First Look at DC Rebirth Designs For Bizarro, Red Robin, Batman Beyond & More
Welcome to the two-hundred and eighty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and eighty-one.
Comic Book Legends Revealed is part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this latest installment of Board Game Legends Revealed to learn what softcore pornography has to do with Candyland!
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COMIC LEGEND: Marvel produced two full issues of a Fallen Angels sequel mini-series before canceling the project.
Fallen Angels was a really odd Marvel mini-series in 1987.
Written by Jo Duffy and drawn by a few different artists (originally Kelly Gammill), the series began as a New Mutants spin-off, as Sunspot accidentally injures Cannonball. Distraught, he leaves the team (Warlock follows him)…
He eventually ends up on a “team” of various mutants, including, most notably, Boom Boom, Madrox the Multiple Man and Siryn (the latter two became an item during the series, although it was later determined that the Madrox in Fallen Angels was a rogue duplicate of the “real” Madrox)…
The series is perhaps best known for bringing Jack Kirby’s Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur into the “regular” Marvel continuity…
In any event, Colleen Doran was approached to finish up the art for the original series. She turned Marvel down, and then later regretted it, so when they offered her the job as the regular artist on the follow-up mini-series in 1988, she quickly said yes.
The follow-up series, again written by Duffy, with pencils by Doran (and inks by the legendary Terry Austin), featured the team (sans Sunspot, Warlock and Siryn, who we see Madrox sadly part with here – obviously, at the time, this was intended as THE Madrox)
gaining a new member who could interact with animals through telepathy.
Here, the new member meets the team…
Doran also did re-designs of most of the characters, as Marvel gave her pretty much carte blanche to do what she wanted, design-wise.
However, a bad guy called the Broker wants the young mutant caught…
The whole concept was a bit of a hodge podge, as the book alternated between silly and really dark (the boy was a victim of abuse from his father) and eventually Marvel wished to drop Duffy from the project. They asked Doran if she would continue with a new writer. Doran, in a strong showing of loyalty to someone she had not worked with before, said no.
So Marvel just dumped the project entirely.
The problem for Doran was that she just spent a lot of time (each of the two completed issues were double-sized) on a project that was not even going to see the light of day, so that likely set her career back a bit.
While the project was still on, Duffy, Doran and Austin did a story in 1988’s Marvel Fanfare #38 featuring Dazzler and Rogue of the X-Men meeting up with a famous musician…
The plan was for PJ James to be introduced later in Fallen Angels II, where it would be revealed that he was a mutant and his power involved his musical abilities. Instead, the Fanfare story went nowhere.
Madrox and Siryn went on to become major characters for Marvel, including more recently together in the pages of X-Factor (written by Peter David, who also had a series called Fallen Angel – it all ties together!!)…
and Boom Boom was in Nextwave, so she’s set for life…
but the other characters pretty much got stuck in limbo (although Ariel, a member of the team who was in limbo for years before she began appearing in the X-titles, would probably prefer limbo to what happened to her after she began appearing in the X-titles, which is get killed during a crossover).
Allan Harvey did a feature on the mini-series in Back Issue #21. That’s where the above pages are from. Be sure to pick up Back Issue #21 to see more pages of the rejected series and read Harvey’s great interview with Doran.
COMIC LEGEND: A translated version of the Dan Dare radio show led to a “brand new” Spanish comic book hero!
Dan Dare debuted in the first issue of Eagle (a weekly British comic magazine) in the ongoing strip Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future.
It quickly became one of the most popular British comic book characters EVER.
Dare also became the star of his own radio serial in 1951 on Radio Luxembourg five times a week. The show lasted for five years.
The radio serial was adapted for airing in Spain in 1953 on Cadena SER. Eduardo Lacueva and Joaquín Peláez each played Dan for awhile before the Spanish radio station decided that the show wasn’t Spanish enough. So they just stopped using the English scripts and just created their own Dan Dare knockoff, Diego Valor.
Diego Valor proved quite popular, running for 1200 performances, and inspiring, oddly enough, his own comic book series!!
Enrique Jarnés wrote the comic under the pen name of H. Jarber and Braulio Rodríguez drew it under the pen name of Buylla and Bayo.
Here are the covers of the first ten issues of the weekly series that ran for 124 issues!
Isn’t that amazing? They just decided not to adapt Dan Dare and do it themselves.
Eventually, the more recent Dan Dare series (the one from 2000 AD) was translated into Spanish, making Dan Dare’s first Spanish comic appearance occur two decades into his comic existence!
Thanks to Kerschner & Taylor’s absolutely BRILLIANT Dan Dare website for the scans of the Diego Valor comics! And great big thanks to reader Gerard R. for suggesting I feature this one!!
COMIC LEGEND: DC considered using Steve Rude to re-draw the Superman faces in the style of Jack Kirby when they reprinted Jack Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen stories.
STATUS: False As Far As I Can Tell
This is interesting, because this is one of those rumors that is recent enough that I can remember it making the round of the internet back in the early 2000s.
As you might know, when Jack Kirby drew Superman in Jimmy Olsen, DC would have another artist re-draw the face of Superman (I covered this in greater detail in an earlier edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed) so that Superman would look consistent with the “standard” look for Superman (Kirby was not the only legendary artist they did that to – click on the above link to see what other Hall of Fame artist got the same treatment).
So when DC was getting ready to reprint the stories in the early 21st Century, the rumor was that DC was going to get Kirby’s original pages and re-ink them using Kirby’s original drawings. Whether DC tried this or not, it would not have been possible because not enough of his original pages existed.
The NEXT rumor, though, was catchier – it was that DC was considering using the great Steve “The Dude” Rude (who, by the way, is having a monster sale on his artwork at his website! Read more about it here – you get a great deal and you help a legendary artist keep his home! The proverbial win-win situation!), an artist with a similar style to Jack Kirby, to re-draw the heads in the STYLE of Kirby.
However, when the comics were reprinted, that did not happen (Rude DID ink a Kirby sketch for the cover of Volume 1)…
And at the time, Bob Greenberger (then Senior editor in DC’s Collected Editions department) stated, “At no time did I talk with the Dude about reinking faces.”
Likely, what happened was that folks were misinterpreting something the great Mark Evanier had written on his website in 2003:
DC recently issued the first of two volumes reprinting Jack’s Jimmy Olsen stories, just as they were originally published. There is no way to actually restore what Jack did — only a few stats of a few panels have survived — but there was once talk of having someone (probably Steve Rude) redraw the redraws into more of a Kirby style. In fact, I somewhat instigated such discussions before finally becoming convinced that it was impractical.
This, though, is why I’m going with “as far as I can tell,” because I can’t read the mind of whoever makes the final decision on these things. Maybe someone DID, at one point, plan on having Rude re-draw the faces, but it was never officially planned, and as Evanier makes perfectly clear, it really never went past “talk.”
Still, when DC announced plans of doing a massive four-volume Omnibus of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World material, once again the Rude rumors started up.
And when the project was released in 2007?
The same re-drawn faces were used.
Again, though, let me stress that maybe someone at DC did plan at one point to use Rude (and perhaps that was the origin of all the rumors), but if they did, it was never stated anywhere officially, so I feel pretty safe going with a “false” here.
Thanks to Mark Evanier for all of his great information about the life and work of Jack Kirby. And thanks to Bob Greenberger for the quote about Rude. Be sure to check out Steve Rude’s art for sale, people!!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. 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…
See you all next week!
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