Welcome to the three hundredth and seventieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn whether Black Cat was nearly killed early on in her comic career…by J. Jonah Jameson!? Plus, a decade before he co-created Asterix, see Uderzo draw…Captain Marvel Jr.?! In Belgium?! Finally, the story of how Dave Sim nearly worked on a Fables comic story.
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and sixty-nine.
COMIC LEGEND: Marv Wolfman was going to have J. Jonah Jameson kill off Black Cat during his Amazing Spider-Man run.
STATUS: I am going with False
Late in his run on Amazing Spider-Man, Marv Wolfman had J. Jonah Jameson act increasingly erratic…
To the point where he suffers a nervous breakdown in Amazing #198…
and then escapes custody in #201…
In last week’s Abandoned An’ Forsaked, I showed how Roger Stern did a fill-in issue (Amazing Spider-Man #206) that explained away Jameson’s behavior as being a result of a “mental attitude-response variator ray.”
A few commenters wrote in to say that part of Stern’s motivation was that Marv Wolfman originally had planned to have Jameson, in his delusional state, kill the recently introduced Black Cat (Wolfman left the book one part into a two part Black Cat story).
I asked Marv about it and he said that it was untrue, that he thought Black Cat was too good of a character to get rid of so soon (Wolfman had introduced the character a year earlier). In the letter pages of Amazing Spider-Man #210, Roger Stern explains that he came up with the mental attitude-response variator ray because he felt that Jameson’s change in behavior seemed artificial, so he felt that it made sense for it to be officially MADE an actual artificial change.
It’s possible, though, that Wolfman might have had Jameson SHOOT Black Cat. You know, one of those magical comic book shooting injuries where they’re back to full strength in a matter of issues. Wolfman just knows for sure that he wouldn’t have killed her off. So it is possible, I suppose. It is worth noting that David Michelinie (who finished the Black Cat two-parter that Wolfman started) noted that he did not see Wolfman’s plot for the second part of the Black Cat two-parter so that he had to make the ending up based just on what had been written in the first part, so I do not know if Wolfman’s plot for Amazing Spider-Man #205 even exists.
Thanks to Marv Wolfman for the information! And thanks to all of the commenters who brought the Black Cat story up!
COMIC LEGEND: Uderzo drew Captain Marvel Jr. for a Belgium comic book company during the 1950s.
Reader Gerald wrote in about this one awhile back.
Albert Uderzo is best known for co-creating and drawing the famed Asterix comics…
But did you know that a decade before he drew Asterix, he actually worked on Captain Marvel, Jr? In BELGIUM!
Here are three of the strips he did for the Belgium newspaper Bravo in 1950 (note how Captain Marvel Jr.’s origin is changed fairly dramatically – as they are now a product of an explosion at a mad scientist’s lair)…
I don’t know if these were even AUTHORIZED! Check out this great site for more pages.
Thanks to Gerald for the information and thanks to the afore-linked Bravo fan site for the pages.
COMIC LEGEND: Dave Sim was going to contribute to the Fables graphic novel 1001 Nights of Snowfall, but the project fell apart in the contract stages.
Travis Pelkie wrote in to me about this fascinating little point in Dave Sim’s career.
Back in 2006, Sim struck up a deal with DC Comics to provide three pages of art for the Fables graphic novel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall…
Well, it did not work out great in the end.
At Al Nickerson’s amazing creators rights website, Sim shared the contract with DC (here are two pages, along with Sim’s comments)…
At that time and this, negotiations with DC involve hearing how “excited and thrilled” they are to possibly be working with you. What you find is that they are “excited and thrilled” because it costs them nothing to be “excited and thrilled”. Then I got two copies of the contract and was told to return them signed to the addressee coordinator who indicated that if I had any further concerns I could address them to [name] in the legal department. Which I did. I had eight minor changes I wanted made and indicated that I was open to negotiation on the eight minor changes. At which point I was informed that the eight minor changes were impossible and that they very much regretted that we wouldn’t be working together.
Read Al’s website here for the full contract and commentary from other comic book creators on Sim’s situation.
Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the head’s up, Travis! And thanks, of course, to Al for the great website and Dave Sim for sharing the information.
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!
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See you all next week!