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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #370

Welcome to the three hundredth and seventieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn whether Black Cat was nearly killed early on in her comic career…by J. Jonah Jameson!? Plus, a decade before he co-created Asterix, see Uderzo draw…Captain Marvel Jr.?! In Belgium?! Finally, the story of how Dave Sim nearly worked on a Fables comic story.

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and sixty-nine.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Marv Wolfman was going to have J. Jonah Jameson kill off Black Cat during his Amazing Spider-Man run.

STATUS: I am going with False

Late in his run on Amazing Spider-Man, Marv Wolfman had J. Jonah Jameson act increasingly erratic…

To the point where he suffers a nervous breakdown in Amazing #198…

and then escapes custody in #201…

In last week’s Abandoned An’ Forsaked, I showed how Roger Stern did a fill-in issue (Amazing Spider-Man #206) that explained away Jameson’s behavior as being a result of a “mental attitude-response variator ray.”

A few commenters wrote in to say that part of Stern’s motivation was that Marv Wolfman originally had planned to have Jameson, in his delusional state, kill the recently introduced Black Cat (Wolfman left the book one part into a two part Black Cat story).

I asked Marv about it and he said that it was untrue, that he thought Black Cat was too good of a character to get rid of so soon (Wolfman had introduced the character a year earlier). In the letter pages of Amazing Spider-Man #210, Roger Stern explains that he came up with the mental attitude-response variator ray because he felt that Jameson’s change in behavior seemed artificial, so he felt that it made sense for it to be officially MADE an actual artificial change.

It’s possible, though, that Wolfman might have had Jameson SHOOT Black Cat. You know, one of those magical comic book shooting injuries where they’re back to full strength in a matter of issues. Wolfman just knows for sure that he wouldn’t have killed her off. So it is possible, I suppose. It is worth noting that David Michelinie (who finished the Black Cat two-parter that Wolfman started) noted that he did not see Wolfman’s plot for the second part of the Black Cat two-parter so that he had to make the ending up based just on what had been written in the first part, so I do not know if Wolfman’s plot for Amazing Spider-Man #205 even exists.

Thanks to Marv Wolfman for the information! And thanks to all of the commenters who brought the Black Cat story up!

COMIC LEGEND: Uderzo drew Captain Marvel Jr. for a Belgium comic book company during the 1950s.

STATUS: True

Reader Gerald wrote in about this one awhile back.

Albert Uderzo is best known for co-creating and drawing the famed Asterix comics…

But did you know that a decade before he drew Asterix, he actually worked on Captain Marvel, Jr? In BELGIUM!

Here are three of the strips he did for the Belgium newspaper Bravo in 1950 (note how Captain Marvel Jr.’s origin is changed fairly dramatically – as they are now a product of an explosion at a mad scientist’s lair)…

I don’t know if these were even AUTHORIZED! Check out this great site for more pages.

Thanks to Gerald for the information and thanks to the afore-linked Bravo fan site for the pages.

COMIC LEGEND: Dave Sim was going to contribute to the Fables graphic novel 1001 Nights of Snowfall, but the project fell apart in the contract stages.

STATUS: True

Travis Pelkie wrote in to me about this fascinating little point in Dave Sim’s career.

Back in 2006, Sim struck up a deal with DC Comics to provide three pages of art for the Fables graphic novel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall…

Well, it did not work out great in the end.

At Al Nickerson’s amazing creators rights website, Sim shared the contract with DC (here are two pages, along with Sim’s comments)…

Sim notes:

At that time and this, negotiations with DC involve hearing how “excited and thrilled” they are to possibly be working with you. What you find is that they are “excited and thrilled” because it costs them nothing to be “excited and thrilled”. Then I got two copies of the contract and was told to return them signed to the addressee coordinator who indicated that if I had any further concerns I could address them to [name] in the legal department. Which I did. I had eight minor changes I wanted made and indicated that I was open to negotiation on the eight minor changes. At which point I was informed that the eight minor changes were impossible and that they very much regretted that we wouldn’t be working together.

Read Al’s website here for the full contract and commentary from other comic book creators on Sim’s situation.

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the head’s up, Travis! And thanks, of course, to Al for the great website and Dave Sim for sharing the information.

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!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? It came out this week! The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

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!

30 Comments

Brian, did you mean that Roger Stern wrote the fill-in Spider-Man issue #206? Because you said “Marv Wolfman.”

Those Captain Marvel pages are lovely!

Indeed! Thanks, Anthony.

For those of us who can’t read Belgian, how was Captain Marvel Jr.’s origin changed fairly dramatically?

Cory!! Strode

June 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

Has Marv even said anywhere where he was going with the “JJJ Goes Crazy” storyline? It really like like it was leading somewhere big.

As far as I can remember, Captain marvel Junior’s origin had nothing to do with Mr. Coffee Nerves.

Has Marv even said anywhere where he was going with the “JJJ Goes Crazy” storyline? It really like like it was leading somewhere big.

No and I when I asked him about it, he said he doesn’t even recall for sure (plots you DIDN’T write thirty years ago probably don’t hold a major place in your memory, ya know?). Just that he never had any plans to kill the Black Cat.

I don’t speak Belgian (nobody in Belgium does either, they speak French) but Captain Marvel Jr. received his powers from the wizard Shazam when Captain Marvel brought a dying Freedy Freeman to him. It didn’t involve an explosion in a lab turning the evil mad scientist Professor Satano and Freedy into super beings. It’s an origin that uses Freedy and Captain Marvel Jr. without Shazam, Captain Marvel or any of the other elements of the series. Hell, the costumes aren’t even quite right. Tres incroyable!

Travis Pelkie

June 8, 2012 at 10:34 am

Of course, the Captain Marvel Jr appearances would imply that the Big Red Cheese was appearing somewhere in Belgium, otherwise why not just call him CM? But that’s pretty neat. Why is that bad guy in a CMJr suit?

When I logged on, the first one still says Marv instead of Roger for the fill-in. But my computer’s so slow I’m not going to refresh it just now. I forget, did you tell us why Wolfman left in the middle of the Black Cat 2-parter?

I hope you’ll still do the introductory bit where the archive link is with the brief description of the 3 Legends for the week. I’ve really liked that since you’ve been doing it.

And that’s service on the Sim Legend! Dang! Yeah, as I said in the email to you, from what I read, the main thing that Dave wanted was to be able to use the art at some point in the future if he were to ever do a “Art of Dave Sim” book. All the little nitpicky things have a reason — unlike some people, he actually reads the legalese! He’d probably be a good lawyer if not for the distaste for unclear language he has…

And Al NICKERSON! Couldn’t remember his last name, but I sure knew he was Al somebody.

Oh, I didn’t do the intro paragraph? My bad. I cleared the space to do it (so at least it wasn’t a repeat of last week’s) but I guess I forgot to fill it in. It is there now.

Travis Pelkie

June 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

All good now.

Graeme reminded me that there’s a baseball player named Freddy Freeman. It amuses me to think that he says “Captain Marvel” in the locker room before the games. :)

Of course, the Captain Marvel Jr appearances would imply that the Big Red Cheese was appearing somewhere in Belgium, otherwise why not just call him CM? But that’s pretty neat. Why is that bad guy in a CMJr suit?

The thing is that the only person who calls him “Captain Marvel Junior” is Satano. Freddy calls himself Captain Marvel. I think they just adapted the look of the comic and adapted it however they liked. Satano is hit by the same explosion and develops similar powers.

I went over to David Sims site with the whole contract, and while I understand some of his points, the whole job is worth $1500. Probably not worth the hassle for DC to have one of their junior attorneys look at his changes, Given David’s history, they probably were a little cautious of working with him anyway. Our loss as I would have loved to see what he would have come up with. Now I have to look at my copy and figure out which story he would have worked on.

Regarding Bravo’s Captain MArvel Jr stories, they are fully legal.

Paris-Graphic did buy rights of Captain marvel from the same entity that would sell them to miller & son ( mick Anglo’s marvelman – its due to the fact taht fawcett did cease to publish in those days ,and the rights for oversea were free to sell – Fawcett cease to publish Captain marvel in ’53, both captain amrvel jr, and mick anglo take on him began shortly after)

the wife of the director of paris-graphic did the scripts for captain marvel Jr, she never read any of the orignal material..only knew that they had baught, name, costume, …. etc .. so she came up with new origins, and stories.

So any european , if they buy the rights from the descendants , or the people who old the rights from the Debain family ( paris-graphic) can come up with a new series staring freddie as captain marvel jr (or any member of the marvel family woch the Debains paid for).

Question: Could/can the comics be called “Captain Marvel” in Belgium? Or ” do they, do have to go with the Belgian Shazam?!

Note: the “Belgian Shazam” sounds like an entree at IHOP that’s 1350 calories, and worth each one.

That´s some great Uderzo art, even better than his first Asterix album.

Regarding Bravo’s Captain MArvel Jr stories, they are fully legal.

Paris-Graphic did buy rights of Captain marvel from the same entity that would sell them to miller & son ( mick Anglo’s marvelman – its due to the fact taht fawcett did cease to publish in those days ,and the rights for oversea were free to sell – Fawcett cease to publish Captain marvel in ’53, both captain amrvel jr, and mick anglo take on him began shortly after)

the wife of the director of paris-graphic did the scripts for captain marvel Jr, she never read any of the orignal material..only knew that they had baught, name, costume, …. etc .. so she came up with new origins, and stories.

So any european , if they buy the rights from the descendants , or the people who old the rights from the Debain family ( paris-graphic) can come up with a new series staring freddie as captain marvel jr (or any member of the marvel family woch the Debains paid for).

Thanks for the info, ollieno!

That´s some great Uderzo art, even better than his first Asterix album.

And that’s ten years before he did Asterix! Amazing.

So Roger Stern dreamed up the “mental attitude-response variator ray”?

He really wasn’t a fan of M.A.R.V.’s, was he?

Hehe, yeah, I mention the cleverness of the acronym in the Abandoned an’ Forsaked piece linked above.

Probably just well Sim pulled out of the Fables GN. I shudder to think what Sim would have done to the strong female characters in Fables.

Sadly, that is just a tad above my third grade French reading level, and it’s not great for my eyes, but I got ‘Je serai Le Maitre du Monde! Alors! Ah! Ah! Ah!

‘I will rule the world! Bwahahahaha!’

Comics works in every language.

Thanks for filling us in on the Black Cat story. Too bad Marv doesn’t remember his other plans for Jonah.
Sims questions sound nit-picky, but having learned about DC stiffing Alan Moore on Watchman merchandising on a technicality (“It’s only promotional.”) I don’t blame him.

Yeah, i suspected that the CM jr story had him gaining his powers right then along with Satano… though that seemed to make so little sense that I just wanted someone who could actually read it to confirm it (and yes it looked like French text to me, but again, I wasn’t going to just assume it was.) Very interesting to learn more about the post-Fawcett, pre-DC comics status of Captain Marvel, in any case.

@ Jeff Ryan , the name in bravo magazine (francophone magazine , france, belgium, switserland .. ) was capitaine marvel jr.. the french for captain.; there would be legal issues.. but not so hard to dismiss.

at the same time uderzo did creat Asterix with Gosciny , he did create ” tanguy et laverdure, les chevaliers du ciel” with JM Charlier.

some pages
http://www.sceneario.com/mobile-bd-9364.html
http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/images_produits/zoom_planche_bd/5/0/4/9782205055405_1.jpg

tanguy et laverdure were later on drawn by Jijé ( the one that teaches many of the things jean giraud later did on Blueberry ) and patrice serres ( former assistant of frank robbins)

Wow, TWO entries on the “JJJ goes insane” storyline (which I remember fondly for the good ol’ days). Brian, can you share any insight on why Marv Wolfman left/was moved of Spidey so abruptly? At least, being moved off a book halfway through a two-part story SEEMS abrupt…

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[…] Comic Book Legends Revealed #370 | Comics Should Be Good … 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 Here's my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends . 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! Comments below . […]

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