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Topic: Q For Mr Byrne: De-Uniquing’s Legacy Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 14 June 2018 at 11:04pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Superman also owes a debt to Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, and to a short story by Jack Williamson called "The Girl From Mars," in which a scientist from a dying world places his child in a small rocket and sends her off to a better life on Earth. 

Steranko's "History of the Comics" reprints an ad from the pulps in which Doc Savage is boldly called "Superman" years before the character saw print in the comics. Being avid readers of the pulps and science fiction, Siegel and Shuster likely saw all of these. It's widely reported that Siegel published a review of Wylie's "Gladiator" in his fanzine, but I don't believe a copy of that review has ever been found.

Sam, that team of Crusaders was part of a "stealth" crossover between Marvel and DC in which Marvel did a team of Crusaders who mirrored DC's Freedom Fighters (The Spirit of '76 for Uncle Sam; Ghost Girl for Phantom Lady; Tommy Lightning for the Ray; et al) while DC did a Crusaders whose membership paralleled the Invaders (Americommando for Capt. America; the Baracuda for Sub-Mariner; The Comet for the Human Torch; et al.)

Years later, Marv Wolfman and Mark Evanier would do something similar between the Teen Titans and the DNAgents, although there things were less planned, and more of a call-out and an answer. 

As for what the comics in the Marvel Universe are like, Marvel did a "skip month" project back in 2000 that attempted to answer that question. They produced a number of comics that were supposed to be that month's issue from inside the Marvel Comics Universe. Called the "Marvels Comics Group," the books included "Call Him Thor," in which the hero is a technological genius devising magical-seeming props such as the hammer because no one in the Marvel Universe REALLY believes Thor is the Norse God of Thunder. He's got to be faking it, right? Since the general populace of Marvel's world is incredibly biased and hateful towards Mutants, the in-universe Mutant book "Codename: X-Men" portrays them as a band of Suicide Squad-style slimeballs and criminals who reluctantly work for the government and try to atone for the crime of being born wrong. When one of them dies, the eulogy runs along the lines of, "At least he died trying to be human," which the X-Men all nod and agree is a noble thing to strive for.

The FF book is akin to Tiger Beat magazine since they're the only ones who work directly with Marvel in-universe to put their book out. Spidey is an untrustworthy possible menace to society and maybe even a disgusting Mutant. No one knows for sure. All in all, it's a fairly cynical undertaking and it makes the Marvel Universe seem like a place you'd rather avoid. 

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 14 June 2018 at 11:22pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

As for the bionic men, the Seven Million Dollar Man Barney Miller (or Hiller, as it was given later) did indeed come after Steve Austin, while KARR was the prototype of KITT, constructed first and then locked away when he was discovered to be defective.

KITT believed himself to be the technologically updated and advanced model of KARR, while KARR considered KITT to be an inferior, production-line knock-off.

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 14 June 2018 at 11:31pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Andrew, there's a World's Finest story in which Captain Marvel meets an even earlier magical hero than Black Adam called "The Champion," who gets his powers from a group of deities from pre-history. It is strongly implied that this earliest iteration of the Captain Marvel identity is the wizard Shazam himself as a young man.

Robbie, the earlier version of "Super-Girl" I mentioned came about in Superman #123, which I once upon a time owned a copy of... (snif...) It that story, Jimmy Olsen is given three wishes by a magical totem and uses one of them to bring into existence a super-powered woman Superman can fall in love with and feel less alone beside. As I recall, Dick Sprang had something to do with the art. 


Before that, in 1949, Superboy met another "Supergirl," a visiting member of royalty who was hiding out in Smallville from evil men seeking to imprison her and rule her country in her absence. This Supergirl was athletically gifted and performed in a circus-type show with Superboy, but possessed no actual super-powers. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 14 June 2018 at 11:35pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 June 2018 at 4:14am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Thanks for the info, Brian. Despite reading MANY books pertaining to the history of DC and Marvel, a lot of this is new to me.

I think I prefer one-time only or imaginary tales that de-unique, but not so much long-running arcs/stories. The Spider-Universe seems very crowded in 2018! 
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