So Schwartz, not wanting to have BOTH Batman books feature the Joker in the same month, asked Englehart to write an extra script so that they could bump Joker’s appearance to another month, and the famous tale of Joker’s Laughing Fish showed up with a cover-date of February 1978.

So think about THAT for a What If..?!! If Vern doesn’t do his story, Englehart doesn’t do his story and Rogers doesn’t re-design Deadshot’s look and Ostrander never uses Deadshot in Suicide Squad and, well, we would have been out a lot of cool comics!!

Thanks to the late Marshall Roger and Steve Englehart for providing the information about the story to the great Jon B. Cooke (who I also thank for GETTING the info) in an early issue of Comic Book Artist. Thanks to Michael Browning and John Ostrander for detailing in an old issue of Back Issue magazine why Ostrander picked Deadshot to use in the Suicide Squad.

COMIC LEGEND: Tony Stark was originally going to be the creator of the Sentinels.

STATUS: I’m Going with a False

Reader R. Lewis (who has contributed more than one good legend suggestion over the years) sent me this one in the other day.

Have you ever read/heard about how Tony Stark was supposed to be a villain and the creator of the Sentinels, but was changed to Bolivar Trask? Both the Iron Man suits and Sentinels resemble each other greatly and both are very driven characters. Trask is an anagram of Stark, as well.

This one came up on the Iron Man message boards at comic boards recently, where a poster states, in a discussion about how the Sentinels are similar in design to Iron Man’s armor:

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the fact that originally they were Stark designs. Before they went to press the first time, the editors decided that Stark wasn’t a bad guy and would not design anti Mutant robots.

It was my understanding they anagram-med his name to Trask instead of Stark. That’s why they still look an awful lot like Stark designs.

Now, I’m going to break from normal protocol a bit this week, in that I do not have any direct proof from, say, Stan Lee, writer of X-Men #14, the first appearance of Bolivar Trask and the Sentinels, to disprove this one. I’m still willing to feature it because I think we can pretty much disprove it just based on the issue alone.

Here are the first two pages featuring Bolivar Trask from X-Men #14, written by Stan Lee, with layouts by Jack Kirby and finished by Werner Roth (who was slowly transitioning into the book’s new ongoing artists) with inks by Vince Colletta.

(as a quick aside, where is that famous whipping photo from again? I always forget. It’s some pulp, right?)

I do not need to check with Stan Lee to realize that there’s no way that that character could ever have been Tony Stark.

This is not even counting the fact that Trask DIES at the end of the three-part story!

I discount that aspect of the tale because, let’s say that Stan Lee DID decide to change the story in #14, the way he worked back then, any changes he made in #14 he could then tell the artists to incorporate into #15 and #16, so if he DID decide to make changes, the ending of the story wouldn’t necessarily have an impact on it all (this is largely what drove Jack Kirby absolutely bonkers eventually on Fantastic Four, as Kirby would occasionally do a plot where Lee changed a major aspect of the plot in the first part of the storyline forcing Kirby to bend over backwards changing the plots of the next issues to fit the first issue).

But really, “the editors decided that Stark wasn’t a bad guy and would not design anti Mutant robots”? The only real editor Marvel HAD was the guy WRITING the story!

Story continues below

It is not like Bolivar Trask was some good-intentioned guy whose designs were co-opted by bad guys. If that were the case, then maybe Stark would be a possibility, but as it stands, there’s no way that that guy was originally intended as Tony Stark. It just makes zero sense. So much so that I’m willing to go with a false here (the fact that Stan Lee has never said anything about this issue also helps my willingness to go with a “False” here, as you’d think Lee would have mentioned somewhere over the years that he toyed with the idea of making Tony Stark a villain and not even in the pages of his own book but as a guest star in X-Men).

Thanks to R. Lewis for the suggestion and thanks to our pal Omar Karindu, who I see was over on the Iron Man thread in question also debunking the Trask/Stark story.

It’s worth noting that Chris Claremont recently HAS done a story in his alternate reality X-Men Forever series using the Trask/Stark anagram as a basis for a story.

COMIC LEGEND: Joe Shuster’s Canadian roots were evidenced in the city where Superman lived and the newspaper where he worked as Clark Kent.


A CBR poster named gryphon asked if I could do a legend involving Canada in honor of FanExpo Canada, which took place earlier this week. Well, that reminded me of an e-mail I got a couple of years back from a reader named Clayton F….

Hello. As a Canadian comic book fan I have many a time in my youth seen a commercial that is from a series of commercials that deal with our heritage as Canadians. It is a 30 second episode that talks about the origin of Superman, and more importantly, the country in which Joe Shuster is from. In this commercial it depicts him as a native of the Great White North, and this has always been a point of pride for me as a Canadian comic geek. But, whenever I see an article or story published on the web or in for instance, Wizard magazine, they say that he was created by “Cleveland” natives, Shuster and Siegel. I want to know if this “urban legend” is a fraud, or are we Canadians just hated that much that we’re not mentioned. Please find out for me. Thanks

So sure, gryphon and Clayton, we shall give the Canadian heritage of Superman its due this week.

Yes, Joe Shuster was, indeed, born in Canada. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was either 9 or 10. Before that, though, he lived and grew up in Toronto, Ontario.

Like many young boys during the 1920s (Shuster was born in 1914), Shuster worked as a newspaper seller on a street corner. A “Newsboy,” if you would. The paper Shuster sold was the Toronto Daily Star (now called just the Toronto Star, still Canada’s largest newspaper in terms of print circulation)…

Shuster gave the last interview of his life in April of 1992 (Shusters passed away in July of that year) to Henry Mietkiewicz of the Toronto Star. The interview was given in connection with the 100th Anniversary of the Toronto Star.

And Shuster spoke about a couple of notable pieces of Canadian influences upon the early Superman stories.

For instance, from Action Comics #1, note where Clark Kent works…

In the interview, Shuster notes, “I still remember drawing one of the earliest panels that showed the newspaper building. We needed a name, and I spontaneously remembered the Toronto Star. So that’s the way I lettered it. I decided to do it that way on the spur of the moment, because The Star was such a great influence on my life.”

Perhaps a greater Canadian influence (especially since the Daily Star became the Daily Planet a few years later) is the city of Metropolis itself.

On the design of the city, Shuster remarked

“Cleveland was not nearly as metropolitan as Toronto was, and it was not as big or as beautiful. Whatever buildings I saw in Toronto remained in my mind and came out in the form of Metropolis. As I realized later on, Toronto is a much more beautiful city than Cleveland ever was.” Pausing for a moment, Shuster chuckles and adds, “I guess I don’t have to worry about saying that now.”

Story continues below

Here is Toronto’s skyline in the 1930s…

And here is Cleveland’s skyline in the 1930s…

In fairness to Cleveland, it was not exactly like Shuster drew a whole lot of buildings in the early days of Superman. Action Comics #1 is almost completely devoid of skyscrapers until the end of the issue – which takes place in Washington DC!!

From Action Comics #8, here’s an example of Shuster’s take on Metropolis…

As you can see, while I certainly do not disagree with Shuster when he says he had Toronto in mind when drawing Metropolis, it was not like it had a major effect upon how the city was drawn. Still, it’s pretty darn neat to be known as the city that inspired Metropolis!

Certainly the modern Toronto skyline is a worthy comparison to the city of Metropolis…

Anyhow, there you go, gryphon and Clayton, something about Canada! I will even throw a shout out out of nowhere to Graeme Burk, just because he knows a lot about Canadian comic book history and I’m sure had I thought to ask him for a topic this week, he would have had plenty of good ideas.

Thanks to Henry Mietkiewicz and the late, great Joe Shuster for the informative interview!

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!


as usual, great article!

“You’re not fighting a woman, now!”

Man, that is great dialogue from a comic book in a male-dominated society. Hurrah!

‘But really, “the editors decided that Stark wasn’t a bad guy and would not design anti Mutant robots”?’

That’s the change from then and now. The editors dont’ seem to care if a character like Tony Stark does bad things or good things. He’s not a bad guy or a good guy. I think they try to pass off Civil War Steve (and all the other major Marvel characters) has some high-concept ‘there’s not good or evil/decide for yourself’ story, but it was just really bad and I can’t recognize the character anymore.

I can believe there’s a grain of truth in the Stark/Trask thing. After all one is an anagram of the other hinting at a connection.

I can believe there’s a grain of truth in the Stark/Trask thing. After all one is an anagram of the other hinting at a connection.

I can possibly believe that Lee perhaps intended to create a dichotomy between the two men. Stark the good guy uses his armor for good while Trask the bad guy uses his robots for evil.

Just not that he ever considered having one of his superhero characters (then starring in TWO comics, Tales of Suspense AND Avengers) revealed to be an anti-mutant maker of robots designed to kill/capture mutants.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 27, 2010 at 5:24 am

Early posting, eh?

Normally it’s later in the day.

The sorta sexist comment kind of stands out, but the fact that Superman was fighting a wife abuser in his first appearance is notable. Was “domestic violence” as prominent an issue as it became in later years? Seems almost progressive for 1938, doesn’t it?

The Stark/Sentinal story is based on an interview with John Byrne in the magnificent “Art of John Byrne” book, that came out in the mid/early-eighties, in which Byrne was describing the storyline that was to follow the original “Death of Phoenix” (Jean surviving). Byrne mentions that after the X-men return to Earth they were going to separate and have some solo adventures in their homelands,i.e. Storm adventure in Africa, Colossus in the USSR, etc.(Claremont/Byrne still ended up sending Wolverine to Canada) but they would be brought back together in a conflict with the Sentinals (which as anyone who’s reading this should know were used anyway in the INCREDIBLE “Days of Future Past”). To make the Sentinal threat more credible Byrne metions that these Sentinals would be human sized and be constructed by someones whose weapons/machines were a true threat– none other than Tony Stark.(This is all paraphrased of course– go get the book)

BTW, that “Canadian Heritage Minute” is RIDDLED with inaccuracies and makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs with a spoon every time I see it. The date is wrong, the girl he talks to, “Lois”, is fictional, they had to work in a reference to Frank Schuster, Joe’s cousin and later a famous Canadian comedian (Of “Wayne & Schuster” fame, natch) but the most risible thing : at the end, he gives her a sketch on a slip of paper and the reveal to the audience is “Oh, he’s talking about Superman! Superman’s Canadian!”

Superman is not Canadian. The guy who drew him first lived in Canada till he was 9.

Et tu, Joe?

No love for Cleveland… it’s so typical that it’s funny. :-)

(Of course, while I live in Cleveland and have spent time in Toronto, I’d never set foot in either until about 65 years after Superman began. Rather difficult for me to judge a comparison made at that time, even if I wanted to; better to just get a chuckle out of the whole thing.)

Heck Claremont is using the Stark dynamic vs Mutants in X-Men Forever…. and it actually made sense for the most part….

Yep, I said it…. of all the tropes CC has done in this “true” vision story, the Stark myth is the thing that makes the most sense…lol

The Crazed Spruce

August 27, 2010 at 7:29 am

Another fun little footnote about Joe Shuster’s heritage: His cousin, Frank, was half of the legendary Canadian comedy duo “Wayne and Shuster”, who appeared regularly on the CBC from the late 50’s well into the 80’s, and also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 67 times, more times than any other act on that show.

The Crazed Spruce

August 27, 2010 at 7:39 am

I’m not sure if the link will work outside of Canada, but here’s the Heritage Minute featuring Joe Shuster:


The Crazed Spruce

August 27, 2010 at 7:41 am

If that last link doesn’t work, here it is on youtube:


Deadshot, the Riddler, Scarecrow, Cat-Man…. all disappeared for decades before getting a revival. I’ve been going through the Batman and Detective Comics archives and have been spotlighting those who still lay dormant. But it’s interesting to think about how many amazing characters that might have given us a lot of cool comics DIDN’T make it to the light of day!

Thanks for the shout out Brian. You’re right, I could have given you a couple (and I think I have!)

Interesting fun fact: The “Revolution in San Monte” story that follows from Superman’s first appearance which I think is in Action 3 or 4 (reprinted in Superman 1 in full) Clark Kent tells a telegraph operator to wire his story to the “Cleveland Daily News” which I think indicates what Jerry Siegel’s own thoughts on what the Kent’s paper should be named. (Cleveland I believe drops in as the name of Superman’s home city at least once before Metropolis is settled on).

A glitch where Shuster didn’t change Siegel’s scripting? Siegel forgot the settled upon name? Shuster retroactively changed the name for reprinting in Action #1 and missed that one instance? We’ll probably never know but I thought it was worth pointing out for the pride of the Clevelanders in the audience. We Canadians know how to be generous…

Heritage Minute….nice….my Canadian blood is warming up–I never knew my hometown was the prototype for Metropolis..maybe they should film the next flick here.

FanExpo Canada is this weekend. It only started today.

>I can believe there’s a grain of truth in the Stark/Trask thing. After all one is an anagram of the other hinting at a connection.

Stan also frequently forgot what the Hulk and Thor’s secret identities were called, so don’t be too quick to find patterns.

>I never knew my hometown was the prototype for Metropolis..maybe they should film the next flick here.

Sure, why not? Toronto already plays stand-in for NYC often enough.

The Iron Man suits and the Sentinels “resemble each other greatly”?

Really?!! I’m not seeing it.

That whipping “photo” looks damned familiar to me. Did it show up in another comic, or on the X-Men cartoon, or something?

A friend of mine from Cleveland claimed that the design for the Daily Planet building was based on the AT&T building in downtown Cleveland. According to Google Maps its 768 Huron Rd. E.

I found this person’s flickr page and they captioned the picture saying the same thing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jason-morrison/2052415975/

Anyone know if this is true or not?

the whipping photo played a part in Grant Morrison’s run on the x-men…

jose, I don’t know if that’s true… (This sounds like a job for… Brian Cronin.)

It sounds plausible, though, which is worth something. It is a real shame that this town of ours doesn’t really have much to offer Superman fans. Hmmmmm. May have to give more thought to this.

Interesting I didn’t even know that there was a possible connection between Trask and Stark floating around. I can certainly see where the connections are made, but as Brian mentioned it would be really weird to have Stark pop up as a Mutant hater in another book. Especially when he was such a popular character at the time.

Great article as usual Brian!


This is what came to mind which means that either they’re familiar with that issue of X-Men or more likely, there’s a common source.

Ok, I know there are a lot of overly PC people here and all, but seriously, HOW IS IT SEXIST TO POINT OUT THAT A MAN BEATING UP A WOMAN IS A BULLY AND A COWARD?! It’s not sexist to point out that on average, a man can usually kick a woman’s ass.

@Ethan Shuster: “Seems almost progressive for 1938, doesn’t it?”

Superman was a damned progressive strip. Shortly after that, he grabbed the generals of two warring armies and demanded they settle their differences one-on-one, then, after a mining collapse, he trapped the owner in his own mine until he agreed to tougher safety regulations. Then he knocked over some run-down apartments so that new ones would be built in their place.

Very much the New Deal superhero — sort of a pity he’s not so overtly political anymore. (I’d love to see JMS’s Superman Goes for a Walk story bring him to Maricopa County and have him stick Sheriff Joe in Tent City, but don’t really see that happening — was nice that they at least brought up illegal immigration in last month’s issue, though.)

That “whipping photo” was later used in the Grant Morrisson”NEW X MEN” run of X-MEN.
I thought it was an awesome bit of having the present revealing the fears of the past.

Also, NOT a “myth” or “legend” but DOCTOR STRANGE makes an “appearance” in Englehart and Rogers “Hugo Strange” issue of Detective.
Hugo is disguised and the face he uses is Stephen Strange (not thusly named, obviously).
This was because of both Englehart and Rogers love of the DR. STRANGE comic.


I think if there was anything actually sexist about the early Seigel/Shuster Superman comics, it’s what an emasculating and shallow shrew Lois Lane was.

“Just not that he ever considered having one of his superhero characters (then starring in TWO comics, Tales of Suspense AND Avengers) revealed to be an anti-mutant maker of robots designed to kill/capture mutants.”
Actually, X-Men 14 came out a few months after Tony left the Avengers in Avengers 16. But that makes the “Trask was Stark” idea even stupider. First Tony agrees to Wanda and Pietro joining the Avengers and then he turns anti-mutant for no reason whatsoever? That would have come across as stupid even by Silver Age standards.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

August 27, 2010 at 10:07 am

At the risk of bein’ a jerk, I should note that the Riddler was not used at all during the Englehart/Rogers run on Detective. Instead, he used the Penguin story to do a tribute to the “theme crime” mystery stories featuring various villains that Bill Finger used to write. Finger’s subgenre of Batman story has since become specifically identified with the Riddler because of his gimmick.

Englehart did use the Riddler decades later in a three-part story in Legends of the Dark Knight, though, and both a statue of the Riddler and a trophy of a deathtrap from the first Riddler story appear in the second issue of the later Englehart/Rogers Batman collaboration, Batman: Dark Detective.

- That whipping “photo” looks damned familiar to me. Did it show up in another comic, or on the X-Men cartoon, or something?

I believe that it was recreated for the Marvels mini-series by Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek.

Brian from Canada

August 27, 2010 at 10:16 am


Read the collection of daily strips that have been published. They’re quite interesting in that most of Superman’s earliest adventures focused on social issues like slum lords, wife beaters and muggers. He also had little regard for villains, letting them burn up with the building while he rescued Lois.

Then, once the war got started, Superman turned to rooting out spies alongside the regular villains. Lex is one of the only two oddities in the bunch — a generic mad scientist. (The other is a magician.) The eight cartoons by the Fleischer brothers reflect this as well; those you can pick up pretty cheap, but be careful because a sound effects-heavy version is also floating around, and they often mix in the later Paramount versions in them.

I highly recommend those early adventures to everyone. That, and some of the classic Superboy comics, because they show you just how different versions of the same character could reflect the times and still have a much different feel than the “dark” versions we have today.

Brian from Canada

August 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

Working my way through the entire Marvel output, I’ve gotten to and past those Sentinels issues — and it’s a huge stretch to find any sense of similarity other than an affinity for machinery. Not only was Tony pro-mutant re: Wanda and Pietro, Tony was also too busy in his own title worrying about miniaturizing his technology and making it more powerful rather than building the large robots.

The only way people can see it now is because Claremont uses it in X-Men Forever. However, X-Men Forever ignores a lot of Marvel’s pre-X-Men #3 output to make that world even seem plausible, so nobody should take it other than some writer’s fanciful fiction.

Anyone who digs Suicide Squad/Secret Six (and you should!), and who hasn’t read the Deadshot mini from 1988, – get it NOW! Incredible stuff, so bleak it’s almost unbearable. Easily the darkest thing Ostrander’s ever written. And he’s been to some pretty dark places!

Comissioner Gordon: “I suppose I couldn’t stop you if you wanted to help us…”

No wonder that town needs Batman. Sure you can stop him, Jim. He’s not walking little old ladies across the street. He’s firing handguns at unarmed (admittedly criminal) people. You put him in handcuffs and put him in jail. Poof. Stopped!

Francis Manapul is also Torontonian, and has mentioned that his vision of Central City is based on Toronto.

Great edition of this column, Brian. The Deadshot story is really great. As for the Cleveland/Toronto piece, that’s really worth knowing. Just earlier this week I read about a New Yorker claiming NYC as the basis for Metropolis. I think that’s true of Gotham, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t true of The Daily Star’s/Planet’s home city.

On the other hand, I had read an article or a book a couple years ago (don’t remember exactly when or where) that Chicago was the basis for much of Metropolis. Of course, it’s a much bigger city than Cleveland, and Siegel & Shuster are known as Midwesterners. Now it seems like that “fact” might’ve been pure speculation, abetted by general American ignorance about Canada. Has anyone ever come across any information citing Chicago (along with Toronto) as the inspiration for Metropolis?

I can’t remember where I’d read it, maybe an old issue of Hero Illustrated or Wizard, but for the longest time I thought for sure that Metropolis was based on Toronto and Gotham was based on New York. And that made sense to me. Toronto/Metropolis was the sparkling city to the north, Gotham/New York was the much more interesting and dark city to the south. The Tim Burton movies reinforced this to some degree.

It wasn’t until recently with the Batman Begins movies that I thought maybe I was wrong and that Metropolis was New York and Gotham was Chicago.

It seems more interesting to me if Tony Stark was a closet mutant-hater/human activist and he built/or let Trask build Sentinels. Kind of a cool angle to me.

Deadshot is the greatest! I’m sure Ostrander could’ve given us some cool stories about someone else though. Just give him another Who’s Who to go through. I vote for Kite-Man.

Francis Manapul lives in my girlfriend’s condo here in Toronto (which can be seen in that Toronto photo in the article). I shoud pester him for some art of Supes leaping over the CN Tower in a single bound.

Re: Metropolis and Joe Shuster

Toronto was nicknamed “the City of Tomorrow” due to the unique and futuristic (at the time) manner of laying the city out.

As someone who lives in Cleveland, and has been to Jerry Siegel’s childhood home, my understanding is that both Cleveland and Toronto were used as inspiration for Metropolis. (More than one person has mentioned to me that early comics called Superman’s home Cleveland instead of Metropolis.) The owners of AT&T Building do claim that it was the model for the Daily Star/Planet, but that has never been proven.

As for Shuster’s claims about Cleveland not being very metropolitan, in the 1930s, Cleveland was the sixth largest city in the US. And the city hosted the Great Lakes Expo twice in the mid-1930s. (It’s like a World’s Fair, only smaller.) Siegel and Shuster were said to have used some of the exhibits as models for their more science-fiction-y ideas.

I’d say the city was pretty metropolitan back then. And hopefully will be again, soon.

who did the cover art on those Batman & Detective issues?

Jim Aparo was the cover artist for Detective Comics #469 and Batman #291 and #294. Marshall Rogers was the cover artist for the rest of the Detective Comics issues.

I think the misconception about Stark and the Sentinels may come from Wizard#28 or thereabouts, where the writer of Iron Man wanted to reveal that Stane International (whose company Stark bought) had helped build Sentinels, and various mutants would bring this to Stark’s attention, but the writer of Iron Man could not receive Bob Harras’ permission.

I love that blurb on the Deadshot cover: “DC Comics aren’t just for kids!” No shit??

it’s interesting to note that in rebel without a cause James deans character was named Jim Stark, an anagram of his characters name in east of eden, Cal Trask.

“DC Comics aren’t just for kids!” was a slogan DC used a lot in the wake of the press attention given to Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns in an effort to broaden the reader base (which mostly was still comprised of kids at the time) and change the perception of comics in the US. They even put the slogan on a pin.

Wife-beating was condemned back in the 1930s, in theory (much like rape). In practice, cases were discounted as lovers spats, or the wife being a nagging shrew or the husband was stressed … And of course, it was possible to joke about it well into the fifties.

It’s often amazed me how many obscurities Steve Englehart successfully resurrected: Space Phantom, Immortus, Hugo Strange (who hadn’t been seen since the early forties when he showed up in Detective), the Mark Shaw Manhunter and Deadshot.

FanExpo Canada is this weekend. It only started today.


and I am going to miss it this year…. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!

That’s a lot of whipping. First evil mutants whipping enslaved humans, then that bastard belting his wife.

And what’s with the newspaper getting tips about domestic abuse? Shouldn’t people instead be calling the cops about that kind of stuff, or is that how things worked in the 40’s?

Man, I HAD most of those Englehart Batman comics! Well the Spanish editions anyway. I ended up trading them all away. Hey, I was a kid and the idea of keeping “collections” wouldn’t dawn on me for a few more years. :P

How ironic that Trask ended up realizing how wrong he was and died stopping the sentinels. It both exemplified the anti-mutant hatred in the Marvel universe but also why fighting it isn’t hopeless. I wish today’s X-Men writers would be so balanced.

I always thought Metroplis had simply been inspired by- Metropolis, the fictional city from the Science Fiction movie of the same name (which I believe precedes Superman.) In fact there was an Elseworlds mini not that long ago that combined the two versions, I believe. Of course the word “Metropolis” to mean a large city already existed at the time.

The whipping photo is on Marvels # 2.

It seems more interesting to me if Tony Stark was a closet mutant-hater/human activist and he built/or let Trask build Sentinels. Kind of a cool angle to me.

This would kinda make sense, as in the story Trask is introduced as “one of our greatest anthropologists“. Anthropologists are usually as far from engineers as you can get, so it would’ve made sense that Trask would’ve needed help from a genius engineer to build the Sentinels. Though of course in older superhero comics all “mad scientists” were able to build robots, regardless of what their actual scientific field of expertise was.

I’m sorry I usually love this column, but the Deadshot legend sounds like horse manure and there are no direct quotes proving the story.

As for why it sounds wrong– Englehart doesn’t just expand on the subplots in that issue, the key scene in Batman’s relationship with Silver St. Cloud occurs in that issue and the Joker story immediately picks up on it. Englehart would have needed to rescript those issues almost entirely if the Urban Legend is true.

Love the Deadshot story, one of my favorite DC villians!

Tuomas, that was the in-story explanation for why the Sentinels went bad: Trask wasn’t a roboticist so he’d failed to program the Sentinels properly, leaving Master Mold with the freedom to turn against humanity.

I’m sorry I usually love this column, but the Deadshot legend sounds like horse manure and there are no direct quotes proving the story.

The direct quote from Englehart himself can be found in this old issue of Comics Feature, if you want to go dig it up. I believe it’s something like, “Deadshot was actually a filler issue but even with that one I was able to get the revelation about Silver St. Cloud in there, so it all worked out.”

The newspaper image of the mutant whipping the human slaves showed up again in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men when Quentin Quire brought the image to the hairdressers with him so that he could use it as the basis for his new look.

Ryan–Thanks for the info.
Brian–Kudos to you for another interesting column

The direct quote from Englehart himself can be found in this old issue of Comics Feature, if you want to go dig it up. I believe it’s something like, “Deadshot was actually a filler issue but even with that one I was able to get the revelation about Silver St. Cloud in there, so it all worked out.”


He also addresses it in the Comic Book Artist issue I cite in the piece. I love the notion of me citing Comic Book Artist, Englehart and Rogers plus interviewer Jon B. Cooke, but no, I just made it up because there’s not a direct quote.

I think you missed out on an interesting bit of trivia re: the Deadshot legend. Englehart had to come up with the Deadshot story in Detective as a result of David Vern’s use of the Joker in the pages of Batman that month, correct? Well, (according to Wikipedia) David Vern, as the writer of Batman #59, was the creator of Deadshot. This fact could not have been lost on Englehart when he decided to revive the character.

Wow, that’s a very fascinating origin story for the modern version of Deadshot! I never realized that the character was involved in something so complicated, and actually looked really lame in his very first appearance, lol.

It’s also very fascinating to discover where Claremont got the idea to use Tony Stark as being involved with the Sentinels. I was really confused when I read those issues and thought that it was kind of a goofy idea that came out of nowhere.

Great stuff as always.

While I realize this is more casual than, say, an academic paper, I do think there are times, like the Detective/Deadshot story above, that a direct quote might help strengthen the argument you’re making. But that might be the scholar squirrel in me going nuts. Maybe it’s not necessary.

But that is intriguing that Englehart was able to slip the Silver stuff in between issues like that and make a “fill-in” relevant to the rest of his run.

And that “Where were you on the night Batman was Killed?” story is decent. It appears in the somewhat recent collection called, iirc, The Strange Deaths of the Batman. There may be a Morrison intro to that book.

I think Deadshot needs to wear the top hat and tails again, though.

The Tony Stark thing, as you point out, makes no sense. There’s no reason to use a character you’ve already got when you can make up a new one to kill off. Perhaps the anagrammed name has some significance, but knowing Stan, he wouldn’t have noticed it anyway. He was churning out a ton of material back then.

The whipping picture, as people have pointed out, shows up later in Marvels and in Morrison’s run. The Simpsons pic linked above might refer to it, but more likely refers to some 50s SF movie. (Which might be where the XMen pic comes from) I believe that the pic was also used to illustrate the back up story in XMen Noir, iirc. Dunno where the original is from, but maybe a future Legend…

And you missed something with the Shuster/Canada story. The Canadian equivalent of the Eisners/Harveys is the Shuster Award. I believe it/they were given out a few months ago. If the one poster above is accurate that Shuster lived in Canada until he was 9, well, that doesn’t make Superman Canadian per se, but it still obviously would have influenced Shuster growing up. And wouldn’t Shuster have lived in Toronto in, say, the 1910s or 20s and not the 30s? Perhaps Toronto was more urban at that time than Cleveland was in the 30s.

And I’m guessing, the way I’ve always read it, anyway, is that it’s someone from the police that phones in the wife beating tip to the paper. Although I guess it could be a neighbor.

And I’m waiting for that Little Lulu legend that the one post this week seemed to promise. I’m a fan in that I love the Lulu comics, but I just don’t have very many. Actually, what I do have are a few digests, but I also have a later Lulu (from 83 or something) that is a standard size comic. What was the Dell/Gold Key digest publication rate (like, was it monthly?) and what sorts of things did they print? I know I have some Disney digests and there’s a few Barks reprints, but were the digests a regular monthly thing?

“Wife-beating was condemned back in the 1930s, in theory (much like rape). In practice, cases were discounted as lovers spats, or the wife being a nagging shrew or the husband was stressed … And of course, it was possible to joke about it well into the fifties.”

That pretty much describes domestic violence against men now.

What does Bolivar Trask look like in those pictures? Howard Hughes. Case closed.

My favourite thing in that Shuster interview was when he says this:

“There aren’t many people who can honestly say they’ll be leaving behind something as important as Superman. But Jerry and I can, and that’s a good feeling. We’re very, very proud, happy and pleased.”

[…] Comic Book Legends Revealed #275 […]

And more recently another Canadian city has stood in for Metropolis: in Smallville some of the street names are rather familiar to people who’ve spent time in Vancouver.

[…] site concerning comic book and comic-strips. For example, a recent post includes information on Joe Shuster’s Canadian roots.  This is the link to the Historica Minute  on Joe Shuster and Superman online that is referred […]

“That whipping “photo” looks damned familiar to me. Did it show up in another comic, or on the X-Men cartoon, or something?”

I was so damned sure I remembered the source: The Classics Illustrated version of H. G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds.” I could see it in my mind’s eye. The scene where the narrator and the soldier are speculating on what the Martians will do with humans … But I found a scan of the whole comic on line , and my memory was dead wrong. Maybe there was another illustration of that scene somewhere? I was so sure …

There has GOT to be one, Guy.

I just can’t think of it and I can’t seem to find it anywhere else. It’s so weird.

[…] map probably began with one of Brian Cronin’s Comic Book Legends Revealed columns, which ironically featured an item about the influence on the Superman comic of co-creator […]

This is the best resource in comic books i ever come to visit. I love them all, leep up the good job

Thank you. I just love these comic books :X

Man, I just keep finding more reasons to want to visit Toronto. The various music and film festivals, the home office of Rue Morgue Magazine, it being the setting of one of my favorite comics/films (Scott Pilgrim), and now this. I need to start saving up for a plane ticket.

Oh, sure, Toronto gets the credit for being Metropolis…Toronto, the center of the universe:-P

More Shuster-degrees-of-separation: Joe’s cousin Frank’s daughter Rosie married (Torontonian) Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live, where “Superman” has appeared in occasional sketches.

I’m glad Patrick Rawley above noted the inaccuracies in the Canadian Heritage Minute, which I also remember seeing several times in the 1990s (and also parodied in a Canadian Sacrilege Minute on the then-new Comedy Network). It felt like there were a few too many coincidences in it, but I wouldn’t have known enough about history to be sure.

It shows how far Tony Stark has fallen in the opinion of fans that people could think he would create the Sentinels. Coincidentally, I just saw this episode of the 1992 X-Men cartoon with Trask, and he looks a bit like Stark but with grayer hair. Will Meugniot must have prettied him up a bit from the comic panels above.

[…] Comic Book Legends Revealed #275 | Comics Should Be Good … COMIC LEGEND: Joe Shuster's Canadian roots were evidenced in the city where Superman lived and the newspaper where he worked as Clark Kent. STATUS: . I want to know if this “urban legend” is a fraud, or are we Canadians just hated that much that we're not mentioned. Working my way through the entire Marvel output, I've gotten to and past those Sentinels issues — and it's a huge stretch to find any sense of similarity other than an affinity for machinery. […]

Isn’t the whipping photo from an old sci-fi magazine article positing what the world will be like if nuclear-mutants decidemyo subjugate humanity? Didn’t Otto Binder write the article..?
Maybe I’m wrong…

“Wife-beating was condemned back in the 1930s, in theory (much like rape). In practice, cases were discounted as lovers spats, or the wife being a nagging shrew or the husband was stressed … And of course, it was possible to joke about it well into the fifties.”

Didn’t realize you were that old, dude, but your memory seems faulty. Beating up a woman was never okay.

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