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Spot the Reference #1

From Ultimate Spider-Man #88, by Brian Michael Bendis.

The story so far being - there's a bit of a scare down at Peter's school, and the cops show up to do a random bag-check. At the top of the panel, you see Peter being hassled by big scary cops who are just seconds away from opening his bag and fishing out his costume, thus totally blowing his cover as a super-hero.

However exciting this may seem, please draw your eyes down to the bottom of the panel, where a nondescript youth scowls as a cop searches his bag, which is full of books. Now look closely at the book he is fishing out.

Yup, that's a replica of Watchmen, that most pathbreaking of graphic novels, by Alan Moore, published under DC's Vertigo imprint. The cover shown here, just to escape copyright infringement, has the book titled as Machomen, and the publishing company as OC. But we all know that this is Brian Bendis tipping his hat to the book that turned comics from juvenile reading matter to works of literature. For those of you who haven't read it, click on the link above, and buy it off of Amazon. I could also tell you at length exactly why the publication Watchmen was such a milestone in the history of graphic novels, but I'll point you to this entry at Answers.com instead.

And for those of you who hate unresolved plot threads - Peter is saved by a random guy who runs out in a Spiderman costume, in an attempt to gain publicity for his band. The cops turn their attention to him, allowing Peter to slip away. For real geeks - the guy in question is Mark Raxton, who is the villainous Molten Man in the 616 universe. And as if two references weren't enough - please note the name of the club he mentions.

Yup, thats a reference to the legendary father-son artistic duo of John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr. Thats makes three references in a matter of three pages. Whew!

No need to convince me, I already own a copy of Watchmen. Love your header image, is that wonder woman's cleavage?

Doesn't DC comics have a deal with Moore that if they stop publishing Watchmen the rights revert back to him? I mean I see a reason to publish a very seminal piece of comic history, but they publish new ones like every year.

Nope - the cleavage belongs to Psylocke. She's not in her usual outfit, though. And I think you may be right. I remember reading that Moore has been desperately trying to break away from DC and have all the rights to his books transferred to ABC, but there are all kinds of contractual obligations.

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