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Comic Book Legends Revealed #289

Welcome to the two-hundred and eighty-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 eighty-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 Olympic Legends Revealed to learn the strange story behind the first Olympics to be broadcasted nationally through television! Plus, the bizarre (and very nearly deadly) tale of the 1904 Olympic Marathon!

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. We are getting quite close, 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: Todd McFarlane worked Felix the Cat into issues of his comics as a treat for a friend of his.

STATUS: True

Todd McFarlane is one of the most popular comic book artists around, and that’s even with him not penciling a regular book for many years.

One interesting thing he used to do when he was penciling books regularly was that he would sneak a drawing of the popular classic cartoon character, Felix the Cat, into his comics.

The reason behind this is because McFarlane knew a fellow at the local comic shop McFarlane frequented that seemed to be suffering some form of Post-Traumatic Syndrome. Almost certainly as some sort of coping mechanism, the man had a Felix the Cat doll with him at all times. He and McFarlane were friends (well, in the “guy you talk to when you pick up your books from the local comic shop” style of friendship) and he would often tell McFarlane how he did not pick up any books McFarlane drew, because he was not a fan of superhero comics.

So McFarlane asked him, “If I put Felix the Cat in my comics, would you buy them then?”

He said yes, so McFarlane began to put Felix the Cat into his comics.

I could do tons of these, but let’s just do McFarlane’s first story arc on Spider-Man, where he was the writer/penciler/inker (all the full pages can be clicked on to enlarge, since some of the drawings are pretty tiny).

Here’s Felix’s appearance in issue #1 (he’s on the back of a guy’s jacket)…

Here he is in #2…

Here he is in #3…

#4 is tricky. I don’t believe I’ve found him yet. There’s a bit here where we see “Cat beer,” so that would presumably be it, right?

But can you see Felix there?

Later in the issue, there are a few panels with animal carvings, could either of these be intended to be Felix?

And, finally, here he is in #5…

Very cool little bit by McFarlane!

McFarlane has spoken about this in a few places over the years, but I’m directly quoting McFarlane’s appearance on Tom Seymour’s video podcast, Bif Bam Pow Wow. You can check out the Bif Bam Pow Wow website here.

Thanks to Tom Seymour and Todd McFarlane for the information! Now someone flip through their copy of Spider-Man #4 and let me know where Felix is!!

COMIC LEGEND: The Wonder Woman TV series adapted their costume change from the comics.

STATUS: False

In last week’s installment, I discussed the debate over whether it was editor Julie Schwartz or writer Len Wein who invented the idea of Wonder Woman twirling her lasso around herself to change her costume.

Len Wein is quoted in Alter Ego #2 as saying:

I was actually thrilled when the Wonder Woman TV series several years later used a version of my bit (although adjusting it so that she did the spinning, instead of the lasso) to affect the change.

Now, do note that Wein does not specifically say that they took the idea from his comic, but that’s certainly how I always understood it, that the comic came up with the change and then the show did the change, just with a twist.

Interestingly enough, my pal Kurt Mitchell pointed me to a 1959 Wonder Woman comic where Wonder Woman changes her costume just by spinning! Going even further, reader Tim Hanley did a bit on his blog with all of Wonder Woman’s costume changes over the years! You can look at it here. Along with his piece, Tim also suggested that he thought the costume change being similar on the TV series was just a coincidence.

And that is exactly what it was, says Andy Mangels, who has forgotten more about the Wonder Woman television series that I’ll ever know. Mangels has done extensive interviews with pretty much everyone who would know the deal behind the costume change, and the consensus on the issue is that Lynda Carter actually came up with the idea for doing a spin (and Carter said as much to Mangels in an interview in Back Issue #5, where she notes that she suggested a spin based on her background in dance).

In addition, Mangels notes that the show’s producers were almost entirely interested in the early Wonder Woman issues from the 1940s, not the current stuff, so it is unlikely that they would have known about the fairly recent change by Wein.

Now, again, Andy Mangels (who also created and produces the nifty annual Wonder Woman Day event) knows a lot more than I do on this subject, so if he says it is false, I have no reason to doubt him.

Thanks to Andy for the information (check his website out here), thanks to Back Issue magazine and Lynda Carter for their information and, finally, thanks to Alter Ego magazine and Len Wein for the quote! Thanks to Tim and Kurt for their contributions, as well!

COMIC LEGEND: John Buscema drew the entire Wizard of Oz story for Marvel and DC’s MGM’s The Marvelous Wizard of Oz just by memory of seeing the film decades earlier and got the story almost exactly correct.

STATUS: True

One of the first few legends in this column (first few months, at least) was the story of how the first comic that Marvel and DC ever worked on together was a joint publication of the Wizard of Oz.

You see, Marvel had been working on an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book, the Wizard of Oz (sort of like how Eric Shanower and Skottie Young just wonderfully did for Marvel), written by Roy Thomas and penciled by John Buscema.

Here, courtesy of Alter Ego #15 (a tribute to the late, great John Buscema soon after his passing), is a page of Buscema’s pencils from that adaptation…

However, Marvel learned that DC had gotten the rights to the MGM’s movie adaptation of the Wizard of Oz, so they quickly struck up a bargain where Marvel and DC would joint publish a comic adaptation of the film, with Marvel actually being responsible for the writing/drawing end of the deal.

Thomas and Buscema remained on the project (working in the Marvel style where Buscema would draw the pages based on the plot and Thomas would then script them).

However, a significant problem was back in the mid-70s, reference material for films were pretty darn sparse. You couldn’t rent the video or the DVD to see what’s what.

Instead, Thomas had to work off of a bootleg audio tape of the film’s entire soundtrack and viewing the film once at the apartment of Marvel production manager, the late John Verpoorten, who had a 16mm copy of the film.

Buscema, however, decided to just draw the story from memory! Not only from memory, but he claimed he had not seen the film since it came out in 1939!!! Thomas remembers only that Buscema said it had been many years since he saw the film, not “since it came out,” which is how Buscema later would tell the story. But either way, trying to draw a 75-page adaptation of a movie just based on your memory of it from years earlier is pretty darn impressive (they did supply Buscema with stills of the actors, because he had to base the characters on the actual actors). Thomas recalls that had it not been for their short deadline (since they had to scrap their original project to do the combined project with DC, they had a shorter period of time to get the book out), he might have challenged Buscema more on the subject, but since time WAS short, he trusted Buscema’s belief that he could draw the comic from memory.

And amazingly enough, when he delivered the pages, he had only messed up the order of a couple of sequences! Marvel just cut and pasted the sequences into the correct order and Thomas scripted over that.

Here’s some samples from the comic…

Remarkable work from a comic book legend (although, Buscema himself was a bit disappointed in the final product, as he felt that the inkers on the book, Tony DeZuniga and a number of assistants, were forced to rush too much).

Thanks so much to Alter Ego magazine, Mark Evanier (who did a panel at the 2001 San Diego Comic Con where Buscema related the above story), Roy Thomas (who later confirms the story from his perspective in the same issue) and, of course, the legendary John Buscema. And just because I think of him every time I do a piece about the Wizard of Oz, let’s give a shout out to Eric Gjovaag, too, who has one of (if not THE) coolest Wizard of Oz websites out there!

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!

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are BRAND NEW legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it (Christmas is coming soon – good time to buy my book as a present!), 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!

80 Comments

Man, I want to know when that Wizard of Oz book will be reprinted

They just did a special edition of Superman vs. Ali, so maybe…

One of the most prominent (and coolest) Felix references McFarlane did was the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #320, which has Felix peeking out of a trash can (or a Felix doll sticking out of a trash can) right behind Spidey.

Man, I want to know when that Wizard of Oz book will be reprinted

They just did a special edition of Superman vs. Ali, so maybe…

In the same article, Thomas expresses his confusion, too, over why it has never been reprinted as a regular-sized comic, as you figure it would certainly sell.

Then again, Marvel does have their excellent series of Shanower/Young Oz stories in print, so perhaps they do not wish to compete with themselves?

One of the most prominent (and coolest) Felix references McFarlane did was the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #320, which has Felix peeking out of a trash can (or a Felix doll sticking out of a trash can) right behind Spidey.

But you’re supposed to be finding the Felix the Cat appearance in Spider-Man #4, Richard! :D

Those Felix the Cat appearances sure are … advantageous!!!!!

Man, Buscema’s art on Wizard of Oz is gorgeous! Definitely some of the best I’ve seen him put out. Wow. Wasn’t expecting that.

Brian, are the results of the most recent Top 100 on their way soon? Really looking forward to those. Thanks man.

Man, if that’s the result of a rush job, I’d love to see how it would have looked if the inkers had been given time to do their thing…

“Then again, Marvel does have their excellent series of Shanower/Young Oz stories in print, so perhaps they do not wish to compete with themselves?”

Considering how many characters or team’s have multiple series, I think it’s probably more likely that it’s the whole co-ownership thing. Seems that gone are the days of the DC/Marvel crossovers

I’m not seeing the cat in that panel from issue 1. Where should I be looking?

Doesn’t he turn up on MJ’s nightshirt at some point?

Really? Going for Spider-Man Felixi?

IIRC, in Hulk, they randomly pick up a Felix the Cat doll that bounces around the SHIELD van they stole during the lead up to the Gamma Town story.

I’m not seeing the cat in that panel from issue 1. Where should I be looking?

Bottom of the page, on a guy’s jacket. It is waaay tiny.

Well done, Greg Burgas, well done.

Schnitzy Pretzelpants

December 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

I think you meant to say:

“Todd McFarlane’s art is some of the most popular comic book art around.”

As…

>>Todd McFarlane is one of the most popular comic book artists around<<

Is pretty far from the truth. Having actually seen his asinine behavior and rudeness displayed at not one, but two comic cons, in the last 20 years – about 10 years apart – I can attest.

Seeing these pages just reminded me of how much I can’t stand McFarlane’s Spider-Man. Worst Mary Jane ever.

Unlike most other films, The Wizard of Oz was relatively easy to rewatch. It aired every year on CBS from 1959 to 1991. It’s hard to believe that Buscema hadn’t caught it on TV at some point. But even if had only been a few years since he had seen it, his recreation is an impressive feat.

True, Ralph, that’s why I tossed in the bit about whether Buscema was remembering correctly when he said he had not seen it since it came out.

Pic #4, there’s a veritable Rohrschak of Felix images. In the first panel, at the top, I even see ET smoking a cigarette and flipping eggs in a frying pan! Isideways, off the 4th knuckle of the first fist.

The 2nd panel, the kneck of the “Cat Beer” seems to have an image. The first panel of that series seems to have a Felix just off the lower forearm of the third arm on that page. (He’s looking askance).

Now if you look at the three circular sculpted designs just to the left of the gargoyles in the final panel of that ish, the partially obscured third signal seems to clearly have enough of the this cat’s face to count.

This column is a big fave, please keep it up.

Dammit, Burgas, I was going to make a “Rise above it all!” joke but you beat me to the punch. Curses!

“However, a significant problem was back in the mid-70s, reference material for films were pretty darn sparse. You couldn’t rent the video or the DVD to see what’s what. ”

Man, DVDs back in the 70′s were HUGE, bigger than frisbees and black as could be!

I believe the Felix in #4 is inside the first “O” in “DOOM.”

Is it wrong that I always get Rob Liefield and Todd MacFarlane mixed up?

Make that the bottom “DOOM” in the inset panel.

Something similar to McFarlane’s Felix the Cat happens with Erik Larsen: he always draws a bald guy with glasses and a moustache in his comics. I think I read he is best friend?

I noticed early on that MacFarlane often inserted Felix into a story, but I never knew why. I just assumed he was a fan. I must say, though, that I hadn’t noticed all of these before.

FYI, there was a SECOND Oz book – The Wonderful World of Oz – that had the story of Ozma of Oz. (I own ‘em both.) The art wasn’t Buscema, I think it was one of Marvel’s Filipino contingent. (I want to say Rudy Nebres but I could be wrong.)

Ralph: Actually, NBC had the rights to air “The Wizard of Oz” from 1968-1975. The Wizard returned to CBS for the following year. I’m too young to remember the 1967 CBS airing, so my formative memories are from the early NBC years.

Yeah, I’m not that impressed by Todd either. He draws monstrous stuff okay, but his normal people look exactly that… monstrous. Check out MJs hand in that second image.

That Buscema art is gorgeous. I too would love to see that book reprinted.

Thomas had to work off of a bootleg audio tape of the film’s entire soundtrack and viewing the film once at the apartment of Marvel production manager, the late John Verpoorten

I did not know Verpoorten was a production manager; I just knew the name as an inker on some of the old Silver Age X-Men issues.

John Buscema is the greatest comic artist of all time.

That is all.

Those Felix the Cat appearances sure are … advantageous!!!!!

I feel sorry for McFarlane’s friend with PTSD, but seriously, is it that hard to get over the past? Why can’t he just… rise above it all!!!!!!

McFarlane’s art sure hasn’t aged very well. Looks really off.

CPADave71 is correct about Felix being behind that first O of “doom”. Hard to see, but it is there.

Now that you’ve done McFarlane and Felix, how about Terry Austin and Popeye?

The unfortunate thing about Land of Oz (the second book in the series) was that part of the MGM contract required them to draw the MGM scarecrow and Tin Man. Everyone else was based on John R. Neil’s design for the book (and it does look awesome).
They announced Ozma of Oz but never brought it into print. I’ve always assumed it’s because the first two books were the only ones out of copyright at the time (now all the Baum Oz books are).

Really good work from Buscema ( no. 1 on my vote). But you, ve got to give DeZuniga credit too! He’s one of the best inkers Buscema ever had. Their work at Conan is remarkable.

I’m perfectly willing to believe that Lynda Carter came up with the twirl-in-place costume change independently but the fact remains that Wonder Woman did use that method at least once in the comics, in Wonder Woman (first series) #104 (February 1959). I will e-mail you the relevent panels, Brian.

OK, I’m not getting these Felix the Cat jokes (“advantageous” “rise above it all”) in the comments. Who wants to enlighten me?

I know I’ve read this before about the Oz book being drawn from memory, but, ironically, I can’t remember where I read it. Maybe it was in the best of Alter Ego book I’ve read.

Sent ‘em to your CBR e-mail account, Mr. C.

Re: Wonder Woman, as someone mentione diun the previous thread, it should also be noted above that the commentary for the pilot on the Wonder Woman season 1 DVD set (with Lynda Carter & Douglas S. Cramer) further corraborates the story that she said she could do a twirl.

Re: Wizard of Oz: Aside from the Marvel/DC issues, even though Warner owns both the movie and DC Comics, there might also be additional negotations needed due to comic being a movie adaptation, the movies and comics being different departments. The book’s now in the public domain so I imagine that would be marginally easier to arange a reprinting of; you’d “just” have to deal with DC and Marvel.

OK, I’m not getting these Felix the Cat jokes (“advantageous” “rise above it all”) in the comments.

McFarlane used “advantageous” and “rise above it all” frequently during Torment, nearly to the point of absurdity. Due note, though, that this was the first comic McFarlane ever wrote.

Similarly, Todd used to hide spiders on most of his covers when he started doing Amazing. It was like looking for the Playboy bunny on the cover to Playboy. So there’s another legend for ya.

The 2nd Oz treasury was drawn by Alfredo Alcala….and I loved it then, and love it now.
Maybe the reason the first hasn’t been reprinted is the minor use of the lyrics? I’m sure there’s all sorts of legal issues between DC/MARVEL/MGM etc that probably will keep it from ever being reissued.
I have it already, in the original form…so not that big a deal to me. If Marvel/DC could figure out a way to make a buck on it-and Oz Movie stuff always has some market, they would.
But what do I know? You’d think George Lucas would put out the STAR WARS HOLIDAY special just to make a buck as well.
Best Buscema inker? Himself…..and George Klein on the AVENGERS in the 50′s issues…the inks on the first two Vision stories might be the best ever.

I forgot to add re;’Buscema inkers….never much cared myself for Dezuniga, Chan, Nebres…..and others that almost made his pencils unrecognizable. Check out WARRIORS OF THE SHADOW REALM…between the inks, and the painted colors…the pencils are almost lost….how much better would that have been with only Buscema pencils? A lot, in my opinion….
SInnott did some great inks early on with Big John….but best when Buscema was doing more complete pencils…

Ah, thanks Brian.

I was going to say that surprisingly, I DON’T have a copy of that Spider-Man #1, but while I don’t have one of the millions that were printed, I DO have 1 in one of those Marvel 100 greatest issues ever. I’ll have to dig it out.

As a Western-Canadian, I really really really wanted to like Todd MacFarlane in the late 80s/ early 90s.
But he was boorish when I saw him at a Con, and by the time of his Wendigo storyline he was becoming more and more irritating than he ever was inspiring,
Along with Jim Lee and Rob Leifield, he was one of the main reasons I stopped buying comics in the early 90s.
Thanks, Todd.

On the other hand, who ever told a truer, simpler, more eloquent story than John Buscema?? Truly great stuff, always.
Sad that he didn’t quite get onto my top ten artists, He hovered around # eleven and twelve but Neal Adams kept shouldering in front of him. Sorry, Big John, You were something special.

@bbb: I’m assuming that if the will was there, the potential rights issues are less of an obstacle today than they’ve ever been. Since 1985, when Ted Turner gave the rights to the MGM library to Warner Brothers, that left two of the three parties reporting to the same desk, meaning Marvel would only need to talk to one party ultimately.

Mind you, with Disney now looking at their own Oz prequel, we may have a new complication to deal with…

You can probably get the OZ comic on ebay for less than a reprint would cost and it would be the treasury edition.Large pages.

The best Buscema inker? Palmer, man, Palmer!

I read Amazing and Todd’s own Spider-man book when they came out back then and I always wondered if there would a copyright problem with that. I guess not. I think it helps the Felix the Cat line… whatever that is.

I heard he drew that one big splash page from Spider-man #1 on extra large piece of artboard, larger than two standard comics art pages together just to get that detail.

That Buscema Wizard of Oz art is fantastic.

I remember seeing Felic the cat in most spawn issues back in the days where I was still reading Spawn

Frank– Todd was the only one hiding Spiders on the covers. All the Spider-titles were doing that at the time, although Todd does seem to be the first one to do it. I guess it could’ve been his idea, but I always assumed it was Salicrup that came up with it. Salicrup had changed the logos of Spectacular and Web to match that of Amazing, which meant removing the little spider that used to be part of the Web logo. (He also dropped the ‘Peter Parker’ from the title of Spectacular.) Anyway, a letter soon appeared in Web, in which a reader said that he missed the little spider, and the reply said to look for the return of the spider ‘on ALL the Spider-titles’. Then the hidden spider showed up on the cover of Amazing #303 shortly after that, and then other Amazing issues, and then Spectacular and Web issues, as well.

In particular, just after “His powers-Extraordinary” came “His webline-Advantageous”.

And why does this era’s Peter Parker-Mullet get accepted, given all of the grief for the Supermullet?

Funny, I remember seeing in-house ads for the Wizard of Oz book as a kid, but I don’t remember knowing it had been drawn by Buscema. “Rushed” or not, those pages look pretty good. Buscema and DeZuniga always made a good artistic combo. Really hope they reprint this.

With regards to the lack of reprinting the Thomas/Buscema “The Wizard of Oz,” there could be another reason (one that I don’t believe anyone else suggested): Judy Garland’s likeness. While Buscema obviously didn’t draw his Dorothy as an exact duplicate of Garland, it IS similar enough that licensing rights could cause a problem (not to mention the fact that not only is this Dorothy a teenager but also a brunette–the original Dorothy, as described by Baum, was a preteen and blonde). While the issue of “celebrity licensing” was pretty non-existent in the mid-1970s, it is a major deal now and has been for the better part of 20 years. I don’t know who holds the licensing rights for Judy Garland (whether it’s Liza or Lorna Luft or some third-party agency) but whoever it is would possibly need to be contacted (and probably paid) before Marvel could legally reprint the book, even if Marvel got the OK from whoever owns the rights to the film. I’m guessing there would be less of a problem concerning the likenesses of Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke or Margaret Hamilton as most of them are only recognizable in their famous Oz guises.

Warner Bros. now holds ownership of most/all pre-1986 MGM properties. So, I guess there’s some kind of glimmer of hope for a reprint of the Wizard Of Oz adaptation. It certainly couldn’t hurt DC’s pocketbook to give it a go. If anything, I’d say it’s all up to Disney now if they wanna play nice with the other kids in the proverbial sandbox we call “the sequential art industry”.

Disney shouldn’t have anything to say about it. They don’t have any rights to the movie and the novel’s public domain.

Wasn’t McFarlane doing the Felix thing when he was drawing Infinity, Inc and the Hulk, too? I seem to remember seeing it happen in more than one book of his.

Bonus footnote: Todd McFarlane drew the back cover of Dark Horse’s Felix the Cat’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (paired with the front cover by Dan DeCarlo; talk about your odd couples). With original pin-ups by such folk as Mort Walker, Art Clokey, and Dik Browne, this has to be one of the more eclectic collections of comic artists ever done.

I always felt McFarlane’s early work on Hulk and Amazing SM were superior to his latter work. Once he started writing, drawing and inking his art started looking very rushed and lazy. His art on Spawn was pedestrian at best. Unlike Jim Lee who has gotten even better with age. Make no mistake McFarlane is not alone when it comes to “90′s greats” who’s art hasn’t aged well.

I believe if you go to Golden Age Collectables in Vancouver you’ll be able to see the Felix the Cat doll. I think it’s the one behind the rare/old comics counter.

[...] McFarlane worked Felix the Cat into issues of his comics as a treat for a friend of his.” The reason why is pretty [...]

In reference to Todd McFarlane, I’ve had a few dealings with him both personal and business, and have always found him to be a nice guy. No-one’s denying he isn’t a little on the arrogant side but you don’t get to be as successful as he became by being a shrinking violet

Fraser – Disney owns Marvel, just like WB owns DC – what Mad Monkey is saying is there are ultimately 2 companies involved in this – WB, which owns DC and the MGM catalogue, and Disney, which owns Marvel.

Now, Mad Monkey is wrong on a few points, IMO:

DC and Marvel aren’t managed by the central corporations, for the most part – WB/Disney can dictate things, to an extent, but mostly they don’t bother. So, this is most likely to be an issue between Marvel and DC, not the main companies.

There’s no reason to believe that either of the relevant of the sub-entities within WB have any desire to reprint the book in the first place, which would need to be true for the ball to be in Disney’s court.

Connected but not quite synonymous with the above – there’s no reason to believe that Disney would be less likely to work with WB than vice versa, if one or the other company did decide it would be worth it to reprint the book.

…But he’s right on that Disney would be involved in this – albeit in a very loose way.

Love seeing all the praise for Big John. Mr Buscema was my favorite comics artist as a kid, and I have a long history of running into comics fans who don’t like his work and prefer hacks who aren’t worthy to carry John Buscema’s pencil box. As for his inkers, I really liked his FF work with Joe Sinnott; everybody who ever did the FF did their best FF work with Sinnott. Somehow, it’s like Sinnott was the best inker for the Fantastic Four! Klein and Palmer were both great, too.

Felix has a rather unique design with the rounded cheeks. I believe that the animal carving on what appears to be a cauldron is modelled after felixs shape as it doesn’t look like just a sculpture of a cat, but rather a felix like cat. Of course it would be more obvious if the eyes were round instead of slanted.

For those still having trouble with the hidden Felix in #1:
http://img819.imageshack.us/img819/2167/felixg.jpg

And if you do indeed dedicate an upcoming column to the hidden spiders on Spider-Man covers, Brian, be sure to mention the hidden cats on Jim Balent’s Catwoman covers. When not obscured by the barcode, Jim managed to include a cat (or, in one case, catfish) on pretty much every Catwoman cover. And he was on that series for quite some time…

could you possibly find a bigger contrast in art than these Todd and John pages. I won’t qualify one vs. the other, but they’re such different approachs. Ok, I will qualify — which one looks dated?

Regarding the Wizard of Oz, I honstly don’t think Marvel or DC enter into the discussion at all… except as potential packagers of a reprint. They don’t own the material, Warner Bros. does (because they own MGM’s film). The way corporations work, that does not automatically mean that DC gets to reprint the book or in any way owns it. There are always tangled (and frequently stupid) legalese threads making problems. Further, JosephW has brought up the additional wrinkle.

Chances are, if Warner Bros wanted to issue a comic book adaptation of the film, they’d contract a new edition. But I’d love to see a new printing of the Thomas/Buscema version.

Speaking of things I’d love to see, I’d dearly love to see a hardcover collection of Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. That one really gets convoluted, because even though MGM (and now WB) owned the content of those 11 issues (counting the Treasury adaptation), Kirby created a character in the final 3 issues, “Mister Machine”, that was subsequently rolled over into an ongoing series copyrighted by Marvel, Machine Man. Technically the comics (specifically 2001 #8-9-10) are owned by MGM/Warner Bros, but would Marvel try to block any reprinting by another publisher?

A further possible complication is, what precisely was involved in the MGM catalogue sale to Turner (and subsequent trnafer to Warner Bros)? Depending on the terms of the contract, it’s even remotely possible that MGM still owns the licensed property, even though WB owns the films – which muddies the negotiations further since they’d need to get the film’s owners to greenlight the ancilliary publication of material based on their property.

After all, Marvel didn’t reprint their comics based on Star Wars, Battestar Galactica or Doc Savage because they don’t hold the licenses.

The rights situation that has most surprised me was seeing Red Sonja show up in Dark Horse’s Conan line. I’d have assumed that as she originated at Marvel (albeit based on Howard’s Russian heroine Red Sonya) she’d have stayed at Marvel.

Keith brings up interesting points about who owns what and who could reprint what.

I’m wondering about the 2001/Machine Man thing now. I know that you did a legend about how Circuit Breaker first appeared in Secret Wars so that Marvel would own the character (they wouldn’t own her if her first appearance had been the Transformers series where she made most of her appearances). I guess a similar situation DIDN’T exist with the 2001 adaptation, since Marvel still owns Machine Man. But is there more to it?

And would Red Sonja be a similar situation as Circuit Breaker (that is, she appeared in the Conan comics, so whoever owns the Conan license owns her), or did that character get licensed out separately even though it’s a shared universe(a la Buffy and Angel)?

IIRC (and I believe this has come up here before) Kulan Gath was created for the Conan title and he still appears in the MU today.

Doesn’t he have a modern, non Marvel Conan appearance too?

First time I’ve Kulan Gath was in the Red Sonja/ Spider Man crossover. That story was great and clever, but Claremont insisted in writing the same story a dozen times and it became dull.

Best Buscema inker?
Due to Conan, I like very much Tony Dezuniga and Rudy Nebres. Their inks worked very well on Black and White.
In colors, Joe Sinnot will be always the greatest! Sinnot is the best in the 60′s and 70′s and Terry Austin on 80′s.

The weaker ones are Vince Coleta (I’ve never liked his work) and Tom Palmer (the pencils vanish under the ink).

I was surprised to read the original Kulan Gath story–a crossover with Michael Moorcock’s Elric–and discover Gath was actually from Elric’s realm of Melnibone, since he’s stuck around the Marvel and Hyborian Ages ever since (a friend of mine always wanted a New Mutants scene where Mirage shows Kulan Gath his worst fear—”What? He’s terrified of a half-naked guy with a sword?”)
The trouble with reusing him is, he’s such a bland, generic wizard. Unfortunately, Thoth Amon is off-limits.

Why is my comment from December 3 still pending of moderation?

Even as a kid I found McFarlane’s writing terrible. And I’m the guy who bought the complete Xenobrood mini-series, so I wasn’t exactly a gourmet. (I was surprised by his work on Infinity Inc though)

But, but… I LIKED Xenobrood!

“Man, if that’s the result of a rush job, I’d love to see how it would have looked if the inkers had been given time to do their thing…”

I think some of it is John Buscema being VERY anal about how people inked his pencils.

A few people have commented about inkers with regard to who was the best and who was the worst for John Buscema. In Twomoorow’s Sal Buscema book, Sal talks at length about how John was very… particular about how others inked his work and the only person that he (John) liked inking his work aside from himself was his brother, Sal.

I think bbb mentioned Ernie Chan and Rudy Nebres; I would throw Sonny Trinidad in there as well as inkers that John LOATHED working off his pencils. He felt that they took over the work and just buried his pencils. He would eventually just start doing breakdowns instead of spending time doing tight pencils when he believed that he was working with someone who would overpower his art.

How did Buscema feel about Tom Palmer who inked much of his later Avengers work? I’ve got mixed feeling about Palmer’s Avengers work but think it works well with Buscema (as it did with Simonson on Star Wars) but it just doesn’t suit the later Avengers artists.

My favorite Buscema inkers are Ernie Chan on Conan the Barbarian and George Klein on The Avengers.

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