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Comic Book Easter Eggs – A Look at Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek’s Marvels #2

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!).

This week, we continue a four-part series looking at easter eggs in Marvels, taking it one issue at a time (since there are SO many easter eggs in Marvels).

In Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ Marvels #2, our hero, Phil Sheldon, meets a publisher for his book. First off, Seduction of the Innocent is seen in the background of Bennett Schwed’s office.

But now, Bennett Schwed himself is almost certainly a reference to Bennett Cerf, famed publisher of Random House and Peter Schwed, editorial chairman of Simon and Schuster…

Kurt Busiek notes that the character was based visually on the late, great Del Close (the famed improvisational actor/teacher – I wrote about Close’s comic book connection here).

Later on, Elizabeth Taylor appears at an Alicia Masters gallery opening…

Later on, Phil Sheldon and his family discover a young mutant girl named Maggie…

Alex Ross based her on a character from a story in Weird Science #20 called “The Loathsome”…

This one is a bit different. This newspaper article is from the first appearance of Bolivar Trask in X-Men #14…

So that probably doesn’t really count, in the sense that I haven’t been counting nods to Marvel continuity in the past (as that is, you know, the whole POINT of Marvels). But does this go beyond that? I dunno. When it doubt, though, throw it in!

Finally, we have the wedding of Reed and Sue, with the Beatles….

There looks to be some more celebrities. Can you name them all?

By the way, in what I guess could also be called an easter egg, the moment the scene is depicting is when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were turned away at the door. Notice Gabe Jones. He’s asking Nick Fury about Stan and Jack. So they are right behind the door at this moment. VERY clever bit from Ross and Busiek. Thanks to reader leandro for the Jack/Stan bit. I totally missed that.

Okay, two installments left to go! Go send me some suggestions for Marvels #3 and #4, people! E-mail them to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t post them in the comments!

54 Comments

Is that Elizabeth Taylor or Connie Francis?

I know Rob and Laura Petrie (from “The Dick Van Dyke Show”) are also in the wedding shot.

I love the reactions of each of the women next to a Beatle…except Ringo…poor Ringo…

It’s totally not important, but I always thought it was weird that in the wedding picture, the Beatles are scattered through the room, but there is someone next to each of them looking directly at them, instead of the happy couple. Clearly done on purpose.

I always think it’s odd when superheroes attend a wedding in costume. I know some of them have identities to protect, but some also have professional identities that they could be attending under. Or they could just be friends of the family…

The” artist’s representation” of a mutant slave driver in one of the newspapers seems awfully familiar. Is it taken from a panel in an issue of X-Men or an EC comic? I’m sure I remember the answer to this…

Isn’t that Clark Kent in the back row on the left in his classic blue suit (blue because of the chemicals that made it super compressible, by the way).

Isn’t that Clark Kent in the back row on the left in his classic blue suit

I think it’s actually Wally Cox aka Mr. Peepers from the ’50s sitcom.

Is that Ronald Reagan in the back left row on the aisle?

Bennett Schwed is visually based on the guy who modeled for him, the late Del Close.

And the appearance of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore at the wedding is one of my few suggestions. Alex had originally drawn in Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, but they weren’t actually there, so we had to change them to someone else. That was my suggestion.

The “mutant overlords” illo in the newspaper is directly based on an “artist’s interpretation” of that kind of future shown in the comics at the time.

kdb

Re: Rob and Laura
The Dick Van Dyke show was the best ever, IMHO. Ever hear Dick sing the theme song? It’s a treat – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130739954.

Good replacement couple.

Matthew Johnson

August 16, 2012 at 8:03 am

@Scott: That’s the great thing about being a superhero — you always have something appropriate to wear to a formal occasion.

“Marvels?”
“That’s what I call them. I think it would make a good title.”

ABC should listen to this advice for Whedon’s TV series.

TroyToTheMaxExtreme

August 16, 2012 at 8:06 am

I’ve since gone back and started re-reading Marvels, and Ross puts a lot of detail in panels. Take Alicia Masters art showing, you can see Matt Murdock admiring the Daredevil statue and many others. Its taken me longer to read it this time because now I’m looking for all these things.

“The ”artist’s representation” of a mutant slave driver in one of the newspapers seems awfully familiar. Is it taken from a panel in an issue of X-Men or an EC comic? I’m sure I remember the answer to this…”
It’s from a b/w “newspaper illo” in X-Men #14 by Jack Kirby and Werner Roth.

Jolly Jonah is flanked by Willy Lumpkin and Sean Connery (or is he “in character” as James Bond)?

On the right, third row from the back, is Jackie Kennedy/Onassis, but who are the two guys flanking her?
The young one couldn’t be JFK since he was assassinated in 1963 and the Reed-Sue wedding was in ’65.

That’s not Connery or Bond. That’s Norman Osborn.

And no, that’s not Jackie Kennedy, either.

Elizabeth Taylor? I always thought it was Jo Anne Worley

“The ”artist’s representation” of a mutant slave driver in one of the newspapers seems awfully familiar. Is it taken from a panel in an issue of X-Men or an EC comic? I’m sure I remember the answer to this…”
It’s from a b/w “newspaper illo” in X-Men #14 by Jack Kirby and Werner Roth.

Sorry, I should have specified. When I said “from the first appearance of Bolivar Trask,” I meant X-Men #14, which is why I wasn’t sure if it really counts as an “easter egg,” since it was a direct reference to an issue of X-Men.

That’s not Sean Connery – looks more like Norman Osborn to me.

Bennett Schwed is visually based on the guy who modeled for him, the late Del Close.

Very cool. Thanks for the head’s up, Kurt!

Jackie Kennedy (and JFK) do appear in MARVELS #2, though. Or at least, people who look like them. They’re on page 8.

Can you imagine Marvel having art changed now based on a detail like “in the original story, Hank and Jan weren’t there.” That mentality seems like ancient history to me.

Spider Jerusalem

August 16, 2012 at 8:52 am

That looks like Roddy McDowall next to Liz Taylor.

Actually, in Avengers #141, Hank and Janet Pym confirm that they were, in fact, at Reed and Sue’s wedding, though, like the Scarlet Witch (who appears in the wedding scene in Marvels), they are not seen in Fantastic Four Annual #3. So deleting them was unnecessary.

@Scott, In Avengers #291, the Avengers went to a party thrown in their honor by the city of NY. All the women wore dresses and all the men wore tuxes (including Namor). Everyone who was trying to protect their identity, like Monica Rambeau and Dane Whitman, just wore domino masks in addition to their formal clothes. That made a lot more sense to me than attending a formal occasion in costume.

Still, I find it amusing that Iron Man showed up to a wedding wearing his battle armor. I find it even funnier that Reed is wearing his FF uniform instead of a tux. Ben’s tears are a nice touch that makes the whole scene even more amusing.

Iron Man actually showed up at the wedding as Tony Stark (wearing a top hat!) and Reed and Ben started out wearing tuxedos, but they all got into costume to fight off the army of super-villains that Doctor Doom sent to attack them.

i was also going to mention the appearance of jackie kennedy in marvels or at least alex trying to use a similar version . and also that lady saying its true she saw it kind of looks like the actress who played lois lane on the old super man tv show

>> Actually, in Avengers #141, Hank and Janet Pym confirm that they were, in fact, at Reed and Sue’s wedding, >>

Except they weren’t.

At the time, Hank was very much retired, to the point that a scene in AVENGERS states that nobody knows where he is. He also retired in part because his powers had (as they so often do) become dangerous to him, and he didn’t dare use them — it took Jan being in danger to overcome that.

And he wouldn’t have attended in his civilian ID, or even received an invitation that way, because at the time no one knew his true identity; Hank and Jan didn’t reveal their identities to the Avengers until AVENGERS #28 or so.

This has been a bit much-mangled by Marvel continuity over the years, as people simply assume that Hank and Jan’s IDs were known to the public (or at least to the Avengers) all along, but they weren’t. And Hank’s reference to having been at the wedding in #141 is a mistake; Steve Englehart simply assumed they were there without checking whether they could have been. But I had to figure out what costume he’d be attending in, which led to the discovery that he wasn’t around or doing things in costume at that point.

[Hank also says they met Patsy Walker at the wedding, but Patsy didn't get in; she was in the crowd outside as a gawker. The idea that they were there, met her in the crowd outside and remembered one excited teenage girl years later doesn't add up.]

An argument could be made to make it possible they could have been there, but it requires so much stretching that it was better just to leave them out. People who want to go by #141 can assume they’re there somewhere, meeting fans in the milling crowd, and people who know they were retired at the time and the Avengers couldn’t forward an invitation to them can assume they’re not.

kdb

I’m just glad Reed and Sue’s marriage hasn’t been retconned yet.

^give it time…

Yeah, but Kurt, isn’t it possible that Henry Pym & Janet Van Dyne were invited without Reed & Sue being aware of their costumed identities? Hank was a brilliant scientist and would certainly have been known to Reed, and Jan was an heiress whose father’s murder by those dirty Commies would have been public news. They could have attended without the other Avengers even being aware.
Similarly, wasn’t Patsy Walker a model, and therefore not just “one excited teenage girl”, and therefore be someone Jan, the most fashion-conscious heroine of the 1960′s, would recognize on sight?
(Incidentally, I remember reading that Englehart line about “We met her at Reed & Sue’s wedding” and instantly know they were talking about Patsy Walker. (She’d also been a supporting character in Englehart’s short-lived Beast series in Amazing Adventures.)

>> Yeah, but Kurt, isn’t it possible that Henry Pym & Janet Van Dyne were invited without Reed & Sue being aware of their costumed identities? >>

This is some of that stretching I was talking about. You could even say they attended by time-travel; you can justify just about anything if you want to. But even so, Alex would have needed to redraw the bit, because he drew them in costume. And of course, anyone who prefers to think that’s how it worked can simply imagine they were there.

>> Similarly, wasn’t Patsy Walker a model, and therefore not just “one excited teenage girl”, and therefore be someone Jan, the most fashion-conscious heroine of the 1960?s, would recognize on sight? >>

No. Patsy was a high school student in Centerville. She did some minor local modeling, but she wasn’t Millie Collins or Chili Storm.

>> (Incidentally, I remember reading that Englehart line about “We met her at Reed & Sue’s wedding” and instantly know they were talking about Patsy Walker. (She’d also been a supporting character in Englehart’s short-lived Beast series in Amazing Adventures.) >>

I did, too. That’s what Steve intended — but it’s still, to my mind, a continuity error.

kdb

Actually, wasn’t there a PATSY comic book based on the Marvel Universe Patsy Walker that was written by her mother? Perhaps that would explain how Jan recognized her, since it would make her at least a minor celebrity.

I remember a Marvels Easter egg mentioned in an old issue of Wizard. I think there was a splash page where the X-Men first appear with the image lit red from Cyclops’ eye beams. The result was the shadow of his hand appearing on Jean Grey’s groin. This was a reference to Rembrant’s Night Watch painting which had a similar shadow to imply homosexuality.

>> Actually, wasn’t there a PATSY comic book based on the Marvel Universe Patsy Walker that was written by her mother?>>

That was a retcon. At the time Steve wrote his story, he couldn’t have used that as an explanation, because it hadn’t been established yet.

And since I didn’t have Hank and Patsy meet in MARVELS (though we did see Patsy and Hedy in the crowd), I wouldn’t have brought it up.

Great article.
I’m sure The Beatles and The Monkees appear in Kingdom Come, if you know where to look!
I love me some easter eggs. :)

Sorry, Kurt, I can’t believe the Wasp would let a little thing like Hank’s retirement stop her from attending Reed & Sue’s wedding. Since Hank & Jan both attended Reed & Sue’s engagement party, it’s safe to assume they had their wedding invitations before they retired from the Avengers. People don’t send out wedding invitations at the last minute (unless you’re Janet Van Dyne). And just because Hank couldn’t use his powers doesn’t mean he wouldn’t go to a wedding. But it does explain why we didn’t see him participate in the big battle. I think it requires more “stretching” to argue that they weren’t there.

>> Sorry, Kurt, I can’t believe the Wasp would let a little thing like Hank’s retirement stop her from attending Reed & Sue’s wedding.>>

You don’t have to think so.

Them not showing up in MARVELS doesn’t confirm they’re not there, after all; it merely doesn’t confirm they _are_ there. As I’ve noted a couple of times, people who want to believe they’re there can do so.

For my part, I think they’re not there not merely because Hank is retired, but because they’re out in the middle of the Atlantic on an experimental drilling rig, as revealed months later in ASTONISH #77, and however much Jan may have fumed, she wasn’t able to get a ride back to the States. It was a hard enough trip back when she had to make it under her own power.

But that provides another simple explanation for the #141 glitch: Patsy mobbed the engagement party, too, and that’s what Hank was referring to; he just called it “the wedding” because he’s a big old male galoot. They left the Avengers only two months publishing time after the engagement party; I don’t think the wedding date was set by then.

Just thought I’d point out a couple in the wedding scene that haven’t been mentioned:

Not sure this is exactly an Easter Egg, but Willie Lumpkin is halfway back on the left side of the aisle.
And, I’m pretty sure that – in front of Dum-Dum Dugan – Jimmy Olsen photographing the wedding.

Sorry – can’t help myself. Just a few more…

I believe the couple n the next to last row on the left, sitting on the aisle, are Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly).
And I think the guy on the extreme left of that same row is Jerry Lewis.
Finally, I think the guy in the center of the last row is Steve Allen, a popular comedian and talk-show host of the era, though no longer hosting the Tonight Show at the time of the wedding.

“But that provides another simple explanation for the #141 glitch: Patsy mobbed the engagement party, too, and that’s what Hank was referring to; he just called it “the wedding” because he’s a big old male galoot. They left the Avengers only two months publishing time after the engagement party; I don’t think the wedding date was set by then.”

So, Jan could have been mistaken about meeting Patsy at the wedding. What she really meant was that they met at the engagement party. Also, while the PATSY comic book existing in the Marvel Universe may not have been established at the time, what I meant was that it could be used retroactively to explain the error Steve Englehart made in AVENGERS #141.

>> So, Jan could have been mistaken about meeting Patsy at the wedding. What she really meant was that they met at the engagement party.>>

Jan just said she looked familiar. It was Hank who said they’d met her at the wedding, so Hank would be the one who accidentally referred to the engagement party that way. Which is far more in-character for him.

>> Also, while the PATSY comic book existing in the Marvel Universe may not have been established at the time, what I meant was that it could be used retroactively to explain the error Steve Englehart made in AVENGERS #141.>>

Not really. You could rewrite that scene — “There’s something familiar about that girl…” “Yeah, she used to have her own comic book” — but as written, the scene clearly states that Hank and Jan remember her from the wedding, not from her having a comic book.

Recognizing someone’s face from a comic book depiction would be odd, even if Jan was in the habit of reading teen humor comic books in her 20s, which we never really saw evidence of. If Al Hartley and Stan Goldberg drew those book in the Marvel U (as they did, according to the stories), tfe likenesses can’t have been very good.

kdb

Kurt, I just wanted to say how cool it is that you popped over here to carry on this discussion. It’s greatly appreciated.

“For my part, I think they’re not there not merely because Hank is retired, but because they’re out in the middle of the Atlantic on an experimental drilling rig, as revealed months later in ASTONISH #77, and however much Jan may have fumed, she wasn’t able to get a ride back to the States. It was a hard enough trip back when she had to make it under her own power.” — KDB

Well, I thought your initial arguments didn’t hold water, but I could buy this one.

“Them not showing up in MARVELS doesn’t confirm they’re not there, after all; it merely doesn’t confirm they _are_ there.” — KDB

Very true, they could be standing right next to Hawkeye in the image posted above, for all we know.

>> Also, while the PATSY comic book existing in the Marvel Universe may not have been established at the time, what I meant was that it could be used retroactively to explain the error Steve Englehart made in AVENGERS #141.>>

“Not really. You could rewrite that scene — “There’s something familiar about that girl…” “Yeah, she used to have her own comic book” — but as written, the scene clearly states that Hank and Jan remember her from the wedding, not from her having a comic book.”

What I was trying to explain by mentioning the PATSY comic book was something KDB had stated earlier:

“[Hank also says they met Patsy Walker at the wedding, but Patsy didn't get in; she was in the crowd outside as a gawker. The idea that they were there, met her in the crowd outside and remembered one excited teenage girl years later doesn't add up.]”

My point was that they might have remembered “one excited teenage girl” if she were a minor celebrity from having her own comic book. Whether or not they met at the wedding is another matter, and people do make mistakes like that once in awhile. All of the Marvel heroes supposedly had their own comics in the Marvel Universe, so maybe Hank & Jan used to receive complimentary copies of other Marvel publications, including PATSY?

Isn’t there a Comic Book Legends Revealed entry that shows that there were some illustrations in a 50′s sci-fi magazine that were the basis for the depictions of mutants in the Bolivar Trask “predictions”? I think that’s what Atomic Kommie Comics is talking about.
Also, Jan & Hank didn’t show at the wedding, but they attend Alicia’s exhibition. Also Don Blake and Jane Foster were there, too.
I love the details in that wedding panel. Quicksilver clapping at superspeed, Jameson and Osborn mumbling about these costumed freaks while everyone is celebrating…

I think in that CBLR about that Trask newspaper article, we never quite decided for sure if it was directly referencing a particular comic or old SF mag, or if it was just something done in that style.

Man, I love that in this thread people are arguing Marvel continuity with Kurt Busiek. Wow. It’s sorta like correcting the pope on the particulars of the Catholic Church, innit?

Did Phil Sheldon and Nick Fury ever encounter each other post-eyepatch? It’s been so long since I’ve read Marvels I can’t remember. Missed opportunity if they didn’t.

Isn’t there a Comic Book Legends Revealed entry that shows that there were some illustrations in a 50?s sci-fi magazine that were the basis for the depictions of mutants in the Bolivar Trask “predictions”? I think that’s what Atomic Kommie Comics is talking about.

Yeah, there is an Otto Binder story that is very similar to the drawings in the X-Men issue that had Trask’s first appearance, but the Trask first appearance drawings are unique.

I just want to also state how cool it is to see Kurt Busiek discussing continuity in this comments section. Maybe I should re-read Avengers Forever real quick so I can try to come up with something to stump him on. :)

@Jazzbo: You will try to stump Busiek.

You will fail.

You will cry yourself to sleep.

You will then start plotting against Mark Waid or Bob Rozakis.

You will fail.

This is nothing personal, it’s just that mere mortals cannot stump these men.

Or something.

Actually, it is quite cool to see Kurt here. I actually got to see him at an Ithacon (NY)…jeez, 15 years ago now? At least. It was after Marvels…Astro City probably was going…possibly Untold Tales of Spidey as well….

And I was a dumb kid too shy to walk up to him as he was walking around this small con in a high school cafeteria and tell him I dug his stuff. And now I think he lives on the other side of the country so I probably won’t get to see him at a con anytime soon.

But yeah, Mr Busiek, I dig your stuff. Come to Ithacon again someday! Barring that, at least convince Mark Waid that it’d be cool to go. Twice in the last 10 years or so Mark was gonna be there but couldn’t make it.

Look at me rambling again….

I just recently re-read Marvels and there’s another Beatles reference outside of the wedding scene. Also, that wedding scene where Reed and Sue are locking lips you can make out George Bush in the background. Anyone back me up?

It looks like there are a couple in the back rows that sorta kinda look like HW Bush, but it wouldn’t be prudent to say for sure one way or another.

hee hee.

Matthew Petersen

August 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm

In the back of the wedding, the door is open and Gabe Jones is whispering to Nick Fury. My bet is that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are in the hallway.

“The Human Torch was there with some pretty teenager.” Perhaps Natalie Wood?

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