This is the twenty-second 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 twenty-one.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Joker was originally killed off in his SECOND appearance!
Most everyone knows that the Joker’s first appearance came in the pages of Batman #1, in 1940.
But did you know that he almost made his LAST appearance later that very same issue?
At the time, Bob Kane was not very big on repeating villains. If you messed with Batman, odds are you were going to end up dead. Not by Batman, per se, but SOMEthing bad was going to happen to you that would send you on to the great beyond. Obviously, a big difference between the comics then and now is that they were not thinking of these stories lasting for decades and decades. It was just “what can I think of next?”.
So therefore, at the end of Batman #1, in 1940, in his second appearance (his first appearance being the lead story of the issue) the Joker accidentally stabs himself and dies at the end of the comic.
That is it. He was dead. Luckily, Joker had himself a benefactor who saw the utility of the Joker. Batman editor Whitney Ellsworth felt that it would be a waste to kill the character off so soon, so he actually had them ADD a panel, after the comic was complete, that had an ambulance driver remark something along the lines of, “My goodness! He’s still alive!”
Imagine how different things would have been if he had not stepped in?
(Thanks to everyone for the correction re: the issue number)
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marv Wolfman created Black Cat as a foil for the Amazing Spider-Man
When Black Cat first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #194, in 1979, she seemed like a good fit with Spider-Man, as a new villain that he could spar with.
However, Black Cat was never intended to be a Spider-Man villain. She was originally destined for a whole other gender of superhero.
The writer on Amazing Spider-Man, Marv Wolfman , had just recently been taken off of the Marvel title, Spider-Woman, and it was for THAT title that Black Cat was originally intended. Marv details this in response to the following question at his recent chat at Comic Book Resources,
When you created the Black Cat to be Spider-Man’s new girl friend, was it linked to a desire to write stuff about Catwoman or was it only an homage? Marv: I didn’t plan Black Cat to be in Spidey. I created her for Spider-Woman (look at the letter column of the first B.C. story and you’ll see). I then decided to leave Spider-Woman and moved her over. So, I never even thought of Catwoman when I did her. I got the idea for her from a Tex Avery cartoon, Bad Luck Blackie.
I think we got lucky, as I do not recall how well off most other Spider-Woman villains are nowadays!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Renee Montoya was invented for the cartoon show before she appeared in the comic books.
It is not uncommon for comic books to adapt into the comics characters who appear in other media. Heck, in this very space, I talked about how the Superman comics adapted characters from the Superman radio show. What makes this situation unique is the timing of the events.
Renee Montoya, Gotham cop, made her comic debut in Batman #475, cover-dated May 1992.
She made her first appearance in the Batman Animated Series cartoon in the first episode of that series, which aired? September of 1992.
So how exactly was she created for the cartoon?
Well, apparently, what it was a matter of was Paul Dini wanted to add a little diversity to the Batman cast of characters, and Montoya was one of these new additions. So while the cartoon was in development, the Batman comic book staff caught wind of the new character and were intrigued. They then requested from the Animated Series if they could use Montoya in the comics. As the lead time for a comic book is much shorter than an animated show, the comic Montoya ended up making her debut several months before her inspiration did!
Well, that’s it for me this week!
Feel free to tell me some urban legends you have heard, and I will try to confirm or deny them!