Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn how close we came to a Justice League/Transformers crossover, find out the Spirit-ual inspiration for Doctor Strange’s famous window and learn the real reason Sinestro wasn’t a villain on the “Green Lantern” cartoon!
DC Comics almost did a Justice League/Transformers comic book series.
Something I’ve often noticed over the years is how quickly stories get forgotten. What I mean to say is that routinely over the years I’ve thought, “Oh, everyone knows that already,” while I am woefully mistaken. It seems that, instead, the half-life of a cool story about comics is really only a few years. I discovered that when I got a pair of e-mails recently from readers James H. and Bob S. a few months apart. Both of them wanted to know if it was true that there was almost a Justice League/Transformers crossover comic book. I remembered when that news broke back in 2012, so I didn’t snap to it after I got James’ e-mail, but once Bob asked about it, as well, hell, I guess I might as well feature this bad boy!
As it turns out, Phil Jimenez had a pitch in at DC for a “JLA/Transformers” comic book crossover mini-series that would have been produced along with IDW, the company that puts out “Transformers” comics. The pitch was quite advanced, as Jimenez was working alongside IDW editor Chris Ryall on it.
Here’s some art from the project…
Amazing, right? Click here to enlarge the image.
Chris Ryall was the one who came up with the idea for Optimus Prime to have a Green Lantern ring…
CBR’s own Kevin Melrose wrote about it back in 2012, quoting Jimenez as noting that it would have involved Wonder Woman’s invisible jet becoming an invisible Transformer!
As it turned out, the event was scheduled around the same time that the New 52 was about to launch, so DC canceled the project so it wouldn’t get in the way of the New 52, and you know how these things are, time passes and people move on to other things and it was never picked up again. But man, we were so close to an awesome-sounding (and looking!) comic book crossover.
Just the other day, I wrote about how close we came to a “Quantum Leap”/”Magnum P.I.” crossover and now this? Our collective heads are exploding here!
Thanks to Phil Jimenez and Brian Michael Bendis (who shared the art initially on his Tumblr page) for the information, Kevin Melrose for the article and Bob and James for thw questions!
In honor of the Presidential Election earlier this week, check out some special Election-themed legends from Legends Revealed:
The window in Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum was inspired by a window in The Spirit’s home.
I’m Going With True
My buddy Chris N. (who also inspired me to write about supervillains who became Presidents of the United States), wrote in to ask if it was true that Doctor Strange’s famous window in his Sanctum Sanctorum was based on the Spirit’s window in Will Eisner’s “The Spirit.”
Here, of course, is Doctor Strange’s famous window, from its first appearance, on Doctor Strange’s door in “Strange Tales” #110…
It appears in its more typical location on the wall instead of a door in “Strange Tales” #111…
Specifically at the Sanctum Sanctorum here later in the issue (as it appeared at both Strange’s home and the Anciet One’s home)…
It was featured heavily in the recent “Doctor Strange” movie (we even featured it in the banner image of our recent look at the Best Easter Eggs in “Doctor Strange”).
Chris linked me to a discussion on the Classic Comics messageboard about how the image on Strange’s window appeared in the September 1, 1940 issue of “The Spirit”…
and again in the next week’s issue…
They’re so similar, honestly, that we probably have enough for a prima facie case of saying, “Yeah, Ditko drew the symbol as an homage to Eisner.”
However, I’ve heard this one before and I tend to prefer to see if there’s something more to it than just a very similar-looking symbol. Like, say, was Ditko vocally an admirer of Will Eisner’s “The Spirit”?
That’s where the great Blake Bell steps in. Blake Bell knows more about Steve Ditko than anyone else I know, and he wrote in his book, “Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko” the following:
By his teenage years, Steve came to admire the strip that headline the comic section of “The Philadelphia Inquirer”, Will Eisner’s “The Spirit”, and his mother would sew little cloth covers for the sections. Steve would take his kid brother Pat across town every week to fetch that Sunday’s “Inquirer”. Once, returning during a winter blizzard, Pat’s boots filled with snow. Throwing away the rest of the paper, Stevre pocketed the “Spirit” section and tossed Pat on his back. Inspired by Eisner’s “The Spirit” and [Jerry] Robinson’s “Batman”, Ditko aspitrd to become a professional comic-book artist.
And right there in the book, Bell posts a “Spirit” panel of the window design next to a “Strange” panel of the window design and says,
Ditko pays tribute to Eisner with this “Spirited” window design in the “Doctor Strange” series.
If it is good enough for Blake Bell, then it’s good enough for me!
Thanks for the suggestion, Chris!
Check out my aforementioned latest TV Legends Revealed at CBR: How close did we come to a “Quantum Leap”/”Magnum P.I.” crossover?
There was an embargo on Sinestro appearing as a villain on the “Green Lantern” cartoon series because of the then-upcoming “Green Lantern” film.
In last week’s 600th Spectacular, I mentioned a legend where Bruce Timm debunked a rumor. This, in turn, inspired reader Duane J. to write in with ANOTHER example of a Bruce Timm-debunked legend!
Back in 2011, a “Green Lantern” live action movie came out.
Later that year, a preview came out of an ucpoming “Green Lantern” animated series by Warner Brothers/DC Entertainment, which Bruce Timm was the producer of. The series launched officially in 2012.
Well, Sinestro ended up appearing in only one episode of the series (which lasted just one season) and was not a villain on the series (he wasn’t exactly a hero, either, but you know what I mean).
This, then, led to the assumed “fact” that there was an embargo on the character due to his use in the “Green Lantern” film (where he was a hero in the first film and presumably would have become a villain in a second film had they done a second film).
As Duane pointed out to me, this was false, as explained by Bruce Timm on the ToonZone message boards (where he replied to someone asking if other villains also had an embargo on them like Sinestro):
for the record, there ISN’T any official “GL embargo” of ANY kind in place — we had a meeting with one of the film’s producers, where, among other topics we discussed the movie team’s plans for sinestro — for a variety of reasons, we all came to a mutual conclusion that it might be best all-around if the tv series didn’t use sinestro as a major villain, for awhile, at least — nobody ever said, “you CAN’T under any circumstances use sinestro in the tv series”
as someone here already mentioned, it’s not like sinestro hasn’t already gotten his fair share of animated screen time — practically every time GL has appeared in a dc cartoon, sinestro’s been the go-to bad guy, from S:TAS to STATIC to JL / JLU etc etc — not to mention both FIRST FLIGHT and EMERALD KNIGHTS
that’s not to say sinestro won’t EVER show up in GL: TAS — in fact, i can pretty much guarantee that he WILL, at some point — and as for some of the other villains mentioned above, i can only repeat: THERE IS NO GL EMBARGO — make of that what you will
Here’s Sinestro from he appeared later on in Season 1…
Thanks to Bruce Timm for the always helpful information and thanks to Duane for the suggestion!
OK, 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 email@example.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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See you all next week!
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