'Late Night Of The Super-Stars'
Welcome back everyone, it's been a long time since my last post here. My "offline" life got hectic last Fall and I let this go. Since the Avengers movie comes out this week, I figured it was a great time to restart this blog, with a look at what is likely the best-remembered issue published during Assistant Editors' Month: The Avengers' appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. Assistant Editor Mike Carlin once again "took over" for regular Editor Mark Gruenwald.
Danny Fingeroth interviewed Carlin about this issue in Back Issue #19:
Letterman show in The Avengers?
CARLIN: Yeah, it was my idea, because I was a big fan of
it. Roger Stern, who was writing Avengers at the time,
also loved Letterman. I called up Letterman’s agent and
they said, “Sure.” It was that simple. We sent a letter,
they signed it, and in the indicia we just had to say, “all
the characters in this book are copyright Marvel Comics
except David Letterman and Paul Shaffer.”
(Carlin wasn't kidding, click on the above image to see the indicia)
FINGEROTH: Now, in the AEM Avengers issue, it’s not like
there was a backup where Letterman met the Avengers
and they shook hands. He was integral to the story itself.
CARLIN: The story involved a running villain, a lightweight
villain for the Avengers, called Fabian Stankowicz.
The Avengers were on Late Night with David Letterman
when Fabian attacked (because it was easier then to
get tickets to David Letterman, I guess). [laughs]
FINGEROTH: Was the issue in the middle of a storyline?
CARLIN: This one did not interrupt a major storyline,
but it used all the regular series characters and it was
in current continuity at the time.
'Late Night Of The Super-Stars' was written by Roger Stern, Penciled by Al Milgrom and inked by Joe Sinnott.We open with Hawkeye returning to the Avengers' mansion for the first time in months. He's brought his new wife Mockingbird to meet his teammates. Hawkeye is startled at the Vision's appearance, they both recount their recent adventures (Note: On my other blog, I recently reviewed a reprint book that details how Hawkeye met and fell for Mockingbird, read that review here).
Wonder Man. Wondy's acting career hasn't been going well, so his agent arranged for him to appear on Late Night With David Letterman! But, Letterman's people want him to bring along other Avengers.
With most of the team away in California, Vision calls several reserve Avengers to see if they (along with Hawkeye) can appear on Late Night. Black Panther, Beast and Black Widow agree to accompany Wonder Man on the show.
Fabian Stankowicz (who was easily defeated by the Avengers in issues 217 & 221) learns of the Avengers booking on Letterman and thinks 'Late Night' will be a good place to exact revenge.
Paul Shaffer is wearing a Captain America t-shirt in honor of the Avengers.
Defenders a "real" team. Stankowicz is angry, these "Avengers" aren't the same group of heroes who previously defeated him.
FYI:The "Giant Doorknob" was frequently featured on early episodes of Late Night
The Avengers make quick work of Stankowicz's machines.
I'll "zoom in" on the last two panels and give Beast the last word!:
If you check the "funny credits" (a trademark of AEM) above, you'll see it reads "Stan Lee, Jim Shooter & Mark Gruenwald All On The West Coast", and Larry "Bud" Melman is credited for inspiration.
In case anyone reading this doesn't get the reference, "Bud" Melman was a very funny recurring character on Late Night played by actor Calvert De Forest. He later followed Letterman to CBS and made appearances on the show until his death in 2007.
Calvert DeForest, AKA Larry "Bud" Melman
Carlin schools a fan who wants a Marvel "No-Prize". He also holds up a sign that displays the shoe sizes of the Avengers creative team. At the bottom of the sign, there's another reference to Larry "Bud" Melman. With two mentions in the same issue, I'm wondering why Melman didn't make an appearance in the story. Maybe he didn't sign a release?
All in all, this is a very funny issue, probably the high point of Assistant Editors' Month. I was a big fan of Letterman and Marvel Comics when this came out, so this has long been one of my favorite comic book stories. I'd like to thank Roger Stern, Al Milgrom, Joe Sinnott and Mike Carlin for making this story happen back in '83!
That's all, next time:
Dazzler visits the San Diego ComiCon!