Thursday, August 18, 2005

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #12!

This is the twelfth 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.
and the eleventh can be found here.

Let's begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel HAS to publish a Captain Marvel comic book.

STATUS: For all intents and purposes, True

As I stated in two (here and here)earlier Urban Legends Revealed, after they settled with DC, Fawcett ceased publication of Captain Marvel.

In the mean time, at one point in the 60s, Marvel decided that they should trademark well, anything with Marvel in the title.

That was all fine and good, you can trademark something, but for the trademark to be ENFORCABLE, you have to actually PUBLISH something.

Marvel did not do that until they heard rumblings that DC was considering bringing back Fawcett's Captain Marvel character.

So, in the late 60s, Marvel released their Captain Marvel character, therefore protecting their Captain Marvel trademark.

This is why, when DC got around to publishing Fawcett's Captain Marvel characters in the 1970s, they had to call the book "Shazam!," as the name Captain Marvel was a trademark owned by Marvel (note the difference between trademark and copyright. Fawcett still owned the copyright on Captain Marvel, so when they licensed the character to DC, DC was able to use the name Captain Marvel IN the comic book, just not when promoting or advertising the comic book. That is where trademarks come into play).

Well, as you can imagine, if Marvel ever LOST the trademark on Captain Marvel, DC would be quick to swoop in and grab it, so Marvel knew very well that it could not let the trademark lapse.

To do so, there is no hard and fast rule, but a safe bet would say they had to come out with a Captain Marvel publication at least every year or so.

So, what did Marvel do?

They published the adventures of the Kree warrior, Captain Marvel, from 1968 until 1979 (the last few years as a bi-monthly).

Then the Death of Captain Marvel in 1982.

Then the mini-series the LIFE of Captain Marvel (reprinting his most significant achievements) in 1985.

In 1982, Marvel introduced a new Captain Marvel (as mentioned last week), and in 1989, when no Captain Marvel book had been released for awhile, suddenly, she had a one-shot!

In 1994, once again, she had a one-shot!

In 1995, the first Captain Marvel's son had an ongoing series for less than a year.

In 1997, Marvel published an Untold Tale of Captain Marvel.

In 2000, Peter David gave Marvel's son another boost, with a series that lasted until 2004.

So while no, Marvel does not HAVE to publish a Captain Marvel comic book, if they want to keep their trademark, they will.

And, well, they want to keep their they WILL keep on finding ways to publish a Captain Marvel comic book.

Note that, in House of M, Ms. Marvel is known by a certain familiar name?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Lisa Marie Presley made Nicolas Cage sell his comic collection.


When Nicolas Cage sold off his vast comic book collection awhile back, soon before his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, it sparked off rampant speculation that Presley was the reason behind the sale.

However, John Petty, who was heavily involved in the sale, has this to say about the situation...
When Nic auctioned his comic collection through Heritage in October, 2002, there were a lot of stories going around as to why he was doing so. I was in the thick of this whole thing, as I was the Director of Heritage Comics at the time, and I also was liaison with the media for this event.

The official story that we got from Nic's people (we never did talk to Nic himself, just his business manager and his publicist) was that Nic was simply "moving into other areas of interest." There were lots of other stories floating around at the time (including that Lisa Marie "made" him sell his collection), but those are all apocryphal at best. To the best of my knowledge, Lisa Marie had nothing to do with Nic's decision to sell.
Sounds good enough to me!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Aquaman's first cover appearance was with the Justice League, nineteen years after he first appeared!


Aquaman has had a long career playing second fiddle to other superheroes.

His first appearance was in the pages of More Fun Comics #73, in 1941. Which would be a big deal, except, in the SAME issue, Green Arrow!!! How's THAT for coincidence!

Of course, back then, comics were much different, in that each comic came with a whole pile of stories. That particular issue had EIGHT stories in it, including the cover feature of Garnder Fox and Howard Sherman's Doctor Fate.

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Aquaman continued on in More Fun, but Green Arrow soon became quite popular, and the cover was Green Arrow's for the rest of their time together in More Fun.

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Aquaman even continued on to Adventure Comics (where most of the features moved a couple of years later).

However, this move also coincided with a popular NEW character, by the name of Superboy.

Well, as you can imagine, the next 14 years, Aquaman kept swimming along, but the covers of the book kept going to Superboy (can you wonder why, look at him stop this train!)!

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Therefore, that is how Aquaman made his FIRST cover appearance in the year 1960, when he and four other costumed fellows appeared together fighting, of all things, a giant starfish in Brave and the Bold #28.

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Weird, huh?

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Near the end of this Nic Cage explains why he sold his comics.

8/18/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin Melrose said...

That should be The Brave and the Bold #28, not #26.

8/18/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

And the PAD Captain Marvel series actually started in late '99.

8/18/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Thanks, Kevin!

As for Captain Marvel, I go by cover dates for older books, and Captain Marvel #1 was January 2000 (not counting the Wizard insert from the month earlier, because, well, it was a Wizard insert...hehe).

8/18/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An urban legend in the making perhaps.... Blue Beetle died because DC only owned the rights to use him in Comic Books. My LCS is frequented by the likes of Waid and Johns, and apparently Johns told them that they picked Blue Beetle because DC was unable to do any merchandising with him outside of comics. Considering the source, I believe it.

8/18/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that DC HAS put out several action figures of Beetle. The Total Justice line and one from DC Direct. However, I have heard that issue involving the rights to BB are tangled and strange and that's why he hasn't shown up in the JLU cartoon.

8/18/2005 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

The rights to Beetle ARE quite tangled.

I do not believe that they BAR DC from the use of him in toys, cartoons, etc., but it certainly makes it a lot harder.

As Spencer notes, DC only has complete use of the character as far as comics go.

Beyond that, they have to negotiate every other use of the character (toys, cartoons, etc.).

8/18/2005 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

That underwater Green Arrow cover is just rubbing it in Aquaman's face.

8/18/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never pursued the matter enough to see if any toys were ever produced of Blue Beetle. How long ago did these Blue Beetle toys come out? It might be that going forward, they just opted to use a character that was more expendable, in a marketing sense, then your Flash or Green Lantern.

Word around the campfire is that this Infinite Crisis is being used as a way to bring back multiple universes as a means of providing even more versions of DC toys...

8/18/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger thekelvingreen said...

Probably too new to be an urban legend, but how about "Is there really someone ghostwriting Astonishing X-Men for Joss Whedon?"

On a related note, I know this is all but confirmed, but I don't think I ever saw it officially stated as such; "Was Howard Mackie really the msyterious 'X' who wrote The Brotherhood?"

8/23/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Skipper Pickle said...

Let's just nail that puppy down: Who DID write The Brotherhood, and why did they use a pseudonym?


11/10/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh,hey, someone said about Blue Beetle not being in JLU.
Well he WAS in it, for like a second and only his back.
In Initiation. Well, I'm not sure if it was him, but he was right next to Booster Gold and looked ALOT like Blue Beetle.

3/22/2006 02:52:00 AM  
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Blogger Captain Zorikh said...

Lots of good info in your blog! Thanks for fighting the evils of the Urban Legend. Just a note here...

I have been researching the Captain Marvel story for a while now. I have not heard any confirmation that was "rubmlings" that DC was going to acquire Captain Marvel in the 1960's but rather that it was in reaction to MF Enterprises coming out with their Captain Marvel that Martin Goodman (if you believe Roy Thomas) or Stan Lee (if you believe Stan Lee) thought that Marvel Comics should have its own Captain Marvel.

Carmine Infantino tells me that it was solely when he woke up one morning in 19721 and wondered what it would take to get the rights to his favorite character from Fawcett that DC began to pursue it.

1/01/2010 06:46:00 AM  

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