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Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-eighth 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-seven. This week, what organization got DC and Marvel to team-up for an ultra rare comic book in 1978? And what future famous comic book writer wrote it? Plus, who is Silkie and how did she almost become a member of the X-Men? Finally, just what’s the deal with Cyclops’ powers and other dimensions?!
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: Superheroes from DC and Marvel teamed-up in a comic written by Kurt Busiek in 1978 for…the Boston Symphony Orchestra?!
A few weeks back, reader Albert A. wrote in to ask:
Didn’t Kurt Busiek, when he was younger before he became a professional writer, get a hold of DC and Marvel Comics in order to get permission from them to use their characters for a comic book that he produced for a local library or museum? Something like that? And that it was also listed in one of the prominent comic book price guides?
Pretty much exactly that, Albert.
In 1978, a group of teenagers, including 17-year-old Kurt Busiek did, indeed, convince DC and Marvel to allow them to license their characters for a special comic book that would be sold as a fundraiser for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In the comments section, Kurt stopped by to explain how it came about:
[The comics’] Artist Chris Bing was the guy who pulled the project together creatively, in part because his mother was on the BSO’s Junior Committee (which runs or promotes or in some way is involved in the Pops opening night fundraiser.
Chris talked his mom into pitching the idea of a comics-themed opening night, and the BSO got Marvel and DC to agree to let us do our strange promo comic.
It was sold for $10 at the opening concert of the orchestra that year. The plot of the comic was that a bad guy kidnapped the orchestra and the combined might of the DC and Marvel heroes would be needed to save them (with help from the orchestra’s conductor, Seiji Ozawa, of course).
The print run was only 250 copies and the licensing agreement stipulated that all unsold copies be destroyed that night.
Therefore, as you might imagine, the comic is very valuable. A copy sold for over $1,000 recently at Heritage Auctions. While there, though, I was able to see it for the first time.
Here is the cover…
And two pages from inside…
Most amazing is the credits for the book…
Yep, besides comic book great Kurt Busiek as the writer, the layouts for the book were by Scott McCloud (known as Scott McLeod back then)…
Future comic book artist Richard Howell (currently the head of Claypool Comics) lettered the book…
And the pencils were done by the previously mentioned Christopher Bing, who won a Caldecott Medal in 2001 for his artwork on his version of Casey at the Bat…
What an impressive collection of talent! And what a cool story overall! Generous of DC and Marvel and very enterprising by Bing, Busiek and the rest of the guys!
Thanks for suggesting it, Albert! And thanks to Heritage for posting the scans! And thanks to Kurt Busiek for the extra information!
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On the next page, who is Silkie and how did she almost become an X-Man?
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