DC published quite a few horror/mystery titles in the later 1960’s to 1980’s. While a few narrators from those titles — such as Cain, Abel, Destiny, Madame Xanadu, and so forth — did appear with definite Earth-1 characters in BRAVE AND THE BOLD and DC COMICS PRESENTS, it remains unclear if the stories that these characters narrated took place on Earth-1 or Earth-2 or not. Is the general rule that the stories that Cain, Abel, Destiny, etc. narrated did NOT take place in the DC Universe? (Of course, Madame Xanadu presents a problem. Not only did she narrate stories, she actually INTERACTED with some of the characters in the stories she told.)
Oh, by the way, you co-created Mister E, so I will ask this: Did his adventures take place on Earth-1? Did he meet any Earth-1 characters at any point before the Crisis?
We could play “Six Degrees of Separation” with virtually every narrator of a DC mystery title and place them on Earth-1, Earth-2, or any other Earth you’d like (including the Marvel-Earth, the Dark Horse Earth and the Archie-Earth). Let’s presume that the characters all existed on Earth-1 but that the stories they told were “fictional” rather than “true.”
Mister E did not meet any other Earth-1 characters in the stories that I wrote, but I always presumed him to be a denizen of that particular Earth.
I hate continuity questions – but I have one: The current Wonder Woman is depicted recently as having fought in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. But according to the LEGENDS mini-series, she was just making her debut just prior to the Justice League (soon to be JLI). How’s this possible? And, how is the Crisis remembered? It happened, but it didn’t? Is that it?
— David G (email@example.com)
…Could you help me with this query about which events happened in which order regarding Superman?
Supes lost his original solar-based powers during the events in the “FINAL NIGHT” crossover and as a result of trying to get his powers recharged he became the energy being Superman “Electric-Blue.”
Around this time, Grant Morrison’s revamped JLA premiered and during the first story arc a “normal” fully solar-powered Superman took part in this adventure with the Hyperclan. In #5 he appeared in his new “electric-blue” form. How could Supes have taken part in the adventure when after Final Night he had no powers at all? I’m confused.
— John Harrison (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Continuity has become so convoluted these days that it’s hard to figure out what’s part of it and what isn’t (as demonstrated in last week’s column about the Batman canon). Ah, if only we could return to the simpler days of the Silver Age, those days when WW editor/writer Robert Kanigher would rewrite the Amazon Princess’s origin about once every six months and no one worried about whether it contradicted the previous version.
Ever since post-Crisis continuity had Black Canary instead of Wonder Woman as the founding female member of the JLA, I’ve been confused by what is supposed to have happened. (And let’s not forget that it is now Queen Hippolyta who was the Wonder Woman of the Justice Society.)
The apparent Superman-Blue contradiction is a result of multi-part stories that spread across a time period in which something else is happening in the character’s regular title. It probably would have been better to leave Supes in his traditional garb until it made more sense chronologically.
By the way, it would seem that the only ones who remember the Crisis and how things were before it are the readers! It is a constant source of ironic amusement that the idea behind it was to make things easier to understand.
How did DC explain the appearance of Captain Marvel and other non-DC characters when DC bought them?
— Duncan (email@example.com)
They put them on separate Earths. The Captain Marvel / Fawcett characters were on Earth-S, while the Quality Comics characters (Human Bomb, Uncle Sam, Doll Man, et al) were placed on Earth-X. It wasn’t until the Crisis that all the Earths got merged into one.
I snagged some !mpact comics last week. I know the characters were owned by Archie, by why were they relaunched by DC? It’s not like Archie couldn’t have printed them themselves.
The Archie folks were not interested in publishing superhero comic books at the time, but DC management thought there would be a market interested in them. So the deal was struck and the rest is publishing history. (By the way, the rights to the characters are back in the hands of the Archie management now.)
Was your “Bat-Mite’s New York Adventure” which first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #482 supposed to have taken place on Earth-Prime? I constructed an Earth-Prime timeline that included the story. (http://blaklion.best.vwh.net/timelinePrime.html)
On a related question, did the ADVENTURE COMICS Spectre series take place on Earth-Prime? I say this because in one issue, Jim Corrigan refers to reporter Earl Crawford as “Clark Kent” and another policeman says, “Gee, are you really Superman?”
Yes, the Bat-Mite tale was supposed to be taking place on Earth-Prime. An amusing sidelight of the story, which is the only one I’ve written that has made it into a TPB collection, is that I got the idea one night and wrote the script in about twenty minutes. I brought it to then-‘TEC editor Al Milgrom and said, “You can do one of two things with this. Buy it or throw it away.” He opted for the former and the tale ended up in THE GREATEST BATMAN STORIES EVER TOLD.
The Spectre stories took place on Earth-One. Corrigan and the cop had obviously been watching the old Superman cartoons that ran in theatres there, prompting their witty remarks.
I don’t know if written about other examples of something in a comic book becoming reality — aside from the ankle bracelet story you recently told.
Another possible example is the car airbag. The first time I read about such a safety measure was in the pages of JLA #154. Dr. Destiny caused Batman’s nightmare about having wings and flying to come true and then took away his wings when he was in mid-air. To save himself, Batman used his walkie-talkie to command the Batmobile to strike a pole, causing the airbag to activate. His airbag grew to the size of a mattress, cushioning his fall.
The issue you cite, published in 1978, predates the general use of airbags in automobiles by a number of years. Some cars had them in the mid-80s and almost all models by the mid-90s. Unlike the ankle bracelet tracking device, however, there is no evidence that reality imitated a comic book story in this case.
I’ve been trying to determine Bruce Wayne’s birthday. I see online that it’s referred to in a 1976 DC comics calendar and, elsewhere, that you dismissed many of the dates as, and I quote here, “A ‘Fill up the dates of the year, Nelson!’ type of job” by the project’s editor.
So … is there a known birthday for Bruce Wayne? Or is it just another of the great mysteries of (alternative universe) life?
— Ron A
According to the calendar, Bruce’s birthday is February 19th.
I have been searching for a Batman issue — not sure if it is DETECTIVE or BATMAN. It involved Batman solving a crime where people were being murdered by artificial skulls that shoot out some type of flame. Any Ideas?
— Jim Brenan (JimBrenan@hotmail.com)
I’d bet on BATMAN #270 (December, 1975) which features “The Menace of the Fiery Heads” by David V. Reed and Ernie Chua.
I got into a “discussion” with my wife regarding Superman…
I contend that he is still human despite being born on a different planet. She says he is an alien and cannot be considered human no matter how close to “Earth-like” he is. What’s your opinion?
I think you and your wife need to get out more!
Seriously, though, this is a matter of semantics more than anything else. My dictionary lists “having the appearance of a man” as a definition of human. Go that wide and every android from the original Human Torch (pardon the pun) on fills the bill, along with the Superman robots and members of every alien race that look vaguely like us.
Hi there! I’m am a student in Scotland planning on doing my 4th year dissertation on “accountants in comics” and was wondering, what with you being an accountant, if you could tell me how many comic characters you know who are accountants?
I may also be interested in surveying/ interviewing you about how accountants are perceived in the comic book industry as well as in the books themselves. Any feedback at all would be greatly appreciated!
Offhand, the only accountant I can think of is the IRS auditor who turned up in the classic Silver Age tale, “Superman Owes a Million Dollars.”
As far as the perceptions of people in the industry, they’d probably say that accountants come in handy when they want to get paid and when they need to get their income taxes done! Otherwise, the common nickname for them is “the bean-counters.”
Where in the net can I find the rejected proposals for 1986 Superman’s relaunch? I’ve been looking for ages to see what could have been the actual incarnation of Supes. Do you know any of them? Can you tell us about them?
I don’t know that any rejected proposals from 16 years ago were ever posted anywhere. But if someone does know, I’ll be happy to pass along the information.
Was it ever revealed who “X,” the writer for Marvel’s short-lived series THE BROTHERHOOD actually was?
— Aaron (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My spies have told me that Howard Mackie was actually “X.” Hmm, was that supposed to remain a secret?
Why was the first Harry Potter book called “The Philosopher’s Stone” in England and “The Sorcerer’s Stone” in America?
No one in America knows what a Philosopher is.
That’s a wrap for this week. Next time, more of your questions and my answers. And don’t forget my daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia where the situation is reversed!
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