Welcome to the two-hundred and sixty-fifth 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 sixty-four.
Comic Book Legends Revealed is 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 Football/Soccer Legends Revealed where you can find out if the Italian National Team was threatened to be killed by Benito Mussolini if they did not win the 1938 FIFA World Cup!
Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter. As I promised last week, at 2,000 followers I’ll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week we hit 2,000. So go follow us (here‘s the link to our Twitter page again)! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!
COMIC LEGEND: Warren Publishing dedicated an entire one-shot to photos of a 14-year-old model.
Reader Cary wrote in to ask if it was true that Warren had a one-shot devoted just to swimsuit shots of a 14-year-old girl. And his specific question is not really true, but it is close enough to being true.
This brings us to the strange case of Heidi Saha.
Art Saha was a science-fiction author and editor who was a major part of early fandom. He is credited with coining the term “Trekkies” to describe Star Trek fans. In any event, Saha also had a close relationship with Jim Warren, head of Warren Publishing.
Likely as a result of this relationship, Saha’s daughter, Heidi, would appear at some conventions dressed as Vampirella to promote Warren’s comic of the same name.
Heidi and her mother, Taimi, and her father attended conventions frequently, and Heidi was known by pretty much all the big names in science fiction and fantasy. She also dressed up in costumes frequently.
In any event, in 1973, when Heidi was 14 (going on 15), Warren Publishing actually devoted a short print one-shot to her. I don’t know WHY they did it, but most likely it was done as some sort of favor to the Sahas for Heidi doing publicity work for Warren.
The one-shot was called An Illustrated History of Heidi Saha: Fantasy Fandom’s Famous Femme.
Here are some samples from the magazine…
Most of the pictures are along the lines of this picture of 10-year-old Heidi getting an autograph from Arthur Clarke….
or this one of Heidi just hanging out…
And a lot of the jokes are just silly innocuous puns like this one…
but there are some odd jokes in the book, like this one of 7-year-old Heidi…
and this one of Heidi dressed as Sheena…
At one point in the book she is referred to as Lilith, Lolita and Lorelei combined, so, well, yeah…
And the book ends with this as the back cover…
By 1974, Heidi was finished with costumes at conventions.
Richard Arndt has a nice interview up with Angelique Trouvere, who is a legend of fandom herself (when Heidi’s Vampirella picture showed up in a Warren article in 1971, it was along with a picture of Trouvere, as well). Trouvere has her own particular insights on Heidi – I can’t say whether they’re true or not, but I think they’re worth linking to simply as Trouvere’s take on things. I’m sure all of you have your own particular take on things, as well. Some, like Trouvere, posit that Taimi Saha was a stage mom pushing for her daughter to be a model or an actress, which is why she wanted a magazine devote to her. I don’t know. Sounds plausible, but I presume only the Sahas know for sure.
Saha has mostly been out of the limelight since the mid-70s, although she did do a nice tribute to her father in 2000 in the pages of Locus after her father died (he died in 1999).
Thanks to reader Jeff P. for the scans of the very rare collectible book. And thanks to Cary for the question! Thanks also to Richard Arndt and Angelique Trouvere for their informative interview!
COMIC LEGEND: Thanos was created as part of a school project.
STATUS: True Enough
Reader Jamie wrote in a couple of weeks ago to ask a good question (well, I thought it was good) – which was basically “Why the heck was Thanos, Drax and Eros introduced in the pages of Iron Man of all places?”
I think it is a good question because it IS pretty odd for cosmic characters like these to be introduced in the pages of a book like Iron Man.
However, there’s a very good explanation, and once again, my expert on all things Starlin, the great Daniel Best, has the answer.
As it turns out, Starlin first created Thanos when he was in college (Starlin went to college after serving a stint in the military in the late 60s) for a short time before getting involved in comics. Starlin developed the character during a psychology class.
After getting started working in comics in the early 1970s, Starlin was given an opportunity by Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas to do a fill-in issue of Iron Man. And here’s what I love about story (I’ll let Starlin explain it from the great interview Best did with him):
I felt that this may be my only chance ever to do a character, not having the confidence that my career was going to last anything longer than a few weeks. So they got jammed into it. Thanos was a much thinner character and Roy suggested beefing him up, so he’s beefed up quite a bit from his original sketches from Iron Man, and later on I liked beefing him up so much that he continued to grow in size.
Isn’t that a fascinating explanation for why Thanos was introduced in such an odd place? Starlin didn’t think he would ever get the chance to write another comic, so he went “all in” with his first work!
Here’s some snippets from Iron Man #55…
Luckily for all of us, this was NOT the “only chance” Starlin ever had to a character, and he was soon given Captain Marvel and Warlock to work with and that began an amazing stint at Marvel for Jim Starlin, one of the greatest writer/artists Marvel has ever known!
In the column from two weeks ago, I did a bit about whether Alan Moore used the term “Sith-Lord” before it was used in the Star Wars Universe.
Reader Kliku wrote in to say:
Hi, Brian. What about this?:
“An issue of Star-Lord, published by Marvel Comics in 1973, featured a villain, Rruothk’ar, who was described as a “Sith-Lord”.  ”
Directly from wookiepedia… Is it true? Did Gerber or Claremont wrote down “Sith-Lord” for the first time?
Simply put, no.
The first appearance of Star-Lord came just a little before the Star Wars novelization that introduced the term “Sith-Lord” in 1976 and Rruothk’ar came around much later than that.
So that’s a pretty easy “no.”
I’ve read that the term “sith-lord” originally appeared in a John Carter of Mars story, with that likely being the origin for both the Star-Lord usage AND the Star Wars usage. Can anyone confirm that?
Thanks to Kliku for writing in with the suggestion! Reader PB210 ALSO wrote in with the same suggestion, then quickly wrote back to correct himself. Thanks to both of you folks!
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. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
As you likely know by now, in April of last year my book 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 all next week!