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Comic Book Easter Eggs – Bill Willingham Pays Homage to Marvel in a Role-Playing Game

Every week, I will be sharing with you three comic book “easter eggs.” 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. So come check ‘em all out and enjoy! Also, click here for an archive of all the easter eggs featured so far! If you want to suggest an easter egg for a future column, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com (do not post your suggestion in the comments section!).

Reader Justin T. wrote in awhile back about this role-playing comic book easter egg by Bill Willingham. Here’s Justin setting the scene…

Bill Willingham worked as an artist for TSR in the early ’70s and ’80s, providing illustrations for a variety of their games including D&D. On the title page of the well-known module D1-2 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, Willingham included an homage to several Marvel superheroes:

(Check the treasure chest in the lower left-hand corner of the image.)

The picture was reprinted later in the GDQ1-7 super-module QUEEN OF THE SPIDERS.

Next, in Jughead’s Double Digest #179, there is an excellent Christmas story by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz and Al Milgrom that opens the issue (and introduces a new character, Toni Topaz, who is a competitive eater and rival to Jughead…and perhaps more?). In it, Jughead is so wrapped up in an eating contest that he loses his baby sister at a fair.

When looking for her (with Toni Topaz), who walks by but Peter Parker and little Benjy Parker from the pages of DeFalco and Frenz’s Spider-Girl!

Neat stuff. Thanks to Tom DeFalco for letting me know about that easter egg.

Finally, in Wonder Woman #72, Bill Loebs, Lee Moder and Ande Parks had a strong arc involving a drug addict/villain who Wonder Woman helps to turn his life around….

Note the hospital name. Wonder Woman was set in Boston at the time, and so was St. Elsewhere and its fictional hospital, St. Eligius.

Okay, that is it for this week! Thanks for all the neat suggestions, folks!

If anyone wants to suggest a future easter egg, feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

10 Comments

So, if I understand Dwayne McDuffie right, the entire DCU is part of the snowglobe world…

Which, thanks to Six Degrees, pulls in the Marvel and all other comic book universes, plus Barack Obama (I can already hear the Limbaugh show getting a week out of this). So all of reality is actually the product of an autistic child’s imagination. It would explain Arizona politics.

My head hurts…

TJ: St. Elsewhere had a notorious “it’s all a dream” ending that implied that the whole series was imagined by an autistic kid. The kid was playing with a snow globe that was revealed to have the hospital inside.

The thing is, St. Elsewhere had characters cross over from a bunch of other series over the years: Cheers, The White Shadow, The Bob Newhart Show, Homicide: Life on the Street. So, fan speculation went, did all those series take place in that one kid’s imagination as well? And, you know, Homicide crossed over with most of the Law & Order shows, plus The Beat, The X-Files, Arrested Development, The Wire…

And now if Wonder Woman’s involved, that what about all the people she crossed over with, and the people they crossed over with? It just never ends. Some of the DC comics creators have showed up in JLA and other titles, so if any of us have met any of them, maybe that kid made us up as well. That’s all Becca’s saying. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!

This link should explain it, TJ: http://dwaynemcduffie.com/?p=47

Typo in Al Milgrom’s name in the entry, Brian. :)

Ah, now I understand.

I gotta be honest, Becca, when I first saw your post up there, my reaction was something like the classic SNL ‘Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ sketch: “That wasn’t English, Keef! That was like Esperanto or some language that twins teach each other!”

The main guy on the D&D picture has Starfox’s symbol on him as well.

I always wanted a twin sister — I just thought I needed to ask Santa Claus for one, instead of Tommy Westphall.

Thanks, John, for including the link — and sorry for stopping the thread cold in its tracks with the first post…

I wouldn’t worry too much about derailing this. It was only a matter of time before someone brought up Tommy Westphall. It would actually go a long way to explain DC’s continuity issues.

One of my biggest problems with “The Other” is that Paul Jenkins had done an extremely similar storyline about a year earlier. It was basically a smaller-scale version of “The Other.”

I was thinking with the shape of the head gear, and the boots, that the archer looks to have some inspiration from Hawkeye. Then again, the guy in the back has similiar head gear.

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