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Comic Book Legends Revealed #434

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COMIC LEGEND: DC made Kevin Smith edit out a reference to the Powerpuff Girls in Green Arrow.

STATUS: True

In Green Arrow #4, there’s a great discussion about the Powerpuff Girls by Mia and Stanley Dover (who at the time was pretending to be Green Arrow’s friend)….

However, Kevin Smith explained that originally the scene went a bit differently…

When I was writing ”Green Arrow” at DC, there were a few content issues that I found puzzling. The first occurred when I included a reference to the cartoon ”The Powerpuff Girls.” It wasn’t a smutty, Jay and Silent Bob-level reference, but instead, it featured a female character talking about how great it was to have cartoon characters for little girls to model themselves on, as opposed to the Rainbow Brites and Strawberry Shortcakes of old. I was told that the references to both Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake had to be altered to Rainbow Sprite and Raspberry Shortcakes, which I understood. However, I was also informed that the ”Powerpuff” reference (a positive one) had to go. This blew my mind, as ”The Powerpuff Girls” are owned by AOL Time Warner… which also owns DC Comics. What, was there the chance in this highly litigious culture that AOL Time Warner would sue itself? Weird.

Definitely weird.

Thanks to Ted Craig and Matthew Johnson for letting me know about this one in reference to last week’s legend about a similar situation with John Byrne not being allowed to draw Superman in a Powerpuff Girls comic book. And thanks to Kevin Smith for the information in the quote!
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Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving Green Arrow!

Did DC once have an editorial mandate that said Green Arrow had to have superpowers?

Did Mike Grell seriously never have Green Arrow referred to as “Green Arrow” in his run on Green Arrow?

Did Neal Adams draw Richard Nixon into an issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow as a superpowered little girl?!

Was Speedy’s drug addiction in Green Lantern/Green Arrow really the first Comics Code approved usage of drugs?

Was Greg Weisman going to do a Black Canary mini-series before Grell’s Green Arrow series squelched it?

Was Black Canary really raped in the Longbow Hunters?

Did a rejected Captain America Heroes Reborn plot become a Green Arrow/Green Lantern crossover?
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On the next page, how does Captain Comet owe Adam Strange for his return to the DC Universe?

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50 Comments

Roquefort Raider

August 30, 2013 at 9:58 am

Doom’s words regarding Kristoff suggest he had undertaken his trip after #247, but before #278. But it’s probably wiser to leave the whole matter undecided.

Right, which was Simonson’s intent. “YOU decide which appearances were Doom-bots.”

Yeah, I remember back in the old usenet days…. I think it was the old rec.arts.comics.marvel forum or something like that, Walt Simonson posted about this. He felt that the Doom that was going around in Englehart’s run asking for help to get back the throne of Latveria (he had gone to T’Challa around FF 318-319 ) is not the Doom he agreed with. Some of posters had misunderstood the part about Doom reminding Ben about the fight in #39 where Ben almost crushed his hands and assumed that every appearance since then was questionable. Simonson said he never had meant it to go back that far.

Wow….two weeks in a row for Doom to make your column :-)

thedigitalfacade

August 30, 2013 at 10:16 am

Wanting to declare all appearances of Dr.Doom that displeases them Doombots or explain them away somehow sounds more like Byrne than Simonson, which probably leads to the confusion. I’m sure Byrne would say Dr.Doom in any of Steve Englehart’s stories was Doombot.

And I forgot to mention, Tom DeFalco later retconned Walt Simonson and rewrites the whole scene where Doom cured Kristoff in a story in an FF annual. He introduced a character called “The Editor” whose official function was to “correct” the historical archives. I thought it was a kind of a slap at Simonson and he should have left it alone. This was in the 30th anniversary issue, #358.

the digitalfacade: “I’m sure Byrne would say Dr.Doom in any of Steve Englehart’s stories was Doombot.”

And on this I would agree with Byrne! Englehart s FF is not his best work. He even made a cameo on his last issue to make an apology of sorts :-) He blamed differences with editorial IIRC in a later interview.

And I forgot to mention, Tom DeFalco later retconned Walt Simonson and rewrites the whole scene where Doom cured Kristoff in a story in an FF annual. He introduced a character called “The Editor” whose official function was to “correct” the historical archives. I thought it was a kind of a slap at Simonson and he should have left it alone. This was in the 30th anniversary issue, #358.

Yeah, I featured that on the site before SOMEWHERE (Abandoned an’ Forsaked, maybe?). It’s funny how this single Doom legend suggestion leads to so many older legends and past blog features!

Okay, the real question is: which Doombot appearances were, in fact, the Doombot that is now a member of Avengers A.I.? I’m betting he was the Doombot that was macking on Storm in that one X-Men story where they were trying to get Arcade.

Brian,

I think the “nobility” of doom is one of the more contentious issues in the entire Marvel canon and you can find arguments, even here over the years, that have spanned hundreds of posts.

I just want to say Alan Grant is a tragically overlooked writer. His Batman was the definitive one for me.

@Lyle: IIRC, that specific Doombot was destroyed by the man himself in one of the Byrne issues of FF. Probably #278.

So, what were the problems among fans with the Adam Strange miniseries?

It was actually a well-written mini-series, but it essentially deconstructed every Adam Strange appearance up until that point and it was pretty darn bleak. It was more like an Elseworlds than anything. Mark Waid essentially retconned the whole thing in a JLA fill-in arc in 1997.

LouReedRichards

August 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Actually it was in FF #258 (not #278) that Dr. Doom had the Doombot self destruct because he shamed the name of DOOM. Easy to get the issues confused, they are both Doom-centric and quite excellent.

A lot of people like to bash Byrne, and I’m right there with them for some of it, but that man knew how to write the hell out of the FF, esp. Dr. Doom.

FF #258-260 and #246-247 are pitch perfect Dr. Doom stories.

“I just want to say Alan Grant is a tragically overlooked writer.”

Not at the UK, thankfully!

I thought Englehart”s Doom was very well-written and in character. Englehart’s Fantastic Four had a lot of problems, but the character of Doom was not one of them.

ParanoidObsessive

August 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

FF #350 came out in 1991, which was shortly before the 2099 line launched, and we got Doctor Doom in the future.

Because the FF350 Doom’s armor almost had more in common appearance-wise with 2099 Doom than it did classic FF Doom, I always used to sort of have the idea in my head that the place where Doom had gone to was the future.

Did anyone ever resolve where Doom REALLY was all that time, or no?

“Bleak” is right about that Adam Strange mini. It’s damn depressing would be another way of saying it. Adam was never meant to be grim-n-gritty, and that’s basically what they tried to do with him. The ending is especially a big kick in the teeth to longtime fans of the character…

@ Old Bull Lee:

I just want to say Alan Grant is a tragically overlooked writer. His Batman was the definitive one for me.

I’d say that Grant-Breyfogle is a Mount Rushmore Batman run for a lot of people, including me. My Big Batman runs are Finger-Robinson, O’Neil-Adams, Haney-Aparo and Grant-Breyfogle. Miller-Mazzucelli was too short. Neither Mike W. Barr, nor Morrison, had the ONE artist that was his main collaborator. Jim Lee and Tim Sale get penalized for Jeph Loeb.

That Doom/Kristoff thing was always confusing to me. I came in way after Byrne’s run. I’m still curious as to who was what.

Brubaker-McDaniel and the short but fantastic Engelhart-Rogers runs spring to mind. The second in that list might be as or more influential than anyone outside of Miller.

Excellent point Dean Hacker. I consider Grant/Breyfogle to be my Englehart/Rogers.

No flashy events or plot twists, just a great characterization of Batman and some really good stories.

@ Omar Karidu:

Englehart-Rogers is amazing, but short. It is hard fro me to penalize Miller his brevity and then carve Engelhart-Rogers in granite.

@Iron Maiden- it’s not the fans misunderstanding- the way Simonson scripted that scene, it’s a perfectly legitimate interpretation that Simonson intended every Doom since FF 40 to be a Doombot.

As for that Kevin Smith GA issue, the “Powerpuff Girls” isn’t the only cartoon reference in there, but the other one’s a little easier for him to get away with. Tovah Hernandez-Carlson is the reporter who showed up in every “at-the-scene” news report in the Clerks animated series.

I haven’t read a lot of Smith’s comics work (mainly just “Batman: Cacophony”, which I actually really liked), so does Tovah show up a lot in his stuff? Or is that kind of a one-off joke?

“it’s a perfectly legitimate interpretation that Simonson intended every Doom since FF 40 to be a Doombot.”

The problem with that is that Simonson’s Doom and Kristoff knew each other. Doom didn’t adopt Kristoff until Byrne’s FF run, so he must have returned periodically since FF #40, which Simonson indicates. Doom even recognizes the second Ms. Marvel and is surprised to see that she is “still a Thing.”

@Paranoid–

I don’t know if they ever established where Doom went, but I read somewhere that John Francis Moore’s intentions in Doom 2099 was that future Doom was from SECRET WARS #12. Why the Beyonder would have sent Doom into the future is beyond me, particularly since Moore had scenes where Doom recalled outliving the heroes and becoming an old man.

Speaking of Secret Wars, though, I always figured that ANY story where Doom appeared in the Secret Wars had to really be him. Why would the Beyonder summon a robot? I know that Byrne did some funky retconning regarding Doom and the Secret Wars. Earlier, Doom’s physical body had been destroyed, and he transferred his mind (using his Ovoid powers from FF #10!) into some guy. The FF eventually encountered that Doom after the Secret Wars, and he had no memory of the battle. Turned out that due to a temporal loop, the Beyonder had to restore Doom to his body and send him into the past to live out the Secret Wars. Anyway, given that Doom displayed the Ovoid power in those issues, it’s logical to assume that was him–I can’t imagine a robot having that ability.

Following from that: Englehart did a “Secret Wars III” around FF #318-319 where Doom sought out the Beyonder, I believe to get his mind-transfer powers back. Which he did. Again, I had a hard time believing that a robot could pull this off.

You’ll note that “shiny” Doom in Simonson’s story is aware of Sharon Ventura as She-Thing, but surprised that Ben is human. This would be consistent with the real Doom having appeared in “Secret Wars III,” as Ben didn’t revert to human until after that story.

I’d also note that between “Secret Wars III” and FF #350, the “Acts of Vengeance” story took place. Near the climax of that story, the villains (the Red Skull, Mandarin, the Kingpin, and I-forget-who-else-was-there) discovered that the Doom who was with them was a robot. That probably wasn’t intended to fit with Simonson’s plans, but it fit nicely. It was left ambiguous as to whether Doom had ever been there (although the idea of Loki recruiting a robot seems silly).

The Adam Strange limited series picked up ideas from AS’s appearance in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and made it into a pretty much full-blown “everything you thought you knew about Adam Strange is wrong” story…with a really terrible ending.

Waid’s JLA story was a very welcome retcon restoring the character (to me at least).

“Plus, does Captain Comet owe Adam Strange his return to the DC Universe?”

Silly me. I thought this legend was referring to Captain Comet’s first return back in the 1970s. You had me wondering if they were planning to originally use Adam Strange in the Secret Society of Super-Villains.

@Andrew Collins ‘ The ending is especially a big kick in the teeth to longtime fans of the character…’;

You’re a prince, not spoiling the horrible, stupid, disrespectful close to a series which wasted some very talented people.

So I won’t either – but as Lucy would say, bleurghhhhh to it.

Silly me. I thought this legend was referring to Captain Comet’s first return back in the 1970s.

Yeah, me too. That’s what I think of as his return, because a big deal was made about it in-story. Him showing up in L.E.G.I.O.N. felt more like, “Oh yeah, I guess we haven’t seen him in a while.”

Ok, now I’m curious as to what happened at the end of that Adam Strange mini. Does anyone want to spoil it? Or point me in the right direction to finding out without buying the issues themselves? i didn’t find anything online about it.

My guess about the Powerpuff Girls is that the corporation viewed it as a stand-alone property that might be sold off in the future. That would make reprinting stuff like that Green Arrow problematic and legally messy. Then again, didn’t they do Batman/Scooby Doo crossovers?

Travis Stephens

August 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Kristoff was a failsafe that was activated “prematurely and faultily”
#277-278. Doom was, as revealed later, working on bridging the dimensions to Mephisto’s realm to free his Mother’s trapped soul in an excellent graphic novel with Dr. Strange.

Come to think of it, as L.E.G.I.O.N. serves as a contemporary counterpart to a future based team, comprised of some previously established galactic heroes from various titles, that reminds me of the 2008 introduced contemporary Guardians of the Galaxy.

Andy Kubert’s art from 1990 looks exactly as today’s. Same vaguely asian faces, same poses

What’s better than great? Simonson’s FF run.

I think that one of the places that Doctor Doom was supposed to have been prior to Fantastic Four #350 was Limbo, as seen in Excalibur #37-39. That story ends with Doom gaining a silver suit of “promethium armor” which appears to be the exact same armor he is seen wearing in FF #350. Excalibur #39 was cover dated July 1991, which was four months after FF #350 came out, so perhaps Scott Lobdell wanted to use that three issue story to explain where Doom gained his new armor.

Awesome, MB. Thanks!

Stanley and his Monster was a fabulous series. It was charming and whimsical, and as much as I like most of what Kevin Smith has done over the years, I will always resent what he did to those characters. There was no reason whatsoever to make his villains be those old DC characters.

Minor point: The Adam Strange mini didn’t pick up on threads from Moore’s Swamp Thing – Moore was privy to the nature of the mini (it was being written by his editor’s husband) and wrote his story to be in line with what would soon be continuity. This was mentioned in a Swamp Thing lettercol at the time.

I haven’t read that Adam Strange mini since it was published; but, I recall Sardath portrayed as a manipulator of people and rather cold-hearted, Alanna seemed to lose any guts she ever displayed and the whole thing was played as “grim and gritty,” which was typical of revamps of the period. Adam Strange, like Superman, is a noble character and one that works best when he is presented as a hero who will fight the darkest foes and maintain his moral compass. Also, Strange was about using intellect to solve complex problems and I don’t recall much of that on display.

James Robinson used Adam Strange well in Starman, both in the “Stars My Destination” storyline (Starman in space, searching for Will Payton and encountering various DC space characters) and in “Grand Guignol,” where Adam Strange is one of several characters who helps Jack Knight defend Opal City.

Adam Strange cheated on his wife in that comic. If you want to know why it rubs fans the wrong way, then, really, that’s all you need to know.

Grant Morrison did a wonderful job with Adam in the DC Comics Presents tribute issues after Julie Schwartz’s passing.
Enthusiastically piling on with the loathing for the mini.
I do so hate the “every appearance that I dislike was a skrull/doombot/imposter” shtick. Of course, I also liked Arcade’s cheerful insouciance in the face of Doom.

Regarding the PowerPuff girls reference . . . I don’t know how much advance info DC gave the Time Warner suits about the direction of Smith’s storyline, but if they knew that it was going to end up with Dover being a serial-killing, child-torturing, would-be body stealing pedophile rapist, maybe they were a little leery about him being shown having a breezy conversation about their cash cow of a kids’ show with an underage prostitute.

To add to what Adam said, does anyone think a Doombot could take all of the Beyonder’s powers like in the Secret Wars? THAT had to be the real Doom.

Man with No Face

October 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

On legend #3, I assumed the reference was to the Adam Strange and Captain Comet reprints in “DC Super-Stars” in the early ’70s. While Adam Strange had been around (in JLA and Hawkman stories) throughout the ’60s, had Captain Comet appeared anywhere — even in reprints — before “DC Super-Stars”?

Since the covers of “DC Super-Stars” always featured Adam Strange, Captain Comet, and whatever other reprints they used, it would make sense that Adam was the big “draw” for the comic, but that the Comet reprints made readers who hadn’t been around pre-Silver Age aware of Captain Comet.

I know that’s how it worked for me.

That Adam Strange series was terrible. I haven’t read it in years but, as I recall, Sardath is portrayed as an EVIL mad scientist who basically pimped his daughter out as a brood mare, Alanna is portrayed as a total pushover with no will of her own, Adam cheats on her back on earth with a nurse (I think) who ends up getting brought back to Rann with him to help Alanna give birth, she dies in childbirth and Adam doesn’t even seem to care…even his mistress was disgusted with him at the end of that series. I was really happy to see that all retconned out. The Kubert art was the only good thing about that book.

Robinson’s use of Adam in Starman was excellent (made me want to see a Robinson Adam Strange series) and I really liked Adams later mini series leading up to Infinite Crisis (even if it didn’t have much of an ending because it was basically the set up for Rann/Thanagar War).

Kevin Smith is far too savvy with too many businesses and too much experience in entertainment legal matters to really not understand the reasons why they slightly changed the names. He knew. He had to have been bullshitting in order to emphasize that he tried to make a valid point about feminism. You can’t have successfully been in multiple branches of entertainment as owner, creator, and employee and employer and feign shock like that in a manner that is at all believable.

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