This is the sixty-fourth 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 sixty-three.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Neal Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys used to be an editor for Marvel Comics.
You may have heard of the Pet Shop Boys, who had a few hit songs, most notably “West End Girls.”
Well, the lead singer of the duo, Neil Tennant (Chris Lowe was the other half of the team) had a different career before the pair hit it big in the early 80s – comic book editor!
Tennant worked as an editor for Marvel UK during the late 70s.
If you visit the official website of the duo, there is a section on the group’s history, and it details the situation as thus:
[In 1975,] After completing a degree in history at the Polytechnic of North London, Neil takes a job at Marvel Comics, anglicizing spelling and indicating where over-risque women needed to be redrawn decently. While there he interviews comic fan Marc Bolan, who politely informs him that his tape record wasn’t working.
Here’s a neat picture of Neil, while working at Marvel UK…
Tennant moved on to work for Smash Hits, a British teen pop magazine, and it was while working for Smash Hits that the duo began performing together and eventually becoming the Pet Shop Boys.
Now, two decades or so later, the band is still recording together.
As someone who was high up at the company Tennant edited for once said, “Nuff’ said.”
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC had an unpublished Green Lantern Annual that they sat on for almost forty years before publishing.
Commenter Ted Watson asks,
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, DC published quality format reprints of some of their old comics of varying giant sizes, and made up some actually new collections in those old formats. Most of these-called faux replica editions by some-had a new inside-cover text piece that admitted they were newly assembled. and in fact generally gave the game away by including at least one item that had actually been reprinted in the era of that format, or in some cases had been ORIGINALLY published at that time. One neither made any such admission nor included any such tell-tale content, the Green Lantern giant. It in fact reeked of being a replica of a genuine old issue, but there never was one. Was it prepared and, at the last minute, scrapped, leaving the stats or whatever on a shelf at DC until the recent practice of replica and faux replica editions was begun?
This speaks to the good job DC did with this project, as the Green Lantern Annual #1, 1963 issue, while certainly looking like it actually was put together in 1963, really was put together in 1998.
In Bob Rozakis’ super-cool Answer Man column, the great John Wells stepped up with information about the project:
As part of the promotional efforts for GREEN LANTERN [third series] #100 in June of 1998, DC released GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL  #1. It was a wonderful example of what an Annual from that year might have looked like and they even got Julius Schwartz to edit the book.
So, no, while it looked quite realistic, it was, indeed, only pretend.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC Comics’ Earth X was originally going to be called Earth [Swastika].
In 1973, Len Wein added a new group of heroes to the annual JLA/JSA team-up, the heroes DC purchased (and did nothing with) from Quality Comics. The conceit was that these heroes lived on an Earth where the Nazis won World War II, and now, the heroes (calling themselves the Freedom Fighters) were constantly fighting against the Nazis.
The Freedom Fighters were popular enough to get their own series in a couple of years, which last for about two years.
The world that these heroes lived on was called Earth-X. However, that was not what Len Wein WANTED to call it. According to a Newsarama piece by Troy Brownfield,
Wein, in keeping with most of the team-ups having “Crisis” as part of their name, originally forwarded the idea of calling the story “Crisis on Earth-[Swastika]”. Schwartz flatly rejected having the Nazi symbol in the title, but counter-proposed that the new world be simply called “Earth-X”, joining the previously established Earths 1, 2,3 and S.
Too bad, as I think that would look pretty freaky looking for the name of an Earth!
Thanks to my pal Loren (of Suspension of Disbelief fame) for passing this one along to me!
Well, that’s it for this week, thanks for stopping by!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!!