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Welcome to the three hundredth and seventy-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn how close Bill Finger came to receiving credit for the Tim Burton Batman film! Plus, was Warren Ellis’ City of Silence originally intended for Marvel Comics? And what is the deal with Douglock and Cyberlock?
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and seventy-seven.
COMIC LEGEND: Bill Finger nearly received credit on the Tim Burton Batman film.
I talked to you last week about Marc Tyler Nobleman’s book about Bill Finger (with art by Ty Templeton). To refresh, it is a well-written and well-drawn book that I would definitely recommend for parents to show their kids so that their kids can learn the true history of how Batman was created (you can buy it here).
However, on top of Bill The Boy Wonder being a good picture book, Nobleman has extras in the back of the book that are absolutely fascinating. Kids can read the book for the interesting story up front with the great Templeton artwork. Adults, though, can read the book for the extras at the end, which includes all the amazing research Nobleman did into Finger’s life.
Well, Nobleman keeps up the effort on his website, Noblemania. Recently, Nobleman tried to get Finger a credit in The Dark Knight Rises, if only for coining the term “The Dark Knight.” It was to no avail. However, Nobleman in his research discovered that Finger nearly got credit in the Tim Burton Batman film!
Finger’s ex-wife, Lyn Simmons and her son, Steve Simmons, tried to get Warner Brothers to give Bill credit.
Here is a letter Lyn wrote…
Then, amazingly, here is a note from Steve to his mom saying Warner Brothers was willing to play ball!
Here, Lyn had to waive all monetary rights…
But now, from a later letter, Lyn explains to reporter Ben Fong-Torres that it all fell apart…
The most popular theory is that Warner Brothers balked when they learned that Lyn was not his widow, but his ex-wife. Another theory is one advanced by Bob Kane at the time. A general, “If they give Finger credit, they’d have to give ALL of the Batman writers credit! And they might not be willing to waive monetary rights!”
Still, isn’t it fascinating how close it came? Check out Nobleman’s post on the subject for even more information about how close they came. More letters and more articles!
Thanks to Marc Tyler Nobleman for all the amazing research.
COMIC LEGEND: Warren Ellis’ City of Silence was originally intended for Marvel Comics.
STATUS: Basically True
City of Silence was a good cyber-punk mini-series by Warren Ellis and Gary Erskine from Image Comics in 2000.
Reader Travis Pelkie wrote in to ask, though, whether the series was initially intended to be published at Marvel Comics.
I asked Warren Ellis and he explained:
CITY OF SILENCE was originally produced for Epic Comics. Me and Gary Erskine, with D’Israeli on colours. Marie Javins was the commissioning editor. This was the first full creator-owned project I’d sold to an American publisher. (In fact, it was only the second full project I’d sold to the States, the first being a two-issue arc on LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT for Archie Goodwin.) And by “produced” I mean the whole thing, everything you saw in its eventual publication. We were all done, the whole thing was in the can, graphics and all, ready to go to solicits — and then the entire Epic operation was shitcanned. Eventually, we got all the materials back from Epic, and basically turned over an entire finished project to Image to publish. The only new additions to the work as published are the couple of computer-generated covers Gary did.
I believe the original series was to be called the Silencers.
Thanks to Travis for the question and thanks to Warren for the answer!
COMIC LEGEND: Douglock was a continuation from Fabian Nicieza’s Cyberlock character.
Awhile back, reader Jacob had a question about the character Douglock, who debuted in the pages of Excalibur…
He seemed to be a combination of Doug Ramsey and Warlock (hence the nickname “Douglock”)…
Here’s Kitty Pryde freaked out by the appearance of Douglock…
Douglock eventually became a supporting character in Excalibur and eventually got his own series, where it was revealed that he was flat out Warlock, just taking on the appearance of Doug.
Jacob wondered if this was what Fabian Nicieza had in mind with the X-Force Annual in 1992 where Nicieza (and artist Greg Capullo) debuted the X-Force of the future…
I asked Fabian about it and at first he didn’t even recall that it was he who came up with it, but then just noted that he was simply looking for cool future ideas. He had nothing for the future in mind with any of the characters. And really, his ideas WERE very cool, as obviously the Cyberlock idea was, indeed, adapted by Scott Lobdell over in Excalibur. And eventually Nicieza used the PowerPax angle himself in New Warriors with Alex Power.
So there ya go, Jacob, no set plans for Douglock!
Thanks to Fabian Nicieza for the answer!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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See you all next week!
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