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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #74

by  in Comic News Comment

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

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Seaworld once had a DC Superhero water skiing feature.

STATUS: True

It may be hard to imagine Batman water skiing (although our pal H had a whole bit on an issue of Brave and the Bold where Batman does just that, including the following pic:


).

But in the late 70s, that’s just what happened!


SeaWorld had a water skiing/speedboat feature starring DC superheroes, including Batman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Joker and Penguin!

Here’s an ad they had in the comics of the day:


Here are some more pics, courtesy of the nostalgia site, Plaid Stallions.


That’s DC Comic President Sol Harrison in the photo.


Pretty groovy, no?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC produced comics for the CIA.

STATUS: False

A reader e-mailed me this question, and I just laughed at first, as it seemed silly – the CIA making a comic book? However, while there was no involvement from any comic book companies, I was surprised to learn that the CIA did, in fact, produce comic book-style manuals for use in Nicaragua in the early 1980s, to destabilize the Nicaraguan government.

Thanks to Crapaganda, here are examples from the actual “Sabotage Manual” (as it came to be referred to as) from Nicaragua in the 80s.


Notice how effective this depiction of how to knock down telephone wires is!


Drop typewriters!!!


And you actually can blow a fuse by putting a small coin in the socket!


So there you go, the CIA sure knew how to effectively use comic books to destabilize a government, but they did it on their own, they didn’t have any help from any comic book company.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Steve Skeates once had to change The Question’s dialogue by a rather odd decision by Steve Ditko.

STATUS: True

You can thank super Question fan, Eric Newsom, for this one, as he sent it in courtesy of his excellent fansite devoted to all things The Question, vicsage.com.

He featured it on his site here.

In any event, it detailed the first (and only) time Steve Skeates scripted a Question story, and it took place in Blue Beetle #4.


Ditko and I very rarely had any personal contact at all! Still, a rather interesting happenstance did occur when I scripted my one and only QUESTION episode (the one I wrote under the pen-name Warren Savin — “Kill Vic Sage!” it was called!)! I did a bit of dialogue in which The Question says to the villain of the piece “Now listen, my friend –” and therefore received a six-page letter from Steve detailing why the Question would never call a criminal “friend,” and even if he meant it sarcastically, why sarcasm was somehow beneath The Question!

This was a rather daunting and even rather scary letter for someone who was essentially still a “green kid” writingwise to receive, to say the least! The offending “friend” reference was of course removed from the finished product — in fact, one can still see where that reference originally was, seeing as there’s one balloon in that story that strangely has a larger than usual amount of empty white space in it!!

Here is the panel in question!


Pretty awesome, no?

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!