Comic Book Legends Revealed #187

This is the one-hundred and eighty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and eighty-six.

Let's begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Batman and TinTin had a team-up!

STATUS: False, at least in the way you would typically think of the question.

The other day, I did a piece about all the various fictional characters that Batman has teamed up with over the years. Well, reader Justin wrote in to ask about a comic he remembered seeing in France awhile back featuring Batman and TinTin and he wanted to know if that book was actually for real.

Sadly, Justin, that book is bogus.

There is a comic book telling the story of Hergé's neat-o investigative journalist TinTin meeting up with DC Comics' brooding caped crusader, but it is not an authorized comic. It came out in the 1990s.

The book was quite popular for a bootleg, though, and is well remembered even today.

The web site Cool French Comics even has a piece on the book on their site here.

Now that we've seen what it COULD be like, it should actually happen, consarnit!

Thanks to Justin for the question and thanks to Cool French Comics for the scans!

COMIC LEGEND: Timely Comics came up with a character's name to justify the title of a comic book.


Original Marvel Comics owner Martin Goodman (from when it was known just as Timely Comics) was practically obsessed with titles of books. He really seemed to believe that the name of the book had a great deal to do with how well the book sold, so he kept trying out different names to see which ones would have a better reaction from fans.

In 1941, with Timely about to release their new patriotic hero, Captain America, Goodman thought that a really good idea for a comic book title would be USA Comics, and even wanted Captain America to originally star in USA Comics, but Goodman was a bit worried that perhaps the government would ojbect to the title, so instead, Captain America launched in his own self-titled comic.

Once Captain America became a huge sales success, however, Goodman felt that patriotism was a great sales idea, so he decided that they were going to do a new book and they WERE going to name it USA Comics.

That being said, they were still a BIT worried that the government might be irked, so as a way to possibly block any problems they named one of the characters introduced in the comic AFTER the title.

More specifically, Rockman, Underground Secret Agent!!

The book quickly went from being a general anthology to being another new Captain America series (for so long as USA Comics lasted).

Rockman did not even last until that point (as expected, the government did not care at all).

Rockman was recently brought back as part of J. Michael Straczynski's mini-series focused on Golden Age heroes, The Twelve.

Thanks to Greg Theakston for the information! Stacy Baugher has a good piece on Rockman here.

COMIC LEGEND: The Post-Zero Hour R.J. Brande was intended to be J'onn J'onzz.

STATUS: Most Likely True

My pal Loren dropped me a line about this revelation a few months back on everyone's pal, Tim Callahan's blog.

In the original Pre-Zero Hour (heck, Pre-CRISIS!) Legion of Super-Heroes, R. J. Brande, the rich guy who helped create the Legion, was actually a shape shifting alien known as the Durlan, and was actually the father of the Durlan Legionnaire, Chameleon Boy.

In post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes, it was unknown what R. J.'s deal was, although there were strong hints that he had some ties to Mars, hence his helping Valor take the name M'Onel.

KC Carlson, Legion editor extraordinaire, stopped by Tim's blog here to explain what the deal was with RJ/J'onn and why nothing happened:

[In] the Legion reboot, our R.J. Brande was actually the Martian Manhunter. We waited too long to reveal it and then Dan Raspler (JLA editor) wouldn't let us do it because it might screw up J'onn.

At this late date, I'm not sure if it was a good idea or not, but we did plant some clues. (And don't forget, he was at Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel's wedding LONG before we ever got close to the book.)

Raspler also edited Martian Manhunter's own title, where they got into detail about J'onn's life in the future, and it would not fit in with being RJ Brande, so that perhaps was another reason he vetoed the use of J'onn!

Thanks to Loren for the tip and thanks a lot to Tim and KC Carlson for the information!! Be sure to check out Tim's blog (and his weekly column here at Comic Book Resources)!

Okay, that's it for this week!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week! Hope you folks had a good Christmas!

LOOK: Previews for Every Marvel Comic Arriving Wednesday, Oct. 16

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