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Comic Book Legends Revealed #440

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Welcome to the four hundred and fortieth 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-nine. This week, in honor of New York Comic Con, is it really true that the very first comic convention attendee was George R.R. Martin?! Plus, two stories about David Bowie’s first wife, Angela. Did she really nearly play Wonder Woman AND Black Widow on TV?

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: George R.R. Martin was the very first comic convention attendee.

STATUS: I’m Going With True

This weekend is New York Comic Convention and fans from all over the world are lining up to attend the four-day event, which reportedly will bring in roughly $70 million to New York City. These mega-sized comic conventions are worlds apart from the early days of organized comic book fandom, especially the VERY FIRST comic convention, which was also held in New York City on July 27, 1964 (Bob Brosch and Jerry Bails had a fan event in Detroit in March 1964 but while that certainly eventually BECAME a convention, I don’t know if I’d term that first meeting a convention – it was more of a swap meet and I don’t know if you could even classify it specifically as a COMIC convention, as it seemed more like a meeting of like-minded fans and collectors from the worlds of comics, fantasy, horror and science fiction). The convention only had about 100 attendees. The brainchild of fan Bernie Bubnis, the convention was organized by Bubnis, Ron Fradkin and Len Wein. Wein was the one who coined the name of the convention, “Comicon.” It was the 1964 New York Comicon. Guests included Stan Lee’s secretary, Flo Steinberg, Tom Gill (the artist of the Lone Ranger comic strip) and a Marvel artist who also provided artwork for the convention booklet, a fellow by the name of Steve Ditko…

1964 NEW YORK COMIC CON BOOKLET

comicon1964

Amazingly enough, though, Len Wein has long noted that the very first person to pay to attend the convention was none other than…George R.R. Martin!

georgerrmartinfilephoto-600x450

Martin was a big time fan of Marvel Comics at the time, and he had letters appear in a number of comics, including Fantastic Four #20…

martinff20

He was a friend of Wein’s and according to Wein (and Martin himself) the first membership was sold to Martin.

How awesome is that?

Thanks so much to Len Wein for this amazing piece of comic book history!

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Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

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Did Pamela Anderson Get Her Big Break From Being Caught on Camera in the Crowd at a Football Game?

Did Steven Spielberg First Direct for a Studio When He Was 21 Years Old?

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On the next page, did David Bowie’s wife almost land the Wonder Woman role instead of Lynda Carter?!

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31 Comments

I bet the Black Widow would’ve been not-Russian to go with how Daredevil is apparently not-blind.

Looking at the difference between Bowie and Carter playing Wonder Woman, and then seeing the pictures of Bowie’s version of Daredevil and the Black Widow…well, I’ll just say that things seemed to work out ok in the end.

One joke I saw somewhere was that the photos looked like she put the “heroin” in superheroine.

Bowie’s not really the problem in those DD/BW shots, though. That Daredevil costume is ridiculous.

I don’t know, in the first two Black Widow pics she doesn’t look bad, that last one is silly, but typical for 70’s superhero TV shows. Now, that Daredevil looks ridiculous by any standard.

The costumes, though, were, in effect “homemade.” I imagine if a network’s interest had been piqued, they would have designed a new outfit for Daredevil. Bowie would likely still be wearing her outfit, though, for as readerreader notes, it was pretty typical fare for the time.

I would literally believe ANY legend about Angela Bowie.

George R.R. Martin was the guest-of-honor at the first science-fiction convention I ever attended in Dubuque, IA in the mid-seventies. Sandkings must have been published at that point but I think he was teaching at one of the local colleges? Not sure about that but I remember him having some local connection.

I found myself really bored by the convention and looking through the Yellow Pages, found Comic World and spent more time there buying Strange Adventures back issues with Neal Adams Deadman goodness than I spent at the con after that.

I never thought I’d see a Daredevil costume that made Rex Smith’s ninja suit from “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” look good by comparison.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

October 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

“Michael D” said

“I never thought I’d see a Daredevil costume that made Rex Smith’s ninja suit from “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” look good by comparison.”

Now I really want to see what that looked like, considering I was just about to make a joke about how the costume in this article is still better than Ben Affleck’s one.

Didn’t you already do that Angela Bowie legend? Or was it something similar? Or am I just having another one of those insane ‘memories’ that aren’t real? I’m sure I’ve seen those photos on here before…

Anyone know what other comics did George R.R. Martin have his letters published in? I know there was one in Avengers #12. Anything else?

Here’s a selection of Rex Smith and Ben Affleck Daredevil photos, for comparison:

http://sirdeepcookie.tumblr.com/post/28633799356/live-action-brings-u-daredevil

I suspect that any Daredevil series with Angela Bowie would have made the other Marvel tv efforts of the period look like the movies of today, by comparison. I also would take anything she says in an interview with a huge block of salt.

Didn’t you already do that Angela Bowie legend? Or was it something similar? Or am I just having another one of those insane ‘memories’ that aren’t real? I’m sure I’ve seen those photos on here before…

I’ve never featured it before, no.

I also would take anything she says in an interview with a huge block of salt.

Yeah, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if her tale of Bowie’s manager essentially lying to her about her having a chance at Wonder Woman is false and Bowie is just trying to excuse her auditioning and not getting the role.

This DD makes Affleck look like a god!

Angela Bowie look more like the Earth-Two/Golden Age Wonder Woman as depicted in the late 1970’s.

Her Black Widow does resemble Gene Colan’s version in the first two pics. That DD suit is horrible, though.

George R.R. Martin has confirmed he was the first on the list for the First Comic Book convention in a Nerdist Podcast a few months ago.

Right, but Guy X saying “I was the first comic con attendee” is one thing, but I would need some confirmation from the organizers to go with a “True” for it, ya know? Luckily, Wein has done exactly that!

Did anybody read that letter from George Martin? The guy was doing sarcasm better back then better than 99% of the internet does now. He couldn’t have been serious… could he?

ParanoidObsessive

October 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm

George R.R. Martin being a huge comic fan as a kid is actually a lot more believable if you’ve ever read the Wild Cards books.

Doubly so if you realize the two main characters in the series are kind of self-insert versions of himself. I could totally see his inner-child bouncing up and down with glee as he started writing stories that were basically the “Man, I wish I could be a superhero like the people in this comic book” fantasies come to life, as it were.

Martin seems like pretty much the iconic geek in general, though, considering he’s also (or used to be, anyway) hugely into role-playing games. Which was the origin of the Wild Card books in the first place – him and a bunch of his friends (most of them being fellow authors) playing an RPG where they were all comic book superheroes.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm

To be honest, I’d like to have seen more of Cathy Lee Crosby playing Wonder Woman than Lynda Carter.

But that’s just me. ;-)

I like how George R. R. Martin’s address is blacked out, as if he’s still living there fifty years later, and Fantastic Four #20 needs to be censored like it’s a Majestic 12 document.

No wonder the Bowies eventually divorced. They probably cut each other on their cheekbones constantly.

re:The Moish- Even though it isn’t Marvel, he has a letter (as George R.R. Martin in the 1964 Charlton version of The Blue Beetle, vol. 2#3. He was referencing the first issue of the newly-revamped series (#3 has a Dick Giordano cover, and I don’t know who did the interior art, but I can assure you it wasn’t what I would call this unknown artist’s finest moment :).

Wow, back in the day, Marvel really did give away the TV and movie right for their characters to anyone and everyone who asked. No wonder it took decades for any decent movies to be made with Marvel characters.

That Daredevil costume and the actor’s strange gaze remind me of Jon Lovitz on The People’s Court.

Brian from Canada

October 12, 2013 at 6:33 am

@Ben Herman:

You have to remember, though, that in the early/mid-70s few people were bigger than Bowie as a celebrity. He charged through America as Ziggy Stardust in 1972, was working on a musical in 73 and by 1974 was starring in The Man Who Fell To Earth. For his wife to get a major role or be producer would not be out of the question.

Though David Bowie’s comments are not wrong. Bowie himself only played the US in January 1973 before returning to Europe for the last Ziggy shows and two more albums. When he returned to the US in spring 1974, for touring and filming of The Man Who Fell To Earth, he may have already been aware that another round of casting was happening. So if the interview happened after the movie was released, or his next US tour in 1976, Linda Carter would have been cast.

And EVERYONE would lose out to Linda Carter. ;-)

Lynda Carter has a serious case of duck-foot in that picture. Whoa thunk it?

I wonder how the Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman was able to fight crime and not chip those long nails.

I can confirm George R. R. Martin being the first attendee. The bastard pushed me and I fell – jaw fractured, few teeth fell out! Had to spend few days in a hospital due to sepsis that resulted from teeth getting knocked out!!!! Meanwhile, there he was, having a blast…

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