Welcome to the four hundred and forty-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 forty-six. This week, did Curt Swan really do an illustrated X-rated version of Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex? Did we nearly have Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb/Art Adams on All-Star Batman and Robin? And finally, did Chris Claremont reveal that Black Widow was a child in World War II?
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: Did Curt Swan illustrate an X-Rated “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”?
Reader Dennis L. wrote in a while back to ask me if it was true that Curt Swan did some X-rated Superman art for some project. The answer is basically yes, Dennis.
Curt Swan, as you all well know, is one of, if not THE, most iconic Superman artists of all-time, drawing Superman on a regular basis for over twenty years, from the Silver Age right up until the John Byrne reboot in the mid-1980s (Swan even continued drawing Superman books after that, just not on a regular basis).
Here are some sample pages from past Swan classics…
You might all also be familiar with Larry Niven’s classic 1971 essay “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex,” a humorous piece that examines the difficulties that an earth woman with the initials LL would have conceiving Superman’s child. It has become quite a famous piece.
Well, in 1995, Penthouse Comix decided to republish the essay, only this time, they had 75 year old Curt Swan do some illustrations for the essay! Just one year before he passed away, Swan did the following drawings for the piece.
WARNING! THESE PIECES ARE NOT SAFE FOR WORK! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE CURT SWAN DRAW X-RATED COMICS, JUST GO TO THE NEXT PAGE OF THIS WEEK’S LEGENDS.
Well, there you go, Dennis, I presume that this answers your question! Thanks for asking it!
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
Was the Famed Poet Marianne Moore Hired to Name the Car That Would Ultimately be Known as the Edsel?
All Star Batman and Robin was an ill-fated comic book series by Frank Miller and Jim Lee that helped launch DC’s short-lived “All Star” line of books.
However, did you know that originally, the book was intended to be a Hush reunion between Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee?
In a 2009 issue of Wizard, Loeb spoke of projects of his that never got made:
I was supposed to do All Star Batman and Robin with Jim Lee, but I left for Marvel, and DC wasn’t to keen on me continuing even though Marvel was okay with it. But, hey, they got Frank Miller in the end! I know that Jim and I will go back to Batman one day; “Hush 2” is still in the cards! What nobody knows is that Art Adams was going to do the second ASBR arc, and I started that as well. Full script-issue #11(crazy, huh?) and Arthur drew half of the book-outrageously beautiful stuff featuring Man-Bat. It’ll never see the light of day!
Never say never, Jeph, because just last year, Art Adams released the pages that he completed on to his Facebook page!
This is how Loeb often would work on a project, working ahead of time to give the artist he was working with (who often tended to be a top-notch, but slow, artist) time to get it finished in time. But when the project was squelched, those pages were lost. Until Adams shared them with us all!
Here are some samples…
Damn, that would have been COOL.
Be sure to check out the full collection of pages at Adams’ Facebook fan page above!
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to Jeph Loeb, Art Adams, Frank Miller and Jim Lee!
Did Jim Lee have a specific character in mind when creating the X-Traitor?
Last week, I talked about the famous issue of X-Men that established that Wolverine was around during World War II and knew Captain America (such retroactive connections between characters is also the central concept behind my new blog feature, Foundationed Deep, which you can check out here).
The other side of that story, though, was that the Black Widow was ALSO in the comic as a little girl.
The 1990 comic even addressed the fact that this was weird.
At the time, most fans (myself included) figure that this was just writer Chris Claremont introducing a new plot idea that he just never got the chance to revisit. Reader M-Wolverine asked about it last week:
Anyone know the story reasoning for having the Black Widow in that story too, completely altering her character? Having Wolverine meet Cap makes sense as as story concept…saying the Black Widow is really old and has super powers seems like a weird throw in, that was never followed up on in X-Men and only left for people writing that character to “clear up” later.
However, get this, Claremont DIDN’T come up with that idea. Well, not exactly.
It was Gerry Conway in 1972’s Daredevil #88 that firmly established World War II as being part of the Black Widow’s origin in her first real origin (an early Avengers story by Roy Thomas SORT of gave her an origin)…
Now, of course, don’t get me wrong, Claremont could have easily ignored her World War II past twenty years later, just as everyone ignores Reed Richards and Ben Grimm’s World War II past, but for those of you out there (myself included) who always felt that Claremont was introducing a brand new concept in that X-Men issue, that is not the case.
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Was the Wampa attack in The Empire Strikes Back added to the script to explain away facial injuries Mark Hamill had suffered in a car accident?
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!