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Comic Book Legends Revealed #426

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COMIC LEGEND: The Dreadnoks were originally going to be fuzzy creatures like Ewoks.


Return of the Jedi was a major success in 1983, and perhaps the “breakout” characters from the film were the Ewoks, furry little folk who helped the Star Wars heroes save the day…


Well, as you might imagine, toy companies up and down the line figured that creatures like the Ewoks would be the biggest new trend in toys.

So much so that Hasbro wanted Zartan’s gang, the Dreadnoks, to be fuzzy humanoid bears. Larry Hama fought the idea and in an interview with Toy Fare magazine, he recounted his argument, “you can’t have the good guys running around shooting at teddy bears.” He pitched them on the idea of the Dreadnoks being bikers, instead, and that won out…



However, during the cartoon series where the Dreadnoks first appeared, they WERE working with the “Fatal Fluffies,” cute little creatures…


the turned into vicious beasts and served Zartan and the Dreadnoks.


Imagine how the G.I. Joe comic book would have gone if Hama had had to work in fuzzy Dreadnoks?

You know, now I am sort of wondering if Candy (Bongo the Balloon Bear) from the comic book wasn’t a sly reference to this attempt to make the Dreadnoks bears, because Candy did interact with the Dreadnoks a lot..



Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to G.I. Joe!

Was the GI Joe series partially based on a previous Marvel pitch Larry Hama had made to Marvel?

Was Rocky Balboa a member of G.I. Joe?

Was the famous “Silent Issue” of GI Joe originally meant to have dialogue in it, but it was left out due to some sort of error?

Did Marvel once release a special Todd McFarlane issue of G.I. Joe that was made up of an old issue of G.I. Joe by McFarlane that Marvel had rejected at the time!

Was the G.I. Joe comic made as an attempt to get around advertising restrictions?

Did Larry Hama’s band play in the G.I. Joe episode “Cold Slither?

Did Larry Hama base a G.I. Joe story arc on an old screenplay that also influenced the film Armageddon?

What G.I. Joe member was based on Larry Hama himself?

On the next page, marvel at how the same story was reprinted twice – with different characters each time!

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What was the publisher for the Lady Satan story & reprints? Was it all the same publisher? And yeah, that’s one authentic police case, all right.

Incidentally, page 3 has that weird thing where all the text is centered, including the comments.

Chesler did the original, St. John did the next two.

Thanks for the center pick-up! It’s fixed now.

Nitpick on the first story. Cyrillic isn’t a language, it’s an alphabet, which is used to write Serbo-Croation.

Also, that’s an interesting outfit Wondie’s wearing in the Nicaraguan comic…was that unique to that story?

it should be noted dc also did a land mine story featuring batman but the out come was sadly batman unable to stop a little girl from being blown to bits playing in a mine field. and given how gijoe had characters like serpentor and even near the end of the comic and line raptor. not surprised they almost added teddy bears. though surprised they wanted them to be the dreadknocks for that would have hurt zartans cred as leader of them.

I think that WW outfit is from the late-90’s when John Byrne was doing the WW book and had Wonder Woman’s mom Hyppolyta replace her for awhile. Her version of the costume was similar to the one in the original Sensation Comics debut of the character (although that early version of the costume featured culottes instead of a skirt). Byrne actually later wrote a plot wherein Hyppolyta turned out to actually be the original WWII version of Wonder Woman (!) due to a bout of time travel. This created the confusing situation wherein the Diana version of WW came first in contemporary times, but because of her own mom’s time traveling, the rest of the world thought she debuted in the WWII era. (I hate time travel stories!)

The Mad Monkey

July 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

It’s no surprise that St. John’s changed Lady Satan into Marietta/Celeste! They were, after all, a Christian-based comic book company and were the ones responsible for publishing some pro-religion propaganda Archie comics in the 70s. So, with that in mind, they simply couldn’t have the heroine of their story be named after the “Dark Prince”.

I remember the Hyppolyta Wonder Woman wearing a skirt, but still rocking the metal breastplate and cleavage. I think it is more likely that the costume was changed so the comic could be used in countries that might reject the comic if the WW costume was too revealing. What’s the story, Brian?

Brian, I hate to be “that guy” but I just wanted to point out in the lead, it states, “Was a comic book story reprinted twice times in ten years…with a different lead character each time?!”

Think you can lose the twice, on that one…unless it’s some little known grammar rule I missed.


Greg Hatcher covered similar such specials, including some dealing with landmines.

This sort of subject matter seems more appropriate for others properties. For example:


The whole point of the Hornet is that he is not going after world-conquering madmen with crackling death rays or legions of obedient zombies. He is a dedicated public servant who is determined to clean up his city of racketeers, corrupt politicians and con artists of all types……….There’s a rigged mayoral election that needs to be exposed, a faulty underwater tunnel built of substandard material, a hot car ring, a protection racket victimizing dry cleaners — these are all crimes that really ruin the lives of innocent people, and if heroes like the Shadow or Doc Savage were not concerned with mundane affairs like these, the Hornet was ready to fight for the safety and rights of ordinary citizens.

I remember the Hyppolyta Wonder Woman wearing a skirt, but still rocking the metal breastplate and cleavage. I think it is more likely that the costume was changed so the comic could be used in countries that might reject the comic if the WW costume was too revealing. What’s the story, Brian?

While I don’t know for certain, I imagine it would almost surely be that very reason, to make the costume less revealing. I recall Andy Mangels, the awesome Wonder Woman expert, also believes that to be the reasoning.

In addition to Polly’s WW costume still having the cleavage-baring bodice, her skirt was also shorter and pleated. It was, in fact, a pretty good approximation of the Golden Age costume with the skirt. (Except I think the skirt was a little shorter, stopping just a little below her rump, rather than mid-thigh – both are shorter than what Diana’s wearing in that Nicaraguan comic, in any case.)

I can’t believe they were going to make the Dreadnoks talking bears- at the time the GI Joe comic was relatively realistic.

Talking bears wielding chainsaws while riding motorcycles?
I cannot conceive of any way in which this is not the most awesome idea ever!

Get Michael Bay on this stat!

Yeah the G.I.Joe comics were fairly realistic, but the cartoons have done a lot worse than talking bears.

Holy freaking… Dreadnoks as bears…? My… my mind boggles.

It might have fit in with the ridiculousness of the show, but I cannot fathom that working in the comic book AT ALL.

Then again, it might explain the silly names of the original three–they’re both Tom, Dick and Harry AND Wynken, Blinken, and Nodd (I think I got the spellings of the last names right, they were all a bit off from the nursery rhyme).

Buzzer certainly looks a little… chubby in that first G.I. Joe cover.

And you’re right about the original Dreadnoks names. They were:

Buzzer: Dick Blinken (Richard Blinken-Smythe)
Torch: Tom Winken
Ripper: Harry Nod

There are several instances in the 1940s where things like the Lady Satan story occur. Scripts from one story get recycled for another character, sometimes the art gets re-used and the story is almost totally re-scripted and cases like this where the story is reprinted almost verbatim with just a slight tweaking in art and script to change the characters’ names (the Black Dwarf becoming the Blue Monk for example). Interesting that it would happen twice with the same story, but not very surprising. It must’ve been a doozy.

Ed – I was looking through the Public Domain Superheroes wiki, the other day, and ran into another good example of it – involving the same two companies as the Lady Satan story!

The Gay Desperado was published by Chesler in 1945. In 1948, St. John reprinted some of his stories as The Bold Buckaroo, then again, in 1950, as The Lone Vigilante.

Looks like St John made a habit of doing this.

@The Mad Monkey: I think you’ve got your publishers mixed up. St John quit publishing comics in the late 1950s and the company closed up shop completely in the late 1960s. I think where you’re getting mixed up is that the Archie line began as MLJ Comics which published a series in the early 1940s called Blue Ribbon Comics (and later, Blue Ribbon Mystery Comics). St John also published a title also called Blue Ribbon Comics but completely different. The Christian comics that featured the Archie characters were published by a company called Spire Christian Comics but it didn’t start publishing until 1972.

It also doesn’t make sense that they would change the character’s name but retain the story’s overall supernatural theme if St John had been a “Christian-based comic book company.” (After all, if you look at the material published by Spire, there was NO use of Sabrina–and Sabrina was an occasional “visitor” in the regular Archie comic stories. Additionally, Spire tended to completely avoid Satanish, the supernatural and the occult unless the story was intended as an ANTI-occult/supernatural story or had a Biblical component like Saul’s visit to the Witch of Endor to show God’s opposition to the occult or to show God/Jesus defeating Satan in the end times. Overall, though, Spire’s preference was to completely ignore or avoid any supernatural elements when possible, preferring to stick with stories that were either completely inspirational and uplifting or made Communism the bad guy.)

I always got a kick out of the JSA calling Diana’s mom “Polly.” (I would have had it “Hippy.”) But when I encountered this, I wondered why time travel had to be involved. Certainly someone who lived from the days of classical Greece to the modern day was around during WW2, and could have justified going to Man’s World to help in the latest War to End All Wars.

Was St. John’s the company behind Spire? That’s the name I remember on those Christian Archies.

I must agree that age is probably the key factor on how kids might take land mine comics the wrong way (and why the Batman version, where he doesn’t save the victim, is a “good” approach). An example: young kids who still believe in Santa have been known to slip downstairs to wait for the jolly old elf. Though this obviously has less severe consequences…

Thanks, JosephW, I didn’t see your note when I began mine.

Pretty good instalment.

I would like to share some stories about this period in former Yugoslavia’s countries, but it’s neither place nor time to tell. Let’s just say that one could see the full picture of insanity of animosity between the countries.

The comic book was a nice gift to kids in Bosnia. Wonder how many kids had a chance to read it.

The comic book was a nice gift to kids in Bosnia. Wonder how many kids had a chance to read it.

The reports were that the books were remarkably effective, at least in terms of reaching its audience. The issues most critics had were with the approach of the comic, including whether the comic was technically accurate enough, whether it gave off the right advice, whether kids would even be familiar enough with the characters for it to work and, as noted earlier, whether kids could appreciate that these were fictional characters.

Jeff Nettleton

July 6, 2013 at 8:59 am

While JosephW mostly has it right, I think you might be mixing Spire Christian Comics with the earlier Treasure Chest of Fun & Facts, just a smidgeon. Spire Christian started in the 70s and adapted both Christian novels and memoirs (Cross & the Switchblade, the Hiding Place, etc…) and the Archie characters in religiously-themed stories. However, I don’t recall much Commie bashing. Granted, I haven’t seen every book they ever published, so I might have missed the more political stories. Meanwhile, Treasure Chest was produced by an Ohio publisher and distributed to Catholic schools, back in the tail end of the Golden Age. It did feature quite a bit of Commie bashing, including one rather infamous issue where that was the focus of the main feature. A neighbor of mine, when I was young, came across a bunch of those at a garage sale and bought them, then eventually passed them on to me. They had some good features and some good artists (Reed Crandall did a bit of work for them in the 50s). Most of the ones I had came from the 60s, after they toned down the rhetoric.

Reposting, since the original, with links is stuck in moderation purgatory:

Ed – I was looking through the Public Domain Superheroes wiki, the other day, and ran into another good example of it – involving the same two companies as the Lady Satan story!

The Gay Desperado was published by Chesler in 1945. In 1948, St. John reprinted some of his stories as The Bold Buckaroo, then again, in 1950, as The Lone Vigilante.

Looks like St John made a habit of doing this.

I believe the publisher of Treasure Chest was George A. Pflaum – and no connection to St. John, which was named after the publisher Archer St. John. St. John was quite the solid publisher who quit publishing aruond the time of the Kefauver Hearings (but not because of the Comics Code IIRC). Joe Kubert did a lot of work for the company (including the original version of Tor) I believe. Matt Baker was also a regular artist for them. If anything, St. John was liberal to the point that his non-comics publishing created political problems for him.

Bluewater has put out a collection of stories from Treasure Chest – at least digitally through stores like Drive-Thru Comics and Comixology.

Great Scott! Superman was in Bosnia? Could’ve stopped the war while he was there… dick…

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Thank god they didn’t ACTUALLY make the Dreadnoks bears.

Well, in a way the Dreadnoks look like a certain type of bear.

I heard that the real reason that the Dreadnoks were changed was that Larry Hama did not want to be outed as a furry. In retrospect, all the signs were there.

[…] was de-satanized AGAIN in 1952, this time in Strange Terrors #1. (To read up more on this, check here and here.) Yes, this same story was re-written and published again twice. Anything to just keep […]

I refuse to accept that Bosnian children– or any children– are that dumb.

The story of Bosnian children being killed is true. I was there working in the Army as a Psychological Operations NCO. within a week of the incident we had to destroy dozens of shipping containers full of comic books and posters of the superman comic.

The children were aged up to 8 to 10 and they said if they were playing in a dangerous area, superman would save them. What age do American rugrats stop believing in Santa Claus?

Those kids played anywhere and everywhere. Many families lived in actual landfill areas. I think two were killed and the rest injured with a few amputees.

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