"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Welcome to the three hundredth and sixtieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Today, discover which Academy Award-winning screenwriter did an X-Men parody comic during the early 1980s! Plus, did legendary Superman writer Jerry Siegel write an issue of Thor? And what Teen Titan went through two new superhero identities…in two issues?!?
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and fifty-nine.
COMIC LEGEND: Academy Award-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman did an X-Men parody comic in the early 1980s.
Charlie Kaufman is a three-time nominee for the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. He was nominated for Being John Malkovich (Best Original Screenplay)…
Adaptation (Best Adapted Screenplay)…
before finally winning for the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind…
Early in his career, though, Kaufman worked for National Lampoon magazine, and one of his earliest efforts was, amazingly enough, an X-Men parody in 1984!
The story was co-written with Paul Proch and drawn by Frank Springer. Here are the first few pages (be forewarned, this is early Charlie Kaufman, so he clearly has not yet found his voice)…
Check out the Charlie Kaufman website here to read even more pages!
Thanks to reader Chris W. for suggesting this one. Thanks to commenter Time Warp for the Springer credit for the X-Women story.
COMIC LEGEND: Jerry Siegel wrote Thor comics under the name R. Berns.
At the time, commenter Dave El remarked on the story:
This almost seems like a Silver Age Superman story. Maybe because R. Berns was the alias used by Jerry Siegel during his stint scripting for Marvel.
Is that true?
Was the R. Berns who wrote that story actually Jerry Siegel using a pseudoynm?
Simply put, no.
R. Berns was a pseudonym, it was just a different alias. R. Berns was Robert Bernstein, longtime comic book writer for DC Comics, including the story which introduced Aquaman’s Atlantean origins. Like many DC employees at the time, Bernstein used a pseudonym to work for Marvel.
Jerry Siegel DID, in fact, do some work for Marvel at the time, but it was under the alias Joe Carter…
(then one story later on just under his own name).
COMIC LEGEND: A Teen Titan went through two new superhero identities…in two concurrent issues!
In 1976, after a multi-year hiatus, the Teen Titans returned in their own title.
As you can see from the cover of the first issue….
one of the things the issue meant to do was to give Mal Duncan, the non-superhero member of the Titans, an actual superhero identity….
The VERY NEXT ISSUE, however, the identity was dropped…
and Mal got a new superpower, the use of the powerful “Gabriel’s Horn”. Check out how he won the weapon…
And here it is in action…
Why the sudden change? Well, Paul Levitz co-wrote the first issue with Bob Rozakis under editor Joe Orlando. Julie Schwartz took over with the second issue and he hated the Guardian idea, so just one issue into the reboot, they changed one of the first changes of the series (as revealed in this neat interview between Rozakis and our own Line it is Drawn artist Bill Walko at Bill’s great Titans site).
The funny thing is that while Mal now had Gabriel’s Horn, it would be awhile before they actually gave him a superhero name (the extremely clever “Hornblower”). So early on, his name was still just Mal.
So you’d see stuff like this cover…
Batman! Superman! Wonder Woman! Bill! Jeff! Green Lantern! Harry! Flash! Aquaman! Dirk!
Thanks to Bob Rozakis and Bill Walko for the information! Go check out Titans Tower!
NOTE: This is an all-1970s Teen Titans weekend at CBR! Today, this legend. Tomorrow, an Abandoned An’ Forsaked from that era and we finish it off with a Five Goofiest Moments from the first five issues of the reboot. Mal Duncan fighting DEATH ITSELF to get a magic horn is not even in the top five, I don’t think (okay, maybe it is).
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…
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See you all next week!
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