I was recently discussing the Crisis on Infinite Earths and the deaths of Supergirl and Barry Allen in that particular series. I don’t know if this question has ever come up before, but what hoops does a writer/creative team have to go through to bring about the end of a character? Or even to create new characters?

How much input does the publisher or editor-in-chief have? Or even a VP of sales or marketing, if any? What is the deliberative process?
Do any of these people anticipate fan reaction? Market reaction? If so, how? Is there polling?

Finally, are other creative teams with experience in these areas consulted on how to approach these subjects?
— Mike Cruz (lion.of.judah@att.net)

Killing off a character is a lot harder than creating a new one. In the days when comics featured self-contained stories, there were new characters popping up in almost every issue. New villains turned up regularly in the Batman books of the 50s and 60s and Flash’s Rogues’ Gallery grew steadily through the first couple of years.

Doing away with a major character like Barry Allen or Supergirl requires a lot more levels of approval than killing off a minor player. When Cary Bates and Julie Schwartz decided to kill The Top in THE FLASH, I doubt they discussed it with anyone else.

*****

How many Green Lantern oaths have been recited, what were they and which ones were said by whom?
— David G (estradason@aol.com)

“In brightest day, in blackest night…” I covered this in my November 11, 2002 column. By the way, you can access all my old columns by clicking on “More” at the bottom of the purple column to the right.

*****

Is there a website/store that sells older comics not of the NM/CGC variety? EBay is a nightmare and most online stores think their comics are made of gold. I’m talking about a beat up (GD) copy of say, AMAZING SPIDEY #142 or AVENGERS #74 for about a buck. Where can us that actually want to READ the funny books go to fill out our collections without using the rent money?
— Vince (usul420@yahoo.com)

Your best bet is to try local comics shops (Call 1-888-COMICBOOK to find ones in your area) or attend a convention. Both are good places to find boxes of books that are in “less-than-collectible” condition for very reasonable prices.

*****

I am looking for a copy of ACTION COMICS #127 (Dec. 1948). I won the contest for naming Tommy Tomorrow’s space ship “the Space Ace.” I received a year’s subscription and the paste-up of the first page. I have everything including the letter and cardboard tube the paste-up came in but I cannot find my comic. I would like to buy one if possible. Can you be of some help?
— Sandy Pushkin (push410@hotmail.com)

As with Vince’s question above, try some local shops or a convention.

*****

I have a good friend who entered a story contest for Katy Keene and won. Her story was about Katy looking at photograph album of her as a child on a rainy day. The story was used with the professional comic book artist illustrating the story. She thinks it was published in 1959 or 1960. Do you know what volume, edition, etc? Also, is there a way to find a copy? I’d like to purchase it for her.
— Lisa Aldred (LisaAldred@aol.com)

Any Katy Keene experts out there who can pinpoint the issue?

*****

There was an Archie Contest in 1961 in which the winner would get their original story in the next issue. The winner was from Hawaii. What issue number and who was the winner?
— Coleen (csnei02@hotmail.com)

So many contests, so many winners…so few answers. Anyone?

*****

I’ve really been enjoying the JSA and one of my favorite characters from the series is Wildcat. Did he ever have a series of his own or maybe star in a back-up feature in any comics?
— Todd (Todd@BrokenFrontier.com)

The esteemed Ted Grant appeared in his own feature in SENSATION COMICS #s 1-90. [Ed’s Note: There was also a three-issue BATMAN/WILDCAT mini-series in 1997, which was quite entertaining, as I recall.]

*****

I recently read a comic in which Deadman made an appearance. Could you tell me who the heck this guy is or at least point me towards a decent biography? (Couldn’t find anything on Google)
— Danny B. (BannytheUncanny@aol.com)

Circus acrobat Boston Brand was shot by a mysterious assassin known only as The Hook back in STRANGE ADVENTURES #205 in 1967. Existing in ghostlike form, he was given the power to inhabit other people’s bodies so that he could track down his killer. The original saga was reprinted in a seven-issue series in 1985 and most recently is a deluxe hardcover edition.

*****

Is there a website for bios on creators from the Golden Age? I would like to research and find out how many went on to other things and how many are still living.
— Tim (mitmort99@hotmail.com)

I don’t know about a website, but I highly recommend the publications from TwoMorrows, Inc (http://www.twomorrows.com), especially ALTER-EGO, edited by Roy Thomas.

*****

How are comic books colored? What media besides computers are or were used?
— ck (confused_010@yahoo.com)

Been there, done that, wrote the column. Check out “The Wonderful World of Color” from April 14.

*****

You might have answered this before, but, what’s the deal with the Batcave’s Giant Penny?
— Josh (joshfialkov@mailshell.com)

I have indeed answered it before, but I’ll answer it again. It is a souvenir from Batman’s encounter with “The Penny Plunderers” way back in WORLD’S FINEST #30.

*****

Why haven’t comic book publishers been involving the war in the Middle East in their books? They did it with World War II.
— Ben (ferritfvr88@hotmail.com)

Obviously, they don’t think they can sell many books. Like the Vietnam war, which was also not “popular” in many parts of the country, it might turn off more readers than it would attract.


FEEDBACK DEPARTMENT:

I seem to remember a BATMAN ANNUAL from 1984 written by Mike W Barr and with lovely art by Mike Golden, introducing a character called the Wraith. His gimmick was that his parents, both criminals, had been shot by Officer Jim Gordon in the line of duty. This happened the same night Joe Chill shot and killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. The Wraith then grew up to become a mirror image of Batman.In retrospect the character wasn’t such a bad idea, pity he never reappeared…
— Giovanni Spinella (giovanni.spinella@moneyline.com)

To the person who wanted to know if Commissioner Gordon ever shot and killed someone in the line of duty, BRAVE & BOLD #139 (costarring Batman and Hawkman) dealt with the aftermath of just such an event and is worth seeking out.
— David Peattie (dpeattie@yahoo.com)

*****

Along with the various Supermen you mentioned, a search of the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com) turned up these:

Chris Ambrose (Superman). . . American Splendor (2003)
Michael Brennan (I) (Superman No.1). . . Cuckoo Patrol (1967)
Bob Burns (III) (Superman/Clark Kent/Captain America/Steven ‘Steve’ Rogers/Werewolf/The Mad Mummy) . . . Adventures of the Spirit (1963)
Brian Cantwell (I) (Superman). . . Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)
Kwok Keung Cheung (Superman). . . Mou mian bi (1994)
Timothy Daly (Superman (Clark Kent)). . . “Superman” (1996) TV Series
Danny Dark (Superman (Clark Kent)). . . “Super Friends” (1973) TV Series
Rodney Gage (Superman). . . Certain Fury (1985)
Alec Gillis (Superman). . . Mattress of Solitude (2000)
Andy Chi-On Hui (Superman). . . 7 jin gong (1994)
Puneet Issar (Superman/Shekhar/Clark Kent). . . Superman (1987)
Christian Loustau (Superman). . . Complices, Les (1999) (TV)
Neil McCarthy (Superman No. 2). . . Cuckoo Patrol (1967)
George Newbern (Superman (Clark Kent)). . . “Justice League” (2001) TV Series
Captain Sticky (Superman). . . Sex O’Clock News, The (1984)
Paolo Villaggio (Superman Italiano). . . Quelle strane occasioni (1976)
Beau Weaver (Superman/Clark Kent). . . “Superman” (1988) TV Series
Jay Whiteaker (Superman). . . Perfect World, A (1993)
David Wilson (VI) (Superman/Clark Kent). . . It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman (1975) (TV)
Ronald Wong (I) (Superman). . . 97 goo waak jai jin mo bat sing (1997)

Impressive, but I believe that Sherlock Holmes still holds the record for the fictional character portrayed on screen by the greatest number of different actors.
— Bob Buethe (bobbuethe@hotmail.com)

“Portrayed on the screen” may be going a bit far with some of these, Bob. Obviously, some are the actors who voiced the Man of Steel in cartoons. Others would seem to be throwaway bits in movies that have nothing to do with the Man of Steel. And as for “Mattress of Solitude” – what’s the rating on that one?

*****

Not a question, just a clarification: to add onto your list of Archie Riverdale Gang superheroes, Betty was Superteen.
— lifesignaller@yahoo.com

*****

I don’t exactly know who Super Islaw, Panday, Batang X etc. are, but some of the words used for the names are actual Malay words. For example, Batang means stick or rod. Bawang is onion, while Lastik is a slang word, meaning slings.
— lifesignaller@yahoo.com

Thought you might be interested in this article: Pinoy Cinema’s Justice League – Jun. 09, 2003
http://www.inq7.net/ent/2003/jun/09/ent_7-3.htm
— Traik@aol.com

Regarding Super Islaw, Panday, Batang X, Darna, Bagwis, Captain Barbel, Pedro Panduko, Commander Bawang, and Lastikman… all of these characters are Filipino heroes, and each of them were made into local motion pictures in the Philippines.

Let’s start off with Super Islaw. I can’t tell much about him other than the fact that this hero was created specifically for a movie and it starred Richard Gomez (a popular local actor in the Philippines). His powers are basically the power of flight and super-strength, and his goal is to fight supernatural beings on Earth (local versions of vampires, monsters).

Panday is a story of a blacksmith in a period setting who was destined to fight the forces of evil that enslaves his town. His main weapon is a magical knife, which he forged from a mysterious meteorite that landed on his land. The knife aside from its innate magical ability can also lengthen into a sword when needed. His main antagonist was Lizardo (also armed with a magical sword of his own), the evil ruler of the land. It originally was a comic serial that was later made into a movie (with a lot of sequels).

Batang X: basically a rip-off from the X-men. Though they are not mutants, these are a set of kids who banded together to fight a common alien threat. There are 5 of them, each with a special power that they can use to protect the Earth against the alien invaders. I think they got their powers through some sort of machinery from another alien (a good one) that altered their genetic structures. The movie was successful enough that it landed a short-lived TV series afterwards.

Darna: arguably the most popular super-hero in the Philippines, she was a creation of Mars Ravelo in the 1950s, and was considered to be a rip-off of Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. Started off as a comic serial, she was originally a young girl named Narda, who while playing one night caught a magical stone from a meteorite. The meteorite came from Mars with the word DARNA inscribed. After swallowing the stone and yelling the word, she was transformed into a young woman with powers of flight, strength, speed and invulnerability. She used this power to battle the forces of evil. Her most popular adversary was Valentina, a woman with snake-like hair and power over snakes. From the 1950s to the present, more than ten movies (possibly even 15) were made about her. To learn more about her, you may visit the website http://www.marsravelodarna.com/theofficialwebsite/.

Bagwis: a superhero from the 80s. All I know from him was that it was originally a newspaper comic strip which were later made into a movie. Bagwis is an angel-like hero with wings and a magical sword and shield. I think his main enemy is a demon.

Captain Barbell: Another creation of Mars Ravelo, with powers and abilities similar to Captain Marvel/ Superman (again). Originally a comic series, it was later made into a number of movies. The hero was a mortal named Enteng, who uses a magic barbell to change his form from a dirty mortal young man into the strong and ultra-powerful Captain Barbell.

Pedro Penduko: Pedro Penduko was an ancient Filipino folklore character. To my knowledge it originally was a tale of a young boy with various powers that he used to fight monsters and other supernatural beings. When it was made into movies in the 70s and the 90s, Pedro however was not a boy but a man. Have to dig-in to my Filipino myths more to tell other info regarding him, I guess.

Kumander Bawang: Another attempt to create a superman-like character bent on facing supernatural beings (or more accurately, vampires). He was named Kumander Bawang since he is armed with a bawang (garlic), known to be a main weapon against vampires. Just like Islaw, this is primarily a character created for the movies.

Lastikman: Another creation of the late Mars Ravelo, his powers are basically similar to that of Plastic Man. He can stretch his body and shape it into any form and he uses these gifts to battle evil. One movie was created in the 1950s (or 60s), and a recent one was made last year starring the pinoy comedian Vic Sotto. To learn more about him, you may visit http://www.lastikman.com/ or http://www.cbcpworld.com/cinema/archives/2003/jan2003/lastikman.html.
— Christian (supersaiyan_goku_dbz@yahoo.com)

Thanks for such a detailed report, Christian.

*****

The fan who appeared in DC COMICS PRESENTS #11 won a “Name the Letters Page” contest, not the Clark Bar contest.
— Jim (jefhamlin@aol.com)

I have this issue, too. The contestant’s name was Marc Teichman. Actually, he was the winner of still another contest, which was held to determine the title of the letter column for DC COMICS PRESENTS. So, Marc Teichman is responsible for submitting ‘Pair Mail.’ (I believe you wrote one or two of those columns.)
— Brian (Brianone@aol.com)

Which puts us back to square one regarding the Clark Bar winner, doesn’t it?

*****

Mavel’s ULTIMATE DAREDEVIL AND ELEKTRA actually saw print last year. Four issue mini-series that seemed liked it had been influenced by the TV show “Felicity.”

The first Happy Meal movie tie-in was probably for 1979’s “Legend of the Lone Ranger.” The Happy Meal boxes could be cut-up and converted into old west building. There was also some sort of rubbery/plastic cowboy toy that came inside.
— ES (estragand@aol.com)

*****

In answer to the question about the Wonder Woman story “The Case of the Girl in Braces” (SENSATION COMICS #50), a synopsis of this story and many others is available at “Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics” at http://www.dcindexes.com.

Here’s the full rundown: “Diana Prince and Steve Trevor visit a night club to learn how military secrets have been stolen. Captain Blank, an officer whom they suspect, shoots himself in the club. Wonder Woman rushes him to Paradise Island, so Paula can heal him using the Purple Ray. Steve stays behind where he falls for society girl Margo Vandergilt. Wonder Woman distrusts Vandergilt, but Steve decides to marry her. When Captain Blank revives, he explains that Margo stole the secrets from him.

Wonder Woman rushes to stop Steve’s wedding, but is captured. She learns that the real Margo is held prisoner, while a gun moll named Corine has taken her place. With the help of the Holliday Girls, Wonder Woman escapes and stops the wedding. Corine is exposed, and Steve is embarrassed that he fell for the crook.”
— Mike (mike@dcindexes.com)

It was reprinted in a hardcover collection in the 1970’s along with several other tales. Wonder Woman goes through Marston’s normal adventure pattern and saves the day.
— Martin Gray (martingray1_@hotmail.com)

*****

There are indeed X-Men pogs. There were literally hundreds of Marvel pogs sold by Toy Biz in the mid-90s with original art by ridiculously over-qualified talent such as Steve Rude, Paul Smith, Mike Allred, Dave Johnson, and Jim Steranko.
— Mike Thomas (mthomas@creativeGIANT.net)

Before ANYBODY writes to ask what they are worth – “whatever someone will pay for them!”


Time to bring another mega-sized column to a close, but not without reminding you to check out my daily Anything Goes Trivia at http://www.worldfamouscomics.com/trivia. See you back here next week.

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