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Comic Book Legends Revealed #456

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COMIC LEGEND: Al Milgrom going freelance led to Art Adams’ big break.

STATUS: True

All comic book creators have “breaking into comics” stories, but I find the tale of how the great Art Adams made it into comics as one of the best since it basically was TWO stories!

First off, Art Adams’ portfolio was seen by the great inker Joe Rubinstein. Rubinstein thought Adams had a lot of talent so he began sending Art’s work to everybody he knew. Eventually Denny O’Neil and Linda Grant gave Adams a shot on a Bizarre Adventures story but the title was canceled before Adams’ short story appeared and as Adams later recalled, he probably wasn’t ready just yet to be a professional artist. So he did not break in YET.

When Grant essentially told him “don’t call us, we’ll call you,” Adams realized that he needed to move forward. So about a year later, he developed brand-new sample pages, presumably showing his growth as an artist in that year. He sent these new samples to everyone he knew of at DC and Marvel but he got no responses.

Then a funny thing happened. Al Milgrom quit.

Al Milgrom was working for Marvel as an editor when he decided he would rather be a freelancer. So he had to give up his Marvel office. When cleaning up his office, he came across Adams’ samples and gave them to Carl Potts, who was succeeding Milgrom.

Potts, always a great eye for talent (he helped bring both Jim Lee AND Whilce Portacio to Marvel), then hired Adams to do a New Defenders inventory story that never was published.

Here’s one page from the New Defenders story (go buy Modern Masters: Art Adams to see another page from the story as well as two pages from the unpublished Bizarre Adventures story!)…

newdefenders

Potts’ ASSISTANT, though, was Ann Nocenti, who had an idea for a story that became….

longshot1

And right from the release of Longshot two years later, Adams became a star.

But imagine if it were not for Milgrom cleaning out his office!

Thanks to Art Adams and George Khoury for the information!

Be sure to pick up Khoury’s massive (and awesome) interview with Art Adams in Modern Masters: Art Adams from TwoMorrows Publishing!

artadams

It’s just five bucks!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving comic book creators’ big breaks!

Was Elliot S! Maggin’s first comic book work written for a college class?

Was Elliot S! Maggin’s biggest break due to a story idea he got from a teenaged Jeph Loeb?

Did Steve Epting break into comics through a non-existent contest?

How did a surreptitious use of a post-it note help John Rozum break into comics?

Did John Romita break into comics by pretending to be inking a penciler when Romita was actually doing the pencils?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________
On the next page, learn how an unpublished Logan’s Run comic ended up being used by Marvel elsewhere!

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82 Comments

That wolverine thing? For me it’s just some nobody, who wants his 5 minute of fame. Pathetic.

I’m inclined to think he’s sincere, Chakal. “You stole my idea” is a long-standing fan complaint–one reason some creators avoid looking at fan ideas. But yes, unless he’s got something a lot more specific (and he doesn’t mention anything), there’s no reason to assume the idea was swiped.

I thought the Wolverine thing was already covered on this site before?

I thought the Wolverine thing was already covered on this site before?

Nope.

I’m inclined to think he’s sincere, Chakal. “You stole my idea” is a long-standing fan complaint–one reason some creators avoid looking at fan ideas. But yes, unless he’s got something a lot more specific (and he doesn’t mention anything), there’s no reason to assume the idea was swiped.

Yeah, I don’t see any reason to think he doesn’t honestly believe Marvel took his idea.

This is why Marvel doesn’t accept submissions using its own characters

Also, I want to read that Art Adams Defenders story. I’m assuming it was from the New Defenders era.

Yeah, it was a New Defenders story.

Arthur Adams provided pencils for a Marvel Team-Up cover in early 1984. I’m not sure where that would fall on the timeline suggested above, but it’s at least a year before LONGSHOT debuted.

http://connect.collectorz.com/comics/database/marvel-team-up-vol-1/141-70118

What was the FOOM Wolverine’s powers? He looks more like a cyborg in the mold of the Terminator to my eyes.

Not exactly sure with the art, but… is that fan character named Wolverine re-generating like he’s got a extreme healing ability?

I’m inclined to believe the Wolverine guy’s sincerity as well, though he’s almost surely wrong. We’ll heard stories of people who throw out an idea then claim someone else stole it. Those people just tend to underestimate how much work goes into conceptualizing and following through on the thing. That’s why they’re mistaken. Ideas are everywhere. It’s the execution that counts.

Arthur Adams provided pencils for a Marvel Team-Up cover in early 1984. I’m not sure where that would fall on the timeline suggested above, but it’s at least a year before LONGSHOT debuted.

http://connect.collectorz.com/comics/database/marvel-team-up-vol-1/141-70118

That’d be after he got the Longshot gig. He took a looooong time to draw Longshot. About two years (eight months just for the first issue).

Honestly, after Bat-Man and Spider-Man were major hits you have to figure looking to the animal kingdom was where everyone in comics were looking to for the next breakout character. A character named Wolverine was inevitable, the beast itself is terrifying on description. And Marvel’s Wolverine has been largely written by committee. That The Badger turned out to be such a great satire without delving into Mad Magazine territory took real imagination.

People this is why, Marvel, DC, and any other comic book company and the writers & editors working for them will not touch unsolicited pitches from fans, The big two are notorious for “liberally borrowing” fan concepts. And if (the word if should be bolded here) you get a comic professional that appears to be receptive to your pitch or idea, do bring a legal waiver document (joking…but not really) and don’t expect a huge pay day from it, and for the love of god do not launch a lawsuit, because that will kill any little goodwill that higher up editorial has for the idea of fan pitches (especially from the big two {Marvel and DC} (A classic example of this is Marvel Comic’ Charcoal debaucle)

This is just like that time in the early 90s when I was trying to read a book while eating a sandwich and said “Hey, it would be great if there was some kind of little computer screen that showed books and you could just press a button to turn the page,” and then a decade later Amazon totally ripped off my idea.

Looking over that, “written by committee” is wrong. “Accidental” is much more apt.

If you wanted to be charitable to the Wolverine thing, you could read into that drawing a healing factor and metal underneath flesh. But I wouldn’t assume that was what was being depicted without a text accompaniment. (If he wasn’t called “Wolverine”, it wouldn’t occur to me at all.)

Charcoal debacle? it was from a fan contest

Same name
healing factor
metal insides of some sort?
Full body shot makes him look short (could just be art style though)
Similar costume
Less than a year apart?

Usually, I’d say it’s all dumb luck, but this seems too fishy.
I’m a little more inclined to believe it too because the Andy Oslen isn’t trying to cash in on it. He has no reason to say he feels a bit ripped off, unless he really does.

Peter Morningstar

January 31, 2014 at 10:48 am

Let’s be realistic here, as has been the case in any creators claiming a degree of ownership regarding a major comic book character, the Company in question, rightly or wrongly, has never flinched in it’s claim to ownership rights, does anyone truly believe that this claim re: Wolverine would be treated any differently?
Whatever the circumstances here, or how strong a case Mr Olsen believes he has, evidence and the burden of proof, is definitely not in his favour, Interesting story though.

If those costumes are similar enough to pass your sniff test, then they are both ripped off from countless other heroes from the forty years leading up to that.

The least ambiguous part of that drawing is the image of him with an open chest with gears inside and wires and stuff coming out, so I’d say that, without any further explanation provided by the “creator”, that character is a robot.

Sorry people, but metal skeleton, healing factor plus the name and you talk about a coincidence. The idea was nicked and Olsen’s uncle was right in his profound analysis.

@DrunkTaterSalad

The metal skeleton was actually a later addition, I believe.

I always wondered why BA ran a Logan’s Run rip-off.

Beyond the debatable question of whether Olsen’s Wolverine even HAS a healing factor or a metal skeleton (at least not in terms of what we think about Wolverine as having a metal skeleton – in that it looks more like a cyborg than anything), two very important questions:

Did Wolverine have a metal skeleton when he debuted?

Nope.

Did Wolverine have a healing factor when he debuted?

Nope.

So unless you think Chris Claremont decided to go back to an old issue of FOOM to inspire him to the abilities of Wolverine, then none of that matters.

And how on Earth is that a similar costume? He looks like he’s wearing a luchador mask!

-Back about 1980 or 1981 I submitted a character to DC’s Dial H For Hero series running in Adventure Comics, written by Marv Wolfman, a female Earth-controlling character named TERRA. TERRA never appeared in Dial H but a year or so later appeared in New Teen Titans, also written by Marv Wolfman, with the same name, same powers, similar costume. I’ve always told fellow fans that I created her. When Wolfman was seeking royalties for the creation of Blade (after the movie appeared) I mentioned on a forum somewhere that he used my TERRA character without credit. He sent me a rather defensive email saying that it was coincidence, that he had been developing the character for some time and that the name TERRA was an obvious name for an Earth-controlling character. Of course the fact that almost all of DC’s female characters’ names ended in Woman or Girl or Lass escaped his notice!

If you read the contest terms in FOOM #1, they state explicitly that any submissions become the property of Marvel Comics, so it’s a moot point.

what comic did the ad for incredible hulk # 181 appear in? the info i have says oct 1974 , but what book is it in?

If you read the contest terms in FOOM #1, they state explicitly that any submissions become the property of Marvel Comics, so it’s a moot point.

It’s not a moot point when the point is “Did they take the idea from him?” We’re not talking the legality of it, because, obviously, as noted, it would clearly HAVE been legal if they had done so. We’re just asking whether they DID take the idea.

@Paul Hartshorne, it’s funny that you mention Dial H For Hero in the context of borrowed ideas. The first issue of Marvel’s Fun & Games comic had a sort of paper doll that you could cut out and use different costume pieces for, although as provided you’d only end up with four costumes. As a kid, I used that and tracing paper to develop ‘my’ own characters. Then, during the 80s Dial H For Hero run, one of the submissions was directly taken from that Marvel Fun & Games paper doll (the costume using red and white, as I recall). At 13-ish, it was absolutely mind-blowing to me that DC ‘got away with stealing’ a Marvel design.

As several people have pointed out, that doesn’t look like a metal skeleton as much as a clockwork man. Likewise what looks like his face growing back could be some pass-as-human disguise process. So unless someone dredges up more details, I’m unconvinced of the connection (plus as Brian points out, healing factor and metal bones weren’t part of the original Wolverine).

The design-your-own hero part of the second Dial H series often annoyed me. Not that the Silver Age series (much as I loved it) had an unbroken string of great designs, but some of the characters Chris and Vicki turned into were so limited, it felt like a huge coincidence when their powers were actually useful in the story.

@DrunkTaterSalad, @Dimo1

The name is the only similarity.

Costumes are completely different. Face is different. Olsen Wolverine doesn’t have claws, which was a defining characteristic of Marvel Wolverine from the very beginning. Marvel Wolverine didn’t have a metal-plated skeleton until later, originally he was just a guy who wore gloves that had metal claws built into them. Olsen Wolverine looks to be a robot, not human.

I just love that Wolverine was almost named Badger. That would have been a way better superhero–and was!

Also, all this talk of Dial H reminds me that I’ve loved every single iteration of that series. Silver Age, 1980s, H-E-R-O, New 52–it’s just a great concept, and I love all the takes on it that there have been over the years.

Huh, isn’t a little naive to think someone is sincere just because they’re not trying to get any money? People also want fame, recognition, the right to boast…

Though I do have some sympathy for Olsen. You know, the underdog and all that.

Wow, this kid’s stretch seems to allude to the god-like heal powers that Wolverine later develops!

Huh, isn’t a little naive to think someone is sincere just because they’re not trying to get any money? People also want fame, recognition, the right to boast…

True, but what indication has he given that he doesn’t honestly believe they took his idea from him? I think he’s mistaken, but in the absence of contrary information, I think it is fair enough to believe him that he thinks that they took the idea from him.

The thing is Olsen didn’t seek the attention. Someone submitted the foom article to Bleeding Cool as kind of an oddity. A forum member then tracked Olsen down via the internet and got his info to Rich who then sought Olsen out for comment.

The thing is Olsen didn’t seek the attention. Someone submitted the foom article to Bleeding Cool as kind of an oddity. A forum member then tracked Olsen down via the internet and got his info to Rich who then sought Olsen out for comment.

Yeah, exactly. So I don’t see why we wouldn’t take Olsen at his word here. He honestly thinks they took his idea.

When I was a kid, I had ideas for super-heroes of my own. One from like, the early 70s was a woman who had multiple powers, but only one at a time, and she glowed a different color of the rainbow depending on which one was active. I named her “Nimbus”, which is a synonym for “Halo”. I don’t think I ever even got as far as picking the powers and assigning the colors, let alone ever making it public, so I’m sure Mike W. Barr didn’t rip me off. But don’t expect me to be objective about Gabrielle Doe. Screw any version of The Outsiders that doesn’t include Halo.

I would not be to hard on Olsen, since he is not out pushing the idea that he was stolen from, but the fact he even made the claim when asked makes him look a bit silly (or worse). Aside from the name there are no significant similarities.

I have no idea why some commentators cite the costume. The mask maybe? It does have the open lower face, but then so does Batman’s, which is closer to Wolverine’s. With the nose exposed, the mask shown above looks more like Captain America, Daredevil, Cyclopes, Beast, Marvel Girl, Angel, Havok, and Giant Man.

As far as the healing factor, not one of Wolverine’s original powers as noted above, I wondered where people were getting the idea from. I guess the head shots at the top of the page with the Kirby Krackel? That looks more like a robot being made to look like a man than healing.

This Wolverine and that Wolverine are almost nothing alike. I believe him that he believes they “stole” it, but There’s so few discernible similarities that it’s highly unlikely. The most I can feel justified in giving it is someone saying “Wolverine. Hm. Not a bad name. I mean, we use a lot of animal names, anyway, and that’s a cool one. Let’s just take the name and create a character around it that actually makes some sense. I mean, this guy doesn’t even have claws!”

A somewhat related personal anecdote: In 2003 I commissioned a piece for one of my personal characters (still haven’t done anything with him because I’m lazy). In 2005, the artist did work on a series of an old team and added two completely new characters. One character had a costume fairly similar in design to my guy’s and the other had similar powers. I’m not claiming them to be taken from my guy at all. I don’t know. Maybe the artist was influenced in some way, whether conscious or not. If so, then I’m flattered that a pro liked something I did. It wasn’t close enough for me to consider it ripped off and now unusable. Of course, I still haven’t seen the name used anywhere. If one of the two had also used my guy’s name, that would make things a bit more difficult to accept and give a pass to.

The comment above mine mentioning the Kirby Krackle made me look at it again and think. Olsen’s Wolverine looks, to me, a lot more derivative of Kirby’s style and costume design for things like New Gods and Eternals than Marvel’s Wolverine does of Olsen’s.

Back in the late ’60sas a young comics fan I wrote and drew (badly) for my own amusement a couple of stories featuring a superhero team, one of whose members was a woman who went by the name Wolverine. It’s an obvious name that someone was bound to use eventually. Oh, and the superteam’s name was the Defenders.

I actually own that issue of BIZARRE ADVENTURES (I bought back in the mid 90′s) and I never realized that THE HUNTSMAN story was a LOGAN’S RUN story. Now that I look at the story it is so blatantly obvious that it is a LOGAN’S RUN story. You learn something new everyday..

My brother once came up with a team called the Death Cheaters based on an old Batman story. They were men who’d been declared medically dead, survived and decided to use their lives for adventure. He was genuinely stunned when I pointed out he’d invented the Challengers of the Unknown.

Yeah, I don’t see them taking his idea. Again beyond the name……
That picture doesn’t look like a mutant healing factor to me. It looks like a series of different steps in making a robot look human. Not to mention that as stated, the healing factor and metal skeleton were later factors in Wolverine. The claws were the iconic feature of Wolverine at the time. All those pics indicate robot (with a human like overcoating) to me. The picture with the open chest doesn’t show a metal skeleton, but rather electronics and wires where metal ribs would be on Wolverine.

I agree that he is not likely seeking 15 minutes of fame, and that he likely honestly thinks they ripped off his idea, but he’s silly for believing that. He too seems to base it on nothing but the name (as he gives no further description himself). By that reasoning Marvel and DC ripped off many ideas that I had from a child through my adult years that I never even submitted, but the names of various SuperHeroes that I made up, have found their way into many comics. There are only so many names possible, and especially all the insertanimalorinsectnamehere-mans are bound to be thought up and used ever since Batman and Spider man. Then there’s even Origin stories and plots that I thought up that not surprisingly others did too. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a tv show character, or a scene and thought “Oh wow, I thought of that long ago, and now someone else thought the same thing.

Chuck. The intersect 2.0 with computer programmed combat moves inserted into his mind….. I had a similar idea for a character ages ago.

In other words, you’ve identified one or two characters who Marvel might NOT have stolen. That is quite rare.

I think we all, deep in our heart of hearts, created Wolverine.

In regards the healing factor, that was an aspect of the Archie Goodwin/Walt Simonson Manhunter around that same period, not to mention some sci-fi stories out there, so that is hardly proof of theft either. Meanwhile, Timber Wolf, in the Legion of Super-Heroes, predated Wolvie by 10 years; so, a hero named Wolverine was probably inevitable (especially with the Univ. of Michigan on tv broadcasts of Big Ten football).

In college and soon after, I was playing around with the idea of a superhero generational saga that was linked both to 20th Century US history and the “Ages” of comic books. My idea was that the earliest group were more pulp-inspired, with no real super powers; but that the Germans had a super-powered hero, akin to the earliest Superman levels (and Phillip Wylie’s Hugo Danner). The first superbeing would come as a result of post-war nuclear experiments. I pictured a patriotic hero, of more right-wing persuasion, who worked with the government, when the rest ran afoul of HUAC. Imagine my surprise when James Robinson and Paul Smith’s Golden Age premiered, with Tex Thompson (Mr. America) as a right-winger (I won’t spoil it) and the birth of Dyna-Man. However, I never pitched the idea. It doesn’t take much to link superhero stories to history, since history and pop culture had been mined since Siegel and Shuster, and it wasn’t that much of a stretch to have a right-wing patriotic hero (like the 50s Captain America stories). It also didn’t take much to add nuclear experiments. Robinson and I were hitting the same marks because we were both looking at actual history and comic history of the same period.

Now, I will say that the author of an article about Mike Grell’s Jon Sable, Freelance (Back Issue #10, TwoMorrows) did swipe the title of my review of the short-lived Sable tv series, from IMDB. My review was posted about a year before the article was written, and it appears word for word, “So good, it lasted seven whole episodes!” Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my title said six episodes, as I misremembered the number of broadcast episodes; but, otherwise, everything matched, right down to the sarcasm. Coincidence? I think not. I will be suing for damages or the price of a Happy Meal, whichever is higher.

PS.
The Manhunter story, from Detective Comics #437-443 contained a mistake, in chapter 3. Walt Simonson drew Paul Kirk in a flashback, but made the mask a red cowl, with a blue border around the eyes, nose, and mouth, rather than the completely (light) blue facemask of the 1940s costume. However, it was corrected in the coloring stage by coloring the skin at the mask openings the same light blue, to make it look somewhat like the original mask (except with eye and mouth cutouts). When it was reprinted in the 80s, in a single issue, Baxter-format, the art was again color corrected, with the skin returned to t natural color, and the incorrect mask design. I have never read if Walt Simonson screwed up the mask in the first place or just decided to redesign it, though the color correction suggests a brainfart. I suppose it might make a topic, to determine whether Simonson screwed up or if he consciously redesigned the mask but DC committed the error with the recoloring, to later correct it in the reprint.

@Jeff Nettleton: You took the words right outta my mouth. I’ve read interviews where Chris Claremont (and many other comics creators) express their admiration for the late Archie Goodwin. If you read many of Claremont’s stories, they begin by stating an introduction to place/character/etc., in the same way that Archie did. And not only did Wolverine eventually pick up Manhunter’s traits (healing factor, ninja training, world hopping, a friend named Asano, spy-like, etc.), Chris also nicked Modesty Blaise’s origin for Storm! Cheers, all.

PS:
Now that I remember, Prince Ra-Man from the old House of Mystery in the 1960s had a “recuperative power.” Hah!

Yeah, I remember a few years ago for the message boards of an indie comic I follow (Pride High–it’s great), I was toying with creating a character named Brickhouse: a black woman who has super strength and her power involves her becoming made of bricks, all inspired by the song. Then almost immediately after, I read of a Milestone character who had that same description.

No stealing either way, either: I had read Deathwish, but absolutely no other Milestone book, and Milestone’s heyday was long before I even started following Pride High in the first place. In the end, it simply shows that some inspirations hit more than one person (of course, in this case, it really was an inevitability).

I am curious what is Olson’s Wolverine’s powers? Like what powers would this character have to even call him Wolverine? I don’t see any animal motif on his suit. There aren’t any type of claws. Why is this character named the Wolverine in the first place? It’s almost random.

Found this from Olsen on another site.
“I had heard of a creature called wolverine. From what I knew it was reputed to be pound for pound meanest animal on Earth. Not even Grizzly bears would tangle with one. A worthy attitude to have when fighting crime. Wolverine it was.

So I set on using that as a base concept. If you notice in my adolescent sketch there is a pattern on the back of his costume that mimics the fur shading of the animal as well as the front mask sort of like the markings of its head.

The details other than that eludes me, but looking back at the sketch he seemed to have a metal skeleton and no claws, because I couldn’t imagine a superhero scratching an opponent. Sissies scratch.”

I dunno, this guy is starting to come off as weird to me. I see no fur on that costume. I still go back to not seeing a metal skeleton. It looks more like a robot, and even robots are made of metal rather than having a metal skeleton. I don’t see any picture of a skeleton in those pictures to be metal or otherwise.

Then he says he bases it off of the meanest animal, an animal that attacks with it’s claws, but says he didn’t put claws on there, because “sissies scratch”, even though he based it off of the “meanest animals” which scratches, which he says sissies do? So do the claws on the wolverine make it the meanest animal as he says, or does it make it a sissy as he says?

I looked at the pages in FOOM. There is also a Starr-Hawk and Darkstar. Marvel also later published Starhawk and Darkstar. Is there no end to their crimes? My two favorite characters from the submissions are Himacles (as opposed to Heracles) and Stefan Wolf (Get your motor runnin’…)

@Logan

Olsen has probably retconned his own memories. He was convinced that Marvel stole his idea, and over time he’s probably gradually altered his own memories to further support that belief.

People do it all the time. George Lucas has done it for decades. Stan Lee does it. The version of Claremont’s plans to kill Wolverine that I’d heard from Claremont at a Claremont signing don’t quite match the version that Claremont apparently told at other signings. Everyone reading this article has probably done it with something at some point in their lives, whether it be something small or big.

Well there IS precedence of Marvel taking fans’ ideas and making them into characters. That’s how Venom came to be. Some random fan pitched the idea and Marvel ended up paying him $200 for the character. It is hard to believe that after all these years and being so well documented that another random person comes out of the woodwork and says that he had the original idea for Wolverine and that Marvel took it.

Here’s the story about the fan and Spider-Man’s black costume. http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/05/03/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-101/

@Paul Hartsthorne: Yeah, except you happen to have left out a couple of Wolfman and Perez’s OTHER female creations for the Teen Titans: Starfire and Raven. Both were female characters–neither had “woman,” “girl” or “lass” in their names.

Oh. He also created the Titans’ villain, Phobia–another female character without “woman,” “girl” or “lass.”

Got that issue of foom.Had one of the drawings that was printed in issue3 done before my eyes on an index card, provided the envelope and stamp to send it in.Seen what the few drawn pages loolked like of the character.Yeah, that contest motovated a lot of young dreamers.Doubt that even if a drawing seen print from these issues, After all this time,any of them would ever get a story into print with their character… .Slim odds.

To the fan who asked about the ad for Hulk 181, there is an ad in Thor 229. It includes the pic of Wolverine from the Hulk 180 cameo along with the illo from the 181 cover.
As for Marvel’s theft of ideas, take Jack Kirby’s claim that he created Spider-Man. Pure Imagination (sp?) published a magazine in the 90s detailing Jack’s ideas and his claim to Spider-Man. Now I’m doing this from memory, as that book is packed away somewhere, but there is a logo from the mid 1950s of “Spiderman” (no hyphen), and I believe it was going to be done with Joe Simon. The character then was to be called Silver Spider, and it eventually became The Fly, which was published by Archie Comics in the late 50s. When Marvel’s Spider-Man became successful, Jack claimed Stan stole his idea, although the concept and costume were completely different. (The only similarity to Joe & Jack’s Spiderman was that he was a teenager, like Tommy Troy who was The Fly.)
Just because someone else uses a name for a character doesn’t mean the IDEA was stolen. Jack’s Spiderman was in no way similar to Stan & Steve’s character. I have no regard for Olsen’s claim that he created the Wolverine that Marvel owns.
Changing the subject to Art Adams, check out Art’s very first published work on the letters page of Captain Carrot 12, a drawing of “Farrah Foxette”. I even got Adams to sign a copy years ago, along with his wonderful Gumby comics.

Back in 1987 when Marvel had some sort of a create a mutant character contest (“Do You Know What Your Children Are?”), I sent them drawings and a description of a young Caucasian male that would wear a headband making his brown hair all stand. He would also wear a long brown trenchcoat and carry a bo-staff. His headband was actually also a blindfold, since his powers were basically that he was living both in the presence and the near future at once and he had to cut all the other senses off, particularly the sight, as not to overload his system. He still knew perfectly when and where who would be (yes, the Dune books “inspired” me). With additional effort he could also force himself to move a little forward through time (not far, like from a few seconds to a few hours) or slow the time in his close vicinity making everybody observe him at “super speed”, but each use of either came with a cost of making him actually older – like moving forward in time by a minute would make his body grow older by an hour (or even a day, I don’t remember), so while a few usages here and there wouldn’t hurt too much, they would accumulate over years. Thanks to his knowledge of who was when/where at any time, he was also a master hand to hand combatant using the staff, mostly relying on acrobatic moves and what would seem like incredible agility (but was quite easy, since he always knew precisely who and what was where and when).

So see, I’m completely convinced that Marvel “stole” my design for Gambit, the powers for this Tempo chick and Blindfold and probably a bunch of other characters.

Or like… not at all, since all those were just too generic (both powers and a design) and there was bound to be someone that used a similar/very similar ones (of either) many, many times both before and after I sent my silly drawings.

Back in the 90′s when I was in high school, I used to come up with story/comic ideas all the time and write them down in one of my notebooks. Among my ideas were for a series called “Hitman” about an assassin in a city filled with superheroes, a series called “Young Goddess” about a young girl with powers seeking refuge from shadowy agents (inspired heavily by Stephen King’s Firestarter) and “The Solution” about a group of normal people who were in charge of keeping rogue superheroes in line.

You could say these are all wild coincidences but I think it’s obvious now that Garth Ennis broke into my bedroom one day and read my notebooks for ideas…

(And for what it’s worth, I’m not making any of those titles up for a joke, I really did come up with those and so when I first saw “Hitman” and later “Goddess” from Ennis, I remember having a big “okay, now c’mon!” moment…)

@ Andrew Collins You are lucky if all Ennis did was read your notebook and steal your ideas…

This column has 70 comments in a day and a half. You would almost think Kelly Thompson had written it, except there are no angry accusations that the author is a jerk for supporting this Olsen guy.

Also, Spider-Man should go back to wearing the black costume often.

I swear I thought of the branding Marvel Now before it was announced. I also thought of the idea of Nitro blowing up civilians and causing the public to question superheroes, a bunch of supervillians most of whom were created before I was born, and several other ideas.that eventually got used in some form or another. Obviously none of these were stolen.

Great column. Art Adams was my favorite artist growing up. I even adopted the Longshot hairstyle for a short while. Hey, it was the 80′s. As far as the Wolverine legend goes, the mystery to me is why did the submitter call the character Wolverine, when as far as I can tell, his character has nothing to do with the furry mammal.

A bit more on this contest.Years ago,I noticed a small percentage of names from both the art,and names of submiters in foom 2-3-4,who made it into the biz,like Steve Rude..I wrote them down,from each group, then added up the numbers of artists from each group,just to see if the percentages who made it improved much after getting printed.There were some 89 different fan artists who seen print,and around 1400 who just got their name printed.Of these groups,those who got their drawing printed,had a 1 out of 14 chance to make it, while those who mearly got their name listed, about a one out of 140 chances to make it.So,That contests best legacy was, the incentive that it gave to those who made it into the comic biz.Im sure that a good portion of them spent years dreaming of cracking into the biz.Yep,I was one of those multitudes who mearly got their name listed for submitting.

The fan-made Wolverine guy looks more interesting than the real. He seemed like a hero that turned into a freak of some kind?

Did Marvel create Wolverine…or did Wolverine create them?!

All this talk of fans creating their own characters reminds me of Dial H For Hero (I believe someone did comment on this earlier). I had a villain published in that series in 1981 and since I knew that DC then owned my character, I had actually hoped they would reuse him (hopefully in Batman or the Flash or some other title I was collecting).

It seems very clear this was a rip off. The fact that Wolverine did not debut with all of the same characteristics makes it even more evident. They take the key components, then reveal the remaining over time when no fallout occurs. As much as I love Roy, any claim like this deserves more scrutiny, especially when there’s gray area between the “creators.” Just look how much fabrication Stan Lee has provided over the years and how little he’s prospered creatively in recent years without his great co-creators from the past.

Around 2003 I met one of my now best friends.We were both comic book fans, an wannabe creators, me a writer. As we were tossing ideas to each other (we never actually did anything), I thought it would be a great idea if the goverment asked for the heroe’s ID, to use them as they please, and the heroes would rebel against it.

I am pretty sure many have same stories to share, anyone who dreams of becoming a creator, and seeing something that resembles it makes you feel wierd, especially when there is a possibility of someone ripping you off. I doubt it’s the case here, he seems like a dissapointed fan (not that I doubt that fans have been ripped off, just that this is not the case here).

“It seems very clear this was a rip off. The fact that Wolverine did not debut with all of the same characteristics makes it even more evident. They take the key components, then reveal the remaining over time when no fallout occurs.”

Why would they feel the need to do that, when it’s been made clear that anything that was submitted would be property of Marvel anyway? They could have by right used that character without changing things over time. I guess it will be a few more years before Marvel changes it so Wolverine was actually a robot, didn’t join the x-men (because they were bottom of the barrel), and never had claws, because only sissies scratch.

In any regard, this is screaming for the first time we saw article for Wolverine: first time we found out his bones were metal, first time we found out he had a healing factor….I think the first time he showed his face and first time we found out the claws were a part of him are pretty well know, and didn’t we already have a “first time he says ‘the best I am at what I do….’”?

I think if you’ve read comics and you ever, ever developed any kind of character or idea, you’re bound to find you independently hit on something that someone else winds up doing.

As an example: around 1994 or so I was inspired by a throwaway notion about Professor Xavier having an “underground” to think about what the underworld of a superhero universe would be like. I developed an idea about this underground. My main character was a superhuman operative for SHIELD who was working undercover in the superhuman underground of New York City, trying to nail the superhuman crime lord that ran it. It was mature and grim and gritty and featured arcs full of double crosses and stealing superhuman technology (there was a funny bit about people stealing old Guardsman armor and not being able to sell it until they painted it red and gold.) and it was all sorts of mature readers fun. I mapped out about four years or so of stories over the next few years, until around 1998 or so when I stopped reading comics for a few years.

Imagine my amusement a few years after that when I was reading comics again and got into Ed Brubaker’s Sleeper, which is the same basic set up as my idea, only done by a really good writer. The point is, sometimes you just hit on ideas that, in retrospect, are BLOODY OBVIOUS. This Wolverine thing is that, really.

Still think my issue about the schmucks trying to sell repainted Guardsman armor and failing because it’s green would have been a riot, though.

Yup, one more here. As a kid I used to draw a character named Scorpion, never having seen the Spider-Man villain until later.
As has been stated, the animal names are the first to get used up. It’s an obvious source of names, costumes/appearances and powers.

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