web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #284

Welcome to the two-hundred and eighty-fourth 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-three.

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 Movie Legends Revealed to see if the famous story is true that John Wayne once responded to a director asking him to do a scene with more “awe” by actually adding the word into his dialogue.

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: A recent issue of New Mutants had some profane dialogue “hidden” in translated demon dialogue.

STATUS: True

Comic book creators have been sneaking stuff into comics to amuse themselves for decades. Whether it be putting famous characters (or real people) into the backgrounds or hiding people’s names in special effects (more on that in a later legend today), it happens with relative frequency. A recent issue of New Mutants, though, was a bit more on the outlandish side than your typical “easter egg.”

I can more or less just turn you folks over to Robert Plass, who wrote to me about this bit. Robert has a neat Alpha Flight blog called Alpha Flight Collector.

Now since Alpha Flight does not exactly have their own comic at this precise moment (seeing as how most of them are, well, you know, dead), when it comes to modern comic books (for now, at least – Alpha Flight’s return is imminent!), Robert has to turn to comics that feature characters FROM Alpha Flight.

One such comic is the current story arc in New Mutants, which features Witchfire, an old Alpha Flight character.

The storyline involves the New Mutants being dragged to hell (or a hell dimension or whatever).

While there, the demons have their own language. The demon’s dialogue appears frequently in the comic without translation, except for a few times in New Mutants #17, like here…

Well, Robert used that translation to work out the fairly straightforward substitution cipher, which he presents here…

So Robert then translated the dialogue, and he got some rather…interesting results.

Here are two examples…

“See that guy’s balls?” “Yeah…they were weird.”

“Hey, dick-breath.”

Read Robert’s blog here to see two more, including one using the f-word.

Now, due note that we cannot tell WHO did this easter egg. It could be Zeb Wells, the writer of the comic, or it very easily could be Joe Caramagna, the letterer of the comic. Heck, it could have been the idea of an assistant editor on the comic. There’s no way of telling just by looking at the issue itself, so I don’t want people to automatically presume this was Wells’ idea or Caramagna’s idea, etc.

Thanks to Robert for the keen eye! Be sure to check out his site for all your Alpha Flight needs!

COMIC LEGEND: DC Comics cannot reprint Flex Mentallo.

STATUS: False (based on the information available to us)

This has been discussed so many times over the years that I actually sort of presumed that I had dealt with it in the column, but I had not. I mentioned the story in my book, but I don’t know if I fully addressed one important aspect of this situation that I keep seeing brought up (seriously, do a search on “DC cannot reprint Flex Mentallo” and you’ll get tons of hits) and that is that DC Comics is prohibited from reprinting Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Flex Mentallo.

Based on the facts that are available to us, I do not believe this to be the case. However, while not PROHIBITED, it does seem like there are reasons why they would not want to.

As you may or may not know, the problems began in 1998 when DC was sued by Charles Atlas,Ltd. over DC’s character of Flex Mentallo.

Here’s one version (perhaps the most famous version) of Charles Atlas’ ads that appeared in many comic books over the years…

Now here, from 1991′s Doom Patrol #42, is the secret origin of Flex Mentallo…

Mentallo went on to star in his own mini-series in 1996 by Grant Morrison, the writer of Doom Patrol.

In 1998, Atlas was notified of the existence of Flex Mentallo (a fan had written to the company to tell them how Flex Mentallo turned him on to the existence of Charles Atlas – that’s precisely the sort of thing that companies who want to sue for infringement want to hear) and sued DC Comics for trademark infringement (and various other related causes, including trademark dilution, etc.).

DC was planning on releasing a trade paperback collection of the Flex Mentallo series but scrapped their plans when Atlas sent their cease and desist letter.

Well, in 2000, after a number of affadavits were collected from both sides, United States District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald granted DC’s motion for summary judgment.

Besides some procedural issues (the time between the alleged infringement and Atlas filing suit), Buchwald ruled that the chance of dilution were slim (as the typical comic book reader would not confuse Atlas with Mentallo) and that Mentallo would be covered as a parody anyways.

So DC “won.”

However, one aspect of the case involved DC asserting in an affadvit that they had not reprinted Flex Mentallo and had no plans TO reprint Flex Mentallo.

And in her ruling, Buchwald addressed that fact:

Plaintiff’s argument that DC’s bad faith is evinced by its decision to forgo publication of a planned Flex Mentallo paperback after receiving plaintiff’s cease and desist letter is unavailing. We refuse to infer bad intent from DC’s decision to accommodate Atlas’s request. To the contrary, since DC has represented that it has no intention to use the Flex Mentallo character again, the likelihood of confusion in the future is even further reduced.

So even though they “won,” a couple of things are worth noting…

1. The fact that they said that they did not intend on reprinting Flex Mentallo was specifically noted in the judge’s ruling as something that helped DC’s case.

and

2. This case only deals with DC’s alleged trademark infringement ALREADY. Therefore, if DC were to release Flex Mentallo AGAIN, it would be considered a NEW possible infringement, and Atlas could sue again (only now with DC’s past affidavit saying that they were not going to reprint it, which certainly could and would be held against DC).

Very quickly, too, let me note that by saying “the information available to us” I mean that we don’t know if DC secretly settled with Atlas after the case. Quite often parties will settle AFTER a case to avoid the case being appealed. Heck, the party who most recently “won” is usually in a very good position TO settle the case. So we don’t know for sure that DC did not have some secret settlement where they agreed never to reprint Flex Mentallo. Nothing that I’ve ever seen or heard over the years suggest that they DID make any sort of settlement like that, but it’s possible.

More likely (heck, a lot more likely) is what I mentioned before – reprinting Flex Mentallo would open DC up to being sued again, and a lot of corporations tend to be averse to being sued, and if they can avoid it by simply not reprinting a comic book, well, that is often exactly what they will do.

That said, stating that you do not intend to reprint a comic book back in 2000 is not a binding statement (particularly because it only speaks to INTENTIONS – and since DC has had many editorial changes since 2000, the statement could very well still be true and simply irrelevant because the people making the decisions are different now). It might help a “bad faith” claim, but it does not specifically prohibit DC from going back on what they said at the time.

In addition, in 2006, DC reprinted Doom Patrol #42 (among other issues) in a Doom Patrol trade paperback collection and even included Flex Mentallo on the cover!

While obviously a comic book STARRING Flex Mentallo would be a worse possible infringer than the Doom Patrol issues, it still remains true that Doom Patrol #42 is clearly the work that most closely resembles the Atlas ads (in the Flex Mentallo mini-series there are barely any references to associate Flex with Charles Atlas as opposed to any other “muscle man”). So DC reprinting #42 without any problem is certainly notable.

So while there certainly are legal obstacles to reprinting Flex Mentallo, I don’t believe that there is anything specifically prohibiting DC from doing so. So when Grant Morrison says that DC WILL reprint it, he is likely not blowing smoke (although it is almost certainly going to be a long process before we ever see it, so don’t hold your breath).

Click here if you would like to read the decision from 2000.

COMIC LEGEND: In a way, Dick Sprang got credit from Marvel before he ever got credit from DC!

STATUS: True

Dick Sprang started drawing Batman in 1943 with Batman #19.

Twenty years later, he retired from comics.

In those twenty years, he was pretty much THE Batman artist, and yet during that entire time he never received a single art credit. This was due to DC’s deal with Batman creator Bob Kane, that all Batman art would be credited only to Kane.

Well, by the late 1960s/early 1970s, after the Batman TV series ceased to help spike the sales of Batman comics, DC wished to be able to promote other artists (such as Irv Novick and Neal Adams) on their titles, so they eventually re-negotiated their deal with Kane (they had already re-negotiated in the early 1960s so that they could put new ghost artists on the titles other than the ones Kane always worked with, like Sheldon Moldoff).

As part of the deal, they not only could promote CURRENT artists, but they could begin to credit OLD artists when their work was reprinted.

And in 1972′s Batman #238, Sprang finally got credited, only 219 issues after he began drawing Batman!

However, amusingly enough, while Sprang was unknown to the comic book reading public in general, the more “plugged-in” comic book fans already knew who he was, and one of those fans, the late, great Archie Goodwin, snuck a bit of a credit into 1969′s Iron Man #14 (art by Johnny Craig).

And in 1974, two years after Sprang finally got his own credit in a Batman comic, Goodwin did it again, in Detective Comics #441 (art by Howard Chaykin).

Pretty neat, huh?

Goodwin was a very cool guy.

I’ve spoken before about how great Pat Curley’s blog, Silver Age Comics, is, and here is another example of how awesome he is! He had all of this stuff on his site here and here.

In exchange for Pat’s coolness, how about we help him out a bit and find out the first time that Sheldon Moldoff was credited for his work on a Batman comic!

Thanks a bunch, Pat!

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!

71 Comments

I’m confused. You say that Goodwin did that in an Iron Man comic, but that is Robin in the panels.

Are the pics reversed?

Hi Brian –
Another fine column. However, the illustrations for your Dick Sprang legend are reversed!

Are the pics reversed?

Yep. Thanks, Rusty!

There we go. Guess I should have refreshed after reading the column before I commented! :)

The girlfriend in the Charles Atlas ads DOES come off as a jerk that no sane man would want to date.

The first image is afrom Iron man the second is from Detective Comics

i though the very obstacles for a FLEX MENTALLO reprinting were about the contents of the story actually…

The use of simple substitution cyphers as alien languages can be pretty obvious sometimes. In one of the Avengers stories during Secret Invasion, I noticed the Skrull dialogue always had the same number of words and letters as the translations that were given. It wasn’t hard to figure out they were using a straightforward cypher. After reading through it a couple of times, I was able to read all of Bendis’s Skrull dialogue from then on. It didn’t work for some Skrull dialogue from other titles, though.

That New Mutants easter “egg” is the kind of thing that can get people fired.

I’m partial to “DAK-OOOOOM” myself whenever David Anthony Kraft did a book.

Note that Zeb Wells is not going to write the New Mutants anymore come February 2011. I sincerely hope the easter egg had nothing to do with it.

I don’t see how it should be any different than when they use British “swear” words that may not socially appropriate for children to say in the UK but here often go unnoticed by most.

So, Marvel is employing 12 year-olds these days?

I fondly remember the alphabet cypher that Michael Golden created for his work on The Micronauts, though I don’t recall if there were any “fun” hidden messages (and I’m certain there was nothing like the New Mutants messages here).

I also love the messages that Jim Steranko and then Neal Adams (among others, I’m sure) used to hide within the radiating lines of their special effects, e.g., “Holy cow, dig these crazy fireworks!”

http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/150/sa15_p1.gif

The way I always understood it, “protection against copyright and trademark infringement” via parody and satire is a one-shot kind of thing. You’re allowed the one instance, but after that, you are just cashing in on your work relating to someone else’s copyright/trademark. Such as I could get away with publishing a zombie parody magazine called “Martha Stewart Un-Living” but only with the one issue.

Which is where using Flex in “new” works including reprints would be opening a can of worms. DC’s best bet would be to go even more meta- with him and parody even more ads, celebrity body-builders, etc with a new parody each time or just do to him what Morrison did with most of the DP, transform him into something really crazy and almost unrecognizable.

Atlas: “DC, we demand that you not reprint Flex Mentallo.”
DC: “Okay, we won’t.”
Atlas: “You bastards! Your compliance will be used against you!”

lol

It’s like something out of South Park.

Another great column. Didn’t know about the Flex Mantallo lawsuit.

And I don’t really see anything “profane” about the silly alien dialogue, so I really hope no one lost their job over it or anything. It’s pretty benign even if you do figure it out.

Semantics maybe, but I don’t really see how someone putting in a sound effect reference to your name in a comic you had nothing to do with, as an in-joke, could constitute as getting “credit”.

Well, Kevin, their argument was that DC quickly agreeing not to reprint it was a sign of acknowledgement that Flex WAS infringing. So it was not a super-outrageous claim on their part.

That “Mr. Roulette’s Greatest Gamble” page: wow, so even if they weren’t using Two-Face in this era, they just co-opted one of his gimmicks (from a story also drawn by Sprang!) for another character, who promptly fell into obscurity after that. Neato!

The way I always understood it, “protection against copyright and trademark infringement” via parody and satire is a one-shot kind of thing. You’re allowed the one instance, but after that, you are just cashing in on your work relating to someone else’s copyright/trademark. Such as I could get away with publishing a zombie parody magazine called “Martha Stewart Un-Living” but only with the one issue.

Which is where using Flex in “new” works including reprints would be opening a can of worms. DC’s best bet would be to go even more meta- with him and parody even more ads, celebrity body-builders, etc with a new parody each time or just do to him what Morrison did with most of the DP, transform him into something really crazy and almost unrecognizable.

I think in general you’re correct, Ed, which is why DC’s other argument was that outside of Doom Patrol #42, Flex Mentallo WASN’T a parody of Charles Atlas anymore, but was rather just a generic “muscle man” used to explore comics as a whole.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 29, 2010 at 2:56 pm

You gotta love those easter eggs in comics. The boldness and nerves that people show to try and slip things past Big Brothers and all.

I remember something about Bob Harris’ name being sullied in a marvel book that was mentioned awhile back in this very column.

You should do a separate column completely devoted to “Easter Eggs in Comics”.

The NM code reminds me of the backwards-printed Martian dialogue from “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”.

The “you see that guy’s balls,” “yeah, they were weird” is a quote from Billy Madison.

Also, ironically, the art in Flex Mentallo totally reminded me of Howard Chaykin and then poof there was that Robin panel by Chaykin. That guy draws grimaces like no other.

At the start of the 2000 legal decision for Flex Mentallo:

“Among DC’s best-known characters are Superman and Barman…”

“I remember something about Bob Harris’ name being sullied in a marvel book that was mentioned awhile back in this very column.”

If memory serves, Al Milgrom slipped a nasty goodbye note onto the sides of books on a bookshelf in the background of a panel he inked. But Marvel caught it, and he was fired as a result (which I always thought was a little odd, since they’d fired Harris, but I guess it’s not a good idea to go slandering ex-employees in print).

You should do a separate column completely devoted to “Easter Eggs in Comics”.

If folks e-mail me some good ones (beyond the ones Robby Reed already featured here), I will do just that!

Doug, what was the “backwards” Martian dialogue in LOEG2? Was it on one of Jess Nevins’ annotations blogs or something?

I’d seen the New Mutants thing over on Bleeding Cool, where it’s kind of funny that Marvel sneaks this in while DC keeps changing “secret” messages on their covers (Batman and Robin covers and a JLofA).

I’d say the Iron Man Sprang credit only counts if there was a giant prop in that issue…

And the Flex Mentallo legal issues make my head spin. But if they reprinted the issue with the pages shown above, I don’t see why they couldn’t reprint the mini. (One idea I heard floated around was that it should be included in the Absolute WE3, since it’s virtually the same creative team, and WE3 has a low page count. Dunno how likely that’d be…)

Doesn’t “Meta-Messages” kind of deal with “easter eggs” in comics?

I thought the Milgrom thing included the f-word, so I’d say that’s grounds for firing someone.

That “alien language” is also just basically Japanese Hiragana blurred, mirrored, flipped, or otherwise slightly altered.

Doesn’t “Meta-Messages” kind of deal with “easter eggs” in comics?

Meta-Messages could include easter eggs, I guess, but that’s specifically about instances where a creator is making a meta-textual commentary about another creator and/or title.

Sneaking, say, Captain Kirk and Mister Spock into the background of a panel isn’t making a point, it’s just being fanciful.

Sneaking, say, Captain Kirk and Mister Spock into the background of a panel isn’t making a point, it’s just being fanciful.

Speaking of that, Kirk & Spock make a cameo in Nexus #50.

"O" the Humanatee!

October 30, 2010 at 1:03 am

How is a sound effect – especially one that adds extra letters – a reference to a creator, let alone a “credit”? Was there something else in the comic to link the effect specifically to Dick Sprang (one of my favorite Batman artists)? Of course, if the sound were, say, “Gerber!” or “Englehart!” there wouldn’t be a need for an additional link. 8^)

I’d note that in that panel, it looks like somebody was being freed from chains, as if they had just been “sprang” from captivity. (Sure, in that case it should be “sprung,” but still….)

And here’s an even more obscure cameo: Mike Doonesbury and Zonker Harris appear on the lower right-hand corner of the opening splash page in Peter Parker/Spectacular Spider-man #58 (or #59 – I’m not entirely sure). Sorry for the threadjack, but I’m so proud of the fact that I still remember that…

I’m not sure a “SPRANG!” sound effect counts as a credit – even though it might be a tribute – as Dick Sprang’s work isn’t actually involved in that Iron Man issue.

“Doug, what was the “backwards” Martian dialogue in LOEG2? Was it on one of Jess Nevins’ annotations blogs or something?”

I’m not Doug, but look at the LoEG 2 Martian dialog in a mirror and it’s mostly readable as I recall.

I don’t know much of the history, nor do I care to…but it seems as if Batman has been a success despite Bob Kane.

Unless Goodwin actually said somewhere that it was deliberate homage, I’m inclined to think “SPRANG!” was just random onomatopoeia. The Robin panel is arguable, I guess, but the Iron Man one seems like a bit of a stretch. “Aha! This panel has the word ‘CRASH’ in it…the writer is obviously paying tribute to J.G. Ballard!” ;-)

If Iron Man #14 and Detective Comics #441 were not written by the same guy, perhaps. And if that guy didn’t happen to be a student of comic book history, perhaps. But both of those things are true, which is why I think it definitely was Goodwin paying tribute to a Golden Age legend (if you really wanted to parse “tribute” and “credit,” I suppose you could – but why would you?).

"O" the Humanatee!

October 30, 2010 at 10:24 am

That’s a hell of a lot less evidence than you usually use for a “True,” Brian.

so wait… Howard Chaykin used to draw Detective? when was this? i must hunt those issues down

Well, by the late 1960s/early 1970s, after the Batman TV series ceased to help spike the sales of Batman comics, DC wished to be able to promote other artists (such as Irv Novick and Neal Adams) on their titles, so they eventually re-negotiated their deal with Kane (they had already re-negotiated in the early 1960s so that they could put new ghost artists on the titles other than the ones Kane always worked with, like Sheldon Moldoff).

Your explanation isn’t quite right. DC must have already negotiated something with Kane by 1964 because when the “new look” was launched Broome and Infantino were credited in Detective Comics. That said, Bob Kane was the only person credited on Batman’s solo book for a number of years after that even while Broome and Infantino were doing Detective. By 1968, they paid Kane off altogether and he no longer was credited at all on either Batman or Detective, beyond a creator credit.

Yeah, good point, Graeme, that’s an important distinction. Thanks!

That’s a hell of a lot less evidence than you usually use for a “True,” Brian.

It really isn’t.

Heck, it’s pretty much the exact same standard as the Mr. Nobody legend from a couple of weeks ago.

"O" the Humanatee!

October 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I don’t want to belabor the point, so I’ll just the say the following and leave it at that. I didn’t read your Mr. Nobody write-up, nor do I read every Comic Book Legends column, but it’s my strong impression that you usually back up your “True” judgments with statements from creators, unambiguous within-panel evidence (i.e., something anyone with eyes can see without interpretation), and other kinds of “hard” evidence. This “Spraaaang” example, to me, doesn’t meet those criteria. But I could be wrong.

I think what’s throwing us is the word “credit” where the word “tribute” is probably more appropriate. In the Batman issue, I can see saying that it’s a credit, since Sprang worked on Batman, but he didn’t work on Iron Man, so I’d say that was more just a tribute. Maybe it’s anal retentive word parsing, but I think those of us wondering about it are just thinking that “credit” is imprecise.

As I said kind of jokingly, if either story had featured, say, giant props, or something else that was distinctive of Sprang’s artwork, then yeah, it’s “credit”.

And as someone else pointed out, his name isn’t as distinct as “Gerber” or something. John Byrne pointed out in, I think, his Wizard column way back that Dick Sprang is the only comics creator whose name is a complete sentence. So he doesn’t really have a distinct, particular to him name.

As O said, we’re probably belaboring the point. The Mr Nobody evidence was a lot stronger because even though you didn’t have Morrison quoted as saying yeah, that’s the influence, the images and content of the Betty Boop cartoon were shown to be very similar to the DP character, so the images proved your point in a reasonable manner.

Looking again, those gloves in Iron Man do look like they could be Batman’s, though…

Wouldn’t Iron Man (or any superhero book, really) be really weird if a “crash” sfx was a tribute to JG Ballard? “Mommy, what are they doing in that wreckage?”

And just so you know, I do love the column, but I also love nitpicking :)

Thanks to Jesse for the LOEG2 comment.

I think what’s throwing us is the word “credit” where the word “tribute” is probably more appropriate. In the Batman issue, I can see saying that it’s a credit, since Sprang worked on Batman, but he didn’t work on Iron Man, so I’d say that was more just a tribute. Maybe it’s anal retentive word parsing, but I think those of us wondering about it are just thinking that “credit” is imprecise.

Yeah, that’s pretty much it, exactly. And like I already said, if you really want to parse “tribute” and “credit, in a way,” then there ya go.

I’m not impressed by people who sneak in foul language (or graphics) into comics. It’s like they’re giving us the finger behind their backs. Do it openly or just don’t.

So Flex Mentallo was basically Morrison making fun of an old comic book ad? Typical.

I can see the “Spraaang!” sound effect in Detective Comics being an homage to the artist, but what did he have to do with Iron Man, if anything? (I like his art well enough, just asking.)

StoicStegosaurus

October 30, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I was reading the Brand New Day Arc, “Character Assassination,” and my friend told me that an issue of Secret Invasion had already revealed that Lily Hollister is Menace. However, I own the whole miniseries, and I can’t seem to find anything in there at all. I told him, but he still insists it’s in there. Is this true?

Thanks,
Stoic Stegosaurus

I can see the “Spraaang!” sound effect in Detective Comics being an homage to the artist, but what did he have to do with Iron Man, if anything? (I like his art well enough, just asking.)

Yeah, I was curious about that exact same thing, but I just assumed Archie Goodwin said somewhere else in some interview or something what his thought process was. But if this is purely based on speculation and Goodwin never explicitly said the Iron Man sound effect was a Dick Sprang tribute, I’m somewhat skeptical too. Not saying it’s not true, just that I think more proof is required before coming down so definitively on the side of “yes.” Especially because I can’t get why he’d put the homage/credit in Iron Man of all places.

I think what’s throwing us is the word “credit” where the word “tribute” is probably more appropriate. In the Batman issue, I can see saying that it’s a credit, since Sprang worked on Batman, but he didn’t work on Iron Man, so I’d say that was more just a tribute. Maybe it’s anal retentive word parsing, but I think those of us wondering about it are just thinking that “credit” is imprecise.

Yeah, that’s pretty much it, exactly. And like I already said, if you really want to parse “tribute” and “credit, in a way,” then there ya go.

But, but, if we aren’t going to argue ultimately meaningless points of word usage and such, why are we on the internet? ;)

What I was thinking later on was a scenario of “Marvel giving Sprang credit before DC did” is something along the lines of, say, Stan writing a Bullpen Bulletin/Stan’s Soapbox and saying something to the effect that “I just saw Dick Sprang recently. The cognoscenti know that he’s been drawing that pointy eared character for the Distinguished Competition for years…” Except he’d use more, y’know, alliteration.

I’d say, though, that this legend would qualify as a Meta-Message, though, right? (And with that, I’ll stop beating this dead horse.)

Actually, thinking through this legend, the more interesting bit to me is how Bob Kane had a deal with DC to get sole credit for Batman for years, and that DC had to negotiate with him in order to acknowledge other creators. Did you cover that in a previous legend (Kane’s deal with DC)?

“(if you really wanted to parse “tribute” and “credit,” I suppose you could – but why would you?).”

Because the English language uses different words to mean different things? Silly thing, I know.

Silly thing, I know.

We are in total agreement there.

You can be dismissive about it if you want, of course. In the larger world of things, you’re right, it’s a minor quibble. However, I know I didn’t raise the issue to be a jerk or put you down.

You write a fact-checking column, Brian. So there’s going to be an expectation of precision about these kinds of things from your readers. This is why you’re getting multiple people commenting about this. Just something to consider.

I know you didn’t mean anything offensive by your initial complaint, Corey.

Wait… Lily Hollister is Menace?

:-)

funkygreenjerusalem

October 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Dick Sprang is the greatest name in comics history.

Lovely read as ever, Brian.

@John Trumbull, if memory serves, Mr Spock also appeared in a Legion story … I thought it was the wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel in Superboy #200, but looking at an online version of the image, I can’t see him. Darn!

@Martin – I think that was the right issue, but Spock was in a different scene…in the background walking through a spaceport or something.

Ah, brilliant, cheers Kevin – I’ve not looked at that story in years!

FF 262 cover – that’s Charlie Brown in the extreme lower right corner. :)

Charlie Brown is also in New Avengers #15. He’s in the crowd during their debut press conference.

And while it’s not a comic, if we’re doing Charlie Brown cameos, check out Regan’s bedside table in the Exorcist. Cover his ears!

Hey Brian,

I was watching Superhero Squad and that Avengers cartoon over the weekend and I realized something when my kid referred to The Red Skull as “the red skeleton”.

Is there a connection between The Red Skull and Red Skeleton (the actor)? As in, was the name “The Red Skull” used as a play on the name of actor “Red Skeleton”?

According to Wikipedia,

The Red Skull, was introduce in March, 1941
Red Skeleton was best known as a top radio and television star from 1937 to 1971

Plausible, I’d think. I can’t find anything immediate to back it up.

And yes, I do realize that I spelled his name incorrectly; it’s “Red Skelton”, with one “e”.

@Martin & J. Kevin: I don’t remember Spock, but that wedding scene (which took place on Mars) did have two surprise guests: J’onn J’onzz and Tars Tarkas.

I remember a mid-’70s Superman story in which Superman struck a cliff with his fist, and the sound effect was “Spock.” Now THERE’S an unambiguous tribute.

“So Flex Mentallo was basically Morrison making fun of an old comic book ad? Typical.”

Not at all, no. Flex Mentallo is a character who was imagined by a child (similar to the initial idea for Mr. Sinister). The great part is, the character imagined a hero based on a comic book but, because he was young, he thought the Charles Atlas ad actually was part of the comic, which is why the ads were designed that way. It’s one of his typically brilliant commentaries on levels of reality, if that’s what you meant by typical.

[...] Charles Atlas bodybuilding ad “The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac” — and thus attracted the legal ire of the Charles Atlas company. Though the courts found in favor of DC, the Charles Atlas company’s [...]

[...] Mentallo, as a character, first appeared in Doom Patrol #42 (1991), in which his origin was given as a parody of those old Charles Atlas “become a man” advertisements, with a [...]

[...] work of sequential art that we didn’t deserve it. (For more on the legal action, check out Comic Book Legends Revealed #284, and/or the brief itself, located at The Annotated Flex [...]

[...] Charles Atlas ads of a scrawny kid getting humiliated at the beach (detailed in the second entry in this installment of Brian Cronin’s Comic Book Urban Legends column). For more on Flex Mentallo, check out this clip from the documentary Grant Morrison: [...]

[...] subject of much study, the work has been out of print since its initial publication in 1996 due to a lawsuit with bodybuilder Charles Atlas’s company. Atlas claimed that the title character infringed on his image, but DC successfully argued that [...]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

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

Browse the Archives