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CSBG Archive

When We First Met #18

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.

Enjoy!

To answer a question Travis Pelkie sent me, yes, I was, indeed, planning on featuring the first bit today because of the date…

First mention of Earth-616

For 6/16, here’s 616, from 1983’s Daredevils #7, as Captain Britain is at a trial of Saturnyne due to her handling of a parallel Earth…

And thus began one of the nerdiest comic book references ever – people calling the “regular” Marvel Earth “Earth-616.” I don’t mind it if you are writing a story about a bunch of parallel Earths. In that instance, it makes sense to label each one. But when it comes to differentiating between, say, Ultimate Spider-Man and regular Spider-Man, referring to the latter as “Earth 616 Spider-Man”? Boy, do I hate that.
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First mention of the Wayne Foundation

In 1964’s Detective Comics #328, Alfred is killed off. To honor him, Batman decided to form the Alfred Memorial Foundation.

In 1966, Alfred turns out not to be dead, so Batman changes the name of the Foundation…

It has played a major role in the Bat-books ever since (mostly as a plot device to resolve stuff “The Wayne Foundation gave him a job” or “The Wayne Foundation paid for all the damages”).
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First appearance of Steve Lombard

The Flash Thompson to Clark Kent’s Peter Parker (or the Reggie Mantle to Clark Kent’s Archie Andrews) debuted in 1973’s Superman #264…

You gotta love that he’s just chilling out two hours before the SUPER BOWL!!!

However, the scientist’s device also creates a being made out of energy…

And Steve unknowingly sends it to play in the game for him and his team wins (Steve pretends that it was him). However, the being soon goes out of control. In the end, after Superman destroys the being, Steve admits to his lie…


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

46 Comments

cool column: what about the first time the x-men played base-ball?

The Crazed Spruce

June 17, 2011 at 5:15 am

I grew up reading comics in the 70’s, and I used to love Steve Lombard. Not so much the character (though as far as douchebags go, he was one of the best), but the way he kept trying to pull pranks on Clark, and the way Clark would always turn the tables on him. (F’r instance, using his heat vision to neutralize an exploding cigar, then setting it off when Lombard tried it.)

I always thought it was a shame that John Byrne dropped him in the reboot. (I’m a bit out of touch with current continuity. Did he ever turn up again?)

I always thought it was a shame that John Byrne dropped him in the reboot. (I’m a bit out of touch with current continuity. Did he ever turn up again?)

Morrison used him in All Star Superman! Not current continuity, but still!

Mike Loughlin

June 17, 2011 at 5:56 am

Did he show up again during the Johns & Frank run on Action?

He’s back in the newsroom as of the New Krypton storyline.

No way a guy with bad knees is wearing boots with a heel that high. No way! Shenanigans!

Re Earth 616, well they had to call the Main Marvel Earth *something*, and I guess the point is that was that “it isn’t that special” amid the multiverse. (Some people claim Moore slipped in a biblical reference there- that 616 is the REAL ‘Number of the Beast’ not 666- but (I think) Moore himself discounted it.)

In my opinion, the Wayne Foundation does MORE good than Batman at fighting crime in Gotham- he can catch all the crooks he wants, if more keep coming it’s pointless. Help kids NOT grow up to be criminals and THEN society will change. I get that most other heroes -who are usually just average people who have superpowers plunked down on them- would not get this fact, but someone as wordly as Wayne should.

Oh and I liked Steve too. Sure he was a jerk, but he still had a good heart. And his constant abuse on Clark was a way to inject humor in the series now that neither Lois and Jimmy were too “modern” to be funny anymore.

The reference to Earth 616 is from 1983? But I have never heard it until a few years ago and just figured it was some obscure reference to Exiles.

first time mutants are referred to as homo superior?

AverageJoeEveryman

June 17, 2011 at 7:44 am

The scientist doesn’t think it’s weird that Batman is the one changing the name of the foundation to the Wayne Foundations? Even if it’s just a suggestion I would be kinda suspicious.

interesting to find out that batman changed the alfred memorial foundation to the wayne foundation when i always thought it was part of batman since the begining

first time mutants are referred to as homo superior?

That one’s essentially been covered already. It wasn’t just there from the first X-Men story, it was there from before the modern Marvel superhero titles.

But when it comes to differentiating between, say, Ultimate Spider-Man and regular Spider-Man, referring to the latter as “Earth 616 Spider-Man”? Boy, do I hate that.

Part of why “Earth-616″ has become so institutionalized is that for years the only alternative Marvel provided was the Handbooks’ clunky phrase “the mainstream Marvel Universe” and, even worse, “the Earth of the mainstream Marvel Universe.” And with parallel-Earth characters like Dark Beast, multiple (and often otherwise indistinguishable) variants of Madelyne Pryor repeatedly turning up, and storylines like the Gatherers plotilne in Avengers, a quick and easy label was necessary for fans and writers alike to summarize some of the major storylines of the late 1990s. (This is, in fact, why a lot of that era kind of sucked.)

You also had the strange case of Earth/Universe/Paradise X, which revealed many things that fans (and more recently, Jonathan Hickman) later tried to claim was true for the “regular’ characters, even in cases of distinct contradiction since. Again. saying that “that isn’t 616″ is the shortest, easiest response to the sort of readers who used to vocally insist that Mister Sinister is really Colossus after a time-trip in what you’d term the “regular” X-books.

Plus, for some time in the early 2000s, the Ultimate titles were outselling the original continuity to the point that there was a widely-believed rumor that the Ultimate stuff would simply take over. Which version of Spider-Man is the “regular” one in that context? Retrospectively it’s easy to say, but that also helped get fans into the “616” habit.

It’s unconscionably nerdy, but it’s really the byproduct of bad storytelling from Marvel as much as willful nerdiness from Marvel readers.

That Captain Britain comic is a UK strip and not reprinted in the US until comparatively recently. When was 616 first mentioned in a US Marvel comic?

In my opinion, the Wayne Foundation does MORE good than Batman at fighting crime in Gotham- he can catch all the crooks he wants, if more keep coming it’s pointless. Help kids NOT grow up to be criminals and THEN society will change. I get that most other heroes -who are usually just average people who have superpowers plunked down on them- would not get this fact, but someone as wordly as Wayne should.

I heard this argument, but I don’t buy it. If Batman saves the city from annhilation even just once in his whole career he’s automatically done more good than Wayne Foundation ever could. Sure the Wayne Foundation may occasionally save a few kids from entering a life of crime, but if the population of Gotham was decimated by a villain, none of those kids would grow up to become anything at all.

I like to pretend that the because the Wayne Foundation uses to much money to “pay for the damages” caused by the Joker or whoever, that there are no funds left over for new hospitals or orphanages.

I love the idea that our Earth is just another Earth. 616 resonates with me much much more than Earth-prime or New Earth or Earth-1. Though I am a DC guy at heart, Marvel wins in the realism column again.

Good suggestion by invisible: 1st X-men playing baseball. I’m guessing it was during Claremont/Byrne early one. Same thing with Fastball Special.

Baseball is a bit later than that I think…. My guess would X-Men Annual 7, the one with the Impossible Man.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

Gene Simmons was just awarded the KEY to my city.

I wonder what was the first comic book appearance of the KISS group, individually or group-wise.

God, could Steve Lombard look any more 70s?

T, Good point regarding the relative importance of the Wayne Foundation. Too many people tend to forget that Batman has actually saved the planet; that far outstrips anything that the Wayne Foundation does.

Tom-

KISS 1st appeared in a cameo at the end of Howard the Duck 12, then in the first few pages of issue 13.

It’s strange that Alan Moore worked so little for Marvel, but he still made his mark. :) The “616” number doesn’t bother me one way or the other.

And it’s also strange that the Steve Lombardo introduction was one of the few Pre-Crisis Superman stories I’ve read as a kid. And I still remember it.

I started reading Superman in 1973! So I guess Steve Lombard was brand new then. I know he was in practically all the issues I read when I was young, and to me he’s always been a major Superman supporting character (moreso than Jimmy Olsen, who didn’t seem to appear much around that time, at least not in the issues I read).

I never heard of 616 until a few years ago. I had assumed it was something new, until I got an old Excalibur issue recently which mentioned it back in the early ’90s. Until then, I thought it was some dumb move by one of those writers trying to make Marvel more like DC by numbering all the universes.
I guess a lot of stuff in Excalibur originated in those Captain Britain stories in the UK. I’ve recently learned that Gatecrasher came from there, and the Crazy Gang.
So why didn’t Marvel print those stories here? That’s such a mean thing to do, selling some books only in certain countries.

Yeah, I started reading Superman in ’75 or ’76, and Steve Lombard and Morgan Edge were just regular parts of the cast. It was disorienting to me when I went back and read older comics and realized Edge was introduced as a servant of Darkseid, rather than just a jerk.

Morgan Edge was a servant of Darkseid? I only ever saw him as just Clark’s boss.

“Baseball is a bit later than that I think…. My guess would X-Men Annual 7, the one with the Impossible Man.”

Issue #110 (1978) is earlier than that.

Morgan Edge was a servant of Darkseid? I only ever saw him as just Clark’s boss.

Yeah, when Kirby introduced him in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, Morgan Edge almost immediately tried to have Clark Kent run over by a car for snooping too close to his fiendish master plan. The first appearance of Darkseid ever is on a video screen in when Edge is reporting some failure or another to him in the following issue of Jimmy Olsen.

I think they might have revealed that that wasn’t really Morgan Edge but an evil clone or something, in which case Edge would belong to that illustrious company of characters who were first introduced as someone posing as the real one, and we don’t meet the real one until later. See also: Bloodwynd, Monet, Hyperion, etc. I believe Brian did a Cover Theme Game about those kinds of characters quite some time ago.

But yeah, by the time I started reading, Edge was just the annoying new boss.

A clone of Morgan Edge from the Evil Factory was a servant of Darkseid, The original was imprisoned in a secret compartment in the Galaxy Building where he could see everything his clone did but was helpless to stop him.

Later on he escaped and took his rightful place.

Right, but the clone was the first Morgan Edge we ever saw. We didn’t meet the original until later.

Steve Lombard is fun. He used to bug me as a kid, but then that is the point. Something about having a classic schoolyard bully around Clark Kent makes perfect sense.

Of course, the Lois Lane twitter feed has the best Steve Lombard material…

Travis Pelkie

June 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm

That 616 bit is cool — that is Moore and Davis, right? And is that stuff reprinted in the recent Captain Britain Archives HC that just came out?

I knew you’d be on that, Brian! hee hee.

I wonder, did Alfred ever find out that the Wayne Foundation was originally the Alfred Foundation, and ask what was up with that?

Not disagreeing, buttler. (We were composing our messages at the same time, more or less, I didn’t see yours while writing mine.)

I thought having the real Edge imprisoned in a one-way glass cell overlooking the GBS boardroom was a pretty devious idea. Must have been Darkseid’s.

Funny though, when the real Morgan Edge took over Galaxy Broadcasting and the Planet, he was as big a jerk as the clone!

Morgan Edge was also a servant of Dakseid as the leader of Intergang after the Byrne Superman reboot.

@ T: You’re confusing “fighting crime” with “fighting supervillains”. Batman’s vow was to “fight a war on crime” in his city; tackling all those local costumed weirdos (most of whom, you’ll notice, have no superpowers) is something he feels he has to do right away, but the idea that he thinks he’s making a difference in the long run that way is almost as sorry as Punisher’s killing of criminals (he’ll never run out of them, not that he really cares.) To me, IF Batman really is as smart as he thinks he is, then he *has* to realize this fact, and is using his money on the side to *really* fight social ills (I’ve seen this stated in some stories in fact.)

The supervillains- the ones who can actually kill masses of peoples if not the world- are more like something Batman feels he has to help with more than something he considers a priority. He’s even in the League only because he doesn’t trust them to always work things out by themselves. So yes, the world owes Batman their lives many times over- but mostly that’s other people’s problem (and he knows he can trust, say, Superman to deal with his own foes.)

I never heard of 616 until a few years ago. I had assumed it was something new, until I got an old Excalibur issue recently which mentioned it back in the early ’90s. Until then, I thought it was some dumb move by one of those writers trying to make Marvel more like DC by numbering all the universes.
I guess a lot of stuff in Excalibur originated in those Captain Britain stories in the UK. I’ve recently learned that Gatecrasher came from there, and the Crazy Gang.
So why didn’t Marvel print those stories here? That’s such a mean thing to do, selling some books only in certain countries.

They have been printed in the US. Treat yourself to a copy of the Captain Britain Omnibus:

http://www.amazon.com/Captain-Britain-Omnibus-Alan-Moore/dp/0785137602/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308379222&sr=1-2

In fact all the Moore stories have been collected separately:

http://www.amazon.com/Captain-Britain-TPB-Alan-Moore/dp/0785108556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308379222&sr=1-1

But get the Omnibus for every Marvel UK appearance of the Modern CB costume

“The Flash Thompson to Clark Kent’s Peter Parker (or the Reggie Mantle to Clark Kent’s Archie Andrews) ”

I may not be the brightest bulb, but no matter how many times I read it,I can’t make heads or tails of this sentence. Can someone explain it to a non-Superman reader?

Billy: All of those were examples of comic book characters that have jerks among their friends. Clark had Steve like Peter had Flash and Archie had Reggie. I have to admit I never saw why they considered them “friends” at all (Reggie, in particular, was always trying to get (either of) Archie’s girlfriends for himself) but that’s comics for you.

John Trumbull

June 18, 2011 at 8:06 am

Yes, some fans’ insistence on using “Earth-616″ as a signifier is stupid, especially since Moore just picked a random number because he DIDN’T want an “Earth One/Two” thing getting started. What the heck is the matter with just saying “The Marvel Universe”?

Was the cover of that Steve Lombard story the one where Superman is fighting the empty football uniform? I never knew that was Lombard’s first appearance. I liked Geoff Johns reintroducing him into the DCU as a sparring partner for Ron Troupe.

@ John Trumbull:

I have to disagree with you on the whole “616 universe” thing. It is unquestionably stupid. However, stupid and awesome go hand-in-hand in superhero stories with a remarkable frequency. The efforts over the last 20 years to get rid of this stupid bits of DC and Marvel lore has also sucked an awful lot of this fun out along the way.

John Trumbull

June 19, 2011 at 9:31 am

I agree with you on your general point, Dean. I came to a similiar realization years back when I was working on a coloring book tie-in to the Krypto the Superdog animated series. It made me realize what great kid appeal the concept of Krypto had. What 10-year-old WOULDN’T love a dog with super-powers?

I love that Metropolis is the kind of city where a mad scientist can just drag an injured man into his lab and experiment on him, and no-one says anything about it.

Edgar Liberty

June 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm

If the link goes out, that’s Superman #280 (1974).

@Sipply

Issue #110 (1978) is earlier than that.

Yeah, according to the most recent Marvel Index that issue is the first appearance of the X-Men playing baseball.

Yeah, I knew that was the first 616, but (like many commenters) I’m curious when the second one is.

just wanted to point out (pretty late in the game, I guess) that I’m pretty sure it was the writer just before Moore who had come up with the 616. something Thorpe? can’t remember his name. he did a chunk of the set up that moore then continued. I could be wrong about the 616 thing, but he definitely introduced a lot of concepts that moore later got credit for.

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