Welcome to the three hundredth and thirteenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, discover the impact Superman has had upon the world of sign language! Plus, how did a set of animal cards sold on television impact the Amazing Spider-Man? Finally, what’s the only thing freakier than having the 313th Comic Book Legends Revealed be on Friday the 13th? Why, it is having yet another legend involving Charles Addams’ “The Skier”!!!!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and twelve.
COMIC LEGEND: Making the “S” symbol on your chest is the sign for “super” in International Sign Language.
Reader Mark wrote in to ask:
I was just informed that International Sign Language users communicate the word “Super” by quickly drawing an “S” on their chest. [I]f true, what an unexpectedly cool way Siegel and Shuster’s creation has further influenced culture.
The “S” symbol is certainly a famous symbol all over the world…
so I figured that there would be a decent chance that this was, indeed, true. So I asked International Sign Language (ISL) expert Juan Souza (who runs this awesome ISL website) about it, and simply put, the answer is no.
Juan did note, however, that at least that described sign does mean something in American Sign Language!
What does it mean?
Why, “Superman,” of course!
Thanks for the question, Mark, and thanks for the answer, Juan!
Check out the latest Football Legends Revealed to learn whether the Washington Redskins actually trace their history back to the legendary Duluth Eskimos. Learn the harrowing tale of NFL legend Jim Marshall as he survived a blizzard through burning his money!! Plus, laugh about the Florida Gators yearbook that featured…a crocodile!!
COMIC LEGEND: Safari Animal Cards led to at least three new characters in Amazing Spider-Man during the 1980s.
While you might not remember them offhand, once I show them to you I think you’ll recall Safari Cards, at least if you were around in the 1970s and 1980s.
They would air these ads for these collectible cards featuring pictures of animals along with various pieces of information about each animal.
I recall buying some during the early 1980s (well, not me, my parents, but FOR me). They were neat little pieces of information in a time when we didn’t have such easy access to information about, well, everything.
Here is a vintage commercial for the Safari Cards.
So, how did Safari Cards impact Amazing Spider-Man?
That was revealed in the pages of Write Now magazine (issue #11, to be precise), when Danny Fingeroth interviewed Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco. DeFalco tried to credit Frenz for creating Puma, when Frenz politely declined the credit.
Frenz: See, now, that’s just a flat-out lie.
DeFalco: What do you mean, that’s a lie?
Frenz: Because the Puma came from the animal cards that you bought.
DeFalco: [half whisper]We can’t talk about the animal cards.
Fingeroth: The animal cards? I’ve never heard about the animal cards.
Frenz: He bought, like, in some offer on late night TV, he bought some “Animals of Nature” cards, anf they only cost a little bit of money. I guess they were a bargain price.
DeFalco: Fifteen bucks or something.
Frenz: And out of that purchase came the Puma, Silver Sable and Black Fox.
Fingeroth: Wow. That was money well spent.
Yep, within ten issues of each other, the Black Fox…
all debuted in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.
Money well spent, indeed!
Thanks to DeFalco, Frenz and Fingeroth for the information!
Check out the latest Basketball Legends Revealed to learn… did future Hall of Famer Red Holzman make it into the NBA specifically because he was Jewish?!?! Was Walt Chamberlain drafted while still in high school?! Find out the answers to those questions as well as learn which NBA player was confused – on national television – with an accused sex criminal!
COMIC LEGEND: At an early disabled athletic competition, Charles Addams’ “The Skier” was re-created by competitors.
Yes, it’s true, a FIFTH comic legend involving Charles Addams’ cartoons! You can check out columns #301, 303, 305 and 307 for the previous Addams-related legends. You would think that this would be it for Addams legends, but I thought that before and obviously I was wrong, so who knows?
Once again, we’re discussing Charles Addams, the famed New Yorker cartoonists whose macabre cartoons were turned into The Addams Family (and the gazillion adaptations since).
And once again, the specific cartoon of Addams’ that we’re discussing is one of his most famous cartoons (and one of his most copied by other writers, for cartoons, movies, etc.), “The Skier.”
Reader Jeff sent in this one. He wrote:
I read somewhere that at one of the first Paralympics, they made a point of re-creating Addams’ Skier cartoon. Is that true?
Close enough, Jeff!
While not at the Paralympics (who held their first international competition just a few years before this incident), in a 1955 gathering of disabled skiers for a competition in Kitzbühel, Austria, that was exactly what they did!
Here, from a 1955 issue of Life magazine, we see a man named Karl Funk be mystified by the sight of a real life “The Skier”…
but later, the mystery is solved…
The skiers in question were Ernst Müller and Andreas Schöpf .
Thanks, Jeff! I always love the chance to do a legend about Charles Addams!!
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. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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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…(click to enlarge)…
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See you all next week!