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Comic Book Legends Revealed #387

Welcome to the three hundredth and eighty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, was Cable at one time really meant to be an older version of Cannonball? Plus, what’s the deal with the comic strip where the Winnie the Pooh characters are all jerks to each other? Finally, was Manhunter originally intended to be connected to the original character?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and eighty-six.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: At one point, Cable was going to be an older version of Cannonball.


A ways back (damn, actually three years ago), I did a whole column devoted just to straightening out various legends about the origin of Cable. One open question I left in that column was posed by a reader named Carl, who noted:

Gee, I’d always heard Cable was supposed be the future self of Cannonball.

I meant to ask Rob Liefeld about it then, but never got around to it until just recently. I asked Rob and he said that yes, Cable was indeed intended to be an older version of Cannonball.

In X-Force #7, Cannonball is seemingly killed…

This kicks off a flashback in X-Force #8 (with guest art by Mike Mignola!) about why Cable went back in time in the first place to hook up with the New Mutants. It was all about becoming the mentor to Cannonball…

In X-Force #9, Cannonball does, indeed, return to life.

His special healing power has never actually been erased from continuity, by the way.

So what Liefeld planned on doing was to reveal that due to a memory gap, Cable did not realize that Cannonball was actually himself as a young man, so he went back in time to mentor HIMSELF!

Rob noted “A character like Wolverine has had multiple false origins, mysteries, I felt the same could be done with Cable.”

So there ya go, Carl!

Thanks a lot to Rob Liefeld for the information.

Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Was “Dirty Diana” About Diana Ross and/or Princess Diana?

Did David Sarnoff Work a Telegraph Three Days Straight Covering the Titanic Sinking?

COMIC LEGEND: There was a Winnie the Pooh comic strip where the characters acted a lot more aggressively than most Winnie the Pooh fans are used to.


My pal Justin Davis sent me a request the other day. Simply put, he wanted to know if this was a real comic strip or a joke using photoshop…

Oddly enough, it is a real strip. Writer Don Ferguson and artist Richard Moore did a syndicated Winnie the Pooh comic strip that ran from 1978 to 1988 (with reprints of the original strips running from then on. I believe some places still run the reruns).

The strip was noteworthy for how many of the plots involved the various A.A. Milne & E.H. Shepard characters just being jerks to each other.

Here are some more examples…

It is really quite surprising that Disney was cool with this take on their characters. It’s actually pretty darn good stuff.

They really had a bit of an edge to them, even when they weren’t being jerks to each other…

Thanks to Justin for the suggestion!

Check out some more Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Did Clay Aiken Learn That He Lost American Idol Before The Results Were Revealed?

Did Season 8 of American Idol Have a Problem With a Phone Sex Company Owning Similar Phone Numbers to Their Show?

COMIC LEGEND: Manhunter was originally intended as an updated version of the Jack Kirby Manhunter


In the third issue of Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson’s classic Manhunter series in Detective Comics #439, we are given an origin to Paul Kirk, Manhunter…

Seems pretty straightforward that Goodwin and Simonson were doing an update on Jack Kirby’s Manhunter, right?

However, that was NOT the original intent of the series!

As Simonson explained in Modern Masters to Eric Nolen-Weathington and Roger Ash, Goodwin had come up with a brand-new character who had a healing factor and was a clone and they just decided to use the Manhunter name because it was a good one (and DC owned the name).

Story continues below

It was only AFTER they had begun the series that they decided that perhaps they SHOULD tie in this new character with the original Paul Kirk, Manhunter, and that became an important part of the series (as Simonson notes, with only eight pages to work with, it made opening up the back story a lot easier when they could just work in the established Kirk character).

Thanks to Eric Nolen-Weathington, Roger Ash and Walter Simonson for 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.

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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!


Holy crap! I love those Pooh comics. If only we could have a whole Disney movie of that.

I’m pretty sure that in X-Force 50, when they ended the whole X-Ternal plotline by having Selene kill them all (best abandoning and forsaking ever), they had somebody say, “Yeah, Cannonball’s not really an X-Ternal.” Of course, they didn’t offer a new explanation for why he came back from the dead that one time, but you can’t have everything.

Most of those Pooh comics would work as Peanuts ones pretty well.

“His “X-Ternal” status has never actually been erased from continuity, by the way. ”

I read somewhere else (*cough* *cough*) that Selene revealed Sam was never an X-Ternal after she killed all of them off, around X-Force #50.


actually in X-force #54 when Selene kill all the externals it was clearly said that Cannonball never was an external, so it probably counts as a retcon

I was about to say the same thing as James. Those really do seem like Peanuts cartoons.

Fair enough, I should say that his ability to return from the dead has never been erased from continuity.

Shucks, don’t they know Cannonball’s pretty near invulnerable when he’s blastin’? Maybe he should mention that once in a while.

So when are we going to see http://www.Poohdickery.com ?

Poohdickery would be awesome, since there are ten years’ worth of this strip, I’m sure there are a lot more examples.

Michael P beat me to it, but yeah, they just threw out that Cannonball wasn’t really an X-Ternal when they offed all of them, pretty much wiping away all the mutant Highlander stories that could ever be written.

Maybe Cannonball’s really Captain Jack Harkness.

I remember this Pooh strip. I’ll admit now that I was biased against it from the outset because I was a huge fan of the A.A. Milne originals and hated the Disney version. Looking at it now, it’s clear there was a whole different take going on–which of course is even farther from the Milne version, but I can kinda appreciate it now because I don’t really consider the Disney versions the same characters anyway. Sure, I can see Disney Pooh being a dick, no problem. He was voiced by the same guy who played the python Kaa, for fluff’s sake.

Cannonball not being an X-Ternal anymore yet having come back from the dead anyway with no other explanation retconned in still makes more sense than half of the usual Marvel character resurrections.

Brian from Canada

October 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

Are those Pooh strips reprinted somewhere? Because I’d love to have a nice trade of them on my bookshelf… especially for the times Disney Pooh fans visit and fawn over everything Pooh (can’t wait to see their faces!).

Brian from Canada

October 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

Actually, Morrison technically answered Cannonball’s immortality with the concept of secondary mutation. Most of the X-Men have them: Jean, Iceman, Beast, A[rcha]ngel, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Emma Frost, etc.

In fact, if you look at the fact that Iceman can survive being blown apart, and the healing factors of Mystique, Sabretooth and Wolverine, the idea that Cannonball has some sort of immortality isn’t that far off.

I have a bunch of Winnie the Pooh recordings with Jimmy Stewart (!) as the narrator, and the gang from the Hundred Acres Woods are more like Spanky’s Gang — quite different than the Disney version.

… and yet, these strips ARE the Disney designs… hmmm.

Really, are the Pooh strips really more shocking than the suicidal Mickey Mouse strips that ran way back when?

[…] They’re kinda jerks to each other in the service of a laugh, but they’re pretty fun. Here’s the link – scroll down past the lousy X-men stuff, with the lousy Rob Liefield art, and there are more […]

Never, EVER show alternating pages of Leifield art and Mignola art… the contrast in quality was so great my brain suffered whiplash. It’s like eating alternating spoonfuls of cat poop and Filet Mignon.

Well, we know Cannonball is nigh invulnerable when he’s blastin’. Maybe he’s just always blastin’. :)

While I’ve always kind of liked the “Cable is Cyclops’ son” bit (admittedly, in part, for the sheer batshit insanity of it), Cable as a future version of Cannonball could have been interesting too.

Well, now I have to read my Manhunter trade again. Thanks.

Seriously, thanks. One of the very greatest runs in comics history.

I always heard that Rob Liefeld started the rumour that Cable was actually Cyclop’s son. I guess it was just a rumour.

Willie Everstop

October 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Cannonball’s powers were being affected by the mutant Phantazia at the time. My guess is his wonky blast field interacted with Sauron’s energy leech / regenerative powers allowing Sam to heal from a near fatal wound.

I used to tell people that Nathan Summers and Nathan Richards were the same person. Which means Professor X actually caused the Fantastic Four to happen.

“Look, same armour, bionic eye, same first name, it is totally the same person.”

I’m trying to think of a Nathan Richards, and the closest I can come up with is Nathaniel Richards, like Reed’s dad or Kang/Immortus/Iron Lad/etc.

I was reading the X-Men Future Timeline handbook last night and the writer of that (under the guise of Cable’s files) noted that Cannonball’s brother, Josh/Icarus, had healing powers and maybe that it ran in the family (albeit with Cannonball it only extended to himself).

Brian, I doubt that Liefeld is remembering correctly. Here’s why:
1) Around the time when Nathan Summers was sent into the future, Portacio was doing interviews and saying that Nathan would become someone important.
2)On the last page of X-Factor 68, where Nathan is sent into the future, Cable appears prominently.
3)In New Warriors Annual 1, Cable is referred to as “Nathan Winters”
4) “A part of you was but a child, Nathan. And I was a projected energy matrix. We are fortunate we survived at all.” This can only refer to the events of X-Factor 68, and was the first clue that Professor was Ship. If Cable was originally intended to be Cannonball, then who was Professor supposed to be?
Brian, have you asked Fabian Nicieza what the plans for Cable were? He scripted X-Force 7-9, and I’m wondering if he had different ideas about Cable’s origin than Liefeld.

The Manhunter tale was one of the greatest of the 1970s, though it probably doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves!

@Michael Liefeld’s plots predate Nicieza’s, and of course they are way before X-Cutioner’s Song. During the last issues of New Mutants it’s clear that Cable has a special interest in Sam.

Freyes, my point was that Nicieza was scripting the last issues of New Mutants and the early issues of X-Force- he might have had a different idea of Cable’s origin than Liefeld, who was plotting. The New Warriors Annual I mentioned came out a couple of weeks before X-Force 1 and was scripted by Nicieza.

Michael makes the mistake of thinking that there was a unified game plan for the X books back then. Silly Michael! ;)

Remember that Pooh strip when he got his head stuck in a jar of hunny and suffocated and died? Good stuff.

Is anyone else shocked by the (relative) lack of Liefeld bashing? It’s weird how academic these comments have been. I must have logged on to alternate reality interwebs today.

Manhunter was awesome. I was blown away when I first read it, and then again rereading the collected edition. And one of the few deaths that’s never been reversed, as I don’t count the clones who turned up a couple of times.
The professor was Ship? Mystique has healing factor? I had no idea.

Cannonball has such potential to be a great character, but when i writer tries to make him a level A, some other comes and makes him B level again.

“Cannonball was actually himself as a young man, so he went back in time to mentor HIMSELF!” interesting Liefeld would claim this, since that’s the entire set-up of his and Kirkman’s short-lived The Infinite. Minus the memory loss of course.

P. Boz, many of us have learned not to look directly at Liefeld’s drawings lest our souls flee our bodies.

Michael, to be fair, near the end of the entry has:
‘Rob noted “A character like Wolverine has had multiple false origins, mysteries, I felt the same could be done with Cable.”’

If you want to create confusion over what someone’s real origin is, then introducing different origins is an obvious method.

Is that Richard Moore the same artist who did the Boneyard and Far West series for NBM and Antarctic? I know he did some work for Disney’s Comics & Stories, so I was curious if he had further ties to Disney…

Oh, that’s an awesome question, Andrew. That would be neat.

I do know that the “Erik Larsen” who was a storyboard guy on Robin Hood and other Disney animated films is NOT the Savage Dragon guy, tho.

One of the oddities of including that Golden Age Manhunter (of which there were two that DC owns) in the history of the Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter is that it makes Manhunter one of the few Golden Age superheroes to have existed on Earth One (the pre-Crisis variety). There were others of course, but not too many.

Also, I found the title for that legend a little confusing in that it wasn’t clear which Manhunter was based on a previous Manhunter. There have been numerous Manhunter characters in DC comics (the two Golden Age ones, the Manhunter robots, the Martian Manhunter, the 90s Manhunter Chase Lawler, the female Manhunter Kate Spencer… oh, and Kirk DePaul, a variant of the Paul DeKirk Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter). So, asking if Manhunter was based on Manhunter is a little unclear.

Also, I found the title for that legend a little confusing in that it wasn’t clear which Manhunter was based on a previous Manhunter. There have been numerous Manhunter characters in DC comics (the two Golden Age ones, the Manhunter robots, the Martian Manhunter, the 90s Manhunter Chase Lawler, the female Manhunter Kate Spencer… oh, and Kirk DePaul, a variant of the Paul DeKirk Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter). So, asking if Manhunter was based on Manhunter is a little unclear.

Hence the specification of “the Jack Kirby Manhunter,” of which there was only one.

It’s fairly shocking to see some of those Winnie the Pooh strips.
and I love the panel of the charging elephant in the Manhunter origin.

Was there anything (not done by Neal Adams) in the seventies done by DC that was better than Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson’s Manhunter?

I think I’d love the series just for the scene where Manhunter goes up against his teacher–and for once the student doesn’t surpass the teacher and gets his butt kicked.

>> Was there anything (not done by Neal Adams) in the seventies done by DC that was better than Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson’s Manhunter? <<

Wein and Wrightson's SWAMP THING, for one.

How about next time you’ve got Rob talking you ask why the guy’s named “Cable”? It’s always puzzled me.

Charlie Ward: I think I may have brought this up on some other post at some point, but I had an old issue of “Marvel Age” magazine (sort of Marvel’s own version of “Comic Shop News” that they used to give away for free at some shops back in the day) wherein they interviewed the then up-and-coming Liefeld. They had a page with a few in-progress sketches of characters he was developing, and one of them was this dude with a metal arm and a scar over one of his eyes. I long ago lost the issue, so I can’t quote it exactly, but in the text next to that sketch Liefeld had written something along the lines of “This guy’s from an alternate future, so I want to name him something technological sounding, like Bolt or Cable.”

If anyone could use their internet-geek powers to find that quote so I don’t sound like I’m talking out of my ass, I would be eternally grateful.

I have some old Marvel Ages, and I know I’ve got one from when X-Force debuted. I’ll take a look-see if I can find one and maybe see the sketch you mean, TJ.

Yes, my first thought when I hear a name like Bolt or Cable is that they must come from a technologically advanced society.

[quote]Hence the specification of “the Jack Kirby Manhunter,” of which there was only one.[/quote]

That doesn’t address the issue I was talking about. That’s not the Manhunter that’s vague. Saying “Manhunter is based on the Jack Kirby Manhunter” doesn’t make it clear who the *first* Manhunter in the sentence is.

Are you saying that Chase Lawler was based on the Jack Kirby Manhunter?
Are you saying that Kate Spencer was based on the Jack Kirby Manhunter?
Are you saying that Kirk DePaul was based on the Jack Kirby Manhunter?
Are you saying that Paul DeKirk was based on the Jack Kirby Manhunter?

That’s where the vagueness is.

That must have been some pretty short-lived confusion, since the first sentence of the writeup that follows (and of course all the art) makes it instantly apparent which Manhunter he’s talking about. At least I’d hope the confusion was short-lived.

[…] Comic Book Legends Revealed #387 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) Rate this:Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

I interviewed Liefeld for a public access comix tv show right after Image first started. The subject of Cable came up. He said the name Cable is an amalgam of Cain & Able. Cable & Stryfe where originally suppose to be brothers and story lines where suppose to be based on the biblical Cain & Able. Liefelds dad was also a preacher of some type so he did reference the bible a lot in his storylines.

That would be Abel, not Able. And that’s kind of a ridiculous anagram, because it’s not like anybody’s ever going to look at that name and think anything other than the word “cable.”

Amalgam, I mean, not anagram. It’s clearly not an anagram.

Those Pooh strips feel kinda like stock from a generic Peanuts-esque ‘group of friends’-type strip that they repurposed for the job they happened to be on.

I’m pretty sure I remember seeing Liefield’s design proposal for Cable and it indicated he just wanted a “techno” sounding name, and as examples he had written words like Wire, Cable, etc.

Now if Rob Liefield can learn to draw and write like all those pinheaded fanboys;he might not be such comic industry joke.

Manhunters is a character who deserves more notice. The industry is far to concerned with marketing sure bet crape;that they are inlove with to remember such better characters like Paul Kirk Manhunter.Then again;maybe he was just intelligent for the industry’s professions fan boy idiots to handle.

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