This is the one-hundred and seventy-first 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 seventy. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: An artist stopped working on his comics without informing anyone, including the editors on the books he was drawing.
Malaysian artist Mahathir Buang (who went by the name Milx – originally meant to be Milk but he felt Milx sounded cooler) had a quick rise in the comics world in 2002, when he was in his mid-20s.
After working on a pitch for Marvel’s Epic line of comics with Steve Niles, Milx quickly found himself offered a gig drawing a brand new Silver Surfer series for Marvel Comics!
Not only that, but he was simultaneously working on a bi-monthly series for IDW with Niles called Wake the Dead!
Milx was on the way up, and finished the first issue of both series with no problem, even though he himself noted that inking himself on Silver Surfer could have been a problem.
Then he hit a bit of a snag….he more or less vanished.
Eventually, without being able to contact the guy, both Marvel and IDW moved on with other artists. In IDW’s case, since the book had not come out at the time, they were able to avoid delays. Marvel, however, had the second issue of the Silver Surfer series delayed by two months due to the change in artists (Lan Medina took over, and did a heck of a job, really).
Eventually, Milx resurfaced with a letter written to Tom Brevoort at Marvel, Jeff Mariotte at IDW, Steve Niles and the writing team of Silver Surfer, Stacy Weiss & Dan Chariton….
First of all, I apologize for my unnecessary action of shutting down and running away from my responsibility. My action had affected everything, the project, others reputation and badly, myself. And by saying sorry over and over again won’t do any good at this moment.
It’s should have been smooth ride for me, but due to my greediness and over confident in tackling tasks in hands had lead me into this. People have been put their trust to me, and I wasted them away. A perfect mirror of my life. I run away when ever there’s a breakdown facing me. Especially, to Steve Niles, the man that gives everything to me, chances and trust.
The very reason I wrote this is, I don’t want to run away anymore. I going to face the consequences of the action that I made. I know that, from now on, nobody going to trust me or even pitch me a project but let me settle everything up. Sadly my life end up this way.
Tom: I know I have a contract with Marvel, and I blew the contract. Is there any legal action will be taken on me? If there is, I here to face it. I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done. It’s a mess, and I’ll clean it up.
Dan & Stacy: Sorry guys, for messing everything up. Truly I am, hope to see Silver Surfer flying with you guys in it.
Jeff: I know Wake the Dead is over for me. I regret it a lot. I’ll return the unused art board ASAP. I can’t do much. I’ll send the remaining cover of Wake the Dead if you still want to use it. Thanks for your support, and sorry for wasting them.
Steve: I know that you really disappointed in me. I wasted my talent and my life. Right now, I am facing my problems and ready to move forward. Right now, I just want to repair my relationship with you, and I might not get to collaborate with you, but I do need some word of advice. Very least that I can asked.
A feedback from you guys is very much appreciated. Thanks.
Pretty amazing, no?
Niles ended up giving Milx a second chance, and in 2006, Milx drew the 30 Days of Night mini-series, Dead Space.
There were also a bit of a hubbub at the time of his disappearance about whether Milx was the same guy as a person named Mo_o who posted at the Marvel fan fiction site, Marvel 2000. I don’t believe I could prove it one way or the other, so I’ll just leave it alone.
Still, it’s amazing to me that a fellow could just stop drawing his comics like that!
STATUS: Kinda Sorta True (but not so much)
Reader Bertrone asked me about something he read on Wikipedia that suggested that there were stories featuring Catwoman killing people and that DC later stated that these stories took place on Earth-B. He wanted to know what the deal with Earth-B was.
Well, the answer, like most things in life, begins with Bob Haney.
The Brave and the Bold had an interesting start, as it first began as a non-superhero book…
then, when the Silver Age began, it became a counterpart to Showcase, as a try-out book…
finally, with #50, the book became a team-up book (in one of the oddest moves you would see, the book went BACK to being a try-out book for two issues, #57 and 58, then returned to a team-up book).
That first issue was written by Bob Haney, who would go on to write the book on a more or less ongoing basis (a couple of fill-ins mixed in) for the next seventeen years.
As mentioned in one of the very first Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, Bob Haney was not exactly a stickler when it came to continuity, especially in the pages of the Brave and the Bold, so soon, he began “violating” continuity left and right…
All these books did not technically fit into the Earth-1/Earth-2 dynamic, so DC fans, and ultimately DC personnel, began referring to Haney’s Brave and the Bold stories as being on “Earth-B,” with the B either standing for Haney’s longtime editor (although not his editor when he began or his editor when he finished with Brave and the Bold #158), Murray Boltinoff or for the Bs in Brave and the Bold.
Eventually, Earth-B began what people at DC would refer to to explain ANY events that did not fit into continuity – “They took place on Earth-B.”
One example of an event that was placed on to Earth-B was a number of Catwoman stories during the 1970s that involved Catwoman killing people. These stories were considered to be on Earth-B.
Now, Earth-B was never actually referenced in an actual comic book. The closest it came was Bob Rozakis referring to it in a letters column. So that’s why I have this marked down as kinda sorta true (but not so much).
Still, it’s interesting to see how continuity mistakes were dealt with decades ago.
Chris Elam had a fun, if short-lived, blog called Earth-B!
STATUS: Basically False
Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy’s run on Master of Kung Fu is rightfully hailed as a classic (it made the Top 100 Comic Book Runs, as voted on by Comics Should Be Good readers!).
However, were they ever going to work together on another classic character, Michael Moorcock’s Elric?
Reader Rob sent in the following a month or so ago…
Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy were once lined up to do an Elric Series for Marvel.
Though I seem to have misplaced the comic in question, I remember reading a response to a letter in the lettercolumn of MASTER OF KUNG-FU #34 (Nov ’75) in which whoever put the column together announced that this would be happening soon. Obviously, it never did but given that Elric had appeared in Marvel’s CONAN comic a few years earlier, this certainly made sense. So did this get no further than that one announcement or do never-published pages exist somewhere?
I asked Paul Gulacy about it, and he was gracious enough to tell me that while the idea was bandied around, it never actually got to the point of being authorized, so no, he never did any pages for it.
I say “Basically False” because there is a fine line between “it is lined up and it will be happening soon” and “the idea was bandied about” – there’s not much difference, is there?
Gulacy was kind enough to point me to a pin-up of Elric he did for Jim Steranko’s Mediascene magazine.
And thanks to Job B. Cooke and Comic Book Artist, here is that pin-up!
Well, that was one of the more straightforward answers to a legend, no?
Elric did, by the way, end up making his way to comics for many different companies.
Thanks to Rob for the suggestion, Paul Gulacy for the answer and Jon B. Cooke and Comic Book Artist for the pin-up!
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!