Welcome to the two-hundred and thirty-third 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 thirty-two.
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 Music Legends Revealed, where we learn the answer to the question “Was Barry Manilow’s ‘Mandy’ written about a dog?”
This week is a theme week, of sorts. One of the most most off-beat theme weeks I’ve had yet – every legend this week involves basing a comic on someone!
COMIC LEGEND: Rocky Balboa appeared in a comic as a member of G.I. Joe.
By 1987, Rocky Balboa had already single-handedly destroyed the Soviet Union (it would just take a few more years for their total defeat to sink in)…
So who was left for him to fight?
Well, Cobra, naturally!
In 1986, Sylvester Stallone was working on a deal with Hasbro to license his likeness and the character of Rocky Balboa as an action figure, making Rocky Balboa a member of G.I. Joe.
To commemorate this deal, which seemed like it was definitely going to happen, Marvel released the second issue of G.I. Joe: Order of Battle in late 1986.
Order of Battle was a listing of all the current members of G. I. Joe, with descriptions by Larry Hama and character art by Herb Trimpe.
In the second issue (M-Z), we met a new member of G. I. Joe…
Note that Trimpe made sure not to do a likeness of Stallone just yet, as the deal was not official.
Well, the deal, as you might have guessed, fell through. Stallone had instead signed a licensing deal for toys bearing his likeness for Rambo action figures.
Here is the unused artwork for the G.I. Joe Rocky Balboa action figure (thanks to YoJoe for the art)…
The next issue of Order of Battle had a great retraction at the end…
That same issue also had a page devoted to Big Boa, a member of Cobra who had been created to be Rocky’s nemesis…
We never got Rocky, but at least we got Big Boa!!
Thanks to reader Mark S. for writing in suggesting this one, and thanks again to YoJoe for the unused packaging artwork!
COMIC LEGEND: Doug Moench named one of Moon Knight’s secret identities after fellow comic book writer Steven Grant.
Doug Moench’s creation, Moon Knight, was unique in that he did not just have ONE secret identity. Instead, he had THREE!
His “real” name, Marc Spector (mercenary), plus Jake Lockley, cab driver and Steven Grant, rich guy.
It has long been thought that Doug Moench named the Grant character after fellow Marvel writer, Steven Grant, as a little in-joke.
However, that is not the case.
Moench DID name the character after a friend of his, but it was an entirely different Steven Grant.
Moench began working for Marvel in early 1974….
He quickly became the de facto head of their black and white horror comic magazine line…
His work with horror comics continued in color, until he introduced, in the pages of Werewolf By Night, Moon Knight…
That was 1975.
Grant was not working at Marvel until later in the decade.
So Moench did not name the character after Grant.
Amusingly enough, one of Grant’s very first stories at Marvel (if not his very first)?
A Moon Knight team-up in Marvel Two-In-One!
Thanks to Doug Moench, who wrote about this in a text piece awhile back, and thanks to Steven Grant, who also wrote about it in a column of his (here at CBR! His old column, Master of the Obvious), as well!
COMIC LEGEND: Al Feldstein based the look of a character on the actress who played the character on the radio!
It is normal enough, when writing a comic based on a celebrity, to draw the character to look like the celebrity.
Like the good folks at Welcome Back, Kotter, for instance…
However, interestingly enough, Al Feldstein did the same when working with a VOICE actress!
The popular radio series, Meet Corliss Archer, ran on CBS radio from 1943 until 1956.
The series was about a quirky teenaged girl named Corliss Archer.
The original Corliss was played by Priscilla Lyon, but JAnet Waldo is most known for the role.
In 1948, Fox Publications did a short-lived comic book adaptation of the series.
Fox art director Al Feldstein wrote and drew the comic.
Feldstein decided to use Waldo as his model, both for the character AND on the top of the comic book cover to show you that it was based on a radio show…
Here’s a picture of Waldo…
Oddly enough, when the series went to television in the early 1950s, Waldo turned down the chance to star in the series, choosing to remain just the voice Corliss.
Waldo, by the way, has had a long and illustrious career as a voice actress ever since.
She did the voice for Penelope Pitstop in Wacky Races (she even recently did the voice for the video game based on the show – by the by, in this installment of TV Legends Revealed, you can read all about Penelope Pitstop’s vibrator)…
She did the speaking voice for Josie on Josie and the Pussycats…
And, most famously, she has been the voice for Judy Jetson ever since the Jetsons first aired back in 1962.
We’re quite lucky to still have both Ms. Waldo AND Mr. Feldstein still with us today!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!