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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #70

by  in Comic News Comment
Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #70

This is the seventieth 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-nine. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Due to Don Perlin, a profanity accidentally snuck into an issue of Defenders.

STATUS: True

Don Perlin discussed this interesting occurance in a yet another fabulous interview by Daniel Best for Adelaide’s Comics and Books. Check out his archive of past interviews here.

Here’s the piece from the interview:

Don Perlin: I was the first guy, unwittingly, to put profanity in comics.Perlin: This happened in one of the Defenders. There was a character in there who was a lawyer for the Defenders and his gimmick was that no matter where you saw him in his office, there had to be a TV set on – he was always watching TV. And while I was drawing one of the panels I was listening to a talk show and there was someone on telling how bad cereals for kids were – they were all loaded with sugar. So I drew a picture on the TV of a bunny rabbit holding a box of cereal and across the label where the name of the cereal would be I pencilled in ‘shit’. (laughter) So I figured, because I used to write nutty comments in the borders and stuff I thought they‚d get a laugh out of it and change it. So they gave it to Pablo Marcos and I don’t know if he knew how to read English or not but he inked it. I walked in one day and I said hello – everybody used to greet me at Marvel with smiles. And I came in there and they looked at me, boy, like don’t go near him, something might happen to you. Shooter was looking for me and I went up there and Shooter started yelling, “What did you do? Look at it! They called me upstairs and showed me this” and I said, “Wait a minute. That thing goes through an assistant editor, an editor, a proof- reader and then you’re supposed to read it. And no-one picked it up so don‚t blame me.” So what happened was he said fine, just don’t write anymore comments on your pages. (laughter)

Daniel Best: I’m not sure that many people know of that one because I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere.

Perlin: It’s right down near the spine so you might even pass by and not notice it. A friend of mine who had a comic book store called me up and he said, “I have a person who wants to buy the page for $100 At that time $100 was a lot of money. Do you have the page? I looked at what I got back and I didn’t have the page, and I called Pablo up and said you can get $100 if you have that page. He told me he didn’t have the page. Somebody stole that page.

Best: I never knew that and I used to read the Defenders when I was a kid.

Perlin: At that time there was no profanity in it. I didn’t mean for that to be in it. I just thought hey, everybody’s smart enough to take that out, c’mon. (laughter) I guess my estimate of them was too high. (laughter)

Best also provides a scan of the page, courtesy of Hoy Murphy.

The issue was Defenders #89.


Here is the page (click on it for a large version) and the detail from the page follows.



Pretty funny, eh?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Wolverine originally was going to kill Sabretooth – 25 years ago!

STATUS: True

A fan of John Byrne, Cory Vandernet, made quite a discovery recently in his studio closet – a handwritten list by John Byrne of some future storylines planned for X-Men all through issue #150 in 1981.

As you all know, Byrne’s last issue on the title ended up being #143, so those plans never came to fruition.

While the list had some intriguing ideas (including some stuff Byrne has spoken about in the past, namely getting the available original X-Men back on the team (Iceman and Angel) and some stuff I had never heard of, like the multi-part “Robot Cyclops” story), Byrne went into depth on one particular story idea, and the idea is available on his board’s FAQ here.

Byrne relates a story that involves Sabretooth (who, at the time, had only appeared in Iron Fist) attacking Mariko and brutalizing her (just violence, no sexual assault or anything like that) to the point where she’s pretty much dead.

The X-Men find her, though, and get her hospitalization, but she’s in a coma – brain dead. And Xavier cannot do anything to help her, and when Wolverine doesn’t believe him, he connects Wolverine to her mind, so he can experience the emptiness.

Wolverine, naturally, cuts her life support, then goes off and, in a bloody battle, kills Sabretooth – with the reveal then coming that Sabretooth was Wolverine’s father.

It’s pretty similar to Chris Claremonth’s take on Wolverine and Sabretooth, that the two were

Father and son. That’s why Sabretooth (*my* incarnation, that is, not this “Creed” poseur) always considered Logan “sloppy seconds” to his “original” / “real deal.” The other critical element in my presentation of their relationship was that, in their whole life, Logan has never defeated Sabretooth in a knock-down, drag-out, kill-or-be-killed berserker fight. By the same token, on every one of his birthdays, Sabretooth has always managed to find him, no matter where Logan was or what he was doing, and come wihin an inch of killing him. For no other reason than to remind him that he could.

Therefore, this is the one time that Wolverine finally beats Sabreooth – spurred on by the death of Mariko.

And all of this was to occur in 1981.

Trippy, eh?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Namor and the Human Torch had the first team-up in comic history!

STATUS: False

This is an interesting one, courtesy of reader John McDonagh, as the story that Namor and the Human Torch were the first superheroes from their own strips to ever cross over with each other has been reprinted many times in the past, most recently in a Wizard Special on classic comics.

However, the team-up between Human Torch and Namor that occured in the pages of Marvel Mystery Comics #8 and 9 in Summer 1940…



actually took place a month or so AFTER the actual first superhero crossover, which happened in Pep Comics #4, between the Shield and the Wizard (it’s a small appearance, but it’s there!), earlier in the Summer of 1940.


The two a month or so later gained their own team-up magazine!


Cool, eh?

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!!