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Comic Book Legends Revealed #411

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COMIC LEGEND: Victor Fox was working as DC Comics’ accountant when he saw the sales of Action Comics #1 and immediately formed his own comic book company.

STATUS: False

The most famous story about Victor Fox, the comic book publisher of the 1940s, was that he was working for National Comics (what became DC Comics) as an accountant and he saw the sales figures on Action Comics starring Superman and he then went off and started his own comic book company based on the sales.

The late Joe Simon (who worked for Fox a lot in those early days) told the story this way:

He was an accountant for DC Comics. He was doing the sales figures and he liked what he saw. So, he moved downstairs and started his own company…. I happened to get a job; I went over to Fox and became editor there, which was just an impossible job, because … there were no artists, no writers, no editors, no letterers — nothing there. Everything came out of the Eisner and Iger shop. … He was a very strange character. He had kind of a British accent; he was like 5’2″, told us he was a former ballroom dancer. He was very loud, menacing, and really a scary little guy. He used to say, ‘I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics.’ We couldn’t stop him”.

One of Fox’s first hits was the Blue Beetle…

bluebeetle

My buddy Christopher Irving, though, was doing research for his book about the Blue Beetle, the Blue Beetle Companion, and he discovered that the whole story was hooey. Fox was not working as an accountant for DC Comics when he started Fox Comics.

beetle

In fact, he NEVER worked for DC. What he DID do was do an Astrology magazine that was distributed by Independent News, the same distributor that did DC’s comics. It was through that distributor that he learned of how well DC Comics was doing with superhero comics and the REST of the story is basically true.

Really simple stuff and yet it has remained an accepted story for years!

Thanks to Chris for the awesome research! Go buy Blue Beetle Companion!

In addition, Ken Quattro had a piece on his amazing website the Comic Book Detectives where he has the full transcripts of the testimony in the lawsuit DC filed against Victor Fox for his Superman rip-off Wonder Man…

wondercomics1

And they make it clear that Fox did not work for DC Comics, as well.
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Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did Martin Luther King REALLY keep Nichelle Nichols from quitting Star Trek after the first season?
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On the next page, did Marvel really have a weird rule that Wolverine could not have hair on his arms when in costume?

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55 Comments

Interesting that the Lady Mastermind legend was submitted by a Chris C. Is Mr Claremont a reader of this fine column by any chance?

Dear Brian,

Thank you for showing SAGE kicking the ass of that retcon/continuity error.

Alright, now I want a whole series of articles on superhero body hair. I remember in the 90s, when the Hulk went from being a hairless brute to a guy with little bits all over his shoulders. Wolverine-influenced, maybe?

Interesting that the Lady Mastermind legend was submitted by a Chris C. Is Mr Claremont a reader of this fine column by any chance?

Ha! No, that’d be funny, though. “Suggested by Chris Claremont but not confirmed by him.” :)

Charles J. Baserap

March 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

Funnily enough, Bendis put Lady Mastermind in this week’s All-New X-Men #9 and cracked a joke about her name, either not knowing the whys of her being called LADY Mastermind or knowing and still going with the admittedly comical banter between her and Mystique.

Sage wasted no time fixing that hereditary Wyngarde bad posture. ? her

I had no idea the history of these two characters. What a treat! Nice to see any of the Masterminds again, in All-New X-Men.

Not a downward spiral of Wolverine hairiness… a glorious ascent into hot, hunky hirsuteness. Woof!

Not a downward spiral of Wolverine hairiness… a glorious ascent into hot, hunky hirsuteness. Woof!

Ha! Fair enough, David, fair enough!

Re: The Wolverine/Wolverines urban legend. The Wild Cards book had some fun with that. Their own healing factor guy, Carnifex, had the back story that he played for the Michigan Wolverines, and was ‘outed’ as an Ace when he broke his leg in three places and wanted back in the game in the next quarter. In one of the novels he says he was going to call himself “Kid Wolverine” and the head of the black ops team says the university would sue. :-)

I love this column and look forward to reading it every week – thanks Brian!

any explanation about the arms’ hair thing???

any explanation about the arms’ hair thing???

I think it is just a general “This is the established look for Wolverine when in costume. Do not veer off from the established look, even if it doesn’t make any sense!”

Everything came out of the Eisner and Iger shop.… He was a very strange character….He used to say, ‘I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics.’

I assume “He” refers to Fox. It’s a little confusing. I don’t know much about Eisner or Iger, but that description doesn’t seem to follow what little I do know about them. And I could research more on the internet but I don’t feel like it.

Interesting fact: the multi-page format, which has sucked for several weeks now, still sucks. Stop milking click-throughs, CBR.

I assumed “hairless Wolverine” meant there’d been some arc when he’d gone bald or the like. Silly me.

Body hair is a big issue for us bear-loving comic fans. There are few hairy heroes and, as we see here, many are shaved by editors for whatever reason.

Certain artists do tend to force the issue more than others. Perez and Grummett, for example, tend to draw hairy. And praise Jebus for that!

I assume “He” refers to Fox. It’s a little confusing. I don’t know much about Eisner or Iger, but that description doesn’t seem to follow what little I do know about them. And I could research more on the internet but I don’t feel like it.

Yeah, he was referring to Fox. Fox was a real character (not in a good way).

It had never occurred to me before now that there were bear-loving comic book fans, but I suppose it stands to reason. Does that mean that there is somebody out there fantasizing about Volstagg?

Do you mean to imply that there is somebody out there NOT fantasizing about the Lion of Asgard?

Ferb Morgendorffer

March 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm

@ Darkhawk Another interesting fact – the multi-page format, however annoying, is apparently here to stay, and bitching about makes one a troll no matter how big a fan of this column you are. Get over it and start making constructive comments again.

Yup the multipage format is BETTER, those who complain about it are wrong.

I love that Sam Keith cover for Marvel Comics Presents: Wolverine #92. It was one of the first images I ever saw for Wolverine and has always stuck with me as a definitive Wolverine image. Short, hairy, brown-and-tan costume, angry… And I’ve always loved the way that the tatters of his costume hang down in ringlets like someone attacked him with a vegetable peeler; it could be taken as stupid, but for some reason, I love it.

How come when Colossus wasn’t in armor form he had blue pants but when he was in armor form they disappeared?

So the only thing missing from those early Wolverine stories would be a couple panels where he used his right-arm claws to shave his left arm and vice-versa.

Yeah, what was the deal with Colossus?

Yeah, what was the deal with Colossus? And did Princess Lilandra have arm hair or not? Was it feathers?

Now I want the answer on Colossus’ pants.

Actually, I want a whole backstory on Xavier creating costumes for the All-New X-Men. “Wolverine, Banshee, Sunfire, you already have costumes, so you’re good. Storm, I mentally scanned the villagers who’ve been ogling you all these years to determine your measurements. You get this slightly-less naked outfit with wing flaps. Colossus, you get this red and yellow number with magically disappearing leggings. Nightcrawler, you can keep wearing that circus number you have on.”

Don’t be knocking Sam Keith’s Wolverine! The extreme hairiness is how it’s SUPPOSED to look in his style.

Somebody wrote a book about Blue Beetle and I didn’t know it????? Man where have I been?

Oh, and it’s a great book, too, TGC. Lotsa neat stuff in there (a Blue Beetle radio show? Holy crap!).

Plus, Christopher Irving is a good looking dude. Not hairy like Wolverine, but a handsome guy.

Um, I was totally thinking about that due to the fact that Irving got caught up in that weird conspiracy BS involving shootings and stuff recently, and I was thinking “he can’t be involved, he’s too good looking”.

Comic-Reader Lad

March 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm

The Blue Beetle isn’t really a “holy crap” moment for me, as it’s not exactly a hard-to-find item. I’ve had it for around 10 years. You can download it from any number of OTR sites or even YouTube.

Although nothing beats the Superman radio show, the Beetle show is fun for comic book completists.

Hey Brian, the third “Classic Legends” Wolverine link on page 3 is incomplete. Not that I haven’t read every Legends Revealed column, but I figured I’d point it out. It’s probably harder to see because it’s on the third slide instead of on the first. :)

The answer for Colossus’ disappearing blue leggings is easy. I was told it was because they were worried about him having bare legs when human, that it would make him seem kinda fruity (I’m cleaning things up here, bear with me), so they added the disappearing blue leggings while he was human, so he would be wearing pants.

It was figured that kids wouldn’t really notice.

Incidentally, in his first appearance, Blue Beetle looked far more “pulpish” as a more direct Green Hornet riff dressed in a business suit and driving a super car for the first two issues. It was later that he’d appear on radio -where Mr. Reid started.

Sam Kieth is the man. He does over-the-top really well, and really over-the-top.

I can’t believe I never noticed that thing about Colossus’s leggings until now

Hey Brian, the third “Classic Legends” Wolverine link on page 3 is incomplete. Not that I haven’t read every Legends Revealed column, but I figured I’d point it out. It’s probably harder to see because it’s on the third slide instead of on the first.

Yikes, that was really weird. Thanks for the pick-up! It’s fixed now.

I assume that Colossus’s leggings go the same place that Banner and Hulk’s pants go.

Which is the start of some really interesting, really disturbing slashfic.

Didn’t Xavier say in Giant-Size X-Men that he got the costumes from Reed Richards and they’re made of unstable molecules?

Colossus’ disappearing leggings must be an effect of said unstable molecules.
Where’s my No-Prize, Marvel?

@Adam:
Wouldn’t it just be simpler if Xavier scanned Storm for her measurements, instead of the villagers?

Either way, it totally fits with his creepy personality.

On those Loeb/Sale X-Men pages, what’s up with Arcade? Why is his face half-scarred, and why has he turned into a gnome?

Jeff Nettleton

March 23, 2013 at 4:23 am

So, it’s weird that Colossus’ pants and Wolverine’s hair go missing, but not that the Wyngarde character happens to be lounging around in a corset and leather thigh boots? Or that she has an amazing range of movement in said outfit? That one I chalk up to an artist that doesn’t date much (and the precedent of the Hellfire Club swipe from Emma Peel), but attribute Colossus to “unstable molecules” (it is mentioned in GS X-Men) and Wolverine shaving before battle.

The woman lounging around in a corset with the wide range of movement is Sage. Wyngarde is the blonde she’s kicking (who isn’t dressed much more conservatively, but she also isn’t moving around at all). I have no idea why she’s lying on the floor apparently unconscious in the panel between the one where … something hits Sage and Sage kicks her in the face, but the book had pretty frequent art glitches at the time because (from what I’ve heard) the artist and writer had both a language barrier and a lack of back-and-forth communication.

Guys, you got it all wrong, Colossus doesn’t have any pants in his human form, his legs are actually naturally blue, and only when he turns to steel does he have the same colour all over…

@ZZZ

Reagan is on the floor because Sage hit her in the panel right before, while she was still being masked by her illusion, so it looks like Sage hit nothing.

@Tuomas

Arcade had a nasty break up with Miss Locke.

@David: Totally agree. I loves me some hairy Wolverine.

It’s amazing enough to know that George Perez drew Teen Titans, Avengers, and Crisis, but finding out that he convinced John Byrne to quit hiding Logan’s glorious body hair makes him even more awesome.

@phred: Yes, we bear-loving comic book fans exist. The latest issues of X-Treme X-Men featuring an mutton-chopped Wolverine making out with Hercules was like my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas rolled all in one.

If DC and Marvel make a crossover comic featuring Green Arrow and Beast making out, my head will explode.

So, have we determined if there’s an editorial rule about the Sub-Mariner’s nipples? LOL

Since 1939, he had been drawn as nipple-less, but I had read that there was a lot of consternation in the late 70s when George Perez put nipples on him in a story he drew. Since then, it seems that some artists to, and some don’t (I seem to recall that John Byrne kept him ‘smooth’ in his NAMOR series back in the 90s). So, was this an irregularly-imposed edict from Marvel management to spare children the indecent sight of men’s teats?

And for the record, this isn’t something I would have normally brought up, but since we’re talking about Wolverine’s arm hair, I figured it was in keeping with the subject. :P

The Colussus leg thing always bothered me as a kid. Weird that I haven’t thought about it until now.

On that last page (the last comic page of the first story page) am I the only one that finds the proportions weird. That table looks like it is farther off, but her hands are on it as though it is closer. The proportional size of the chairs on the other side too, If they are close enough that they are just on the other side of a table, they should be closer to the size of the chair she’s sitting in. If the table is as small as it appears, and not just further away, then it must be hovering above the floor.

Because it’s an illusion!

No-Prize, baby!

So does this explaine the disappearing mutton chops when Logan mask went on? He had damnable near a full beard mask off

“Yup the multipage format is BETTER, those who complain about it are wrong.”

Yes, people who don’t like what you like are WRONG! What other possibility could there be?

I do believe at some point the Colossus legs issue was explained with unstable molecules. Though this might have been in the Official Handbook or some other such supplement.
There’s an issue of What If…? that has a pic of Piotr’s legs flesh-colored, and MAN does it look weird.

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