This is the seventy-sixth 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-five. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel had another cross-promotion superhero/singer in the 90s.
As mentioned in a previous Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed installment, Marvel Comics created Dazzler as a cross-promotion with Casablanca Records, with the intent being to launch the hero along with a disco singer with the same name.
The actual singer idea fizzled out, but the idea was revisited during the early 90s, in the person of Jacqueline Tavarez. The model/singer dressed up as “Nightcat,” and in 1991, Marvel released a one-shot comic book starring the hero!
The plot of the comic involved a young woman whose police officer father forbade her to become a singer. So she decided to take a nod from superheroes, and invent a secret identity, Nightcat, that she could perform under.
She became a huge success, but soon found herself caught up in the designer drug business, where she was injected with a mysterious drug that could give humans animal characteristics.
The drugs gave her the powers of a cat, including razor sharp claws and night vision.
Everybody’s pal, Kevin Church, has a humorous examination of the comic book here, including how darn similar this idea was to the film Catwoman (the scans from the comic are also courtesy of Kevin).
Tom Brevoort discussed his involvement with the comic here.
However, guess who WROTE the comic book?
None other than Stan the Man, himself!
Stan and Nightcat appeared together on Into the Night with Rick Dees, and Nightcat performed on Nia Peebles and the Dance Machine!
Nightcat’s album was released in early 1991 as well, from RCA records. I do not know anyone who has ever heard it. 8 cool points to anyone who can lend me a copy!
Here is Ms. Tavarez in her full Nightcat regalia, courtesy of an issue of Marvel Age of the time. She looks like she’s drawn by Frank Miller!
All I know of Ms. Tavarez since then (and the only thing on her imdb page) is that she was in Tromeo and Juliet, where she apparently appeared topless. I will not link to that, of course, but the joy/ridiculousness that is the internet means that a simple google search will provide them. You don’t even have to type anything but her name, sadly.
The lovely Superman website, Superman Through the Ages has done a wonderful job on this story, going so far as to actually presenting a recreation of the story!!
You see, in 1940, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (well, at least Joe Shuster’s art studio of Joe Shuster himself, along with Paul Cassidy, Wayne Boring, and Leo Nowak) worked together on a story that was to appear in early 1941’s Superman #8.
In the story, Superman’s identity is revealed to Lois Lane when they are trapped in a cave-in together (and Clark can’t think of a way out of there without revealing the truth to Lois).
Lois is irked at Clark for this, but in the end, she ultimately decides it is best to keep his secret and aide him in the future (like coming up with excuses, etc.). This was going to be the status quo of the book from then on, but ultimately,
However, the higher-ups killed the story, and the drawn art was never heard of for about two decades, until Jim Steranko published four pages of the artwork in his 1970 book, History of Comics, Volume 1. They were grainy, and the story was illegible.
It wasn’t until eighteen year laters, when DC staffer Mark Waid found Jerry Siegel’s original script that the story was finally revealed!
As recounted in an earlier installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, the Superman radio show held the first appearances of many characters and themes that would later appear in the Superman comic book.
One of those ideas was kryptonite, which appeared years before it made its way into the comic book. However, in this instance, the radio show was beaten to the idea by the comic, just not in a published comic book (which Jamie Coville pointed out to me when the original Urban Legend installment came out about the radio series).
You see, in the above unpublished story where Lois discovers Clark’s identity, there is a meteor that comes to earth made up of metal called “K-Metal,” and its radiation takes away Superman’s powers, and Superman deduces it is from his home planet.
While the story was never published, the story stayed with DC (as Mark Waid came across it many years later still at DC), and there is a definite chance that the radio writers ran with the idea a few years later, when kryptonite was introduced in 1943, but they just as likely could have come up with the idea independently of Siegel’s script.
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!