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Comic Book Legends Revealed #409

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COMIC LEGEND: Jerry Siegel nearly wrote “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”

STATUS: I’m Going With True

Awhile back, reader Michael S. asked me if it was true that Jerry Siegel was the original choice for “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow,” the two-part storyline that served as a farewell to the Pre-Crisis Superman before John Byrne rebooted the character in Man of Steel.

The answer sure seems to be yes, although of course with the caveat that if it WAS written by Siegel, it obviously would not have been “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” as Siegel would undoubtedly have his own take on the story and not the same approach Alan Moore used.

In any event, here is Superman editor Julius Schwartz on the topic at the time:

I started to think, what am I going to put in my last two issues. And in the middle of the night, it came to me: I would make believe that my last issues of Superman and Action Comics were actually going to be the last issues.

Therefore it was incumbent upon me to explain all the things that had been going on in the previous years. For example, did Lois ever find out that Clark Kent was Superman? Did they ever get married? What happened to Jimmy Olsen, to Perry White, to all the villains? I had to clear it up.

I ask this at conventions: ‘Who would you, sitting in my editorial chair, mid-1985, ask to write that story?’ The answer was obvious – he wrote the first one, let him write the last one… Jerry Siegel!

Jerry and I spent a lot of time together at the (San-Diego Comic Convention) DC booth that year, and I finally asked him the critical question: Would he be willing to write the last Superman story? Jerry’s response was, ‘Oh… boy, well, I have to think about that… no, no need to think about it, I would love to write it!’ But it turned out there were legal problems that, because of the schedule, we didn’t have time to resolve, so Jerry wasn’t able to do it after all.

The next morning, still wondering what to do about it, I happened to be having breakfast with Alan Moore. So I told him about my difficulties. At that point, he rose out of his chair, and said, ‘If you let anybody but me write that story, I’ll kill you.’ Since I didn’t want to be an accessory to my own murder, I agreed.

While I would not be shocked if Schwartz embellished the tale a little bit, there’s nothing in there that makes me think that he is an unreliable source on the topic, so I’m going to trust him on this one and say that yes, the story is true.

Thanks to Michael for the question!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to Jerry Siegel!

Did Siegel want Superman to reveal his secret identity to Lois Lane in 1940?!

Did Siegel really threaten to kill himself over his treatment by DC Comics over the sale of Superman to DC?

Did Siegel and Shuster have a Jor-L character years before Action Comics #1?

Did Siegel lose his father to a senseless act of violence?
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Next up, how did an issue of What If…? screw up Avengers #200?

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82 Comments

Avengers 200 – one of my greatest disappointments as a comics reader. I was too young to even consider the incestuous date rape angle. i was annoyed that it was this major milestone and the story was so dull.

One thing I’ve wondered about Spider-Man issue. I never quite understood the whole Special Issue bit. Was there supposed to be more to the story than actually happened? While the cover was catchy enough, the story inside was pretty much run of the mill with no real lasting impact: “Spider-Man’s live is forever changed when he recovers film revealing his secret identity and the photographer has no idea who he is!”

@Andy

No. Everything wasn’t an event back then

this new feature with pages is annoying, especially when I had to wait 5 minutes to wait for the page to load. And I do think the reason for this problem is on your side, because other websites loaded quicker.

Love the “Planet Krypton” music on the promo.

PEOPLE OF EARTH: I OFFICIALLY HATE THE NEW PAGE-TURNING FORMAT! WEBMASTERS DO MAKE MISTAKES (LIKE THE STENCIL HEADLINE FONT WHICH DIDN’T LAST LONG), THIS IS ONE OF THEM. I’M DONE READING AND COMMENTING UNTIL IT GETS BETTER. GOOD BYE.

Scott Leva commented on the “special issue” label for ASM#262 in a Starlog article published around the release of the 2002 Spidey movie. He confirms that it was indeed a filler story but Marvel went ahead and called it “special” (probably because it sounds cooler than calling it a “filler”).

There were also 1 or 2 other cover appearances, of him posing as Spidey/Pete and the Scarlet Spider-man for some clone-era hologram covers.

Apparently he has a long history playing Spider-man throughout the 80s and 90s for public appearances. Old time video game enthusiasts may remember him as Spidey in a TV commercial alongside a live-action Green Goblin, advertising the original Atari game. He also dressed-up as Spider-man for a blooper scene from the 1st X-men movie.

The Starlog article notes that it was Stan Lee himself who recommended Leva to Cannon as a Peter Parker possibility.

I think the “special issue” bit was just a way to sell a fill-in issue. I remember back then a fill-in inventory issue would be used whenever the regular team on the book couldn’t deliver the next issue on time. To prevent late shipping Marvel would print a fill-in. The problem is, to most readers, when you opened the issue and see a story by a different writer and artist than expected, that’s not picking up on any of the ongoing story threads of the regular creative team, your first thought is “Oh, an issue that ‘doesn’t count’ ” which registers as disappointment. So I think some editors tried to put a positive spin by claiming fill-ins were actually “special issues.” The replacement creative team and the break from ongoing storylines was presented as different than the norm in a “special” way instead of in a “disappointing, inferior” way.

Now Marvel has no problem with letting books be late to accomodate a creative team, so fill-in issues are something of the past, so we don’t see this anymore.

Warthog: “No. Everything wasn’t an event back then”

Yes, I’m very much aware that not everything was an event back then. Nor would I have wanted it to be. Your phrasing makes me a bit uncomfortable; feels like a slight against me.

However, that’s actually the reason why it jumped out at me. The photo cover and the “Special Issue” logo. It wasn’t a typical 1980s cover, not compared to the usual monthly output, not compared to the Stan Lee hyperbole found in reprint title covers of that era and not even like actual events of that era, which typically has some sort of crossover indicator on the upper right hand corner. No, this had a photo cover (there were a few in that era but not many),. And more key, there was that Special Issue logo. It suggested that the issue was important somehow and without the more over the top exaggeration found in Lee-written covers, I was more inclined to believe it. In contrast, the cover of Avengers 223 with Hawkeye about to fire an arrow with Ant-Man on it was catchy enough that I still remember it decades later, but it didn’t hit at any big change.

So, that’s why I’m hoping that someone in the know might have an answer as to whether the “Special Issue” logo was just a sales gimmick for a likely fill-in issue or if there was more to it.

Oh, jay-w beat me to it.

Thanks for the Starlog comment Jay W, that’s more what I was trying to find out. I did suspect the fill-in angle. Nice to have the answer that that is indeed the case, even if it that means I was “had” thirty years ago.

Tony Centofanti

March 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

In regards to the “sequel to Masters of the Universe” thing:

When I was a kid in the early 90s, WKBD-50 (one of the local stations) ran Cyborg, but called it “Masters of the Universe II” during the ad breaks.

Confused me greatly. I kept expecting He-Man to show up.

Yes, I’m very much aware that not everything was an event back then. Nor would I have wanted it to be. Your phrasing makes me a bit uncomfortable; feels like a slight against me.

It’s not your imagination. It was a subtly patronizing (and unnecessary IMO) dig. I think he believed you were complaining about something you weren’t actually complaining about.

@Andy

Yes, your using terms like ‘lasting impact’ and ‘changed forever’ in no way indicate that you’ve bought into the event gimmick paradigm that dominates Marvel comics today

Wow. When I read Avengers 199, I’d pretty much figured it would be the Supreme Intelligence (he had, after all, attempted to use Carol herself as the template for a hybrid in Ms. Marvel). Which would have been cool. This, even without the sexism wasn’t. Time Gone Wild stories in comics usually aren’t as clever as they want to be (Look a Knight! Look a cowboy! Look a futureman!).
I must admit, when I read it I was bored enough by the time we got to the exposition that the reference to Marcus’ machines passed right by me, so Claremont’s later response seemed terribly unfair. Now it does make sense.

@WartHog – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wondering what was so “special” about an issue marked on the cover as “special”. That has nothing to do with recent events.

I’m not convinced Julie Schwartz embellished anything. Alan Moore is a crazy mofo!!

Sure, he might not have. I just figured it was worth mentioning the possibility.

My favorite part is what the writer thinks are several incredibly “romantic” gestures that would “win” a woman like her. Kidnapping Shakespeare to write a sonnet…

I’d say Marvel has swung back towards *art* fill-ins of late with the move towards biweekly publication on a number of titles, but they don’t do fill-in scripts by other writers anymore. Even a high-profile title like All-New X-Men got a fill-in artist for one of its recent issues, and the Quesada-era Marvel did that sort of thing as far back as Grant Morrison’s X-Men run. You also get a lot of arcs lately that suddenly have half-finished art by the “superstar” with the other half of the last issue or two drawn by a much less prominent penciller.

More recently still, we’ve started to see a small number of “dumping grounds” comics like the team-up incarnation of Adjectiveless X-Men and, after Zeb Wells left, Avenging Spider-Man. These titles run the equivalent of inventory or fill-in stories pretty much every month. They’re essentially inventory *titles* for popular franchises, with zero continuity impact on the star creative teams’ runs. I’d guess that most of them are used to try out journeyman writers and maintain cash flow. They differ from the All-Star/Astonishing style of comics in that no one is pursuing superstars the likes of Joss Whedon or (fallen creator though he is) Frank Miller to write them. They aren’t being sold on the creators’ names, but rather on the franchise branding.

I think it would have been awesome to have Siegel close out Superman and Action. What we got is probably better, but it still would have been cool. Sad that “legal” issues held it up.

Regarding the Spider-Man cover, as a kid I also wondered about the ‘Special-ness’ of the issue. It was a good story, and I got it for Christmas in one of the Sears catalog ’30 Marvel Comics for $10 (I think $10) packages, so it will always be special to me.

Kevin

@Omar Karindu

A lot of the .1 issues feel in a way like fill ins to me.

Kevin

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow was always one of Alan Moore’s weaker stories in my opinion. Like other meh-to-okay stories he’s done, it gets massively overrated because of his name alone.

News flash” The multi-page format, which sucked last week, continues to suck this week.

Based on his early 60ies output on Superman, I would also have preferred Siegel over Moore.

As I recall, the “specialness” of the Spidey issue actually WAS the photo cover.

@WartHog: “Yes, your using terms like ‘lasting impact’ and ‘changed forever’ in no way indicate that you’ve bought into the event gimmick paradigm that dominates Marvel comics today”

Yes. Because Marvel NEVER put hyperbole like that on its covers in the 1960’s.

I thought Moore’ story was fantastic, but I find it kind of a grim ending for the 1980s pre-Crisis Superman era. I think it makes a great Elseworlds but for a better overall ending (in my opinion) that I think fits better for the pre-Crisis Superman, I suggest Superman Family #200, followed by Superman #416 and then at last Superman #400.

Alan Moore’s story was awesome.

Perhaps ethically, it would have been a better fit for Siegel to write the story. Artistically, I don’t know. Very few writers are as good 40+ years later. They are like rock bands: we all love their classic material, but the new stuff invariably sucks.

Superman Family 200 was excellent (and above average in its handling of Supergirl and Lois as women with careers). I also preferred Steve Gerber’s DC Comics Presents, which focused on Bizarro and Mxyzptlk rather than trying to wrap up the entire mythos (I’m not that big a fan of the Moore story either).

Dale Rawlings

March 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Re: the Spider-Man promo….Featuring characters created by Stan Lee? No mention of Ditko.

“Artistically, I don’t know. Very few writers are as good 40+ years later. They are like rock bands: we all love their classic material, but the new stuff invariably sucks.”

That’s a valid argument. However, Moore never knew how to write superheroes besides deconstructing them.
(or aping the best of the silver age with his “Supreme”)

Thanks for finally clarifying what the original ending to Avengers #200 was supposed to be and what other comic had ‘spoiled’ it. I’ve been wondering about that ever since I’ve heard that the whole ‘Marcus is a date rapist and his own father’ story wasn’t the original plan.

Why is Wanda still referring to herself as Wanda Frank at this point? She knows the Franks weren’t her biological parents and that Whizzer (who is basically super-deadbeat dad at this point) believed that she was his kid and still abandoned her. She should really be calling herself Wanda Maximoff at this point.

I imagine “Wanda Frank” was probably still her legal name, or at least a legal fiction she found convenient to use since it would’ve given her a claim to full U.S. citizenship.

Wanda didn’t have a last name until she took “Frank”, right? I thought the Maximoff name was claimed a little bit later.

Steven Caplan

March 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I always felt the “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” was just a rip off of the book Superfolk, which Alan Moore has stated was a major influence on him doing comics. Even the villain was the same!

Interesting piece, good trivia question, and a complex answer. Not 100% correct, but close.

“One of the problems was that they couldn’t find a good enough script. Originally Tobe Hooper was going to direct but that fell apart, at least in part because the original script was just too far away from the comic books (Hooper’s version of the film would have been much more horror-inspired).”

Nope. What Cannon had was a screen treatment which stunk up the room, done to Menachem Golan’s specifications by Leslie (Outer Limits) Stevens. I didn’t see it until years later, but I can see why Stan Lee loathed it. It completely ignored the established canon, made Peter Parker a guy who photographed ID badge shots for a super-duper evil corporation, run by a mutant-making evil Dr. Whoozis (or Purex, or Latex, or Zontar). He’s cooking up assorted mutants in the secret lab, and deliberately turns this schlub Parker into a half-spider creature with eight arms and a hairy face. It makes Parker suicidal, of course, but he avoids pitying himself by fighting with the other mutants Dr. Wackyname sends out, one after the other after the other…. lord.

John Brancato and I had done a good job (in Lee & Marvel’s opinion) on SGT FURY, and we insisted we wanted to give Spidey a shot. Our agent (who was also Marvel’s agent) and Stan both lobbied Cannon and somehow we got in. Our pitch was simple: never mind trying to “improve” anything– let’s do the comic book. Do what we’ve grown up with. Do what’s on the page.

We started from a three page suggested outline from Lee, and wrote a detailed treatment, about 20 pages, from the ground up.

Tobe Hooper wasn’t contractually “attached,” but apparently was interested; at the time he had a 3-film deal with Cannon. I named one of our minor characters “Dr. Thorkel” as an in-joke, thinking Hooper might get it. There was a touch of Dali-esque horror in the post-accident horror (which also caused the creation of Oct), but otherwise it was a straightforward Spider-Man origin tale, in which he goes up against Doc Ock. We never met Tobe Hooper (well, I saw him in the hall once) and I’ve no idea if he ever read our script or any other. He was busy on other stuff.

In the meantime, Joe Zito lobbied as hard as we did to get the project. He’d done Chuck Norris films like “Invasion USA” and felkt, “I’ve done a lot of realistic movies like comic books. Now I want to do a comic book story like a realistically.”

And at that point, we met with him and started writing the screenplay.

AverageJoeEveryman

March 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm

My opinion of Whatever Happened to the man of Tomorrow is that for an Alan Moore story it is good not great. For an early 80’s DC story it is very good, but it has to have the most remembered foreword ever with the classic imaginary stories line.

“A new script was written and director Joe Zito, one of Cannon’s top guns, was brought in. However, once again the scripts just weren’t doing it and when Cannon began to slash the budget for the film, Zito left.”

Everyone liked our script: Joe, Cannon, Stan Lee, even Marvel, which was very persnickety. Potential casting was discussed, very early and continuously, but nothing was set (as you point out.) So, naturally, in the eternal logic of Hollywood, we were fired and Joe brought in a friend he’d worked with before, Barney Cohen.

Scott Leva was indeed in the running, if the choice was to go with an “unknown.” My partner suggested a then-unknown Tom Cruise (considering we were basically thinking the John Romita style, he would’ve been perfect). Stan liked Scott, too. I met him at the SDCC were we were hyping the project.

Barney’s rewrite was still very much our story and characters, with the addition of a (to me, incredibly annoying) sidekick to Doc Ock, and giving Ock a catchphrase “Okey-dokey” (which we’d used once, in the mouth of a minor character. The major action remained intact. Barney added a couple more at Joe’s suggestion.

After Menachem peed on the fire hydrant a little (he added a couple of loony lines of dialogue, and a non-canonical scene where Spidey beats the crap out of Flash for eyeballing the girl), the script was okayed and went into pre-production. At that time, it bore the names “Ted Newsom & John Brancato, Barney Cohen and Joseph Goldman [Golan’s pen name].

There was a year’s worth of prep, supervised by Joe. Every shot in the film was boarded out like a giant comic. The main action pieces were illustrated by Harper Goff, one of the greatest designers of all time [Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, for one instance.] Joe went from Hollywood to Rome to London to South Carolina (!) looking for the right place to shoot a big FX-laden film. In all, Cannon spent close to a million dollars in prep, extremely unusual for them. The budget was roughly $20 million (again, REALLY unusual for them.) It was a “Go” project… until…

The Cannon boys ran into the Salkinds in Cannes. They’d taken a bath with Superman III and Supergirl, and offered to sell the franchise. Unlike his ignorance of Spider-Man (Menachem was just a touch too old to have grown up reading Marvel. Just a couple years, but it made the difference), Golan knew what Superman was about. Cannon bought the franchise. They wooed Chris Reeve back with a promise of a great deal of dough and input into the script. And simultaneously, they bought the “Masters of the Universe” franchise from Mattel, another pricey effects project with an equally price upfront payment to the toy company.

Cannon had grand plans, but 3 gigantic budget movies were too much for even them. Spider-Man was the one which suffered. They slashed the budget from $20 million down to about eight. That is the point at which Joe Zito said, “I can’t do this project for that kind of money. You need to find another director.”

So after about two years and a lot of money spent on prep, Cannon had a series of three writers do much-scaled-down versions of the script. All were contractually rewrites of the existing material, with certain character and dialogue consistencies. All were minus any elaborate special effects action sequences (too expensive). Best of the three was Ethan (HOUSE and HOUSE 2) Wiley’s take, in which Peter really doesn’t become Spidey until the last sequence.

This was the period during which Albert Pyun became involved. He had a record of getting films done on time, that’s the nicest I can say about him. He’s probably a really nice guy. He had done CAPTAIN AMERICA for Cannon, using a truly terrible script by Michael Winner, who was scheduled to direct at that time. When I say terrible, I’m siding with Marvel, which let Cannon know their displeasure in the same letter which praised our Spidey to the heavens.

“Finally, Cannon canceled the film, leading to a long period where Spider-Man was in development hell, caught between various studios (this was during the time that James Cameron almost directed a Spider-Man film).”

Yes and no. Cannon never really “cancelled” the film. When Cannon had fatal money problems, its founding cousins split, Yoram Globas throwing in with some crook over at MGM, Golan going off on his own. In lieu of severance (which Cannon could not have paid anyway), Golan held onto “Spider-Man” and threw out the low-budget scripts, returning to the original draft (well, to Barney’s rewrite of our stuff.) He pitched it to Columbia, which loved it but (of course) wanted a rewrite. They hired Frank LaLoggis (LADY IN WHITE) who rewrote our script (still with our and Barney’s name on it) but walked away when the Golan people started being crazy. They then hired Neil Ruttenberg (a client of our agent) and he did yet another pass, though he still claims never to have read our draft. I like Neil, but he’s mistaken (The telltale sign being the presence of Ock’s idiot henchman, created by Barney Cohen). And the coverage at Columbia said of the three scripts “They’re all basically the same story.” (Neil gave me a copy of the coverage from Columbia.)

But then at Cannes again, Menachem crossed paths with the crooks from Carolco, who outbid Columbia and had grand plans. (They distributed through Columbia Tri-Star anyway). He’d spent a year as “New Cannon” selling off the ancillary rights piecemeal (like TV and video) to raise money, not an uncommon practice. He’d take second chair at Carolco, but with the promise of a producer credit.

Cameron agreed to put Spider-Man on his plate, but refused tot have Golan’s name on the movie, or the ads. Carolco had used a previous agreement with him which gave him this right , but they’d also contractually promised Golan the credit. Led to… oh… a slight feeling of betrayal on Golan’s part. And a lawsuit.

Carolco also wanted to sell off ancillary and other rights at their own price, so they told the companies which in good faith had bought them from Golan to go fly a kite. More lawsuits.

MGM (which had bought Cannon, at least in name) claimed continuing rights to Spider-Man because the previous Cannon (or maybe New Cannon) was a little late on renewing their option payments to Marvel. MGM claimed the rights to the franchise, so did Golan & Carolco. Yet another lawsuit.

Cameron would not get his million dollar writer’s fee unless he delivered a full screenplay to Carolco “… which could, in their estimation, be budgeted at sixty million dollars or less.” (That’s a quote directly from their deal memo) They were not about to get caught out with a project that went over, and Mr. Cameron had a history of… oh… shall we say… excess? You cannot properly budget a teatment or an outline. You need a complete screenplay, which a production guy can go through line by line to anticipate cost.

Cameron did a marvelously expedient thing. He simply had the top sheet of the existing script retyped and added his name to the list of writers. The script cover now said “Screenplay by Ted Newson [sic], Barry [sic] Cohen and James Cameron” and underneath that, “… and John Brancato, Joseph Goldmari [sic] and James Cameron”– the misspelled names juggled cleverly so it appeared the cinema genius had gone through two complete sets of writers to create his masterwork (none of us ever even met Cameron, much less write with him.). The weird, non-existent name “Joseph Goldmari” was a typo in the process of altering the authorship. The Golan script had a Xerox error on it, blanking out a tiny bit of the “N” in “Goldman.”

In fact, it was absolutely the same script which had been completed budgeted and in prep at Cannon for a year, exactly the same script Menechem Golan had pitched to Columbia, precisely the same script Carolco had bought. It was a Xerox, with not a word changed, only the credits on the top sheet.

And since Golan had properly budgeted the script at thirty million dollars, all you had to do was double that, and Carolco okayed it. They obviously knew the shady deal Cameron pulled, but what the heck. So he made his million dollars by delivering a script. Nothing in the deal memo said he actually had to WRITE it.

So our script– rather Barney’s rewrite of our script– was still intact as far down the line as the Carolco period.

Months after that, Cameron (or more likely, a writer pal working for him in anonymity) delivered his “scriptment,” a 40 page story which cobbled assorted bits from every previous draft, particularly ours, Frank LaLoggia’s, Ethan Wiley’s, and as far back as Leslie Stevens.

Carolco’s own financial troubles exceeded the ones at Cannon, and Carolco went massively bankrupt. MGM scooped up the Spider-Man rights, including ALL previous drafts. Columbia (still eager to do the movie Golan had pitched back in 1989), dealt separately with Marvel to buy movie rights.

Both studios claimed to have the right to make Spidey, just as (ironically enough) both studios claimed to have the rights to make James Bond. Sony/Columbia’s head guy John Calley, had been chief at MGM/UA for years, and knew of the loophole in the 007 saga: Kevin McClory still had the rights to Thunderball and a boatload of original material done by him, Ian Fleming and Jack Whittingham in 1958-60, prior to the first Bond movie. Calley announced Columbia would make an alternative James Bond series.

MGM/UA panicked. Though Bond films only came out every 2 to 3 years, they kept the company alive. A rival series would destroy the company. A big swap was arranged, MGM/UA getting the rights to “the McClory Bond material,” which included SPECTRE), Sony/Columbia getting full rights to Spidey– including rights and options on all previous scripts in the family tree.

Sony/Columbia cautiously exercised the option on only what was termed “the Cameron material,” described explicitly as a 40 page treatment by James Cameron and a 115 page screenplay credited to “Ted Newsom, John Brancato, Barney Cohen, Joseph Goldman and James Cameron.” In other words, Columbia [in theory] never received copies of all the interim drafts, just those two items. I’d guess they figured the Cameron treatment came first, out of which the screenplay was expanded, which is the usual and logical procedure. In this case, it was backward.

And that, true believers, is the beginning of the story!!! Excelsior!!!

I wonder if that Spidey guy was the actor who appeared at a local fast food place back when I was a kid? It probably would have been in the ’80-’83 time period, with “Spider-Man” appearing in costume at a local fast food joint. I was really young, so I don’t remember it. Probably it was just a local actor in the role.

Thanks to Mr Newsom for that cool history of the Spider-Man movie that could have been.

I think I asked you this before — what “legal problems” would have prevented Siegel from writing that story?

And if I remember right, Moore has claimed that he didn’t actually threaten to kill Schwartz, but I think he liked him enough that he was cool with him telling the story that way. Time to dig in my boxes to look something up!

Hollywood sure is fascinating.

Michael Howey

March 9, 2013 at 3:22 am

A horror director doing Spider-man? Ridiculous!

Superfolk is an amazing book.

What I find interesting is that the whole Mind Rape to Impregnate Ms. Marvel thing starts in Ms. Marvel, not the Avengers.

So you folks are having your CBLR loading slowly with the new page system?

Mine are if anything faster now. Probably because I am in another country.

Wow, Ted, thanks so much for taking the time to deliver all that inside dope! An epic, enthralling and exasperating story!

News Break for Darkhawk and all the other people bashing the new multi-page format for supposed lag.

It STILL is loading this column 10 TIMES FASTER for me than it did as a single column, not slower.

Suggest you stop bashing it, and check your browser, firewall and hardware settings….

Comic-Reader Lad

March 9, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I will say even though Avengers 200 is one of my least favorite special issues because it got rid of Ms. Marvel, not just from the Avengers, but from Marvel entirely (even worse the way it was done), the Perez art is amazing because he has to cram so much into two pages, but he makes it work without the results seeming cramped or hard to follow. The first page has nine panels and tons of narration, but within the small spaces he has to work with, he puts in all the information you need as a reader.

That’s why Perez is not just one of comics’ greatest artists, but one of its greatest storytellers.

That’s a quite fascinating story, Ted! I’m a sucker for all those “Development Hell” stories. Thanks for writing that down, I devoured it.

Thanks, Ted! I’ve just added your comments to the piece so that people can get the full detail of the story!

what I like to call “Spider-Man: Decent Into Production Hell.”

I’m pretty sure that’s a typo for “descent”, but I like it, because it sounds like the movie might have (in the gestation stages, anyway) have been “decent”. If you intended it to be that, awesome. If not, well, still say that you intended it, because it’s cool.

Also, I totally forgot about this part:

Leva, by the way, went on to develop a new air bag mechanism to help stuntmen that actually won him a Technical Oscar in 2006! Very impressive!

Guess they could have used him on Broadway to play Spidey in the “Turn out the Lights” or whatever that Spider-Man musical was called… ;)

Nope, a typo! A fixed one now! :)

While we’re on typos: “but they never actually progressed to far in actually MAKING one”
Should be ‘too far’. I know it’s a minor thing, but it popped out at me.

Thanks for the kind words, Matt, Brian, Dread, Travis. If anybody’s interested– and if you don’t know already– our original script is posted in a couple places around the net, as is the so-called “Cameron script” (actually Barney Cohen’s rewrite of ours), and Mr. Cameron’s subsequent “scriptment.”

It’s a pity the interim drafts don’t seem to be around. I’ve got ‘em all and read ‘em all. Some stink on ice, some are really good. Good enough to swipe paragraphs verbatim and… well…

If you read through ours & the rewrite, you might notice a certain similarity to a certain movie with a “II” on the end of it. That is, in addition to the one with no number at all. Funny old world.

KSTW-11 used to do the same thing. They called it “Masters of the Universe 2: The Cyborg”.

“Tony Centofanti
March 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

In regards to the “sequel to Masters of the Universe” thing:

When I was a kid in the early 90s, WKBD-50 (one of the local stations) ran Cyborg, but called it “Masters of the Universe II” during the ad breaks.

Confused me greatly. I kept expecting He-Man to show up.”

There’s a hardcover book that details a lot of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the history of the development of the (eventually first) Spider-Man film. I read through it in a public library. It’s probably available for cheap on amazon or ebay.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow was always one of Alan Moore’s weaker stories in my opinion. Like other meh-to-okay stories he’s done, it gets massively overrated because of his name alone.

Nah – that’s The Killing Joke.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is one of Moore’s best stories.

Nah – that’s The Killing Joke.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is one of Moore’s best stories.

No, he’s right. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is one of the most overrated comic book stories ever. The story basically consists in Moore constantly throwing every single plot twist he can think of without bothering to make anything come out of them, to the point that they come off as mere cheap stunts and lose their shock factor. The reader can only suspend the belief so much. I can imagine how Moore’s story proposal to Julius went: “I know how to make the last Superman story memorable: I’ll reveal Superman’s identity to the public! No, wait, that has been done before. I know, I’ll reveal his identity and make him lose his powers! AND marry him to Lois! Oh, and kill Luthor while I’m at it! No, scratch that, I’ll kill his whole rogue gallery! And make Jimmy and Lana gain super powers! What? You say that Jimmy gains super powers all the time so it won’t be shocking? No prob, I’ll up the ante by killing him as well! And the story will feature Krypto’s triumphant return! And then it will kill him right away for good measure! And I’ll bring back Supergirl and the LoG for a few panels as well! Oh, and remember me to shoehorn Batman, Wonder Woman, and all major DC heroes I can think of into the story! It will all be so epic! Huh? You say that the story is too farfetched? Hmmm… I know! I’ll handwave it all by claiming that Mxy arranged for the whole thing to happen! An imp did should be the perfect excuse! Not only that, but I’ll also shock everyone even more by having Superman KILL Mxy at the end! Eh? You say that Supes doesn’t kill? Oh, come on. Pretty please? I know, I’ll treat you to a pizza if you let it go just this once! Cool, we have a deal!”

^ Damn typo, I meant “Supergirl and the LoSH”

I always felt like “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” was basically an Elseworlds tale. They knew everything was about to be retconned, and Moore seemed to just be having fun. “End everything in the Superman universe in one story” absolutely sounds like the kind of insane request that would lead to the insane book we got. Plus, Curt Swan drawing Superman written by Alan Moore? How could I not love it?

ARGH, just noticed another typo in my comment. I meant to write “suspend the DISbelief”, not belief.

I always felt like “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” was basically an Elseworlds tale. They knew everything was about to be retconned, and Moore seemed to just be having fun. “End everything in the Superman universe in one story” absolutely sounds like the kind of insane request that would lead to the insane book we got. Plus, Curt Swan drawing Superman written by Alan Moore? How could I not love it?

But it was promoted as the last Superman story and part of continuity, not as an Elseworlds tales. Moore shouldn’t have tried to cram all of that crap into a single story, and even less a two-issue story. If you only have two issues, write a two-issue story. It all came out like a fanfic written by an amateur writer who was trying to be shocking for the sake of it and couldn’t grasp the concept of “too much”. After a while, nothing that happened mattered anymore. Jimmy and Krypto’s deaths did nothing for me since I guessed (correctly) that nothing would come out of them and none of the characters would bother acknowledging them later in the story. The twists no longer had any impact and became pointless.

I kept trying to guess what plot twist Moore would shoehorn into the next page. And I even guessed most of them, as they were predictable ones. Just think of any (predictable) life-changing event that could happen in Superman’s life and it’s probably in the story. What would happen if Superman’s identity became public? What if Superman finally lost his superpowers to Gold Kryptonite? What if one of Superman’s friends finally got killed by one of his foes? What if Krypto returned? What if Supes and Lois finally got married? What if Supergirl returned from the future? What if (insert name of random major Superman villain) died? What if Mxy got serious? It’s like Moore made a list of all “what if” questions that one comes up with when reading Superman stories and decided to make a “story” out of them.

I guess it might be one of those situations where expectation equals entertainment. When I read that story, I already knew what it was. I was aware that it was going to be Alan Moore throwing in all the crazy “What if?” moments you listed above, so I buckled in for the ride. I can see how, if you went in looking for a more subtle, intimate experience, you would be disappointed.

But it was promoted as the last Superman story and part of continuity, not as an Elseworlds tales.

IIRC the first line of the story is “This is an imaginary story”.

DanCJ,

Aren’t they all?

I wasn’t around at the time, but I believe that “…Man of Tomorrow?” was supposed to have everything and the kitchen sink because the Byrne reboot was being heavily promoted as coming soon. You have the recurring themes and take them to their logical endpoints (like Moore did) because it was the “last chance” to do so before a new storytelling engine was started up.

Now nearly 30 years later, we see that companies are just regurgitating the same ol’ same ol’, and didn’t seem to learn that Moore was “scorching the earth” because he could, and scorch the earth without realizing it destroys the storytelling engine. Oops.

I like “…Man of Tomorrow”, btw.

Commander Benson

March 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I found a great many things wrong with “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”, but its worst sin was turning Superman into a coward.

With no other ready options, the Man of Steel is forced to destroy Mxyzptlk and, thus, saves the world, if not the universe. Most folks would consider that a good thing. But, instead, with more angst than Hamlet, Superman marches into a room full of gold kryptonite.

Mind you, he didn’t kill Mxyzptlk by some careless exertion of his super-powers. He didn’t endanger the world by engaging in some wild, out-of-control battle. No, Superman did the only thing he could do, under the circumstances, to save humanity.

Granted, he may have felt that he failed by not thinking of a non-lethal way to stop the imp. So, then you take the lesson from it. You reflect on your actions, see what you could have done differently, and then resolve to do that different thing if a similar circumstance ever arises.

That’s what a man would do. And let’s not forget, besides Mxyzptlk–who was an out-and-out murderer, ready to commit genocide—no other casualties resulted from Superman’s action, other than to his own ideals.

One can re-commit to ideals.

But, no, Superman takes the easy way out by removing his super-powers. That way, he never has to face that choice, again. That’s morally gutless.

Not to mention the fact that he had assigned himself as the world’s protector. He took on that job and the world had come to depend on him to do his job. So he was also turning his back on a duty he willingly assumed.

Moore’s story did more than deconstruct the Silver-Age Superman mythos; it deconstructed the Man of Steel himself and turned him into a wienie.

That is true, Commander, that the story really breaks Superman even more than it “had” to, although he “had to” end as Superman because the Legion said so, y’know? ;)

Actually, how does Superman et al know that Gold Kryptonite permanently takes away the powers of a Kryptonian? Was there a story where this happened to someone? (I know you know, Commander, if anyone here knows.)

Because there is the implication at the end of “…Man of Tomorrow?” that he at least passed his powers on, and maybe even has them himself still.

Commander Benson

March 13, 2013 at 4:15 am

“Actually, how does Superman, et al.. know that Gold Kryptonite permanently takes away the powers of a Kryptonian? Was there a story where this happened to someone?”

Thank you for compliment, Mr. Pelkie. I hope my response below lives up to it.

The shortest answer is we know that gold kryptonite permanently robs a Kryptonian of his super-powers because “the Word of God” told us so.

In this case, the Word of God is anything DC—specifically, in this case, Superman editor Mort Weisinger—told us outside of a storyline proper. I’m talking about things like the short text pieces that often ran in 80-page Giant Annuals or information provided by Weisinger in the letter columns, in response to readers’ questions. Every couple of years, a pair of companion two-page text pieces—“The Superman Legend” and “The Superboy Legend”—would appear in Superman titles.

These two features were full of details about the Boy/Man of Steel’s background—the small things that readers had wondered about, such as “Why does Clark Kent always wear blue suits?”—but had not necessarily been shown in a story. Mort ran these two features periodically to keep from constantly answering the same questions over and over, and these details are considered empirical facts in the Superman mythos.

Two or three of these text features and more than a few lettercol responses from Mort informed the readers that gold kryptonite removed a Kryptonian’s super-powers permanently.

Now, for the sceptics out there who want in-story evidence that gold kryptonite does what it does, there’s that, too.

Gold kryptonite is distinctive in the Superman mythos because it actually had two first appearances.

The first that fans ever heard of gold kryptonite was its appearance in an Imaginary Story—“The Unwanted Superbaby”, from Adventure Comics # 299 (Aug., 1962). The tale concludes with the teenage Superboy being exposed to a “strange golden meteor”, after which, he discovers that he has lost his super-powers. The narrative informs the reader that the golden meteor was actually gold kryptonite, which had the effect of stealing Superboy’s super-powers permanently.

The last panel of this story carried an interesting coda:

Yes, Superboy, this imaginary adventure . . . which never really happened . . .was crammed with one irony after another! But the greatest irony of all is that the one thing in our tale which isn’t imaginary is—gold kryptonite! Soon, Superboy, there will appear a story in which you will meet gold kryptonite in real life, when you grow up to become Superman.

WATCH FOR IT, READERS!

This is what I meant when I stated that gold kryptonite had two “first appearances”. The one in “The Unwanted Superbaby” didn’t occur within the continuity. The next one did.

“The Super-Revenge of the Phantom Zone Prisoner”, from Superman # 157 (Nov., 1962), presents Superman with a first-time problem: what to do about a Phantom-Zone prisoner who has completed his sentence?

It a particularly vexing case for the Man of Steel because the prisoner who has finished his time is Quex-Ul, who, back on Krypton, had been convicted of killing rondors for their treasured all-healing horns. And the fellow who had done the convicting and subsequent sentencing of Quex-Ul to the Phantom Zone was none other than Jor-El, Superman’s father.

It’s a moral dilemma for Superman, who is reluctant to release a former criminal on Earth, where he will gain super-powers, but morally, he has no choice. (For some reason, it never occurs to the Metropolis Marvel to release Quex-Ul in Kandor, as later stories showed just that.)

As soon as Quex-Ul is back in the corporeal world, he gives Superman the bad news—if Quex-El cannot take revenge on the father, he will do so on the son. The former criminal flies to a remote area of the Earth and constructs an electro-magnet calibrated to attract gold kryptonite. We are privy to Quex-Ul’s thoughts, which reveal that he has learnt that gold k will remove a Kryptonian’s super-powers permanently.

Superman is unaware of the existence of gold kryptonite, and Quex-Ul will play upon that ignorance by setting a deadly trap.

In the meantime, the Man of Steel has not been idle. His conscience getting the better of him, he uses a space-and-time-warping device to travel back to old Krypton to satisfy himself on the matter of Quex-Ul’s guilt. Instead, he discovers that Quex-Ul was innocent of the charges, but framed to appear guilty.

Quex-Ul finishes his preparations to destroy the Man of Steel. He traps a Navy submarine in an undersea crevice at the ocean’s bottom. Near the sub, he has planted the gold k. When Superman dives down to rescue the imperil sub, he will be exposed to the gold k, lose his powers, and drown.

As Superman receives word of the trapped submarine, Quex-Ul learns from Supergirl of her cousin’s successful effort to clear his name. Filled with remorse, Quex-Ul tells the Girl of Steel about the gold-k trap, then speeds to rescue to the stricken boat before Superman falls victim to the gold kryptonite.

Quex-Ul succeeds, but at the cost of his super-powers. Warned by Supergirl, Superman rescues the drowning ex-con at a safe distance from the gold k.

Not only has Quex-Ul lost his super-powers, but also his memories. It’s not made clear if the memory loss was an effect of the gold kryptonite, or if it was a result of Quex-Ul suffering from the bends, due to his swift retrieval from the water.

If amnesia was intended to be an additional effect of gold kryptonite, the idea was dropped. It was never mentioned again in the text pieces, nor in any future in-story references to gold k.

Nor on the other occasion when super-powered Kryptonians fell victim to it.

In “The Menace of Gold Kryptonite”, from Superman # 179 (Aug., 1965), a nuclear reaction in the Fortress of Solitude converts a harmless piece of red kryptonite into gold k. Alerted by their early warning monitors, two Kandorians—Jay-Ree and Joenne—volunteer to exit the bottled city and remove the gold k before Superman returns and falls victim to it. To protect their own super-powers, Jay-Ree and Joenne done lead suits.

Once outside the bottle, though, the couple discovers that the Kryptonian metal-eater beast has escaped from its cage in the Fortress zoo. Despite their best efforts to avoid the beast, it manages to eat through both of their suits, exposing them to the gold k. Jay-Ree and Joenne lose their super-powers instantly.

They manage to use the Phantom-Zone projector to send the gold k into the Zone, ensuring Superman’s safety, but they are both now bereft of their super-powers.

Both tales show Quex-Ul and Jay-Ree and Joenne losing their super-powers. In Quex-Ul’s case, its considered a permanent loss based on what the man himself knows about the stuff; in the latter, it’s on the basis of the Word of God. As far as the Superman mythos is concerned, their power-loss is permanent.

Hope this helps.

There was also an episode of Superfriends in which Darkseid tries to use gold kryptonite against Superman. He simply throws it to him and Superman catches it in his hand like a dumbass, despite knowing full well of its effects. He avoids its effects, though, by actually not being Superman, but Batman in disguise. I can’t remember how the episode begins, so I don’t remember how it’s explained that both Superman and Darkseid know about its effects.

According to what I’ve read, golden kryptonite works by destroying a kriptonian cells’ ability to process sunlight, effectively making their powers impossible to come back.

Wowee, Commander! Thank you for the Gold-K lesson. Neat stuff.

I can just imagine a dialogue between Superman and Supergirl:

SG: So how do we know that Gold K robs our powers permanently?

SM: Because.

SG: But how do you know? Has anyone around lost their powers that you know?

SM: Just go back to the orphanage.

I’m guessing that Siegel wrote that 179 story. Jay-Ree (Jerry) and Joenne (Joanne)? Can’t be a coinkydink.

Commander Benson

March 13, 2013 at 8:35 am

“I’m guessing that Siegel wrote that 179 story. Jay-Ree (Jerry) and Joenne (Joanne)? Can’t be a coinkydink.”

So one would think. But I checked three reliable sources of that sort of information, and each one lists Otto Binder as the writer of “The Menace of Gold Kryptonite”.

Where is the Avengers Legend? I can’t find it any where! and having the comments section take comments on all the legends at the same time is ridiculous!

Finally I found it…..

ParanoidObsessive

March 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

Would Chris Claremont have Rogue take her powers away? What would Rogue be like without her Ms. Marvel powers?”

I’m tempted to say Rogue wouldn’t exist at all, since the entire purpose of her first appearance was to steal Carol’s powers. Without that impetus, Claremont probably doesn’t need a power-stealing character, and thus never invents her.

The fact that Rogue evolved into so much more later on probably says far less about Claremont’s original intentions for the character and far more about his usual penchant for NEVER letting a prior plot thread die.

Commander Benson, you just made my day, thank you. May your awesome powers never be robbed.

Commander Benson

March 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

“Commander Benson, you just made my day, thank you. May your awesome powers never be robbed.”

With such kind words, sir, you’ve just made mine. Thank you.

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[…] Leva trad in die tijd op als Spider-Man voor fotoshoots en openbare gelegenheden als stripbeurzen. Hij was ook een tijdje in de running om Peter Parker te spelen in een heuse Spider-Man-film die geproduceerd zou worden door Canon film. Er werden wat testfoto’s van Leva als Peter Parker gemaakt die zo grappig zijn dat ik ze je niet wil onthouden. Maar de film is er nooit gekomen.  Een weinigzeggende teaser is er nog van op YouTube te zien. (Meer over dit project kun je hier lezen.) […]

I agree with Redz. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is easily the most overrated comic I’ve ever read, bar none. It was just Moore pulling all the possible plot twists he could think of out of his behind, which resulted in a “story” that had no substance and kept throwing cheap stunt after cheap stunt at the reader. Even as an Elseworlds tale it wouldn’t have worked.

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