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Comic Book Legends Revealed #300 – Part 3

Welcome to the three hundredth 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-nine.

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 Nursery Rhyme Legends Revealed to learn about the supposed origins of “Humpty Dumpty” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and also marvel at how a flight attendant was sued for making use of a nursery rhyme!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 followers on Twitter, you’ll have the option to get a 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!

Since this is the 300th installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, this week you got more than TRIPLE the regular amount of legends! In fact, we took up the entire weekend with Comic Book Legends Revealed! Friday was Part 1 (which you can find here) and yesterday was Part 2 (which you can find here). The special theme this week is that there is one legend related to each one of the Top Five Writers and Top Five Artists from our recent Top 100 Comic Book Writers and Artists countdown! So that’s a total of ten legends! And all about the biggest names in comics! In fact, today contains perhaps my most requested legend of all time! So be sure to keep reading to get the full experience of Comic Book Legends Revealed #300!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Frank Quitely was censored on his very first issue of The Authority!

STATUS: True

Frank Quitely was #2 on the Top 50 Comic Book Artists countdown.

As you folks may well know by now, in the final arc of Mark Millar’s run on Authority (which ended up being the final story of the first volume), Frank Quitely left before the story finished. Superstar artist Arthur Adams came in to fill-in, but the second part, scheduled to be released in September 2001, was delayed because DC Comics’ editorial feared that the issue would be too controversial after the terrorists attacks on September 11th.

So the issue was delayed while numerous edits took place. The DC Database helpfully lists the edits as:

The second panel on page four, originally a long panel showing Teuton flying through several super-teens and tearing them apart, was instead turned into two panels of him throwing the super-teens into the sun.

The bottom panel on page five, in which the Colonel kicks the head off one of the super-teens, was changed to remove detail from the victim’s face.

The third panel on page six was airbrushed to remove the appearance of Rush’s right nipple.

The third panel on page eight originally showed various derogatory signs outside the Colonel’s room; these were removed from the final version.

The bottom panel of page eight originally showed that the Colonel had received the corpse of Jenny Sparks for his own pleasure. This was changed to three Sparks lookalikes.

The top three panels on page thirteen original showed Swift cleaning the dishes with her tongue. This was changed to her slaving over a chicken dinner and a souffle.

The bottom of page thirteen originally showed Swift’s master/husband using her tongue for an ashtray. In the final version, he puts out his cigar in the souffle.

In the original script, the President appearing in this issue was President George W. Bush. In the wake of September 11th, these were all changed to a president who resembles Merkin Muffley from the film Doctor Strangelove.

All of the editorial discord over one of DC’s most popular series left writer Mark Millar famously displeased, stating about the situation:

To be honest, I’d have serious reservations about working with any company which was under the DC umbrella while they’re under the current administration. The Authority was selling more than Superman by our eighth issue, we’d been all over the international press, we’d received huge critical acclaim and been nominated for a ton of awards. And they still dicked us around. How could you possibly trust them with another series when they could decide, on a whim, to do the same again? I should point out that I bear no ill-feeling towards Wildstorm. They fought our corner from the start and I still have a good relationship with all the people there.

However, while these edits got the most attention, what’s fascinating is that DC was causing major edits from the VERY BEGINNING of Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s run.

Richard De Angelis has a great article on his nifty site, Comic Book Justice, where he details self-censorship in comics involving political issues (so, for instance, he spotlights the President Bush edit above and the signs outside the room).

In the piece, he discusses how DC began undercutting Mark Millar from the get go. You see, Millar and Quitely’s run on Authority was based under the premise that the Authority had decided to go after the “real bad guys” of the world, despots and tyrants.

Their first target was Bacharuddin Jusuf “BJ” Habibie, President of Indonesia (although by the time the comic was released, Habibie was no longer president), who was the Vice President and protege of the rather infamous President Suharto, who had served as Indonesia’s president for thirty-two extremely controversial years.

However, DC objected to actually identifying a specific REAL person for the Authority’s mission (even though that was the point of the story), so they had the pages edited to make the bad guy generic.

So, not the best way to begin a professional relationship.

Thanks to Richard De Angelis for the information! And thanks to Rich Johnston, who I believe got the original scans of the pre-edited Adams pages.

COMIC LEGEND: Jack Kirby was the first comic book artist to draw splash pages.

STATUS: False

Jack Kirby was #1 on the Top 50 Comic Book Artists countdown.

Our own MarkAndrew asked me back in December:

Okay, Comic Book Urban Legend Time:

Did Kirby invent the splash page? Was he the first artist ever to use full page panels in comic books? I haven’t found anyone working BEFORE him who used splashes, but I haven’t found absolute positive confirmation, either.

Amusingly enough, I began researching this on my own, independently, and I basically had an answer and then it occurred to me, “Hey, doesn’t this sound like the sort of thing Harry Mendryk would have done something on already?”

And sure enough, Harry Mendryk, the proprietor of one of the most awesome comic book history websites there is, the Simon and Kirby blog over at the Kirby Museum (you can check it out here), did indeed do a whole series on early Kirby that was extremely useful for my purposes, as he had a few issues I could not find.

In any event, as Mark quite well knows (hence his question), Jack Kirby stood out from other comic book artists very quickly during the 1940s.

For an example of what a typical comic book looked like, art-wise, at the beginning of the 1940s, let’s take a look at Detective Comics #38 (the introduction of Robin) by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.

As you can see, their approach was quite similar to the comic strip tradition, of which, of course, comic books spun out of.

Kirby, on the other hand, liked more fluidity to his panels, as you can see from this 1941 page…

And he often went with bigger panels, as well, something he continued all throughout his career. Here’s a 1950s page by Kirby…

And, of course, his Marvel days…

and his DC days…

Kirby got even MORE bombastic with his page usage.

But while Kirby was perhaps one of the early “masters” of the splash page, did he invent it?

No.

When Kirby did his first comic book work in May 1940, here was what he did…

Wing Turner for Mystery Men Comics #10…

and Cosmic Carson for Science #4…

While you may note that, as I said before, Kirby used much bigger panels than a typical comic of the day, neither story had a splash page. So, if this was the beginning of Kirby’s comic book work, was anyone else doing splash pages?

From the same month, Detective Comics #39, by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson…

So, no, Kirby did not invent the splash page.

By the way, as an added bonus, check out these later pages from Detective Comics #39…

Ah, good ol’ bloodthirsty Batman.

Thanks to Mark Andrew for the question and thanks to Harry Mendryk for being awesome and informative!

COMIC LEGEND: Alan Moore’s concerns over the copyrights to his Marvel UK work dramatically changed Chris Claremont’s plans for the Uncanny X-Men post-#200.

STATUS: True

Alan Moore was #1 on the Top 50 Comic Book Writers countdown.

I made reference to this one possibly being my most-requested legend, but I now recall one that has definitely been requested more. That one I don’t have an answer to. This one I do, so ta da!

So as many of you know by now, Alan Moore and Alan Davis had a remarkable run on Captain Britain in the pages of three different Marvel UK comic, including Daredevils. Some truly excellent comic books.

(by the way, imagine being a kid in England and getting to read a comic book that had brand-new Alan Moore and Alan Davis Captain Britain stories, Frank Miller Daredevil stories and Stan Lee and John Romita Spider-Man stories. Wow!)

A major storyline in the comic involved a character that had been introduced by Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis (right before Alan Moore took over the book), Sir Jim Jaspers, was a member of Parliament on an alternate reality Earth who was super evil and wanted a world with no superheroes. Jaspers, who had the ability to warp reality, created a super-powerful android known as The Fury, who exterminated pretty much all the superheroes in England.

The Captain Britain from OUR reality got involved and he is actually KILLED by the Fury of that reality! Merlyn resurrects him, and as it turns out, it was a plan by Merlyn to steel Captain Britain against the threat of the Jim Jaspers of OUR universe, who is even MORE powerful and when he gets elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, well, things go bad quickly.

During this storyline, Moore and Davis introduce a lot of concepts that have continued to this day, including a lot of novel alternate reality stuff. It all came to a close in early 1984.

Now, as you might also know, Captain Britain was created by Chris Claremont, so he was always quite interested in the series and all that Moore and Davis were doing with it. So at the end of 1985, Claremont decided that he was going to bring the stories from the Marvel UK books into Uncanny X-Men.

The seeds had been planted in the issues leading up to Uncanny X-Men #200, when a powerful sentinel from the future, known as Nimrod, showed up.

In December 1985′s Uncanny X-Men #200, we meet for the first time, James Jaspers.

And he is not a nice man…

Not nice at ALL…

However, soon before Uncanny X-Men #200 came out, Marvel, in their American Doctor Who comic, did two issues that reprinted stories Alan Moore had written in England.

Marvel, at the time, did not have any deal in place where you would be paid royalties for foreign reprints.

Moore, as you might imagine, was outraged. Marvel had not asked him for permission and they had not paid him. So when he then found out that Chris Claremont was planning on doing a major X-Men storyline involving his characters from his Marvel UK work, well, he was even angrier, and any chance he had of reconciling with Marvel over the reprint issue (they stopped reprinting his stories when he complained) was pretty much dead.

Now, legally, could Marvel still have gone forward with using the characters Moore had either created or developed? UK copyright law is different from US copyright law, and things were a bit sketchy but honestly? Probably. But as we have seen many times over the years, comic book companies tend to lean towards the side of being conservative about this stuff. So Marvel’s lawyers recommended just dropping any plots involving Moore’s characters.

When Claremont found out about the controversy (obviously, he did not know that Moore was mad when he began using Jaspers, as obviously Claremont planned on using the characters as more or less a TRIBUTE to Moore) he quickly re-wrote the stories he had planned, which was going to be basically a two-year (or so) storyline. Everything happened as planned for the next few issues (which makes sense, as obviously by the time Claremont even LEARNED about the problem, the issues were already being produced), including Rachel Summers leaving the book.

But soon Claremont’s original plans diverged from what happened in the comic. The original plan involved Nimrod merging with the Fury to form an astonishingly powerful villain. This new villain would wipe out the Morlocks and most of the Hellfire Club. In the various battles with the X-Men, he would also severely wound Nightcrawler. Ultimately, Kitty Pryde would temporarily defeat him by phasing through him, messing with his circuits but the reaction would have left her injured, as well.

Nightcrawler, Kitty, Colossus and Longshot (hot off of his mini-series) would leave the X-Men to go to England where Colossus would serve as a bodyguard of sorts to the recuperating Kurt and Kitty. This, naturally, would lead into a new book called Excalibur.

Jaspers, meanwhile, would team up with Nimrod/Fury, and slowly turn the population of the world against the X-Men. Mutants all over the world would be forced to team up together. Eventually, Forge and Roma would get involved and the Siege Perilous would be used to defeat Jaspers and Nimrod/Fury, but the X-Men would be warped via Jaspers powers so that Claremont could make various changes with the team.

Now, obviously, once you have to remove the Fury and Jaspers, things has to change dramatically. Instead of Nimrod/Fury killing the Morlocks, it became Mister Sinister and the Marauders.

Instead of an epic battle against Jaspers and Nimrod/Fury, it was a character Claremont had introduced a year or so ago, the Adversary.

What’s noteworthy is that the changes to the Mutant Massacre also likely led to the change of the format, as they expanded it to other titles, and it was this that dramatically changed the way that Marvel Comics were written for years, as no one at Marvel had tried something as sweeping as Mutant Massacre. Obviously there had been crossovers and tie-ins, but not the way Mutant Massacre had it, where you would “need” to read, like, four different titles (for multiple issues each) to get the full story. Marvel quickly repeated it with the follow-up storyline, Fall of the Mutants and by Inferno, it had spread to the rest of the Marvel Universe, and the way crossovers were handled had forever changed.

And all because Marvel got Alan Moore angry.

Eventually, Marvel and Alan Moore worked out a deal (this led to the X-Men Archives reprints of Moore’s Captain Britan work) so they can now freely use the Moore characters.

Notably, in recent years, Alan Davis had worked with Claremont on stories involving the Fury’s return.

All of this information is courtesy of the tremendous research work put in by Phil Hall, the notable comic book reporter and editor in the United Kingdom, who worked for Comics International and Borderline (among many different magazines). He shared all of this information in a usenet post back in 2000. You can read the full details here. Now, we’re dependent upon a secondhand account here (although I have seen John Romita Jr. reference the events in interviews, as well), but I trust Hall, so I’m willing to go with a true here. Thanks, also, to Rich Johnston for noting the part about the Moore/Marvel agreement.

Okay, that’s it for this week and our 300th extravaganza!

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!

103 Comments

You’re forgetting that the use of The Fury in X-Men was as a result of an accord between Joe Quesada and Alan moore, that saw Marvel collect the Captain Britain stories in trades, with copyright laid out, which itself followed on from the X-Men Archives reprint in which Phil Hall helped out. It wasn’t just a case of lawyers feeling more confident, a deal was done.

Awesome stuff as always.

“I made reference to this one possibly being my most-requested legend, but I now recall one that has definitely been requested more. That one I don’t have an answer to.”

So what’s the legend you don’t have an answer to?

All the best and Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Luis Jaime

Thanks, Rich, I’ll add that in!

So what’s the legend you don’t have an answer to?

I think I’ll wait until I get an answer. ;)

Congratulations Brian on making it 300 not out. Alan Moore is crazy, yo.

I don’t get where was Moore coming from… Why couldn’t Marvel US use his characters? They could use Marvel UK characters like Psylocke, but couldn’t use the ones Moore created? It doesn’t make any sense.

Yes, Moore is VERY cranky when it comes to creator rights. But it must be noted that his extreme crankiness helped later creators to negotiate better deals, as Marvel/DC didn’t want to alienate any more big name creators.

I’ve always been sad that Alan Moore never did a lot of work for Marvel. I’d love to see what he could do with the Fantastic Four, Thor, and Hulk.

The Fury and Jaspers are currently being used in Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis… no Moore, Davis or Claremont there. I wonder if Moore would be as upset considering a fellow countryman is handling it.

I feel though that the Splash Page question hasn’t been answered.

Were there Splash Pages on the first page of a story back in the ’30s and ’40s? Hell, yes. Batman is an excellent example; they’re almost mini-covers, where they take a dramatic moment from within the story, make a full page drawing a bit of breathless prose saying “What’s happening here? Reader read on…” They happened all the time.

But the question of “did Kirby invent splash pages” isn’t asking did Kirby invent the splash page per se. It’s specifically asking did he invent the use of a splash page in the middle of the narrative– using a full page to illustrate a dramatic/climactic moment in a story, as opposed to the introductory first page.

And I think, in taking the most legalistic definition of a splash page, you’ve failed to answer that question at all Brian. (Though I suspect the answer is actually no in terms of Kirby).

Congratulations on 300 Articles, Brian!

Okay, the splash page thing didn’t quite work for me. I mean, I guess a title page is still technically a splash page, but to me the really innovating spash page was the in-story one. That’s the kind of splash page I too wondered if Kirby was behind.

Sooo, I guess I’m free to make a request for a new Urban Legend: did Kirby invent the in-story splash page?

Sarah, it has to do with the way Moore’s contract for those Captain Britain stories was worded. I’m no expert in British law- could someone who is explain?

Michael, it’s more how the contract wasn’t worded. Generally, writers, even in “work for hire” keep ownership over creations (from what I’ve learned of situations like K9 and the Daleks with Doctor Who).

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin

February 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

@T.

“Sooo, I guess I’m free to make a request for a new Urban Legend: did Kirby invent the in-story splash page?”

Wasn’t that Winsor McCay? Or Will Eisner? If memory of those Spirit comics serves me right…

I agree with T, the splash page to me has to be in story to really qualify, with the “title” page it was almost natural way to start the story out that way, nothing really innovative in that particular concept. (of course when I think of splash page I’m really thinking of a two page splash page, the first one of those took guts and some planning)

I love that U.K. Captain Britian stuff. I had a trade of it and even though I don’t have it anymore I remember how cool it was. The Technet was in it. Psylocke lost her eyes and Cap drops a rock on the guys head who did it. That and everything else. I started reading X-Men books right after Fall of the Mutants and going back and seeing how it was building up in the year before it is really interesting. From 200 it changes everything, then it just builds to this new kind of event for things get messed up.

…and Magneto is on the X-Men side for a change.

I enjoyed it all! Congrats!

I read many times on Moore’s conflict with Marvel about Captain Britain characters and other stuff, and one thing I still don’t get is why he’s pissed about JIm Jaspers, when the character wasn’t actually created by him. I mean, he developed him and made him the Jaspers fans now remember, but still…

Oh, and one other thing, Adversary replaced Nimrod/Fury hybrid as main villain of what became Fall Of The Mutants. I wonder what Chris Claremont originally wanted to do with him after he was introduced in that Dire Wraiths story. There are bits of info on Claremont’s abandonded plots all over the Web, but I have never read anything about original plans for that character or even if he had any.

Under UK copyright law, a work created under contract of employment is owned by the employer and not the creator, so technically Marvel could have gone ahead and used the characters. Then again, Alan Moore’s really not a guy you want angry with you unless you want to die a mysterious, snake-related death…

Brian, in the last sentence of the first legend you write:

And thanks to Rich Johnston, who I believe got the original scans of the pre-edited Adams pages.

I think what you meant is “the pre-edited Quitely” pages.

I think it’s kinda funny that Moore got angry for Claremont wanting to use “his” Captain Britain characters (and Jaspers wasn’t even created by him), even though Moore himself had used characters created by Claremont, such as Merlyn, Betsy Braddock, and Captain Britain himself. It’s true, though, that Moore wrote Jaspers and Fury in a rather idiosyncratic way, so I can see how Claremont might’ve mistreated them.

But didn’t Claremont use many of the same CB characters as Moore did, such as Meggan (who was actually created by Moore and Alan Davis), only a few years later in Excalibur? Didn’t Moore have a problem with that?

I started reading comics, and specifically X-Men about two issues before The Mutant Massacre. At the time I thought it was a great story, but as time went by, and I saw how verbose Claremont was/is and his annoying habit of 1) leaving dangling plot lines, and 2) poor outlining (which causes plot holes). Now, I can’t read his comics.

I don’t blame Moore for being angry. I think the man is a brilliant, but had he allowed Claremont to write the story as Claremont originally intended, I think it would have saved us all a lot of chasing around dangling plot lines and climbing out of plot holes.

Not surprised that Millar had to be edited. As I recall even his CBR cribs profile had to be taken down, especially seeing that he had a page of sheet music on his piano with himself in black face.

Quite a lot of those things DC changed about that Art Adams-drawn Authority issue were stupid and disgusting. That’s not to say that DC should have censored them, though. I just wanted to put forward that Mark Millar’s Authority was stupid, disgusting, and not very good.

Under UK copyright law, a work created under contract of employment is owned by the employer and not the creator

That was the exact problem, Ian. There was a very real question of whether the British creators WERE creating the characters under a contract of employment.

As for the splash page issue, the first 12 issues of Detective Comics (with Batman) did not have full page drawings. Most comics did not. They looked like some variation of this title page from Detective Comics #30.

A splash page is a full page drawing. Most comics of the late 30s/early 1940s did not have any full-page drawings. Detective Comics #39 was the first Batman story to have one. It is a splash page.

Now, “who had the first in-story splash page” is a fine alternate question. I’ll see what I can find out!

You just wanted to flaunt your ability to post images in the comments, didn’t you, Brian?

No, that’s exactly what I was asking. (Although the in-story question is a good one, too.)

Cool! Thanks!

Millar is so over-the-top that he comes across as a parody of gritty books.

Still, DC’s reaction makes no sense to me. The whole point of acquiring an edger universe to play with is allowing your writers to be edgier.

@ Michael P: Agreed, brother. I’m sure we’re going to be in the minority here, but I feel the Authority is a comic book almost entirely without merit, and it’s a shame so many talented people created such garbage.

Thanks Brian for 300 !
as to the question of splash pages? the earliest case I have come across is an issue of superman #6.
which is notated in the Overstreet comic book price guide 2010 for that issue of superman, the book came out for sale on july 1940 and is dated sep/oct 1940.artist was Paul Cassidy,
if this was the first splash page I don’t know .but I found it recently when looking to buy a back issue of superman.

funkygreenjerusalem

February 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

So, if this was the beginning of Kirby’s comic book work, was anyone else doing splash pages?

From the same month, Detective Comics #39, by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson…

Typical to have to use the kiddfied version of Batman 11 issues in, rather than the REAL Batman.

History has shown the pre-splash page Batman to be the only true take on the character!

Millar cracks me up. Every time he opens his mouth he strikes me as a self-impressed whiny idiot. “How dare anyone edit my work since I’m the greatest thing to ever happen to comics.

Sorry Mark- Paul Levitz is 5 times the comics writer you ever were!

So, who exactly owned the Authority? Was it Millar, Wildstorm or DC? Because if it was DC then they had all the right to censor it. If it wasn’t then Millar had the right to be pissed… I was never clear on that. Thought I should point out that those changes sound like *good ideas* to me. A creator can misjudge how to publish his own work, you know.

Interesting bit about the Splash page. I always figured it was a comic strip that first used the idea- a Sunday paper one, I think, though I can’t recall which one.

And re: Moore and the Fury, it sounds petty to me, not something to be admired. Without Marvel and Claremont, he wouldn’t have had a setting and characters to play with, but THEY cannot use the ones he created for them, eh? And I know that author’s rights are debated these days (for example with DC’s ownership of Superboy) but I’m pretty sure that back then, the default thinking was that if you made something for a company, THEY owned it. So Moore still comes across as contrary. Still, it was nice to know the background of the Mutant Massacre and Excalibur.

Oh God Yellow Peril…At least they don’t say solly.

Brian, great article. But where does Claremont’s Excalibur series fit into the story? You mention the plans that Claremont had for the series, but not the series that actually emerged. If my memory serves, many of the Moore characters you mention turned up or were referenced in Excalibur. Did Moore not object to this?

Congrats and thanks for 300, Brian! All cool legends this week.

Ken – Oh, I liked the Ellis/Hitch Authority. And Quitely’s art I have no problem with; it’s just that Mark Millar writes like an eleven-year-old who’s just learned how to swear.

Oh, funky, now you’re going to rile the trolls! (Nice one, btw)

So, that Detective issue was the first you’ve found with a splash (title page or otherwise), and from what you can find of comics, there is none earlier? What’s really neat, then, is that “Bob Kane” (or whoever actually did it) was therefore the first to utilize splashes in comic books.

It wouldn’t really be a splash page if, say Winsor McCay had done a Little Nemo all in one page, now would it? And I think, timewise, that this Detective one predates any Spirit stuff, so it seems that it’s Kane and co for the win!

I’ve seen a similar Kirby page (to that 1941 page shown), actually shown in a college class back in (gulp) fall of ’97. The lady teaching the course (comparing medieval Books of Hours to modern comics — no wonder I majored in Art History) suggested that the page she was showing was hard to read/badly designed, but when I looked at it (I believe a Captain America page) it looked to me as though Kirby designed the page to be read clockwise, that is, you start in the upper left, read to the right, come down the page and “swirl” in to the middle. So even at, what, 24?, Kirby was doing amazing stuff with page layout. Yowza!

The Quitely legend was a little more about Millar and Adams than Quitely, I’d say. The censoring has more to do with the story than the art.

The Alan Moore story, to me, looks like he was mad not so much that Claremont was using his characterizations as that it appeared that Marvel was trying to profit off his name. Remember, at that point, he was with DC (not in an exclusive sense like contracts today, but most if not all of his work was for anywhere BUT Marvel), and the Dr Who reprints smell of “testing the waters” with his stuff. To then find out that the BIGGEST MARVEL TITLE is going to use concepts that you developed, when the company already is screwing you over by not paying to reprint your work, well… Also, at this time, Moore was working with Steve Bissette on Swamp Thing. Over at http://www.srbissette.com a few weeks back, there were posts about Bissette’s aborted Spiderbaby Comix, and how the story “Kultz” had been originally published in Epic Magazine, with a contract stating there would be no foreign reprints without permission, and Marvel printed it in a foreign edition anyway. If you see that companies are going to screw over anyone they can, and you’re a big name like Moore was at that time, you make a stink about it, even if, as some people were saying here, you used characters that others created. If the companies find they can bully the big names around, what chance does anyone else have?

Intellectual property law is complicated. International IP law is more difficult. It is pretty common for writers in the UK to own the characters they create. That’s why some of the monsters and aliens in Doctor Who have appeared in their own non-BBC approved spin-offs (such as the K-9 TV show http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-9_%28TV_series%29 )

When Psylocke and company made the leap into the X-Men family of books in the mid-80s, I was always puzzled by their assumed but unstated backstory. It always felt like I was supposed to know more about them than I did…

You’re not the only one. I was confused about whether or not Saturnyne and Sat-yr-9 were supposed to be the same character with different spellings of their names or alternate reality versions of the same character. I couldn’t figure it out until I read the Official Handbook.
Another annoying example was the Crazy Gang. At first I thought they were robots created by Arcade because Claremont didn’t properly explain what they were.

I felt the same way. I had just started reading the X books maybe a year before Excalibur came out, (Psylocke’s joining the team might have been my first issue,) so I figured I had just missed those issues. But then I got most of the back issues and still didn’t see anything about Psylocke and Meggan and the others’ history and was pretty confused. I’m surprised they didn’t have a one-off issue that explained all of it for those of us who didn’t have access to the British comics.

“I just wanted to put forward that Mark Millar’s Authority was stupid, disgusting, and not very good.

QFT.

Wouldn’t the splash we see here: the first page of an issue, actually be a frontispiece, as opposed to a splash page?

I think Travis Pelkie has it on the Alan Moore issue. He found out his work was being reprinted without payment, got (justly) upset about it, and then found out that, on top of that, Marvel was going to continue to use his characters and concepts in another book. It might have just been the not-quite-as-well-grounded straw that broke the camel’s back.

Another possibility is that it might have been legitimate confusion between British/American copyright rules. If Moore thought he had some stake in the characters, I can see why he’d be upset, and the fact that he’d previously used Captain Britain doesn’t really undermine his position. When a company with the name and resources of Marvel comes to you and says, “We have this character we’d like you to write,” it’s not really on you to do the legal legwork of getting permission to use that character. Marvel has a whole department for that,, and presumably they’ve made appropriate arrangements before making the offer. You stil have the right to get pissed if they don’t play fair with your characters, and this might explain why Moore appears to have gotten mad at Marvel and not Claremont. If Best Buy sells you a stolen stereo, it’s their fault, not yours, and you can still get upset if one of their employees tries to jimmy open your car.

FInally, whatever you think of the changes or his writing, Millar’s basic point is that writers who have choices aren’t going to want to work for a company that extensively tampers with their work. That’s perfectly reasonable both artistically and philosophically, and while edits made against a creator’s wishes can occassionally.make bad stories better, it also makes everything more homogenous, less risky, and more blandly inoffensive. That’s not a good trade.

ParanoidObsessive

February 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm

I have to say, maybe it’s just a case of being biased in favor of what I read first/knew years ago, or maybe it’s a case of comparing what I actually read to just a brief summary of what might have been, but it just feels to me like the way Claremont ultimately went with the post-#200 X-Men was vastly superior to what he was apparently intending to do.

I’ve always had a weird feeling that most of the Marvel UK stuff never quite fit into the normal Marvel universe as well as it might have (a feeling that ironically always applied to most of what went on in Excalibur as well), and I can just sort of see my 10-year old past self not liking the story as much if the Fury had actually showed up. Plus, it seems like being forced to change things after plotting out a long arc resulted in a bit more creativity than might otherwise have happened…

Why does it seem like most of the occasions Moore got pissed off, it was all misunderstandings or things that meant no harm? The reprint issue, I could understand. But I don’t really see why he should get so pissed about Claremont using the characters or making tribute to him.

Employing Moore must have been like walking on eggshells at times; he seems to me like one of those guys whom you’re never sure what things you might say or do will set him off.

Two things about this… one is a response to Rich’s post:

“It wasn’t just a case of lawyers feeling more confident, a deal was done.”

In fact, didn’t Marvel do something immediately that violated the deal? Like, the first printing of the book was missing some key thing Moore had demanded [not to mention it also misprinted a page]?

And, also… regarding the Moore legend… not that I think this disproves your research, but I talked to Kevin O’Neill at a signing, and I brought one of the two Dr. Who US reprints with me (he only did the art in one of them). First off, somebody suggested they were marketing it on Moore’s name — not true at all. His name is nowhere on the cover or anywhere else. Second, Moore is *still* pissed at somebody about this; I talked to somebody from IDW, who did the “Grant Morrison’s Dr. Who” and asked about the possibility of an “Alan Moore” follow-up; apparently, Moore doesn’t like the idea, specifically because he doesn’t want the people who own the rights to make money off something sold on his name.

So, anyway, I handed my Dr. Who comic over to Kevin O’Neill and said, “Do you mind signing this? I know Alan Moore was pissed, I’m not sure if you cared.” And he said (paraphrased), “No, Alan was just doing that for his own reasons, you know how he is. Everybody in the British comics industry knew that Marvel would reprint without further pay.”

I also asked Kevin O’Neill if he could possibly draw Tom Sawyer in my ‘League’ book — but I asked it in kind of an, “If I asked you for that, would you have anything in your mind to pull from?” sort of way. And he thought about it and decided he really didn’t, but he seemed like he kind of wanted to, because he was amused by the idea. So I just went with Nemo.

Sean brings up some interesting points regarding the Alan Moore legend.

I was probably the one suggesting that the Dr Who reprints were capitalizing on Moore’s name (because, really, it makes sense. Why reprint stuff by ALAN MOORE without promoting it as such, especially in 1985?) (unless, of course, you don’t want to call attention to the fact that you’re reprinting this stuff…), so my apologies for not realizing that his name wasn’t on it. When you say his name’s not on it “anywhere else”, does that mean there aren’t even story credits with his name on them? That might be a point of contention as well.

But perhaps what Moore was doing, by making noise about it, was pointing out that it’s inherently unfair for the people who created the actual work to NOT be compensated when the company that owns the end product can reprint it again and make money off it again. Just because the British comics creators knew they weren’t going to make more money off foreign reprints doesn’t mean that it’s RIGHT for them not to make more money off the work.

I’d say things like Moore making noise led to company policies like part 2′s involving Gaiman and DC not touching Sandman concepts without his permission, and other issues involving contractual changes that led to greater compensation for creators for the work they do. And things like that, no matter what you think of Moore, are great contributions to the business of comics.

funkygreenjerusalem

February 14, 2011 at 1:09 am

You stil have the right to get pissed if they don’t play fair with your characters, and this might explain why Moore appears to have gotten mad at Marvel and not Claremont.

As Moore channeled a fair bit of Claremont in his early work, I doubt that part of it bothered him at all – more that he was a young guy, not very well off, and the big company wasn’t paying him what he was owed.

You can’t really fault Alan Moore for his feelings in the 1980s. It’s a different world now, but creators were being abused blindly for 40 years plus at that point.

Yeah, Moore was not mad at them reprinting his stories for his name, just that they didn’t have a program in place for foreign royalties. The creators in England definitely did know that at the time, but that was the first time tried it with Moore. It was the sort of thing where everyone else had said, “Eh, it is what it is” but he took as a bigger deal (right or wrong). In addition, Moore at the end of 1985 was a much bigger “name” than the other British creators, so it would make sense that he would be in a better position to rail against what he found to be an injustice than the other people.

Brian, great article. But where does Claremont’s Excalibur series fit into the story? You mention the plans that Claremont had for the series, but not the series that actually emerged. If my memory serves, many of the Moore characters you mention turned up or were referenced in Excalibur. Did Moore not object to this?

The characters that they did end up using were Alan Davis creations, as well, and with him working on the book, Marvel felt a lot safer about using them. To wit, Phil Hall notes that before deciding to abort his plans completely, Claremont first asked Davis if he wanted to draw X-Men. Davis was not yet into the idea of doing a book like X-Men, but had he said yes, it is quite possible that Claremont would have gone ahead with the usage of the Davis/Moore creations. The key component in all of these characters was Alan Davis (he created characters with David Thorpe and then with Moore), so he would have rights to the characters, as well.

Regarding splash pages, I’d go in the other direction and say that it’s ONLY a splash page if it’s the first page (or at least the ‘credits page’) of a comic. Isn’t that why it’s called a ‘splash’ page, because you’re ‘diving in’ to the story? I think that’s why the term has been appropriated by web designers.

An interior full page panel is just that – a full page panel. And I’d just like to say that I think 99% of double page spreads are a waste of space.

On the British copyright law matter. It’s also a case of really crappy control over contracts, British comics were run in a very amateurish way most of the time, more akin to the US industry in the 1960s with contracts on the back of cheques etc. See Marvelman, Zenith etc. There are many accounts from British creators of artwork going missing, no contracts having been signed etc.

At the time they retained copyright on the work which isn’t the same as it being creator owned (nobody would ever claim Moore created Dr Who and owned the characters) but it meant Marvel could not reprint the work Moore did without asking his permission as copyright holder. Hence Moore having a valid complaint when they reprinted Dr Who and the copyright notice Moore and Davis got in the CB collection which never appears in normal Marvel US comics.

On the use of the characters Moore and Davis did create in their run, I would hazard a guess it is legally quite fuzzy as nobody I know has ever been able to give a straight answer on whether could or could not and as we’ve seen they kind of did and didn’t at different points.

How is it censorship if the original editor requested the changes? There’s a difference between censorship and editing. This sort of kneejerk reaction is why editors in comics are so afraid to do their jobs these days. The editor has a responsibility to the material and its fans to maintain a consistent tone, especially when working with a writer who did not create the characters.

How is it censorship if the original editor requested the changes? There’s a difference between censorship and editing. This sort of kneejerk reaction is why editors in comics are so afraid to do their jobs these days. The editor has a responsibility to the material and its fans to maintain a consistent tone, especially when working with a writer who did not create the characters.

It wasn’t the editor of the comic. The editor fought to prevent the changes.

A splash page is a full page drawing. Most comics of the late 30s/early 1940s did not have any full-page drawings.

Complete and utter poppycock, Mr. Cronin. The very first Slam Bradley story in Detective Comics No. 1 (1935) has a splash page.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v602/bensanaz/swelltime.jpg

I suspect if you look around at Detective, New Fun, More Fun and Adventure from that period you’ll find plenty more. It’s probably existed since the beginning of the industry.

Sure, there were some. I never said there weren’t. Hence “most.” And “most” is certainly true.

What was at question was what Mark Andrew was asking, and he confirmed that he was just looking to see if Kirby did the first splash page or not.

That said, like I mentioned, it will be interesting to see what the first interior splash page was. I shall see what I can find out!

Whether he was the first to use an in-story full-page panel may be disputable (though as far as I knoiw it’s true), but Kirby was definitely the first to use a two-page panel (in one of his Captain America stories).

Do you remember which Cap issue, Kurt?

And regarding the interior splash page, what’s the earliest interior splash page by Kirby that you personally can recall? I’d love to get a basic sense of when to look.

I would be happy if other creators used my characters. Oh no no royalties, the humanity!

Grame Burk said:
“Complete and utter poppycock, Mr. Cronin. The very first Slam Bradley story in Detective Comics No. 1 (1935) has a splash page.”

I have to say Brian is right on this one. Yes there were “some” full page drawings in early comics, but for the most part (having seen dozens of these books, either re-printed or originals, in the vintage bookstore I worked at during several summers), splash pages didn’t become a regular part of comics until much later.

You’ll have a hard time calling Brian out for his statement if all you can come up with is one other example from 1935.

You’ll have a hard time calling Brian out for his statement if all you can come up with is one other example from 1935.

Aaron, what on earth are you talking about? If he wants to prove Brian wrong about the first splash page ever, one other previous example is PRECISELY ALL HE NEEDS.

@Frank: Give me a list of some of your characters and I’ll be happy to use them without compensating you.

That said, I don’t think Brian deserves being called out because he wasn’t saying that Detective Comics #39 was the first splash page. He was just using it as an example to show that splash pages predated Kirby’s use of them. Graeme was wrong, but not for the reason Aaron said.

…I just typed someone else’s name into the “your name” box.

To the coffee maker!

@Thad: I was wondering about that, like did Frank reconsider his own statement and call himself out?

Aaron, what on earth are you talking about? If he wants to prove Brian wrong about the first splash page ever, one other previous example is PRECISELY ALL HE NEEDS.

I think you’re misreading it. Graeme did not think I was saying ‘Tec #39 was the first splash page, he was just taking issue with the statement “most comics of the late 30s/early 40s did not have splash pages.” Aaron was disagreeing with Graeme’s disagreement (or agreeing with me, whichever phrasing you prefer ;)).

Let’s think of all those great characters Alan Moore’s created through the years…

While obviously by definition, only one prior example is needed to prove that ‘Tec 39 isn’t the first splash, it’s not “complete and utter poppycock”.

It’d be balderdash.

;)

And it’s nice that the independently wealthy like Frank comment here. Because that’s what you’d have to be to NOT want to be compensated for your intellectual property…

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin

February 14, 2011 at 10:10 am

@Blair

“Let’s think of all those great characters Alan Moore’s created through the years…”

Watchmen? John Constantine? Promethea? Tom Strong? V? Halo Jones? Top 10 heroes? D.R. & Quinch?

I agree, they are awesome.

I think you’re misreading it. Graeme did not think I was saying ‘Tec #39 was the first splash page, he was just taking issue with the statement “most comics of the late 30s/early 40s did not have splash pages.” Aaron was disagreeing with Graeme’s disagreement (or agreeing with me, whichever phrasing you prefer ;) ).

If that’s the case, I’m wrong. Apologies Aaron.

Does the direction change regarding the UK characters in Uncanny X-Men explain why issues #204 and #205 were essentially fill-ins? Did the series get derailed to the point where the editor needed to publish two solo inventory stories? Or is that just a coincidence?

(Not a comment on the quality of the issues, btw. Obviously, #205 is a classic.)

Does the direction change regarding the UK characters in Uncanny X-Men explain why issues #204 and #205 were essentially fill-ins? Did the series get derailed to the point where the editor needed to publish two solo inventory stories? Or is that just a coincidence?

Wow, great question. I’ll see what I can find out!

For a brief moment I had T defending something I said. I’ll enjoy those brief milliseconds and cherish them…

…yeah, gotta say that I am for that censorship. Just because you can do something shocking doesn’t mean you should.

By the way, Brian, thanks for the hundreds (and *hundreds*) of Comic Book Legends you’ve done over the years!

@Akaky
Watchmen? When was the last time they were in a comic ? :)

Let’s think of all those great characters Alan Moore’s created through the years…

DC’s been using Moore-created GLC characters a lot lately, especially Sodam Yat.

Hi Brian,

Congratulations on your milestone, and thanks for all the fun. Keep ‘em coming!

So I guess Alan Moore is to blame for all the crappy interlinked crossover garbage we’ve suffered through for the last 25 years, eh? Great, a nutter AND responsible for some of the decline of the industry. ;)

(Lest anyone think I’m seriously blaming Moore for that, it was going to happen sooner or later and if that stroyline hadn’t triggered it, something else would have.)

I blame Contest of Champions for … well, for being Contest of Champions, basically.

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin

February 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

@Blair

“Watchmen? When was the last time they were in a comic?”

How is that related to your previous point?

I was amused that the early teaser art for Countdown: Arena implied that Watchmen would be in it, because that miniseries was so ridiculous that it would have been a funny way to break the moritarium on further use of those characters. Funny-horrible, but still.

As far as great Alan Moore-created characters go: Mogo.

Re: Uncanny X-Men #204 and #205, I don’t know about the Nightcrawler issue— but the BWS Wolverine/Lady D story was actually a late-in-the-game swap-in for what would have been “LifeDeath III”, the Storm trilogy Claremont and BWS were working on with Uncanny 185 and 198. I think the third part, already penciled and plotted, was nixed because of an apparent implication of euthansia. Might be wrong.

Anyway— if 204 and 205 were indeed place-marking fill-ins while things were re-shuffled, 205 was a double-substitution.

The Nightcrawler issue wasn’t intended to be a fill-in- it was intended to lead into Kurt’s origin. But that plot was nixed, leading to the last page of issue 206 being rewritten so that Kurt sends that princess off to Europe. At the time, I was wondering why Claremont went to all the trouble of introducing the princess just to write her out.

Mike – you’re exactly right about the aborted Lifedeath III. BWS rewrote the story and published it as Adastra in Africa, replacing Storm with a character from his Storyteller series.

Brian, thanks for the constant entertainment the Legends Revealed series has provided! Who knew there would be enough to fill out 300 entries?

@ Regen

I saw how verbose Claremont was/is and his annoying habit of 1) leaving dangling plot lines, and 2) poor outlining (which causes plot holes).

Actually, Claremont wasn’t as bad at that as most people think (more often than not, it was his successors, writing in his style, that were guilty of that, such as Scott Lobdell pitching the idea of Onslaught as someone to build a crossover around but knowing nothing more about the character than “stronger than Juggernaut” when he pitched the idea).

Usually, when Claremont left a plot dangling or underdeveloped, it had more to do with forces outside his control, such as in this legend.

At least, that’s been my understanding after doing some reading on the subject.

I dunno, I gave up on X-Men while Claremont was still on the title (during the Dead in Australia era), and a big part of that was realizing that the complexity that had made me a fan of his run in the first place was just soap-opera complexity, and that the zillion plot threads he’d introduced that I’d been waiting to go anywhere had probably just been forgotten.

@buttler

that the zillion plot threads he’d introduced that I’d been waiting to go anywhere had probably just been forgotten.

Fair enough, though I’d argue there are probably less forgotten plot threads than you think. Plot threads that got short shrift, or ended unsatisfactorily or differently than we’d have liked or been led to expect, sure, but I think the number of out-and-out dangling plot threads from Claremont’s time on the book are fewer than most people think.

Which isn’t to say they don’t exist; just that there are less of them than some Claremont detractors would have us believe.

@Akaky
Completely unrelated!
This is a comics blog and not Logic 101 :)
The point I was trying to make, very badly, was that Alan Moore has no problem taking other people’s characters and using and abusing them as he sees fit.
However, if anyone tries the same trick with his creations, he gets a bit pissy.

Cpt.CharlieDavidsonAmerica

February 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

As far as the Authority censorship goes, I cant remember where I saw it, but I saw the Swift’s tongue and the cigar panel and it was very graphic and heavier w/ sexual innuendo than Electra being run thru w/ Bullseye’s sword. I think it should have been left in but, COMPLETELY understand why it wasnt. Brian, can you find Adam’s original? Maybe I saw it in a TwoMorrows mag,not sure.

Just a quick line to say congratulations on 300 entries. Comic Book Legends Revealed is a website I look forward to every week, and it really kicks off my weekend. Thank you.

Dandy.

I think it’s funny that the first instance of James Jaspers being “unsympathetic” in X-Men #200 is him calling Magneto out on sinking a Russian sub, holding the world hostage and demanding political power. Yeah, what a JERK Jaspers is for doing that! :)

And also, that Magneto giant M costume is one of the all-time great ugly costumes in comics.

Oh, and congrats on hitting 300, Brian! Always a fun read!

[...] to me some weeks (before my undesired sabbatical) and so I was caught completely unaware of a recent entry for Comic Book Legends Revealed. One legend that Brian Cronin discussed was “Jack Kirby was the first comic book artist to [...]

[...] to Howard the Duck in his 300+ entries.  One of his most interesting topics, to me at least, came in part three of his #300 special feature and dealt with a subject very close to where I currently am in my effort to read the entire story [...]

DazedGenoshan

July 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Michael P- “Quite a lot of those things DC changed about that Art Adams-drawn Authority issue were stupid and disgusting.”

I agree wholeheartedly and while I found most of the edits to be knee-jerk PC pandering, a couple of them were horrifying on multiple levels. I read a blog about this a couple years back (pretty sure it was the one linked in this article) where it seemed Art Adams was in a major huff over DC putting the kibosh the necrophilia specifically. Considering several of the first comic books I ever read as a small child were fun, goofy and sublimely drawn by Art Adams, his rant over the freedom to depict sex with a corpse almost felt like catching Santa Clause and Mr. Rogers with a team of oozing sore riddled ladies of the evening. As much as I want to sympathize with their artistic and creative integrity, making a stand over the right to show necrophilia is a five-alarm douche alert.

Gee Alan Moore, thanks for giving us Maximum Carnage and the Clone Saga!

“Typical to have to use the kiddfied version of Batman 11 issues in, rather than the REAL Batman.

History has shown the pre-splash page Batman to be the only true take on the character”

Yeah! No Robin! No Batmobile! No Alfred! No Batarangs/gadgets! No Batcave!

“Just because you can do something shocking doesn’t mean you should”

My problem with that is that I have to wonder who decides in this scenario just WHAT is too shocking for yours and my little minds to deal with?
I find the concept incredibly condescending. I don’t need to be protected from ink on a page. If I find myself “shocked” or “disgusted” while reading an adult book, hey, I’ll get over it somehow.

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