Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Well, it’s a week later. Whose nerd-fu was mightiest?
I really thought this particular quiz was easier than previous ones I’ve put up, but I’m clearly the only one. This had the fewest entrants of all, only five, but every last one of them eschewed using the internet. Though a couple confessed to looking things up AFTER turning in their answers, they did not actually even put those answers in the responses they emailed to me!
I love that everyone was so scrupulously honest. Thanks to Edo Bosnar, Greg Geren, Eve Mathides, Jorge Mendes and Barry Watkins for being such good sports, and boo on all the other cowards who mentioned here or on Twitter that they were thinking about trying, and then talked themselves out of it. Shoulda cowboy’d up and taken a swing, because it was anybody’s game right up to the end! (Winner only took it by two points.)
Anyway, let’s get to it. Here are the ANSWERS!!
1. How did Misty Knight lose her arm? And who replaced it with a bionic one?
As recounted in the Claremont-Byrne Iron Fist, Misty lost the arm while she was still a cop, in a terrorist bombing.
Eventually her friend and future partner Colleen Wing persuaded Misty to rejoin the world…
And Colleen trained Misty to be a kung fu badass, even though Misty had to execute her ninja badassery with just one arm.
Then Misty acquired her bionic arm and together she and Colleen formed their private-eye firm Nightwing Restorations, or as Marvel billed them, the Daughters of the Dragon.
But who actually arranged for Misty’s bionic arm replacement and built it?
No one knows. As far as I can tell, that story has never actually been told. Reed Richards rebuilt it once…
And Tony Stark upgraded it.
Since Tony’s comments suggest that he has actually upgraded Misty’s bionics more than once, I think it can be safely deduced that it was indeed Tony Stark that arranged for Misty’s new arm. This is the common assumption, and I gave credit for that answer. (I would have taken “Reed Richards,” too, since the actual credit’s a bit murky and we have seen him building Misty an arm as well. But no one gave that answer.) However, as far as I know, the actual story of why the NYPD’s Misty Knight was first singled out for bionic help from Stark International has yet to be told.
2. Who teamed up with hard-hitting private eye Slam Bradley in his first POST-Golden Age appearance in DC Comics, in the early 1980s?
That would have been “The ‘Too Many Cooks…’ Caper!” by Len Wein and Jim Aparo in Detective #500.
In that story, Slam was helped by Pow-Wow Smith, Christopher Chance, Jason Bard, Roy Raymond, and Mysto the Magician. Too many cooks indeed!
3. What’s the name of the show hosted by TV detective Roy Raymond?
“Impossible But True!”
4. Name Ms. Tree’s colleagues at the Tree Detective Agency.
Those colleagues would be Roger Freemont and Dan Green, also licensed detectives, as well as their trusty secretary Effie.
Dan was injured in a bombing in #7, as pictured above, but he was back on the job not too long afterwards… wielding a hook where his left hand had been. And I think Ms. Tree’s teenaged stepson Mike Tree Jr. has helped out the firm once in a while as well.
5. How did Shang-Chi, master of kung fu, first meet Black Jack Tarr?
Tarr was assigned to protect Sir Denis Nayland-Smith, and he thought Shang-Chi was an assassin sent to kill Smith; really, all Shang-Chi wanted was to talk to Smith about Fu Manchu, since he’d just discovered that old Fu was really a bad guy and thus Smith was actually a GOOD guy. Eventually it was all straightened out.
6. The Shadow teamed up with Batman twice. Who was the villain of the piece the first time? And the second?
The first time, in Batman #253, it was a counterfeiter named Bammy.
The second time, in Batman #259, it was a thug named Willy Hank Stamper (although the page reprinted below says he wasn’t “the thief,” he was still the villain. I won’t spoil the story by saying who did in fact nick the tiara in question, but it was done with noble motives.)
Greg Geren answered this one with, “a group of counterfeiters and unmemorable thieves,” and since he had the issue numbers, and he’d clearly read the books, I gave full credit. Because it’s true. They aren’t terribly memorable villains.
7. What was the name of the cop in the bowler hat that often worked with the original White Tiger?
That was Blackbyrd.
I know there are licensing issues with Shang-Chi, but really, Marvel, the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu stuff is just sitting there and you just launched a new White Tiger not that long ago …she’s still around, she was a supporting character in Shadowland. So why can’t we get an Essential Sons of the Tiger/White Tiger? Or even just Essential Deadly Hands of Kung Fu? Then you could throw in the Iron Fist and Daughters of the Dragon and even SwordQuest stories that appeared in the book too. I’d be so all over that…
8. Which of the original Avenger pulps were adapted for comics?
No one got this one– including, as it happens, ME.
I was thinking, of course, of DC’s version of the Avenger that appeared in the 1970s. It only ran four issues.
The first adapted the first of the pulps, “Justice, Inc.”
The second adapted “The Sky Walker.”
The third and fourth issues were originals.
And I figured that was it. But I found out researching this that there was, in fact, one more comics adaptation taken from the original Avenger pulps. Way back when Street & Smith published a companion line of comics along with their line of pulps, there was an adaptation of “The Yellow Hoard” that ran in Shadow Comics #2 back in 1940.
According to the Grand Comics Database it was a backup story that was 8 pages long. So I’m guessing it was a pretty loose adaptation…. but it still counts! I’d have given full credit just for the first two, but no one even tried guessing for this question. I’d think #1– the origin– was a gimme at least. But I guess nobody liked the old DC version of Justice Inc. but me.
As for why I ran the paperback covers here instead of the actual pulp covers? Because I never miss an excuse to run 70s pulp paperback covers, that’s why. Because they are AWESOME. Here’s three more for the hell of it.
9. According to Denny O’Neil, how did Vic Sage meet Aristotle Rodor?
This is a tricky one. Most people would assume that it was at the onset of the Question’s first real case, where Aristotle Rodor needed Vic’s help with his corrupt partner, Arby Twain. But no!
It’s a throwaway mention in the Ditko original version of the origin story that Vic was once Professor Rodor’s student back when Vic was in college. When Denny O’Neil retold the story in Question Annual #2, he honored that concept… but he added the wrinkle that Tot was Sage’s philosophy prof. Philosophy played a pretty big role throughout the run of the O’Neil Question series, so it’s not a very surprising retcon.
Either way, nobody got the right answer, which was, “When Vic was in Tot’s philosophy class,” or even just, “Back during Vic’s college years.” Although a couple of people mentioned Arby Twain and I gave half credit for that.
10. Why were so many Modesty Blaise fans angry about the final story in the book collection Cobra Trap?
Because it was the last one. Both Modesty and her partner Willie Garvin died at the end.
The Modesty Blaise comic strip continued after Cobra Trap was published, and many fans declared that only the comic strip version of Modesty counted as ‘canon,’ so she wasn’t really dead.
When Modesty’s creator Peter O’Donnell ended the comic strip a couple of years later, he gave fans a happier ending…
As you can see, in the comics Modesty and Willie literally got to go off into the sunset.
11. Who was the comely redheaded girl that befriended Val Armorr in 20th-century New York, back when he was starring in his short-lived 1970s solo title?
Ah, that would be schoolteacher Iris Jacobs.
She was briefly morphed into the villainess Diamondeth at one point, but fortunately it didn’t last. (I mention that just as an item of interest, the Diamondeth factoid wasn’t required. All anyone needed to get credit for this one was “Iris,” that would have been plenty. These are for the real hardcore trivia hounds out there, yes, but I’m not a monster.)
12. What’s Jigsaw’s real name, and who teamed up with Frank Castle to beat him in his first appearance?
Before Frank Castle threw him through a plate-glass window, Jigsaw was known as Billy “the Beaut” Russo.
As for who helped Frank take him down, quite a few people guessed Spider-Man… but everyone somehow missed the other guest star, even though he was on the cover and everything. It was Nightcrawler from the X-Men.
This was still early days for the new X-Men, back when Dave Cockrum was still on the book. So Wolverine wasn’t really making the rounds yet. Nightcrawler was the bigger X-star.
13. Why did patrolman Jim Harper originally decide just being a policeman wasn’t enough, so he would have to become the Guardian?
Believe it or not, because none of the crooks in Suicide Slum took him seriously as a cop. So, y’know, Harper decided to go with the blue tights and the crash helmet. Because that’s MUCH scarier to a criminal than an armed police officer.
Ah, the Golden Age. Simpler times. The main reason this question is in here is because I’ve been reading DC’s lovely hardcover collection of the Newsboy Legion and I really recommend it. It’s great fun.
14. Mark Valley wasn’t the first actor to portray Chistopher Chance, the Human Target. Who was?
Surprised more people didn’t get this… after all, many of the regulars around here remember all the other crappy TV adaptations of comics, up to and including the Reb Brown Captain America and the Sam Jones Spirit.
But everyone’s apparently forgotten the Rick Springfield Human Target, from 1992.
Although, in fairness, it wasn’t terribly memorable. It was a summer-replacement series that only ran seven episodes.
It was from Danny Bilson and Paul DiMeo, the same fellows that adapted the Rocketeer to the movies and the Flash to prime-time television. Something the Springfield version kept, that the later Valley version did not, was the idea that Christopher Chance would actually assume the identity of his client to draw the villain out into the open. On the show he did it with the aid of whiz-bang super mask computer technology.
But the bottom line was, the show really wasn’t that good and deserved its early end. The Mark Valley Human Target, despite its premise being further away from the comics, is a vastly superior endeavor. I suspect even Mr. Springfield would agree. (Although I always thought it would be cool if Springfield guested on the Mark Valley show…. say, as an aging rock star on the casino circuit needing protection from a psycho stalker, or something. Writes itself, really… )
15. What’s the name of the adulterous husband whose angry wife hires Nathaniel Dusk to get divorce evidence on, in the first issue of his miniseries?
Edo Bosnar was the only respondent to get this one. It certainly was a name that should have stuck in the minds of the regulars around here, but apparently no one’s really up on their Nathaniel Dusk. Pity, because it’s a good book. It deserves to be collected in paperback along with its sequel mini-series… preferably re-colored, as long as I’m daydreaming.
Anyway, that errant husband was…
….Mr. Grant Morrison.
And our winner, with nine out of fifteen, is….
…Mr. Greg Geren! Let’s everyone give him a big CBR round of applause! Well done sir! Your DVD set will be on its way to you as soon as you tell me where you want it sent. Check your email.
And there you have it. Even though we didn’t have that much participation, I always get a kick out of writing these; I hope you all at least enjoyed kibitzing.
Thanks again to all those who did try for the prize, and I’ll see you next week.
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