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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #437

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Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-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 thirty-six. This week, was Marvel originally going to kill off Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #400? Was there nearly a Swamp Thing/Mr. Monster crossover written by Alan Moore? Finally, what the heck does Marvel Comics have to do with Beatlemania?

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 was originally going to kill off Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #400.

STATUS: False

Reader Josh M. wrote in a while back to ask if it is true that Marvel had originally planned on killing off Venom in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #400.

Mark Ginocchio, who you likely know from Gimmick or Good? and his great blog, Chasing Amazing, did an edition of his Superior Spider-Talk podcast recently with early 1990s Spider-Man editor Danny Fingeroth, and Mark was kind enough to ask Fingeroth about it.

Fingeroth noted that it was an urban legend, saying:

I suppose there was always general talk about whether the suit should bond with someone besides Eddie, whether long or short term, but that was never anything ever being considered for ASM #400.

Picking up on what Fingeroth mentioned, I looked into it some more and I discovered the confusion. In the introduction to the Spider-Man: Carnage trade paperback in 1993…

carnage1

David Michelinie noted that he was planning (in a general sense, I imagine, as he would be making these plans years before #400 came out) on killing off Eddie Brock and having the Venom symbiote find a new host. However, those plans were pretty quickly squelched.

Michelinie then figured, “Okay, if I can’t find a new host for the symbiote, why not just introduce a new symbiote instead?”

And so Carnage was born…

carnage

So Josh likely heard a telephone game version of that story.

Michelinie obviously did not even get to WRITE Amazing Spider-Man #400, as he was off the title well before that issue, which was written by J.M. DeMatteis and instead featured the (then) death of Aunt May…

asm400

Thanks to Josh for the question and thanks to Danny Fingeroth and Mark Ginocchio (and David Michelinie, I suppose) for the information!
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Check out some Entertainment and Sports Urban Legends Revealed!

Was Cher’s First Single Really a Novelty Love Song About Ringo Starr?!

What Novel Approach Did James Cameron Use to Have Two Sarah Conners in a Scene in Terminator 2?

Did Ed Olczyk Feed a Kentucky Derby-Winning Horse Oats Out of the Stanley Cup?

Was There Really an Unaired Episode of the Simpsons Where Bart Dies?

Was Carole Lombard’s Final Film Edited Due to the Circumstances of Her Death?

Did Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin Have a Classic “Meet Cute”?
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On the next page, did we nearly have a Mr. Monster/Swamp Thing crossover?

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21 Comments

Flash is shocked to see those performers getting stoned.

Steve Whisler Jr.

September 20, 2013 at 9:39 am

Moore as has pretty cool pin-up Mr. Monster. Yes, Mr. Monster art by Alan Moore.

Who is the character in the red costume above Captain America?

@Andrew: That’s the Human Fly, a character from a short-lived Marvel title at the tail-end of the 70s. He doesn’t show up anymore because he was based on a real person that Marvel no longer has any sort of licensing deal with.

I had that issue of AH and I was really looking forward to that crossover.

*sigh*

Wait, there was a BEATLEMANIA movie? That one seemed to have breezed through the theaters faster than LET IT BE!

With all the IP issues using materials belonging to the Beatles would entail, maybe the producers just decided to double down on the potential pain with the Marvel usage…

BTW, wasn’t that smart of them to throw in Ms. Marvel; in addition to everything else, the fact that she premiered seven years after LET IT BE finally came out should have placed in on preclusionary hold…

To be fair, at the end of Beatlemania, it turns out that it was just the Life Model Decoy of John Lennon that was killed.

That looks likes a Neal Adams Flash, although I’m not 100% on that. If so, I’m trying to work out where it’s from.

Pete – maybe Flash 246 from 1976 / 1977 ? http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Flash_Vol_1_246

According to IMDB, both Christina Applegate and Gina Gershon made their debuts in that movie.

@Howson WOW!

@ Captain Swift and Andrew

NOT TRUE!!

The Human Fly is alive and kicking in 2013!!!

Not only does he have a new comic in 2013, he will be starring in an independently funded MOVIE!! Wahoooo!!

You can check it out here:

http://javiersblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/taking-ride-with-new-adventures-of.html

If you google ” Human Fly movie” you’ll get lots of info too.

I love the Human Fly – one of my all-time favourite bronze age characters with art by the amazing ( but an acquired taste ) of Frank Robbins!

Brian from Canada

September 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm

It’s amazing how clueless the producers of Beatlemania were. The Beatles didn’t know much about American comics: they’d get the odd one brought in via sailor to Liverpool in the late 50s/early 60s and that’s about it. In the mid-70s, Paul McCartney got a tour of Marvel and didn’t really get anything out of it.

That’s not to say the companies didn’t try. Marvel let Paul project images of Magneto and Titanium Man through a song on the 1975 and 1976 tour.

Jack Kirby actually met Paul and Linda McCartney at a concert in California, where he presented them with some artwork. They also gave him a shout out at the concert. Mark Evanier’s book has pictures from the meeting.

The Beatles did know a bit about certain comic books, hence the reference to Captain Marvel in one song. Marvel was still pretty new (in terms of the “Marvel Universe”) so they probably weren’t big on the Fab Four’s radar yet.

Brian from Canada

September 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

@Jeff: Captain Marvel’s reference may be more from the movie serials. All four Beatles talk about how much the movies — especially American movies — impacted them in their early teens (particularly The Girl Can’t Help It) and the boys would have been 12-15 in 1955 when they were re-released.

As for meeting Kirby, Evanier will play it up because he was Kirby’s assistant. The McCartney camp hardly makes reference to it. [It’s not even mentioned in the archive edition for that tour’s live album… and there’s a lot of extra material about the tour in there!] Kirby would have been just one of the celebrities who attended the shows, including Elton John, Jackie O., Jack Nicholson, Neil Sedaka, Angelica Houston — and a certain ex-Liverpudian named Richard “Ringo Starr” Starkey, who gave flowers to Paul at the end of their American tour in Los Angeles.

(Nicholson gets special note because the Back In The US DVD from 2002 flashes to Jack many, many, many times.)

That last superhero looks a bit like Buried Alien from Quasar… I wonder if they’re related…

Another big Human Fly fan here from back in the 70s (issue 13 is my favorite and I actually learned the word “chasm” from that cover!)
Marvel did their own Beatles comic in ’78, Marvel Super Special 4, with art by George Perez. I’ve only seen copies on eBay, so I know it exists but it’s out of my price range, sadly.
Finally, in the Beatles movie “Help!”, there’s a short scene with the lads in their apartment, and a bunch of 60s DC books are on the piano. I keep forgetting to watch it again to pause it just to try to identify the covers. I’m not in much of a hurry to watch it again, because it’s a fairly uninteresting movie. You’re better off avoiding their movies and just playing their albums.

Alan Moore didn’t leave DC over Watchmen. While the handling of payments on Watchmen-related merchandise did strain their relationship, that was resolved to his satisfaction. Instead, shortly after that, he left over DC making a unilateral decision to put age-rating labels on all its books without consulting the creative staff.

As far as Venom is concerned, I’d lean more towards truth. Michelinie’s exact quote from David Michelinie’s Grand Design:

“Things went pretty well. Writing the character was a lot of fun. But since I had planned to stay on Amazing for at least 20 to 30 years, I started thinking about the future–and I got a dangerous idea: since Venom had his first story in Amazing 300, why not have his last story in Amazing 400! Yeah! I could kill Eddie Brock off, then have the costume wander around the Marvel Universe for a year or two, joining with various other characters, before settling in on another host and becoming the “New Venom”‘”

So while perhaps Marvel didn’t plan on killing Venom in issue 400, his creator certainly did.

Right, but when Michelinie suggested it, they said no. So Marvel was never going to kill Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #400. As Fingeroth notes, it never even got far enough to be discussed in the plans for Amazing #400, since Michelinie came up with the idea a few years before Amazing #400 plans would have even been formulated.

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