A historic Marvel waste to DC hid a bizarre secret

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, you can learn about the obscure Mad Magazine tribute in Gene Colan’s first issue of Batman after leaving Marvel for DC.

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and 22nd round where we examine three comic book legends and decide if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three postings, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first part of this issue. Click here for the second part of this part’s legends.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hitting 5,000 followers, I’m doing a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So stay tuned my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


Gene Colan’s first issue of Batman hid a bizarre Mad Magazine tribute.



One of the interesting things about the story is that even though there are a number of things that are just direct facts, like “Artist X worked for Company A until he moved to Company B in 1981,” there are also many different things that will always come down to “He / she said vs. He / she said,” where the truth can be all over the place. It may be that one side is completely correct and the other side is completely wrong, or, as the truth is more likely to be somewhere in the middle (or perhaps more elusive, both sides tell the “truth”, but from said truth have different effects from their different perspectives).

This is generally the case when discussing Gene Colan’s exit from Marvel Comics, where he had been one of the company’s top artists for nearly twenty years to move to DC in 1981. According to Colan, he was driven from Marvel by Jim Shooter, who hunted him. According to Shooter, Colan hurried with his art, and Shooter’s “hunt” of him was simply Shooter, which made Colan put more effort into the art, for which they paid him a high price.

Here’s Colan on his departure …

Oh, [Shooter] hated me. I was miserable. It was the worst experience… one of the worst I have ever experienced. I had to leave Marvel because of him. I did not want to stay and I left everything. I left a pension scheme, everything. I would have stayed, but Shooter gave me such a hard time. In fact, the vice president [of Marvel] had been down in a meeting with me and Shooter and was trying to pacify me and make me stay. And I just did not want to do that, because I could see the writing on the wall, and I knew where Shooter was going, and I did not want any more of it. He loved to sit in the seat of power. He was a control freak, and he enjoyed it a lot. [He was] rode high at that time, and took advantage of it.

Here’s Shooter about his problems with Colan that led to Colan’s departure:

Gene Colan, God bless him, a great artist … When he worked for me, there were some issues. Gene had to produce a certain amount of work a day for financial reasons, and sometimes he cheated a little. He used to love it if there was an explosion in a story. No matter what, a small explosion would turn into a whole page. Quick page so he would make some money.

Incidentally, he has done some brilliant work in his career. Dracula. I think he was getting a little tired when I was there. I think we finally canceled Dracula, it started to fade and he needed work. And the fact is, he was working on a few different things, with a few different writers, he just could not … he had to do everything very quickly. He was not good at making the reference, he would not pay attention to the story.

I remember Bill Mantlo coming in and I had him rewrite this plot three or four times. He comes in and says, “I have to rewrite this plot three or four times and [Gene] ignore it. That’s just not right. “I said,” You have a point, Bill. I put you through hell getting this plot right, and here Gene is just ignoring the parts that are hard to draw. “

Got to the point where Bill would not work with him. Roger Stern would not work with him. Claremont would not … No one would work with him. So guess what he’s doing, he’s working with me on Avengers.

I made a deal with him, I said, “Gene, you need to start doing what you can. You need to do better things. I’ll make you draw again when you do not. In the first place, I will pay you back. to redraw it, but it has to be right. So if you have to draw something again, don’t worry, you will not lose a day’s work. I will pay you for it. You will find it better to do it right first “And if you do it right, I’ll get you more money. You want to join the Avengers, sweet royalties.” It lasted for a few months.

It was then that Wolfman had gone over to DC and thought happily of the Dracula days and made him get over there. And it was better for everyone, I think. To do things that were more in the way of him. He was not really a superhero guy. That was all we had to offer him at the time. He ended up at DC. Just one of those things that failed.

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See what I mean? Believe who you want. Do you think Shooter was unreasonable? Lived. Do you think Shooter was fair? Lived. You do, this is not an area where I can give you a definitive answer.

In any case, Roy Thomas was another creator who left Marvel for DC in 1981 after a dispute with Shooter (this time about Thomas’ role as editor of his own comics, something Shooter banned Marvel. Again, up to you if that’s fair not having any exceptions to a rule, even with a guy like Thomas who I think everyone would admit never had trouble editing himself.The rule of “the author can not edit himself” was also what sent Marv Wolfman to DC Comics). DC wanted to get Thomas to work right away, so Thomas started writing scripts over someone else’s plot, so DC could say he was involved in the book, or Thomas would plot a book and someone else would write the script for it, basically a way to get Thomas. ‘name in DC Comics as soon as possible before starting his regular new job for the company.

One of the early books was Batman # 340, Manuscript by Gerry Conway. The book also served as Gene Colan’s debut on Batman, a series he would draw in the next few years (Colan also wanted a Wonder Woman running with Thomas) …

The problem opens with a stockbroker named Elder being attacked by a mysterious device …

And then a psychiatrist named Kurtzman …

Batman chased after the villain and discovered that it was a monstrous creature known as the mole!

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Few people in comic book history know comic book history more than Roy Thomas, and this story was a clever double historical reference.

First of all, the villain, the Mole, was an obscure villain from an old issue The world’s finest comics # 80 (by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye) …

He was a guy digging tunnels into safes …

Thomas, Conway and Colan referred to the story …

However, it was also a reference to a classic story from the early days of Mad, back then it was a comic (and not a magazine) and it was just an offbeat comedy magazine and not a primarily parody comic. One of the stories in the second issue ever was “The Mole” from 1952 by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder, about a criminal who digs …

You can see that this was pre-Comics Code because of how violent it was …

The mole keeps digging out of the prison with less and less digging tools …

Until he finally digs his way to the chair …

So Thomas, who had a villain called the mole who wanted to dig like the mad mole, along with the villain who tried to take revenge on Elder and Kurtzman, was a great little tribute to Thomas …

Smart things.


In the latest film Legends Revealed – A look at the enduring myth that Daniel LaRusso’s crane kick in The Karate Kid was an illegal move.


OK, that was it for this installment!

Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I actually do not even do anymore, but I used it for years, and you still see it when you see my old columns, so it’s fair enough to still thank him, I think.

You are welcome (heck, I beg you!) To write in with your suggestions for future installments! My email address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can also ask me legends there! If you have a correction or a comment, you are also welcome to send me an email. CBR sometimes sends me emails with emails they get about CBLR, and that’s fair enough, but the fastest way to get a fix through is to just send me an email directly, honestly. I do not mind corrections. Always best to get things accurate!

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See you next time!

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