At the time, I said "False," but my position at the time was based solely on my view of the page.
As I said then:
I’ll allow, though, that having ANYthing there can certainly lead to a question of the intent - I just don’t think that there was intent for it to be a penis (nor do I think it looks like it in actuality...).
So if the legend is “John Byrne snuck a drawing of a penis into an issue of Fantastic Four,” my answer would be - False.
I know quite a few folks who have differed with me over the past year, but interestingly enough, the topic was just recently brought up on John Byrne's web forum.
I had never seen Byrne address the topic before, and his reaction on the boards seemed one of surprise (and a bit of disbelief).
So yeah, he not only denies the existence of the "phantom penis," but he seems fairly disappointed by the fact that the topic is even being discussed.
So whether you feel you can see a penis in the panel or not, there was no intent by the artist to secretly sneak the drawing of a penis into the panel.
I know this is basically just a variation on the original legend, but I was just so surprised that Byrne actually addressed the subject that I figured I had to post about it!
Thanks to John Byrne for the new information (the thread on the Byrne board was started by Pedro Bouça, so I suppose thanks go out to Pedro Bouça, too!).
Okay, that's it for this week!
Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week's covers!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next week!