Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-seventh 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-six. This week, was Marvel originally going to kill off Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #400? Was there nearly a Swamp Thing/Mr. Monster crossover written by Alan Moore? Finally, what the heck does Marvel Comics have to do with Beatlemania?
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: Marvel was originally going to kill off Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #400.
Reader Josh M. wrote in a while back to ask if it is true that Marvel had originally planned on killing off Venom in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #400.
Mark Ginocchio, who you likely know from Gimmick or Good? and his great blog, Chasing Amazing, did an edition of his Superior Spider-Talk podcast recently with early 1990s Spider-Man editor Danny Fingeroth, and Mark was kind enough to ask Fingeroth about it.
Fingeroth noted that it was an urban legend, saying:
I suppose there was always general talk about whether the suit should bond with someone besides Eddie, whether long or short term, but that was never anything ever being considered for ASM #400.
Picking up on what Fingeroth mentioned, I looked into it some more and I discovered the confusion. In the introduction to the Spider-Man: Carnage trade paperback in 1993…
David Michelinie noted that he was planning (in a general sense, I imagine, as he would be making these plans years before #400 came out) on killing off Eddie Brock and having the Venom symbiote find a new host. However, those plans were pretty quickly squelched.
Michelinie then figured, “Okay, if I can’t find a new host for the symbiote, why not just introduce a new symbiote instead?”
And so Carnage was born…
So Josh likely heard a telephone game version of that story.
Michelinie obviously did not even get to WRITE Amazing Spider-Man #400, as he was off the title well before that issue, which was written by J.M. DeMatteis and instead featured the (then) death of Aunt May…
Thanks to Josh for the question and thanks to Danny Fingeroth and Mark Ginocchio (and David Michelinie, I suppose) for the information!
Check out some Entertainment and Sports Urban Legends Revealed!
Did Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin Have a Classic “Meet Cute”?
On the next page, did we nearly have a Mr. Monster/Swamp Thing crossover?
COMIC LEGEND: Mr. Monster and Swamp Thing nearly had a crossover.
Michael T. Gilbert’s Doc Stearn…Mr. Monster was an excellent independent comic book series during the 1980s.
Eventually Gilbert became friends with superstar writer Alan Moore, and Moore even guest-scripted some Mr. Monster comics, even doing a Mr. Monster pin-up!
However, the pair actually were going to go further and actually have a crossover of their characters! A Mr. Monster/Swamp Thing crossover comic!
The deal was approved by DC and Eclipse (who were the publishers of Mr. Monster at the time) and it would have been the first cross-company crossover between DC Comics and an independent publisher…
Gilbert and Moore had even plotted the story (which Gilbert later described as “a romp through the horror worlds of various old comic book companies”), but right before Gilbert began to actually produce the story, Alan Moore had his split with DC Comics over Watchmen and without Moore, obviously there was no project left.
Man, how awesome would that have been?
Thanks to Steven W. for suggesting this one (Steven also suggested this week’s Movie Legends Revealed about H.R. Giger and the Batmobile. Quite a week for suggestions, Steve!)
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving crossovers that never came to be!
Did Batman and Jon Sable almost have a crossover?
STATUS: Technically True
Beatlemania was a Broadway musical revue in the late 1970s that consisted of four performing doing, well, you guessed it, Beatles songs!
It was popular enough that they decided to make a movie. It was basically just a film recording of the musical and it came out in 1981. It came and went pretty fast, hurt by both the fact that movies tend to get a closer look than a stage show (so audiences could realize that the actors didn’t look too much like the actual Beatles) and the fact that the film came out soon after John Lennon’s death (and they didn’t even acknowledge his death in the film. Not even a “In memory of” or anything like that. What the heck?) In any event, due to a later lawsuit that the Beatles filed against the show, the film cannot come out on DVD (the settlement allows for the musical to continue but no commercial release of the film) so it has become a bit of a mystery.
The mystery came into comic book circles when the trailer began getting passed around over the years…
And people wondered what the heck was up with all of the Marvel comic characters in the trailer…
Yes, the Human Fly was in the trailer! I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed on the Human Fly years ago. You can check it out here.
Did Marvel have some sort of role in the movie?
As it turns out, there is just a scene in the musical where they play “Lucy in the SKy With Diamonds” and characters get stoned….
and they project comic book characters on to the screen in the background…
At the end of the film, they claim that the “cartoon characters” are all courtesy of Marvel Comics, and with the way that Marvel handled their intellectual property back then, I would not be surprised at all if someone at Marvel DID basically tell them, “Yeah, sure, take whatever you want. Don’t worry about it.”
Of course, they also had DC Comic characters!
Intellectual property sure has come a long way since 1981! Can you imagine a musical trying to just cut out drawings from comics and using them to illustrate a sequence in a musical today?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did H.R. Giger, the guy who designed the alien in Alien, design a bizarre Batmobile that was rejected for Batman Forever?
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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See you all next week!