Comic Legends: When J. Jonah Jameson Was Barred From Marvels #1!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and thirty-sixth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the weekly three legends.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I'll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


After Marvels #1 was painted, an editor at Marvel insisted that J. Jonah Jameson be taken out of the issue.



This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the all-time greatest Marvel Comics, 1994's Marvels, by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross. The series tracks the history of superheroes in the Marvel Universe through the eyes of a photo-journalist, Phil Sheldon, from the dawn of the Marvel era through the death of Gwen Stacy (so essentially Golden Age through the end of the Silver Age).

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For such an obviously amazing comic book, there were still some snags along the way in the production of the comic and one that stood out to me as really amusing was a story of J. Jonah Jameson and how he wasn't allowed to be in the first issue of the series!

My pal John Trumbull did an excellent article about Jameson in TwoMorrows' Back Issue #91, and in the story, he discussed Jameson's appearance in Marvels #1, which turned out that it WASN'T Jameson...technically.

Jameson IS in Marvels later in the series...

But what about earlier?

Busiek explained the incident...

"[T]he Spider-Man editor at the time wanted us to take him out, saying Jonah was only in his 40s and thus couldn't have been in WWII. I responded that there'd been a story about Jonah being over retirement age, so he was over 65, and in 1993, when the issue came out, it wasn't too much of a stretch to say he was born around 1923 and thus was a teenage cub reporter at the time.

[The editor] didn't like that idea, but we weren't going to have Alex repaint the pages, so we just took out [Jonah's] name. That way, anyone who didn't want him to be JJJ could presume he was some other guy, and anyone who did want him to be could figure it was him. It gave the scene deniability. The Spidey editor didn't much care for that, but at that stage it was the best were going to do. And either way, Jonah worked his way up at the Bugle from a young age, so he'd go way back with Phil whether that's him or not. No way Jonah's in his 40s, anyway."

Here's "Jameson" in the start of #1...

and a great scene where he irritates the Human Torch...

and finally, here is "Jameson" at Phil's wedding...

Clever solution!

Thanks so much to John Trumbull and Kurt Busiek for the information!

Check out some other comic book movie legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Did Cameron Crowe Use “Kashmir” in Fast Times at Ridgemont High Even Though it Didn’t Fit the Script?

2. Is a Playboy Centerfold Really the Standard Test Image for Image Processing Algorithms?

3. Did Elton John Write a Theme Song for a Sports Team That Folded Before The Song Was Even Released?

4. Does Time Magazine Intentionally Put Devil’s Horns on Cover Subjects They Dislike?

Check back later for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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