Vixen, Quiz Question Answers and Black Widow in the shower


What with the trifecta of nicotine withdrawal, calorie counting and excess exercise, I’ve been ignoring my responsibilities to my fanatic fan base. I’ve not made myself available as the stunning font of knowledge through the regular program we (how many of me are there?) like to call “Ask The Dwo.” Okay … okay … everyone stop laughing.


askthedwoThe reason that this upsets my longtime friend Tom Heintjes is two-fold. First he’s responsible for my DWO nickname (yeah, you pronounce it like it was a word … you say du-woh … it doesn’t rhyme with “two”) so he thinks he retains some control over its use. Second he disapproves of “the Dwo,” it is his opinion that my nickname should be “dwo” without the “the.”

Now that I’ve completely bored everyone who stopped by to read about funny books, let me say this to Mr. Heintjes. Get Over It.

None of this changes the goal of this humble program. Ask me a question. Any question. I’ll attempt to answer it. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like the answer. So put on your thinking caps. And if you’re stumped for ideas, you can always check out the BACKGROUND page for ideas. I’ve got an answering “Ask The DWO” post coming up next week.



In my April 1st post, I ran pictures of Red Raven Comics #1, Iron Man & Sub-mariner #1, and Edgar Allan Poe: Tell-Tale Heart and other stories #1. The question was this: besides all being first issues, what do these three funny books have in common? Now I’ve got a problem. I was thinking of one answer and then one of my fanatic readers provided a better … or at least more entertaining answer.

Human Torch #2 followed Red Raven #1

Human Torch #2 followed Red Raven #1

My original answer was almost immediately guessed by regular fanatic Pat Curley (and there will be a special gift for Pat later in this post). The answer is: all of these titles had NO second issue. Red Raven Comics was so poorly received that the title to the series was changed to Human Torch with the second issue. Iron Man & Sub-mariner #1 was (at the time) one of the few “one-shots” ever released by Marvel Comics. The title’s contents were short (and incomplete) Iron Man and Sub-mariner stories that were sitting in inventory and the book was a way to turn that investment by the publisher into income.

Edgar Allan Poe: Tell-Tale Heart and other stories #1 was a deliberate attempt on the part of Malibu Comics to maintain a small margin of profitability with its Edgar Allan Poe reprint stories. There were three or four issues worth of material. We (meaning the upright and responsible folks at Malibu, including me) knew that if we released them as a regular series that the second issue might break even if we were lucky and the others would be money losers. By making all the issues, FIRST ISSUES, each one sold enough copies to be a profitable release.

Another Edgar Allan Poe #1 from Malibu

Another Edgar Allan Poe #1 from Malibu

Fanatic reader Mark Bourne guessed that the answer was “Wings.” I really like this answer better. Red Raven had wings, Sub-mariner has those little “baby” wings on his ankles and Tell-Tale Heart has a black bird on the cover. So even though Pat answered my question the way that I wanted, I think that Mark’s answer is more fun. So Mark wins the trivia contest and Pat has to look below, just above today’s Gene Colan Project, for his special consolation prize.




Below is a Marvel splash-page. Name the title that it came from. And if you feel like showing off, I’ll take the issue number. If that information is too tough, how about naming the artist.

Can YOU provide the answers to the questions about this SPLASH PAGE?

Can YOU provide the answers to the questions about this SPLASH PAGE?



I’ll be rolling out the nominees in ROUND FOUR one by one. And this new round of nominees is going to be all-female. 

Vixen (DC Hero)

Created by the great Gerry Conway and artist Bob Oksner, according the Wikipedia, Vixen was very nearly the first black female DC superhero to star in her own series. The first issue was produced, but was then caught 1978’s “DC Implosion.” Eventually, Vixen made her first official appearance in Action Comics #521. Mari Jiwe McCabe was raised in Africa, but moved to New York City to be a model.

Vixen's actual first appearance: Action #521

Vixen's actual first appearance: Action #521

Upon a return trip to Africa, she gains possession of a fox-shaped totem that was part of her family’s heritage. The totem gives Mari the power to call on the powers of the animal world (and her powers may have the same source as Animal Man’s). Vixen was part of the Justice League of America when Aquaman re-organized the team and she departed when Martian Manhunter later disbanded this version of the team. She’s spent time fighting side-by-side with Animal Man, the Suicide Squad and Oracle’s Birds of Prey. In 2008, Vixen even got her own 5-issue limited series in which writer G. Willow Wilson told an adventure of Mari’s return to Africa. And just for the record, Vixen is included in this round of nominees based on a suggestion from a fanatical reader.



Pat wrote the following comment on a recent post, “As a teenaged boy at the time, I loved the Black Widow series, especially since every issue had at least one panel (integral to the plot mind you) where she was showering or changing into her fighting togs.” So just for Pat … 

Natasha in the Shower by Gene Colan

Natasha in the Shower by Gene Colan

Natasha changes clothes by Don Heck

Natasha changes clothes by Don Heck



For some people, Frank Miller is the artist you think of when you talk about Daredevil, The Man Without Fear. For me, it is Gene Colan. And I also love love love to see penciled artwork, especially by Gene Colan because his inkers always said how difficult his pencils were to interpret into ink lines. So take some delight in this beauty, not from a by-gone era, but a Colan Daredevil pencilled commission piece from 2004.

When I think of Daredevil, he looks (more or less) like this!

When I think of Daredevil, he looks (more or less) like this!


That’s my version of the story.

          — Dave Olbrich (DWO), Friday, April 17, 2009



Filed under 2nd String Characters, Ask The DWO, Behind the Scenes, Gene Colan project, Quiz Questions

12 responses to “Vixen, Quiz Question Answers and Black Widow in the shower

  1. Cory Strode

    I’m really the first to say it was Amazing Adventures #8 by Neal Adams?

    With all the reprinting going on lately, I’m surprised that this stuff hasn’t been put into a nice little trade…I mean, Wally Wood’s Dr. Doom series made it into the Super-Villain Team Up Essential. Maybe Marvel should put together an Essential of all the quirky short run series they did in the 70’s.

    Otherwise, how will we ever get a collected version of Skull the Slayer?

  2. Mark

    Aaam thu Cshampiooon!

  3. Dave Olbrich

    Mark —
    Are you okay? Have you fallen on your keyboard?

  4. Mark

    Ha! Ok, maybe not everyone will get it. Just YouTube or Google “Robot Chicken” “Eagle Eye Smith”

  5. Mak Herr

    Oddly enough, as a young boy, my first encounter with Black Widow was an issue of Mrvel Two-In-One in which when captured, Black Widow begins to undress, much to the Thing’s surprise. (She had secret weapons attached to her back under her costume, of course.) It made a long lasting impression on me.

  6. Look, DWO–I have no illusions of control over “DWO.” I just don’t see the function of the definite article “the,” that’s all. DWO is one of a kind and needs no article. People cry for help from Superman, not The Superman (not that I’m comparing you in any other sense, mind you). But face it: you are, simply, DWO. When we worked at Fantagraphics, it was always “Where’s DWO?” or “Ask DWO.” When did the “the” creep in? It’s like the bank “Phish.” People who refer to the band as “The Phish” do nothing more than display their ignorance. You don’t want to go down that road, do you?

  7. Nice Colan shower scene; I note that they specify that it’s a “one-way” wrist radio; wouldn’t want anybody thinking that Ivan is getting the same view we are.

  8. onceuponageek

    Dave – Any gratuitous shower scene featuring Black Widow is fine by me. ;)

    That Gene Colan Daredevil sketch is fantastic! Really great movement in that pic.

    The Irredeemable Shag

  9. Dave Olbrich

    Shag —
    Yep. I live to serve. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Pingback: Topics about Animal-lovers » Archive » Vixen, Quiz Question Answers and Black Widow in the shower

  11. “We (meaning the upright and responsible folks at Malibu, including me) knew that if we released them as a regular series that the second issue might break even if we were lucky and the others would be money losers.”

    This will surprise no one who knows us, but your memory is slightly different from mine. With the Poe comics, it wasn’t so much that we’d be unprofitable by the fourth issue, but that we had a way to maximize our profit. As a straight 1-4 issue mini-series, sales would have been roughly 4,500 (#1), 3,200 (#2), 2,500 (#3) and 2,000 (#4). Total sales would have been 12,200 copies and our net (80¢ per copy) would’ve been $9,760. Released as four #1’s over 4 months, our sales were roughly 4,500 (#1), 4,200 (#2), 4,000 (#3) and 3,700 (#4). Total sales would have been 16,400 copies and our net (80¢ per copy) would’ve been $13,120. So we made another $3000 or so. (Sales figures are from memory; I actually think they were slightly higher, but the example still holds. )

    The Poe comics were reprints from Skywald’s old horror magazines which we had access to because Scott Rosenberg cut some kind of deal with Sol Brodsky’s (the “sky” of Skywald) son, Gary.

  12. Colan/Everett Black Widow artwork just knocks me out, and finding original pages continues to be a rewarding distraction from external reality (economic meltdown, swine flu, American Idol, etc).

    Look how gorgeous the original pages are:

    Do I lie?

    Amazing Adventures #5, page 3 (the shower page) is like the Mona Lisa to me, it’s the one grail page to rule all others. This page completely influenced me as a malleable child!

    Natasha was the sexiest feminist that 1970 had to offer… thanks for posting these cool examples!

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