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Comic Book Legends Revealed #445

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COMIC LEGEND: The Death of Superman had an unusual way of counting down to the final issue.

STATUS: True

As you may or may not have noticed, we’ve been counting down the Top 100 Comic Book Storylines of all-time (as voted on by the readers of Comic Book Resources).

The other day, we reached the Death of Superman on the list (check it out here). Reader Lynn J. wrote in to say that he/she (sorry, Lynn, your name is a bit non gender-specific) had heard that the storyline had some weird easter egg where you could tell which issue you were reading and he/she Lynn wanted to know if that was true, sort of like the classic easter eggs Jim Aparo would put in Brave and the Bold issues to let you know who the guest star would be in the next issue.

The answer is SORT of true, Lynn, but maybe not the way you’re thinking of. I think I’ve actually written about this in the past with regards to the Death of Superman but here’s the deal.

There was nothing special about the first three parts of the Death of Superman storyline (Man of Steel #18, Justice League America #69 and Superman #75) but when they reached the final month of stories (at the time, there were four interconnected Superman titles, so they each got one week of the final month of the story), then they began a fascinating countdown sequence. I believe at the time the theory was that this would show how things were getting more and more intense as time went by. So anyhow, in the first issue that month, Adventure of Superman #497, Tom Grummett and Doug Hazlewood drew four panels on every page…

Then in Action Comics #684, Jackson Guice and Denis Rodier drew three panels on every page…

Then in Superman: Man of Steel #19, Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke drew two panels on every page…

And finally, Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding drew splash pages only in Superman #75…

Pretty cool idea.

Thanks for the suggestion, Lynn!
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Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Was E.T. The Extra Terrestrial originally intended to be a horror film!? Find out which classic horror film was made with the original plot of E.T.!
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Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my newest book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

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27 Comments

An unfortunate effect of the Superman countdown is that it made for a faster and faster read. Victoria BC’s downtown isnt the biggest in the world, and I was more than a little annoyed that I started reading the death issue on a bus and the bus hadn’t even left downtown before I finished the issue. If memory serves I was at least tempted to partly solve the problem of that comic’s lack of scarcity, even if I could only contribute to that solution by one copy.

I didn’t know the Superman part was even an urban legend. I remember reading about that in Wizard or some such comic magazine back in 1992/93 when the Death of Superman was happening.

That second legend has me just speechless, in all my years of VU worship I never encountered that bit of trivia!

I was skeptical at first, but that wide Bat chin does look a great deal like Cale’s

Thanks! I’m chuckling thinking about the endless arguments over who was going to be the one to dress up as Robin, and just how hopped up on speed they probably were at these kids birthday parties.

Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather indeed!

Bryan, the phrasing “Scarlet Witch was originally going to be killed off during Siege before being changed to the Sentry” makes it sound like the Scarlet Witch was transmogrified into the ol’ Man of a Thousand Exploding Suns (or whatever it was). Which probably would have made for a good story.

Oh, and John Cale as Batman + Lou Reed as Robin= mind blown. I just wish the picture was larger so that I could make it my wallpaper.

The Lou Reed / John Cale thing is a hoax. The photo is from the 1980′s, and it was originally published in 2006 in somebody’s Flickr account:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottcrawford/120313932/

Thanks, Rodrigo, I fixed it!

Ah my sense of reality is restored. I thought that was a bit early for Lou to be sporting his curly locks.

I did have a hard time imagining them doing that, but when you’re desperate for money…

God, I so wish it were true though!

Also: Man, I wish I could have have had the Dynamic Duo (either B&R or Reed & Cale) at one of my birthday parties!

I’ll never understand why Tom Grummett didn’t become a huge name. Only a blind man couldn’t see how great those pages linked in the article are.

How about a real VU/DC link, namely the photo of Nico and Warhol as Batman and Robin??

Now that was a nice surprise to see you tackling what I brought up in the other thread. The rumor as I heard it, was that Wanda would have had Sentry’s spot on the Norman Osborne Avengers and of course be his ace in the hole against the remaining members of the Cabal. She then would find redemption in a heroic death at the climax of Siege, only for marvel to kibosh it as they wanted her to come back as a full time, full fledged, classic Avenger. Not that I mind, I much prefer her to the Sentry anyday.

I can’t believe that Bendis still uses double spaces after his commas and periods!

And using double spaces after commas was ALWAYS wrong. The whole point of double spaces after periods was so as not to confuse them with commas.

I agree, Red. Grummett is one of my all time fave artists.

I think you’ve got a minor typo. You referred to Superman #75 as being one of the first three chapters of Doomsday when that was the last. Methinks you intended #74? :)

One other pretty cool thing with the panels in #75 is the finale. The entire book has been one panel per page, then the last two pages (Superman dying in Lois’ arms) form a spread. And the final image of the book is three pages, seen by unfolding the gatefold back cover (and re-using the portion of the image from the left-hand page).

The Velvet Underground didn’t dress as the Dynamic Duo, but Nico and Andy Warhol did: http://blogs.artinfo.com/lacmonfire/2011/03/11/biggest-warhol-batman-shocker/
For a magazine shoot during the Batman TV craze.

I dunno, I can see where someone might think John Cale would have dressed up like that.

After all, they say fear is a (Bat-)man’s best friend.

I’m just curious, where do people hear all these rumors? A lot of legends start out with “I heard back in the day x was going to do this” etc, but where are people getting that from? Are there a bunch of writers and artists giving out hints about things online somewhere? Where did whoever asked hear that the scarlet witch was going to die originally during Siege? Because it kind of reads like “I wonder if it was going to happen this way, but there’ll be a better chance of my question being used if I say I heard a rumor about it.”

@Paul, I think rumours can come from anywhere, from something a pro said in an interview to something someone posted on a message board that somehow snowballed into a rumour.

I don’t know Brian’s criteria for choosing legends to showcase, but I’d assume they don’t need to be full-fledged rumours. My guess is that if he gets a suggestion sounds interesting enough and he finds something worth noting in his research, he’ll showcase it, even if the rumour only exists in the head of the person who proposed it!

FWIW, I recently sent Brian a legend suggestion (which I don’t know if he’ll use) that’s kind of the opposite of a rumour: I have a strong suspicion that I couldn’t verify through my own research, so I relayed to the expert, who might be able to dig up something interesting!

I don’t know Brian’s criteria for choosing legends to showcase, but I’d assume they don’t need to be full-fledged rumours. My guess is that if he gets a suggestion sounds interesting enough and he finds something worth noting in his research, he’ll showcase it, even if the rumour only exists in the head of the person who proposed it!

I’d say that the criteria is generally if someone reasonably believes something to be true, I’ll feature it. So, like, if someone writes in with “Stan Lee is secretly an alien” then whether that guy truly believes it or not, it is not a reasonable position to have. Now “the Scarlet Witch was going to be killed instead of Sentry”? That seems like a reasonable possibility, even if it is one that I doubted to be true. When I began this column, it was specifically TO address beliefs people had that weren’t necessarily true.

@brian Cronin

Then can you please explain why WIZARD said Mephisto was the villain to watch for a full year and he did NOTHING til december? Was he supposed to be in something marvel planned all year or was it just brand new day hype? Cause that is a jerky thing marvel wizard did then. I was hoping to see him do ANYTHING in a long time and waited 11 months for his “villain of the year” claim to happen. IMO not really “villain of the year” watch worthy

I originally found it somewhere online way, way back on a message board. And please, my name is David, not who ever.

Grummet didn’t become a big name because his stuff is bland and generic.

That page has no backgrounds.

A bit harsh, but yeah, Tom Grummet’s has always been very standard with no particular distinguishing features. I’ve always wondered why some people get excited about his work.

Tom Grummet can never become a big name because of the curse of the Superman mullet era.

Personally, backgrounds don’t mean a whole lot to me, especially when rendering action scenes. Those are GORGEOUS pages, in my view. Tremendous work, with sequences that make sense and some nice Miller-esque flair thrown in with the more traditional character models (which I prefer, personally, to the more “cartoony” artists).

I agree that Grummet’s a great artist. He was one of my favourites as a kid (though now I’m older, the Superman artist of that era I really lean toward is Bogdanove).
I’d say “solid” or “traditional” where some apparently say “bland” or “standard”. His style isn’t exactly what was trendy at the time (I.e; horrible, amateurish, over-rendered shite), so it isn’t that surpsurprising to me he wasn’t/isn’t more well-regarded (I mean in general; it’s fine that some people here have expressed dislike of his style. Different strokes and that).

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