This is the one-hundred and sixty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and sixty-six. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: An Uncle Sam comic book featuring Pearl Harbor being bombed was released…in November of 1941!!
Reader John Trumbull suggested this one a couple of weeks ago.
Astonishingly, in National Comics #18, which was a Quality Comic starring Uncle Sam, the main story involved the bombing of Pearl Harbor!
And the release date of the comic was November of 1941!!!!
The story was written by Gil Fox, with artwork by Lou Fine.
The big difference between this comic and actual events is that in this comic, it was GERMANY who attacks Pearl Harbor.
Click on the page to enlarge!
The bombing attack was actually a ruse to lure the United States Navy away from the Eastern Seabord, where Germany attacks – with Maine being their first target.
Ultimately, Uncle Sam and his sidekick, Buddy, help the residents of Maine drive off the German invaders, with an able assist from none other than the ghost of John Paul Jones (not the one from Led Zeppelin)!!!
As amazing as it sounds at first, the idea of Pearl Harbor being attacked was not exactly the most original idea – it was the home of the United States’ Pacific Fleet, so it was a natural location for an attack.
But still, for it to be released just a MONTH before it was actually attacked?
That really IS amazing.
Thanks so much to John Trumbull for making me hip to the info!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Mike Grell’s wife ghost-wrote a number of issues of Warlord for him.
Reader Jim asked the other week:
Did Mike Grell actually write all of the Warlord run where he is credited as writer? I remember a fabulous story arc, actually I don’t remember it that well, something about a double for Travis and lots of palace intrigue: but I really loved it. And it really stood out as being an atypical Warlord story. And somewhere I heard that Grell had been sick at the time and getting help writing the book – maybe from his wife or something?
You’re BASICALLY right, Jim, in that yes, most of the writing on Warlord from #53 to 71 (Early 1982 to Mid-1983) was secretly done by Grell’s then wife, Sharon Grell (nee Wright).
However, it was not a case of Grell being sick.
In an interview with Philip Schweier, Grell elaborated on the story:
Schweier: I understand a portion of the original run of The Warlord was ghost-written by your wife at the time.Certainly writing and drawing a monthly title can be a challenge, but how did this particular arrangement evolve?
Grell: I was otherwise occupied with the Tarzan comic strip, Starslayer and creating Jon Sable. Something had to give and Sharon Wright just happened to be an enormously talented writer who thoroughly understood the character (something ensuing writers seemed to lack) and told a great story. I learned a lot from her. With editorial consent and copperation we slipped Sharon in as ghostwriter without so much as a hiccup in sales. That made it possible to reveal the secret.
Pretty neat, huh?
And Mike’s right, the stories were quite consistent, quality-wise.
I believe Wright also wrote some Maggie the Cat stories, as well.
Thanks to Jim for the question, Philip Schweier and Mike Grell for the information, and Andrew Collins, because he answered Jim’s question before I could! 🙂
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: A Marvel artist tried to sneak a sexuality reference into an Excalibur cover.
Reader R. Lewis wrote in the other day to ask about an issue of Warren Ellis’ Excalibur, where we see an alternate future, a la Days of Future Past, specifically what Britain would be like during Days of Future Past.
Wolfsbane, as you can see, like the others, is much different from her past self.
Well, R. Lewis wanted to know if they were trying to tell us something about Wolfsbane via how her name was cropped in the cover.
It is cropped to say “LFSBAN,” which is not too far off, visually, from the word “lesbian.”
So, was there some secret message in the cover?
I figured it unlikely, but can’t hurt to ask, so I checked with cover artist Casey Jones (check out his website here), and here is what he had to say:
Unfortunately, the answer is no. I wish there was something juicy here, but I had no intention of hiding a secret message in the way I cropped “Wolfsbane” on the cover. The reader is just reading too much into that one. And… I always thought Rahne’s sexuality was pretty firmly established… I seem to remember her having a crush on Doug Ramsey back in the day… and it seems like there were some good stories that Peter David and Quesada did in X-Factor that touched on it, too.
There ya go!
Thanks to R. Lewis for the question and thanks to Casey Jones for the reply!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next week!
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