Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and forty-third week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
DC changed the name of a superhero series from The Trumps because they didn’t want to get into legal trouble with Donald Trump.
When a reader wrote in with a TV Legends Revealed idea involving Donald Trump, it reminded me of this old Comic Book Legends Revealed legend that I never got around to featuring…until now!
In 1988, Steve Englehart, Joe Staton and Ian Gibson launched the extremely ambitious DC Comics crossover event series, Millennium. Why was it so ambitious? It is because it came out ONCE a week over eight weeks! That, alone, might not sound that impressive (it is still pretty darn impressive for the same creative team to come out with a comic book each week for eight weeks), but it was part of a direct crossover involving the ENTIRE DC Universe. In other words, whatever happened in Millennium, say, #3, would have to tie in with all of the titles that came out during Week 3. So the level of coordination was INSANE. Englehart was basically writing the entire DC Universe every week for two months!!
The plot of the series was about a Guardian of the Universe and his mate, a Zamaron, returning to this dimension (they had left our dimension during Englehart and Staton’s Green Lantern run) and picking out the NEXT generation of guardians. They were going to pick from the people of Earth. At the same time, though, the evil Manhunters had been laying in wait on Earth for centuries and now they were ready to step up and stop the Guardians by killing off the Chosen. So the superheroes of Earth had to help both FIND the Chosen people and also help defend them from Manhunter attack. The problem for the heroes is that the Manhunters had long ago put Manhunters android very close to pretty much every superhero so that they could strike against them when the need came up. So supporting cast members in all of the series would be revealed to be working with the Manhunters (there were a bunch of cop-outs, of course, as revealing a supporting cast member is evil is not very fun for a series with legendary supporting cast members like Superman and Batman. So Superman had the reveal be Lana Lang, but she wasn’t really a Manhunter android, but rather was manipulated by them. Batman’s Manhunter was Commissioner Gordon, but it turned out that it wasn’t the REAL Gordon, in a complete cop-out of the whole point of the exercise).
The remaining Chosen were put together and then the Guardian and the Zamaron sacrificed themselves to kickstart the powers of the Chosen. They then became the New Guardians and had their own comic book series launch out of Millennium…
The problem was that Englehart intended this new series to deal with serious and controversial issues of the era and DC said, “Sure,” but then cut him off at the knees right off the bat. So he quit after just one issue. It had no chance after that.
Anyhow, originally Englehart wanted to call the group the Trumps, on the notion that they were “trumping” human civilization (which is to say that they were going one better than humanity). However, DC told Englehart that they did not want to risk offending Donald Trump, so they pushed for a new name and they settled on New Guardians.
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed – Did Suddenly Susan predict Donald Trump’s presidency in 1997?
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!
Here’s my most recent book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).
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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends. — half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).
The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…
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See you all next week!
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