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Comic Book Legends Revealed #447

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Welcome to the four hundred and forty-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 forty-six. This week, did Curt Swan really do an illustrated X-rated version of Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex? Did we nearly have Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb/Art Adams on All-Star Batman and Robin? And finally, did Chris Claremont reveal that Black Widow was a child in World War II?

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: Did Curt Swan illustrate an X-Rated “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”?

STATUS: True

Reader Dennis L. wrote in a while back to ask me if it was true that Curt Swan did some X-rated Superman art for some project. The answer is basically yes, Dennis.

Curt Swan, as you all well know, is one of, if not THE, most iconic Superman artists of all-time, drawing Superman on a regular basis for over twenty years, from the Silver Age right up until the John Byrne reboot in the mid-1980s (Swan even continued drawing Superman books after that, just not on a regular basis).

Here are some sample pages from past Swan classics…

swan1

swan2

swan3

You might all also be familiar with Larry Niven’s classic 1971 essay “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex,” a humorous piece that examines the difficulties that an earth woman with the initials LL would have conceiving Superman’s child. It has become quite a famous piece.

Well, in 1995, Penthouse Comix decided to republish the essay, only this time, they had 75 year old Curt Swan do some illustrations for the essay! Just one year before he passed away, Swan did the following drawings for the piece.

WARNING! THESE PIECES ARE NOT SAFE FOR WORK! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE CURT SWAN DRAW X-RATED COMICS, JUST GO TO THE NEXT PAGE OF THIS WEEK’S LEGENDS.

W

A

R

N

I

N

G

swan4

swan5

swan6

Yikes.

Well, there you go, Dennis, I presume that this answers your question! Thanks for asking it!
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Was the Animated Series Wacky Races Originally Intended for a Live Action Game Show?

Were Some of Shel Silverstein’s Poems for Children Originally Published in Playboy?

How Did the Writing Staff of the Simpsons Get “Revenge” on Justin Timberlake?

Was the Famed Poet Marianne Moore Hired to Name the Car That Would Ultimately be Known as the Edsel?
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On the next page, how close did we come to seeing a Hush reunion on All Star Batman and Robin?

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91 Comments

Kurt?! How could you!

Was it ever established how Widow ages so slowly? I know she had a long history with The Winter Soldier too.

I think the Ultimate Universe suggested shed been out through some sort of super soldier process, but I could be way off.

One of the mid-2000s Black Widow mini-series established that the Black Widow program biochemically altered the subjects of the program. I don’t believe they ever said it explicitly, but it was heavily implied that that is why she really doesn’t age.

“Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” is amusing, but those pictures were creepy. It was like listening to your grandfather telling dirty jokes.

Why wouldn’t DC release an Art Adams bat book as a stand alone even IF the AS line failed?

As usual, this just shows that straight pencils (or even pencils and inks) are often so much better than artwork that has been digitally colored. Sorry to be such an old man, but those Adams pages are stunning, and I imagine once some colorist got a hold of them, they’d be drenched in darkness and rain (because it’s Batman, and IT NEEDS TO BE DARK!!!!), and the crispness would be totally lost and the small details (the rain on Robin’s face) would be highlighted far too much. Man, I wish I could afford those IDW Artist’s Editions.

How much of a geek am I in that looking at these drawings all I can do is wonder who did the rather nice job on the inking?

So I pick the day after Thanksgiving to introduce my nephews to comic books and this site. After comic books are fairly harmless. Now they think comic books are great. Of course when their mothers catch them looking at this stuff when they get back home, I am a dead man. Thanks Brian!

Wait, Lana (This Isn’t Really) Lang ISN’T a natural Redhead?

I’d been wondering about “tasha ever since reading one of the TPBs of the Winter Soldier series. Thanks for clarifying the age issue Brian.
I remember her sidekick Ivan quite well but not what happened to him. Did he just disappear or was he officially written out?

I love Art Adams’ faces, they’re so expressive without being ridiculous, and as a story teller, he’s like Matt Wagner who always seems to know exactly how to use panels to guide the eye brilliantly. We need more interiors, stat!

The real irony of Curt Swan doing those XXX pages? I vividly remember the Comic Buyer’s Guide running a letter after Curt’s passing where the writer claimed that some folks would sometimes ask Curt for sketches of Supergirl and Batgirl sans clothes or something to that effect. The writer admired Curt for refusing that kind of request on seemingly ethical grounds. Apparently, Curt didn’t want to tarnish his image as *the* Silver Age Superman artist.

And then…

This Happened.

Cracked ran the pages on their web site sometime back. Now, I’ve never liked the sheer banality of Mort Weisinger’s years on Superman very much. But now? Those kooky stories involving Lois and Lana acting like selfish idiots while Clark messes with their minds read even worse… I suppose Curt must have been in dire financial straits to take on this assignment. Either that, or he hated doing all those Weisinger comics and this was some final act of revenge on his part.

Regarding the Widow, she not only knew Cap and Bucky, but she became Buck’s lover after he took over Cap’s role. So she’s in her 70′s and has done most every guy in the Marvel Universe: Hawkeye, Daredevil, Hercules, Bucky, and I guess Wolverine. Girl gets around.

The sliding Marvel time scale does crazy things, doesn’t it?

But at least it isn’t a compressed “Everything happened in six years!” time scale or confusing alternate Earth time scale.

To put these pictures in context, DC took Curt Swan off of Superman when they did Crisis of Infinite Earths. He only had a few projects here and there.
Working at a job for 30+ years and then getting fired will leave anyone sort of bitter. I know I would be angry as heck.

I heard the Black Widow took the “Nick Fury Formula” Which was a watered down Super Solider Serum.

” It is eventually revealed that Fury takes a special medication called the Infinity Formula that halted his aging and allows him to be active despite being nearly a century old” Fury on Wiki

I don’t think Swan did it out of spite. I think he just liked the paying gig.

A jobs a job. I’m betting Penthouse paid quite well.

Swan may have taken the gig for the money but it’s hard to imagine he didn’t get some bit of personal gratification from it.

So DC paid both Loeb and Adams — neither of whom are cheap, I am sure — for a significant amount of work that was NEVER PUBLISHED, all so they could publish the absolute dreck that was “All-Star Batman and Robin.”

In what other industry would people be allowed to piss away that kind of time and money without any repercussions?! What an absolutely astonishing waste of resources.

That would be a great article at some point, CBR. Make an exhaustive list of all the projects by the various comic companies that have been commissioned and paid for and never saw the light of day, and then explain why (off the top of my head: the Kirkman/Liefeld “Killraven,” an aborted “Swamp Thing” series prior to New 52). And then someone should put together a general estimate of the cost of said projects. I think all parties — especially the companies themselves — would be curious to see just how much time and money has been wasted on that kind of terrible publishing management.

Marvel would publish the Killraven project ASAP. They just don’t have the pages to do so. Liefeld still has them.

My question is what is what it says about Superman, DC Comics and their fans that the first response of every iconic Superman artist upon being summarily dismissed is to get the Big Guy laid? With that said, Curt Swan really knew his characters. Every one of those panels tells a little story about who Lois and Clark are. Each is far more interesting than faintly misogynistic screed by Larry Niven.

Panel 1: Swan captures the mix of fear and attraction in Lois that was present in her first meeting with Superman in Action Comics #1 perfectly. The protective arm grab from Jimmy does a nice job underscoring it.

Panel 2: This is pure Super-Dickery and, therefore, plausible. It is a little creepy that Lois and Lana have the exact same body type, but otherwise this is perfect encapsulation of the perverse relationship between the three characters. I prefer the Lois-Clark-Lana triangle to the more iconic “Love Triangle for Two”, because it doesn’t rely on the weak glasses gimmick. Here Swan has made them serve the same purpose, since Lois is so focused on Lana that she misses what Clark is up to.

Panel 3: Even when drawing X-Rated parody, Swan was on brand. Lois and Superman are in the throes of passion, but the naughty bits are tastefully obscured. Even the motion lines are demure with only the Man of Steel’s cape as Ms. Lane experienced the most well earned orgasm in comic history.

It says a lot (and nothing good) that DC would chose to spike completed Art Adams pages, because Jeph Loeb had the temerity to leave for Marvel. Adams is a major figure that has produced shockingly little published work. For better or worse, the guy basically laid down the template for Image look. You can see his DNA is Jim Lee, Rob Liefled and the rest.

Eric:

I’m pretty sure that, while there has certainly been a lot of money wasted on comics that never saw the light of day, that money pales in comparison to what’s been spent on half-finished film productions.

you know, that Curt Swan Penthouse stuff is like what everyone would think Superman would do .. X-Ray vision especially. It was kind of addressed in the Donner Superman movies .. Superman checking Lois for cancer and underwear color .. it wasn’t graphic, but the concept was there.

Miller went out in crazyland on ASBandR .. which probably killed a followup more than anything.

Roman – I doubt the entire modern comic book industry has spent as much money as any given half-done money project from the past 20 years.

All Star Batman & Robin is probably the only comic book ever published that would be improved by having Jeph Loeb as writer.

Brian from Canada

November 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Regarding Swan’s Penthouse panels for Superman…

If you read Super Boys, you’ll learn Swan wasn’t the first — it was Shuster himself who used Superman and Lois Lane for pornographic magazines in the 50s. There is a clear Shuster style in the drawing of Superman tied to a chair while Lois whips him gleefully.

(And to be fair to those who don’t like what Penthouse did, that middle panel WOULD be something a younger Superman had to do… you just know it. Smallville even implied the same thing when Clark got his X-ray vision — and promptly looked right into the girls’ change room with a smile on his face.)

Claremont has this weird habit of tying his characters to historical events, even though the sliding timeline quickly makes them not work anymore. Back in the 70s, he had the origin of Storm’s claustrophobia be tied to the Suez Crisis in 1956, which, by the 1980s, didn’t work for a character supposedly in her 20s or 30s. Same with Magneto being in the Holocaust.

interesting always heard so much about man of steel woman of kleenex but never saw the thing till now. as for the black window not surprised marvel could of had her know wolverine back in world two or be a little girl for after all wolverine never ages and two marvel always freezes time to not age their characters so they get real old they would die.

Superman porn: WWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTT!??!!???!?!??!!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!???!?!??!??!???!?

All Star Batman: That would have been 100x better than Miller’s attempt at “satire” that we got instead.

It’s cute that people seem to accept that the biggest monetary investment would be in creator salaries and not printing and distribution costs.

I guess I’m in the minority of people who liked Miller and Lee’s ASBAR, but those Adams pages are pretty sweet.

All Star Batman & Robin is probably the only comic book ever published that would be improved by having Jeph Loeb as writer.

I think Miller just got PWNED!

Kurt?! How could you!

______________________________

He did it for the money. The co-owner (who sadly, passed away 10 years ago) of the comic shop that I used to work at (which sadly, closed down 2 months ago) was friends with Swan and he told me that Swan innitially turned PENTHOUSE down, but decided to do it when they offered him a boatload of money to draw it.

My only complaint about the Swan piece? Not-Supes is clothed in that last piece. I demand Not-Super butt!

My only complaint about the Swan piece? Not-Supes is clothed in that last piece. I demand Not-Super butt!

Superman’s not actually clothed. He’s only wearing his cape. He’s just blacked out.

Also, I disagree that ASBAR would have been improved by Loeb. It was terrible, but at least it was terrible in interesting and original ways, terrible in the ways that only genius can be. I would rather take genius dreck than hackery dreck. Kind of like how Neal Adams recent Batman writing has been. It’s (no pun intended) Batshit insane and doesn’t make any kind of sense but it’s bad in the way that only a genius can be and that makes it interesting in its own weird way. ASBAR did have some great moments. I’ve never read a Loeb book with a great moment (a great moment invented by Loeb I mean, and not one that was simply copied by him from another source)/

Uncle Sam using a Green Lantern ring and super-charging it by using the willpower of the American people was a great moment.

Curt Swan drawing Superman porn? What’s next? Jack Kirby drawing Fantastic Four porn?!

Man, you’ve been saving that one, haven’t you, Brian?

That’s in the time travel-y Superman/Batman arc, right? That was pretty good. Probably my favorite Loeb arc.

And yeah, ASSBAR [sic, I know] is great too. “Have some lemonade, chum!”

Art Adams on a Batman storyline would be awesome too, though.

I only read that Uncanny issue when it was reprinted in a Wolverine Origins issue a few years back, and it didn’t make any sense then from what I knew of Widow’s background. There’s no seeming reason that she has to be tied to WW2, really. Bru made it make sense in that he implied (or even came out and said, I don’t remember) that like Bucky/Winter Soldier, Widow was being put into suspended animation here and there.

And Swan naughty art doesn’t really do it for me. There’s still a gloss of innocence on it.

Great. Now I cant unsee the Swan porn. Was kinda creepy.

I’m really shocked some of you seem to have not ever seen those “Woman of Kleenex” drawings before. They’ve been circulating for quite a while now.

Maybe we’re not all a bunch of perverts.

Well I am, but maybe not everybody that reads this column is.

Oh who am I kidding…

Oh, and is Clak playing pocket pool in that second panel?

Those Curt Swan pieces look like they were inked by Jerry Ordway…

Just be glad we haven’t had an illustrated version of Robert Mayer’s Superfolks, or you might have Captain and Mary Marvel; er, I mean, Captain and Mary Mantra, engage in a bit of incestuous tomfoolery which leads to the Demoniac. It was bad enough in prose form.

Gross.

I always wanted to see what was going to happen next in ASBAR. Sue me.

Those Art Adams pages look great, too.

I still want to see Hush return and have Jim Lee draw it. Sounds like Jeph Loeb had the right idea with All Star, but then we got Miller’s piece of crap.

John Trumbull:
“Claremont has this weird habit of tying his characters to historical events, even though the sliding timeline quickly makes them not work anymore. Back in the 70s, he had the origin of Storm’s claustrophobia be tied to the Suez Crisis in 1956, which, by the 1980s, didn’t work for a character supposedly in her 20s or 30s. Same with Magneto being in the Holocaust.”

Well his personal preferred vision for X-Men was that they would age in real time, die, marry and have kids and move on with their lives so that new generations could take over (Wolverine maybe being the only constant since he doesn’t age) but of course he wasn’t allowed to do that for obvious reasons.

Thanks for the item in the Black WIdow, though it would have been interesting to go on to discuss the explanation for this. As I recall, the idea that Natasha is virtually immortal is established canon. As someone indicated above, she takes/took a version of the formula that keeps Nick Fury young and which has now been passed on to Mockingbird.

As I recall, an Avengers issue from a few years ago, during the “Fear Itself” event (I think) specifically addressed this. Natasha went to complain to a female newspaper editor about a story and the conversation revolved around the idea that “death” for superheroes was not a permanent affair, something which changed its impact. In the course of the conversation, the editor mentioned that Natasha was a woman in her 70s.

Alabaster Alligator

November 30, 2013 at 5:15 am

The Penthouse comics published a very impressive list of artists (e.g., Russ Heath, Gray Morrow, Dan Barry, Adam Hughes, Kevin Nowlan, Arthur Suydam), and those who were asked about this all had the same explanation: the pay was too good to turn down. Unfortunately, the scripts they were given were uniformly terrible, and often nauseatingly misogynistic. The editor, George Caragonne, assigned himself most of the writing jobs, and that was a very big mistake.

However, in fairness we should note that lack of talent and a raging hatred of women were really among the lesser foibles of Caragonne, a drug addict, probable thief, and public suicide.

I used to be a big fan of Frank Miller, going back to his first Spidey/DD crossover in 1978, and followed him from Daredevil in 1979 to Sin City in the early 90s. By the last Sin City arc (which included a color interlude featuring Hagar the Horrible!?), Miller’s work degenerated to schlock. Hated ASB&R and after the Holy Terror graphic novel (absolute garbage!), I totally ignore Frank Miller now, but still love his 1979-1983 DD run. How could you turn your back on groundbreaking work like that?
As for the “sliding” Marvel timeline, I always looked at it like this: Peter Parker graduated HS in 1965 then graduated college in 1978. Thus thirteen years of real time equals four years of Marvel time, and that standard worked for years. I don’t have a clue now. (But who knew we’d still be reading Marvels fifty years later?)

HOLY CRAP. NSFW DOES NOT WORK if you have the pictures load up on the first page regardless of whether you choose to scroll down or not because WORK HAS ALREADY LOADED THE PICTURES TO YOUR BROWSER.

Meaning anyone opening this article at work will immediately, and without choice, download those images.

Scrolling down doesn’t load them; they’re already loaded because we’ve loaded the page they’re hosted on. How do you not know how the internet works by now? Put the article on page two or three (preferably 3) and put a warning beforehand!

If anyone is interested, there’s a story dealing directly with Nick Fury and the Infinity Formula. Marvel Spotlight 31(Dec 76), written by Jim Starlin (a far cry from his then-recent cosmic saga) and drawn by Howard Chaykin, it’s a pretty decent standalone tale. Chaykin looks like he’s channeling Alex Toth throughout, although his Star Wars adaptation is seven months away (with much scratchier art). The story actually shows Nick Fury succumbing to old age without administering the formula. What’s interesting is that Spider Woman debuts the very next issue with Nick playing a role in that story too. Fun stuff if you can find a copy.

Well his personal preferred vision for X-Men was that they would age in real time, die, marry and have kids and move on with their lives so that new generations could take over (Wolverine maybe being the only constant since he doesn’t age) but of course he wasn’t allowed to do that for obvious reasons.

Right, which is why I said it seems odd that Claremont still insists on doing that. If he owned the X-Men the way that Kurt Busiek owns Astro City, he could use real time to his heart’s content and it would work. When you’re writing characters that you DON’T own in a shared universe that you DON’T control that uses a sliding timeline, and you could lose that gig at literally ANY moment, it seems really weird and futile to inject real time elements into it.

As for the “sliding” Marvel timeline, I always looked at it like this: Peter Parker graduated HS in 1965 then graduated college in 1978. Thus thirteen years of real time equals four years of Marvel time, and that standard worked for years. I don’t have a clue now. (But who knew we’d still be reading Marvels fifty years later?)

Well, it’s not like everyone who worked at Marvel ever got together in a big meeting and decided on a scale for Marvel Time that everyone would stick to from then on. Any sort of real time conversion rate that exists is just fans looking at this stuff with 100% hindsight years later and arbitrarily deciding something.

And it’s STILL never going to be consistent from book to book. Peter Parker, Kitty Pryde, and Franklin Richards have all aged at different rates over the years, and you either have to throw up your hands and accept it or just stop reading superhero comics. :)

If you’re that sensitive to what content is on a webpage because you’re at work, maybe you shouldn’t be surfing the net from work.

Skip – That is NOT Lana.
Ask Penthouse’s Lawyers
(they could not legally show the real Lana so had someone wear a wig to pretend to be her)

My understanding of the Marvel timeline is they generally have 3 scales

immediate – the current story – for which the timescale is whatever the story demands

the recent past – for this period events occur at half speed (so the comic from 2 years ago occurred 1 year ago)
Note there are exceptions (New Universe and most of Roy Thomas’ run on Conan the Barbarian had 12 issues equalling a year)

the distant past – things get scrunched together so Peter Parker isn’t in his 40s

Great Legends this week!

Has Art Adams ever drawn a bad ANYTHING? Those pages are awesome. If DC ever wants to get serious about making great (that’s “great”, not “good”) comics again, Step One is paying Art Adams whatever he wants and putting him on whatever book he wants. There’s no reason for this guy not to be on the stands once a month.

Those Adams pages are great. They are more reflective of his old style prior to the Image guys making it ubiquitous.

I always liked the What If two-part story featuring Captain America hat George Caragonne wrote back in 1991. Definitely a far cry from his Penthouse Comix output!

Didn’t we have Claremont time in the 1980′s? Everything from 1983 to 1989 occurred between Kitty Pryde’s 15th and 16th birthdays. Wolfman did a detailed job of covering Spidey’s college career. But it left huge gaps in FF, X-Men and Avengers.

They should make the Art Adams pages into a story for the digital first comics. I’m sure some writer can make up some dialogue to go with it.

@Jazzbo – not surfing from work, but the NSFW warning comes on the page on which the images are presented, which pretty invalidates half the NSFW warning (the loading portion; the other half being the viewing portion).

[...] Visit link: Comic Book Legends Revealed #447 | Comics Should Be Good … [...]

“Unfortunately, the scripts they were given were uniformly terrible, and often nauseatingly misogynistic. The editor, George Caragonne, assigned himself most of the writing jobs, and that was a very big mistake.”

That was the entire point. They were as misogynistic as possible and that’s what made them great. I do believe it’s only AFTER Caragonne died that enthusiasm and fun of the book instantly withered and died to the point where they were importing reprints of manga porn.

All I can say is. HAHA!

In fairness to Claremont on Magneto – people forget that Magneto was de-aged at the beginning of Claremont’s run. So although Magneto is 80+ years old, he’s physically only in his 30s. Check out UXM#199 where Magneto runs into other holocaust survivors who are old and are surprised to see Magneto still so young. Plus the aforementioned Kitty taking forever to get to 16. Meanwhile direct references to anyone else’s age (other than Wolverine) or references to real past historical events basically disappeared after the 1970s (i.e., after everyone at Marvel realized that these characters were really going to keep going on “frozen” in time a long while).

In fairness to Claremont on Magneto – people forget that Magneto was de-aged at the beginning of Claremont’s run. So although Magneto is 80+ years old, he’s physically only in his 30s. Check out UXM#199 where Magneto runs into other holocaust survivors who are old and are surprised to see Magneto still so young. Plus the aforementioned Kitty taking forever to get to 16. Meanwhile direct references to anyone else’s age (other than Wolverine) or references to real past historical events basically disappeared after the 1970s (i.e., after everyone at Marvel realized that these characters were really going to keep going on “frozen” in time a long while).

Even the de-aging really doesn’t work, though, since that means that pretty soon his FIRST fight against the X-Men will be when he was an old man, ya know?

Exactly. The problem isn’t really with the de-aging, it’s WHEN it occurs in Magneto’s life.

The “racy” Curt Swan material reminds me of an anecdote that Mark Evanier shared in one of his Comics Buyer’s Guide columns some time ago. As I recall, Evanier explained that, many years ago, he brought a new sketchbook to a convention with no theme in mind…he was just going to let the artists draw what they wanted. The first artist he approached did a nude sketch. The second artist assumed that nudes WERE the theme of the sketchbook, and followed suit…and with that, it became a collection of nudes. Because Evanier was not only a colleague, but also a friend, to so many people in the comics industry, he was able to get contributions from several artists who normally wouldn’t have done R-rated material…though the only specific name I can recall was Mike Sekowsky, who went so far as to create a multi-page pornographic Justice League story! (I may be misremembering, but I think Evanier quoted Sekowsky as saying “I’ve been waiting years to do this,” or something to that effect.)

While I understand that these drawings were not intended for publication, and I respect Evanier’s and the artists’ decisions to keep them private…I would REALLY like to see that Sekowsky story.

Ditko and Jim Mooney also drew porn, though I don’t think they did it with existing characters. If artists had been better paid, maybe they wouldn’t've….Anyway, weren’t the images of Lois, Lana, Perry and Jimmy copyrighted as well? Especially Lois and Jimmy, who had their own comics.

Hey, Brian. Here’s an ooooooold rumor that I (and a lot of other people) have been wondering about for years: The official story (if I’m not mistaken) is that Azrael Batman was supposed to be permanent and that they only went back because of fan backlash.

But since practically forever there’s been a rumor that Azrael Batman was INTENDED to be rejected by fans, ala New Coke (i.e. they set it up to fail to build hype for the original coming back).

Yes? No? A combination of the two maybe?

@Erich — Evanier explained that, many years ago, he brought a new sketchbook to a convention with no theme in mind…he was just going to let the artists draw what they wanted. The first artist he approached did a nude sketch. The second artist assumed that nudes WERE the theme of the sketchbook, and followed suit…and with that, it became a collection of nudes. Because Evanier was not only a colleague, but also a friend, to so many people in the comics industry, he was able to get contributions from several artists who normally wouldn’t have done R-rated material…though the only specific name I can recall was Mike Sekowsky, who went so far as to create a multi-page pornographic Justice League story! (I may be misremembering, but I think Evanier quoted Sekowsky as saying “I’ve been waiting years to do this,” or something to that effect.)

This is one of the greatest comics industry stories that I’ve ever read.

“preferred vision for X-Men was that they would age in real time”

Real time would never work for comics. Consider that each issue only comes out once a month. Now that could be 1 day in the life, or sometimes 1 adventure/day is spread out over 3 or so issues. Or look at the McFarlane Spiderman first few issues. All one day spread out over many issues. In one full year Spiderman could be looked at and said, “man he really didn’t get too much done that year” and I thought I was lazy, I had more stuff happen (though not nearly as dangerous) than Peter Parker had happen in one year. That one issue is all that happened to him in one month???? No wonder he’s so broke, if he only sold one set of pictures that month. Of course then the answer is “a lot of other stuff happened on other days that we just didn’t see”. But then why don’t we see those stories? Oh we do, that’s all the other issues. If the hero only catches or stops one bad guy a month, at most, more likely 5 or 6, then they aren’t really that “super”.

@Logan – aging worked well for the Dragonball manga and seemed more “realistic” in that they only faced a crazed super villain every 5-10 years instead of every other day. But I agree – it would not work as well in American comics (unless one or two people with a tight leash on continuity were writing a comic over the long term).

Back to Magneto – I totally agree that the de-aging only goes so far but so do the infinity formula or even a healing factor. Wolverine as 100 years old okay but 150 or 200 years old? Those ages start to make him seem less cool and more immortal in a way normally reserved for super villains or much wiser and wizened characters than Wolverine. Same for Fury. (Captain America’s story as the man out of time seems to me to be the least problematic even in the long term). They’re going to have to clean up the continuity eventually. De-aging Magneto was a decent (and for a long time effective) way to deal with that and keep the interesting WWII origin. Whereas Storm’s origin in the 1950s Suez Canal crisis was just never mentioned again.

[...] storytelling grammar, get to know just who this Rube Goldberg dude was, and experience Curt Swan’s X-rated Superman comic. You’ll likely learn a thing or two about the artistic collaboration of colourist and [...]

Travis Stephens

December 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm

The problem is not Magneto. It’s Wanda & Pietro. The are both instrumental in Avengers and X-Men chronology. You can de-age Magneto all you want but at some point he had two children who were old enough to manifest their powers. Eventually, if Magneto’s origin remains static Wanda & Pietro will been 90210 teens- Twenty somethings running around and desperately trying to pass themselves off as 16 year olds in X-Men #1.

The problem is not Magneto. It’s Wanda & Pietro. The are both instrumental in Avengers and X-Men chronology. You can de-age Magneto all you want but at some point he had two children who were old enough to manifest their powers. Eventually, if Magneto’s origin remains static Wanda & Pietro will been 90210 teens- Twenty somethings running around and desperately trying to pass themselves off as 16 year olds in X-Men #1.

I don’t think they are necessarily a problem when you consider that dudes like Anthony Quinn and Tony Randall had kids well into their 80s, ya know? It is just that there will soon come a time when World War II is just not a viable option for anyone who doesn’t have a specific explanation for why they’re still up and about (like suspended animation).

Magneto’s Holocaust background has become important enough that I suspect that we eventually WILL get some sort of suspended animation retcon with Magneto.

Travis Stephens

December 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Wanda & Pietro’s birth – asides from being tied to an Eastern Europe Cold War mentality that is increasingly fading- is inexorably linked to the Whizzer and Miss America. At some point it us just too far fetched to see her traipsing around Wundagore at the same time Magda who is Magneto’s contemporar does. If you keep Magneto as a teenager in World War II then Wanda and Pietro are going to need a new mother and the Frank’s- a nice touch- will have to disappear as well

I thinks some Handbook or another has already claimed that baby Wanda and baby Pietro were put in suspended animation for a while.

Somewhere they already explained Wanda and Pietro. The High Evolutionary put them into suspended animation after the Whizzer and Miss America rejected them. He didn’t give them to the Maximoffs until the more recent past.

“In what other industry would people be allowed to piss away that kind of time and money without any repercussions?!”

Can you be specific about which industry it is that you erroneously believe doesn’t have an imperfect development process that can often be painted as incredibly inefficient with a few specific anecdotes? I suspect that the problem is more than you haven’t heard the anecdotes than that comics are unique in this way.

“Magneto’s Holocaust background has become important enough that I suspect that we eventually WILL get some sort of suspended animation retcon with Magneto.”

Why not just make it a secondary mutation?

Those Adams pages are great. They are more reflective of his old style prior to the Image guys making it ubiquitous.

I don’t think anyone at Image came close to successfully cloning Adams style, although not for lack of trying, therefore I wouldn’t quite say they made it ubiquitous.

Well, I guess the real question I get from this is….is the Black Widow really a redhead?
That and grooming habits have changed a lot in just 20 years.

Of all the characters just loosely tied to a time event, it’s strange that Claremont would grab onto a throwaway Black Widow story. I guess I still wonder why he did that, even if he didn’t come up with it. Especially at the point in time when it becomes problematic. No one seems anxious to point out Reed and Ben fought in WWII…or update and change that Punisher was vet of Vietnam. Iron Man’s had his hotbed of fighting change over the years. To shine a light on HEY BLACK WIDOW WAS A KID IN WWII when you could have said that about a bunch of twenty something characters created in the 60′s is just all kinds of obsessively odd.

Am I the only one who thought the best part of that whole Black Widow/Logan/Psylocke scene was Jubilee sitting there and getting pouty jealous after scoping out Betsy? “Man who cares about The Hand? I just want a body like that.”

Good thing they didn’t go full term with the “Woman of Kleenex” representation. Lois’ body split in two in a gorish scene, now THAT would be creepy. The way it is, she’s quite enjoying it. I’m happy for her.

I’m about as big a Superman, Swan, AND Silver Age marks you’re ever likely to find, but I have to say a lot of you guys are way too uptight about some cartoon characters being drawn naked.
Look over the shoulder of any cartoonist; he’ll be drawing naked ladies, no bet. Believe me, that’s why anyone takes up illustration to begin with! Evanier’s story bears this out.

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