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Comic Book Six Degrees: Jonny Double to Johnny Dynamite

I name two comic book characters. You then have to connect the two using only shared appearances in comic books (official appearances in comics only – no cameos like Terry Austin sneaking Popeye into the background of a panel and no outside comic book appearances, like cartoons and the like). You have to do so using less than six comics total. Covers and pin-ups do not count – only actual appearances in the same comic book story (so it doesn’t count if they each appeared in separate stories inside the same anthology). Mythological characters, public domain characters (other than public domain comic book characters, they’re free game) and real people (by the way, unless a fake name is used for a real person, like Ronald Raygun or whatever, you can use the person even if they are not officially named in the comic) are unique to their own comic book appearances (so DC’s Thor is different than Marvel’s Thor, DC’s Ronald Reagan is different from Marvel’s Ronald Reagan, etc.). But a licensed character is the same in all of their various comic book companies (so the Marvel Red Sonja is the same as the Dynamite Red Sonja) and approved appearances by a real person can go across comic book companies, as well (so, for instance, you can use Marv Wolfman from his Teen Titans appearance to connect with Marv Wolfman in his Fantastic Four appearance – you just can’t use modern appearances by Jack Kirby from one company to connect to Jack Kirby appearances from Marvel Comics, since obviously Kirby can no longer give approval for his appearance). Approval tends to be the key.

Every week, whoever connects the two characters in the least amount of turns gets to pick the next week’s match (in the event of a tie, the winner is chosen randomly among the people who sent in challenges for next week). Last time was Pinhead to Faceache. Eric H. was the only one to connect the two in three moves. Here is how Eric connected the two…

NOTE: Before I begin, let me again request that when you folks send in your answers to please include your suggestion for next week if your answer is chosen. Oh, and it would be nice if you demonstrate that it IS possible to connect your two suggested choices. Thanks!

Pinhead was in “Pinhead vs. Marshal Law” #1 with Marshal Law
Marshal Law was in “2000 AD” Prog 1280 with Robot Archie
Robot Archie was in “Albion” #1 with Faceache

Eric’s challenge is…

Jonny Double to Johnny Dynamite

E-mail me your answers at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Do NOT post your answers in the comments section!

Whoever connects the two characters in the least amount of comics gets to pick the connection for next time around (I’ll pick a random winner in the event of a tie)!

Remember, only authorized appearances in comic books count (for instance, all the Marvel characters in Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck do not count)!

NOTE: A reader asked me if a character appears in a comic but as a voice only, does that count? What do you all think? Vote in the comments – I’ll accept whatever the majority says.

8 Comments

“Marshal Law was in “2000 AD” Prog 1280 with Robot Archie”
Unfortunately, this isn’t a valid link. Marshal Law is there okay, as his creators and owners Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill did the segment where he shows up, but Robot Archie’s use is unauthorised. He’s there in exactly the same way as when Terry Austin snuck Popeye into the background of an X-Men issue.

I disagree. That story was a 25th anniversary story that featured many characters who had appeared in 2000 AD over the years. Robot Archie appeared in 2000 AD as a supporting character in the Zenith strip. If his appearance in Zenith (which is definitely not a cameo) is valid, then so is his appearance in Prog 1280.

Trouble is, his appearance in Zenith wasn’t valid either, strictly speaking. 2000AD originally belonged to IPC, same as Lion, which is where Archie appeared. So in the early days of 2000AD, other IPC characters could appear in 2000AD as valid, authorised appearances. However, 2000AD got sold off separately to most of the IPC characters around the late 1980s. The new owners didn’t realise they didn’t own the IPC characters, and proceeded to use them in Zenith and the 2000AD Action Special, but later discovered this error – which is why, for example, the use of Tim Kelly from Kelly’s Eye got abruptly curtailed in the comic. By 2000AD Prog 1280 that comic was owned by Rebellion, while the IPC stable had been absorbed into Time Warner, and Rebellion knew full well that they didn’t have the rights to Archie – hence Archie’s appearance in A Night 2 Remember was definitely unauthorised.

There is an authorised use of Archie in 2000AD, but it’s way back in the early days of the comic, within the first year of publication.

Trouble is, his appearance in Zenith wasn’t valid either, strictly speaking. 2000AD originally belonged to IPC, same as Lion, which is where Archie appeared. So in the early days of 2000AD, other IPC characters could appear in 2000AD as valid, authorised appearances. However, 2000AD got sold off separately to most of the IPC characters around the late 1980s. The new owners didn’t realise they didn’t own the IPC characters, and proceeded to use them in Zenith and the 2000AD Action Special, but later discovered this error – which is why, for example, the use of Tim Kelly from Kelly’s Eye got abruptly curtailed in the comic. By 2000AD Prog 1280 that comic was owned by Rebellion, while the IPC stable had been absorbed into Time Warner, and Rebellion knew full well that they didn’t have the rights to Archie – hence Archie’s appearance in A Night 2 Remember was definitely unauthorised. There is an authorised use of Archie in 2000AD, but it’s way back in the early days of the comic, within the first year of publication.

Oh, and my challenge is Jonny Double to Johnny Dynamite as it says in the heading, not Pinhead to Faceache as it says in the body of the text.

In addition to the question of whether Archie’s cameo was valid there is a question of wwhether it was the same story.
While they were both in “A Night 2 Remember” (there were 2 other stories in that comic)
BUT each page was by different writer and artist and, other than occurring during the same event, there was no continuity between different creator’s works – each can be read as a 1-page story.
so is it a 10-page story or 10 1-page stories?
(which leads back to an earlier discussion on the comic relief comic)

Marshall Law’s guest appearance on page 1 was legit as it was written and drawn by his creators/owners (Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neil)
Archie’s (barely recognisable) cameo was at the Zenith performance on page 7 by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell

I think it would be fair to count it as a single story, despite the changing artists and writers – it is told sequentially and everyone is attending the same event. Like Heroes for Hope or the Comic Relief Comic (which has been brought up before, and which is not an anthology despite it being wrongly listed as such on Comics.org), it simply has multiple people working on it. Besides, Archie is visible in cameo on the page Marshal Law appears on too – he’s on panel four, above Law’s right shoulder, standing between Rogue Trooper and Johnny Alpha
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-V7pIuvkcz-Y/T4A-Y3jm5vI/AAAAAAAABkg/KuSRZgCCHsU/s1600/2000a.jpg

Thanks to character rights shifting companies, Archie’s cameo in the issue is definitely not valid (nor, for what it is worth, is the Dan Dare cameo visible in panel 2, as he too was owned by a different company by the time Prog 1280 was released), any more than you can count any of the “no name mentioned but we all know he is Fu Manchu” appearances of Shang-Chi’s dad after Marvel lost the Fu Manchu license. However, you can link Pinhead to Faceache in four, and the route is almost identical – instead of going from Marshal Law to Archie, you go to one of the other characters who appears in A Night 2 Remember, who does have a valid meeting with Archie in another story – and no, I don’t mean Zenith either, because even in the Zenith strip Archie’s use is murky, though at least at that point 2000AD did think they had the rights. The character in question even appears in a panel with Law, so there’d be no problem even if you considered A Night 2 Remember as separate stories.

Here’s the relevant details explaining why Archie (and other) characters turning up in Zenith wasn’t authorised, and hence why subsequent appearances weren’t authorised either
http://comicsbeat.com/mad-mental-crazy-the-true-life-of-the-fabulous-zenith-part-3/
It’s quite a way down the page, in the section “Hang On, What About Robot Archie?” So here’s the most relevant paragraphs quoted
“Now, Zenith began in August 1987 when the creators probably believed they had the rights to use Robot Archie and The Steel Claw. However just one month prior, Robert Maxwell’s Persimmon BPCC Publishing had bought the IPC Youth Group which included the comics division and copyrights for all titles and characters published since 1969 (with some exclusions). The characters first appeared in Zenith Phase III in 1989. As we can see above, both Robot Archie and The Steel Claw predate 1969, and thus their copyright remained with IPC Magazines.

In 1998, IPC Magazines Ltd had a management buyout funded by Cinven, and was renamed IPC Media. This company was then sold on in 2001 to Time Inc, the magazine publishing subsidiary of Time Warner. Who else does Time Warner own? DC Comics.”

The bottom of the page has another section, “Wait, what company is called what now?” which gives the whole timeline of sales and mergers and which characters belonged to which company when.

The use of Archie (and other IPC owned characters) in Zenith went unnoticed by Persimmon, but the publication of the 2000AD Action Special which used them much more prominently apparently didn’t.
http://starlogged.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/1992-2000ad-action-special-fleetway.html
It got published in mid-1992, shortly before the final full storyline of Zenith, Phase 4.

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