Welcome to the three hundredth and seventy-sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, did William Marston give Wonder Woman a lie-detecting lasso of truth? Plus, what comic book did Warren Ellis turn his non-Comics Code approved Satana script into? And what comic book did Ivan Velez Jr. have to remove parodies of Archie Comics from?
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and seventy-six.
WARNING: AS THE NON-COMICS CODE APPROVED THING MIGHT SUGGEST, THERE ARE SOME PAGES HERE THAT ARE QUITE GRAPHIC. BE FOREWARNED!
COMIC LEGEND: When William Marston invented Wonder Woman's lasso, it made people tell the truth.
STATUS: False Enough for a False
William Marston, creator of Wonder Woman, also invented a lie detector test that is a major component of the modern polygraph test. Therefore, over the years it has been a nice little sound bite that the man who invented the lie detector test also gave Wonder Woman a lasso that made people tell the truth.
However, while I was doing research for an edition of When We First Met (here's an earlier When We First Met about Wonder Woman firsts) I noticed that when her lasso was first introduced, they did not say ANYthing about it being a "lasso of truth." I thought that that, in and of itself, was interesting but then I began wondering exactly when that became a part of the lasso and more specifically, whether it was ever used that way while Marston was still the writer of the book.
So I asked Tim Hanley, who has a great Wonder Woman blog called Straitened Circumstances: Tim Hanley on Wonder Woman and Women in Comics, about the history of Wonder Woman's lasso of truth and Tim went way above and beyond. I expected a basic "yes" or a "no" as to whether Wonder Woman's lasso was treated as a "lasso of truth" while Marston was writing the book. Tim, instead, researched the hell out of it. Here is what he sent to me after he did his extensive research:
Awesome stuff, Tim!
In the comments, Noah Berlatsky correctly notes that it was likely the TV series that caused us to associate the lasso with compelling people to tell the truth, as that was a function of the lasso in the first season of the live action Wonder Woman TV series. Perhaps the show writers felt that "making people obey you" was a bit much, power-wise?
Thanks again for all the great research and the helpful scans, Tim! Be sure to check out Tim's website for lots more great Wonder Woman information!
COMIC LEGEND: Ivan Velez Jr. had to remove parodies of Archie from a Blood Syndicate crossover with DC Comics.
Back in 1994, DC had an interesting crossover with Milestone Comics, with the Superman line of books crossing over with the full line of Milestone Comics.
The concept was that a fellow named Rift was tearing apart reality. So in one of the later issues, Blood Syndicate #17, written by Ivan Velez Jr. and drawn by ChrisCross with Rober Quijano and Prentiss Rollins on inks and additional pencils from Velez Jr., the Blood Syndicate find themselves warped into different versions of themselves.
As Ivan told me:
The book (part of the Milestone/DC Comics crossover) had RIFT, a nerdy post office worker that lived in both worlds simultaneously, go all 'mega' and decide to smoosh the worlds together in a continuity of his own making. This issue was meant to be a parody, and take on Harvey Comics (man, that sequence was adorable , complete with Wisey Wise and Brickie Brick), the X'men (which stayed intact) and Archie (which I got to draw). I had so much fun. But, alas, the lawyers at DC got very nervous, and I had to rewrite and redraw my guys and turn them into boarding school Eton students.
Here is the X-Men parody...
And here is the Eton bit (drawn by Velez Jr.)....
And here, courtesy of the great Ivan Velez Jr. himself, are the original pages...
Thanks so much for the art, Ivan!
COMIC LEGEND: Warren Ellis re-worked his Satana scripts into the series Strange Kiss.
As it turned out, though, Ellis managed to use the two scripts he had completed for a later project, the Avatar mini-series, Strange Kiss. He simply removed Satana and any character who resembled any Marvel characters and he had himself a series.
The published Strange Kiss lets you know why Ellis noted that when he submitted the original (non-Code approved) Satana to the Comics Code, just for a laugh:
We all expected the photocopied edition to come back covered in notes, as it always did to Marie Javins when I did ‘Hellstorm’ and ‘Druid.’ This time, there were no scribbles, just a letter with it. It read, and I paraphrase: We cannot suggest any changes that would make this work suitable for humans, other than that it be completely rewritten and redrawn. I’m kind of proud of that.
Anyhow, to give you an idea of what Satana was like, here are few pages from the first issue of Strange Kiss.
BE WARNED! THESE ARE DISTURBING PAGES! DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE SOME MESSED UP STUFF! I MADE THIS THE END OF THE COLUMN SO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ ANY DISTURBING STUFF, YOU CAN JUST STOP THE COLUMN NOW!
So...yeah, imagine that in a Marvel comic book?
And that's not even the most messed up stuff in this particular issue!
Years later, Marvel decided that with their Marvel MAX line that they could try to publish it. John Ostrander was brought in to finish the story as a mini-series. It was never released, perhaps because Ellis had pretty much already released it via Strange Kiss.
Thanks to Beau Yarbrough for his reporting on the Strange Kiss situation back when it happened and thanks to commenter Rodrigo Baeza for filling me in on the whole situation, complete with the quotes! Other readers also mentioned Strange Kiss, such as Frank Rook and FunkyGreenJuresalam.
Okay, that's it for this week!
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