Welcome to the four hundred and fourteenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and thirteen. This week, learn whether Kryptonite was really added to the Superman radio show to give the actor who played Superman a vacation! Discover who was originally going to play the role in New X-Men that Grant Morrison ultimately gave to the Beast! And finally, find out Adam Strange’s strange origin!
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Kryptonite was first introduced on the Superman radio show as a way for the actor playing Superman to take time off the show.
I’ve written in the past about how Kryptonite actually first appeared on the Superman radio show before it appeared in the comics (although, as I have also noted, it is very likely that the radio show got the idea from an unpublished Superman comic book that introduced the idea of a metal from Krypton that negatively affected Superman). However, there has been a misleading piece of information about the introduction of kryptonite into the radio show.
As the story goes, the show added the metal to the program to give actor Bud Collyer, who played Superman, time off from the show (as there were no reruns back then)…
However, as noted in Glen Weldon’s “Superman: An Unauthorized Biography,” Collyer was actually present during the entire first storyline on the radio show featuring kryptonite in 1943.
I believe that the show later DID use kryptonite to give Collyer time off in a late 1945 sequence on the series (the introduction of “The Atom Man”) but it is fair to say that that is not how kryptonite was FIRST introduced on the radio show, which is how it is very often reported (luckily, never by me exactly, although I certainly have strongly implied it in the past).
Thanks to Weldon for the information and thanks to my pal Loren for suggesting this one!
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
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On the next page, who did Beast replace in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men?
Last week I noted how Chris Claremont wrote a year’s worth of X-Treme X-Men stories with Beast as a member of his X-Men team before having the character pulled from his book after just three issues were drawn due to Grant Morrison wanting the character in New X-Men.
Naturally, some folks wondered what the deal was. If Claremont and Morrison (and Joe Casey) had, indeed, agreed to divvy up the X-Men, how could Morrison suddenly ask for a character that he had passed on already?
Well, as it turns out, it was because Morrison HIMSELF had a character suddenly become unavailable. I’ve already written about how Emma Frost was added to Morrison’s New X-Men as a replacement for his first choice, Colossus, who had been recently killed off. In the case of Beast, Morrison wanted Moira MacTaggert for the role as the resident scientist in his X-Men run.
However, like Colossus, unbeknownst to Morrison, MacTaggert was on her last legs as she was killed off just months before Morrison took over…
Morrison now needed to replace her scientist role, so he asked for (and was given) Beast instead. Thus, Claremont had to then remove Beast from HIS team.
Thanks to commenter Damien for reminding me of Morrison’s manifesto, where he mentions both MacTaggert and Colossus.
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed for stories of other characters who were replaced at the last minute!
Was the Kang in Mark Waid’s Captain America run originally not going to be revealed as Korvac?
On the next page, how did Adam Strange come about?
The brilliant comic book historian Jim Amash uncovered a fascinating piece of information about Adam Strange’s origin which Amash revealed in the introduction to the The Adam Strange Archives back in 2003.
You see, DC had just introduced their Showcase title which featured various brand-new DC characters (or spotlights on existing characters).
As it turned out, DC editorial director Irwin Donenfeld decided that DC was going to introduce two new science fiction heroes. He brought in editors Jack Schiff and Julius Schwartz. The two men were each going to invent a new science fiction hero. One of them was going to be from the future and the other one from the present.
As it turned out, Schiff was given first choice. Schiff decided to go with the future character. Schiff’s character was the Space Ranger and he appeared in Showcase #15.
Now “stuck” with a character from the present, Schwartz came up with the idea for Adam Strange, who debuted two issues later…
Schwartz later noted that he was happy that it turned out the way that it did and that had he had first pick, he’d have gone with the present-day hero anyways, but imagine if Schiff had chosen the present day? How different things would have been!
Thanks to Jim Amash for the information!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: How did Optimus Prime end up saving the life of Duke from G.I. Joe?
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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