Lots of feedback this week on topics that have been discussed in the past couple of weeks, beginning with the case of life imitating literature…

Regarding the policeman who said that home-monitoring devices are based on a gadget that the Kingpin used on Spider-Man: Stan Lee used this plot device in an early storyline the Spider-man newspaper strip in the mid-70s. The device was some sort of gold bracelet that clamped onto Spidey’s wrist. The Kingpin’s wife, Vanessa, used a special key to unlock the device.
— Brianone@aol.com

…The saga of the ankle-bracelet tracking device really did take place in a Spider-Man story but it was in the newspaper comic strip, not the comic book. In the August 9, 1977 daily, the Kingpin put an electronic wrist bracelet on Spidey to keep the web-slinger under his control. The serial continued through the end of September and was reprinted in its entirety in the 1986 trade paperback, THE BEST OF SPIDER-MAN. According to the May, 1985 issue of ENGINEERING TIMES, a New Mexico judge named Jack Love was inspired by the sequence to invent a similar ankle bracelet that would enable police to keep track of parolees. And the rest is history!
— John Wells

…The story rang a bell with me and sure enough a quick search of The Times (that’s the real Times newspaper, not one of these dodgy upstarts like New York!) revealed a story which implies that it was in the Spidey newspaper strip that electronic tagging made an appearance. However I do vaguely recall some follow-up online conversations regarding the veracity of the story, particularly with regard to the villain “Big Boy”, but for the life of me I can’t find what forum they were on (probably the Comics_Unintentional Yahoo group)

Another web page quotes from “Staples, W.G. (2000) Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield” to say much the same as the Times article. Unfortunately I can’t track down an online version of the book so I can’t check to see if there is anything else in there that’s of more interest to us.

Hope that helps!
— YouthBoy

Thanks, gents, for information.


In current DCU continuity Lana Lang’s parents were killed by the Manhunters, per 1987’s MILLENNIUM storyline. This resulted in her being raised by her aunt and becoming an unwitting spy for the Manhunters.
— kevinbennett007@hotmail.com

…Lana Lang’s parents never died in Earth-One continuity. They appeared together as recently as the Superman story in late 1984’s ACTION COMICS #565. Lana’s mom made a number of appearances over the years, beginning with Lana’s own debut in SUPERBOY #10 and continuing in issues #s 25, 58, 63-64, 90, 124, 137, 150-151, 164, 205, ADVENTURE COMICS #s 167, 170, 174, 236, 279, 282, 285, 297, 307, 312, 369, LOIS LANE #99, NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY #s 11, 19, 26 and SUPERMAN #s 78 & 375. She was never given a first name in any of them, though, so Elliot S. Maggin took care of it in his two prose novels, LAST SON OF KRYPTON and MIRACLE MONDAY.

In current DC history, Lana parents (identified as Thomas and Carol) were killed by alien Manhunters on the day that Kal-El’s rocket arrived on Earth. The official cause of death, however, was ruled a car accident (1988’s WORLD OF SMALLVILLE #3). The current “Smallville” TV series kept at least some of that in their pilot episode, with the Langs being killed — this time by a meteor shower — on the day of Kal-El’s arrival on the planet. Lana’s mom, on the TV show, was named Laura.
– John Wells

Despite the recent revelations on “Smallville” regarding the identity of Lana’s “real” father, there has never been any hint of questionable parentage in the comics. Though there were plenty of times when Professor Lang was off on an expedition, Lana’s parents remained faithful to one another.


Regarding your statement during the recent Superman’s age discussion about Dick Grayson having been Robin/Nightwing for a dozen “DC universe years,” that timeframe would make Batman 40 years old. To wit: BATMAN: YEAR ONE pegs Bruce Wayne at 25 years old. Dick Grayson does not appear until BATMAN: YEAR THREE when Bats is presumably 28 or so. Add a dozen years to that & we arrive at a 40 year old Batman… which is perfectly all right with me. One of my pet peeves is the industry’s apparent “everyone must be a teenager” edict.
— RSBerry@aol.com

Actually, RS, I think the edict is that members of the TEEN Titans should be teenagers.


Actually, we don’t know for certain who Warren Worthington was, other than the fact that he is presumably an ancestor of Warren Worthington III, who is the X-Men’s Angel/Archangel.
— rdf@hyperactiveinc.com

Presumably, the X-Man’s grandfather.


All the talk of the Faux Reprints and replicas got me to thinking about DC’s giant issues of the past in general. I’ve always wondered what the rhyme and reason was behind which titles got an 80-PAGE GIANT edition in the 60s and which didn’t. Likewise, with the 100 PAGE SUPER-SPECTACULARS in the 70s. For instance, why were there several 80-page issues of BATMAN and SUPERMAN, a few of ACTION or ADVENTURE COMICS or JLA, but no 80-PAGE GIANT WONDER WOMAN, DETECTIVE, GREEN LANTERN or BRAVE AND THE BOLD?

The 100-PAGE SUPER SPECS were even more confusing. They started with #4; #s 4, 5 & 6 were not tied to any ongoing existing titles; #s 7 thru 13 WERE tied into ongoing titles at that time, (i.e. #8 BATMAN #238) then #s 14 thru 22 were NOT tied to ongoing titles; and then they went back to making select issues of ongoing titles 100 Pagers. Certain titles had long strings of consecutive titles as 100 pagers – like DETECTIVE and JUSTICE LEAGUE– while others, like SUPERMAN, ACTION, or WONDER WOMAN, had only two or three 100-Page editions. Bob, did DC know way back then that they would make collecting today so much fun?
– – Geoff (geoffrg@netreach.net)

I don’t think it was part of DC’s plan to make collecting the books such a challenge, Geoff.

The choices for 80-PAGE GIANTS, 100-PAGE SUPER-SPECS and even the ANNUALS that started it all were made based on the sales of the regular titles. Superman and Batman both had large followings, so DC was assured that any books featuring them would sell well. The issues of ACTION COMICS (and DETECTIVE and ADVENTURE) were done because of their lead characters.

The numbering of the 80-Pagers and 100-Pagers was tied to taxes charged on comic books going into Canada. Comics that were considered part of an ongoing series were taxed at a much lower rate than those considered “stand-alones.”

I have a few new questions for you…
First, when did the Kid Eternity story that was reprinted in DETECTIVE COMICS #439 originally appear? Second, have you personally appeared in any DC comics? (I know you appeared in a “Hembeck” strip, which can be found at http://www.proudrobot.com/hembeck/rozakis.html ) Third, did you know that Hostess Cupcakes DO exist in the DCU? In the Zatanna story in WORLD’S FINEST #275, the villain was described as having “made more enemies than Hostess has made cupcakes!”
— orville_third@yahoo.com

The untitled tale first appeared in KID ETERNITY #3 (Autumn, 1946). I played a pivotal role in “Bat-Mite’s New York Adventure” which first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #481 and is included in THE GREATEST BATMAN STORIES EVER TOLD. (By the way, fans of the Hembeck strips that ran in the old Daily Planet pages can find them online at http://www.proudrobot.com/hembeck).

Well, of course Hostess Cupcakes exist in the DCU! How else could the heroes have used them to stop so many crimes?


Do you pick the covers used to accompany the “teaser” for your columns on the SBC front page? If so, you have solved a childhood mystery of mine! The TEEN TITANS cover for this week is one of the first comics I ever read and I have been trying to figure out what it was for YEARS! I remember that cover vividly, but somehow I never have seen it again until now.

One down, three to go. I may try you one day if you feel like a 1970s BATMAN or LEGION challenge and I have no luck on my own.
— Raymond Neal RNeal@coj.net

The illustrations that appear on the site are added by SBC’s “Big Kahuna” Jason. As for your search for other covers from your childhood, may I suggest you pay a visit to the Grand Comics Database (http://www.comics.org). It has an amazing wealth of information and an extensive cover gallery.


Can you tell me who was the writer of the ‘Calculator’ backups that appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS and introduced the world to Marshall Rogers?
– Greg Canu canug@citigroup.com

Marshall’s comics debut came before his work on the Calculator stories, though they were the ones that first got him widespread attention. The Green Arrow /Calculator confrontation, “Take Me Out of the Ball Game” appeared in ‘TEC #466 and was written by yours truly.

And speaking of things written by yours truly, don’t forget my daily Anything Goes Trivia quiz at http://www.wfcomics.com/trivia. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and join us here again next week.

Need some answers from the Answer Man?
Ask BobRo at It’s BobRo’s Answer Board.

Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.


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