Thursday, November 17, 2005

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #25!

This is the twenty-fifth 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 twenty-four.

Let's begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC was forced to change La Renard Rouge ("The Red Fox")'s name to "Crimson Fox."

STATUS: True

Courtesy of my fellow blogmate, Marionette, I offer up the following:

Ever wonder why JLE translated La Renard Rouge (the Red Fox) as the Crimson Fox even though there is nothing crimson about her, and even the french name is altered to become La Renard Rousse (I forget what rousse means but it's not crimson, either)?

When the character first appeared there was already a british b/w indie comic book that was doing quite modest sales in the USA for the time (though by today's standards it would be selling better than some DC comics) called Redfox. When La Renard Rouge first appeared, one of the characters identified her as The Red Fox and they guys who did Redfox were concerned about copyright issues since they'd already had one character blatantly hijacked by Marvel when a thinly disguised Demon Queen appeared in Alpha Flight under the name of Dream Queen.

Anyhow, on this occasion they had some inside help, being close friends with Neil Gaiman (who wrote the intro for the first Redfox collection as well as a 4 page story in Redfox #21), and he went and had a quiet chat with the editor of JLE. Result: La Renard Rouge is forever after mistranslated and nobody says why.
Pays to have friends in high places, eh?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Grant Morrison's script for BULLETEER didn't actually request that level of cheesecake, and certainly didn't ask for the lead character to spend most of the issue in her underwear.
STATUS: False

The recent release of DC's Bulleteer #1 has caused quite a bit of discussion (including right here at this very site) about the physical attributes of the heroine, as well as the fact that she spends a good time of the comic in her underwear.

I personally felt that Morrison was making a statement, but some folks thought that perhaps the situation also might have reflected itself in the art by artist Yanick Paquette.

To settle it, I had the question put to Paquette himself. According to Paquette (and verified by his studiomates), in the comic book, there was only one scene where Morrison did not specifically state that Alix Harrower was to be drawn in her underwear. Yanick did draw that scene with her in her underwear. Every other scene was specifically dictated in the plot by Morrison himself.

In addition, even if it had NOT, remember, Morrison specifically requested each artist himself, so by choosing Yanick Paquette to draw his comic, Morrison KNEW that cheesecake was going to occur in the comic.

So feel free to take issue with the level of cheesecake in Bulleteer #1.

Just spread the blame around.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The film Hardware just took the movie's story from a 2000 AD comic.

STATUS: True

One of the big success stories in comics today is when a creator has his or her comic adapted for the screen. Even if the resulting film is not that good, it at least is a nice payday for creators who tend not to always work for the largest salaries.

However, that is the way that things work TODAY. It was not always like this for comic book creators. The idea of adapting a comic book was seen as weird as recently as fifteen years ago.

It was fifteen years ago that Ricard Stanley wrote and directed the surprise hit of the year, Hardware, which was about (for the sake of brevity) a killer robot that menaced a man's girlfriend in their apartment. The movie, put together for under two million dollars, ended up making a good deal of cash.

The only sticking point is that pretty much the entire plot of the movie was lifted from one short story in 1981's Judge Dredd Annual called "Shok." I guess Stanley felt that comics did not actually count. A judge thought otherwise, and hereforth, writer Steve MacManus and artist Kevin O'Neill became "writers" of Hardware, and the resulting profits therein.

The oddest postscript was summed up by Stanley himself, "It's weird the way things turn around; the 2000 A.D. people sued me, and then I was offered the Judge Dredd film."

Only in Hollywood, eh?

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Brian (not Cronin) said...

Having seen the Judge Dredd film, I suspect that was actually further punishment.

11/17/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I thought I was the only person on the planet who saw Hardware ... Cool movie. Too bad it was stolen. Good sountrack, though - Stigmata by Ministry is on it.

11/17/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

I'm having a little barney with T over at his blog about the Avengers character Triathlon. I seem to remember that there was some reader input involved in his creation; if not the character as a whole, then certainly the name and/or costume. T disagrees.

I know the Thunderbolt Charcoal was invented by a reader, but I'm pretty sure I remember some reader input on Triathlon too. Any chance you could look into it?

11/17/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Devon said...

No one's ever been able to answer this question for me:

Is it true that DC Comics put a yellow oval around Batman's "black bat" symbol because they found out they couldn't copyright the original?

11/17/2005 05:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Jean-Marc Duguay said...

As I remember, this was DC's mistake, but it should be "La Renarde Rouge"(or Rousse) since she was female.

Rousse means auburn (or "red-haired"), but "The Crimson Fox" obviously sounds better than "The Auburn Fox".

Actually, "La Renarde Rouge" sounds odd in French, so it was an improvement all around.

11/17/2005 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous BHay said...

Man I love this column. If you need fodder, I've got two possible questions:

- Was Howard Mackie writer "X" for Marvel's "The Brotherhood"?

- Were X-Force's characters Rictor and Shatterstar intended to come out as a gay couple (in the late 90's), but this story was changed/stopped by Marvel?

Again, keep up the good work

11/18/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

not really an urban legend, just something i've been thinking about the past few weeks.

after rereading the SHATTERSHOT cycle of the four x-titles (xmen, uncanny xmen, xfactor, xforce) annuals of 1992 (i think), i'm actually pretty convinced that whoever made up the MOJO character (and the corresponding ideas and concepts behind him and his mojoworld, and all his obsession with ratings and selling and buying people out and whatnot) intended MOJO to be a metaphor not only for multimedia whathaveyous, but more as commentary on MARVEL (and maybe even DC) and its attitude towards creators and creators' rights, back when it was fashionable to piss on creators' heads.

been downloading your urban legends into my tungsten, thoroughly enjoying the series. how do you do the research on these things?

11/19/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

oh, and another theory, been cradling it for years and years since i was twelve (i'm 23): JOHN CONSTANTINE is TINTIN. old and bitter and smoking like haddock is drinking, from trenchcoat to slacks to the whole curious cat routine, CONSTANTINE is TINTIN.

11/19/2005 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Sleestak said...

Adam, one thing about your Mojo comment that rings true is that in the 70's and 80's 90% of the comic book plots were about some unappreciated genius or office drone getting screwed by a big company or government agency. The guy would then vow revenge and use his stolen or rejected invention to attack the ex-employer as a villain-of-the-month, usually getting beat down by the hero in a way that cast the big company as a-holes while pitying the villain.

That may just have been 70's & 80's social activism coming through but I always saw it as a critique by writers against their corporate employers. You don't see those plots that much anymore.

11/26/2005 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger Kateness said...

The thing that always most confused me, is why would she even be called "The Red Fox" (let alone "Crimson Fox"), when she is neither red/crimson, nor looks like a fox? More like "Brown Cobra" or something...

3/29/2006 10:22:00 AM  
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