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Comic Book Legends Revealed #279

Welcome to the two-hundred and seventy-ninth 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-eight.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Baseball Legends Revealed to learn whether the Boston Braves were named after the Boston Tea Party!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our 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: The Batcave was created due to budget constraints on the first Batman film serial.

STATUS: True

When first we meet Batman in the pages of Detective Comics #27, Bruce Wayne just changes into Batman in another room in his house…

This continues in later issues of the series, Bruce just changing in his mansion…

Heck, here, Dick does SURGERY on Bruce in the Wayne Mansion!!

Eventually we learn about a secret hangar…

and this leads eventually to talk about underground passages…

In Batman #12, we first see a special room in the mansion (although still clearly IN the mansion)…

but later in that issue we get the first reveal of an underground Batman hangar…

So that was the set-up for Batman around roughly 1941.

When the Batman serial debuted in 1943, though, a new set-up debuted. Serials were meant to be done CHEAP, and they would re-use sets as often as possible. They did not have hangar sets and they did not have mansion sets (single rooms, yes, a full mansion, no). What they DID have access to was a CAVE set (caves were very popular in serials).

So witness…the Bat’s Cave, which debuted in the second chapter of the serial, where Batman and Robin take a bad guy to their cave to question him (they’re not very visible, but there are supposed to be bats flying around – I can’t tell if the effect was just done by lights or if there were actual sort-of-puppets involved).

Here, the bad guy reacts to the bats…

And here, Batman and Robin mess with his head…

This chapter of the serial is also the debut of the idea of entering the Bat’s Cave through a grandfather clock!
Notice Alfred sitting there. As I featured in a past edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed (which you can read here), the serial is also the origin of the “thin Alfred” look.

Anyhow, watch as Bruce and Dick exit the clock…

So, a few months after the serial’s debut, the Batman comic strip had started up, and Bill Finger and Bob Kane decided to work the Bat’s Cave into the strip…

and soon after, in Detective Comics #83, it made its debut in the comic book…

Notice it is now just Bat Cave and not Bat’s Cave. That’s been the name ever since, well, with the name being shortened to just Batcave.

I wonder if the comics would have eventually settled on a cave, as well. I mean, bats and caves DO mix well and they already had hit upon the idea of an underground headquarters. It’s interesting to wonder what would have happened had it not been for the serial.

COMIC LEGEND: A writer took his name off of an issue of Star Wars because Lucasfilm changed the message of his issue because they felt that, more or less, pacifism was wrong in the Star Wars Universe.

STATUS: True

Writing for Star Wars in the 1980s was weird, because you were REALLY constrained by the plots of the movies, since they were still going on at the time. To wit, you couldn’t have plots with Luke and Darth Vader, and without Vader, the series loses a lot of its luster. One plot that WAS available was “the search for Han Solo.” So long as they did not FIND Han after the events of Empire Strikes Back, they were free to spend issues LOOKING for him.

In issue #46, Lando was on the look-out for Han when he got his first solo issue…

Note the writer’s name – Wally Lombego. Doesn’t sound familiar, right? That’s because it was a pseudonym for a comic book writer.

The plot of the issue involves Lando and Chewbacca coming across an old Rebel warrior…

Cody Sunn-Childe explains how they got to this hidden universe…

Lando really keeps riding him, telling him pacifism is for chumps…

Eventually, the Imperials also show up and Cody gives in to his rage and creates creatures to destroy the Imperials. But then, he realizes that this is wrong….

So, the writer’s idea was to say, “Hey, there’s nobility in choosing to die for a cause or a belief.”

But Lucasfilm felt otherwise, and had Marvel change the ending of the comic so that Lando specifically points out that what Cody did was WRONG!!

Naturally, the writer disagreed (especially as the character of Cody Sunn-Childe was named after the writer’s son, Cody) and had his name taken off of the project!

Crazy, huh?

Thanks to Glenn Greenberg for a great article in Back Issue for the information, and thanks to the writer in question for sharing the story, as well. Who WAS the writer? I’ll tell you at the end of the column.

COMIC LEGEND: Guy Gardner was originally going to be in the John Stewart role as the guy whose actions led to the destruction of Xanshi in Cosmic Odyssey.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

One of the most memorable moments in the past quarter-century in the DC Universe was this sequence in Cosmic Odyssey (written by Jim Starlin with art by Mike Mignola and Carlos Garzon), with Green Lantern John Stewart and the Martian Manhunter on the planet Xanshi trying to stop the forces of Darkseid…

Later, J’onn makes John feel even WORSE about himself…

First off, yes, that’s supposed to be DC editor Andy Helfer with the bomb. It was an in-joke that was somehow allowed by DC editorial. Weird, huh?

Secondly, a number of fans have written to me over the years asking if this story was originally meant to feature John Stewart. The common belief is that perhaps Guy Gardner was originally going to star in the series and Starlin was forced to take him out, and just put Stewart in his place. The theory is based on Guy Gardner being a good deal more cocky and arrogant than Stewart.

That’s true (although I know John Stewart co-creator Denny O’Neil has said in interviews that he didn’t see anything in Stewart’s portrayal in Cosmic Odyssey that was all that out of whack), and it’s even more believable when you note that Starlin WAS “forced” to use characters he did not want in place of other characters.

To wit, Starfire….

was a replacement for Wonder Woman, who they were not allowed to use.

Starlin discussed the use of John Stewart in a great interview with Mignola and Dan Johnson in an old issue of Back Issue…

Johnson: How did you come to use him in this miniseries over Hal Jordan?

Starlin: I think he was the Green Lantern at the time. I just pulled the book off the shelf. I’m remembering there were a couple [of characters] we couldn’t use. We couldn’t use Wonder Woman that’s why [Starfire of the Teen Titans] came in.

So that certainly suggests that Starlin had Stewart in the book from the get-go.

But furthermore, in another part of the interview (spinning out of a discussion about how little the series was referenced by other comics)…

Johnson: One thing that is canon is what you folks did with John Stewart. It had a huge impact on that character.

Starlin and Mignola (together): Really?

Johnson: Yes

Starlin: I wasn’t aware of that.

Johnson: The events in Cosmic Odyssey have been one of the big driving factors for the character ever since it occurred.

Starlin: That’s funny, because that was one of the last things that got thrown in. I wanted a transition for all the characters to go through, and I didn’t have anything for [John Stewart]. The guilt came in at the end.

Mignola: That was my favorite art.

Starlin: Well, I’m glad we added it then.

They go into a bit about how Starlin saved Mignola from having to draw all of the people of Xanshi by having the planet completely explode. It’s a really fun, interesting interview. Go look for it! It’s in Back Issue #9!

So it sounds pretty evident that it was NOT meant to be Guy Gardner with John Stewart just subbed in.

Thanks to Dan Johnson, Jim Starlin and Mike Mignola for the information!

*****So who was the writer of the Star Wars issue? It was the great John Marc DeMatteis*****

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!

100 Comments

I know you mentioned it before, but it’s really funny to see that “a fitting ending for his kind” line.

Today’s Batman would be horrified by that one.

1940s Batman was awesome. Smug, arrogant, vain, witty – we need him back!

GIven DeMatteis’s other writing, it’s not surprising he wrote the Star Wars issue. That’s pretty neat.

“Stately Wayne Manor” didn’t look nearly so stately in 1941. It was barely five Batmobiles wide and appears to not even have a full second storey.

Where did the pseudonym “Wally Lombego” originate, by the way?

Man, I loved Cosmis Odyssey as a kid. I didn’t know Starfire was supposed to be WW.

I’ve always liked J M DeMatteis’ work. (The loss of ABADAZAD is doubly tragic in that Mike Ploog is one of my all-time favorite artists.) I’d forgotten about that pseudonymous issue of Marvel’s STAR WARS.

I think it’s worth noting that the Batman serials are really pretty good (nothing beats THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL, of course) and that the costumes really look a lot better in movement than in still photos.

Another fun column, Brian!

That ‘secret room’ in Wayne Manor behind a six-inch-thick steel door has a big-ass window with the blinds open.

I got as far as “Cody Sunn-Childe” and just knew it had to be JM DeMatteis.

As DeMatteis himself has admitted, his pacifistic beliefs don’t really fit well with the superhero medium. Shooter had to stop DeMatteis from turning Captain America into a pacifist and having him quit the Avengers. What Shooter realized and DeMatteis didn’t that having Cap quit the Avengers because violence is counterproductive shortly after they saved the Earth from people like Surtur and Maelstrom made Cap into an idiot.

TheDude: the webcomic, Shortpacked, did a strip this week having the modern Batman meet the original. I’m told that 41-Batman’s lines in the comic are pulled straight from the Dr Death issue of Detective.

http://www.shortpacked.com/2010/comic/book-12/02-batman-jokes/thepoorfool/

Theno

[…] is one of my favorite things, Brian Cronin’s “Comic Book Legends Revealed” series at Comic Book […]

@Thenodrin: thanks for the heads-up, that was really funny. The look on modern Batman’s face in that last panel is priceless :-)

I love the reaction that they had to finding out that it was such a defining moment for John.

The Batman serial is indeed entertaining in a low-budget way, but it’s racism makes me wince. Not so much the villainous Japanese mastermind Dr. Daka, but the blithe assurances in the first couple of episodes about how wise our government was to imprison the Japanese-American popluation (admittedly a standard view at the time).

You say Baterang,
I say Batarang,
let’s call the whole thing off.

Yeah, Fraser, that part was really remarkably offensive. Not just the sentiment, which was pretty bad to begin with, but the way it was phrased.

Andres, you are exactly right! And the six-inch-thick steel door would also appear to be significantly less than six inches thick when open!

But holy cats do I love that Jerry Robinson splash page. The guy is just an absolute master.

I’m begining to think DeMattieis might be the best moralist in comics.

Quater decade? Did you mean century?

“1940s Batman was awesome. Smug, arrogant, vain, witty – we need him back!”

You mean you don’t think today’s Batman is smug, arrogant and vain enough? Eh, he could definitely use more wit…

Schnitzy Pretzelpants

September 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I love how, ‘The World’s Greatest Detective’ not only keeps a trophy room, but hasn’t bothered to disarm any of the devices or remove their lethal substances!

It’s funny this now makes me reflect on how out of character a trophy room is for the current take on Batman. The modern Batman would seem so lacking any sentimentality that short of the case honouring Jason’s death (former) the only reason he would keep anything would be for evidence, reference for latter cases, and to reverse engineer technology.

Thinking of this – how the hell does the man get a giant penny or dinosaur transported into the cave without attracting attention?

I’m pretty sure that Starlin DID say he was planning to use Guy Gardner in an issue of Comics Scene that came out at the time of Cosmic Odyssey. I don’t have time to go searching for the issue now, but if I can find the issue with the pertinent quote I’ll post it here.

Pacificism in the Star Wars universe. Star Wars (like a lot of films) were inspired by the Vietnam War. In fact, a lot of movies are still inspired by that conflict. I know the filmmakers werre against them and I think they try to apply the same philosophies to our conflicts to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not quite the same kind of conflicts (atleast in my view). Yeah, it’s really hard to make a peace-loving war film or comic book, but still they try.

I’m all for pacifism in real life, but it sucks the fun out of adventure stories.

Emil: True, but he was so much more vocally smug, arrogant, and vain – these days he just broods to himself about it (or others talk about it). 1930s/1940s Bats had no qualms about self-promotion!

Schitzny beat me to it.
Batman’s laissez faire attitude almost get’s robin a face full of spiky pain.

Yep, that Jedi/Force philosophy Lucas cobbled together sure isn’t a poorly-thought-out inconsistent mess or, hey, a flat-out load of bullshit or anything…

(Totally disregarding whether you agree with DeMatteis’s pacifist message or not.)

ParanoidObsessive

September 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Am I the only one who finds it odd that 1940’s Batman has doors labeled “Gym” and “Lab” in the Batcave, in spite of the fact that the only people who should ever be IN the cave should already know full well exactly where those doors go?

I mean, I certainly don’t put up bathroom and exit signs in my own house, let alone label every single door with what’s behind it, and I never seem to have trouble remembering which door leads to my bedroom and which leads to the utility room. You’d think Bruce would feel just as familiar with his own secret base and not feel the need to explicitly spell everything out.

At least it doesn’t say “Bat Gym” or “Bat Lavatory” or even better “Bat-hRoom”

ParanoidObsessive

September 24, 2010 at 6:24 pm

That’s more 60’s Batman’s gimmick.

I love Cosmic Odyssey, it’s one of my favorite DC books ever.

I think the best part of that John Stewart plot is how at the end he is on the verge of committing suicide, and J’onn tricks him into not blowing his brains out with reverse psychology, basically telling him to do it because he’s unfit to be a Green Lantern or a superhero.

As for deMatteis trying to turn Captain America into a pacifist…

That would be an interesting storyline for any other superhero character, EXCEPT Captain America.

Cap is the dude that was specificaly created to fight the Nazis. He is the one superhero that is certain to know that against certain enemies you’ve got to use force.

Great column this week1 I always particularly enjoy the old Batman-related legends, and this one actually had a couple of tidbits I didn’t already know. Those old Batman comics are a scream! I’m in the mood to dig out the archives now…

i like that Alfred appears to be reading Detective Comics.

JMDM Makes the common “pacifist” mistake – he assumes that because HE can see “reason”, those that use mass violence are open to such reason. When, in fact, those types are ones that see pacifism as the ultimate weakness, and carte blanche to take everything they want by force.

Which makes that form of “reason” to be one of the highest forms of self-delusion.

If anything, in the SW universe, the exchange between Leia, Vader and Tarkin prior to the destruction of Alderaan shows why such beliefs are illogical and antithetical to stopping the “motivated” evil types (and those without motivation able to be stopped with just words are really just bottom feeding opportunists, not really threats).

Sir Manley Johnson

September 24, 2010 at 9:00 pm

In real life that ” reverse psychology” stuff doesn’t actually work. I only mention this because of the damage I’ve seen done by people trying it out.

I’ve always wondered why wasn’t J’onn able to phase out of John’s bubble?

About the Batcave….a recent episode of Brave and the Bold had a real cool fight scene that has Bats using the trophies to fight an alien. The robot dinosaur even tries to take a bite of the bad guy. I can’t bel;ieve they’re cancelling this series.

Interesting that they wanted to use Wonder Woman instead of Starfire in CO. I’ve always believed that there’s a scene where editorial stepped in and had them have Starfire steal the spotlight from Adam Strange. Remember when she used the trail of flame from her flight to ignite something to save the two of them? Adam could’ve done that with his jet pack, it’s more his style than hers, and we’ve never seen any other indication that her trail was that hot. Now, if Starlin and Mignola originally pictured that as a Wonder Woman and Adam Strange episode, it would’ve had to have been Adam’s trick, right?

Schnitzy Pretzelpants: I was thinking almost the same exact thing about the incongruity of the trophy room with modern Batman earlier this week and came to the same conclusions. Even as a museum of failure, since he still has to fight the same people over and over again, it doesn’t quite work.

Basara549: I think author/environmentalist Derrick Jensen says it the best when it comes to pacifism: “Darth Vader doesn’t care how many protest letters you write.”

Man, those Infantino Star Wars pages are just gorgeous.

Pacifism does not mean that one does not resist evil – just that you do so through peaceful means.

The basic message of pacifism is fundamentally correct, but it also means having a view of humanity that puts adherence to ideals ahead of the willingness to use violence or even the value of one’s life. True pacifism is not a philosophy for the weak. It is far too hard to do, for the vast majority of people (myselt included).

I actually think the rewritten ending works better for the Star Wars comic. Fighting and dying for a just cause is better than rolling over and allowing evil to prevail. I find most pacifists are okay with their views until a loved one is harmed or in danger, then they quickly change to preferring justice.

And what people are saying is that certain types of evil can’t be resisted by peaceful means. Like Hitler’s war effort, the very thing that Captain America was created to combat. So it makes zero sense to turn Captain America (of all people) into a pacifist, like deMatteis wanted to.

Pacifism is not the problem. The problem is man trying to create war in every corner of our planet. That´s the problem. Everybody talks about war as a normal thing.

I’m with John Trumbull on this one…

Without an acutal interview with either Starlin or Englehart and Priest/Owsley (as the current GL writers at the time)? Well, using an old interview from Back Issue doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in your determination, Brian.

I’m still pretty sure I read somewhere that Starlin had wanted to use Guy Gardner. But there were big plans for Guy in the pages of the new Justice League comic. So yeah, Stewart was used instead, spouting completely out-of-character lines. (Denny O’Neil hadn’t touched the character in a decade at least. Wein, Englehart, and Priest/Owsley were responsible for Stewart’s continuing characterization at that point in the game.)

John, I really hope you can find that Comics Scene article.

And Brian, maybe you can try to land an interview next time with the actual creators instead of hunting down just one source in which the creators themselves sound confused.

[…] The bat cave was first seen in the Batman tv serial – – they had a cave set available, but not a hangar. Also, the same link explains something I never understood about Cosmic […]

Nicholas Baker’s recent history of World War 2, “Human Smoke”, makes a strong case that Hitler should have been resisted and defeated though non-violent means. I’m reading it while I’m also finally reading Tezuka’s masterpiece “Buddha”, which is all about the extreme courage and suffering required to resist violence with non-violence. Tezuka’s epic also shows how such struggles can actually make for great comics, contrary to popular belief.

I guessed right.Knowing J.M.’s writing and especially from Moonshadow.Who’s the man!! Loved the Batman and Cosmic Odyssey stuff.Good Job for the week.

Brian from Canada

September 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

Alex, Star Wars was inspired by westerns, not the Vietnam war. In fact, the scene where Luke returns home to find the place burned and his relatives killed is meant to be a direct copy of the same type of sequence in The Searchers starring John Wayne. It’s only science fiction because science fiction meant Lucas could be technical rather than theatrical — and, had it bombed (he told his fellow AFI grads) he would switch to the most non-technical movie making there is: porn.

As for the scene in the comic, I really appreciate DeMatteis’ attempt to tell a pacifist story in the Star Wars universe. It makes a lot more sense than the standard Marvel universe. And the Star Wars universe would go on to make mention of mostly pacifist societies who were dragged into war. But in the context of where they were in the films at the time, the tacked on ending fits the universe better — at least, in my opinion.

Sir Manley Johnson is right. For that matter, I will bet that those who believe that John is subbing for Guy Gardner are also correct. John Stewart’s part in Cosmic Odissey was weird and out of character, and Jonn’s supposed “rescue” is even worse. No telepath would ever try something so destructive.

@Humberto
Sorry to say but war is a normal thing. The simple fact that it occurs on a continuous basis at many areas in the world is evidence of this. War has existed for as long as there has been recorder history. Even in the animal kingdom (of which we are a part) animals regularly wage war or battles over territorial disputes. Many kill or get killed over these, in some cases they may even be taken as slaves. Would it be wonderful if we could all live in peace and harmony? Of course. Unfortunately the sad reality is there will always be war in our world due to the very nature of life.

Starlin’s statement doesn’t sound that murky to me–the fact the story was out of character for John may just mean Starlin wasn’t familiar with the character. But yeah, I don’t consider O’Neill’s statement much proof–the Angry Young Man he’d created in Stewart was a long way from the character at the time.
Busterchops, while war has been around a while, there’s some evidence that the kind of fight-to-the-last-man bloodshed we have today has not (John Keegan goes into this in his History of War).
And in the DC or Marvel Universe, pacifism is actually a lot more practical. You have plenty of people who could effectively shield someone else and save lives without using violence. For example, one of Elliott Maggin’s Superman novels from the seventies has Superman devote himself to endlessly shielding people from a demon’s attacks rather than kill its innocent host–not exactly pacifism, but I think it shows my point.

Found it! Comics Scene #4 from 1988 has an interview with Jim Starlin that largely focuses on Cosmic Odyssey.. He says on page 15 of the issue: “I wanted Guy Gardner, but they’re doing all sorts of changes to him, so I got John Stewart instead.”

Sounds like Starlin just forgot that tidbit of info in the subsequent 20+ years.

I wasn’t aware that Batman’s hangars had come *before* the Bat cave. Another nugget of historical data learned thanks to Brian. :)

You know, from a practical point of view, Batman doesn’t need all those trophies. Still, not only I found them cool, I was glad he had *something* to do besides chasing criminals. We all need a hobby! (No wonder all these revisionists see him as a psycho.)

Man, I loved Infantino’s art on The Flash, but on Star Wars it just looked- wrong. That was one thing that kept me away from the series.

As for whether Sunn-Childe (note the Hippy-sounding name) or Lando was right? I’m going with Lando. What Cody was basically saying was “the rest of the universe can screw itself as long as I’m at peace”. That’s a sentiment contrary to heroism, which is what books like Star Wars are all about. (Note, in the real world most pacifists do work for the greater good, just not using violence, and can be VERY heroic in their own way.)

Oh, and not only I think the forced tragedy on Steward was poor writing, but the fact all it took was some idiot painting the bomb yellow to stop him, was pathetic. Jordan would have found *some* way to save the day anyway. Not to mention the whole weakness is ridiculous to start with. (And the explanations given over the years make it even worse.)

That’s not Alfred, that’s John Waters!

Re: The Bat-Cave

“…Eventually we learn about a secret hangar…”

In a story from “Detective Comics” #31(Batman’s fifth appearance). I had to chuckle that this caption to the artwork from that issue follows the page from the comic where Robin performs surgery because the placement misleads readers to think that “eventually” meant quite a while after Batman’s introduction when he was teamed with Robin.

John Trumbull: “…Found it! Comics Scene #4 from 1988 has an interview with Jim Starlin that largely focuses on Cosmic Odyssey.. He says on page 15 of the issue: ‘I wanted Guy Gardner, but they’re doing all sorts of changes to him, so I got John Stewart instead.'”

I recall that interview, as well. And I do think that the way John Stewart reacts is more like Guy Gardner than it is Stewart.

AverageJoeEveryman

September 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm

While I also think the actions fit Guy better, just saying he “wanted” Guy doesn’t mean he ever wrote the part as Guy. He could have been refused before ever beginning the script.

Busterchops: sorry, but the argument that “there has always been war” is, well, quite empty. By that yardstick we would never have left illiteracy and slavery behind, you know.

Sorry Alex and Brian From Canada, but I see World War II all over Star Wars… much like most action oriented sci-fi during the Cold War era. Stormtroopers, Imperial officers with Eastern Europeans names and German-looking uniforms. The heroes was an old, British knight and his squire, teamed up with an American cowboy who tried to stay out of it but came in to help save the day in the eleventh hour. And of course Darth Vader is space-Hitler, committing genocide on any race(or planet) that he can’t conquer.

The point was that John was an idiot for leaving Jonn behind- Hal would have taken Jonn along and between them they would have found some way to stop the bomb.

While I also think the actions fit Guy better, just saying he “wanted” Guy doesn’t mean he ever wrote the part as Guy. He could have been refused before ever beginning the script.

But still, it’s an interview with the the writer of the book from the time that the book came out where he states that he originally wanted to use Guy Gardner in the role that John Stewart ultimately fulfilled. I think that’s enough to push this to a “True” status, don’t you?

The Bat’s Cave is shown in the very first scene of chapter 1 of the first Batman serial (after the opening credits), not chapter 2.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zNcKo2jb1k

Strangely I’ve just noticed that the version of the Dreams of Cody Sunn Childe that was published in the B&W UK Reprint Star Wars Magazine (Issue 141 Cover date Dec 1980) is the original unedited version still credited to J M DeMatteis.

Title Page with original credits
http://i54.tinypic.com/2eyxlpu.jpg

Final Page with original dialog
http://i54.tinypic.com/2afe6nb.jpg

Quite how and why the UK Marvel office published the original version without the the Lucasfilm changes (Editorial mistake. Deliberate decisions ?) makes for an interesting question.

Lucas has also acknowledged that he was influenced heavily by Kurosawa’s Samurai films, such as The Hidden Fortress.
On pacifism, it occurs to me that during WW II, a lot of conscientious objectors served as medics. Which could be an effective way to handle a pacifist character, but post-Vietnam, the emphasis is invariably on opting out of war permanently.

Not to get into a huge debate on pacifism, but I believe that it only work in certain circumstances. It worked for Mohandas Gandhi in India because the government he was in non-violent opposition to, Great Britain, is a democracy with a free press. So all the violence that the British military was inflicting on non-violent protesters conducting civil disobedience over time must have become a huge public relations nightmare back home, with the general public in the UK saying “What the hell are our military and politicians doing?” So that eventually had the effect of the British politicians admitting to themselves “Hmmm, this is a public relations nightmare. Maybe be better negotiate peacefully with these protesters in India, before we get voted out of office.” Same thing a few decades later in the United States, with Martin Luther King Jr’s non-violent opposition to segregation and racism.

But when you practice pacifism against a dictatorship, well, the results are probably going to be different. When you have a tyrant who puts no value on human life and who has a complete political choke hold on the political process, he is going to simply massacre non-violent protesters. Then he’ll just cover it up, or say “the hell with it,” let everyone know what he did, and just kill anyone else who disagrees with him.

That was exactly the case with the Star Wars universe. Emperor Palpatine was an absolute dictator. He had disbanded the Senate. He had the Death Star constructed,which (as someone else pointed out) Tarkin then used to destroy Alderaan in a completely unprovoked attack, murdering millions of innocents. Unfortunately, the Empire was NOT a government that would have been stopped by non-violent resistance, because from the top down, it was made up of people who put zero value on human (or any other) life.

It’s a real pity that George Lucas cut the scenes from Revenge of the Sith where Padme helps form the Rebel Alliance. But they can be viewed on the DVD. In them, you can see that initially Padme and a number of other Senators attempted to work within the political system to peacefully convince Chancellor Palpatine to give up the “emergency powers” he had been granted at the start of the Clone Wars and return the Republic to its pre-war democratic state. He point-blank refused. And then he had the Jedi massacred, framed them for assassination attempt against him to make it seem that wiping them out was a justified action, declared himself Emperor, and permanently reorganized the democratic Republic into the militaristic Galactic Empire.

At that point, it was pretty damn obvious to Padme and her like-minded Senators that non-violent resistance was NOT going to work.

I do appreciate what J.M. DeMatteis was trying to say, but the problem is that pacifism simply does not work, and actually comes across as ridiculously naive, in the Star Wars universe.

AverageJoeEveryman

September 26, 2010 at 7:18 am

“But still, it’s an interview with the the writer of the book from the time that the book came out where he states that he originally wanted to use Guy Gardner in the role that John Stewart ultimately fulfilled. I think that’s enough to push this to a “True” status, don’t you?”

The literal interpritation of the way the legend is stated I could probably go with true. I do believe however that Brian was going more for “Jon Stewart was pasted over Guy in the series but they kept the same word balloons and actions” instead of “Starlin originally wanted Guy but used Jon instead”

The literal interpritation of the way the legend is stated I could probably go with true. I do believe however that Brian was going more for “Jon Stewart was pasted over Guy in the series but they kept the same word balloons and actions” instead of “Starlin originally wanted Guy but used Jon instead”

Brian doesn’t mention anything about paste up or the character art being changed in the legend.

COMIC LEGEND: Guy Gardner was originally going to be in the John Stewart role in Cosmic Odyssey.

[…]

Secondly, a number of fans have written to me over the years asking if this story was originally meant to feature John Stewart. The common belief is that perhaps Guy Gardner was originally going to star in the series and Starlin was forced to take him out, and just put Stewart in his place. The theory is based on Guy Gardner being a good deal more cocky and arrogant than Stewart.

The phrasing reads to me like this was done in the planning stages. Which the Starlin interview confirms is what happened.

AverageJoeEveryman

September 26, 2010 at 8:54 am

I realize that the art wasn’t changed. I was saying that more as a metaphor. I meant that maybe the script wasn’t written with Guy as the GL and then at the last second had to be changed to Jon Stewart. Maybe he wanted to use Guy at first and then was told he couldn’t and then he wrote the script with Jon as the GL even though it seems more like stuff Guy would do. I agree with the characterization (in this scene at least) as more Guy than Jon, I’m just being Devil’s Advocate and saying that it doesn’t automatically mean that this script was written with Guy as the GL and then last second changed to Jon with no change in actions or words.

So glad you found that article, John.

Brian, you probably need to re-evaluate the Cosmic Odyssey ruling. Maybe do a little more digging for next week’s installment?

Well, Starlin said that the Xanshi destruction “was one of the last things that got thrown in”. Logically, that “last thing” would have come *after* he knew which characters he could use..

In other words, the whole idea of the Xanshi destruction came long after Guy Gardner had been replaced by John Stewart. And that’s the “role” the myth is about – that Gardner was going to prevent J’Onn from helping and get the planet blown up, and Starlin just subbed Stewart in without changing much. If any change should be made, it should be clarifying that in the “question”, not changing the result.

*apropos of nothing, remembers a wonderful little Darkseid/Raker scene in Simonson’s Orion where Darkseid scoffs at the whole idea of the GLC achieving anything “when they had such an obvious weakness as ‘yellow’!”*

Watching JS come across that yellow machine still gives me this cold feeling in my stomach.

And those old Batman costumes are just plain…wrong. Great Batcave info though!

I wish Mike Ploog had done some illustrations for DeMatteis’s new book “Imaginalis”. It’s not ABADAZAD, but at least we have the three books. (Yes three! The third was only published overseas. Quick plug for J.M.)

Ben, you explained very well the flaw at the heart of pacifism: it only works if everyone involved has a modicum of humanity.

Considering the world we live in, that can be a very naive, wishful-thinking strategy, as several of the most oppressive governments out there wouldn’t think twice about crushing pacifist protestors.

Ben Herman:
“comes across as ridiculously naive, in the Star Wars universe.”

Gotta love the irony in criticizing something for being “naive” within the context of the most witless and empty-headed universe in all the genre multiverse.
F**k Lucas, man, regardless of the “realism” of DeMatteis’ pacifist solution; it’s just dumbass old Star Wars.

F**k Lucas, man, regardless of the “realism” of DeMatteis’ pacifist solution; it’s just dumbass old Star Wars.

Okay, fine, then let’s run with J.M. DeMatteis’ wishes to turn Captain America into a pacifist. I seriously doubt that non-violent resistance would work against the Red Skull, Viper, Doctor Doom, AIM, Hydra, the Secret Empire, or any of the other fascist, totalitarian villains bent on global domination that Cap routinely finds himself facing. Well, okay, maybe Doctor Doom under certain circumstances, because he likes to see himself as a good man, and if he thought that imprisoning or killing non-violent protesters would detract from his image of benevolence, well, maybe he’d back down while giving some half-hearted lip service to the courage and convictions of his opponents. But if a group of pacifists happened to be standing between Doom and absolute conquest of the world, at that point any scruples he claimed to have would go right out the window and he’d have his non-violent opponents trampled underfoot in a split second.

I’m not even arguing any of that; that “regardless” was there for a reason. I actually have less of a problem treating the Marvel universe with that degree of seriousness than I do with Star Wars.

Though, again, I’m not actually promoting a side in the pros or cons of pacifism here. This was all about taking issue with treating Star Wars with more respect than it deserves (other than as a money-making, monolithic pop-cultural monster), not refuting people’s arguments about whether pacifism works or not under such-and-such set of circumstances.

“The point was that John was an idiot for leaving Jonn behind- Hal would have taken Jonn along and between them they would have found some way to stop the bomb.”

We’ve already seen what Hal does when faced with tragedy: He murders a few thousand of his closest friends.

Out of topic but a suggestion for a future column: at the end of Joe Kelly´s run on Deadpool (Deadpool #33, 1997 series) the last page has Deadpool walking into the sunset hand i hand with Death. The image suggests that it was going to be the last issue of the series, instead the dialogue states that Deadpool is only “99%” dead and that he will be back to life in 30 days, just in time for the next issue. So was this a cop out due to Marvel not canceling the series as planned?

Bought your book yesterday and read it between then and a few minutes ago. Very good read, very interesting info. I had no idea about this blog until I came across your book. Will be checking in frequently now. Thanks for all the great research!!!

Anybody else wondering if Lando and Chewbacca have been drawn by somebody other than Infantino (probably Tom Palmer) in those Star Wars pages? Chewie looks nothing like Infantino’s usual version of the character, and Lando definitely looks more like Palmer’s work than Infantino’s. I’m guessing Lucas stepped in to ensure stronger likenesses or something similar.

I remember that Star Wars issue….it was god-awful with EITHER endings!

Infantino was a horrible choice as Star Wars artist IMO.

In other words, the whole idea of the Xanshi destruction came long after Guy Gardner had been replaced by John Stewart. And that’s the “role” the myth is about – that Gardner was going to prevent J’Onn from helping and get the planet blown up, and Starlin just subbed Stewart in without changing much. If any change should be made, it should be clarifying that in the “question”, not changing the result.

Yeah, the “role” I was referring to was “the guy whose actions led to Xanshi blowing up.”

But I just threw in that qualifier to make sure it is the clearest it can be! Thanks for the quote, John – that’s actually why I posted the part where Starlin said he HAD made substitutions, on the decent chance that that is what happened with Guy/John.

Though, again, I’m not actually promoting a side in the pros or cons of pacifism here. This was all about taking issue with treating Star Wars with more respect than it deserves (other than as a money-making, monolithic pop-cultural monster), not refuting people’s arguments about whether pacifism works or not under such-and-such set of circumstances.

Okey dokey, let’s just say we have differing opinions concerning the Star Wars films :)

As far as pacifism and non-violent opposition go, believe me, I really do wish they were much more effective tools in real life, as well as practiced much more commonly. The world would be a much better place.

But, as J Robb commented above, pacifism can make for really dull adventure fiction.

That said, I have the utmost respect for DeMatteis. In fact, one of the major reasons I am such a longtime fan of Captain America is that one of the very first comic books I ever read was Cap #278. Between DeMatteis’ fantastic script (with Cap choosing to think with his head rather than his fists) and the superb artwork by Mike Zeck & John Beatty, the issue made me a lifelong fan of the character. DeMatteis is a great writer, who has told some amazing stories with Cap and Spider-Man. That said, if I was an editor at Marvel, I don’t think I’d be asking him to write the Punisher. Well, unless I wanted to get the most unconventional, offbeat take on the character, in which case, yeah, I might go to him!

Actually, didn’t Gandhi address this very subject? I *know* it’s in the movie, so I imagine he did have some stuff to say about it.

Ultimately, I think Gandhi had a level of faith in humanity that I do not have. My understanding of the basic argument is this: How many Allied soldiers died in WW2? If that many people lined up in front of Nazi tanks and simply refused to move, would the Nazi soldiers have had the resolve to murder them all? Gandhi argued that no, they would not. Some people would have died, but in the end the sacrifice and the sheer cold-bloodedness of rolling tanks over people or shooting crowds of thousands down would wear any human down.

I don’t think that’s true, personally. I think Gandhi overestimated the power that genocidal insanity has on people. But I think that was basically his argument.

[…] NOTE: The Source and Break Down of Strips Below Are Courtesy of Comic Book Resources […]

<>

Actually the gas chambers came about because shooting people one by one did inflict quite a psychological toll on the guys doing it… and those weren’t even regular troops. It takes a real psychopath to be able to murder people willy nilly… most people just seek ways to justify it in their minds and that only lasts so long. Of course that doesn’t actually mean less people would be dead…

And lets not even get started on how no one actually joined WW2 because the Nazi’s where into genocide… especially not the US. Or how without the glorification of war and nationalism the whole thing might not even have gotten started.

But pacifism in imaginary worlds like SW or the DCU/MU is not something that will work because most villains are just 1-dimensional puppy murderers.

And why is it that most arguments against pacifism sound like warmongering?! Sure, not defending yourself or letting someone kill another person because you don’t want to be violent are easily argued against, but the parts about how some other people are prone to violence so we should do violence to them is the same justification those people you’re talking about use… Great Satan trying to destroy our way of life etc.

Damn… the 1st part of previous post was for Eric Qel-Droma.

Oh, and that thing with John Stewart was facepalm worthy… If his ring can shield him from the explosion why couldn’t he make a shield around the place the bomb was in too?! Or even without that, why couldn’t he lift up the stuff the bomb was on and throw that into space… they could have ever still have the bomb be powerful enough that the planet would still be destroyed but at least he would have tried something.

Random, yeah–lifting the stuff around the bomb is precisely the kind of trick Hal does to get around yellow.
Pacifism: Sometimes it does work, as with Gandhi and the civil rights movement. Sometimes it doesn’t. But hey, military force doesn’t work so well either: Continental Europe couldn’t have done much worse against the blitzkreig if the armies had tried the pacifist approach.

[…] Batcave is a central location in the Batman franchise. Its existence is purely accidental. Back in the days of the 1940s Batman film short serial, the producers wanted to have a hanger. […]

Yeah, the “role” I was referring to was “the guy whose actions led to Xanshi blowing up.”

But I just threw in that qualifier to make sure it is the clearest it can be! Thanks for the quote, John – that’s actually why I posted the part where Starlin said he HAD made substitutions, on the decent chance that that is what happened with Guy/John.

To me it’s not really clear whether or not Starlin had all the characters chosen BEFORE or AFTER he plotted the story, which is really the pertinent question here. To me, Cosmic Odyssey reads like Starlin already had a rough plot & just slotted whichever GL he got in, and I honestly think the quotes you’ve provided here can be interpreted either way, Brian. But to each his own. As far as I’m concerned, the Xanshi plot would’ve worked FAR better with Guy Gardner, who displayed much more of the arrogance that the plot demanded than John Stewart ever did.

@Fraser

Considering how unprepared they all where (England included) you might as well say they where being pacifists…

Actually if i remember right after Pearl Harbor the US army pretty much told Roosevelt that if the Japanese invaded on land they would have major problems in halting their advance…

If the planet wasn’t like 70% water i don’t think the Allies would have stood much of a chance (well Russia might have held out).

“Oh, and that thing with John Stewart was facepalm worthy… If his ring can shield him from the explosion why couldn’t he make a shield around the place the bomb was in too?! Or even without that, why couldn’t he lift up the stuff the bomb was on and throw that into space… they could have ever still have the bomb be powerful enough that the planet would still be destroyed but at least he would have tried something.”
I think the point was supposed to be than John got overconfident and forgot his training.

On the subject of Ghandi, his entire movement was predicated on violence. While he was personally opposed to it, whenever he was arrested he’d go on a hunger strike and there would be the threat of riots. This pretty much forced the hand of the British, who didn’t want a massacre on their hands.

One poster pointed out the Cosmic Odyssey was well after John Stewart had replaced Guy as Hal’s substitute. However, it was also after Crisis on Infinite Earths when Guy was back with his own ring. Actually, didn’t they have to come up with a quick retcon in Action Comics Weekly why John had a ring, after most were destroyed after killing Sinestro?

Anthony Durrant

October 6, 2010 at 11:26 am

I have a question that has always troubled me: why was the ROAD RUNNER comic book so different from the cartoon? It featured the Coyote, all right, but the Road Runner was called “Papa Beep” and had three children identical to him, the three little Beeps (All of them were depicted as being identical to the Road Runner of the cartoon). Not only that, but the Beeps spoke in rhyme (“We must now hasten away at great speed,/For we too are allergic to ragweed) and the Coyote was given a voice as well. I could never figure out why the publisher (Gold Key/Whitman) allowed so many changes in this one Loony Tunes comic.

[…] don't love a good fight. Comic Book Resources' regular Comic Book Legends Revealed column recently uncovered the curious case of a Star Wars comic book from the 1980s that had its message of non-viol…because Lucasfilm didn't want to put such dangerous ideas in children's heads, prompting the writer […]

Nikhil Soneja

May 24, 2011 at 1:20 am

That last scene in Detective Comics #83 when Bruce gets it in the nads when Dick conveniently ducks is hilarious. Am imagining the next panel had him writhing on the ground and cursing in a high pitched voice.

Also the Bat-hangar doesn’t really seem practical…Dick: “Bruce, need to take the Batmobile out, can you just come on down here and move a few of the Batplanes?”

Nikhil Soneja

May 24, 2011 at 1:23 am

P.S. Was the Batman appearance in the TV serial also the inspiration for that of Bat-mite? Goofy! Surely not that hard to keep the ears from falling over even on their modest budget.

So, I get that Cody comes from DeMattiss’ son, and I can see the hippy connection with Sunne-Child; but, there seems to be another connection that is being missed here. That connection is Cody Starbuck. Howard Chaykin’s Cody Starbuck, much like Dominic Fortune, was derived from a previous work by Chaykin; in this case, Ironwolf, at DC. When Mike Friedrich’s Star Reach debuted, Chaykin provided the first Cody Starbuck story. Starbuck is a swashbuckling rebel, fighting against an evil empire, who uses their vampire legions to terrorize the galaxy. I believe he did two stories for Star Reach, then a one shot and a serial for Heavy Metal. Look at the similarities. Cody Sunne-Child fought an empire as a swashbuckling hero, as did Cody Starbuck; but, look even closer at the names. Sunne-Childe, Starbuck. Sun and star are synonymous, as are child and buck; or, at least “young buck.” Codystarbuck was a favorite of Lucas and influenced some of the elements in Han Solo (as did the personality of Francis Ford Coppola), and Chaykin was tapped to do the Star Wars adaptation at Marvel. It may be a complete coincidence, but I have a suspicion that it isn’t.

Jeff, I had no idea Chaykin sort-of resurrected Ironwolf (though I’ve heard of other writers doing similar things). Very interesting.

Jeff:– Chaykin also did an early promo poster for THE Star Wars, to sell at comic conventions, along with the novel.

“Yeah, it’s really hard to make a peace-loving war film or comic book, but still they try.”

I can’t remember who said it, but every time I read any of the great old EC war comix, I think of the quote “any war story, properly told, is an anti-war story”.

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