Welcome to the four hundred and nineteenth 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 eighteen. This week, did Marvel nearly put out a Spider-Man graphic novel in the 1980s where he romances a married mob wife? Plus, did Brian K. Vaughan offer a challenge involving a racy joke in a Batman comic? Finally, be sure to check out old Steve Ditko Spider-Man characters updated for the 1980s!
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COMIC LEGEND: Bob Layton wrote an unpublished Spider-Man graphic novel with Spidey romancing a mob wife.
Sometime in the mid 1980s, Bob Layton began work on a Spider-Man graphic novel with an excellent art team (Paul Smith on pencils and Barry Windsor-Smith on inks) that was to be a major change in Spider-Man’s life.
First of all, Layton was going to have Spider-Man get shot a number of times, making it the first time that Spider-Man had to recover from a major injury. Secondly, Spider-Man was going to be nursed back to health by the wife of a mob boss. The two of them would have an affair.
In the end, Spider-Man realizes he cannot continue their affair (after he saves her husband from a mob hit…a task he actually considers not doing).
However, either way, the graphic novel was to be a major turning point in the life of Spider-Man and would have been reflected in the pages of his monthly comic books.
The only problem was that with an art team like Paul Smith and Barry Windsor-Smith, you’re not likely to get a timely release and the book ended up getting delayed so long that Marvel had a change in Editors-in-Chief from Jim Shooter to Tom DeFalco. DeFalco felt that the story was TOO big of a change in Spider-Man’s status quo so he squelched the project.
Here are a few of Smith’s penciled pages…
Check out Bob Layton’s website here to read his full plot for the graphic novel.
Thanks to Bob Layton for the great info! Bob is always really informative about his past works! His website is awesome.
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
Did Coco Chanel Really Come Up With Two Famous Comebacks?
On the next page, learn about a challenge involving Brian K. Vaughhan and a “juvenile” joke!
Someone suggested this to me years ago but I don’t have their name in my notes. More recently, though, a reader named Jacob wrote to CBR’s head honcho Jonah Weiland about it and he passed it along to me and I thought, “Oh yeah, I meant to write something about this years ago.”
In any event, in 2000’s Batman: Gotham City Secret Files and Origins #1, Vaughan and artist Marcos Martin introduced a character called the Skeleton who was using the files on the Joker, Mr. Freeze and the Riddler (plus equipment based on theirs) to essentially BECOME each of the villains..
all as part of a mysterious vendetta against Bruce Wayne.
Obviously, the character has never been revealed since Vaughan moved on to other things.
However, in the collection of Vaughan’s DC superhero stories, False Faces, Vaughan made a challenge. He would reveal the identity of the Skeleton to
the first person who finds the obscenely juvenile punchline that I hid somewhere in the story
The punchline in question, of course, appear on the first page…
The same way that he used Boron, Argon and Fluorine to spell out “B-AR-F,” he also used Copper and Niton to spell….Cu and Nt.
You get it.
So the question now becomes, has Vaughan ever revealed the identity to anyone? Care to help us out, Brian?
Thanks to Jacob for reminding me to spotlight this one.
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to hidden messages/jokes!
Al Milgrom sneaked an insult of Bob Harras into the background of a comic book.
On the next page, did Marvel update the look for Spider-Man’s supporting cast when they reprinted Ditko comics in the 1980s?
Last week, I did a legend about how Marvel updated some of the old Lee/Ditko Spider-Man stories in the pages of Marvel Tales, including adding stuff like Dukes of Hazzard references.
A couple of readers recalled an even MORE dramatic change, with the actual looks of the characters being altered!
Something like this…
In actuality, that was just a joke in the letters column by the book’s assistant editor Bob DeNatale, as part of the Assistant Editor’s Month bit that Marvel was doing at the time.
Thanks to Rob H., John Trumbull, Big Goonie and Timothy Markin for this one!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Were Dr. McCoy’s medical instruments on the original Star Trek TV series really just fancy salt shakers?
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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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!