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Comic Book Legends Revealed #392

Welcome to the three hundredth and ninety-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, it is a special “Addendum” week of Comic Book Legends Revealed. Each of this week’s three legends are riffing off a past column, whether it be a CBLR column or a different Comics Should Be Good column. Did DC Comics actually call Hellblazer “Hellraiser” at first? Was Bucky O’Hare based on the Star Wars character Jaxxon? Where did the idea of Alfred raising Bruce Wayne surprisingly first appear?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and ninety-one.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: DC was originally going to call Hellblazer “Hellraiser.”

STATUS: Basically True

Two weeks ago, in a spotlight Comics Should Be Good column on Hellblazer (which now looks kind of silly, since I went on about how Hellblazer was the longest-running DC or Marvel comic that had never been canceled or rebooted. I guess I jinxed things, eh?), I mentioned how Jamie Delano initially suggested that they title the new John Constantine ongoing series “Hellraiser,” but since there was a popular film with that name that had just been released, DC said no. At the time, I noted that Delano did not know if DC ever actually decided to use the idea before changing it or if they just dismissed it out of hand. I didn’t know, either. Luckily, you folks DID know. A few of you mentioned that you were sure you had seen the name used, but only Keith Richard actually sent me proof.

From Amazing Heroes #118…

From Amazing Heroes #120…

Finally, from Amazing Heroes #124…

So while it was never specifically Hellraiser without an S, close enough!

Thanks for the info, Keith!
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Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Did Gracie Allen Ever Actually Say “Goodnight, Gracie”?

Was There Really an Adult Version of Candid Camera Called CANDID Candid Camera?
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COMIC LEGEND: Bucky O’Hare was based on Jaxxon

STATUS: I’m Going With False

Awhile back, JK Parkin (of our awesome sister blog, Robot 6) asked me about the short-lived Star Wars character Jaxxon and whether there was any connection between Jaxxon and Bucky O’Hare, Larry Hama’s popular comic book series from Continuity Studios.

(JK’s question popped up in the comments section about a dozen times, as well)

Here’s Jaxxon, from 1978′s Star Wars #8…

Here’s Bucky O’Hare, from his 1984 comic book debut…

However, you might recall from an old Comic Book Legends Revealed that Bucky O’Hare was actually created back in 1978 as a project initially intended for DC Comics (where Hama was working as an editor at the time), so he was not created years after Jaxxon, but rather just a few months later.

I asked Hama about it and he said that there was no connection and that he had developed most of the story for what became Bucky O’Hare years earlier before actually creating the Bucky O’Hare character in 1978.

I don’t know of many comic book creators with a better track record for honesty than Larry Hama, so if Larry Hama says it is a coincidence, I have no reason to believe otherwise (he was not even working at Marvel when the Star Wars issue came out, as he was editing books at DC at the time), so I’m going with a false here.
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Check out some more Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed! All Lovin’ Spoonful legends!

Did The Lovin’ Spoonful Get Their Name From a Slang Term for Heroin?

Did The Lovin’ Spoonful Get Their Name From a Sexual Slang Term?

Were The Lovin’ Spoonful the Original Choice for the TV Series That Became the Monkees?
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COMIC LEGEND: The idea of Alfred raising Bruce Wayne after Bruce’s parents were killed was introduced in an episode of Super Powers.

STATUS: True

Awhile back, I did an Abandoned An’ Forsaked on the differing origins of how Alfred first met Bruce Wayne pre-Crisis.

I noted that surprisingly enough, it was not until after Crisis and Frank Miller’s Year One that Alfred was established as being the Wayne’s butler since Bruce was a child (an idea that Miller first introduced in Dark Knight Returns). However, amazingly enough, the idea appeared a year before Dark Knight Returns in, of all places, an episode of the Super Powers cartoon series!

Alan Burnett (who later worked on Batman: The Animated Series) wrote the 1984 episode, “The Fear,” which was also noteworthy for being the FIRST time that Batman’s origin was ever shown outside of comics. The serials and the TV series never showed how Bruce Wayne came to become Batman (nor did the film version of the TV series).

After Bruce’s parents are murdered, Alfred is shown taking care of him…

and being with him as Bruce trains to become Batman…

So you can certainly add this one to my recent post on Surprisingly Relatively Quite Recent Additions to the Batman Mythos!

Thanks to John McDonagh for suggesting I feature this one!

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!

52 Comments

Of course, there are many variations on Alfred’s origin, but I think going back to his original origin, his father used to be Thomas Wayne’s butler (so presumably, young Mahsta Bruce knew Alfred’s father, right?).

Does Frank Miller answer questions? The timing is indisputable, but I wonder if he would say this was a case of independent creation rather than inspiration.

Wow, look at Bruce’s eyes there in that 1st picture of the Alfred story — that’s a Bruce Timm look. Wow.

Forgive my lack of knowledge of the Batman story. Who raised Bruce after his parents’ death before this Super Powers episode introduced the idea of Alfred taking custody?

According to Silver Age comics, Chris, it was his Uncle Phillip. There was also a story where it was revealed that Uncle Phillip’s housekeeper, Mrs. Chilton, was actually the mother of Joe Chill.

For many years, Chris, they just didn’t address it. But as John notes, when they finally did, it was his Uncle Phillip.

Does Frank Miller answer questions? The timing is indisputable, but I wonder if he would say this was a case of independent creation rather than inspiration.

It does strike me as a bit odd that Miller would take inspiration from the Super Powers cartoon series, so, like the Bucky O’Hare situation, I would not be surprised in the least if it was a case of independent creation.

In the Adam West series they mention once that his parents murder inspired him to be Batman, it’s only mentioned once and never talked about again in any detail but it’s there in one of the first episodes.

Oh yeah, Josh, I meant to keep the word “showed” consistent (as the cartoon was the first time that the origin was showed), but I see I did use the word “told” erroneously at one point. I fixed it!

It’s surprising to realize that Batman was such a popular character without his motivation being known to audiences who didn’t read the comics.

It does strike me as a bit odd that Miller would take inspiration from the Super Powers cartoon series, so, like the Bucky O’Hare situation, I would not be surprised in the least if it was a case of independent creation.

Maybe he incorporated it unconsciously?

Also, why do you find it odd that Miller would take inspiration from the Super Powers cartoon series? Is it because you doubt he’d watch such a cartoon at all and therefore would have no exposure to the idea, or because you think if he did see it on the cartoon, he would consciously and deliberately decide not to use the idea and disdain it simply because it came from a children’s cartoon?

As for Bucky O’Hare, is it possible that the broad concept for O’Hare came about in 1978, but Jaxxon ended up influencing the final design? When O’Hare was created in 1978, was the color scheme the same as the published version?

Is it because you doubt he’d watch such a cartoon at all and therefore would have no exposure to the idea

Yes.

As for Bucky O’Hare, is it possible that the broad concept for O’Hare came about in 1978, but Jaxxon ended up influencing the final design? When O’Hare was created in 1978, was the color scheme the same as the published version?

Possible, I guess, but Hama says no.

Is Scarecrow in “The Fear?” If so, that episode is the first piece of fiction or entertainment that scared the hell out of me as a kid. I still remember being freaked out when it looked like the Scarecrow coming at the viewer and changing the channel.

It’s too bad Alan Burnett was never the regular writer on Batman or Detective. His few Batman stories are among the best the character’s ever had.

As a kid, I remember that last season of Super Powers Team to be the best Super Friends/Powers season since “Challeng of the Super Friends”. Looking back, it was probably even better.

Great, JKeane, now you have me imagining a crossover between Super Friends and Bendis’s Powers.

I’d forgotten about Alfred’s later addition, but now that I think about it I do remember reading a comic as a kid where Alfred sort of charges in and says he’ll be their manservant, then stumbles into the batcave while cleaning.

Now instead of a bat crashing through the window, it was Alfred who said, whilst dusting the bookshelves, “If I may make a suggestion, Master Bruce, have you considered becoming a bat?”

VERY interesting that such a now-integral part of the Batman mythos had its debut on the old “Super Powers” show! I surely saw it at some point, as I watched the show every week when I was a kid, but I have no memory of it. I need to track that episode down and give it a watch.

The Superfriends ep was one of the better ones they made; much more serious in tone than most of the rest of the series and worth looking at if you can find it.

Actually, I just recently watched that episode of Super Powers via Netflix disk (called “Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians”). “The Fear” is on the first disk.

The part about Alfred didn’t register with me, but I did notice something else funny, an iconic image almost as strong as Martha Wayne’s falling pearls: the image of young Bruce in training kicks a big vertical wooden beam in half, just like he did in the “Batman Year One” comic, only in the comic it was a tree outside. This kick is also shown in the recent animated version of Year One. But Superpowers did it first!

So I’m leaning towards, maybe Miller did see this episode and it impressed him subconsciously.

The entire season of SUPER POWERS: GALACTIC GUARDIANS has been released on DVD (I always wondered why that title was used when the group was referred to as the “Super Powers Team” and never as “Galactic Guardians”). Also, the Scarecrow was the villain in “The Fear” episode. He used Batman’s fear of Crime Alley against him (Scarecrow had previously appeared on the show as part of the Legion of Doom on CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS).

What about Blackjack O’Hare from the original Rocket Raccoon comics? Any creator connection with Bucky there? Both are gun-wielding space rabbits with the same last name after all….

Another oddity; this episode featured a Robin Hood film as the film they went to see that night (a poster also suggests that a Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper film). Too bad they did not opt for a film of The Shadow.

Seeing the Buck O’Hare cover, it strikes me how good Michael Golden is!

Always love when I can figure out what’s featured here based on the emails that flood my inbox that were previously hidden on past CBLRs. About a hundred damn people mentioned Bucky O’Hare last week!

Alan Burnett is awesome. He has a great ability to distill essential bits of a character’s mythos and make you think that it should always have been part of the story, if it wasn’t. Like here with Alfred raising Bruce — it’s so streamlined so that you don’t have to introduce other characters who will figure out that Bruce is Batman and therefore have to be killed off ;)

See also Brainiac as Kryptonian, per the Superman Adventures, and now part of the new DC in Action.

“It’s too bad Alan Burnett was never the regular writer on Batman or Detective. His few Batman stories are among the best the character’s ever had.”

@Mike: I think you might be confusing him with Alan Brennert, another TV writer that did write a handful of brilliant Batman stories, including what I consider the best Batman Elseworlds story of all, Holy Terror.

Also, I just can’t help but point out that the two comics mentioned in Amazing Heroes #118 “about which little is known” turned out to be pretty good: Slash Maurad was by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy, and Cinder and Ashe was Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.

It’s no surprise after all – the butler did it.

That Amazing Heroes description of “Slash Maraud” and “Cinder and Ashe” is so funny. Even after they came out, the same description applied. (I know I read both series when they came out, but I still had to do a search to remind myself what they were actually about. After seeing some images from “Slash Maraud,” I did recognize the Gulacy artwork–now, THERE’S a guy who needs to be on a regular title–but I couldn’t tell you anything ABOUT the storyline.)

I do find it a bit odd that DC ever suggested a plural name (“Hellraisers”) for the Constantine series since it implied some sort of team but Constantine never really had a team. Hell, he barely had a regular supporting cast of characters.

Too bad they did not opt for a film of The Shadow.

Well, the Shadow movie that actually got made wouldn’t have inspired anybody.

What about Blackjack O’Hare from the original Rocket Raccoon comics? Any creator connection with Bucky there? Both are gun-wielding space rabbits with the same last name after all….

Funny you should ask. There was some discussion of that very question on this blog a few months ago:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/07/31/comic-book-easter-eggs-rocket-raccoon-easter-eggs/

I find it amusing that, since Batman doesn’t really age and therefore all the events of his life happen later and later as time goes by (e.g., if we assume Batman is in his early 30s, that means that nowadays he was born in the early 80s or late 70s) in a decade or so, the timing will work out so that the movie that inspired young Bruce Wayne will have starred Antonio Banderas.

buttler

November 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Too bad they did not opt for a film of The Shadow.

Well, the Shadow movie that actually got made wouldn’t have inspired anybody.

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Oh?

http://www.shadowsanctum.net/interactive/tidbits_archive/shadow_batman-movie_comparisons.html

Okay, we’ve all heard the story: The Shadow was the inspiration for Batman. But who knew the 1994 Shadow movie would be referenced in the 2005 Batman movie?

Comics Scene #49 (November 1994)

David Goyer noted that he wrote a screenplay for Doctor Strange in the 1990′s. He noted that he wanted to follow the origin storyline — a selfish, acquisitive man gets redeemed when going to Tibet and studying under a mystic. Then The Shadow came out in 1994 which featured a similar origin. “Batman Begins” also featured a somewhat similar origin (although Wayne was self-absorbed, he was not really acquisitive) — and it was written by David Goyer!

@ Ken Raining:

*forehead slap* Yeah, I was thinking of Alan Brennert. Thanks for the clarification.

I remember that Super Friends episode vividly. I had between 6-8 years when I saw it for the first time and it was the episode that turned Batman into my favorite superhero for the rest of my life. Up until that moment I preferred Superman, but seeing Batman’s origin story for the first time had a lasting effect on me. It was the first time I was fascinated by a hero’s backstory and personality rather than by their powers or abilities.

The reaction of Scarecrow at Batman feeling actual fear by suddenly finding himself in crime alley was more or less the same as mine. The image of Batman crying in fear stroke me like lightning and gave me goosebumps. My life would never be the same.

On the other subject: Jaxxon, Bucky O’hare, Jazz Jackrabbit… It looks like there’s a throbbing market for green gun-totting talking space rabbits dressed in red.

Compulsive citations aside, the point is that The Shadow was a shitty movie, and would have only left an impression in that traumatized young mind that costumed vigilantes are lame–better do something else.

buttler

November 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

Compulsive citations aside, the point is that The Shadow was a shitty movie, and would have only left an impression in that traumatized young mind that costumed vigilantes are lame–better do something else.

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When in 1986 Frank Miller established a Zorro film as the film the Waynes went to see, the last Zorro film to have received a first run in theaters: Zorro the Gay Blade (1981). Obviously, some people probe deeper.

(The last Sherlock films in American theaters prior to 2009; Hound of the Baskervilles with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Young Sherlock Holmes, The Great Mouse Detective, and Without a Clue.)

That’s irrelevant. Miller specified what Zorro film it was that the Waynes saw (which wouldn’t have been first run), and it wasn’t Zorro the Gay Blade–nor could it have been, because if it were, Batman would have still been a child in 1986.

If the story were to be changed to make it so that the Waynes saw a Shadow film, as you suggest, it would either have had to have been the dreadful real-life movie or some movie that only exists in the DCU that would have actually planted a seed in young Bruce Wayne.

And that’s fine, by the way. There’s no reason that the movies in the DCU should in any way be the same as in our own. All I’m saying is that if the choice of movie was intended to plant the idea somewhere in the back of young Bruce’s head that he could become a costumed vigilante, all the Alec Baldwin flick would have done would be to suggest that that’s a terrible idea, and maybe Bruce would have gone to law school or something instead.

ZZZ

November 10, 2012 at 12:04 am

I find it amusing that, since Batman doesn’t really age and therefore all the events of his life happen later and later as time goes by (e.g., if we assume Batman is in his early 30s, that means that nowadays he was born in the early 80s or late 70s) in a decade or so, the timing will work out so that the movie that inspired young Bruce Wayne will have starred Antonio Banderas.

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I wonder if anyone said to Miller in 1986 anything about how the last Zorro film in theaters at that point: Zorro the Gay Blade (1981).

(The last Sherlock Holmes film in US theaters; Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Hound of the Baskervilles; follows by Young Sherlock Holmes, The Great Mouse Detective and Without a Clue).

I think I might be getting the Alans mixed up as well, per Ken’s post. D’oh, I’m not sure! I think I was right, though.

Psst, buttler — give it up!

Actually, one thing I like about DKR is that Miller seems to treat it as if Bruce Wayne was born (ahem, “again”) around the time that Batman first appeared in comics in the real world — that is, the events of DKR take place in “a” 1986 where Bruce Wayne, now 55, was Batman, which means that Bruce was born in the early ’30s which would make him about 8 in 1939, when we first got Batman comics.

If you can follow that, explain it back to me, ok?

Anyway, if that’s the case, the implication (and I believe it’s stated in DKR’s early pages) is that the Waynes were watching the Fairbanks version of Zorro.

Snarky Alfred was introduced in DKR also, right? So that’s another bit for the Surprisingly Recently Added …stuff to the Batman story Idon’tfeellikelookingattheexacttitle.

It’s certainly possible that even if Miller didn’t see that cartoon ep, he might have talked with someone who did during his preparation of DKR.

buttler,

I’ve always assumed Bruce was seeing a classic Zorro movie regardless of what year his origin takes place in.

So if Batman had seen The Shadow, it would be a classic Shadow film. One of the serials or something.

Oh wait, you just want everyone to acknowledge The Shadow in ’94 was terrible. Ok, it was terrible.

Ian Mckellen was in that movie though!

Don’t think I’ve forgotten that you were giving me a hard time about getting two other Alans mixed up not long ago during Who the Hell Is Norm Breyfogle Week, Travis. I never forget.

Dammit! Something always comes to bite me in the ass!

But I was right the first time, Alan Burnett was who I was referring to all along. It’s just that when Ken Raining brought up Alan Brennert, I got a-scaired that my memory was off.

So it’s TOTALLY different. Yeah.

buttler

November 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

And that’s fine, by the way. There’s no reason that the movies in the DCU should in any way be the same as in our own. All I’m saying is that if the choice of movie was intended to plant the idea somewhere in the back of young Bruce’s head that he could become a costumed vigilante, all the Alec Baldwin flick would have done would be to suggest that that’s a terrible idea, and maybe Bruce would have gone to law school or something instead.

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Of course, the last Batman film in theaters as of 1986 featured Adam West, and that worked on two levels; straight adventure for kids and snickering parody for their parents.If you were under 12 you didn’t know it was campy, so it worked for a huge wide audience. So, I suppose the same woud apply for The Shadow (1994).

Hellblazer Web Series
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The mention of a Wanderers series drawn by Steve Dillon really caught my eye there. I know we got one, a year later than they mention, and drawn by Dave Hoover instead, and it was…very lacking in many regards. Still, I would have loved to seen what Dillon could have done with the characters. One of those many “What if’s…” with comics.

I will join Andrew here, regarding the Wanderers.

Searching the ‘net..just found that Dillon was to do the redesigns of the wanderers.. not draw the series.(Why ??? the series have been much better than it is …. )

And those redesigns were published in some DC Focus at the time… (no memories of that)

“The Fear:” is only brought down by the presence of Wonder Woman (The only other Superfriend in the Story) which makes it feel more like a 1970′s Brave and the Bold issue.

Oh, and Adam West is the voice of Batman in this episode!

I remember seeing “The Fear” on Cartoon Network the first time they showed it. It kind of came as a shock at the time, what with all the Superfriends reruns they usually aired in that slot. Great episode, though.

Oh, and I LOVE “The Shadow”. Great movie. Made me a nearly life-long fan of the character, even to the point where I have named my firstborn son after him. Maybe you just had to be a kid when it came out, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve got all the TOYS, I’ve got the BOARD GAME. . .it was like Shadow-Mania in my house!

Then again, maybe I was just a stupid kid.

Shadow Ward?

Actually, that name sounds cool. But I’m guessing you went with Lamont? Or Kent? The Shadow has several names to choose from!

What’s wrong with 1970s Brave & the Bold?

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