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!


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.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine