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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #54!

This is the fifty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous fifty-three.

This week is a theme week! It is MIKE GRELL Urban Legends week!!

Let's begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Warlord was cancelled after its third issue.

STATUS: True

Grell tells the intriguing story of Warlord's beginning, ending and un-ending (which will make sense as you read) at his great website here:

Thanks to Christopher Elam, who reminded me that when Grell says "third issue," he is counting First Issue Special #8, which was Warlord's first appearance. So the "third issue" is actually Warlord #2, which was released in early 1976. Warlord #3 came out in late 1976, after Kahn un-cancelled it, which is why it says "Warlord is back!" on the cover. Thanks again, Christopher!

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It's a real interesting story by Grell (and be sure to click the link to see a funny framing story by Grell, as well). I especially like that Grell made sure to say the Kahn quote may be apocryphal, as it sounds like it.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Black Canary was raped in Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters.

STATUS: False

Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters was a project that Mike Gold convinced Mike Grell to do for DC Comics, in an attempt to revamp the Green Arrow character, with the ultimate goal being the release of a new Green Arrow series.

Part of the revamp involved making the book a lot more gritty and realistic than before. Gone were the trick arrows, and also gone was Black Canary's sonic scream.

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HOW she lost her scream, though, was due to an event in Longbow Hunters, which was Dinah being captured and tortured.

Nowhere in the issue (and I just reread it) is it implied that Dinah was raped. Unless, of course, you wish to presume that if a woman is tortured, it is implied that part of torture will be rape.

But that's a big leap to make.

In any event, when asked about it, Grell responded as follows (courtesy of the DCU messageboards):

In the Longbow Hunters I remember, Dinah is badly beaten and nearly killed. [...] was this a rape? -Dhaise

Grell: Nope. No way. It always amazes me at how people read that into the scene. I tried to address the question in an issue of Green Arrow where Dinah is talking to a therapist. The line says, "People say things like 'at least you weren't raped'...as if that's the worst thing that could happen."

One guy even said he resented the fact that I had "shown Dinah being raped." When I pointed out that it never happened, he coutnered that I had shown her "being punched in the face." Again, although she is bruised and bloodied when we first see her in the scene, the only person who touches her lifts her head up by the hair...an instant before ollie kills him.

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It is perfectly reasonable for folks to take issue with the scene. However, it does not appear as though Dinah was raped, and it was not the intention of the writer/artist.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Mike Grell got his start working as an assistant to Dale Messick on Brenda Starr.

STATUS: True

It may be hard to believe, but Mike Grell, the guy behind such macho comic books as Warlord and Green Arrow, got his start working as an assistant to Dale Messick on her popular comic strip, Brenda Starr, which follows the adventures of a reporter who travels the globe having adventures.

Grell told the story at his ever-informative website...

I first met Dale in 1972 through the auspices of Willard Colston, then editor of the Tribune Syndicate. Fresh out of art school, I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to peddle a comic strip of my own and Willard mentioned that Dale Messick needed another assistant. He arranged a meeting and I went to Dale's Chicago lakeshore digs to show my stuff.Dale had the same impact on me that she had on all men. I was instantly charmed and instantly impressed with her amazing talent and wit. She regaled me with tales off the Golden Era of newspaper comics and showed me some of her collection of early drawings by pals like Irwin Hasen. Eventually, Dale got around to looking at my portfolio and said she liked the way I drew women. I came away with a week's worth of daily strips to ink and a serious crush that has lasted to this day.

Grell eventually became more involved, inking everything but Brenda's face (Grell joked, "I told Dale I was going to title my autobiography, 'Doing Brenda's Body.'" He left, though, in 1973 to move to New York City to pursue a comic book career. A career that, well, as you all know, has worked out well for Grell.

Dale Messick passed away in 2005 at the age of 98.

Well, that's it for this week, thanks for stopping by!

Feel free to drop off any urban legends you'd like to see featured!!

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