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Author Archive for Brian Cronin

Comic Legends: Did Dungeons & Dragons Object to Erik Larsen’s Dragon?

Comic Legends: Did Dungeons & Dragons Object to Erik Larsen’s Dragon?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-seventh week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

Erik Larsen named his series Savage Dragon instead of Dragon because of legal threats from the makers of Dungeons and Dragons

STATUS:

True

Erik Larsen’s awesome Savage Dragon series has been going strong for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS now (the ongoing series debuted in 1993, after the original three-issue miniseries).

Larsen has been doing the Dragon character for many years before that, though, as he originally developed the character when he was a kid.

The character first appeared in the self-published Graphic Fantasy…

Before then appearing in Megaton #3 in 1986, fighting Vanguard, the creation of Megaton writer/publisher, Gary Carlson…

Now, you might have noticed something. In both Graphic Fantasy and Megaton, the character’s name is just Dragon, not SAVAGE Dragon.

Reader Bob M. wrote in to ask, “Did TRS Inc. the publisher of the Dungeons and Dragons game and Dragon magazine threaten to sue Erik Larsen over his original character Paul Dragon aka the Dragon, forcing Larsen to change the character’s name to “Savage Dragon?”

I asked Erik Larsen about it, and he both confirmed that it was true and then was kind enough to fill me in on the details:

Originally Dragon Magazine had been called The Dragon and they objected to Image publishing a comic book called the Dragon. And while I knew there would be no confusion in the marketplace I decided to make the change regardless. It’s easier to own and trademark a name which is a combination of words than it is to own and copyright a name which is a word that’s found in any dictionary.

Erik then noted that years later, he had even done a miniseries called Dragon and no one contacted him about it, so, in retrospect, he probably could have gotten away with it. It’s a shame how companies often push these things. I did a Movie Legend on this a while back about how Universal tried to get Nintendo to stop using Donkey Kong because it infringed on the King Kong trademark that Universal knew that it didn’t own!!

Thank to Bob for the question and thanks to Erik Larsen for the information! Everyone should go out and read Savage Dragon, it’s a really entertaining series.


Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed, which I waited to tie in with this legend – Did the 1980s Dungeons and Dragons TV series originally end with the characters all dying?


Check back later tonight for Part 3 of this week’s legends! And remember, e-mail me at cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com if you have any suggestions for future comic book legends!

The post Comic Legends: Did Dungeons & Dragons Object to Erik Larsen’s Dragon? appeared first on CBR.

Has Hulk Ever Been Knocked Out?

Has Hulk Ever Been Knocked Out?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Dave B. asked:

I have a question regarding the Hulk. Has he ever been knocked out? I don’t mean defeated by magic (Dr. Strange), gas, or by somebody such as the Silver Surfer turning him back into Bruce Banner. I mean, has he ever been knocked out by brute force?

Dave is right that, most commonly, when the Hulk is defeated, it is not through just brute force. Usually there is some sort of, if not MAGICAL element, usually something other than just force. Typically something involving the Hulk’s mind. Or when he HAS been defeated, it has been when he was in a less powerful version of himself (like the grey Hulk or the merged Hulk).

In any event, yes, there have been a number of times when this has happened, but since Dave just asked IF it has happened, then I really only need to show one occasion to prove that it HAS happened, so let’s go with one of my favorites. In Iron Man #131-132 (by Bob Layton, David Michelinie and Jerry Bingham), Tony Stark and Bruce Banner team up for the first time to try to cure Banner’s whole “turning into the Hulk” deal. They fail and Iron Man has to fight the rampaging Hulk and ultimately uses all of his armor’s resources to throw it into one single, super punch…

A truly iconic moment.

So there ya go, Dave! The Hulk HAS been knocked out via pure brute force.

Thanks for the question, Dave! If anyone ELSE has a question they’d like to see me address, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

The post Has Hulk Ever Been Knocked Out? appeared first on CBR.

Comic Legends: Which Intended Member of the X-Men Never Got to Join?

Comic Legends: Which Intended Member of the X-Men Never Got to Join?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-seventh week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As we’ve been doing it for some time now, one legend today, one tomorrow and one Sunday.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND:

Chris Claremont introduced a new member of the X-Men but he never got the chance to have her actually join the team.

STATUS:

True

If you were to say that Chris Claremont’s return to Uncanny X-Men in 2000 was filled with problems, you would be woefully misstating just how bad things were for the legendary X-Men writer. Almost from the word “go,” Claremont clashed with editorial on his return to writing both Uncanny X-Men and X-Men. You see, the X-Men film was debuting that year, so Marvel was extra sensitive about their X-Men titles with the presumed extra attention that the series would be receiving from outside readers. The whole thing was a mess and Claremont ended up getting pushed out after roughly a year on both books (it was actually just slightly under a full year on the books).

Anyhow, one of the areas where Claremont’s original plans were changed was with a new mutant that he introduced that he planned to have join the team.

Introduced in Uncanny X-Men #383, Sketch was a mutant who was being kept as a slave by a slaver that the X-Men came to Russia to take down.

At first, she used her mutant power of being able to create anything that she sketched on her pad to help trap the X-Men by creating an illusion to trap the X-Men…

When Storm remained free, she was forced to use her powers to capture her…

In the end, though, she took the chance to free the X-Men to free herself…

When the issue ended, she was free and hanging out with the X-Men…

But then that was it. Claremont never got a chance to return to the character to have her join the X-Men. And I don’t believe she’s been shown since. It’s too bad. She would be great as part of a DC/Marvel crossover where she teamed up with “The Writer” from Grant Morrison’s Animal Man!


Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:

Was Nearly All of Toy Story 2 Accidentally Deleted Nine Months In Due to a Pair of Computer Errors?

Was NBC’s “Must See TV” Really Created For Their Thursday Night Lineup?

What Dramatic Method Did Kris Kristofferson Use to Get Johnny Cash to Pay Attention to His Demo Tapes?

Were Gary Cooper’s Batting Scenes Reversed in Pride of the Yankees?


Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week’s legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you’re curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

The post Comic Legends: Which Intended Member of the X-Men Never Got to Join? appeared first on CBR.

Line it is Drawn: European Comic Team-Ups!

Line it is Drawn: European Comic Team-Ups!

Welcome to Line it is Drawn, our weekly gallery of amazing art by our great collection of artistic talent, all working from your suggestions!

So every week, I ask a question here. You reply to it on the CSBG Twitter page (just write @csbg with your reply), our artists will each pick one of your suggestions and I will post their drawings based on your suggestions here every week. So every week you will have a new question and you will see the choices picked from the previous week.

To qualify, you have to be following @csbg when you reply – so go follow us and then give your answer to the following question/challenge (All suggestions due by noon Pacific Saturday – we’re being delayed a bit due to San Diego Comic Con, so we’ll extend the suggestion deadline accordingly).

The topic for the next Line is…

In honor of the release of Atomic Blonde, name a badass comic book female character and our artists will draw them in an homage to SOME sort of badass moment in pop culture history (whatever they feel like)

Read on for the drawings that came about courtesy of the last question/challenge!

In honor of the release of Valerian, team up American comic book characters with a famous European comic book character!

Enjoy!

I’ll put them in alphabetical order based on the name of the Twitter user who made the suggestion.

All copyright and trademarks of the following characters are held by their respective owners!

B_Granderson suggested

hip flask and blacksad

Axel Medellin drew this one. His website is here

Here’s Axel’s schedule for San Diego Comic Con this weekend:

This time I’ll be there Thursday to Saturday (possibly a bit on Wednesday and Sunday) at the Comicraft / Elephantmen booth #2106, in front of DC. Besides all the Elephantmen stuff, I’ll bring original art, prints, and will be doing commissions.

I’ll have a special signing of The Thing Artbook on Friday 5:00 PM at the Aspen Comics booth #2320

As usual, followers of The Line get an extra nice sketch.

ErichMees suggested

Batman and Tintin, the Boy Wonder.

The art for this one is by Dan Wolff. His website is here.

ErichMees and JohnnyUnusual suggested

Asterix and Thor

The art for this one is by Paul Shinn. His website is here.

ErichMees, KeithAlanMorgan and PeteStelenberg suggested

Batman and Diabolik

Xum Yukinori drew this one. Here is his website.

KeithAlanMorgan suggested

Adam Strange and Barbarella

plus

TheCountingTree suggested

Grant Morrison’s Doom patrol Meets Moebius’ Airtight Garage or Jerry Cornelius

Nick Perks is the artist for this one. Here is his website.

Click here for a larger version of page 1.

Click here for a larger version of page 2.

KeithAlanMorgan suggested

Atom and the Smurfs

The art for this one is by Chris Marino! His website is here.

ScottFry78 suggested

Desperate Dan from the Dandy and Jonah Hex

The art for this one is by Matt Sandbrook. His website is here.

Very cool stuff, everyone! Hopefully this inspires some folks to check out some European comic book classics!

Okay, people, go tweet us suggestions for next week’s badass theme!

The post Line it is Drawn: European Comic Team-Ups! appeared first on CBR.

Can Thor Fly Without Mjolnir?

Can Thor Fly Without Mjolnir?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Josh S. had a question based on this week’s Secret Empire #6, which showed Odinson (formerly known as Thor) flying…

Obviously, he’s called Odinson specifically because he is unworthy of wielding Mjolnir, so Josh’s simple question was, ” is Thor capable of flight (or levitation) without Mjolnir?”

Very simple question, but the answer is not as simple.

All the way back to Jack Kirby’s time on Thor, Thor flew without Mjolnir’s help…

He did so in a fight with Storm in Contest of Champions…

And he did so during the recent Infinity crossover event a few years back…

However, during Walter Simonson’s run, he specifically had Hela note that Thor could not fly (as he was not using his hammer at the time)…

And in Jason Aaron’s current Thor run, Thor clearly cannot fly without the hammer…

Seeing as how there have been a number of examples of him flying all over the span of time, I think it is fair to say that he CAN fly without Mjolnir. So I guess the question is whether he SHOULD be able to fly without Mjolnir. I would vote for “no.” I think the character is cooler when he needs the hammer to fly.

That just isn’t how he’s been depicted over the years, so I guess I am going to have to say yes to this one, Josh.

Thanks for the question, Josh! If anyone ELSE has a question they’d like to see me address, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

The post Can Thor Fly Without Mjolnir? appeared first on CBR.

How Did Cyclops Shoot His Eyeblasts Out of His Fingers?

How Did Cyclops Shoot His Eyeblasts Out of His Fingers?

This is “How Can I Explain?”, which is a feature spotlighting inexplicable comic book plots.

Reader George O. wrote in with this one, which is a classic.

At the end of X-Men #51 (by Arnold Drake, Jim Steranko and John Tartaglione), a new character showed up, Erik the Red…

In X-Men #52 (by Arnold Drake, Don Heck, Werner Roth and John Tartaglione), Polaris had been captured by Magneto and Mesmero (Magneto is secretly a robot built to convince the newly-introduced Polaris that she is his daughter so that she will work with Mesmero. Magneto, as it turned out, actually WAS her father). The X-Men have to come up with a way to rescue her.

A new character, Erik the Red, showed up and asked to join up with Magneto and Mesmero…

Then the X-Men broke into the base and met Erik and the truth was revealed!

Sooo…how did the costume allow Cyclops to shoot blasts out of his hands? Of course, the question ALSO remains of how did Cyclops get the exact costume that a Shi’ar dude later showed up wearing…

But for now, we’ll settle for “How did Cyclops shoot his blasts out of his fingers?

Thanks for the stumper, George. Maybe we’ll get some No-Prize winners out there that can explain it! Anyone else has a stumper like this, just send it in to brianc@cbr.com!

The post How Did Cyclops Shoot His Eyeblasts Out of His Fingers? appeared first on CBR.

Why Wasn’t Supergirl in the Original Teen Titans?

Why Wasn’t Supergirl in the Original Teen Titans?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Tracy S. wrote in to ask:

Hello. I grew up reading my dad’s comic books, so I’ve always wondered about this. When the original teen titans were formed, why was the original Supergirl never a member? I thought she was in the same age group.

I think that there are three major answers to the question, Tracy.

First off, when the Teen Titans officially formed in Brave and the Bold #60 in 1965 (after a precursor to the team had appeared a year earlier in Brave and the Bold #54 in a team-up of Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash), Bob Haney had some trouble pulling in characters from the other books.

You might have heard the famous story of how Haney just assumed that the teenage Wonder Girl character in the pages of Wonder Woman was Wonder Woman’s sidekick when, in fact, she was actually just a younger version of Wonder Woman herself that writer Robert Kanigher had just decided to have team-up with her older self in “impossible stories.” I suspect, then, that Haney would have had even a tougher time borrowing a character from DC’s most popular title at the time, the Superman family of books, who were notoriously stingy with the use of their characters (they barely agreed to let Superman join the Justice League of America).

Secondly, Supergirl had her own feature in the pages of Action Comics (here’s one from early 1964’s Action Comics #310), which the other heroes in the Teen Titans did NOT have…

A book like Teen Titans would generally be made up of characters who did not have their own feature.

Finally, though, here is the best reason why Supergirl wasn’t on the Teen Titans. In Action Comics #318, which came out in 1964 a couple months after the Robin/Kid Flash/Aqualad story that later inspired the creation of the Teen Titans, Supergirl graduated high school and began attending college…

In other words, she was NOT treated as being in the same age group as the rest of the Teen Titans at the time. She was noticeably older. Which would explain why she was never considered for being an original member of the Teen Titans. Later versions of the character was shown as being a bit younger (and yet showed more skin, oddly enough) and this version did, in fact, join the Teen Titans…

So there ya go, Tracy! Thanks for the question! If anyone ELSE has a question they’d like to see me address, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

The post Why Wasn’t Supergirl in the Original Teen Titans? appeared first on CBR.

Did Superman Spend 100 Years On ANOTHER Planet BEFORE Earth?

Did Superman Spend 100 Years On ANOTHER Planet BEFORE Earth?

In every installment of “If I Pass This Way Again,” we look at odd comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) mentioned again after they were first introduced.

This is an odd one, since reader Rich C. actually wrote in to Great Comic Book Detectives asking me to find an old Superman story that he read, but upon finding it and reading it myself, I saw that it was perfect for this feature. Rich had remembered it as an imaginary story, but it was actually in-continuity, bizarrely enough!

Action Comics #370 (by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel – with Abel doing such heavy inks that you would be shocked to learn that Curt Swan penciled this issue) opens with Superman having nightmares about his past, remembering people he knew he had never met before. So he tests out his hunch by digging out the spaceship he landed on Earth in and seeing how old it was. He is shocked to learn that it is over 100 years old!

Yes, before he landed on Earth, the rocket was diverted to another universe where it landed on a caveman planet…

As soon as baby Kal-El landed there (dubbed Sonn by his parents), the planet began to evolve quickly (it turns out that his body gave off a sort of “positive evolving radiation”). However, there were these evil dragon-like beings there and their energy blasts could turn people evil. Sadly, Sonn’s older sister got blasted by one, so she became evil and kept trying to mess with her younger brother…

As society evolved, Sonn got married, had a kid and became the president of this world…

His sister, though, accidentally unleashed the evil energy all over the world, turning everyone against each other, leading to atomic war…which they all blame on Sonn, who goes on the run even as he becomes an old man (maybe change out of your distinctive costume if you’re going to go on the run, dude)…

Anyhow, his son, Vol, was immune to the evil radiation (just like his dad), so he came up with a way to DE-VOLVE his father, which, in turn, would devolve the rest of the world and get them back to their caveman roots, which would rob them of their society, but would at least bring them to an innocent, pre-evil, time.

As Vol’s brain devolved, he managed to first launch his now infant father back on his original course. So Kal-El landed on Earth. As it turned out, since this was another universe, time worked differently and only a minute or two had passed in our dimension.

Soo…yeah, that was all IN continuity. Superman had a wife and a kid out there and that’s just part of his past. Super weird.

Thanks for the inadvertent suggestion, Rich! If anyone else has a suggestion for If I Pass This Way Again (or for Great Comic Book Detectives), drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

The post Did Superman Spend 100 Years On ANOTHER Planet BEFORE Earth? appeared first on CBR.

Comic Legends: Did George R.R. Martin Win Marvel’s First No-Prize?

Comic Legends: Did George R.R. Martin Win Marvel’s First No-Prize?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-sixth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week’s legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

George R.R. Martin was the first person to win a No-Prize from Marvel Comics.

STATUS:

False

Reader Mark G. wrote in with this one a while back, and I thought with the release of Game of Thrones Season 7, the timing was just right to address it (although, if Mark had read the Knowledge Waits installment that I did on No-Prize history last year, he would know the answer already!).

A cool part of George R.R. Martin’s history IS that, when he was a young man, long before A Song of Ice and Fire was a glimmer in his mind, Martin was a prolific letter writer to Marvel Comics, especially Fantastic Four. Martin actually does have the distinction of being the very first person to sign up to attend the very first comic book convention in 1964 (Steve Ditko was the guest of honor! Talk about starting off on the right foot!).

So it certainly is not outside the realm of possibility that Martin would be the first person to win a No-Prize from Marvel. However, that was not the case.

The first No-Prize from Marvel was announced in Fantastic Four #22’s letter column, and it was simply a matter of Stan Lee saying that “no prizes” would be awarded in this contest…

Three issues later, the winners were announced, and here is when Lee began referring to their prizes as “no-prizes”…

So those people are the ones who can say that they have the distinction of being the first “No-Prize” winners in Marvel history.

Now, Martin DID end up playing a role in No-Prize history, though, as he wrote in to point out a goof in a comic in Fantastic Four #33, which inspired Stan Lee to offer up a No-Prize to anyone who could explain the goof away…

And that became the major way that No-Prizes were awarded over the years – explain away a mistake and you get a No-Prize, which eventually became physical prizes (well, envelopes containing nothing within them, as the envelopes themselves were the prize)…

I don’t know if Martin EVER won a No-Prize, but he was not the first winner.

Thanks to Mark for the suggestion!


Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at CBR: Was Nick Fury originally going to be Peter Parker’s mentor in Spider-Man: Homecoming instead of Tony Stark?


OK, that’s it for this week!

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

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

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

batshark

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

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

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

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…

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

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

See you all next week!

The post Comic Legends: Did George R.R. Martin Win Marvel’s First No-Prize? appeared first on CBR.

Comic Legends: The Censored Sex Life of Howard the Duck

Comic Legends: The Censored Sex Life of Howard the Duck

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-sixth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

Marvel edited an early issue of Howard the Duck to hide the fact that Howard the Duck and Beverley Switzer were sleeping together.

STATUS:

True

The other day, I did a list about characters in the Marvel Universe who have slept with Marvel “monsters,” and naturally, Howard the Duck and Beverley Switzer were on the list, as they are one of the most famous odd couples in the Marvel Universe, her being a human and him being, well, you know, a DUCK.

However, amusingly enough, Marvel had to censor one of their earliest Howard the Duck issues because the Comics Code objected to the depiction of Howard and Beverly’s sleeping arrangements, as it was clear that they were sleeping together. The edits, though, BARELY change the scene. It reminds me of the famous Nick Fury/Contessa sequence by Steranko where the edited scene is probably even MORE sexually suggestive than Steranko’s original panels.

Anyhow, here is the sequence from Howard the Duck #2, by Steve Gerber, Frank Brunner and Steve Leialoha…

And here is the panel that the Comics Code objected to, leading to it being edited in the comic…

Amusingly enough, what still made the comic was still offensive enough to one reader to actually write a letter to the Comics Code to complain!

An even weirder piece of editing came in the first issue of Howard the Duck the magazine. Marvel’s black and white magazines were not subject to the Comics Code, so they got a way with a whole lot more than the comic books, including nudity. So there’s a scene where Howard and Beverly go to have sex and Gene Colan draws Beverly topless, but then the scene cuts to them after having sex, while Colan’s original version showed them having sex (in silhouette, of course)…

But that was apparently too much, even for a non-Code approved black and white magazine!!


Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at CBR: Was Nick Fury originally going to be Peter Parker’s mentor in Spider-Man: Homecoming instead of Tony Stark?


Check back later tonight for Part 3 of this week’s legends! And remember, e-mail me at cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com if you have any suggestions for future comic book legends!

The post Comic Legends: The Censored Sex Life of Howard the Duck appeared first on CBR.