Thursday, September 01, 2005

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #14!

This is the fourteenth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. The first one can be found here, the second can be found here, the third can be found here, the fourth can be found here, the fifth can be found here, the sixth can be found here, the seventh can be found here, the eighth can be found here, the ninth can be found here, the tenth can be found here, the eleventh can be found here, the twelfth can be found here. and the thirteenth can be found here.

Let's begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Destiny and Mystique were intended to be Nightcrawler's parents.

STATUS: Essentially True

Hisham Zubi wanted me to address this, so here it is!

In X-Men Unlimited #4, in 1994, it was revealed that Nightcrawler's mother was the former member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mystique.

However, this was not always supposed to be the case. Mystique WAS supposed to be one of his parents, but NOT his mother.

Here is John Byrne, on the issue:
As originally created, Kurt was the son of gypsies who worked for a circus in Germany. That's it. That's all.

At one point Chris wanted to "reveal" that Kurt's father was Nightmare. Roger Stern, as editor, put the kibosh on that one.

Then Chris decided Kurt's mother was Destiny -- and his father was Mystique. That also went the way of ALL FLASH.

Now? Who the **** knows?
So yes, apparently, at ONE point in time, Mystique was supposed to be Nightcrawler's FATHER!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel Comics licenses the use of the name "Hulk" to Hulk Hogan.

STATUS: False, now.

Reader Marc asked whether Hulk Hogan and/or WWE has to license the name "Hulk" from Marvel Comics.

The answer is no, not at the moment. In the past, however, it was a different story.

"The Incredible Hulk" Hogan made his debut for World Wrestling Federation in late 1979. The Incredible Hulk was, at the time, a fairly popular television program. WWF, never one to ask for permission first, did not confer with Marvel before debuting this new character. As you could imagine, Marvel did not take kindly to the idea of someone using their character's name, and warned them to stop. However, Vince McMahon Sr. had a clever way of avoiding the problem. Rather than get caught up in litigation, he just struck up a deal with Marvel to license the name "Hulk" from Marvel for his new wrestler.

That was the arrangement Hulk Hogan went under for basically the rest of his career. When he went from one wrestling organization to another, the new organization would simply just take over the licensing agreement.

This followed until 1996, when Hogan "reinvented" himself as "Hollywood Hogan," and at that point, Hogan tried (unsuccessfully) to extricate himself from the licensing agreement (presumably, Hogan and the wrestling organizations had deals where Hogan had to chip in on the fees).

This led to various legal entanglements until finally, in 2005, Hogan just flat out purchased the name "Hulk Hogan" from Marvel Comics outright. Now, whoever he wrestles for (WWE, at the moment) has to license the name from HIM.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: For almost a decade, there were born again Christian comics produced starring the Archie characters.


Comic great Al Hartley began his career in the 1940s, working for a number of companies, and enjoyed success in the 50s working for Marvel on such titles as Kid Colt, Two-Gun Kid, Gunsmoke Western and Rawhide Kid, and then, later on, in the 60s, he had great success with the Patsy Walker line of comics (Patsy was basically Marvel's female version of Archie), but when the Patsy line of comics (at one point, she had FIVE titles!) closed shop, Al was out of regular work.

It was at this same time that Al became a born again Christian. Soon after, he began working for Archie comics, and became one of their most prolific creators. Ultimately, although Hartley managed to work mention of his Christian views into the comics often, he felt as though Archie comics could do even MORE good as a way to get Christian thought out there.

So Al asked Archie publisher, John Goldwater, if he would license the Archie characters to Spire Christian Comics to appear in religious-themed stories. Goldwater (who happened to be Jewish) was good friends with Hartley, and he agreed.

The first comic, Archie: One-Way, was published in 1973.

Image hosted by

The comics continued on until 1982, producing 19 comics in total, and selling a good deal of copies.

As you can tell from the cover, the comics were basically the same as a regular Archie comic, except there would be overt references to born again Christian ideas, such as witnessing. Indeed, since the comics were not published by Archie, they were allowed to be slightly more graphic, if need be.

The publisher, Spire, was purchased by another company, named Barbour, which continued to publish the comics.

Archie eventually ceased the license.

Al Hartley passed away in 2003.

Well, that's it for me this week!

Feel free to tell me some urban legends you have heard, and I will try to confirm or deny them!

Read More


Blogger Michael said...

Why does *this* topic attract the... anonymous posters?

Oh well. My comments:

At some point, the recap paragraphs will become longer than the actual posts. I await this day with evil glee.

Waaaaaaaaaay back in 1994, Bongo's Radioactive Man #1 had a parody story had Radioactive Man helping set up the comics code. (The story took the position that the code was largely set up to run EC out of business). RM's comic of choice, which was clearly an Archie analogue, was called "Hartley." At the time, I thought it was an odd choice. Now I'm wondering if it was yet another subtle reference I didn't get.

9/01/2005 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I just installed haloscan, but apparently haloscan DOES, in fact, replace all the older replies.

And I just do not think it is worth that, so I dropped it.

9/01/2005 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

I would like to find out if it is true that an issue of The Avengers (#97 or #98 possibly) was drawn by Barry W. Smith with a ball point pen?

9/01/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

That's surprisingly cool of Archie to do!

side note: How can I get that "Read more" at the end of my blog postings. On my blog's front page ( ever posting appears in its entirety. Quite annoyinh.

9/01/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Wow, I completely didn't expect that. Nor was I aware that the licensing went on even up this year.
Thanks for addressing it.

9/01/2005 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Another spiffy and oddball column, Bri, though the opening recap is getting unwieldy.

And, Triangle--- the 'read more' thing involves editing and HTML and maybe Javascript in a complicated process that the rest of us schlubs force Cronin to do. Heheh.

9/01/2005 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

"And, Triangle--- the 'read more' thing involves editing and HTML and maybe Javascript in a complicated process that the rest of us schlubs force Cronin to do. Heheh."

I gave it a shot and butchered one of my posts. Shoulda left it to the pros.

9/01/2005 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Good collumn.

Next time you should tell everyone that Robert Loren Flemming isn't dead, if you haven't already.

9/02/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, guys-
Just so you know, most of the Spire books are still in print (though I haven't seen the Archies for a while). There are adaptations of In His Steps; Run, Baby, Run; and The Hiding Place.

2/25/2006 01:59:00 PM  

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