Welcome to the two-hundred and thirtieth 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-nine.
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 legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Movie Legends Revealed, which takes a specific look at movie soundtracks.
COMIC LEGEND: Don McGregor intentionally created the first interracial kiss in mainstream comics.
In last week’s installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, we discussed how Dick Giordano sneaked in the first interracial embrace in mainstream comics (note that independent comics were doing pretty much whatever they wanted during the 1960s, so this stuff was practically passe in indie comix of the late 1960s/early 1970s).
Well, Don McGregor and P. Craig Russell are responsible for the first outright interracial kiss in color mainstream comics, which happened in Amazing Adventures #31, part of their acclaimed run on Killraven.
Killraven was a freedom fighter in a post-apocalyptic Earth where the planet has been invaded by Martians.
Killraven is aided by the “Freemen,” a group of, well, free men who also fight the aliens.
Here are the Freemen in battle!
M’Shulla Scott was Killraven’s “mud-brother” and his closest friend. Carmilla Frost was a scientist (but she could also carry herself very well in a fight).
Well, in Amazing Adventure #31 (in 1975), the two had an intimate moment…
Okay, so McGregor was responsible for the first interracial kiss in color mainstream comics.
But McGregor actually wrote the first interracial kiss in black and white mainstream comics, too!
So knowing that McGregor was later responsible for the kiss in color comics, it seems reasonable to believe that he intentionally had the early kiss, right?
However, the interracial kiss that happened in Warren Publishing’s Creepy #43 in 1972 was a mistake! It was a case of mis-communication between McGregor and his artist, Luis Garcia.
The story involves an African-American private detective investigating the disappearance of a young man (SPOILER – the kid turns out to be a werewolf).
García decides to draw the private eye like Sidney Poiter for whatever reason…
Anyhow, McGregor had the detective interview the young man’s girlfriend.
McGregor only had a page to work with here, so he wanted the scene to be as dramatic as possible. The girl here is really upset, ya know?
So for the last panel, McGregor added the phrase “This one is the clincher.”
Well, García took that to mean that this would be the scene the two characters would kiss!
And that’s what he drew.
As you no doubt notice, the scene really doesn’t make much sense. They just kiss out of nowhere.
And likely BECAUSE it was a matter of just a clear mistake, Warren did not make McGregor take it out (there was likely not enough time to get it fixed, either), so by way of a misake, the first true interracial kiss in comics came to be!
Funny stuff, eh?
Thanks to Don McGregor and Jon B. Cooke for the information, courtesy of a great interview between the two men in Cooke’s The Warren Companion. And thanks to David Frankel for pointing out that Garcia could have been a name that the young Jose-Luis García-López was going by back then. There’s debate over whether it was Jose-Luis García-López or Luis Garcia Mozos – it doesn’t really matter for this story, so I’m just ignoring it.
COMIC LEGEND: Mojo Jojo was partially inspired by the Super Dictionary!
Last year, I did an installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed on the Super Dictionary, the cult classic dictionary put out during the 1970s by Warner Educational Services.
What makes Super Dictionary stand out is how oddly it was written.
The most famous bit from the dictionary is this piece for Lex Luthor…
That’s just bizarre, right?
It’s the sort of thing that sticks in your mind, ya know?
Back to that in a bit…
So, during the late 1990s, Craig McCracken debuted the Powerpuff Girls!!
The greatest enemy of these superpowered tots was Mojo Jojo, a talking mad scientist chimp..
Mojo Jojo had a very funny way of speaking.
Here are some sample quotes:
Excuse me sir, but can you direct me to the location of where I can locate some eggs for I would like to purchase them so that I can take them home with me and I can eat them today.
And maybe tomorrow.
Hey you kids, get out of my moat, it was not meant to be played in. I must remember to destroy those kids after my breakfast has been eaten.
In the grading system, I would have assigned you all with an “F,” which, if I had control of the grading system, I would make the lowest grade a “Z” since that is the final letter in the alphabet, which starts with “A” and ends with “Z.”
Now to catch up on the world’s latest events that have happened that this paper has reported with the words that they wrote.
Now, as you see, the gag is that he over-explains everything.
Primarily, this is a subtle mocking of the way the characters on Speed Racer talked…
However, McCracken ALSO remembered the Super Dictionary, and in an interview for Newsarama, he explained how it, too, was an influence on Mojo Jojo…
It was a book called The Super Dictionary. It was basically a dictionary for little kids that described words in paragraphs. For instance, it would say something like “Krypto made Superman laugh. It makes a positive sound come from Superman’s belly.” Reading it made me think what were these guys doing? We would sit around reading that book and just laugh over it.
Isn’t it awesome when the seemingly most random things are connectied?
Thanks to Steve Fritz for the interview in question and thanks to Craig McCracken for the info!
COMIC LEGEND: Spider-Man is called Super-Man in an early issue of Amazing Spider-Man.
This is just one of those extremely simple ones.
Reader Jody wrote in to ask:
Is is true that Spider-Man was called Superman in an early issue of Amazing Spider-Man?
Simply put, yep, Jody, that’s pretty much exactly what happened!
But tell ya what, rather than just showing you that, I’ll show you a couple of other silly typos/mistakes in early issues of Amazing Spider-Man!
As we’ve established in a previous installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed (over 200 columns ago!!!), Stan Lee would often forget the name of his characters.
That’s fair enough, but in the FIRST issue of your character’s title, Stan?
From Amazing Spider-Man #1, here are how two panels appear now in reprints…
But here’s what they originally looked like…
Now as to Jody’s original question, I believe this mistake was actually that of letterer John Duffy, not Stan. So this was a typo, not a matter of forgetting the character’s name!
From Amazing Spider-Man #3…
From the original…
Thanks to Jody for the question and thanks to the classic Marvel No-Prize Comic Book for the original panels!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com.
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…
See you next week!