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29 August 2009 @ 02:43 pm
George Tuska's Unseen Captain Marvel  
Continuing my efforts to make sure history won't be the lost in the event anything catastrophic were to happen to my possessions—one reason I shared a never-before-seen Don Perlin drawing two weeks ago—here's another missing piece of the Marvel puzzle.

Back in the late '70s, I wrote seven issues of Captain Marvel. (That's Marvel Comics' alien Captain Marvel, not the Captain Marvel of the Billy Batson/Shazam variety.) Here's the cover from my penultimate issue, cover-dated January 1978:

(As usual, to view any of these images at a larger size, keep clicking through!)

The cover was drawn by Keith Pollard, while the interior of the issue was drawn by George Tuska. All but the final page, that is, which was drawn by Dave Cockrum:

As far as I can recall, no one ever wondered at the time why the entire issue hadn't been drawn by Tuska. Well, actually, Tuska had drawn the complete issue, only you never got a chance to see it—until now! Here's the final page that was originally supposed to be published:

Yes, that's Wonder Man who's knocked Captain Marvel to the ground. For some reason I can no longer remember, an editorial decision was made to eliminate that character's participation from Captain Marvel's story thread, and so a new page was quickly drawn by Dave Cockrum. As far as I know, the photocopy I own is all that remains of Tuska's original page.

Why did Wonder Man attack Captain Marvel here, and what was his role going to be in the following issue? I no longer have any idea.

Why did Archie Goodwin, the editor at the time, decide that Wonder Man had to be excised from the plot after having originally approved (or so I assume) his appearance? I have no memories of that either.

So for those of you who ever wondered why the Cockrum page closed a Tuska issue, mystery solved. Unfortunately, since this was more than 30 years ago and I can't fill in the blanks, another mystery opens ...