DC Comics' July Highlights: "Batgirl," "Nightwing" and a "New Super-Man"
Welcome to the two-hundred and ninety-sixth 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 ninety-five.
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 Football Legends Revealed to learn the true story behind what was “won” for the Gipper! Plus, did the Eagles and the Steelers actually trade franchises?!
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COMIC LEGEND: Planned Parenthood once put out an official Spider-Man comic book where Spidey fights a villain who has a villainous plot involving teen pregnancy.
Reader Dave wrote in the other day to ask:
Have you ever featured the Spider-Man comic by Planned Parenthood?”
Why no, Dave, I have not! And I really ought to, as it is a doozy!
Andrew Farago discovered the issue a few years back and he scanned it on his site here.
Called Spider-Man versus Prodigy, the comic appears like a “normal” Marvel comic book, including having artwork by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.
But by the inside front cover, you can tell that things are different…
Likewise, the mashead lets you in on the secret…
Yep, this comic is put out by Planned Parenthood, not Marvel Comics!
I would imagine that this is the Ann Robinson who wrote the comic (please let me know if I’m mistaken, Ann!).
Anyhow, the comic involves the evil Prodigy, an alien who has a terrible plot to take over the Earth. Check it out…
Spider-Man is, as you might imagine, quite dismayed at the situation…
Luckily, Spidey defeats the bad guy in the end, and then we get some helpful information about sexual education.
Check out Andrew’s site for more on the issue!
Thanks to Dave for the suggestion!
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel had to change their ratings system after a complaint from the Entertainment Software Rating Board
STATUS: False (but close)
Yesterday, DC Comics announced that they were going to officially stop using the Comics Code Authority and would use their own ratings system for their comics.
Their ratings are:
E – EVERYONE
Appropriate for readers of all ages. May contain cartoon violence and/or some comic mischief.
T – TEEN
Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.
T+ – TEEN PLUS
Appropriate for readers age 16 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes.
M – MATURE
Appropriate for readers age 18 and older. May contain intense violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual themes and other content suitable only for older readers.
Our own Bill Reed said to me in the comments, “Didn’t Marvel get in trouble for swiping “E” and “T” and the like from the video game ratings board?”
Bill is referring to The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the folks who come up with the ratings for video games. And yes, their ratings ARE basically the same as DC’s.
However, Bill is mis-remembering what happened with Marvel Comics’ initial ratings system. Much like DC, Marvel stopped using the Comics Code in 2001, coming up with THEIR own ratings system. Their ratings were:
PG (Parental Guidance)
PARENTAL ADVISORY/EXPLICIT CONTENT
However, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) took issue with these ratings, as the PG rating is one that the MPAA uses…
and they have a trademark on the rating “PG” so they told Marvel to change their ratings.
So Marvel went to:
PSR (Parental Supervision Recommended)
PARENTAL ADVISORY/EXPLICIT CONTENT
before ending up on the current:
A Appropriate for age 9 and up.
T+ SUGGESTED FOR TEEN AND UP
MAX: EXPLICIT CONTENT
which they have used since 2005.
Now, ESRB definitely has a trademark on their logo (and they recently enforced their trademark on a company making a T-Shirt with a variation of their logo, “Your Mom is rated E for Everyone”), but it does not appear as though they have that much of a concern over the use of the letter T to stand for Teens, as Marvel has been using T+ for over five years now.
So I would imagine that DC is fine with their ratings.
Thanks for the idea, Bill! Jason Baur made a comment on this topic, as well.
COMIC LEGEND: The boom in Sheena knock-off comics led to one comic book publisher putting out a second knock-off title by just re-drawing a story from their FIRST Sheena knock-off comic!
Comic books, like pretty much every other form of media, are prone to jumping on whatever trend appears to be the “in” thing at the time. Once Superman became a sales sensation…
it was mere months before other comic book companies started doing their own takes on Superman…
Similarly, when crime comics got big, everyone else did crime comics. When horror was big, everyone did horror.
Archie became big…
and you had your knock-offs…
Well, one trend in comics in the late 1940s was to have comics based on Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (who, of course, herself was just a female version of Tazan).
Fox Features (the same fellows behind Wonder Man, shown above) had a popular knock-off known as Rulah, Jungle Goddess (the legendary Matt Baker drew Rulah, so you know it was the epitome of good girl comic book art).
Well, the feature must have been doing well, because soon after Rulah, Jungle Goddess got her own series (a re-named earlier series) in 1948…
Fox also debuted Tegra, Jungle EMPRESS.
And as you can see, the comic is obviously just a Rulah comic with her outfit and her name changed.
Here is a page from a Rulah issue…
Here is a page from Tegra #1…
She even has Rulah’s pet panther, using the SAME name!!!
With the second issue, NEW material began being produced for Tegra, which was now called Zegra, Jungle Empress.
Zegra was finished before the 1950s began, and Rulah did not last much longer.
Thanks to Anthony Durrant for the head’s up on this one!
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 email@example.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 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, 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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