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CSBG Archive

When We First Met #2

This is the second in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces showing you the first appearance of stuff that later became notable parts of comic book lore. Not like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.”


Reader Joseph M. asked if I could show the first appearance of a Life Model Decoy, the androids that S.H.I.E.L.D. make that are replicas of their top level personnel, to work as, well, you know, decoys!

Life Model Decoys showed up in the very first Strange Tales to feature Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Srange Tales #135.

Heck, they were around before Fury was even IN S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Check out their intro in the first pages of Strange Tales #135, courtesy of (well, you can see the credits page here)…

I love the one guy who is like, “Don’t forget the eyepatch!” You must be working with some real Einsteins if you need to remind them of that!

Next, commenter Rob Schmidt suggested the first time that Jimmy Olsen used his signal watch.

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen debuted in 1954, inspired by the popularity of the character on the Adventures of Superman TV series.

If you’re going to have a whole ongoing series based on Jimmy Olsen, you need to come up with certain plot devices to make them work, and Otto Binder (or whoever’s idea it was) quickly introduced a great one in the first issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

Here is the watch in action from later in the issue (art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley)…


Finally, here is the first appearance of the Thing’s catch phrase, “It’s clobbering time!”

Surprisingly, Ben Grimm, the Thing, did not even use the WORD “clobber” for the first ten or so issues of the Fantastic Four. Then he mentions clobbering people a few times, phrases like “Aw, you should have let me clobber them!” or “I can’t wait until I get to clobber him.” Stuff like that.

Shockingly, though, it was not until the twenty-second issue of the Fantastic Four, in a match-up with the Fantastic Four’s first foe, the Mole Man, that the Thing finally let his catch phrase loose!

Amusingly, it’s along with a phrase that I am totally unfamiliar with. I mean, I suppose from the context that it means just a general “Yeah! Let’s go!,” but I do not know where the term comes from exactly. Commenter Dave Sikula pointed out that Irving Berlin had used the phrase in a song in the 1920s (and in the context, it also was clear that it was a rallying cry), but anyone else know anything more about it?

By the by, knowing Stan Lee, I figured once he debuted it, he would quickly use it all the time, and sure enough, the very next issue he used it and had it established as THE catch phrase for the Thing.


Feel free to send in ideas for future debuts I should feature here to bcronin@comicbookresources.com!


Is that S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff collected in any affordable TPBs or hardcovers? I’m not generally a fan of Silver Age stuff but that looks kind of interesting.

“Yeah, boy-eeeee” ?

The best “firsts” seem to be the notable catchphrases. I’d like to see “Great Scott!” or the first use of Martian Manhunter’s invocation of H’ronmeer. Or something else weirder like the first depiction of God in the DCU or MU.

Psst, Cronin, re-read that first sentence and change it before someone else notices…

@Chris Jones –

The Strange Tales run of Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD has been collected in two Marvel Masterwork hardcovers. The first covering principally Kirby’s run on Fury was printed some time ago…the second covering mostly Jim Steranko’s epic run was released earlier this year.

There are also some older TPB version of Steranko’s run that have been out of print for years…but can be found at Amazon or eBay.

Great stuff particularly Steranko’s contributions.

I confused as to why casting a mold would have such a high risk of death. And if it was so risky, should he have been smoking a cigar at the time?
So when did Fury first appear with an eyepatch? He didn’t have it in his first Fantastic Four appearance.

Other ideas–
When did Franklin Richards first wear a shirt saying ‘4 1/2’?

When did Superman first use X-ray vision? Telescopic vision? Microscopic vision? Heat-vision? Super-breath? Super-ventriloquism?

The Crazed Spruce

November 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm

How about when Dr. Strange first said, “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!”, or when he first called his bachelor pad the “Sanctum Sanctorum”? Or the first Legion tryout?

“My Boy Pal in Trouble!” – is that corny/camp/creepy dialog all rolled into one,or what??!

Mary beat me to it, I was going to ask, if breathing is going to screw up the process, why let him have the cigar?

Or even keep the eyepatch on?

Or his, y’know, underpants?

Are the LMD’s like Ken dolls, not exactly anatomically correct?

But Mary, it’s says it’s not just casting a mold, it’s the matrix for the LMD, to make it as lifelike as possible. So I can see why the slightest foulup could screw it all up.

Who’s Jimmy’s tubby friend there?

I’ve read a bunch of stuff in the Essentials/Showcase volumes, and that first Superman Family one is pretty good stuff. I just recently read the second volume of the FF, not knowing that that’s where “it’s clobbering time” first shows up. Way cool.

And while I don’t know, I suspect Bill’s not far off the mark in suggesting a tie between “yay bo” and “yeahhhhh, boyyyyeeee”, in the intent and origin.

In reading the Essential FF v.2, I saw that it’s Stan and Jack at the tops of their games, and the Thing gets all the best lines. Yay bo.

How about the first collage that Kirby used in FF? I think it’s around the same time.

Gee, Brian’s got to read Stan and Jack SHIELD and FF stuff, and Jimmy Olsen stuff. What a tough life :) I can’t come up with any other “firsts” that would require you to read some great old comics though, sorry.

So when did Fury first appear with an eyepatch? He didn’t have it in his first Fantastic Four appearance.

I think you’re looking at his very first appearance with an eyepatch right here.

Wait, if that’s the first appearance of the eyepatch, I think something DID go wrong with the LMDs!!!

j/k, I know that’s not why he’s got the eyepatch.

This series strikes me as centered on something standard in the books but something taken for granted. So, if it hasn’t been covered anywhere else (and I freely admit to not knowing if these coincided to first appearances or not):

First use of the Bat-signal? Of a Batarang?

First appearance of the Fantasticar? The Quinjets?

First time someone (anyone) tried to lift Mjolnir regardless of success?

First mention of the Fortress of Solitude? Of the Phantom Zone?

First use of the cosmic treadmill?

Just some thoughts…

The Fantasticar debuted in FF #3. That one I know. It also had the first appearances of the uniforms, and the Baxter Building.

“I love the one guy who is like, ‘Don’t forget the eyepatch!’ You must be working with some real Einsteins if you need to remind them of that!”

Um, clearly you have never worked on any large scale group projects, particularly of the technical variety. When you’ve got a big group of technicians or designers or what have you and each one of them has to keep track of many tiny details, big honking mistakes like that can easily slip by…either because everybody’s attention was on some other problem, or because everybody thought somebody else was doing that bit. Seriously, anyone who’s worked in programming or publishing or even a big restaurant kitchen will tell you that’s the most realistic line in the whole comic!

Psst, Cronin, re-read that first sentence and change it before someone else notices…


Did I miss it and you left it as the “first” in a series instead of “second”?

Anyway, I meant to comment on the Flying Newsroom. Beat reporters up in the air for the story. That’s kind of funny. Is the chubby guy Jimmy’s pilot, then? Or were the beat reporters expected to have a pilot’s license for a helicopter, as well?

I wonder if the Flying Newsroom ever encountered Thanos’s helicopter from the Spidey Super Story featured in that one “I Love ya…” post. That’s the Marvel/DC crossover I want next.

Thanks for these columns.

I’d love it if you could track down when it was established that Superman could fly. When I read the early stories it seemed that at some point he just went from leaping to staying in the air.

Also, Batman used guns in his first appearances and then stopped. But when was it first stated that he had an aversion to guns?

The only other time I’ve seen “yaybo” used was in another Stan Lee comic, X-Men 1.

Reminds me of Mean Girls, really. “Stop trying to make ‘yaybo’ happen, Stan!”

Another great idea for a column, thanks.

YAY BO! Another awesome article!

I think we should make that Brian’s new catch-phrase. ;-)

My friend and I were arguing about Superman and his vulnerability to magic. He says that Grant Morrison invented in during his JLA run (specifically, during the “Crisis Times Five” arc, when Captain Marvel punches Superman). I say it happened earlier. Who’s right? When did the vulnerability to magic first appear?

When Who were the first Marvel or DC superheroes to die only to be resurrected??

@Ross –

I don’t know the specific answer to your questions, but when I read Superman and JLA stories in the 70s and 80s, he already had that vulnerability. If it was later retconned out during one of his origin stories, then re-added, I don’t know.

Yeah, I’m not sure how early Superman’s vulnerability to magic was established, but it came up a lot in the 1970s and ’80s. Ross’s friend couldn’t be more wrong.

The magic vulnerability is mentioned in JLA stories by Gardner Fox from the early Sixties as well. Technically, it’s not that he has a special susceptibility to magic, but that he’s as affected by it as much as anyone else would be. This really sounds like something invented and/or codified by Mort Weisinger as a way of preemptively answering the inevitable reader questions like “If Superman is invulnerable, how could Mr. Mxyzptlk change him into a newt in the September issue of Action Comics?” You know, the way this sort of question was answered before Brian started doing columns like this…

The Crazed Spruce

November 7, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Superman’s vulnerability to magic was even casually mentioned in a pre-Crisis issue of All-Star Squadron, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it even dates back to the Golden Age.

Smokescreen: First use of the Batarang (& Bat-plane) was I think Gardner Fox’s 2-part story vs the Monk/vampire in Detective’s #31-32, 1939 (it also introduces an early bat-girlfriend, Julie Madison and has Batman using a gun).

Should we be concerned that Nick Fury has no nipples? Is there some untold Howling Commandos story that tells how Fury’s nipples were shot off in the war?

I believe the first appearance of male nipples in a Marvel title was not until a Black Panther story in Jungle Action circa 1974. Maybe Brian can explore this in a future column!

“”That” is the war cry of bashful Benjamin Grimm… Sort of a cross between a nuclear explosion and the bellow of a lonely whale!”

I love you Stan Lee.

Great idea for a column, but what issue exactly is that Jimmy Olsen story in?

Ahhh… never mind.

“My Boy Pal in Trouble!” – is that corny/camp/creepy dialog all rolled into one,or what??!

Take a look at the photograph on his desk. THAT is creepy (and corny/camp too). And kind of romantic too…

“Yay bo” sounds (and I don’t know for sure) like a soldier’s type of expression. Much like the “Boo yah!” you hear nowadays.

Okay, I know many fans (particularly conservatives) are filled with burning hatred whenever an old character is retconned as gay, but someone really, really, really should make Jimmy Olsen gay in the next Superman reboot. It’s a rare instance of a politically correct revision that would be totally appropriate.

Ever notice how when a framed picture is shown in an old comic it’s almost always autographed (“To my pal Jimmy Olsen, signed Lois Lane”)? Is that just a comic book thing or did people used to do that?

While a previous correspondent followed up on Mary Warner’s comment (I think trying to make the same point I will), I’ll comment too.

While a reading of the “Don’t move! Don’t even breathe….” line in the S.H.I.E.L.D. story, inferring that the process of making the mold is life-threatening is by no means unreasonable, I inferred that an imperfect matrix would result in imperfect LMDs, which would not be effective as decoys, leading to Nick’s life being in greater jeopardy.

As far as curiosities for that scene go, I note that there’s no obvious evidence of a mold being taken of the front of Nick’s body, including his face. Maybe they did that one first – but you’d think that’s when they’d be warning him about not moving. Of course, it’s all KirbyTech described by Stan, so it can do anything they want it to do, whether it makes sense of not – but you’d really think that, if a mold of any sort was involved, they’d get the face….

The problem with Superman’s vulnerability to magic is that different writers applied it differently. I remember some pre-Crisis stories in which he was possessed by Deadman- in one of them, he had no superpowers as a result, in the other he did! If only we had the Net back then eh? ;)

As for what I would like to see the first instance of: Superman’s OTHER fortresses. I know he had three (besides the Arctic one, he had one in space disguised as an asteroid, the other was under the sea) only because they were alluded to in a Superman comic in the 70’s.

The cover of Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos #27 promises “At Last!! The Origin of Fury’s Eye-Patch!”, as it happens, but I haven’t read that issue in ages (yes, I own it — I own ALL the non-reprint Sgt. Fury issues, so great [& pathetic] is my devotion to my favorite childhood comic)., so I don’t recall the specifics. That ish is cover-dated 2/66, about a half-year after Strange Tales #135, so I strongly suspect that buttler is correct when he says that “I think you’re looking at his very first appearance with an eyepatch right here.”

And if I remember the first few stories in the first Superman Family Showcase Presents, the tubby guy with Jimmy is his helicopter pilot, Jumbo.

I like the recycling in the Strange Tales Fury story of the phrase ‘Master Mold’ – the 1st Sentinels storyline in the X-Men would’ve been around this time, correct (1966)?

Jumbo, the tubby helicopter pilot… That made my day.

If I hadn’t signed on to CBR & CSBG under my own name years ago, I’d seriously, seriously consider posting as “Jumbo, the Tubby Helicopter Pilot.”

RAB – Conan had nipples when Barry Windsor Smith was drawing him for Marvel in 1971. Roy Thomas later commented that they were the first male nipples he’d ever seen (I imagine he meant in comics) and that he’d sometime add them to the finished art himself if Barry had overlooked them.

That aside, isn’t Tarzan a likely earlier candidate ?

That makes much more sense, Tony! Conan in 1971 it is.

Tarzan may have been a precursor…but not at Marvel, since he didn’t show up there until 1977.

Come to think of it, “Averngers Assemble!” would sound pretty forceful when yelled out drill-sergeant style by Cap. Too bad only the Averngers already in the room would have heard him.

nice always wondered where the lmd first came from plus also when the thing first said its clobberin time.

Here’s one: the first time Capt. America threw his shield. Also, who was the first super-villain Superman faced, I’ve read several of the golden age chronicles series and it’s all smart guys and crooks, so when did the first super-powered bad guy show up?

Hey, I dunno if this is the sort of thing you’d answer (or maybe you already have), but I’m wondering two things:

1. What was the first multi issue comic book story?

2. What was the first intertitle story? (ie. it starts in Book A #43 and the next part is in Book Z #198).



It may not be the first for either, but Doctor Occult had a 1938 story with different parts sold to two different publishers.

>>> 1. What was the first multi issue comic book story?

I’d echo the comment about Doctor Occult. Early anthology comics did have serials that continued from issue to issue — even Mickey Mouse had continuing strips in the 1930s. The very first Superman story in Action Comics #1 was “to be continued” in Action Comics #2.

How about the 1st time someone died and came back for Marvel and DC
1st rebooted orgin

I appreciate that the very first time the signal watch was used, they demonstrate how ineffective it would be in a situation where Jimmy was quickly taken hostage.

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