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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #358

Welcome to the three hundredth and fifty-eighth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Today, learn about how close we came to a Cerebus/X-Men crossover! Plus, did a new member of the Titans debut…in a trading card set? Finally, prepare your eyes for Richard Nixon…as a little girl?!!?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and fifty-seven.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Dave Sim and Chris Claremont once planned a Cerebus/X-Men crossover.

STATUS: True

How freaking awesome does that look? That’s art by Paul Smith and Dave Sim above, drawing the aborted Cerebus/X-Men crossover.

I’ll let Dave Sim explain what happened himself, from a comment he made on Brian Michael Bendis’ message board:

All that exists of the Cerebus/X-men crossover is notes in one of my notebooks at the time. Chris Claremont and I both got invited to a store signing in Prince George, British Columbia so we decided we would plot the whole book on the way out on the plane. This really involved me taking dictation from Chris to make sure all of his stuff was covered — I could figure out where the Cerebus stuff would fit in on my own and bounce it off him later. It’s really in such shorthand note from that it’s virtually incoherent.

It became obvious talking to Jim Shooter that this was a project Marvel was doing to keep Chris happy. Whatever Chris wants Chris gets, but they — as a corporation — really didn’t think the book would sell worth s–t. I could see their corporate point, but it certainly deflated any real interest I had in doing the book. It had “file in a drawer marked ‘H-freeze over’” written all over it.

I suggested it to Chris at Maplecon in Ottawa in front of a bunch of people. As anyone in the business can tell you, there are a lot of projects that sound really good over a few drinks after the Saturday of a Con that are in the “WHAT was I THINKING?” category when you get home and remember how much of your own work you have to do.

Here are a couple of pages of Sim’s notes…

Click here to see many more pages of Sim’s notes about the crossover, including a mention about Marvel’s sales department, which at the time included Peter David.

Thanks to Dave Sim for the information, thanks to the great Cerebus the Aardvark site for the notes and thanks to the posters who suggested I feature this one (I’m sure Travis Pelkie must have suggested this at one point or another. He sure does love him some Cerebus).

COMIC LEGEND: A new member of the New Titans was introduced in, of all places, a Marvel vs. DC trading card insert set.

STATUS: False

In 1996, DC and Marvel collaborated on a mini-series called DC vs. Marvel. Their various characters fought against each other in the series.

In 1995, DC and Marvel put out a trading card set promoting the upcoming mini-series.

The card set had 100 cards in the regular set, but there were also a couple of special “insert sets,” cards that came one for every four packs of cards. Drawn by Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell, these two nine-card painted sets showed the Justice League fighting the Avengers and the Teen Titans fighting the X-Men (you had to put the nine cards together to form one big image).

Here are the two sets…

Notice someone strange in the second set?

Here, I’ll spotlight the card…

That’s Split. On the back of the card, is shows Cyclops’ take on the character, “A young teleporter with too much attitude and too little sense, Split could benefit from a lengthy session in the X-Men’s Danger Room.” Man, even in card sets, Cyclops is a bit of a jerk.

So anyhow, was this character intended to be a member of New Titans but turned out not to be because the book was canceled early in 1996? That’s what the DCU Guide suggests, stating:

Split was created by Marv Wolfman and originally intended to be a hero and member of the New Titans, hence his appearance in the Skybox X-Men vs. Teen Titans Trading Card Set

However, first off, Split was a character in Steel’s comic book and was created by Louise Simonson (he worked for the villainous Hazard)…

But was Wolfman planning on redeeming him and making him a member of the Titans? I asked Wolfman about it, and he said no, that he had never heard of the character in question.

So I’m figuring the odds are that they just drew a bunch of DC teen characters and drew them. I can’t speak to their motivations, just to whether he was going to be a Titan.

Thanks to John Cupach for suggesting that I feature this one and thanks to the great Marv Wolfman for the response!

COMIC LEGEND: Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams snuck Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew into an issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow as villains…with Nixon as a little GIRL!

STATUS: True

I’ve mentioned this before in other columns I’ve written for the blog, but when someone else mentioned it in the comments of a recent Goofiest Moments from Green Lantern #36-40 post, a bunch of comments were made in response by people who had not heard about it, so I figured I might as well spotlight it here, as well. It is a pretty awesome story, after all.

So anyhow, in Green Lantern/Green Arrow #83, Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams introduced two new adversearies for our heroes…a cook named Grandy and a powerful mutant girl named Sybil. These two characters were based on the then-current Vice President Spiro Agnew and President Richard Nixon.

Besides the bizarreness of having Nixon being a little girl, their commentary is, in and of itself, a bit odd, as it seems to imply that Agnew was controlling Nixon, which we all know now not to be the case, but I don’t know if it was even believed back then….

I mean, if you did this with Cheney and Bush, that would make a lot more sense as commentary. But Agnew and Nixon? Huh?

To make the reference even more clear, note where they were when Nixon/Sybil brought the building down on top of them…

However awesome O’Neil and Adams were during this run, subtlety was never something they went with.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

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!

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 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook 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!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

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!

73 Comments

On another note, on the trading card picture, is that a G-string what Beast is wearing?

That Cerebus/X-Men comic would have made this week’s Six Degrees a lot easier.

One cool thing about those DC vs. Marvel trading cards was that the regular cards had Peter Parker and Clark Kent commenting on the characters on the back.

I have no words to describe what Thor is wearing in that trading card.

randypan the goatboy

March 16, 2012 at 9:38 am

it would have been even funnier with obama and biden..what a sack full of nothing those 2 turned out to be. the best thing obama done was guest star in spiderman

The Spiro Agnew resemblance is obvious, but’ve read that story many times and never spotted the Richard Nixon resemblance. I just figured Neal Adams was drawing a homely little kid.

I worked in a comic shop during the 90′s and I hated the trend of trading cards so much. You would have people coming into the store with complete sets of series and I’d tell them they were pretty much worthless. Then they would get all argumentative about how much the value of them was. One of the worst offenders was Jim Shooter’s “Warriors of Plasm” which had an entire issue you could only read if you collected all the cards and put them in the right order in a binder. I do not miss the 90′s at all.

Regarding those Teen Titans cards, keep in mind at the time that was Matrix-Supergirl, pre-her PAD series (IIRC) and The Atom had been de-aged by Zero Hour. So, yeah “teen heroes”.

Ahhhh, trading cards were fun, at least for a 14-year-old collector. I had a great time with those things.

I can see how they would have seemed a nuisance for stores, but on the other hand I pretty much got into serious comics collecting through the trading cards. So, economically at least, retailers came out way ahead there.

The 1990s had their good aspects, even within comic books.

Admit it, Brian. You had those cards squirreled away at home and were just waiting for the opportunity to show them off ;D .

Who are the guy and girl in silver in that JLA/Avengers pics? I’m guessing they have to be Justice League since I can identify 5 Avengers to 3 Leaguers. (If I had to take a stab at it, I’d say… Metamorpho and Crimson Fox??)

I cringe when I think about how much $$ I dropped on Comic Cards in the 90s. Ha ha!

Correct, Ray, that is, indeed, Metamorpho and Crimson Fox.

Both of those people are in that picture, Ray, so I’d say yep. Took me a while to figure out Black Widow, because her outfit looks so metallic there.

And man, that was an ugly time for costumes. Thor and Hawkeye especially.

“So I’m figuring the odds are that they just drew a bunch of DC teen characters and drew them.”

I’m assuming the first ‘drew’ is meant to be a different verb.

To make the reference even more clear, note where they were when Nixon/Sybil brought the building down on top of them…

In a classroom?

“it would have been even funnier with obama and biden..what a sack full of nothing those 2 turned out to be”

The modern equivalent would be Obama and Soros.

Agnew & Nixon look more like Abbott & Costello on page 20.

@ Rollo – Me too, pal. Me too. I still have boxes of doubles (and triples) in storage that are absolutely worthless. I can’t even give them away. What a waste of money.

Hand them out at Halloween. That’s what I did.

I imagine having Agnew, the ultimate yes man, controlling Nixon was meant to be as insulting as possible.

In a classroom?

In the West Wing.

Uuuuuuhhh, how do we know that is the West Wing?

The guy on the last panel says so.

Also, you can see Bradley Whitford and Rob Lowe holding a conversation while walking briskly in the background.

Because the one dude says “The whole west wing is in ruins”

So that’s Thor in the upper left, and Black Widow fighting Wonder Woman?

Wow, I would not have guessed that without the help from previous comments. And despite loving the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League (and buying and reading probably more of the Jurgens and Jones JLA and JLE after that) I don’t think I would have guessed Crimson Fox.

I remember Time or Newsweek mentioning this issue in an article on Relevance in Comics. Never cottoned to O’Neil’s writing, but Adams sure could draw.

If you did this with Cheney and Bush (or had done at the appropriate historical juncture, as I’m sure you meant), you’d be the most famous and most vilified comic creator of the new millennium once you’d been dragged through the Fox 24-Hour Muck Cycle. Ol’ Rush would’ve had a field day with it, too. Had the GOP controlled the House at the time, you would’ve been reasonably assured of an official public censure, as well. Just think about how many books would’ve sold just for the burning!

Ugh, I had managed to wash that image out of my mind; thanks for returning that nightmare fuel to my consciousness. The image of Nixon as a little girl is SO disturbing.

I was able to identify everyone on those trading cards without difficulty. Perhaps I should feel proud, but instead I feel slightly ashamed. :P There were some good comics published during the ’90s, but jeez, we had some fugly costumes.

I thought Split = Kid Eternity or Prez before I saw the explanation. Shows you what I know.

That image featuring the aptly named Split is a crotch shot bonanza. Bonus points go to the Atom for shrinking so quickly that he managed to pull off the rare double crotch shot.

@ Mark J. Hayman:

Don’t worry that conservatives have one TV news network and talk radio to aid in the public discussion. Liberals are still at least 75% of the media. Glad we cleared that up.

“ I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”

Also, the idea that Cheney was controlling Bush is as laughable as Agnew controlling Nixon.

Oh wow, I didn’t actually think my guesses were right! I only know Crimson Fox from her appearance in Johns’ Green Lantern and remembered her odd hood (her costume didn’t have the boobages that this one does though). And Metamorpho would’ve been more obvious to me if his skin had been whiter, here he looks like the love child of Luthor, Ghost Rider, and Doomsday (and I really hope that someone writes that slashfic someday)

Yes, danjack, I remember how harshly the “liberal media” ripped into Bush’s flimsy claims about the Iraq war and how they didn’t guy over his amazing manly presence on the Mission Accomplished speech (not that I blame them for being impressed, seeing as how violence in Iraq ended so quickly).
And Cheney was the prime mover on a number of points, such as aggressively agitating for the use of torture (as detailed in multiple accounts including the book The Dark Side). But no, Bush obviously wasn’t mind-controlled into going along.

When I got the recent Showcase volume reprinting the O’Neil/Adams GL/GA stories, I was struck by one panel towards the end of the first story. Neal Adams drew a character who looked eerily like Barack Obama decades before he was elected. It’s particularly striking in black & white.

Brian can you do more politically themed columns? I really enjoy the mature informed comments they generate. So much more entertaining than Rosrshach’s speech patterns and Power Girl’s boob window.

The “mission accomplished” was getting Saddam out of power. The problem is that it should have been done before the end of _Clinton’s_ first term, not Dubya’s, based on the terms that ended the first Gulf War. Both US political parties’ inaction allowed SH to kill tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people, rearm, swindle relief efforts with Kofi Annan’s son (you can’t convince me Kofi wasn’t in on it), make the Iraqi citizenss feel betrayed by the US, and embolden OBL to organize attacks on the US, since they were obviously too cowardly to actually help the Iraqis as they had promised in 1991 (a paraphrase of OBL’s own statements).

The blame for the last 15 years falls squarely on Bush-41 & Clinton – Dubya and Obama didn’t create it, they only made it worse.

But, we’re wandering WAY off topic.

Well actually the blame goes all the way back to when we decided Saddam Hussein was a good anti-communist we were going to keep in power regardless of what he did to his own people.

If you did this with Cheney and Bush (or had done at the appropriate historical juncture, as I’m sure you meant), you’d be the most famous and most vilified comic creator of the new millennium once you’d been dragged through the Fox 24-Hour Muck Cycle. Ol’ Rush would’ve had a field day with it, too. Had the GOP controlled the House at the time, you would’ve been reasonably assured of an official public censure, as well. Just think about how many books would’ve sold just for the burning!

Yes because such a horrible fate is exactly what happens to people who publicly bash Republicans. Why look at how bad Fahrenheit 9/11 was for Michael Moore and his career. Oh the intolerance and censure! All that money he made, the glowing reviews and interviews, the seat of honor next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic Convention, making more money on it than he did on any other documentary…I’m sure the Republican regime of censorship retribution and oppression makes him really regret ever speaking up against Bush. Give me a break.

I did indeed suggest looking into the Cerebus/XMen crossover story, and I thank you for looking into it closely. Hoorah! I did indeed know about the plane ride plotting session, but thought there might be more to the written plot than there is.

T, I don’t think the idea was “anybody who bashed Republicans get criticized”, I think it was specific to the comic field, based on the incident with Captain America and the Tea Party. And the reaction to Captain America dying. And also when Superman renounced his citizenship. That’s three examples off the top of my head where exactly the sort of thing he’s talking about happened. And if they were that mad over those relatively innocuous things, actually impugning Bush and Cheney probably *would* have gotten them even madder.

Mark J. Hayman

March 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm

@sean
“…I don’t think the idea was “anybody who bashed Republicans get criticized”, I think it was specific to the comic field…”

That’s about it. I think my observations were pretty basic and relied on some precedent. People having hissy fits and associating them with other incidents and individuals seems like, at most, an overreaction and, at least, touching a nerve. Not that I’m surprised. When it comes to the web, usenet taught me long, long ago that just saying “boo” usually results in waves of vitriol.

If anyone is interested in a genuine, thoughtful, online political discussion, I’d be happy to take part; just suggest a link (without actually using a link since those get spam filtered).

I had no idea that was Black Widow. I was sure it was the Wasp, and that no one told Vallejo that she should be shrunken down. Now I see the wristbands and the little strap on her leg. The worst part is, size matters aside, it would really make a better Wasp than Black Widow.

@Jeff Ryan: The word you’re looking for is “tragilarious.”

@ZZZ. There are no words to say how funny that was. Please create more!!!

If you did this with Cheney and Bush (or had done at the appropriate historical juncture, as I’m sure you meant), you’d be the most famous and most vilified comic creator of the new millennium once you’d been dragged through the Fox 24-Hour Muck Cycle. Ol’ Rush would’ve had a field day with it, too. Had the GOP controlled the House at the time, you would’ve been reasonably assured of an official public censure, as well. Just think about how many books would’ve sold just for the burning!

Tinfoil Hat Comment of the Day™

Wow, Thor’s costume is slightly worse than the one he has now. :)

Hawkeye’s costume should stay with the classic design. As in ‘no goggles’.

Split should team up with Thrust and Jamm.

Split was one of Hazard’s “special cards” in DC’s Overpower CCG as well. Just thought I’d share.

Can we at least all agree that Nixon and Agnew turned out to be demonstrably, criminally corrupt?

I remember buying that set and wondering who they &#@* Split was. And every time i need a good laugh, I will look at that Thor costume and rejoice. Epic 90′s awfulness.

Wow DC had Boris Vallejo drawing characters, Boris #$%^ing Vallejo so naturally they gave him Crimson Fox and Split.

Sigh…

Gotta say Metamorpho has never looked better.

Wow. I’m glad Hawkeye’s costume doesn’t suck nowadays…

oh wai

I concur. More politicians in comics! They’re just magic in a comments section.

I’m amazed at the way some people will use any excuse to start posting their politics. It’s sad. I’ve seen people do it on actual comic strips, and even on cooking articles. It’s just sad people, real sad! It makes you look desperate.

Actually the “Mission Accomplished” banner was US Navy and specific to the carrier. I cannot speak to the speech.

I would like to know what website can I go search to find the price of my 1995 SuperBoy comic book.

Cheney was clearly pulling the strings in the Bush white house for awhile. Bush eventually started asserting himself more, but that would have made sense.

Love the conservatives who post here who have to project all their faults and insecurities on Obama.

DiaLOLgue,

Were you awake during the last 12 years?

comicsmakenosense

March 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

Wait a minute… wasn’t Split a character in Robin’s solo title? He was a teleporter who appeared during the storyline around issue #154. He went by the name of “Dodge,” but that sure sounds like him.

ParanoidObsessive

March 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

Oh Internet, you so crazy. Can you ever allow anyone to make even a passing reference to things that are politics-related without the entire thing immediately turning into a massive partisan piss-storm?

What makes it sadder is that both sides suck, yet there’s always someone willing to step up and defend “their” side to the death while bashing all the perceived faults of “the enemy”.

But don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

The two major political parties as they now stand are evil and destructive. Why? Because they’ve split America in two. We’re not supposed to be at war with each other, you yahoos. Just shut up already, all of you. Unless it’s about comics, then go ahead.

I hated it when Metamorpho looked like that. Stupid “X-Treme!” ’90s.

Hideous Metamorpho look, agreed.

The coloring for the cards is very good, but the art itself is just weird. Iron Man looks more like a man made of metal than a guy wearing an armor, Wolverine looks like that girl from The Exorcist, Beast looks like he’s painted blue instead of having fur and Metamorpho… well…

Also, “The whole West Wing is in ruins!” That’s just hilarious.

I love how Mark J. Hayman throws a bomb into the conversation, then acts like he’s here for “genuine, thoughtful, online political discussion”, when he’s part of the Internet problem he decries.

@M-Wolverine

I’d say the bomb was dropped in 1971. Presuming you read the entire article and not just the comments, I was picking up on the “what if Bush/Cheney” notion punted by Brian and am reasonably certain that had such a pairing been made under similar circumstances (a Cheney analogue cruelly manipulating a Bush analogue in a more or less popular comic book), that the hue and cry would have been pretty much as I described it in this generation’s hyper-partisan world. My only real barb was directed at Fox News, but even that was meant to be more a symptom of the 24-hour “news” cycle in general than the network in particular. Except that it would have been Fox and not CNN or MSNBC or whomever taking this specific imaginary issue to task as each have their own agendum. When faced with the, let’s face it, minor hysteria in the wake of my original comment, I merely agreed with another poster as to the purpose of that comment, which I have now reiterated, and not unreasonably suggested that further “discussion” (as opposed to sniping, innuendo, and partisanship) take place somewhere else. I’m sorry if this wasn’t entirely clear. Anything else?

@Mark J. Hayman

I read it all, but you must not have read what you actually wrote. Because besides Fox it also takes shots at Limbaugh and the GOP. And the fact that you had to go back to a previously presidency (rather than the actually more parallel current administration) shows you were just making the innappropriate partisan shots that you faux decry with the later post. You are what you claim to hate, and don’t have the intellectual honesty to admit it. I can handle the political back-biting off-topic in a forum like this. I can handle disdain for such discussion. It’s the hypocrisy of doing it and then complaining about it from others that sends up flags for me.

@M-Wolverine

You know, rather than continue to pointlessly engage in this nonsense as one more concussion would likely be fatal, I submit to your every perfectly reasoned and eloquently stated criticism. At no point was I attempting to explore the potential repercussions of a proffered idea, let alone with a little humour attached, merely trying to stir up controversy and hatred for it’s own sake. I am an intellectually dishonest hypocrite and personify everything that I hate. You win. Enjoy it.

@Mark J. Hayman

Yet you still felt the need to post one more time…so yeah, I don’t think you’re really over it. If you sincerely intended your OP to be humorous, from the multiple reactions to your post, you obviously failed miserably. That’s ok, it happens. But if you want to really prompt discussion or amuse, you may want to attempt less condescending snark, and put it in a less politically slanted viewpoint.

I remember back in the day, when this area was about comics. Before that it was cornfields….

I’m a Prince George resident, so I asked the co-owner at my comic shop. He said that the Sim/Claremont comic signing was at Great White comics in 1983. The store’s still around, but has changed locations since then.

…Brian, I’d love for a source cite on this, because when this story first came out, the fan grapevines had gotten it from both Denny and Neal that Grandy was based on none other than Vincent Price, and that neither Der Trickster nor the last VEEP we ever had that supported NASA – Spiro Agnew’s one major saving grace – had anything to do with the characters whatsoever.

Neal Adams interview:

We attacked President Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew

Another Neal Adams interview:

Denny and I had run out topics, once we had done heroin addiction, ran out of places to go. We’d had the Vice President (A Spiro Agnew look-alike baddie), a union town, over population.”

Adams also mentioned that officials from the state of Florida took issue with the Agnew parody and threatened to forbid distribution of DC publications in their state if DC ever attempted such a caricature again.

Dick Giordano also discussed it in the introduction to the second volume of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run (which had Green Lantern #83 in it).

[...] comic. There had been plans for a crossover between X-Men and Cerebus, but it never happened. (This Comic Book Legends Revealed gives more details.) Anyway, S’ym snaps a claw off a corpse of Wolverine, then Belasco draws [...]

“And the fact that you had to go back to a previously presidency (rather than the actually more parallel current administration)”

To be fair, he did JUST remind you that he was picking up a thread Brian laid down in the article. He didn’t pull the Bush/Cheney presidency out of thin air. You seem just as desperate to make this about Obama.

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