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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #427

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Welcome to the four hundred and twenty-seventh 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-six. This week, did Marvel edit out a photo of Stan Lee posing nude in an 1980s Marvel comic? Did Thor nearly have a spin-off in the mid-1970s? And finally, what’s the deal with Charlie Brown’s baseball team – did they really NEVER win a game?

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: Marvel edited a photo of Stan Lee posing nude out of a comic book.


This one is an example of some funny timing. My pal John Trumbull suggested this one to me a little over a year ago and I was all set to run it in a week or so when Sean Howe began doing promotional work for his great Marvel: The Untold Story book that came out last year and he mentioned this story, so I didn’t want to run the story as a legend then since I didn’t want to step on Sean’s promotional efforts. But it’s been over a year now, so I think it is fair game!

The story is about the Marvel Fumetti Book from 1984…


The Marvel Fumetti Book was one of a few Direct Market releases Marvel made in the early 1980s that seemed to be geared to the REALLY devoted Marvel fan, as it was a series of stories about the Marvel Bullpen told through “Fumetti,” the Italian term for comics that has been used in America to mean “photonovels.”

One of the stories involves Joe Rubinstein trying to get the female staffers at Marvel to do a wet T-Shirt contest…


Then there is the aftermath to that little escapade…



Funny gag, right?

However, that’s not what the centerfold ORIGINALLY looked like!

Here’s the original shot, in all of its glory, before they decided to censor it with the Hulk paste-over…


If only they had used a copy of Giant-Sized Man-Thing to cover him up instead! It could have been the greatest photo ever known to man!

Thanks to John Trumbull for this suggestion! And go buy Sean Howe’s book! It is a great read!


Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Were the Lyrics to “Every Breath You Take” Taken from an Actual Stalker’s Letters?

Are There Really Aliens Hidden in Every Episode of South Park?

Was “A Hard Day’s Night” Created to Get Around Capitol Records’ Exclusive Deal to Release Beatles Music in the United States?

On the next page, learn about the almost-spinoff Thor title in the 1970s!

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There is actually — and not the least bit surprisingly — an edit of that Stan Lee photo with Giant-Size Man-Thing in place of the Hulk vs. Batman comic.


Oh, speaking of other stuff I wish folks could find me, I believe Marvel advertised Thor the Mighty in a house ad, but since it could have been any time between 1974 and 1976, I didn’t feel like scouring through tons of Marvel Comics looking for it, so if anyone out there happens to know offhand of an issue that those ads appeared in, please let me know!

I recall an interview with Sparky Schulz in which he said that he first had the picture of Charlie Brown dancing and then had to figure out what would make him dance like that. He decided that he must have won a game. More important: he won the game with a home run. Anyone else remember that?

Brian, a house ad for the Marvel black-and-white magazines The Rampaging Hulk, The Savage Sword of Conan and Marvel Preview can be found opposite the letter page in Avengers #161 (on stands in the spring of 1977) with pictures of the Hulk, Conan and Thor accompanying the the titles. At first glance, it looks like Thor is (or was) supposed to be the star of the Marvel Preview mag.

The text for the MARVEL PREVIEW ad reads “All new special projects from the House of Ideas. Watch for THOR THE MIGHTY — the immortal thunder god as you’ve never seen him before.”

I’m wondering if people aren’t conflating that image of Thor and the putting of THOR THE MIGHTY in all-caps in that mag into an ad for a THOR THE MIGHTY mag instead of MARVEL PREMIERE.

I’d be very interested also if anyone can find a house ad for a specific THOR THE MIGHTY mag prior to that ad.

The problem with that is that by the spring of 1977, Englehart was gone from Marvel. He left Cap in 1975. So I think the Marvel Preview ad is just for the upcoming Thor story in Marvel Preview. But it is very possible that people are remembering that ad when they recall seeing ads for Thor the Mighty and perhaps Thor the Mighty was just never advertised.

That fumetti is so old, Louise Jones hadn’t taken her husband’s last name yet!

I remember CB’s team winning because Rerun was so small he had no strike zone and so got walked (it was later overturned IIRC). But how the heck did a lifelong Peanuts fan like me apparently miss this Royanne Hobbs story, because I’ve no memory of it.
So what were some of the other victories?

They won once when Charlie Brown was sick (they came to visit him and informed him that they ignored all of his advice and they still won).

They won once while he was away at camp.

They won once when he got knocked out during the game and came to to learn that they had won while he was unconscious.

They won once when Charlie Brown saw the red-headed girl and became so nervous he couldn’t pitch. Relief pitcher Linus came in and won the game.

They won a couple of forfeits, I think.

Brian, unfortunately, my Marvel collection prior to 1976 is quite spotty so I wish that I could actually be of more help. I’m also wondering that – instead of looking at a full-fledged house ad for a pre-MARVEL PREMIERE plug for THOR THE MIGHTY – that looking at the bottom of the Bullpen Bulletins might provide a clue. I’m remembering a situation in one of the early seventies comics I inherited from a cousin where at the end of a Bullpen Bulletins page there was this drawing of Dan Adkins’ Starhawk (not to be confused with the later one from the Guardians of the Galaxy) and a blurb teasing his first appearance – which to my knowledge was never published.

Well those Stan shots are not quite the same. I’ve seen the original nude shot before. And looks like they used the head from that shot for the Hulk pic. But you can tell by looking at the items on the end table that they are not the same picture.

It’s not even the same *couch*!!!

I’ve seen the a for THOR: THE MIGHTY, but I have no idea where. I want to say in an old HULK or CONAN mag since those are the only ones I own.

I always wondered why I have that THOR mag never came out.

I have or had a copy of that Fumatti book, and it is …. cute is the best thing I can say.
Definetly a ‘deep cut’ for comic fans.
There is a minor trail of oddball books from marvel, but I wouldn’t know where to start to make a list of em, any idea from y’all? I’d count the “Generic Comic” from 1984 but probably not the Fred Hembeck books.
What else is there?

According to the strips from August 17-21 of that year, Royanne Hobbs LET Charlie Brown hit the home runs (she could have struck him out).

Oh man, I remember that fumetti book. I choose to believe the reason they didn’t use that Stan pic is because of Batman, not because of the nudity. And to be fair, the Batman/Hulk comic itself is way more giant-size than Giant-Size Man-Thing.

There was also a Thor story in an issue of Bizarre Adventures. I wonder if that was another leftover.

I saw an interview with Charles Schulz in which he explained that Peanuts arc started with the drawing of Charlie Brown doing cartwheels. He drew it with no plot in mind and then decided to figure out why Charlie Brown would ever be so happy.

Why has there never been an attempt at reviving the Thor the Mighty concept? It makes sui much sense it’s crazy.

Conan can’t even sell a black and white magazine anymore, so I doubt Thor could.

Wow, I’m sure you would have mentioned it otherwise, but that sure looks like pepermint patty that Charlie Brown got the hit off.

Actually the Stan Lee legend should be amended to “False, with a lot of truth to it”. It’s actually an *implied* nude photo; he still had shorts on, according to photographer Eliot R. Brown, who drew most of the maps and paraphernalia design specs for Marvel’s Handbooks: http://seanhowe.tumblr.com/post/30036061521/stan-lee-centerfold-photograph-by-eliot-r

JRC: Don’t forget the no-prize book, which featured some of Marvel’s various goofs, for example Captain America saying “only one of us is going to get up and leave this room, and it’s not going to be me,” a pirate using his eyepatched eye on a telescope in a Daredevil issue, etc.

Damn, John Buscema’s art was beautiful. Perfectly suited for Thor (and Conan). Damn good in his Avengers run as well.

Somebody always ruins it.

Yikes. Y’know, I dig Stan’s enthusiastic flair for selling his wares but there’s only so much of “The Man” that I needed to see in one lifetime…

Marvel was all over the place in the early 80’s. I have this Fumetti issue along with the Generic Comic and the No-Prize Book.

I’m not too well-versed in my Thor lore. Guess Thor and Sif were technically a May-December sort of affair?

Make it an early in the month-late in the month sort of affair. Both of them are, after all, centuries if not millenia old.

I loved those B&W MAGAZINES, but they were hard to find if you just had spinner racks to choose from. I’d love to see PLANET OF THE APES or DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU in an essential or a manga digest.

Knowing that I’m responsible for the Stan Lee centerfold shot hitting the internet again makes me unbelievably happy. :)

It’s strange see the lower-case lettering in the captions on that Thor story. You’d hardly ever see that in comics of that era.

Considering that the “Peanuts musical” — You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown — came out in 1966, the lyrics were right then — his team hadn’t won a game when the show was created.

Heck, the show is so old, iconic characters Woodstock, Marcie, Franklin, and Peppermint Patty hadn’t been introduced yet! The Patty in the cast is the original one, the one with brown hair and bows in it. You can see her in the Christmas and Halloween TV specials, too.

With two Pattys, one apparently had to go — but I don’t think she was written out; just Abandoned ‘n’ Forsaked.

Ooo, the two Pattys might make a good legends revealed. Was the original Patty abandoned because of Pepperment Patty, or was she just kind of phased out because she was no longer interesting to Schulz, like Shermy. Incidentally, in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!” the “Did you know Charlie Brown never pitched a winning baseball game?” line isn’t a lyric, it’s just a line. The line isn’t sung, it’s part of the dialogue leading up to the title song from the musical.

I do remember the bit you mention about the forfeits. There were a few games forfeited in a row and Charlie Brown said something about it being a winning streak. Wasn’t there also a story line where he was managing another team, and they kept winning, and it lead to a championship game between the new team he was managing and his old team?

Oh and as to Charlie Brown never kicking the football. I seem to remember him actually kicking the football in one of the TV specials, I think it was called “It’s Magic, Charlie Brown!” He was invisible at the time. Then again the specials aren’t really cannon, after all the Red Haired Girl was shown, and named (Heather, I believe), in one of the TV specials (“It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown!”) and she was never shown or named in the comic strip as far as I know (though I know some people seem to think that Peggy Jean was the Red-Haired Girl, but it was pretty clear that she wasn’t)

Jeff Nettleton

July 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm

In the sequence with Royanne Hobbs, Charlie Brown keeps pointing out that Roy Hobbs is a fictional character (no irony there!).

I remember that Charlie Brown’s team did win a lot of baseball games – and I think it was with Charlie Brown playing. However, because Snoopy and Rerun (Linus and Lucy’s little brother) were betting on the games, it didn’t count. (I may have some details wrong here and there, but the winning(s) didn’t count because of the bets.)

There was another time that Charlie Brown won and afterwards they had to forfeit the game because Rerun had bet on the game (with Snoopy). I believe that was in the mid 70’s or so.

I have to say, for a 60+ at the time guy, Stan looks pretty good.

random surfer

July 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I honestly don’t think that the two photos of Stan are at all the same. As others have said it’s a different couch and stuff on the table; in addition to that the wall is different, and even Stan’s head – in the Hulk pic you can see the gray on his right temple, which is covered up by his fist in the nude shot.

I wondered about that Stan Lee pic when I read Sean Howe’s book a few months ago.

Also, I second the recommendation on Howe’s book – it’s a good read. Heck, I think it should be required reading for anyone looking to go into the comic business…

It’s the same couch and room. Different stuff on the end table. However, the head is identical other than the fact it is rotated and they removed the arm (and added in the white/grey that would have been seen). For whatever reason maybe they changed the end table items as well? Don’t know.

Kids, they were able to alter photos before photoshop.

I believe the picture was changed due to Batman.

Anthony Durrant

July 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I seem to remember the Peanuts gang won several games by forfeit, one of which was from Peppermint Patty. The idea was that another forfeit would put them in first place, but the third team showed up and blew it for them. The relevant strips were reprinted in SANDLOT PEANUTS. But, who the hell is Roy Hobbs?

But, who the hell is Roy Hobbs?

Robert Redford’s character in The Natural.

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