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Comic Book Legends Revealed #425

by  in Comic News Comment
Comic Book Legends Revealed #425

Welcome to the four hundred and twenty-fifth 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 twenty-four. This week, were Mark Gruenwald’s ashes also mixed in with the ink for a Marvel Comics poster? Was the Venture Brothers originally a comic book? And was a Marvel Avenger’s look based on a TV Avenger?

Let’s begin!

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: Mark Gruenwald’s ashes were also mixed in with a Marvel Comics poster.


The VERY FIRST edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed dealt with the story of how beloved Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald…

had some of his ashes mixed in with the printing of the trade paperback collection of Squadron Supreme (Gruenwald’s most famous comic book work).

While that IS true, commenter Tom wrote in the other day to also ask:

I read the urban legend of Mark Gruenwald’s ashes being used in the printing of a comic book. Does anyone know if his ashes were mixed in with the black ink to create a “Spiderman” poster? My wife worked at a printing company (Northeast Graphics) in North Haven, CT and was told the poster was created with the ashes mixed in with the black ink. My wife recalls Mark’s wife visiting the plant but wasn’t sure of the reason for the visit. The plant foreman told my wife that she brought Mark’s ashes to be mixed with the ink to create the “Spiderman” poster.

Amazingly enough, this is ALSO true! I asked the always helpful Tom Brevoort about it, and he said that Gruenwald’s ashes were, indeed, mixed in with the ink for a Marvel Universe poster by Claudio Castellini. Tom could not recall the EXACT poster, but the odds are extremely high that it is this late 1990s Castellini poster…

Very cool tribute to a great Marvel creator.

Thanks to Phantom-Longbox for the color version of the poster!

Thanks to Tom Brevoort for the information and thanks to commenter Tom for suggesting it!


Check out some Entertainment and Sports Urban Legends Revealed!

Does Time Magazine Intentionally Put Devil’s Horns on Cover Subjects They Dislike?

Did Wilt Chamberlain Have a Infamously Poor Reaction to the Invention of Morning Shootarounds?

Is a Playboy Centerfold Really the Standard Test Image for Image Processing Algorithms?

Did Quantum Leap Correctly Predict Super Bowl XXX?

What Exactly Happened in the “Win One for the Gipper!” Football Game?

Did TV Guide Put Oprah Winfrey’s Head on Ann-Margaret’s Body on a Cover?

Did a Convicted Man Ask for his Sentence to be INCREASED to Honor his Favorite Basketball Player?

On the next page, was the Venture Brothers originally a comic book?

COMIC LEGEND: Venture Brothers was originally intended as a comic book.


The Venture Brothers is an excellent television series that is ostensibly about the grown son of a scientist adventurer who is, himself, a scientist adventurer now with his two sons (the “Venture Brothers” in the title of the series)…

but that’s really just a drop in the bucket of what the Venture Brothers is about. The series doesn’t just satirize the world of Jonny Quest, but also G.I. Joe and countless other comic book concepts. The comic book connections to the series are many. The first DVD collection of the series even had artwork by the legendary comic book artist Bill Sienkiewicz…

Just last week, we did a Line it is Drawn based on mashing up comic book characters with Venture Brothers characters.

However, interestingly enough, the series was first intended AS a comic book!

Series creator Christopher McCulloch (who uses the pseudonym Jackson Publick for the series) was a longtime animation writer and storyboard artist (most notably for Ben Edlund’s Tick series) when he started up the Monkeysuit Anthology with a few other cartoonists who worked in animation. The series ran for a few issues over a couple of years at the turn of the 21st Century.

In any event, McCulloch created the Venture Brothers as a story for the anthology. He soon realized that the concept was far too intricate for just a 12-page comic book story in an anthology so he developed it into a TV series (first for Comedy Central and then eventually for Cartoon Network, where it has been airing for five seasons now).

Thanks to Travis Pelkie for the head’s up about this information!

Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to animated series!

Was the Human Torch replaced by H.E.R.B.I.E. in the Fantastic Four cartoon because the network was afraid that kids would, inspired by the Torch, set themselves on fire?

Was Renee Montoya invented for a cartoon?

Did Daredevil almost have a cartoon series where he’d have a dog sidekick?

Did SlimKid3, of the rap group The Pharcyde, produce a rap song that the Human Torch performed in an episode of the 1990s Fantastic Four cartoon?

Was a DC character who was okay for a DC cartoon considered too adult for a DC toy?

Did Marvel squelch a Captain America cartoon series in the 1990s that was set during World War II because they were not allowed to mention Nazis at all?

Was Val on Josie and the Pussycats really the first African-American cartoon character?

On the next page, was the look of one of Marvel’s Avengers based on one of the TV Avengers?

COMIC LEGEND: John Romita based his Black Widow re-design on Emma Peel from the Avengers TV series.


In 1970’s Amazing Spider-Man #86, John Romita did a major re-design on the Black Widow before she graduated to her own ongoing feature in Amazing Adventures…

For years, I always assumed that the re-design was an homage, of sorts, to Emma Peel in the Avengers.

My pal, commenter Omar Karindu, said as much in a discussion a few months back.

However, amazingly enough, the re-design was NOT based on Emma Peel! Romita explained the REAL influence in an interview with Jon B. Cooke in Comic Book Artist #6…

I did the costume on the Black Widow. One of my favorite strips from when I was a kid was Miss Fury. They had done a Miss Fury book at Marvel, and when I found out they had the rights to her, I said I’d love to do a Miss Fury book sometime. I had done an updated drawing of Miss Fury, and Stan said, “Why don’t we redesign the Black Widow costume based on Miss Fury?” So I took the mask off her face, and made the Black Widow the one in the patent leather jumpsuit. That was why the Black Widow changed.

Miss Fury was a comic strip by Tarpe Mills. Timely Comics (later Marvel) reprinted her Sunday strips, as well, in the 1940s…

Huh. I can definitely see it. And I don’t see any reason for Romita to lie about this, so I’m willing to believe him.

Thanks to Jon B. Cooke and John Romita for the information and thanks to Omar Karindu for giving me the head’s up about it!

Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did TV’s Catwoman, Julie Newmar, get a U.S. patent on a special type of pantyhose that would accentuate a woman’s derriere?

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 And my Twitter feed is, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? 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.

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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

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!

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