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Comic Book Legends Revealed #389

by  in Comic News Comment

Welcome to the three hundredth and eighty-ninth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn whether Thunderstrike was always destined to die! Also, did Jack Kirby really never draw blood? Finally, discover the comic crossover from over a century ago! This week is more interactive than usual, as two of the three legends have challenges for you readers out there!

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and eighty-eight.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Eric “Thunderstrike” Masterson was always destined to die.

STATUS: True

Someone asked me this a long time ago but I can’t find the name in my notes anywhere. Ah well, if it was you, unnamed person, chime in and let me know! Anyhow, the question was about Eric Masterson, the hero known as Thunderstrike, who filled in for Thor for a little while during the early 1990s. Eric was killed off in the final issue of Thunderstrike…


As the story goes, Tom DeFalco always intended for Eric to die. The unnamed reader wanted to know if that story is true.

I asked Tom about it and he told me:

Yes, Ron Frenz and I always knew that Eric Masterson would not survive his encounter with Thor and we routinely hinted at his fate throughout the series.

So I, of course, had to go through the Thor comics to find these hints and they really were pretty plentiful (although surely some of them were not intended to be actual hints and are just me reaching for hints).

In Eric’s first appearance…


Thor doesn’t use his “death-prediction” powers as much as he should.

Early on, Eric was pretty damn morbid and thought of his kid a lot in relation to his death…




Eric was kidnapped once by a villain who wanted to get to Thor, and notice how everyone figures he must be dead…


When Eric becomes Thor for awhile, the obsession with death and his own mortalty keeps up….




The BIGGEST hint, though, was when the Thor from the future looks into what will happen to Eric in the future…



Yikes, right?

A few issues later, DeFalco presents that flash-forward as Eric thinking about having to give up being Thor…


But, well, how would the future flashforward show Eric’s thoughts? It still looks pretty grim.

The hints are stronger in one of the last issues that Eric appeared in as Thor, where he meets up with a villain who had been transported to the future in the previous adventure with the future Thor…


Now Eric is actually thinking he is destined to die…


In the later issues of Thunderstrike, the whole death thing gets even more obvious, like when Thunderstrike meets Hela…


And six issues before he dies, DeFalco and Frenz go as obvious as they can, as they clearly know Eric WILL be dying in six issues, so in a fight against Seth, the Serpent God of Death, Eric is literally marked for death…


Fascinating stuff, looking back at all the various hints over sixty or so comic books. Also time-consuming. 😉

Thanks to Tom DeFalco for the answer and thanks to the unnamed reader who asked me about it !

COMIC LEGEND: Jack Kirby never drew blood in a comic.

STATUS: False

Longtime reader Da Fug asked me if it is true that Jack Kirby never drew blood in comics.

Obviously, during the Comics Code era, blood was difficult to find. Check out this scene from a Kirby/Lee Thor issue…


But Kirby went way back, of course, to the pre-Comics Code days. So I looked into some early Captain Americas.

Now on the one hand, blood was still pretty sparse (it is important to note that even as early as 1941, comic book publishers were wary about depictions of violence. They feared the Wertham-style backlash a decade before it actually came to pass)…



Kirby did, indeed, draw blood in Captain America #1…


Now you might say, “But Brian, you stupid idiot, Kirby and Simon traded penciling duties in most of #1! How do you know that wasn’t Simon who drew that?”

Fair enough, so here from Captain America #3, in a story penciled only by Kirby, more blood…


Some commenters argue that the blood could have been added by the colorist. Kirby and Simon were in charge of the production of the comic, so no one was putting things into their comics without their permission, but fair enough, if you really want something more explicit, here’s a 1947 story from Prize’s Headline Comics #26, penciled by Jack Kirby…



So Kirby DID draw blood in his career (note that while other artists were doing tons of blood and gore in their crime comics, that was pretty much the extent of Kirby’s depiction of blood in his crime comics and even THAT decreased substantially in the next year or so, as Kirby was likely worried about the crime comics backlash at the time).

An interesting exercise for you readers is to find me examples of Kirby drawing blood in a Comics Code book. Blood WAS technically allowed in Comics Code approved books so long as it was not excessive, but did Kirby actually ever draw it in a Comics Code approved book? I tend to doubt it, but I obviously can’t say for sure.

Thanks to Da Fug for the question!

COMIC LEGEND: The Chicago Sunday Tribune had a comic crossover over a hundred years ago!

STATUS: True

A little while ago, I told you all about William H. D. Koerner’s Hugo Hercules, perhaps the first super-strong comic character. Hugo Hercules was a short-lived comic strip in the Chicago Tribune. However, reader Ed Love noted that Hugo Hercules was involved in something even MORE interesting. In November of 1902, Hugo Hercules was involved in a crossover with the other comic strips in the Chicago Tribune comics supplement! He saves them from a fire (that appears to have been set by one of the other strips in an attempt to wipe out competition)…


How awesome is that?

The comics being featured are three characters from strips by Brad Bradford, Archie the Amateur…


Boggs the Optimist (Archie and Boggs ostensibly shared a strip)….


and the Ingenious Ruggles…


Alice and the Duchess were from Alice’s Adventures in Funnyland, a strip by R.W. Taylor that began as a rip-off of Alice in Wonderland but soon became a standard “nanny trying to keep crazy kid in check” strip…


Thanks to Ed Love for the cool information and thanks to Barnacle Press for the scans! And thanks to ollieno, M Bloom and buttler for the identification of Archie, Boggs, Ruggles and Alice.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? It came out this week! The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).


If you want to order a copy, ordering it here


gives me a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

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)…


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…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed


See you all next week!