Comic Legends: Did Marvel Kill Wonder Man Because DC Threatened to Sue?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and fifteenth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the weekly three legends.

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Stan Lee killed off Wonder Man because DC Comics threatened to sue over the character.



In 1964's Avengers #9 by Stan Lee, Don Heck and Dick Ayers, they introduced a new character named Wonder Man...

After the Masters of Evil gave him his superpowers (he has to get another treatment ever day or else he dies), they then had him join the Avengers so that he could lead them into a trap. He did so, but then he felt bad about it and sacrificed himself to save the Avengers...

According to a New York Post article about the history of Marvel vs. DC, there was a story about why Wonder Man was killed off in the issue...

In a 1964 issue of “The Avengers,” Marvel introduced Wonder Man. DC was not amused, feeling that the new hero sounded too much like its own Wonder Woman. So Marvel honcho Stan Lee agreed to kill him off.

That does not appear to be the case.

As you might imagine, it was fairly hard for other comic book companies to know what Marvel was going to do in a given issue BEFORE it came out.

Stan Lee told his side of the story to a fanzine (Crusader #1) soon after the issue came out (transcription courtesy of Barry Pearl)...

"We were intending to bring him back, but we found out that DC had a story about a year ago, concerning a robot named Wonder Man. I myself never saw him or heard him. The head of National Comics wrote to us and informed us of the fact that he had already used the name Wonder Man. We did not want to use anyone else's name, so only for that reason, we are not bringing Wonder Man back. And besides, we can't, because we don't copy anyone."

Here's the Wonder Man from the Superman issue...

Of course, when DC later introduced Power Girl (after Marvel had a Power Man), this led to Marvel bringing Wonder Man back, as I noted in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed.

Check out some other death-themed entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

Was Denise Crosby Fired From Star Trek: The Next Generation Because She Posed Nude in Playboy?

What Strange Approach Did Frank Capra Use to Get Claudette Colbert to Show Her Legs in a Film?

Check back later for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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