Tales from Earth-Prime: Gil Kane

In the DC Multiverse, Earth-Prime has traditionally been pegged as "our" world (at least until they soured it up with crappy superheroes likes Ultraa and Superboy-Prime), one where the heroes of Earth-1 etc. were fictional and where their creators' imaginations somehow tapped into parallel realities to bring us, Earth-Prime readers, an accidentally true chronicle. And sometimes, those creators turned the "camera" inward and put themselves on the comic page, made themselves a part of the Multiverse. It's an idea that's been used in a variety of trippy ways, like in House of Mystery #180 (1969) when Gil Kane - Silver Age star artist, the man who perfected the back-flip knockback and made Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, hit his head of anything and everything - was literally drawn into the comics page...
It happened after a tantrum thrown after having to draw a subpar sword & sorcery story for HoM 180, but though Gil is pestered by Mike Friedrich's hack scripts and whoever idiot letterer put speech balloons over his beautiful work, Gil isn't exactly a model employee. You can be late, but you can't be late 13 times without attracting a little bad luck. And by bad luck, I mean editor Joe Orlando.
Gil drives off to work in isolation, where else but in the House of Mystery itself. I guess Cain keeps rooms available for the people who write and draw stories for him to narrate. But Orlando's got the address and shows up to demand his pages and berate Gil some more. It could get ugly.
Oh snap. Not the photocopier barb! Now everyone will know those back flips all look the same because they ARE the same. So Gil does the only thing he can at that point. He kills his editor.
Oh geez. And that's when things get REALLY nightmarish. Also, truthful. How many artists employed a "factory of assistants" like this and never told their readers?
Well, not LIKE this, but you know what a metaphor is, right? Like this. And that's when Gil gets pulled into his work (we use "his" loosely) and where he's attacked by Orlando and Friedrich, both demons rendered in the Gil Kane style. You can't kill an editor, silly. They're the living dead.
As the torture continues, Cain of the House of Mystery frames the page and adds it to his Room 13, his personal art gallery of page 13s. It's all archival, which offers little comfort to Gil Kane... WHO WAS NEVER HEARD FROM AGAIN.
He really wasn't. All his post-1969 work was done by tiny assistants. Honest.

Props for Kane and Orlando for being good sports about this! And if you want more Tales from Earth-Prime, let me know!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sure, Tales from Earth Prime are fun.

But I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a poor opinion of that New Teen Titans one.

Siskoid said...

Perhaps better to start with the classics, like the one where Bob Kanigher is some crazy hippie in a cabin in the woods.

Erich said...

Yeah, that was a weird one...I have no idea what was going on behind the scenes, but Mike Friedrich comes across as a mean-spirited jerk for writing Kane this way...and Kane comes across as a true professional for doing such a great job illustrating a personal attack on himself. Weird.

Alan Moore later referenced this story in his own tribute to Gil Kane in "Judgment Day: Aftermath," a much more respectful characterization of Kane.

Siskoid said...

Kane was probably in on the joke, and just like Orlando allowed himself to be lampooned.

LiamKav said...

I was hoping for a moment they had done one of Bob Kane. But that would just be 22 pages of a guy sitting around waiting for someone to give him an idea to claim was his own.

Siskoid said...

You're playing hard ball, Liam!

LiamKav said...

It's the only way to deal with Bob Kane.

 

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