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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Easter Eggs – A Look at Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek’s Marvels #3

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).

Marvels #3 is a weird one since SO much of the issue is filled with the amazing spectacle of the Fantastic Four taking on Galactus. Ross and Busiek handle the powerlessness of the events beautifully, but it does not leave a ton of room for the easter eggs that the first two issues had.

At the time, there ARE a lot of people who very well COULD be intended as easter eggs that I Just don’t know for sure, so unless someone else out there wishes to point them out, I’m going to leave them be for now.

Here are the few outright Easter Eggs that I can identify…

First off, Busiek does the first of his excellent (and yet extremely hard to read) newspaper gags where he has J. Jonah Jameson mock the very idea of Galactus. In doing so, Busiek, of course, is pointing out all the various jokes people have made about Galactus over the years.

“So, he has a giant G on his chest? This nearly ominipotent being has the same alphabet as us?” Etc.

Funny stuff, if you can read it.

I’d love it if someone could scan me a clearer copy of the similar bits in #4. I don’t know if anyone’s copy is clearer than mine, but mine is not particularly clear, even when I scan it REALLY big.

After the Galactus ordeal, we see a man who just has to be based on Alex Ross’ father, Clark Ross (who later became the basis for Norman McCay, star of Kingdom Come)…

Finally, as reader leandro notes, Richard Nixon is one of the people who are a total jerk to the “Marvels” after the Galactus ordeal…

Like I said, there are a bunch of other figures that look like they COULD be intentional cameos like Nixon, so if you know of any for sure, let me know and I’ll add ‘em.


You have a cameo on the front page of the Bugle there! It’s Russell Johnson (or The Professor from Gilligan’s Island) making a cameo as Reed Richards!

My favorite was Don Knotts as Frederick Foswell.

Get the Marvels 10th Anniversary hardcover edition. They actually include the text from those fake articles so you can read them.

Matthew Johnson

August 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

The page with the newspapers also includes the phrase “Larry Marder is God”: http://web.archive.org/web/20080317112618/http://gunkldunk.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/bean-spotting-marvels-3-1994/

Is it worth mentioning Timothy Dalton as Tony Stark?

Sorry. Not meant to be anonymous.

One issue of this series has the members of Badfinger walking down the street in the 70’s.

was going to point out marvel not only included alex father who was became norman mckay in kc. but also the little bit of gillgans islands proffsor used for reed. for one could make a whole series of easter eggs in marvels

That’s Nixon?!? It looks more like Al Feldstein to me.

I don’t think that’s Nixon.

And yeah, Tony Stark is Dalton-playing-Flynn in MARVELS because Alex fastened on THE ROCKETEER before encountering the real Flynn, except for one panel where he’s actually Flynn as a favor to me.

I’m in #3 twice, once as a Bugle reporter (standing next to my wife) and once as a drunk in the street, seeking end-of-the-world pretzels.

Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott all appear in MARVELS #3 as well.

Why have I never noticed that “G” on Galactus before?

You thought it was two fishes?

Kurt, I love the fact that you’re dropping in to share your actual knowledge. That’s great – thanks! And since you mentioned that Kirby is in the issue, is that him with the cigar in the last panel above?

Am I imagining things, or does Jonah in the newspaper photo look like he’s based on JK Simmons, who would later play JJJ in the Sam Raimi Spidey trilogy?

Yes, you’re imagining things. This is the flipside of Easter Eggs, when you start looking for them, and turning any slight resemblance into intention.

Alex’s JJJ looks like the movie JJJ because the movie JJJ is a pretty faithful rendition of the comics JJJ, not because Alex was trying to make the character look like J.K. Simmons. Who knows, maybe Simmons’ makeup was based on what Alex painted. [But more likely on Romita and Ditko.]

JJJ in MARVELS was modeled by comics artist Andrew Pepoy, as it happens.

I’m pretty sure that’s Jack Kirby in the last image on the right with the cigar in his mouth.

Ian – as I told Craig, nope.

@Kurt B– any chance on giving us the newspaper text?

The text is all in the 10th anniversary hardcover edition.

Plus more, actually, since it includes the stuff that was cut off or overlapped.

It’s been way too long since I’ve read this series. The only cameo from this issue I remember off the top of my head, assuming my memory is accurate, is Stan Lee drinking in the middle of the day in a bar, heheh. :)

Kurt, are you SURE that’s not Kirby there? :)

There were other actors “playing” roles in Marvels, iirc, but it’s been long enough I don’t know for sure who was who. I think some Namor closeups had him looking like Michael Keaton. Can’t remember others. To a certain degree, it pulls you out of the story, I think. YMMV

"O" the Humanatee!

August 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm

The suggestion by mrclam said that “Nixon” looks more like Al Feldstein accords with other impressions I have of that panel. The fellow in the glasses and fedora/rainhat looks like one of Dave Berg’s standard suburban husbands (or maybe Berg himself), while the guy in the cap with the cigarette dangling out of his mouth also looks like some staffer from Mad, though I’m not sure whom. So maybe it’s some kind of Mad tribute panel?

Thanks for the all the insight, Kurt!

Now if only someone with the 10th Anniversary edition would hook me up before next week. Come on, people!

Travis, I’m pretty sure Alicia Masters (from Reed and Sue’s wedding in last week’s column) was based on Linda Hamilton. Alex Ross based a lot of his women on her.

I always liked the Frank Zappa Dr. Strange.

hey Brian, I have the 10th Ann HC, I’ll try to scan in the pages for you tonight !

Awesome. Thanks!

Wow. I got a response from Busiek. That’s like a normal person getting a response from, I dunno, god? Or some lesser deity. :) all hail Marvels!

@Michael: Kurt is really responsive to his fans at his formspring.me page. Do a search there for his name. Extremely fan friendly!

Galactus did have a G on his chest in first appearance.

No doubt you could do an entire segment on comic creators appearing in books, but I was reading Transmetropolitan #23 and noticed a lot of faces that are clearly meant to Be People. Ellis and Robertson are pretty unmistakeable on page 9.

Awww… Not Nixon? I was almost sure… But now I’m curious about Kirby and Sinnott’s appearance. There’s that panel with a bunch of elderly men listening to the radio, sitting on a car… Maybe they are there? I’ll have to find my issue and do some googling.

I think Toozin is doubly confused. Not only the picture in the paper is not based on J. K. Simmons, but it’s not even a picture of Jameson, but of Reed Richards.

He does kinda look like Simmons, though. Even though he’s based on an entirely different person.

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