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Comic Book Legends Revealed #221

by  in Comic News Comment
Comic Book Legends Revealed #221

Welcome to the two-hundred and twenty-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 two hundred and twenty.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at I’d especially recommend this week’s TV Legends Revealed for a disturbing story involving prejudice and Cagney and Lacey.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Irving Forbush’s face was never shown!


Forbush Man, the superhero name of fictional Marvel gofer Irving Forbush, appeared regularly in the pages of Not Brand Echh…

and What The–?!

Stan Lee also referenced him repeatedly in his Bullpen Bulletins.

He made a recent memorable appearance in Nextwave…

In any event, one of the recurring gags of Forbush Man was that we never see his actual face, even when he was not wearing his bucket mask.

Here are some examples of this gag from his classic origin story from Not Brand Echh #5, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (with Tom Sutton finishes over Kirby’s layouts)…

However, Irving Forbush’s face WAS seen and it was seen years earlier!

You see, during the mid 1950s, Stan Lee tried a Mad magazine knockoff (as did everyone else). It was called Snafu.

The “founder” of Snafu was, you guessed it, Irving Forbush!!

And here he is, in the “flesh,” so to speak!

Pretty neat, huh?

Thanks to Kevin C. Garcia, who shared this bit with me. Be sure to check out Kevin’s website, Monomythic, which “is dedicated to everything iconic about the hero, and every version and evolution of the hero myth – from ancient poems in dead languages to blockbuster movies, colorful super-heroes and state-of-the-art video games.” Kevin’s entry on Irving Forbush has even more pictures of Irving and his family of Forbushes!

It’s pretty funny that Stan Lee really must have dug the sound of “Irving Forbush” to re-use the character like that.

Thanks, also, to The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive, for the Not Brand Echh scans. Whenever someone can save me from scanning, they are like royalty to me!

COMIC LEGEND: The phrase “back to the drawing board” was invented by a New Yorker cartoon.


Like pretty much all magazines, as popular as the New Yorker still is, it probably will never reach the same level of widespread cultural influence that it had in the past, and the New Yorker was one of the most culturally significant magazines of the 20th Century.

One of the areas where the magazine really matched the cultural zeitgeist was the magazine’s famous cartoons.

A 1928 cartoon by Carl Rose (with a caption by E.B. White, later writer of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web) turned “I Say It’s Spinach” into a national catch phrase!

But for adding to the common vernacular, it’s hard to compare to Peter Arno’s 1941 cartoon, which shows a man reacting to a plane crash by simply saying…

Naturally, the phrase became popular and now “back to the drawing board” is such a common phrase it is hard to believe that it ever was NOT a turn of phrase, let alone that it came from a cartoon in the New Yorker!!

COMIC LEGEND: A large portion of John Byrne’s Next Men came from his proposal for Ravage 2099 with Stan Lee.

STATUS: Basically True

Reader Travis wrote in after reading the Comic Book Legends Revealed from two weeks ago, where I discussed how John Byrne’s series proposal for DC, Freaks, was used as a partial basis for a number of other Byrne works, including 2112, Next Men and Danger Unlimited.

Well, Travis was thinking:

I was reading this week’s installment about John Byrne’s Next Men being originally drawn from a DC title called Freaks. If I remember correctly, however, I read an interview Byrne did where he stated that a large portion of Next Men came from his collaboration with Stan Lee on what would be come Ravage 2099. Can you wave your magic wand of clarity and tell us how Next Men really happened?

Certainly, Travis!

You see, in an earlier installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, I mentioned that Byrne’s original 2099 story that he worked on with Stan Lee eventually became 2112, which was most of the basis for Next Men.

So, you see, it’s ALL true – his Freaks work influenced his 2099 work which became 2112 which was the basis for Next Men, so the recent Comic Book Legends Revealed talking about how Freaks influenced Next Men is not mutually exclusive with Byrne’s 2099 work being the influence for Next Men!

Thanks for the question, Travis!

Consider the wand waved!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book 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

As you likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!

Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…

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 next week!

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