“…And It Won’t Be Me!”

15 Examples of Marvel’s More Memorable Bloopers Over the Years

1. The name is Palmer. Peter Palmer.
(Amazing Spider-Man #1, 3/63)
In 1982, Marvel published The Official Marvel No-Prize Book, a collection of some of the more amusing mistakes that made it into print over the years. A “no-prize” was the name of the non-existent award given out to early Marvel fans who spotted continuity errors in the stories; it was later awarded to readers who came up with plausible explanations for those errors. Hopefully, no one tried too hard to explain away this goof: even Marvel’s most creative fans would have had a hard time explaining how Peter Parker, introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15, became Peter Palmer in his second-ever appearance. Stan Lee fully ‘fessed in the No-Prize comic to this being one of his first “gargantuan goof-ups.”

2. Oh, right — this kryptonite trap works on the other guy.

(Amazing Spider-Man #3, 7/63)
Lee can be forgiven for making an occasional error in those early Marvel Age days — between his rapidly growing stable of titles and his publisher’s legendarily tight pursestrings, “on the fly” was no doubt becoming the workplace norm. But you have to wonder how even the most sleep-deprived editor could have let this one go to print: During Spidey’s first encounter with Doctor Octopus, the mad scientist calls our hero “Super-Man.” Either DC’s lawyers were asleep at the switch or they saw it as the honest mistake that it was; either way, later reprints of the stories (in Marvel Tales, the Marvel Masterworks series, and elsewhere) ran with the corrected copy.

3. Mmmm, that’s some good ice cream, Bobby.

(X-Men #6, 7/64)
While arguably unimpressive by today’s standards, the members of the original X-Men had an awesome array of powers at their disposal: concussive eye-blasts, unaided flight, amazing acrobatic skills, telekinesis and — for one shining moment — spontaneous food generation. Yes, that’s Bobby “Iceman” Drake below, using his “icing power” to whip up some ice cream for his slice of pie. One small problem: there’s a reason why it’s called ice cream, and Iceman never before — or any time since — demonstrated any ability to spontaneously generate the other ingredients needed to make a good bowl of Häagen-Dazs.

4. No, I’m the
other Betty, you morons!
(Tales to Astonish #61-62, 11-12/64)
No one ever said being the Hulk’s main squeeze was easy (yoga helps, and kudos to the Simpsons fans who got that reference), but you would think one of the few perks of the position would be people remembering your freakin’ name. But no — in two consecutive Hulk stories, Betty Ross is called “Miss Brant” by two different people, including a guy who is working with her father to capture the Hulk. Mistaking Miss Ross for J. Jonah Jameson’s secretary seems like an honest enough mix-up for a Marvel staffer to make, but… twice? In two consecutive issues?

5. That’s the last time I shop at Bob’s Discount X-Ray Warehouse.

(Strange Tales #135, 8/65)
Turning war hero Nick Fury into a super-spy surely seemed like a no-brainer during the spy-crazy ’60s, even if Marvel didn’t quite grasp the concept (exactly how do SHIELD’s flying cars and skintight blue uniforms scream “secret agent,” anyway?).  But things didn’t get off to a great start with the cover of the first “Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD” story, a cover in which the reader can see an X-ray image of Nick Fury that doesn’t show his gun. Let me repeat: the X-ray image shows his bones, but not his gun. Extra point for silliness — this magical X-ray machine also can’t penetrate Fury’s eyepatch, probably because it was lead-lined for national security reasons.

6. Women. They can’t do anything right, huh, guys… guys?
(X-Men #28, 1/67)

The problem with telekinetics? They’re always showing off. Instead of just walking over and picking up the damn set of pliers like a normal person, Jean Grey has to be all “look at me look at me” and use her mutant power to pick up something that’s only two feet away… hey, wait a second. That’s not a set of pliers she’s handing to Hank. Oh, silly Jean. And what’s with Hank accepting them and saying something about a “credit to her gender”? Is our boy McCoy being a tad sarcastic about the “help” Jean is offering? Or — and, really, this is much more likely — did someone editing this story just not realize the tool being offered is a screwdriver?

7. That’s not the kind of attitude that wins wars, solider.
(Tales of Suspense #92, 8/67)
The editors behind the Marvel No-Prize Book single this one out as their personal favorite, and… yeah. It’s pretty funny. As you can tell from the page number in the corner of the first panel, this was a situation where the text on the following page didn’t quite jive with the text on the previous page.

8.  Insert your own “give the guy a hand” joke here.
(Avengers #160, 6/77)
Familiar with the Grim Reaper? He was an Avengers villain from the old days. Obsessed with death, wore a high-tech scythe on one arm — it was kind of a motif with him. Anyway, either he forgot to put it on before threatening the Avengers — and Wonder Man kindly allowed him to correct his faux pas before slugging him — or someone at Marvel got too caught up admiring the ever-dramatic “villain with gnarled hands near his face” pose to notice his lack of prosthesis.

9. Hey, don’t knock it — you can score big tips in the right Cimmerian diner.
(Savage Sword of Conan #25, 12/77)
Yeah, it’s almost certain Roy Thomas meant to say “traitress” here, as in a female traitor. Either way, “hussy” is not a word I immediately associate with an ancient land of barbarians, but maybe that’s just me.

10. Arr, I can’t be seein’ a thing through this bloody periscope.

(Incredible Hulk #219, 1/78)
“Yeah, he’s the captain. But he’s… not right in the head, y’understand? Ever since he took a yardarm to the back of his skull, he’s just issuing orders left and right, often to no one in particular. Most days, me and the rest of the boys just say ‘Aye aye, cap’n!’ and keep on course. I mean, how else can you explain why he keeps looking through the periscope with his eyepatched eye and tells us he can see our next target?”

11. Actually, it’s my middle name you should really be worried about.

(X-Men #125, 9/79; X-Men #138, 10/80)
Chris Claremont can claim one of the all-time longest writing stints, putting in more years on one title than just about any other writer in the business. But even his years on the job didn’t save him from the occasional goof — here we have two panels from X-Men #125, in which we meet illusionist Jason Wyngarde, whose “name is as false as the man himself.” But a few issues later, in X-Men #138, we learn that Jason Wyngarde’s name is “his real name, ironically enough.”

12. He’s the best there is at what he does — too bad his editor can’t say the same.
(X-Men Vol. 2 #16, 1/93)
The early ’90s were turbulent years at Marvel HQ; shortly after 1991’s X-Men #1 set a new sales record, many of the high-profile artists working on Marvel’s X-titles jumped ship to start their own studio. Marvel fought back by bringing in new talent and amping up the multi-issue crossover storylines to keep sales strong. Both strategies worked… more or less. Sales stayed high for a while, but the change in personnel was noticeable. In this issue, Wolverine takes a serious hit; when a teammate asks if he’s okay, he replies, “Ribs shattered… punctured a lung… healing factor kicking in…” While it’s true that Wolverine has the mutant power to recover from severe injuries, it’s a bit far-fetched to believe his broken ribs can reset themselves and move back into place outside his lung before they heal. But more to the point: HE HAS A FREAKIN’ UNBREAKABLE SKELETON thanks to the adamantium metal lacing his bones… a fact even the most casual X-Men fan knows because it’s only repeated just about every time Wolverine gets hurt.  Marvel’s response? “Oops, we goofed.” Indeed.
13. Actually, what I meant to say was “the kite known as  Sabretooth.” I’m not sure why– I was pretty wasted that afternoon.
(Wolverine #131, 11/98)
On September 29, 1998, Marvel sent a letter out to retailers stating that a lettering error on page 6, panel 6 of Wolverine #131 “references an offensive ethnic term” and that retailers should withdraw all copies from sale and wait for replacement issues. The offending term? In a flashback, Wolverine refers to “the kike known as Sabretooth” — “kike” being a derogatory term for a Jewish person. (In one of those unfortunate “only in the comics” coincidences, the book shipped out on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.) The obvious correct word was “killer” and Marvel moved quickly to apologize and rectify the situation. But the fact that an issue with an accidental ethnic slur could get all the way through production — and into the hands of retailers — well, let’s just say it gave a lot of fans cause to wonder what else was slipping through the cracks.

14.For added irony: The indicia says the book was “printed in Canada.” You’d think some hoser at the plant would notice, eh?
(Alpha Flight: You Gotta Be Kiddin’ Me TPB, 12/2004)
Now, understand that it’s not that easy to spot a Canadian in the wild — we don’t all drink beer, play hockey, or say “aboot” when we mean “about.” But one thing you can expect all true Canadians to know is how to spell the name of one of the greatest hockey players of all time. Strange, then, that the back-cover blurb for Alpha Flight: You Gotta Be Kiddin’ Me, a collection of the first six issues of the team’s 2004 series,  describes the Canadian team of heroes as “bigger than Gretsky” — and not Gretzky, as in Wayne Gretzky. Spelling mistakes are not unusual in the comic business, but… biffing the name of one of the most well-known Canadians of all time? On the back cover of a book about Canada’s own super-team? It’s spelled with a Z, people. (And that’s “zed,” by the way, not “zee.” Get it right, already.)

15. Susan Storm, master biologist!
(Ultimate Fantastic Four #23, 11/2005)
When Marvel reinvented the Fantastic Four for its “Ultimate” lineup, the writers made it clear that Reed Richards wasn’t the only genius in the team. In this reality, Susan Storm (a.k.a. the Invisible Woman) was one of the world’s top biologists before the scientific accident that changed their lives. Odd, then, that she would subdue an evil, alternate-reality version of Reed Richards by using her force-field powers to “collapse his left synapse” — because as any first-year bio student will tell you, the brain has trillions of synapses, not two. And since a synapse is basically just the space between two neurons… well, how does collapsing one cause an instant blackout? Comic books have never been known for their strict adherence to scientific principles, but given Storm’s bona fides as a biology expert, this particular goof-up stuck out like a sore thumb (which the human body has two of, just to be clear).
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