DC Did a Spotlight Profile on a Fictional Writer

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, learn how DC came to give a fictional writer a spotlight of his own as an odd sort of “farewell.”

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and forty-sixth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first legend in this installation. Click here for the second legend in this installation.

NOTE: If my twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? so go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

COMIC LEGEND:

DC gave a spotlight profile on Barry Jameson, who was a fictional pseudonym for David Michelinie.

STATUS:

True

As I noted in a recent Comic Book Legends Revealed, in 1975, Carmine Infantino was trying to get DC to do more tie-ins to the then-popular (but already on the way out of the mainstream) martial arts trend in popular culture. At the time, Paul Levitz was 19 years old and was an assistant editor to Joe Orlando, who was told by Infantino to come up with a Kung Fu comic book title. Levitz and Carl Gafford discussed the concept and Gafford suggested that why not use Karate Kid from the Legion of Super-Heroes, as that way you could appeal to both Legion fans AND martial arts fans!

Orlando went for it and Levitz was given the chance to write the karate Kid series, which debuted in early 1976.

However, Infantino felt that Levitz was too inexperienced at the time to write the series, so he told Orlando to get rid of him. David Michelinie was brought on board with the second issue.

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That second issue, though, featuring the Karate Kid fighting against Major Disaster, was based on a plot by Levitz. Originally, Michelinie planned on doing the book WITH Levitz, and he decided that they should come up with a pseudonym to use for their work together and Michelinie came up with “Barry Jameson,” a reference to his middle name (Barry) and his father’s name (James), so it was Barry, James’ son.


However, for whatever reason, that issue was the only one that involved Levitz and Michelinie working together (or rather, Michelinie working from a Levitz plot), so Barry Jameson just turned out to be simply a pseudonym for Michelinie by himself. He used it for the rest of his run as the karate Kid writer, but oddly enough, when he eventually left the book, he then started using it for short stories in House of Mysterylike House of Mystery #257…

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Eventually, though, Michelinie gave up on the pseudonym (soon before he left DC period to go work for Marvel), and hilariously enough, he was given a bit of a sendoff as in Secret Society of Super-Villains #12, DC ran a profile on Barry Jameson, who was apparently leaving comics to go study molecular chemistry in Canada…


The whole profile is a tongue-in-cheek look at how Jameson is clearly not a real person, including the opening “Barry Jameson was created to write. He almost has no other life besides his typewriter” and the end bit, where Jameson named his favorite writers, and he chose pseudonyms other DC writers used, like Denny O’Neil’s Sergius O’Shaughnessy, Mary Skrenes’ Virgil North and Robert Kanigher’s Bart Regan. I don’t know who Wesson Smith was. If anyone else does, please let me know, I’ll edit it in there!

In any event, this was a very cute way to say goodbye to Michelinie’s pen name.


CHECK OUT A MOVIE LEGENDS REVEALED!

In the latest Movie Legends Revealed – Did Atari make a special Superman video game just for use in Superman III?

MORE LEGENDS STUFF!

OK, that’s it for this installation!

Thank you Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don’t even actually anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so it’s fair enough to still thank him, I think.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installations! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well! Also, if you have a correction or a comment, feel free to also e-mail me. CBR sometimes e-mails me with e-mails they get about CBLR and that’s fair enough, but the quickest way to get a correction through is to just e-mail me directly, honest. I don’t mind corrections. Always best to get things accurate!

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