Welcome to the three hundredth and twenty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, find out the amusingly low budget reason why only one member of the X-Men appeared on the Marvel cartoon adaptation of Secret Wars. Plus, did Human League really get their name from Judge Dredd comics? Finally, was Manitou Raven really supposed to be Apache Chief?
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and twenty-six.
COMIC LEGEND: All but one of the X-Men were scrapped from a planned appearance in the Marvel animated adaptation of Secret Wars because producers did not want to fly the voice actors to California.
During the 1990s, Marvel had two popular animated series by Fox, Spider-Man and the X-Men.
The teams crossed over in two Season 2 episodes of Spider-Man.
However, in a later season episode of Spider-Man, the producers tried to do an adaptation of Marvel’s classic crossover series, Secret Wars.
They were not allowed to use the Hulk or She-Hulk because their rights were held by Paramount at the time (and Silver Surfer, too, but I dunno if they would have attempted to use him). However, every other Marvel character was open season, so the producers of Spider-Man figured that they would do Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
However, here is what they ended up with…
The Human Torch is there, too, just not in that picture.
So just Storm of the X-Men. Why was that?
Well, you see, the X-Men show was recorded in Canada and the Spider-Man series was recorded in Los Angeles. When the X-Men guest-starred in the Spider-Man episode, they flew the cast out from Canada to do their parts. However, after an entire episode had been written with the X-Men included, the Spider-Man producers were informed that the powers that be deemed it too expensive to fly the cast out for this crossover.
Luckily, producer John Semper knew that the voice of Storm from the first season of the show, Iona Morris, lived in Los Angeles. So the show was re-written so that Spider-Man had to pick one member of the X-Men and he chose Storm.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
Unlike last week’s story about Killing Joke and The Killing Joke, the question of whether the popular New Wave group Human League (of “Don’t You Want Me” and “Human” fame) was named after characters in the Judge Dredd comic is a lot less clear cut, at least from first glance.
After all, they even put a song ABOUT Judge Dredd on their 1981 album Dare! “I am the Law.”
And there IS a Human League in the Judge Dredd comic book.
So it is not surprising that a number of those “Band Origins” lists out there include Judge Dredd as an inspiration for the name of the band.
However, the band has been quite clear of their inspiration – a 1974 science fiction board game called Starforce: Alpha Centauri.
Says founding member Martyn Ware:
“There were all these scenarios in the back for various wars in the future, and one of these, for a stage ’round about 2180, where there were two main empires – The Pansantient Hegemony and The Human League. The Human League centred around Earth and the scenario was called The Rise Of The Human League. So we stole it.”
I think that pretty much answers that, right?
It’s not like he would lie about being inspired by a comic book to make up a story about a science fiction board game, after all (which does, indeed, have a Human League in it).
Thanks to Sean Turner’s Human League fan site, Blind Youth, for the quote!
COMIC LEGEND: Justice Leaguer Manitou Raven was meant to be Apache Chief.
In the 1970s Challenge of the Super-Friends, we are introduced to new League member Apace Chief.
He never appeared in the comics before the show, and seemingly never after.
Awhile back, though, I wrote a piece about characters adapted from cartoon shows and I mentioned how Manitou Raven from Joe Kelly’s JLA run was intended to be Apache Chief adapted for comics.
In JLA #75, Manitou Raven even said the same words Apache Chief would say to grow into a giant…
Reader Gary, though, was unsure:
Why would you call Manitou Raven an homage to Apache Chief? He’s an entirely different character. Who would characterize Apache Chief as a spellcaster? He had one power: growth. Manitou Raven used it one time in the comics, to fight a giant Gamemnae. And while it was a butt-kicking call out – knowing what he was about to do, giddy with anticipation going “Say it! Say it! YES!” – that’s ONE TIME. He’s not entirely an homage. He’s his own character.
If there’s background in the Super Friends I haven’t seen where Apache Chief starts smearing himself with blood sigils, turning himself into a murder of crows, and using a dreamcatcher to spy on people, I’ll acquiesce. Until then, it’s just one cool reference at the climax of The Obsidian Age.
Fair enough, Gary. Here, then, is Joe Kelly speaking on the subject to Newsarama (I don’t believe this is up on Newsarama any more or I’d give you a link):
Newsarama: Now that you mention her — given the track record of recently created characters designed to fit in with the Justice League, Faith and Manitou Raven almost have a targets on their backs, don’t they?
Kelly: Well, not really. Speaking of Manitou Raven a little, as people have figured out by now — he’s Apache Chief. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a Justice League character who has never been in the book, so here was an opportunity to introduce him in a different way, and suddenly reveal to people that he’s Apache Chief, and he’s a different kind of magic user instead of Zatanna.
Newsarama: Okay, but putting Apache Chief in the team, albeit in a different form — while it’s cool for people around your age who remember the character from the Super Friends cartoon – some younger readers who see the character could quite easily come away with the impression of “So what?”
Kelly: Well, they get to learn a little history from us old fogeys…
Thanks for the suggestion, Gary!
By the way, I also liked the other reference Kelly put into #75, when Zatanna called Raven “chief.”
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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