Welcome to the four hundred and first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn whether Supergirl co-creator Al Plastino was secretly Charles Schulz’s back-up on Peanuts if Schulz ever became ill! Did an issue of Cable predict Hurricane Sandy? Finally, discover the seven-year old who got a plot assist on an issue of Power Rangers!
Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred.
COMIC LEGEND: Al Plastino created a few month’s worth of Peanuts strips in case Charles Schulz ever became ill and needed back-up.
STATUS: False (with some truthiness mixed in there)
Awhile back, reader Darius S. wrote in to ask:
Al Plastino drew a year’s worth of Peanuts for the cartoon syndicate as a contingency measure in case Schulz should fall ill in the early ’80?s. True or false?
Al Platino is likely best known for being the co-creator of Supergirl (here is his art from her first appearance)…
He was one of the great comic book artists of the 1950s, although he is sadly not as well known today.
In any event, the above story about Plastino and Schulz has been passed around for many years and there is some truth to them, but it is not the way that people often tell the story.
What really happened is that in the late 1970s, Schulz was at an impasse with his negotiations with United Feature Syndicate over Peanuts. Unbeknownst to Schulz, UFS president, William C. Payette hired Plastino to start drawing a backlog of Peanuts strips in case negotiations collapsed. Essentially, a safety net in case they ever lost Schulz but were able to continue doing the strip.
Eventually, Schulz and UFS came to an agreement and Payette hid the strips in a vault somewhere (not wanting to irk Schulz but, at the same time, hey, who knows when you might need them?).
As these things are wont to do, the strips eventually became public and Schulz was reasonably irked at Payette’s maneuvering.
Plastino’s strips were never used and Schulz drew every single Peanuts strip until he retired (which ended up being soon before his actual death).
Still, if you’re curious about Plastino’s strips, here are two…
Thanks to David Michaelis, author of the excellent Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, for the information. And thanks to Darius for the suggestion!
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
Was the Who’s “My Generation” Banned by the BBC for Being Offensive to Stutterers?
COMIC LEGEND: An issue of Cable from 2008 predicted a “super storm” in New Jersey in 2012.
I’m doing a new feature called The Past is Close Behind, where we take a look at older comic books that take on new meanings when looked at today. Well, reader Angel S. wrote in with a legend suggestion that deals with just such an instance.
Here, from 2008’s Cable #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Ariel Olivetti, is the opening…
Pretty eerie, right?
As you all know, 2012 did, indeed, see New Jersey bombarded by Hurricane Sandy, which was, in many ways, a “super-storm.”
That’s just plain ol’ bizarre.
Here’s an actual shot of a New Jersey town flooded after the hurricane…
Thanks to Angel for the suggestion!
Check out some classic Cable-related Comic Book Legends Revealed!
Was Magog created as a parody of Cable?
COMIC LEGEND: A seven-year old got a co-plotting credit on an issue of Power Rangers.
In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Ninja Rangers/VR Troopers #3 (from Marvel Comics in the mid-1990s), there was the introduction of a new threat to the Power Rangers.
A sort of ANTI-Power Rangers made up of a bunch of jerky teens…
The Power Rangers all joined to form their big ass robot to fight the big ass robot of the bad guys later in the issue…
As you might imagine, the idea of doing a bad guy version of the Power Rangers is a sort of basic idea, but still a very cool one (like the Crime Syndicate of America, for instance).
However, in this instance, the idea came from seven-year old Vincent Lovece, son to Frank Lovece, writer of the comic.
And sure enough, check out the credits for the issue in question…
A bunch of folks offered to scan the pages I needed from the issue. Reader Jacob S. was the first to reply, but thanks to all of you who offered to help! And thanks to Frank Lovece, who shared this story in the column seven years ago!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did Jay Thomas’ character on Cheers get killed off because he insulted Rhea Perlman?
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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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!