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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #471

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Welcome to the four hundred and seventy-first 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 seventy. This week, did a fan come up with the idea behind the Justice League of America? Did Marvel secretly keep using Godzilla AFTER their license ran out? And did the Source Wall actually make its debut in an intercompany crossover not by Jack Kirby?

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: A fan gave DC the idea for doing the Justice League of America.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

Larry Ivie passed away recently. Ivie was one of the great pioneers of the comic book and fantasy fanzines. He was an early contributor to Alter Ego and he even produced his own well-respected fanzine, Monsters and Heroes, for a few years at the end of the 1960s. He did the cover artwork for Monster and Heroes – he was a fine artist…




Ivie wrote stories in the first issues of Warren’s Creepy AND Eerie…



He also wrote a story in the first issue of Tower’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents…


So Ivie was RIGHT there at the start of so many pieces of comic book history, he just never quite made it to the big-time himself, and he was certainly capable of it (I’ve read in various places that Ivie was a perfectionist and that might have held his art back a bit).

In any event, among the many important contributions Ivie made to comic book fandom and comic book history, one of the more important ones that I’ve heard over the years is that Ivie is often credited as inspiring DC to create the Justice League of America.

I tend to think that that is likely a bit of a stretch.

In the earliest days of fandom, the fans doing the fanzines were also interested in doing their own comic books. DC Comics’ Julius Schwartz was particularly responsive to fans, so a number of fans wrote in pitches to Schwartz. Heck, Roy Thomas and Ron Foss, early editors of Alter Ego, both used the pages of Alter Ego to talk about their own pitches for DC characters (Thomas for a new version of the Spectre and Foss for a new version of Dr. Mid-Nite that DC had turned down so that he was now revamping into a new character, Eclipse).

Ivie was no different. He pitched Julius Schwartz in 1956 on an update of the Justice Society of America, only called the Justice Legion of the World and it would star the sons and daughters of the original Justice Society. Schwartz did not pick Ivie’s pitch.

The always informative Tom Brevoort recalled that Ivie tried ANOTHER pitch in 1959, this time he decided to do a series that would pick up from where the last Justice Society series left off, with all of the original members in it. Interestingly, as Tom points out, the name of this story was “The Justice League”…


Based on Ivie’s own recollection in Alter Ego #5, I believe he still intended for the title to be called the Justice Society of America, but the fact remains that in 1959, he titled his pitch “The Justice League.”

Gardner Fox, by the way, did not name the team Justice League. He wanted to keep the name the same. It was Schwartz who changed the name, claiming that he was inspired by baseball. Schwartz noted in the Justice League Companion, “The readers were more familiar with ‘League’ from the National League and the American League.”

That sort of sounds like it very well could be an after-the-fact memory, ya know?

So I could EASILY see that Schwartz, if only subconsciously, did, in fact, take the name “Justice League” from Ivie.

However, the Silver Age version of the Justice Society of America…

Story continues below


was unlike either Ivie pitch.

And really, the iea of taking the various heroes of the Silver Age and putting them together into one team book was just a bit of an obvious idea, especially since DC already had that framework in place from the Justice Society (Schwartz edited the Justice Society in All-Star Comics during the 1940s) before either Ivie pitch.

So the fact that the finished product did not resemble either Ivie pitch beyond the basic “update Justice Society” and the fact that Schwartz was pretty clearly already heading this direction (doing one revamp of a Golden Age character after another, from Flash to Green Lantern to Hawkman to Atom, etc.) that I think the idea was coming whether Ivie suggested a JSA reboot or not.

So much like the recent CBLR about the fan inventing Wolverine, I believe this to be a coincidence more than an actual inspiration. Although the name is a lot more likely.

Ivie’s idea, though, did help at least partially inspire Roy Thomas’ later Infinity Inc., which WAS about the sons and daughters of the Justice Society (Thomas mentions Ivie, at least, when discussing the history of the project)…


Larry Ivie was an important part of comic book history, but I don’t believe that he was the inspiration for the Justice League of America (but perhaps he was the inspiration for the NAME “Justice League,” which is pretty impressive in and of itself).

Thanks to Tom Brevoort for the extra information and thanks to Alter Ego for that Justice League drawing from Ivie.

Check out the latest TV Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Did Mississippi really ban Sesame Street in 1970?

On the next page, did Marvel keep using Godzilla in comics after their license to the character ran out?

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And so it is, of course, appropriate that the opening of JLA/Avengers #3 featured Dr. Doom as the newest face in the Source Wall.

Darrell Hempel

May 16, 2014 at 10:33 am

That “Spawn” title from the New Gods issue looks familiar.

David Israel Nunez Alvear

May 16, 2014 at 10:39 am

Actually, there was more post-license Godzilla appearances. Most recently in 2009, when X-Men inducted Dr. Yuriko Takiguchi into their spin-off group, X-Club, to help solve the House of M crisis.

Goodness, I had no idea that the Source Wall wasn’t Kirby’s idea–undobutedly because, as yo notice, the Prometheans look so similar except for being free-floating.
I liked Access, though not as much as the Amalgaverse.

So what were the revival concepts for Spectre and Dr. Midnite?

Oh god, I am the one person who loved Access. Hell, even DC & Marvel didn’t bother to reprint his two miniseries, which I think are the only DC/Marvel crossovers not to get collected (unless you count The Wizard of Oz).

In any case, the Source Wall was still longer lasting than good ol’ Axel.

I believe Dr. Demonicus was the guy that tried to get superpowers out of radiation exposure and only got cancer instead. Years before Warren Ellis used the concept in more horrific way in RUINS.

I never read a comic with Demonicus, but I remember vividly his write-up in the old Marvel RPG.

“Holy Sweat?”

Celestials, huh. Somehow, I never noticed Kirby’s use of that term in his Fourth World stories before.

Buttler, I believe there are several uncollected Amalgam stories–or so a friend of mine trying to pick them all up in TPB says.

Michael Howey

May 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

Poor Access. :(

It does seem likely that Larry Ivie came up wit the name JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, though, A number of years ago, ALTER EGO reproduced the first page of Larry’s revised 1958 pitch for his JSA revival, which was then titled JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. It could be a coincidence, but given that the JLA didn’t debut in BRAVE & THE BOLD until 1960, it seems likely that the new name came from Larry’s pitch (even if it was simply recalled subconsciously)

Hmm, I don’t think that’s true, Fraser. I have on my shelf four Amalgam collections, two published by DC and two by Marvel. The Marvel-published ones are harder and more expensive to find, because I think they had a shorter print run, but I don’t think there are any missing issues. As far as I know there were 24 Amalgam comics, collected in four volumes at six issues apiece.

Now, there were Amalgam characters that popped up in the two Access miniseries, but that’s a little different.

Those New Gods panels are Kirby word jazz at its finest.

chakal, the great

May 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm

For it was really funny that Godzilla fought the Champions once.

About the X-Men/NTT – both Claremont and Simson were/are an endless fountain of ideas.
Claremont already introduced new villain in his Nightcrawler run.

I was never lucky to read New Gods, so I feel surprised to see the Spawn logo.
It’s not the same logotype, but somehow feels similar


May 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

That “Spawn” title from the New Gods issue looks familiar.

I was thinking that myself.

What’s amusing to me is that in its mutated form, especially in the Iron Man issues, Godzilla resembles the South Korean Godzilla-knockoff, Yonggary. . . well, at least to my eyes.

I’ll trust your collection then, Buttler.

interesting for always though the source wall was created in new gods only to learn it was in one of marvels and dcs early cross overs. plus marvel sure knew how to still use a character like godzilla even though they did not really have the okay any more to do so. and interesting to learn that there was a pitch for an early version of the jsas own offspring that became infinity inc

It does seem likely that Larry Ivie came up wit the name JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, though, A number of years ago, ALTER EGO reproduced the first page of Larry’s revised 1958 pitch for his JSA revival, which was then titled JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. It could be a coincidence, but given that the JLA didn’t debut in BRAVE & THE BOLD until 1960, it seems likely that the new name came from Larry’s pitch (even if it was simply recalled subconsciously)

Thanks a lot, Tom, I totally forgot that Ivie revised his pitch a couple of years later, using the Justice League name. I’ll edit that in there!

I’d wager that by the time that Thing story came out, the writers had forgotten the original inspiration for the monster in the Iron Man issue and just thought it was a generic monster, compounding their mistake and have the character use the term “Godzilla” as a pejorative for any large lizard. Using it as a pop culture reference instead of an in-Universe ref — like at that point it was that Godzilla never existed in the MU and was just a popular Japanese movie character

Also Demonicus: “On this island to be precise BLACK MAN.” Yay for casual racism, he typed sarcastically.

Brian from Canada

May 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Access appears thrice: DC vs Marvel (which led to the first Amalgam), All Access (which led to the second Amalgam) and Ultimate Access (which bookended the second).

Buttler is correct that there were 24 Amalgam issues, 12 in each wave, and those are definitely collected. As far as I know, DC vs Marvel/Marvel vs DC was also collected.

Brian’s count must be wrong, though, since I also love Access: it’s a great plot device to explain the interaction of the two universes and could have led to a lot more — had Joe Quesada not ruined all the goodwill Bob Harras had developed between the two publishers in his first few years as Harras’ replacement.

So Ripley’s Believe It Or Not must really pay well…

I love the idea of Godzilla dog paddling around Marvel Universe version of the Pacific, waiting for lawyers to give him permission to attack Tokyo.

Note that the generic webbed, horned monster from Iron Man onwards never uses Godzilla’s trademarked fire breath! Marvel always depicted it wrong anyway, looking more like regular fire.

@Brian from Canada:
Actually, Access also appeared in Green Lantern #87.

I think Godzilla also had a cameo in Mighty Avengers #1 with all of Mole Man’s monsters

Yeah, Access was great, and Legends of the Dark Claw was an awesome one-shot. For shame, Brian!

Hey, I got a nod in the article. Yay!

The Marvel Universe Appendix website claims that Frank Cho snuck Godzilla into the background of his Mighty Avengers run. You can judge for yourself whether that’s supposed to be him or not; I don’t know if Bendis or Cho ever said “wink wink, yeah it’s him.” http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/godzilla.htm

I wonder if anyone’s ever tried to explain where Marvel’s licensed characters go “in-universe” when the license expires. Godzilla, the Transformers, Alf, and ROM all have to be hiding somewhere!

Travis Pelkie

May 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Obviously Conan came hurtling through time and executed all of Godzilla, ROM, et al.

Yay, I suggested another Legend!

I’ve got those Iron Man issues in a hardcover that came out around the time of the first movie (Iron Man: Iron Monger, for those curious), and damn, they’re surprisingly good. Looking at these pages now for the first time in a while I realise that the artwork’s also held up really really well.

Poor Access will never be loved.

I will always be disappointed that Marvel & DC didn’t just set him up to run him as two different characters in their universes so he could appear outside the sequel DC/Marvel books.

Chalk me up as another fan of Access–at least in concept. I lost a lot of interest once it was revealed he was part of a time loop instead of the latest in a line of reality guardians.

Also, he was name-dropped in Superman/Fantastic Four, but it was ambiguous enough that Superman could have been talking about a way into the Baxter Building instead of the Marvel Universe.

Between Access and Hypertime, there was no reason for either company to ever worry about continuity again.

Perhaps a follow-up on Doctor Fu Manchu? His post-MOKF volume 1 appearances come to mind, carefully writing around calling him Doctor Fu Manchu.

Oooh, I just remembered: Access actually showed up in an issue of Green Lantern, looking for Kyle. I believe the scene was supposed to tie in with the “All Access” miniseries. To my knowledge, that was the only NON-crossover appearance by him.

Also, the “All Access” crossover was, if I’m not mistaken, mentioned in a YOUNG JUSTICE Secret Files. I think it was a quick rundown of all of Young Justice’s team-ups prior to the team actually forming. My recollection was that Superboy, Robin, Impulse, and Wonder Girl all showed up in that story, so the Secret Files counted that as an early YJ team-up. It didn’t quite say that they went to the Marvel Universe, but alluded to them going to another world for some reason.

I’ll never accept Dr. Demonicus beat Godzilla. Why would he make him a quarter of his original size and take away his atomic breath? Make no sense. He could have gotten revenge on Godzilla by mutating Godzooky into a bigger monster.

Jeff Nettleton

May 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

OK, slight point of order with the Source Wall. Kirby did depict a Source Wall, just not the one Simonson illustrated. In the first issue of New Gods, Highfather leads Orion to a chamber where he shows Orion a wall and says, “This wall is our link to the ‘Source!’ It lived even as the old gods died!” It is on this wall that a spectral hands write”Orion to Apokolips…then to Earth…then to war,” which launches Orion on his way to Earth, to thwart Darkseid’s attempt to gain the Anti-Life Equation. As we see above, Kirby also depicted the Promethian Giants, which was further picked up during the Gerry Conway revival of the new Gods (Return of the New Gods), where, at the end (in Adventure Comics) Darkseid has been transformed into a Giant and speeds towards Apokolips and is blasted into oblivion (but would be reconstituted in the JLA/JSA/New Gods crossover). So, what Walt and Chris essentially did was cross the Source wall that Highfather shows Orion, with the Promethian Giants, and more than a little inspiration from Philippe Druiet’s Lone Sloan stories (which owe a lot, visually, to Hindu art), and got their version. So, I say, Jack was still technically first, even though we are talking about two different “walls.”

As for the Spawn logo, you mean that Todd McFarlane might have lifted an idea from someone else for Spawn? The heck you say! next you’ll suggest the concept was taken from the Spectre, or that the mask was taken from Grendel.

Never saw Marvel’s Godzilla series, but I remember Dr. Demonicus from Shogun Warriors.

Sad to hear Larry Ivie past away recently. I learned last week that Dick Ayers had passed away a few days before; and, of course, we lost Al Feldstein not long before that. Sad time for comics.

It seems to me that Larry Ivie used the same character on all his “Monsters and Heroes” covers.
Did this character have a name and stories to go with those images?

“That’s no moon!”

Has anyone noticed the 2 white eyes/horns above the ‘Spawn” logo?

Travis Stephens

May 16, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Didn’t Marvel quit publishing Shogun Warriors for the same reason. The licensing fees made the comic unprofitable even though the title was popular.

From the first legend: “So Ivie was RIGHT there at the start of so many pieces of comic book history, he just never quite made it to the big-time himself, and he was certainly capable of it (I’ve read in various places that Ivie was a perfectionist and that might have held his art back a bit).”

Alas…..he was merely 3 or 4 decades ahead of his time. If only he’d started his career at the turn of the 21st century, he could’ve been a megastar. Just put him on the right title, where fans wouldn’t care if he took 2 days or 2 weeks or 2 months or 2 years to come out with the next issue.

Timothy Markin

May 17, 2014 at 5:10 am

Kirby’s Spawn logo visually looks more like a later Swamp Thing logo. However, has anyone seen the villain named Image from one of the Charlton Action Heroes stories (thinking maybe Nightshade? Can’t recall, just remember the Jim Aparo art) and the chest symbol is identical to the Image “I”.

Well that last Spaceknight series from some years back established Rom stayed in continuity, even if they can’t ever mention him.
Fu Manchu appeared in Iron Man during the Black Lama plotline.

Do people not like Access? Unlimited Access is pretty fun, both of his named minis are fun, now that I think of it.

I really like that coloring for that Thing comic.

No mention of the ‘Godzilla’ appearance in Fraction’s Uncanny X-Men?

Brian – this is quite the legend. I never put it together regarding Godzilla in those issues of Iron Man, and I don’t have that issue of The Thing, either.

Thanks for finding me new books to read.

So, even the mighty Avengers can’t defeat the KING of MONSTERS. How fitting!

I’m an Access fan… those comics came out when I was looking for work after graduating, so they hold a special place in my heart !

eh, so, it was not until this moment, that we have glimpsed the barriers oft the human mind? It was not until they dared to suggest a supeiror force of Will other than the childhood of inocence..that there wuld be no thing eh bigger than the Marvel Universe and that was all that it should be. Do we care not but for the child’s mind..we wuld remind ourselves ever so hesitantly that these are the THOTs are of our own misfortune harpooned to the resolute and forever cursed to be that which we must always remeber?

This is why i am happy spiderman is black and there are so few mutants in Mary Jane’s world where it is no question that YU have told me where it is you esspes me to go, why I am but a small girl, please, dady, i do no unnerstan your son death either, who is this man to MI-HO?


Is it just me or does the blue and black sky behind the first image of the Source Wall look 3-D?

I’m with you Donald. As soon as I become a famous comic book writer I’m adding to the abandoned and forsaken list that it was never really Godzilla that Demonicus beat.

Wait…Ivie’s pitch…did he also suggest the existence of the multiverse?

Touch-and-go Bullethead

May 20, 2014 at 6:12 am

Lee Houston, Jr.: The character who repeatedly appears on the “Monsters & Heroes” covers (not all, but many) is named Altron Boy. He was featured in a serialized comics story inside.

Ivie does seem to have invented, or at least anticipated, the alien origin of Green Lantern’s ring. That may be more a trend of the times than an original invention, though, since he also gives Dr. Fate an alien-related origin.

Here is an interesting coda.

Darkseid was released from the Wall by Maitresse, the mother of Cascade from Sovereign Seven.

I miss that comic.

I arrived at Comic Book Legends in the past year so I started at the beginning and only until the past month caught up to this on, as I now am only a month behind your “publishing schedule reality.”
I had the pleasure of spending time with Larry back in 1965. We had a mutual friend in Don Glut, who was a fellow “superhero” guy. Both were a little older than me.
I even got to play Bucky in a Don/Larry version of Captain America that I don’t believe ever got finished.
(We filmed part in Chicago, and when I was asked to appear on the CBS TV show TO TELL THE TRUTH, as the kid ((I was 15)) with most Golden Age Comics in the world, Larry and I in costume left his West Side apartment in the 70’s and went to Central Park to film additional footage.)
Larry had interest in so much of the superhero and monster genre, and the art that accompanied it.
He was so enthusiastic & passionate in regards to so many of the hobbies facets.
My favorite Golden Age series in concept was always All-Star Comics and the Justice Society.
Having been at many of the early fan meet ups that took place before there were conventions, I always thought Jerry Bails had spent time and many letters in encouraging a full scale return of the JSA or at very least a team book where new incarnations of all the old JSA characters were returned to the scene.
Jerry simply loved the JSA so much.
In my mind Jerry Bails probably had more influence in getting in Julie Schwartz’ ear and Gardner Fox’s too.
I am pretty sure Larry and Jerry both had similar thoughts about wanting them back.
Larry did think Multiverse didn’t he?
Just wanted to thank you Brian…these Legends are just so much fun for me.

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