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Comic Book Legends Revealed #299

Welcome to the two-hundred and ninety-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 ninety-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. In honor of the Super Bowl this weekend, I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Football Legends Revealed to discover whether the Super Bowl actually was named after the Super Ball. There’s also a legend there involving the Steelers, who are playing in this year’s Super Bowl.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). We’ve gone past the 2,000 follower mark, so you folks already got a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed earlier this week. However, if we hit 3,000, you’ll also have the option to get another bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000. So go follow us (here‘s the link to our Twitter page again) to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! 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: Bob Kane wrote a pop song that was released on a record.

STATUS: True

When Bob Kane finished his involvement in the Batman comics sometime in the late 1960s/early 1970s (not that he was exactly super-involved before then, as he had other artists ghosting for him, but still, he would at least be directly involved with DC in the production of the comics), he began a particularly interesting stretch of his life. You see, during the 1960s, while not busy not drawing Batman, Kane worked on a series of animated programs, including Courageous Cat and Cool McCool. But by the 1970s, his animated work was pretty much finished.

So what you had was a wealthy guy in his late 50s/early 60s who did not really have anything to do. So he embraced his celebrity status and just did all sorts of stuff (like painting, for instance, although people have alleged that even that he used ghost artists for – an alleged statement, by the way, that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen actually proven – so if you have evidence that Kane used ghost artists for his paintings, be sure to let me know! The best I’ve seen is peers of Kane just telling that “they heard” it).

Amusingly enough, one of the things Kane worked on was songwriting!!

Here is an ad from the mid-70s for the singer Hank Leids and his album Courage, with a song “Have Faith in Me” written by Bob Kane!!

In their nifty Comics Bulletin column, Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper had an interesting interaction with Neil London, Hank Leids’ producer for the Kane-penned track. London supplied this website he put up of a later charity album titled Have Faith in Me, which, unsurprisingly, did not ultimately use Bob Kane’s original drawings for the album cover.

It also included a DISCO version of the original Kane-penned tune!

Read the Coopers’ column with London here to learn about his and Leids’ disappointing first meeting with Kane.

Check out London’s website here.

Now someone needs to find me an MP3 of this song!

Thanks to reader Michael D. for the suggestion!

COMIC LEGEND: An interesting artistic complaint was worked into the background of a panel of the last issue of the Marvel series Weapon X.

STATUS: True

Weapon X was a series that debuted in 2002 that detailed the latest version of the Weapon X project (which was the name of the group that had experimented on Wolverine decades earlier). It was basically a team of bad guys, although the focus of the comic changed over the years. Frank Tieri, who was then the regular writer on Wolverine, was the writer of the book.

It was canceled with issue #28. Georges Jeanty was the original penciler, but for the last six issues (two three-issue stories), Tom Mandrake was the artist for the book (penciler and inker). The book was lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Now what I’m about to show you was most likely done by Mandrake, as it is typically the inker who does these sorts of things, but I suppose it is at least possible that it was Sharpe. In either event, in a background panel of the last issue, someone expressed their dissatisfaction with working on an already-canceled comic book.

Check out the journal in the background of this panel…

Someone writes, “I want this issue to be finished and over with. I don’t like slogging through the last issue of a dead book” and then something about how he is a pro, though, so he’ll do what he has to do and not blow it off.

Pretty funny stuff.

Thanks to reader Wayne C. for sending this one in!

COMIC LEGEND: Judd Winick’s Pedro and Me won a Pulitzer Prize.

STATUS: False

My pal Zack Smith sent this one in to me.

It’s a pretty straightforward answer, too. Despite what you might have read on the internet (a quick search brought up a ton of places saying this), Judd Winick did not win a Pulitzer Prize for his biographical graphic novel, Pedro and Me, about Winick’s friend (and fellow Real World castmate, Pedro Zamora). Nor was it ever a finalist.

Pedro and Me was really good, and if it HAD won a Pulitzer Prize, I certainly would not have been shocked. It won a bunch of other well-deserved awards, just not a Pulitzer (here is a link to all the winners and finalists of the Pulitzer Prize over the last few decades).

Zack was also curious as to how this rumor got started. I don’t know for sure, but I have a theory. While looking into it, I found a number of texts that placed Pedro and Me next to art spiegelman’s Maus, when describing how comics could be used to discuss issues like the Holocaust (Maus) and AIDS (Pedro and Me). In more than one of these texts, the pair of books were described as “The Pulitzer Prize winning Maus and Pedro and Me,” which leads me to suggest that it was simply a misunderstood sentence that propagated the myth that Pedro and Me also won a Pulitzer (Maus won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992).

Thanks to Zack Smith for the suggestion and, heck, let me also thank Judd Winick for a great graphic novel.

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 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…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

46 Comments

The Crazed Spruce

February 4, 2011 at 11:49 am

Y’know, I could’ve sworn I read in an issue of Wizard (or maybe Heroes Illustrated) that “Pedro & Me” won the Pulitzer. I could be wrong, though, and since I lost my back issues in a house fire a while back, I can’t double-check. For all I know, the article could’ve just said that it was on the short-list of nominees.

Bob Kane’s ghost painter story was told by Arnold Drake and recounted by Mark Evanier here:
http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_03_15.html#013103

No, it’s not conclusive proof, but it does attach actual people to it, namely Eddie Herron telling Arnold Drake that the painter was suing Kane for non-payment!

Y’know, I could’ve sworn I read in an issue of Wizard (or maybe Heroes Illustrated) that “Pedro & Me” won the Pulitzer.

That was probably in the Pulitzer Prize-winning issue of Wizard.

For some reason that Bob Kane legend has Will Eisner’s “Ev’ry Little Bug” song running through my head now.

Bob Kane’s ghost painter story was told by Arnold Drake and recounted by Mark Evanier here:
http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_03_15.html#013103

No, it’s not conclusive proof, but it does attach actual people to it, namely Eddie Herron telling Arnold Drake that the painter was suing Kane for non-payment!

Yeah, Drake is the one I was thinking of. He seems to be the only source anyone has (Gerry Jones also quoted Drake in Men of Tomorrow). And while I’m certainly not saying he’s WRONG (heck, I bet he’s absolutely right), third-hand information is not a great source,and again, Drake is the only guy I’ve ever seen tell this story (and as Evanier notes, Drake told it frequently). You would figure SOMEbody would have some other info on this, right?

I feel so sad for Tom Mandrake (probably), who was forced against his will to do that issue of Weapon X. With any luck, the editor who held a gun to his head and made him do a job thousands of aspiring artists would have killed for was later arrested, charged, convicted and, I hope, tortured and executed.

So Bob Kane created Cool McCool? Excellent! That was a pretty entertaining little show in my younger days. “Danger is my business!”

There’s always some great trivia in CBLR – I look forward to the big #300!

>I feel so sad for Tom Mandrake (probably), who was forced against his will to do that issue of Weapon X. With any luck, the editor who held a gun to his head and made him do a job thousands of aspiring artists would have killed for was later arrested, charged, convicted and, I hope, tortured and executed.

Oh, Heavens forfend Mandrake experience a normal human emotion when his project is cancelled. Rest assured his thoughtcrime was caught and he now loves Big Brother.

With any luck, the editor who held a gun to his head and made him do a job thousands of aspiring artists would have killed for was later arrested, charged, convicted and, I hope, tortured and executed.

Rest assured his thoughtcrime was caught and he now loves Big Brother.

Countdown to Godwin’s Law in 3, 2, 1 …

You have to wonder what it feels like, as an artist, to be brought in to finish off a book that’s already been canceled. I mean, it’s not like they brought him on in hopes of increasing sales. I would almost think that’s worse than “special guest artist” on a fill-in issue.

Yeah, do you think Hitler wanted to draw all the things he was assigned in art school? No, but he soldiered on anyway. If Hitler could do it, why not Tom Mandrake, eh?

Matthew Johnson

February 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm

As I recall that’s a big part of why Jim Owsley/Priest basically quit comics — he kept being put on books that were about to be canceled and then being blamed when they were canceled.

while know Pedero and me did not when the Pulitzer the reason people think it might have won was that it was nominated which is almost as good and I think they printed that on copies of the book

Not only that, but temp work always sucks. I’m sure it’s the same thing with freelance artists. There’s a much higher probabilty, higher than the zero probabilty on an already canceled book, that you’ll get more pages to draw on a continuing series. It’s like, yeah any work is good work, but a steady paycheck beats a few bucks here and there any day.

I see that you actually address your order for the record to Batlman at the record company.

According to Brian above it wasn’t nominated either.

I’m not calling him out about experiencing human emotions (most of us do), but bothering to whine about it in print.

If you disagree with me, then you love Hitler. QED. ;-)

It would be hilarious if the writer of Bob Kane’s song was a ghost too.

I really, truly do not understand the career of Judd Winnick.

Philip, it says above that it was NOT a finalist for the Pulitzer.

I remember watching that Real World show and saw Pedro. That was sad. I think MTV missed out a bit by not centering on Pedro’s plight. It’s the real story.

It wasn’t the only comic book connection of the Real World show. The editor of Gen 13 joined a cast in Miami. I could never figure out how she went from editor to cast member on that show. Do they even get paid for that?
What was her name. Becky something. I guess the strain of trying to keep J. Scott Campbell on schedule was too much for her. :) Hey, the guy obviously had problems. A monthly comic schedule is tough. Look at the fill-ins they had to do.

I loved Barry Windsor Smith’s Weapon X story even though it was only done in 8 page parts in Marvel Comics Presents, but I’m just one of those people that can’t buy into the James Howlett origin which isn’t Logan in anyway and offers nothing to him. I don’t care who Daken is supposed to be. I bet some writers just ignore that ‘origin’ stuff and call him Logan just for sanity’s sake.

Everyone does call him Logan, because the whole point is that it’s the identity he made for himself that he has lived most his life with.

I don’t think a lot of people really think the ‘origin’ is that interesting or neccessary. That’s my theory. It’s a Quesada thing.

Oh so is that what was going on in the latest issue of Spider-Man/Wolverine? I was so lost in that scene. What’s the deal with Wolverine’s brother, who is trying to kill him in the issue? He’s not even listed on Wolvie’s Wikipedia page.

That album cover looks like it was painted by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. Anyone know if that’s the case?

I think for a future column Brian should investigate the legend of how cracked.com is ripping his column.

http://www.cracked.com/article_18984_6-comic-book-easter-eggs-that-stuck-it-to-man.html

The Pedro/Judd season of Real World was the first and last that I ever watched. The focus and intent of the show dropped sharply after that.

I’m a little disappointed that Winick continues to get high-profile writing gigs when all his stories sound like broken records, and his main contribution to comics seems to be his omnipresent “Creeeeoooock!” sound bubble. Black Lightning zapping a villain? Creeeoock! Guy Gardner creating a construct to hit someone over the head? Creeeoooock! Batman throwing a batarang? Creeeoock! The Flash whizzing by? Breeeooock! OK, admittedly, that last one is a brilliant variation. Kudos to Judd for his creativity.

That’s the first time I ever saw someone slagging Winnick for his use of sound effects.

Wow, these comments went off track…

There’s a song that Adam West did around the time of Batman, that wasn’t officially connected to the show (I assume), called, I believe, “Miranda”. It’s West as Batman, although I don’t think he comes out saying that (copyright reasons, I assume), and I forget what the Robin character is called (it’s either Boy Wonder or a variation on that). Batman is trying to woo Miranda, who wants him to take off his mask. It’s a catchy little ditty, but I don’t know where it first appeared. I heard it on the local college radio station’s automated program that plays music when there’s no DJ there.

And there’s also the Burt Ward song that he did with Zappa (I Love You Boy Wonder, I think is the title).

That Weapon X thing is nothing too bad. You’ve certainly featured more obscene and/or bitchy “hidden” comments. Who wouldn’t be a little depressed over having to slog through the pages for a book that’s getting cancelled on you?

I like your theory as to why people think Pedro and Me won the Pulitzer. It makes sense.

And it WAS a really good book. I need to read it again, it’s been a while. Winick’s done some good stuff like that and Barry Ween, and Road Trip from Oni Double Feature, that was pretty good. I hear that other stuff of his is crap, but from what I’ve read of JL Gen Lost, he’s ok. And I read the Under the Hood trades, and I thought his Black Mask was a pretty funny, pretty interesting character.

I forgot that bit about the Wildstorm editor being on a Real World season. I forget her name and which season, but I think she may have been more of an intern/assistant when she was on the show, not a full editor yet. Was her name Sarah, or am I thinking of the character Rainmaker?

I believe that anyone can nominate any work for a Pulitzer. There was a creative writing instructor at my grad school who made a big thing out of being nominated – but the rumor in the department was that he actually nominated himself!!!

So winning a Pulitzer – that’s a big deal. Being nominated just means someone filled out the form. There is a short list that the judges usually announce that carries some credibility, but when someone says they were nominated, take it with a grain of salt.

Is it just me, or does the lost eye in the Weapon X panel remind anyone else of Odineye from Brat-halla?

http://brat-halla.com/comic/23-odineye-saga-well-done/

True, Jim, that is why the Pulitzer committee actually defines “nominated” as being one of the finalists. Everyone else is a Pulitzer “entrant” for that very reason.

They went back and added a bit crediting the column, IAMFeAR, so s’all good.

That was my vague recollection too. Somebody wrote in Pedro and Me for a nomination. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of similar type nominations every year.

Logan’s brother?

Man, I just want the old Spider-man and Wolverine back. Pronto!

My recollection is that someone — and it seems like it was a San Francisco city official — submitted “Pedro and Me” for a Pulitzer. That would make sense to me as far as how that rumor would get started. I can’t immediately find confirmation of that, though.

Who is the guy with Batman and all the children? Is that supposed to be Kane?

And I didn’t know Kane wrote Corageous Cat or Cool Mc Cool, either. Thanks for the info.

Btw, I don’t care how you feel about your comics work, inserting complaints or insults is just unprofessional, period. Do it in your own comics.

Doesn’t the Doctor Demento show occasionally play the 60s “Batman” theme as covered by The Who?

It’s possible the other Batman-related songs (West’s, Ward’s and Kane/Leids’) are in his library as well.

There are places online where you can search for song titles from prior Doctor Demento show playlists, and other places that have MP3s of the entire shows, (which you could then download, and snippet the song you want out of it). I did it once a few years ago, but I had a HD failure since that wiped my links to the locations.

Binky, the Wonder Lizard

February 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Does anyone really doubt for a moment that Kane just signed his name on those clown paintings? He seems to have had no personal ethics at all.

Does anyone really doubt for a moment that Kane just signed his name on those clown paintings? He seems to have had no personal ethics at all.

“Sounds like something he would do” is not proof. Again, I think he probably did, too. I’d like to see some evidence behind it, though. I mean, this lady supposedly sued him, right? You’d think there would be some evidence of this.

What kind of deal did Bob Kane have with National-DC? His experience is such a dramatic contrast with Siegel-Shuster.

I knew that I had read the answer to this one somewhere, and this website (http://dccomicsartists.com/batman/BobKane2.htm ) cites Gerard Jones, which sounds right.

Bob Kane went in to the National offices after Batman was certified a hit and claimed that his original contract was null and void because he was a minor when he signed it. (my understanding is that there’s questions about this as Kane was always cagy about how old he was). Kane had been producing work for the company before Batman, but there were a lot of people in the Depression who started working very young – I believe Joe Kubert was in his early teens when he started getting paid work, for example.

William Moulton Marston also had a very advantageous contract with National (originally with All-American) concerning ownership and rights to Wonder Woman as well. it wasn’t that the publishers COULDN’T do appropriate contracts – it’s that they simply had better lawyers than the Superman creators.

Dog has been revealed to be Logan’s half-brother (same father’s)…now known as Sabretooth.

This was hinted @in the Origin mini-series and fully revealed in the awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine film.

(for a time, Sabretooth thought he was Logan’s FATHER) :-O

Kane had his father and his father’s upmarket attorney to help him in his chicanery. Marston as a leading psychologist and academic was similarly lawyered up.

Siegel and Shuster by contrast picked a bad lawyer, who from all reports, played to Siegel’s worst excesses (his vanity and his anger that he was being screwed) and probably made the case even worse for them. Shuster, at least privately, accordingly to Gerard Jones’ book, thought their lawyer was paid under the table by National/DC to throw the case.

While Siegel and Shuster’s tale has elements of tragedy to it, Bob Kane’s example shows that they probably could have done well running their own studio for DC if they had been less hostile. That said, DC was far from blameless in this case.

@SNikt snakt

I dont think you understand how continuity works (the film doesn’t count, and there are comics out there that show Creed being raised by low middle class religious parents that chained him in the cellar once his mutation started showing).

“…while not busy not drawing Batman…”

I don’t know if that was meant to be funny, but it sure made me laugh.

I dunno, Random, I count everything that happened in, say, the Elektra movie to be canon. Because that would be hilarious.

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