Saturday, June 20, 2009

Random Reads: Manphibian from Legion of Monsters #1

By July, 1975, Marvel's black and white monster mags had bitten the dust, so they came up with a pretty good plan: take the stars from the old monster mags and put 'em into one, handy-dandy mag. So, from Monsters Unleashed they rescued Doug Moench and Val Mayerick's Frankenstein Monster; the Roy Thomas/Dick Giordano adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula was resurrected from Dracula Lives!; Haunt of Horror begat the one-shot shocker "The Flies" by Gerry Conway, Paul Kirschner, and Ralph Reese; and I'd bet even money that the story in today's spotlight was intended to kick off a new series in Monster's Unleashed. It's the Manphibian in "Vengeance Crude". Don'tcha just dig that name? Manphibian? Tell ya what Ol' Groove digs, is the awesome art of Dave Cockrum, ably inked by Sam Grainger, over a Marv Wolfman plot with scripting by Tony Isabella. I think their update of the Creature from the Black Lagoon is pretty far out! What say you, Groove-ophiles?


See? Would Ol' Groove jive ya? And dig this cool bit of trivia courtesy Brian Cronin's awesome Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed: Dave Cockrum actually sold the Manphibian character to both Marvel and DC at the same time! 'Tis true! While Dave was developing Manphibian with Marv Wolfman over at Marvel, he learned that Cary Bates was also writing him into Dave's next (and unfortunately final) Legion of Super-Heroes story at DC. Dave contacted Cary, renamed and redesigned the character, calling him Devilfish, and viola! Crisis averted. Ironically, Manphibian wasn't published until over a year after the Legion/Devilfish story, which appeared in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #202 (March 1974). Thus the historical waters of comicbooks are once again muddied. What else is new, huh?

3 comments:

  1. I had this issue fresh off the stands when I was eight or so. "The Flies" was the most horrendously awful thing I'd ever seen. It gave me nightmares for weeks afterwards..!

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  2. I loved Manpbian & still do. I knew Dave Cockrum briefly, before he took ill. I met him at a small model show held in Chicago in 2003. I asked him about several things before & after this by e-mails as well. He told me Marvel either couldn't afford the rights $$ wanted by Universal. To do the Creature From The Black Lagoon or were just too cheap to pay Universal for them. so he invented the Manphibian. Wish I owned the art to this story. There was a alternate cover done also for this issue by Dave featuring the Manphibian. Painted by Dave & I just missed owning it! GGGRRRR!! before I could get the $$ together, someone else bought it, or outbid me on it from a dealer in 2004. Thanks for a great post!! Mike

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  3. Reminds me of Colossus Rex! lol.

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