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CSBG Archive

When We First Met #7

Each day in June you’ll get an entry showing you the first appearance of seemingly minor characters, phrases, objects or events that later became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of what I’ve featured so far.


First “Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?” Headline

Reader Bill K. asked me about this recently. You see, interestingly enough, this was not something Spidey was called originally. In Amazing Spider-Man #4, he is labeled a menace…

but no mention of “Threat or Menace.”

In fact, that particular headline did not show up until 1981 and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15!

Weird, eh? It’s possible that I missed an earlier instance of the headline. If I am, I’m sure you folks’ll tell me!

First Batarang

This doodad first appeared in 1939’s Detective Comics #31

One of the funny things about the story is that once introduced, Batman spends the whole story using the batarang, like, every other page!


First Junior Woodchucks Guidebook

The Junior Woodchucks debuted in 1951 in the pages of Walt Disney Comics and Stories #125…

but I think their “guide to everything there is to know in the world” book is more interesting. It made its debut in Uncle Scrooge #5 in 1954. Scrooge has lost some coins in the ocean and he can’t think of a way to find them (the story is INSANELY over-the-top creative by Carl Barks – Scrooge goes to great lengths just to come out ahead in a deal with Donald Duck). The nephews come in to help…

Good stuff.

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


Travis Pelkie

June 6, 2011 at 4:08 am

Did that “Frank Miller” guy ever do anything else?

That in itself is cool.

Love the Junior Woodchucks handbook. I oughta dig out my duck stuff.

And the batarang — well, when you get a new toy, you just want to keep playing with it over and over, until mom tells you to stop.


I’m goofy.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 6, 2011 at 5:27 am

You know, I’m thinking that CBR should hire/or add Travis Pelkie to the current roster of weekly bloggers/reviewers.

TP has no trouble exposing us to the inner workings of his goofy mind! ;-)

The horror, the horror ….

Could be that JJJ had used the phrase “threat or menace” before even if it didn’t end up as a headline…

JW book is quite a treasure, Thanos should forget about Infinity Gauntlet and go for a copy of the book instead…here the info got from it is still relatively mundane, but in time both Barks and other writers started to put really outlandish stuff there (perennial favorite is “language of seamonsters”).
But the key was to use the book just to move the story forward, and not to actually solve all the problems by “the book says”. Bit similar to Scrooge’s immense wealth and Gyro’s wacky inventions, they are there to enable more unusual stories.
And yes, that particular story was definitely over-the-top even by Barks standards.

I second Tom Fitzpatrick’s suggestion.

Love him or hate him, TP brings the funny!

Is it just me, or is FM’s Spider-Menace from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15 a precursor to Venom and crew?

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It’s quite possible I saw it earlier, but the first time I actually noticed a ‘Threat Or Menace’ headline was in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man in 2006. And since then I’ve seen it constantly.
I’d stopped reading Spider-Man regularly around 1990. The books went downhill rapidly around that time and I would only buy one occasionally for the next fifteen years, so I figure it was after that that the phrase became common.

Wow, fast work! (I only suggested the Threat or Menace headline yesterday!)

It’s an amusing question, along the lines of “Dogs: malodourous or smelly?”, in that the content assumes a negative property about its subject but the format is of a more balanced query. It also has similarities to “Heads I win, tails you lose”, the structure suggesting a real choice but the content defining only the illusion of one.

If only analyzing humour was as entertaining as humour itself :D

Ryan Vaughn Morris

June 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm


That line made me spit out my hot Cheetos. Well done, sir!

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 7, 2011 at 5:12 am

I wonder if this was the first Miller/Janson collaboration. These two worked well together for many years.

Travis Pelkie

June 7, 2011 at 6:40 am

Wouldn’t Miller/Janson have been on DD for a bit before this?

And to Tom, the Dude, and Ryan, thanks for the kind words. That line Ryan liked surprised me, actually. It just seemed to flow from the rest of it.

Although, Dude, love me or hate me? People hate me? *cries*

If you like my writing and you missed my guest post:


and then tell Brian!

When did the spelling change from baterang to batarang?

The one thing I want to know about the Woodchuck’s guidebook is:

WHERE the Heck are they carrying it? They don’t have any pockets… heck they don’t even have pants! :D

That ASM annual is top, top stuff. It’s about to be reprinted in Essential ASM 10 and is also reproduced in Essential Punisher 1.

Has it ever had a colour reprint?

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 7, 2011 at 10:51 am

@ TP: I think Daredevil run came after that Spider-man run. Or maybe about the same time. who knows? I didn’t read Miller on Spider-man, only Daredevil.

Miller’s DD run started May 79 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daredevil_%28Marvel_Comics%29

So before this one off issue (not a run) was released.

I feel like I’ve seen “Spider-Man: Hero or Menace?” more often. Does it predate the more biased-sounding (but probably more in-character for Jameson) “Threat or Menace?”

But when was the first time Batman attached a line to his Batarang to swing building-to-building with it? Seems that once a certain wall-crawler popularized that mode of travel in the 60’s, Bats was doing that so much that you barely saw the Batmobile anymore. He swung via Batarang until the first Burton film and the Animated Series gave him his grapple gun.

Edgar Liberty

June 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Ha! The original story of “threat or menace”:

JAMESON: Check out this headline!
ROBERTSON: We’ll lose five million readers.
JAMESON: Right, what else we got?

Edgar Liberty

June 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

That first appearance of the Bat-Gyro is not to be missed, either. Batman grimly, silently piloting this little whirligig out of a retractable roof into the starless night.

“Has it ever had a colour reprint?”

I believe it’s in the ‘Complete Frank Miller Spider-Man’ hardcover (though I’m basing that on the name, since I don’t have that book).

kveto from prague

November 11, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Menace or Threat appears in ASM #140 to describe the Grizzly as a headline

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