Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-fourth 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 thirty-three. This week, did John Byrne really want to reveal that every Doctor Doom since Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s run was a Doom-bot? Did DC not allow Kevin Smith to even reference the Powerpuff Girls in an issue of Green Arrow? Plus, does Captain Comet owe Adam Strange his return to the DC Universe?
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: John Byrne wanted to reveal that every Doctor Doom since Jack Kirby and Stan Lee was a Doom-Bot.
A couple of weeks ago, reader Joe M. wrote in to ask:
Brian – Did you already do one on the story that, while on FF, Byrne wanted to say that all appearances of Dr. Doom, with the exception of his introuction, were all robots?
This legend takes me back, as it is related to the legend that made me start this column in the first place.
First off, no, Joe, Byrne never intended to reveal that all other Dooms were Doom-bots. He did famously introduce the concept of retconning Doom appearances as Doom-bots, which he did in Fantastic Four #258 (which I covered in my very first Meta-Message, as Byrne was sending a statement to Chris Claremont over Claremont’s usage of Doom in the pages of Uncanny X-Men).
Almost certainly, Joe is confusing Byrne with Walter Simonson, who revealed in Fantastic Four #350 that the Doctor Doom who had been appearing in the title recently was actually a Doom-bot and the “real” Doctor Doom had returned after spending some time away.
And perhaps Doom had not been seen since this story in Fantastic Four #40…
Leading to this shock by the Thing…
I believed the story that had made the rounds for a number of years that Simonson had a list of which appearances of Doom he felt were “real” and which ones were Doom-bots. I wrote about it on the blog. That was false and Simonson’s correction of my mistake inspired this very column.
But Byrne never had any “nearly ever Doom is a Doom-Bot” position. He just came up with the idea that led to other writers exploring ideas like that.
Thanks for the question, Joe!
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On the next page, what is the deal with DC and the PowerPuff Girls?
In Green Arrow #4, there’s a great discussion about the Powerpuff Girls by Mia and Stanley Dover (who at the time was pretending to be Green Arrow’s friend)….
However, Kevin Smith explained that originally the scene went a bit differently…
When I was writing ”Green Arrow” at DC, there were a few content issues that I found puzzling. The first occurred when I included a reference to the cartoon ”The Powerpuff Girls.” It wasn’t a smutty, Jay and Silent Bob-level reference, but instead, it featured a female character talking about how great it was to have cartoon characters for little girls to model themselves on, as opposed to the Rainbow Brites and Strawberry Shortcakes of old. I was told that the references to both Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake had to be altered to Rainbow Sprite and Raspberry Shortcakes, which I understood. However, I was also informed that the ”Powerpuff” reference (a positive one) had to go. This blew my mind, as ”The Powerpuff Girls” are owned by AOL Time Warner… which also owns DC Comics. What, was there the chance in this highly litigious culture that AOL Time Warner would sue itself? Weird.
Thanks to Ted Craig and Matthew Johnson for letting me know about this one in reference to last week’s legend about a similar situation with John Byrne not being allowed to draw Superman in a Powerpuff Girls comic book. And thanks to Kevin Smith for the information in the quote!
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On the next page, how does Captain Comet owe Adam Strange for his return to the DC Universe?
Captain Comet had been gone from DC continuity for quite awhile before making his triumphant return in the pages of Alan Grant and Barry Kitson’s L.E.G.I.O.N. in 1990 in L.E.G.I.O.N. #16, where he was used really well by Grant and Kitson as a heroic contrast to the shades of grey “heroism” of Vril Dox (like this scene from #25)…
However, originally, it was Adam Strange who was going to make his return to the mainstream of the DC Universe by joining the team, almost certainly playing the same role as Comet.
Instead, the Adam Strange prestige format mini-series of the same year (which is not exactly a favorite of many Adam Strane fans) took precdence and Grant and Kitson were denied access to Adam…
Imagine how things would have been different for both the L.E.G.I.O.N. and for Strange! It took almost a decade for Strange to return to his old self.
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Is there really an unaired episode of the Simpsons where Bart DIES?!
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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See you all next week!