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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #425

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Welcome to the four hundred and twenty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and twenty-four. This week, were Mark Gruenwald’s ashes also mixed in with the ink for a Marvel Comics poster? Was the Venture Brothers originally a comic book? And was a Marvel Avenger’s look based on a TV Avenger?

Let’s begin!

NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).

COMIC LEGEND: Mark Gruenwald’s ashes were also mixed in with a Marvel Comics poster.

STATUS: True

The VERY FIRST edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed dealt with the story of how beloved Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald…

gruenwald
had some of his ashes mixed in with the printing of the trade paperback collection of Squadron Supreme (Gruenwald’s most famous comic book work).

squadron
While that IS true, commenter Tom wrote in the other day to also ask:

I read the urban legend of Mark Gruenwald’s ashes being used in the printing of a comic book. Does anyone know if his ashes were mixed in with the black ink to create a “Spiderman” poster? My wife worked at a printing company (Northeast Graphics) in North Haven, CT and was told the poster was created with the ashes mixed in with the black ink. My wife recalls Mark’s wife visiting the plant but wasn’t sure of the reason for the visit. The plant foreman told my wife that she brought Mark’s ashes to be mixed with the ink to create the “Spiderman” poster.

Amazingly enough, this is ALSO true! I asked the always helpful Tom Brevoort about it, and he said that Gruenwald’s ashes were, indeed, mixed in with the ink for a Marvel Universe poster by Claudio Castellini. Tom could not recall the EXACT poster, but the odds are extremely high that it is this late 1990s Castellini poster…

claudio_marvel_universe1

Very cool tribute to a great Marvel creator.

Thanks to Phantom-Longbox for the color version of the poster!

Thanks to Tom Brevoort for the information and thanks to commenter Tom for suggesting it!

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Check out some Entertainment and Sports Urban Legends Revealed!

Does Time Magazine Intentionally Put Devil’s Horns on Cover Subjects They Dislike?

Did Wilt Chamberlain Have a Infamously Poor Reaction to the Invention of Morning Shootarounds?

Is a Playboy Centerfold Really the Standard Test Image for Image Processing Algorithms?

Did Quantum Leap Correctly Predict Super Bowl XXX?

What Exactly Happened in the “Win One for the Gipper!” Football Game?

Did TV Guide Put Oprah Winfrey’s Head on Ann-Margaret’s Body on a Cover?

Did a Convicted Man Ask for his Sentence to be INCREASED to Honor his Favorite Basketball Player?
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On the next page, was the Venture Brothers originally a comic book?

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30 Comments

Jorge Martinez

June 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

I always thought they were mixed in the Squadrom Supreme tpb. Love that series!

Also Claudio Castellini?! What ever happened to him? He was great. I love that Silver Surfer book he did years ago.

@Jorge – I believe the ashes were mixed in with both.

Yep, they were mixed in with both.

To answer your question: Yes, I have that poster in color.

Pecos Asbestos McGuiliguty

June 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

Re The Black Widow thing. I still don’t totally buy it.

I don’t mean to say that he’s lying – just that whether conscience of the fact or not, I can’t see that Emma Peel didn’t influence that costume. BW looks way more like Emma than Miss Fury – the ‘rope shooters’ sure, but if anything the original BW costume looks influenced by Miss Fury not the new one.

Thanks, Phantom-Longbox!

Natasha’s rationale for going to fight Spider-Man is even more ridiculous than the average hero vs. hero story.

Fraser, I believe at the time Black Widow was a villain. People tend to forget that she was a Russian Spy during the cold war.

I believe at the time Black Widow was a villain. People tend to forget that she was a Russian Spy during the cold war.

You’re right that she started as a Cold War spy, but by that time (1970), she had been rehabilitated. She was a frequent guest star in the Avengers, in her role as Hawkeye’s girlfriend, and starred in at least one major plotline (the Red Guardian). She was only an active villain in Iron Man’s run of Tales of Suspense, around 1964-65.

Maybe it’s the reproduction or seeing it at a fraction of its intended size, but that Castellini poster is a mess.

I actually think Natasha’s rational for going after Spider-Man makes pretty good character sense.

She was trained to be the best in everything she did and, where and how she was trained, the consequences of being second best were to be strongly avoided. She may have ostensibly switched to the side of the good guys but she was still the same ruthless, arrogant, unyielding person she’d always been (and remains to this day). In fact–if memory serves–this story marks the beginning of her embracing a role as an actual crime fighter (thus her reference to starting a new career). Prior to that, even though she’d left the USSR, she was still operating on the shady side of the law in the U.S. (which is why, despite Hawkeye’s urging, the Avengers wouldn’t accept her as a member). Her approach to dealing with Spider-man was pretty much in keeping with her established character . . . Spider-Man had something she thought she needed and the the only way it occurred to her to get it was to take it.

Obviously the dialogue is overwrought and uber-dramatic, but that’s just a byproduct of the times for comics in the 70s. Her actual behavior is pretty much in keeping with who the Widow always has been and still is.

Didn’t Miss Fury come back in Dynamite’s “Masks” series?

Did Natasha ever have powers?

Doug: Yes. And now she has a Dynamite series of her own.

For some reason, the third page won’t load.

The server had an overall hiccup. It should be fine now.

Something less obvious; what about her hair color? Previous depictions showed her with black hair.

Wait, can the black widow stick to walls? Is that still in her poweset or has that been lost in the retcons?

@Fredll, if it has been retconned, it would have been fairly recently. I remember her sticking to walls in her 90s appearance in Daredevil.

Slightly morbid thought on the Greunwald story – what are the chances of actually getting a copy of the book or poster impregnated with his remains?

Chris McCullough also did some comics work on The Tick: Karma Tornado and his own short-lived series Cement Shooz, both available pretty cheap. They’re probably most interesting as curios of what he was up to twenty years ago.

@Kamino Neko –

The first printing has the ashes in it. It has a round sticker on the cover that says something to the effect “Celebrating the Genius of Mark Gruenwald”, and the forward says his ashes were added to the ink… I don’t know if subsequent editions have the same claim in the forward.

That’s not what I’m getting at, though.

If you got a first printing copy, what are the odds that you’ll get one that had some of Greunwald’s remains in the ink?

It’s almost certainly not 100%, unless the first printing was a very small run.

The volume of cremains used, the volume of ink used, how thoroughly the ink was mixed once the cremains were added, and the number of issues printed using the cremains-impregnated ink would all influence that.

tone – I have a non-first printing. I don’t remember the wording, exactly, but the foreword is unchanged, there’s just a note added specifying that it was only the first printing.

I think Emma Peel needs a much smaller gun. Looks like she can barely carry that thing it is so huge.

So, why was she called “Miss Furry”? Did she not shave?

Notice that the new Black Widow costume doesn’t have heels, just like Miss Fury’s, and unlike Emma Peel’s And Miss Fury’s costume in no way, shape, or form looks more like the original costume than the new one. It’s like Romita says: he ditched the mask. Sure, maybe he was subconsciously (that’s conscious, not conscience) influenced by Emma Peel. Makes sense, even. Just refuting the rest of the needless contrarianism in the 5th comment.

So Busterchops, you’re saying Emma believed size doesn’t matter?

My mom worked at northeast graphics and brought home that poster for me. Hope it’s still on my closet back home. they use to do a ton of marvel prints.

This IS the poster with Mark’s ashes, I can say with certainty.

Mark was my uncle, so I was one of the 20 who received one.
It was only now that I found (through a comic book friend of mind who saw the poster in my place and did some digging) who the artist was. It’s been a mystery since then, as it’s not signed. Thanks CBR!

On a side note, I’m hang out with his widow, Catherine, and when we went to see the Avengers together, I can actually say I saw it with the widow of the creator of the Hawkeye character- Cool bragging rights. (full disclosure: I wasn’t aware of this fact until she pointed it out.)

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