The questions I receive come from far and wide and touch on a great deal of topics. Many of these I have the answers to, some I need help with (from folks like my official unofficial researcher John Wells – see below), and some I just throw out to you, my readers.
So, in a little end-of-the-year house-cleaning, here are a variety of questions that need answers, insight, or a shrug of our collective shoulders. The assistance of any and all of you is appreciated….
Back in the early 60s, Marvel used to print these stories in their comics. They stories generally started in the middle of the story and would be 1 page, then would continue on second page later on in the issue. Generally the page background was yellow. I found these mostly in TALES TO ASTONISH, before there were Bullpen Bulletins or Marvel Checklists.
What were these stories, and where did they come from? I asked this question through email a few years back when Stan Lee was answering questions, and never received a response.
— Jack DiMartino
Whatever happened to the child of Iron Munroe and Sandra Knight? And why did they never reunite?
Okay, Tony Stark was found to be controlled by Kang, then died…his teenage version appears and then is sucked into Onslaught….oh heck, I know you know the story. My question is when the heroes returned, Tony Stark is now an adult with memories of the past…what happened? Was he not dead?
— Ben White (Beerhero@yahoo.com)
What does the story behind the diamond shaped emblem on Spy Smasher’s costume that no one seems to know any thing about? How did he come about getting that as “his” emblem and or why?
Growing up I have fond memories of two comic book magazines – AMAZING HEROES by Fantagraphics and COMICS INTERVIEW by Fictioneer – two magazines which ceased publication in the mid-80’s, to the best of my knowledge. I still purchase them whenever I run across a copy at the occasional comic book convention, preferring their now-dated coverage of the comic book industry and characters to today’s ultra-slick WIZARD magazine. However, I’ve never been able to find out what the final issue numbers or dates were for those periodicals despite numerous internet searches. Do you have any idea?
– Jason (email@example.com)
Do you know a mutant called Silver Fox? What do you know about her?
WIZARD did a Top 10 Super Heroes list a while back… somewhere around #80. I was wondering if you knew what issue it was or where I could find out?
— Matt (ImOneStud@hotmail.com)
I was wondering if you could put me in contact or if you might know what Bert Christman or Noel Sickels original artwork goes for? I have a suitcase full of sketches and dailies from both. Please contact me if you have any information on them. Thanks
— Lee Vandergrift (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This may not be in your area of expertise but I’ll give it a shot. A 1950s kids’ TV show using marionettes. Villain is named “Mallaca Selangor”? Any clue?
— Howard (email@example.com)
Was there a female nazi character who had a swastika on her forehead hidden by her hairdo?
I read something about Uberbabe a while back… where is she?
With Marvel recently reprinting Alan Moore’s Captain Britain stories, I was curious to find out what issues it actually reprints? I saw that Captain Britain had a UK series in 1976 by Claremont and then had a 1985 series for 14 issues by Alan Davis. So what title and what issues does the Alan Moore Captain Britain trade paperback reprint?
— Andy Abdelmalek (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Where can I buy a Hakaider action figure?
— rich (email@example.com)
WHERE ARE THEY NOW DEPARTMENT:
What ever happened to George Kashdan; is he still writing?
Is Dave Cockrum still alive and kicking? And what comic company has his great characters, The Futurians?
Was Gail Simone fired by Marvel?
— Michael Lipstraw (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is Joe Madureira up to these days? Despite the fact that he was often late with BATTLE CHASERS, I think he is one of the few artists whose name alone could sell a book.
— Piotr (LO40@poczta.onet.pl)
In response to the question from the Dec. 9th column about comic book accountants, Iceman from the X-Men is an accountant. After leaving the team in UNCANNY X-MEN #94, he went to college and got a degree in accounting. I believe some stories backing this up appeared in AMAZING ADVENTURES, but I’m not sure of the issue numbers.
Regarding the Harry Potter question – many Americans (comic book fans in particular) DO know what the Philosopher’s stone is – those who read enough Flash stories. The Philosopher’s Stone was Dr. Alchemy’s weapon (as opposed to Mr. Element’s element gun).
That’s a stretch! Though the folks at DC would love it if even a fraction of a percent of the Harry Potter fans were reading issues of THE FLASH.
Regarding which “universe” the DC horror anthology stories belong to, remember that great BRAVE & THE BOLD issue by Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil teaming up Batman and the “House of Mystery”? Certainly that belongs in the old Earth-1 universe?
True, though many purists would insist that most of the stories in BRAVE & BOLD contradicted continuity so much that they took place on Earth-B.
Someone asked me for info on the modern incarnations of Plastic Man not too long ago so I’m including my entire response … which eventually gets around to the question in your column:
DC’s initial revival of Plas was prompted by a rival publisher’s illegal use of the name. They first slotted Plas into HOUSE OF MYSTERY #160 as one of Robby Reed’s H-Dialed identities and followed up with an ongoing series that eventually ran for ten issues (1966-1968). This version of Plastic Man wore red leggings rather than the usual bare legs and hung out with a bespectacled young man named Gordon K. Trueblood. Other regulars in the series were Plas’ girl friend Micheline “Mike” de Lute III, Mike’s mom (who hated Plas), Captain Matthew McSniffe (who thought Plas was a crook) and recurring villains Doctor Dome and his daughter, Lynx.
In issue #7, it was revealed that this was actually “Eel” O’Brien, Jr. [Note the spelling; it’s supposed to be O’Brian.] The original Plas and Woozy (who looked ancient despite the fact that they’d only gone into comics limbo a decade earlier) were retired and running a health resort known as Plastic Acres. In THE KINGDOM: OFFSPRING, Mark Waid made a nod to this by making Micheline de Lute the love interest for Plas’ son.
Next up, DC played Plas as a down-on-his-luck hero (no Woozy in sight) who was easy pickings for villainous financial tycoon Ruby Ryder (BRAVE & BOLD #s 76, 95, 123, 148). These stories were set on Earth-One as were guest-shots in DC SUPER-STARS #10 and JLA #144.
When Plastic Man’s series was revived in the mid-1970s (#s 11-20), Plas and Woozy were working for the N.B.I. rather than the F.B.I. alongside the gray-haired Chief Branner from the original series, agent Gully Foyle and ditzy secretary Sundae Supplement. Plas also had an on-again/off-again romance with a woman named Dolly Wile. In the final issue, Plas and Woozy ran afoul of the N.B.I. and the series ended with the guys as fugitives (all played for laughs, of course).
The next Plas solo series ignored all that and restored Chief Branner to his original dark-haired, youthful appearance. They still worked for the N.B.I., though. This was the Earth-One Plas and Woozy again. The solo series ran in ADVENTURE COMICS #s 467-478 (1979-1980), SUPER FRIENDS #s 43 & 45 and WORLD’S FINEST #273. Plas teamed with Superman in DC COMICS PRESENTS #s 39 & 93 and with the JLA in SUPER FRIENDS #36.
And then Roy Thomas decided to use Plas in ALL-STAR SQUADRON (#s 1-4, 7, 31-32, 35-37, 50, 60), playing him straight (as per the Golden Age series, where it was Woozy and the villains who were played for laughs) and using him as the team’s liaison with (once again) the F.B.I. in 1941 and 1942.
Post-Crisis, DC initially left Plas’ history in the 1940s (he was mentioned in YOUNG ALL-STARS #2) but 1988’s four-issue Plastic Man mini-series put his origin in the present. As before, Eel was a crook who was doused in acid and left behind by his cohorts. The angle with the monastery was bypassed altogether as was Woozy’s origin. In this account, Woozy was a former Arkham inmate who convinced Eel that life was still worth living and that he should fight crime. The twist here was that Plas saw everything in a cartoony, exaggerated fashion (drawn by Hilary Barta) because of the acidic solution in his veins but the reality was somewhat different (as illustrated by Kevin Nowlan). It was a cute idea, carried over into a few guest-shots like ACTION COMICS #661 but since ignored.
Eventually, of course, Plas joined the JLA and has made dozens of guest-appearances ever since. Mark Waid even revealed that Eel’s real first name was Patrick (JLA #50). He also appeared in 1999’s PLASTIC MAN SPECIAL #1, which pretty much ignored the 1988 series. Once again, Plas’ origin was as it was in the original (complete with monastery) but Woozy’s was entirely different. In this version, he and Plas were N.B.I. agents under Chief Branner. Wolfgang Winks (a.k.a. Agent Green Cobra) was a brilliant operative who found himself imprisoned in a locker with Plas, who’d been shot. In the tight quarters, extended exposure to the fumes from Plas’ altered blood permanently warped Winks’ brain. Plas stuck by him from that point on, in part because of guilt over his inadvertent role.
JLA #65 revealed the existence of O’Brian’s nearly eleven-year-old son, who’d inherited his dad’s powers. Based on this, Plas would seem to have been around near the dawn of the new heroic age that launched the original Justice League of America. And then there’s JLA #28, wherein Wildcat recalled Eel as a boy, which would date Plas’ career back to the 1940s. In JLA #38, Plas noted his acquaintance with Golden Age hero, the Red Bee. Both of these would seem to indicate that Plas was around in the 1940s, as per Roy’s ALL-STAR SQUADRON but no one’s been brave enough to actually do a flashback to that effect.
On another note, the Odd Man returned as an apparent employee of Hero Hotline (HH #5) and was an unsuccessful applicant for a Project Cadmus security post (SUPERBOY [third series] #65). And he can be seen on a monitor screen on page 11 of last month’s POWER COMPANY #10.
— John Wells (email@example.com)
As always, John, thanks for your expert research!
By the way, the appearance of the Odd Man in HERO HOTLINE was one of artist Stephen DeStefano’s little throwaway gags. I wouldn’t take it as any indication of employment.
If you thought John’s history of the DC incarnation of Plastic Man covered all the bases (as I did), you’ll be surprised by the following question that arrived just as I was finishing this column.
Spurred on by the Plastic Man continuity question in your 12/16 column, what exactly can you tell me about the Plastic Man cartoon from about 20 years ago? I think it ran on ABC Saturday mornings and vaguely recall a Plas-baby, but other than that, I’m at a loss. Also, if you know, who has the rights to those cartoons and have there been any rumbling as to if they would be re-broadcast sometime in the future? Thanks and keep the knowledge coming.
BOBRO ON THE RADIO DEPARTMENT:
I’ll be joining Howard Margolin for his annual “Year in Review” program on Friday, December 27 at 11:30 p.m. The program is carried on WUSB (www.wusb.org), which is usually available via internet feed. However, Howard sent along the following…
<< WUSB’s internet feed has been down for the past couple of weeks, but there is a good chance that by the 27th, it’ll be up again. You can also mention that if they miss it live, it’ll air the following week in rotation at www.cosmiclandscapes.com.>>
That will do it for this week. Till next time, don’t forget my daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia. Merry Christmas!
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