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Comic Book Easter Eggs – The Classic “Buried Alien” Bit

All throughout July, I shared with you three comic book “easter eggs” a day. An easter egg is a joke/visual gag/in-joke that a comic book creator (typically the artist) has hidden in the pages of the comic for readers to find (just like an easter egg). They range from the not-so-obscure to the really obscure. Click here for an archive of all the easter eggs featured this month.

To start off the last day, I’m doing perhaps the most-requested easter egg suggestion this month!

A whole pile of you wrote in requesting the “Buried Alien” bit in Quasar #17. It is probably too elaborate to truly be considered an “easter egg,” but hey, a whole lot of you think it is, so who am I to judge?

The gist of the issue (written by Mark Gruenwald and drawn by Mike Manley) is that one of the Elders of the Universe has come to Earth. Just like how his fellow Elder, the Champion, had come to Earth to engage the strongest heroes on Earth, so, too, has the Runner come to Earth to engage the FASTEST heroes on Earth.

The Runner has all the fastest people on Earth compete in an inter-stellar race. Makkari of the Eternals was a Quasar supporting cast member at the time, and speed was his deal. Similarly, the Squadron Supreme has recently shown up on Earth and the Whizzer was a speedster, too. They both competed in the race along with some other familiar faces (like Captain Marvel, Quicksilver, Speed Demon, Super Sabre and more!).

In any event, partway through the race (which happened in 1990) a certain familiar fellow appeared in a flash…

And we are later introduced to him….

Very cute.

Gruenwald actually brought the character back near the end of his Quasar run. It was not as cute.

I’ll finish off the month with two notable artists from the world of easter eggs.

First off, based on a suggestion from Darren R., here is a cute Looney Tunes-inspired bit by John Byrne.

Here, from a Looney Tunes cartoon, we have a cat shouting “Not Happy Birthday! Not Happy Birthday!” as Happy Birthday is a punishment involving lighting a series of sticks of dynamite in a birthday cake.


In Man of Steel #3, the villain Magpie does a variation of the same routine (with the same pleases of “Not Happy Birthday!”)…

Clever reference by Byrne.

Thanks to Darren R. for the e-mailed suggestion!

And we end with Jim Aparo, who I just featured in this week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed in connection with the little hidden hints he would put in Brave and the Bold to show you who was going to be the guest-star in the following issue.

Here, in Aquaman #50, when Aquaman is getting telepathy feedback, a bunch of familiar names pop up…

Nicely turned by the masterful Aparo!

Okay, folks, that’s all for the month! I hope you had fun!

32 Comments

funkmasterdre

July 31, 2011 at 8:22 am

I’ve enjoyed the month of Easter Eggs. You’ve featured several from Quasar, a comic that I always dismissed as terrible because it stars, well, Quasar. You’ve peaked my interest, though. Is there any run of the title that’s worth hunting for in back issue bins?

The Quasar run is pretty good from the beginning of the series until around issue 30 at least.

That Aquaman one just reminded me of the bit in Swamp Thing where he grows out of the plants with “Veetch” “Bisstt” and “Totlbn” type sound effects. (It’s okay to mention this now you’re done, right?)

Quasar #17 was one of the first comics I bought and I loved it, in spite of the fact that I didn’t understand the Barry Allen allusions. I didn’t appreciate that until later.

@Funkmasterdre: I recently re-read the entire Quasar run, and agree with Steve for the most part. I’d put the drop-off at about the point that Capullo left for good (#40 or so). Speaking of Capullo, he did some gorgeous early work on that book. A personal fave has always been #31, where Quasar visits the New Universe and D.P.7 (a book Gruenwald also wrote).

I’m a bit biased toward the late, great Mark Gruenwald but I still say that for the price you’d get them the whole Quasar series is a fun read. It’s interesting to see what someone can do with a character when that character doesn’t have a lot of back story and isn’t that important to the Marvel mythos. Keep in mind, though, that Quasar has become popular enough that he was brought back by fan demand after his death in the first Annihilation series.

Greg Capullo got his start on Quasar and was responsible for me being a fan of the character to this day…

On the plus side, Buried Alien’s follow-up appearance had him stopping the Energizer Bunny from cheating in another race…

OK, yeah, the first one was A LOT better!

JayPhonomancer

July 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

Whoah, I remember that bit with Magpie from when I was a kid! I think it may have been the first DC comic I ever read but for some reason I thought it was a Batman comic?

I suppose Batman could have been in it too. I seem to remember something at the beginning where he is threatening a criminal who says “you won’t kill me” to him and Bats replies with something like “no, but I’ll hurt you and you’ll stay hurt for a long time”.

I think this was the moment I realised the Batman in the comics was a lot different from the Batman of the 60′s TV show I used to watch on Saturday mornings!

JayPhonomancer

July 31, 2011 at 11:03 am

Just checked on mycomicshop.com and yeah it does feature Batman. Should have done that before I posted, d’oh! Ah well, at least it proves my memory is still alright!

I found Quasar #17 a few months back at a Half Price Books, and bought it for that very moment. My theory is that since this race was being conducted, the Speed Force decided to give Barry a brief break from being confined, on the condition he not remember himself the entire time.

interesting picking the buried alien to end the colum plus love the mention of the old looney tune not happy birthday bit in superman.

im sad to read that this blog series is ending, it was so much fun.

Awww…I’ve been look forward to these each day! Don’t end it now…please keep it going until you run out of good suggestions!

But… but… but… my suggestions were freaktastically awesome. And not included.

Comics Should Be Good constantly reduces me to feeling like I did as an 8 year-old when I didn’t get called up for a school prize.

I think this has been the best of the “Month of” series. If you have to repeat anything, this should be it.

Mark Gruenwald. The industry miss guys like him. Instead, we have Tom Brevoort. Sigh…

Ethan Shuster

July 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm

It’s weird that with “Buried Alien” we sort of have a DC character become a recurring character in a Marvel book. Is there any way that story, set in 1990 as it was, can be considered a secret part of Barry’s life while he was though to be dead? How did he come back to life, anyway? I’m trying to remember if he was actually resurrected another time before it happened most recently after Blackest Night.

Kevin T. Brown

July 31, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Easter Eggs this month. Here’s hoping you do this on a regular basis! It was fun.

The four-part Journey Into Mystery bit from Quasar #14-17 is worth finding, if only for the cleverness of the idea — the Stranger has been kidnapping oddities form Earth, and every single one of them is an obscure hero/villain who made one or two appearances then disappeared. Grunwald managed to make all of them cameos, instead of relying on “Hey, it’s the BiBeast! He sucked!” references.

I alos want to raise my glass to this entire month.

If you had to find a current DC or Marvel comic book editor most like Mark Gruenwald, it would probably be Mike Carlin, his former assistant.

If you had to find a second current DC or Marvel comic book editor most like Mark Gruenwald, it would probably be Ralph Macchio, his former writing partner.

But if you had to find a third current DC or Marvel comic book editor most like Mark Gruenwald, it would easily be Tom Brevoort.

The notion of taking a shot at Tom Brevoort in honor of Mark Gruenwald is absurd.

Well thanks to Gruenwald we all know where Barry Allen was before Final Crisis.

I agree that this has been the best theme-month so far. I really, really enjoyed it – thanks.

Mark Gruenwald could honor a competition´s character and make it into a nice Marvel story. You showed it twice, Brian.

Tom Brevoort? http://www.bleedingcool.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-34491.html

“Brevoort told his twitter followers, (http://twitter.com/tombrevoort) that a recent book from a competitor was so bad he used it as an example of what not to do in a Marvel meeting”.

What a class act. Mark would never do it.

Mark Gruenwald used to get grief for doing the same exact thing Tom Brevoort does today. Gruenwald spoke his mind openly and honestly in his Mark’s Remarks column about the comic book industry, including discussing what he felt about DC Comics, and people gave him crap for his comments then just as they give Brevoort crap now.

None of it is deserved. Brevoort today gives us what Gruenwald gave us in his Mark’s Remarks column – an open invitation to the behind-the-scenes goings on of the comic book industry. Granted, due to social media advances, Brevoort’s views come more frequently and more unfiltered, but they are the same kind of discussions and the same approach.

Brevoort’s Marvel blog, for instance, is essentially a modern-day Mark’s Remarks.

So if you want to bitch about Brevoort saying something you don’t like, go ahead, but don’t use the specter of Mark Gruenwald to do it.

Derick,

Brian’s right. Mark Gruenwald used to take shots at DC all the time.

Just one example I can remember off the top of my head, although there were more, was when he would say that Marvel would never need a Crisis like DC because unlike DC they got their heroes right the first time.

Not just that, but taking shots at DC is a tradition that goes back all the way to the Merry Marvel Bullpen of the Stan Lee days. I find it weird how people today seem to forget that when they act like Quesada and Breevort are acting so differently than the Marvel of yesteryear in that regard.

July’s not over! It still feels like it outside. More Easter Eggs! Please?

*sigh* Just makes me crave to find my Quasar collection along with the original Squadron Supreme and read through them…..

Side Note: I always felt it was a shame that DC vs Marvel came out after Gruenwald passed. He would have had serious fun with the free license and the mismatching of concepts….

Thx for these articles Brian…

He edited DC vs Marvel and Amalgam with Mike Carlin. He died a few months after it all came out.

It’s a little late now but Quasar 1-25 is great. It’s proto Kyle Raynor. What if a GL didn’t have killer instinct/fearlessnses.

One of my favorite moments of Quasar as a kid was issue 23 i think. In it deathurge was whipping him and was making Quasar count the whips. Quasar kept repeatin one over and over and prove he was more than a guy with magical braclets. By the end of the issue he “died” and Ghost Rider sense innocent blood and guest stared the next issue. It was one of those times no one saw it coming but it made so much sense to have GR come and save the day.

@funkmasterdre have to agree with everyone here. The first 30 or so issues of Quasar are just pure fun, even the weird depressing ones where … well, you’ll have to read it yourself. And Capullo’s art was great. His early work was kind of like a looser, leaner JR Jr.

@JayPhonomancer Not only was Batman featured in that Man of Steel issue, but you might also be recalling Magpie showed up in the actual BATMAN series around the same time.

I always thought that “Buried Alien” was both a tribute to the Flash, and a little bit of a dig at DC for killing off a character just because they didn’t know what to do with him and needed an “event death”. Not an angry or snide dig, because it came from an affection for the character. Maybe not even a dig at all. A cheeky nod and wink? A knowing salute? A fictional Heimlich maneuver in another continuity?
Given how much of Quasar was him using abandoned stuff from the Marvel Universe, Gruenwald seemed like someone who just loved the wonder, science, and ideas of comics, and bought all those to his own work.
Quasar was a love letter to the type of comics that had “flash facts”, and explanations about the structure of the solar system.
If we have to discuss Gruenwalds spiritual successors, I’d actually put Grant Morrison right up there as a writer who loves the weirdness and wonder and science of comics, and I’d also cite Warren Ellis on Planetary as one of the closest books to the spirit of Quasar.

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