Author Archive for Brian Cronin

Michael Fleisher, Longtime Jonah Hex Writer, Passed Away

Michael Fleisher, Longtime Jonah Hex Writer, Passed Away

Longtime DC Comics writer, Michael Fleisher, who wrote a number of comics for the company in the 1970s and 1980s, especially a long run on Jonah Hex and an acclaimed run on Spectre with artist Jim Aparo in Adventure Comics, passed away in February at the age of 75 years old.

Fleisher first began working at DC Comics in the early 1970s. He had a contract to do a series of encyclopedias about Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. He spent time at DC’s offices doing research.

The encyclopedias about Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman are brilliant…

These were such amazingly researched volumes that they work great for readers now, over 40 years later.

He was at DC’s offices so long that he ended up getting jobs there scripting a number of stories for DC’s horror line of comics (led by editor Joe Orlando). Fleisher famously worked with Russell Carley, who would do lay outs of Fleisher’s scripts (Carley would be credited as “script continuity”). Fleisher explained it to Peter Sanderson for when his Spectre stories were collected as, “When I first started writing comics, my friend Russell Carley, who’s a fine artist, and I used to work on them together. We would get together on a Saturday afternoon and we plotted the story together. Then Russell would take the plot and break it down into panels, and I would write the script. I had never written any kind of script in my life.”

Fleisher’s career really took off when he was assigned the Jonah Hex feature in Weird Western Tales #22 in 1974.

Fleisher would then write the character for the next dozen years. Even when the series ended, Fleisher wrote a revamped version that took Hex into the future…

Fleisher worked in various editorial roles for Orlando and then Fleisher famously did a Spectre feature with Jim Aparo in Adventure Comics (edited by Orlando). The series was famously based on an experience that Joe Orlando had when he was mugged one night. Orlando wanted to bring back a ruthless hero that would be the true modern spirit of vengeance. That’s what the Spectre feature was like. The Spectre would turn bad guys to salt, all sorts of things like that.

Infamously, that run on Spectre led to a lawsuit. In an interview with Gary Groth in Comics Journal, Harlan Ellison began to talk about Fleisher’s work and, while praising his writing, described it as “crazy”, “certifiable”, “twisted”, “derange-o” and a “lunatic”. Fleisher sued the magazine, Groth and Ellison for $2 million in a libel suit. The jury found for the defense.

Fleisher got out of comic book writing and became an anthropologist and traveled the world doing humanitarian efforts. He had gotten back into writing in the last decade.

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When Black Panther Re-Named Himself ‘Black Leopard’

When Black Panther Re-Named Himself ‘Black Leopard’

In every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer without actively retconnng away the previous story. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Longtime readers Tom A. and Chris N. both wrote in with a few different Black Panther suggestions and amusingly enough, they both sent in almost precisely the same exact suggestions (it’s kind of nuts just how similar each of their suggestions were). Both of them suggested that I re-visit the odd saga of the Black…Leopard?!

This is a story that I first covered in a Comic Book Legends a few years back (by “a few years back,” I, of course, mean almost TWELVE years ago. Yikes!), but obviously this is in a different context, as we’ll examine how the name change was abandoned.

The name change first showed up in late 1971’s Fantastic Four #119 (by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott), where Human Torch and Thing were called to help out their pal, T’Challa, when an agent of Wakanda has stolen a device that could affect Vibranium and then traveled to Rudyarda, a stand-in country for South Africa. T’Challa had traveled after him but then his people had not heard from him since. So Johnny and Ben head to Rudyarda (what a great name by Thomas) to find their friend. They eventually discover that he had found himself arrested simply for being black in an area of the country where black people were not allowed with a special ID.

Okay, so this is late 1971, so the Black Panther Party was in the news a lot. Although the Black Panther character debuted before the Black Panther Party was officially formed (although the name predated Lee and Kirby, just not used with the specific Black Panther Party – it was used for other political groups that directly influenced the naming of the Black Panther Party), obviously a few years later the Black Panther Party was a lot more famous than the comic book superhero.

So Thomas decides to have T’Challa determine that he would rather not be associated with the American political group (not as an insult, just in a general “We’re different from each other, so let’s not confuse anyone by sharing the same name”) and took on a new name…

This change, as it would turn out, would not last very long.

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Spider-Man Finally Got That Favor Loki Owed Him

Spider-Man Finally Got That Favor Loki Owed Him

This is “Provide Some Answers,” which is a feature where long unresolved plot points are eventually resolved.

Reader Jaime B. wrote in to suggest that I address the big plot point in last week’s Amazing Spider-Man, which resolved a plot point from J. Michael Straczynski.

I’ve done a Left Unresolved on this one in the past, and I’ll mostly just repeat that post here.

In Amazing Spider-Man #503 (by J. Michael Straczynski, Fiona Avery, John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna), Spider-Man runs afoul of a powerful being known as Morwen, who has possessed a young woman. At the end, Spider-Man encounters Loki, who is searching for Morwen, as well….

They take down Morwen, as Spidey discovers that Loki is invested because the young woman who was possessed was Loki’s daughter (she doesn’t know that she is Loki’s daughter).

In the end, they save her and Loki then says he owes him a favor…

And that was it. During “One More Day,” when Spider-Man was desperate to save Aunt May’s life, Loki was then “dead,” so he couldn’t help Spider-Man at that point. Dan Slott once joked that the favor had been paid off off-panel when Loki helped Spider-Man move a couch once.

However, Slott actually DID decide to resolve the plot, once and for all, in last week’s Amazing Spider-Man #795, almost THREE HUNDRED issues later (granted, Amazing Spider-Man went thrice-monthly for quite a while there, but hey, hundreds of issues is still hundreds of issues, ya know?)

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Comic Legends-Did a Marvel Misunderstanding Lead to a Daredevil Death?

Comic Legends-Did a Marvel Misunderstanding Lead to a Daredevil Death?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-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. You all get the theme this week, right?


The Daredevil TV series killed off a character because they didn’t think that they were allowed to use the character more than one season.


I’m Going With False
















In the first season of Daredevil, one of the coolest characters was Ben Urich, played by Vondie Curtis-Hall…

Ben was a washed-up investigative reporter, but he managed to find his integrity again and help Karen Page in her investigation into the criminal actions of Wilson Fisk.

Tragically, it does not work out well for Urich…

Ben Urich, of course, is a very famous STILL LIVING member of the Marvel Universe, so his death came as quite a shock.

Reader Frank P. wrote in to ask about a piece of trivia that he had read about Ben’s demise. Here’s the quote that Frank had seen on a couple of different sites (I think it originated on TV Tropes and other sites just copied it from there):

DeKnight has also stated that Ben Urich was only killed off because they were under the impression they would only be able to use the character for that one season, with the whole crew being in the dark about Marvel’s attempts at the deal. Had Ben not been killed in season 1, he would have been the one to mentor Karen on how to be a proper reporter during season 2. Because of Ben being killed off, that part was instead given to Mitchell Ellison.

Is that true?

I don’t believe it is. I’ve listened to DeKnight give a number of different interviews about the death of Ben Urich and he never mentioned it. Here he is discussing it from the Hollywood Reporter

I don’t think anyone saw Urich’s death coming. What was the decision behind killing such an iconic character from the comic books?

I’ve been known to kill off a character or two in my past (laughs). I wish I could take credit for this, but killing off Urich was decided before I signed on. I want to say it was Marvel’s idea. They really wanted to show that toward the end of the season because we knew we’d get some sympathy for Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), to have him do something truly terrible that would propel Matt into that final endgame in the confrontation with Fisk. And to let the audience know that the gloves were off: just because he was a beloved character in the comics, doesn’t mean he’s safe. It’s one interpretation. It’s like writers doing a new run of the comic. It felt right for the story. Much like episode four where Fisk kills Anatoly, not because he did something to cross him in the criminal world, but because he embarrassed him on a date. Urich gets murdered because he committed the unforgivable sin in Fisk’s mind: he went to Fisk’s mother. The last thing you want to do with Fisk is at all involve, insult, drag through the mud the women in his life he loves. That will be a serious trigger for him.

Now, is it possible that Marvel was influenced by some sort of issue with the rights? I don’t think it is likely, but it is possible. However, DeKnight makes it pretty darn clear here that Urich’s death was always part of the deal, so it was not as though they ever had an alternate plan for Season 2 with Urich alive, since it was part of the deal as soon as DeKnight joined the project. So I’m willing to go “false” here.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed – How was Amy Winehouse originally going to be featured in the Deadpool film?

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 And my Twitter feed is, 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).


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!

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Good Grief, Mary Jane, What Did You Do To Your Hair?

Good Grief, Mary Jane, What Did You Do To Your Hair?

In If Her Hair Was Still Red (a feature of indefinite regularity), I take a look at all of Mary Jane Watson’s comic book appearances in chronological order (by date of publication). Mary Jane’s progression as a character fascinates me.

I’m certainly not saying that we’re not going to hit a worse period for Mary Jane any time soon (as, obviously, she actually disappeared from the Spider-Man comics period for a few years in the early 1980s and she also was missing for quite a while during the Brand New Day era), but so far, in the stories that we’ve looked at so far, this is by far the worst point in Mary Jane’s comic book history (as an aside, last installment we should have mentioned MJ’s brief, not particularly meaningful, appearance in Marvel Super Heroes #14. Considered it mentioned now).

Okay, first off, the Spectacular Spider-Man magazine doesn’t fit into continuity, but it comes out right around the time as #62, so I’ll quickly include it here (by Stan Lee, John Romita and Jim Mooney).

MJ and the others are helping to campaign for this fellow named Richard Raleigh, who is running for Mayor of New York City (he is partnered with a villain called Man-Monster who is faking attacks on Raleigh to make Raleigh look good. Raleigh is actually a crook himself).

Is that a masturbation joke there? I love how MJ is totally into the joke.

Later, she is working at a campaign event for Raleigh, while making time to be a jerk to Gwen…

Okay, back to the main title! When we last left off, Gwen hates Peter because she saw Peter laying out her dad. She couldn’t understand why Peter was mean to her dad. She didn’t realize that her father was being brainwashed. What’s weird is that even after she DID learn that he was brainwashed, she still somehow blames Peter for being a jerk to her dad. It’s super dumb on her part.

Anyhow, you know that Mary Jane would hear the news that Peter and Gwen were splitsville, so she makes her move and is shocked to see that Peter is really upset…

Why in the world would this be a surprise to Mary Jane? She’s plainly seen how much Peter is into Gwen, so it’s weird to see her act surprised. It’s one thing to act surprised in public, but this is her own private thoughts. Odd.

Peter, meanwhile, is super depressed about his deal with Gwen, as we see in the next issue (by the way, Don Heck had taken over as the penciler over John Romita’s layouts, with Mike Esposito continuing as the inker)

Amazing Spider-Man #64 is a major turning point, as we first see Mary Jane’s ridiculous new haircut…

AND we see that Captain Stacy now recalls that Peter didn’t do anything wrong, so that ends the whole Peter/Gwen melodrama from the last few issues. That, of course, makes it not a good time to be MJ, as Peter has now re-committed to Gwen.

Mary Jane meets up with Harry Osborn in the next issue, who is freaking out due to his father, Norman Osborn, going missing and also clearly falling apart, mentally. Mary Jane gets major bonus points for making a Dylan reference here!

This leads into the second (and final) issue of Spectacular Spider-Man, now a color magazine. Norman returns for a party at the Osbron residence, and this is the first time that Peter sees Mary Jane’s new hairstyle…

Peter manages to get Norman to agree to leave the party (through some trickery) and the two have a big fight. At the end of it, Peter manages to hypnotize Norman into forgetting Spider-Man’s identity and Osborn’s own Goblin identity. He then drops Norman off at the hospital. Peter then goes and hangs out with Gwen and Mary Jane…

This would be the last issue of Mary Jane with her new hairstyle. That’s good news. The bad news? Well…

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Comic Legends: Did Hellboy Almost Debut as Part of a Superhero Team?

Comic Legends: Did Hellboy Almost Debut as Part of a Superhero Team?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-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.


Hellboy almost debuted as part of a BPRD-esque superhero team.



As any fans of the Hellboy comic book universe (and the Hellboy films) know, the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) is the joint United States/United Kingdom organization designed to investigate paranormal issues and defend the world from them. Hellboy was their most famous agent, but they have had a number of notable agents over the years.

The BPRD debuted in the very first Hellboy miniseries, Seed of Destruction, which followed up on Hellboy’s debut in John Byrne’s Next Men (Byrne scripted the first miniseries to help Mignola ease into writing his own series). The stories, though, initially were just Hellboy solo stories (just with him working for the BPRD. Later on, when he split from them, they got their own series).

However, originally, Hellboy was not going to be a solo hero at all!

As noted in a Comic Book Legends Revealed installment from last year, Hellboy began life as a sketch at a comic book convention. Reader Ken G., though, wrote in to ask if I could write further about Mignola’s early work with the character.

You see, Art Adams was planning on doing a creator-owned deal at Dark Horse Comics and Adams invited Mignola to participate, as well. At the time, Mignola’s mind went to where most people’s mind would have gone at the time – a superhero team. When John Byrne did his own creator-owned work at Dark Horse, for instance, he, too, did a superhero team. When Jim Lee, Ron Liefeld, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio did their own creator-owned series around that time, they did superhero teams. It was just the most common thing for creators to come up with.

So Mignola came up with the idea for a supernatural superhero team and he had Hellboy be a member of the team. The team was basically a superhero version of the BPRD. They worked for the secretive Sidwell Institute for Paranormal Research and Defense organization. From this early sketch, besides Hellboy, you can see a bunch of familiar faces (or variations of them), like Captain Benjamin Daimio, Johann Kraus, Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien (Abe Sapien was called Dr. Douglass Hogg at this time)…

Hellboy would be, in effect, the Thing of the team. The big strong guy.

Amusingly enough, the NAME seemed to be the biggest problem. Mignola couldn’t come up with a good name for the team and he kept coming back to how cool the name “Hellboy” sounded, so he decided to revamp the book and have it just star the Hellboy character and the rest is, well, you know, history.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed – How was Amy Winehouse originally going to be featured in the Deadpool film?

Part 3 will be up soon! Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either or!

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Celebrating the Awesome Tradition of Elongated Man’s Birthday Mystery

Celebrating the Awesome Tradition of Elongated Man’s Birthday Mystery

In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today we celebrate an awesome tradition involving the Elongated Man, who has become a popular new TV character with his debut on the Flash TV series (the Elongated Man first showed up as a Flash supporting cast member in the comics almost sixty years ago). You see, every year, the Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny) has a mystery created for him by his wife, Sue Dibny.

When Julius Schwartz (the editor of the Flash) took over editing duties on the Batman titles, he brought the Elongated Man with him to Detective Comics (literally right away, as the Elongated Man’s back-up feature debuted in the same issue as Batman’s new duds to denote Schwartz and artist Carmine Infantino taking over the book).

Six issues into his run in Detective Comics, we got the first birthday mystery in Detective Comics #332 by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene…

Ralph investigates and sees that an alien has apparently taken over from Sue!!!

Right when Elongated Man has the aliens cornered, Sue reveals the truth…

But, of course, Ralph (being such a great detective) knew all along!

In Detective Comics #350, Fox and Infantino team up again on a bit of an anomaly for the birthday mystery, as this time the mystery is NOT planned by Sue…

It just legitimately is a problem that Hal is having. Ralph ends up helping him figure out his identity, and then, being a cool guy, has Hal erase the knowledge from his mind…

But this is still a memorable birthday because it is the debut of one of his most notable costumes!!

In Detective Comics #375, Fox is now joined by Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos, for an odd one…

Naturally, Sue planned for Ralph to see something was up with the mask that this guy is insisting on getting, but Ralph actually accidentally reads the clue wrong (think about the famous G.I. Joe episode where the “Viper” keeps giving the Joes clues that aren’t really clues, but they lead to Cobra anyways) and ends up busting up some bad guys! When he reads the clue the correct way, it leads to his surprise party…

I want someone to now come up with backgrounds and names for all of the people at Ralph’s surprise party. Who ARE these people?

It was quite a long time until the next birthday mystery, as Mary Skrenes takes over from Fox to tell one with artist Dick Giordano in Detective Comics #449…

Can you figure out who this mysterious old man is?

I’ll let us go to the next page to see if you could figure out without looking…

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Back When the Wasp Literally Just Told People Stories in the Comics

Back When the Wasp Literally Just Told People Stories in the Comics

This is “Turns Back the Page,” which is a look at interesting back-up stories from comic books. If you have suggestions for back-ups that you’d like to see me write about, drop me a line at!

Okay, today we’re going to talk about a fascinating time in Marvel Comics history, the point where they began to make their transition into an almost entirely superhero comic book publisher. At the start of the 1960s, Marvel had a wide variety of titles, but as superhero comics became more and more popular, the deal that Marvel had at the time with their distributor (which limited the amount of titles that they could release – this was because their distributor was owned by the same company that owned DC Comics, Marvel’s biggest competitor) meant that they had to pick and choose which concepts to keep and which ones to drop. And it was clear that superheroes were more popular than science fiction/horror, which had originally been the main type of story that took place in the pages of Tales to Astonish, Tales of Suspense, Strange Tales and Journey Into Mystery.

Eventually, all four of those titles gained superhero lead features (Ant-Man, Iron Man, Human Torch and Thor), but the back-ups continued to be the same stories that existed before the superheroes took over the lead feature. Over time, that became kind of weird, as the types of stories were so dramatically different, ya know?

After a while, three of the books (Tales to Astonish, Strange Tales and Tales of Suspense) added a second feature to them (Hulk joined Tales to Astonish, Doctor Strange joined Strange Tales and Captain America joined Tales of Suspense – in all three of those cases, the NEW characters ended up taking over the feature when Marvel finally got a new distribution deal and were able to expand later in the decade and give each superhero their own title) and the fourth, Journey Into Mystery, added a Thor-related back-up feature called Tales of Asgard (which was some of the best work that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee did together in the 1960s).

However, during the in-between moments, Stan Lee came up with a fascinating way to use the story ideas that they had already planned to use in Tales to Astonish, but in a way that tied in to the superhero lead feature. In Tales to Astonish #51 (seven issues after Wasp joined Ant-Man as his co-star and two issues after Ant-Man became Giant-Man), Stan Lee and his brother, Larry Lieber, delivered the first Wasp solo back-up feature, titled “The Wonderful Wasp Tells a Tale.” The concept was that the Wasp would visit veterans and little kids and tell them stories. The stories, of course, would just be stuff that would have appeared in Tales to Astonish on their own before this feature came out.

Here is the first one…

That’s the only full one that I’ll share, but I’ll show you the set-ups for the next three issues on the next page!

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M*A*S*H Travels Through Time and Space with the Avengers

M*A*S*H Travels Through Time and Space with the Avengers

In “The World Outside,” I examine comic books showing up in outside media, like TV shows, sports, novels and films.

Today, we look at an amusingly anachronistic appearance of an Avengers issue in an episode of M*A*S*H.

As I presume you know (buy hey, who knows? The show has been off the air for over thirty years after all), M*A*S*H was a show about a group of Army doctors in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit during the Korean War. What this simply means is that they would set up a field hospital during the war where Army doctors could perform surgeries on wounded soldiers right near the field of battle so that soldiers could be treated as quickly as possible. The doctors try to make the best out of a bad situation by entertaining themselves as best as they can. The show was essentially an ensemble, but the main star was clearly Alan Alda as “Hawkeye” Pierce. The series was based on a hit movie directed by Robert Altman. The TV series ran for 11 seasons, which is particularly impressive considering the Korean War didn’t even last four years.

Anyhow, in the 17th episode of the 4th season of M*A*S*H, titled “Der Tag,” came out on January 6th, 1976 (it was the 89th episode of the series period). The concept of the episode is that Hawkeye and his good friend, BJ Honeycutt, are forced to befriend their annoying fellow surgeon, Frank Burns, while his girlfriend is away from the hospital. He’s so annoying that they end up putting a toe tag on him when he passed out and he accidentally ends up on the front lines and they have to rescue him and bring him back.

The episode opens with Radar O’Reilly (played by Gary Burghoff, who notably tried to hide his left hand throughout the series) sleeping. And sure enough, look at what he fell asleep reading! An Avengers comic book, #60….

Which came out in 1968, well over a decade after the episode was set!! Whoops!

Hilariously enough, though, the Avengers comics did not just travel through time, but through space, because while the above image is the most notable shot from this episode (especially since the cover features Hawkeye prominently – something that I can pretty much guarantee you was a coincidence), it is not the first shot of Radar sleeping. A couple of scenes earlier, he’s sleeping, but with Avengers #72 instead!!!

Almost certainly, whoever was in charge of the props did not care about the consistency, as, honestly, who was going to pay attention to something like that in 1976?

What I find interesting is that they even had 1968 and 1969 comic books in the 1976. I’d normally expect either A. a time accurate comic book or B. more commonly, just whatever comic book that they could find. Perhaps a prop master had a stack of “old” comic books and they just didn’t care what years they were from?

That’s it for this installment! If anyone else has a suggestion for an interesting time when a comic book ended up getting featured in a TV show, music video, novel, etc., drop me a line at!

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Wolverine’s Bizarre First Time Meeting Hercules

Wolverine’s Bizarre First Time Meeting Hercules

This is the first installment in a brand-new feature called “Turns Back the Page,” which is a look at interesting back-up stories from comic books. If you have suggestions for back-ups that you’d like to see me write about, drop me a line at!

In the early 1970s, Marvel debuted Marvel UK, which was a company designed specifically to sell reprinted versions of Marvel’s US comic books in England. However, in 1976, they decided to branch out and begin doing ORIGINAL material for Marvel UK. They continued to do original material until Marvel UK folded in 1995 when Panini obtained the rights to publish Marvel Comics in England.

In England, comic books were released weekly, so they were short serialized stories that would combine to tell larger stories. Marvel’s comics would then be broken up into installments when reprinted. However, as they began doing original material, there was suddenly now a need for occasional short stories that could be slotted in when space was needed. So Marvel produced a number of short standalone stories that would be inserted into various titles (standalone so that they could be put in whenever needed without having to tie into anything).

The “problem” for Marvel is that they did not want to put this new material to waste in the United States, but there really weren’t a whole lot of good options in the late 1970s/early 1980s for back-up stories (this was still at a time when Marvel had well under 22 pages of story in any given comic book). One way that they solved this issue was to use their Treasury Editions. These were extra-large reprints of stories starring their most notable characters. Spider-Man got a bunch of them and, of course, when his TV series was on the air, so did the Hulk.

In 1980, they released Marvel Treasury Edition #26, which reprinted a few different Hulk stories, but also printed, for the first time in the United States, a Wolverine/Hercules back-up story!

Written by Jo Duffy with art by Ken Landgraf and George Perez, the story has Wolverine stewing at a bar…

(Whoa, don’t show them how much of a man you are. Put that thing away, Wolverine!)

When Hercules comes in a bar brawl ensues…

Hercules’ reaction to Wolverine’s claws is amazing!

Wolverine doesn’t take kindly to Hercules’ joviality, so they fight a little bit more and then it ends…

This was later shown to a larger audience in 1986 when Marvel reprinted it in a deluxe reprint edition of Wolverine’s first appearance in Incredible Hulk #180-181. It’s not like THAT was some big-selling comic book, either, so the story is still very little known.

Years later, Frank Tieri would use this as a general basis for a Wolverine/Hercules miniseries (the idea is that they continue to hang out at that same bar on occasion)…

Also, and this really doesn’t have anything to do with anything per se, but in an alternate reality (as part of Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men series), alternate reality versions of Hercules and Wolverine dated…

This is not technically Wolverine’s first solo story (I think technically he doesn’t have a solo story until Wolverine #1 – he’s by himself for most of X-Men #133, but not all of it) but it comes pretty darn close and it is an amazingly strange first “without the X-Men” story for the famous mutant.

Okay, that’s it for this installment! If you have a suggestion for a future edition of Turns Back the Page, drop me a line at!

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