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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 1:57pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

One of the lesser battles of my career has been a struggle to convince people my first novel was titled FEARBOOK, not THE FEARBOOK.

Now, the same infection seems to have found its way into another aspect of my miserable existence. I keep seeing references to The Phoenix.

Okay, the Phoenix Saga. The Phoenix force. But unless something happened while I wasn’t looking the character name has no definite article.

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 2:02pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I think this happened when it was established that Jean and the Phoenix force were not one and the same. When Phoenix was seen as a cosmic entity rather than an overpowered Jean Grey, that's when I noticed the character being referred to as "The Phoenix."
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Brandon Carter
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 2:08pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

From Late Night with David Letterman, Batman's #1 pet peeve:  When people call him "The Batman."  It's just "Batman", damn it!


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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 3:09pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I've just been listening to the first episode of the Flight Stuff podcast and continually irritated by the reference to The Alpha Flight.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 3:14pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

...that's when I noticed the character being referred to as "The Phoenix."

•••

The Phoenix or the Phoenix Force?

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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 3:33pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I think it's neat that Batman is occasionally referred to as "the Batman," but it
only works when he isn't being addressed.
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Paul Wills
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 5:06pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

'Fearbook' is a more menacing title than 'The Fearbook'
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 5:45pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

 JB wrote:
...The Phoenix or the Phoenix Force...

The Phoenix in the form of Jean Grey, or even Jean Grey when she possessed the power of the Phoenix force after it was established in continuity that there was a such a thing.
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Daniel Burke
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Posted: 11 June 2019 at 8:14pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I think “the Phoenix” was pretty commonly used, including on her first appearance cover, and many covers thereafter!

Edit. Faulty memory... just 101 and 136. Maybe people anchored “the“ as part of her name since it was there at first?


Edited by Daniel Burke on 11 June 2019 at 8:21pm
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Jason G. Michalski
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 6:34am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I can see how those covers (101 & 136) could lead to the confusion. Is it editorial's job to place the copy or marketing, a combination of both?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 6:38am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Cover copy rarely has much to do with the interiors. Often as not, it wasn't even written by someone who actually worked on the book!

Consider: Chris and I spent quite some time developing a romance between Danny Rand and Misty Knight (had to be cautious in those days!), then a cover of him fighting Colleen Wing declared her to be "the Woman He Loves!"*

That 101 cover may have used the article, but that's not how Phoenix identified herself in the book. Not then, and not when Chris used the same dialog for the Dark Phoenix debut.

We seem to be seeing an all too common example of the exception becoming the rule.

-------------------

* That cover messed us up considerably. After we finally did the Danny/Misty reveal, we got a whole bunch of letters asking "What about Colleen?" All based on that cover!!

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Jason G. Michalski
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 7:11am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Thanks, JB. It must have been pretty frustrating to have to explain that to everyone who wrote in!


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Brian Miller
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

The John Byrne
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 7:41am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

As many of you know, one of the treasures of my collection is a letter signed by Abraham Lincoln. I like to point out that he was a humble man, and signed it A Lincoln, not The Lincoln.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 3:37pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

HA!
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 3:49pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

The Porky Pig, The Mickey Mouse, the Woody Woodpecker... nah, you're right, doesn't work (except for rock groups).
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 9:20am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Still, no one would ever be expected to address someone beginning with "The" (unless their name were Theodore, perhaps.)

But if I look at the Justice League or the Avengers or the Fantastic Four through their first fifty issues, that article applies a lot. It doesn't apply when the character's sobriquet seems to be a name already (e.g., The Mr. Fantastic or The Thor don't work at all.) But aside from that, all I can think of from that group who have not been referred to with "the" would be Wonder Woman*, Aquaman, Captain America, Giant-Man/Goilath, and Hawkeye. Iron Man and Superman have accurately been referred to that way, although not as often. And I guess Hawkman is kinda iffy... I've been rereading a lot of JSA stories lately, so it's kind of here-and-there.

On the other hand, I can't think of a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes who have been referred to with "the." Ditto for the Guardians of the Galaxy (although they didn't really have super hero identities... just their names.)

I wonder how "the" gets applied. As noted, it doesn't work if it's someone's name, or a title (Captain America, Captain Marvel.) It's an interesting puzzle.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 9:38am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I have dim memories of a Silver Age Flash story in which aliens kept calling him The Flash (“Come over here, The Flash.”) because they thought it was the proper form of address.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 1:53pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

2008 I am Iron Man. next 10 years we get The Iron man.  I think The Iron Man started in Iron Man Extremis by The Warren Ellis. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 2:13pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

The Thing, or Thing?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 2:25pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

The Thing when spoken of, Thing when addressed.
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 3:55pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

nah, you're right, doesn't work (except for rock groups).

Funny you should mention rock groups. People always refer to the band The Scorpions, but on all their albums, they're simply called Scorpions

Yet there are, of course, The Ramones, The Pogues, The Smiths, etc. who have "The" in their names. 



   
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 6:15pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Eurythmics, not the Eurythmics.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 6:39pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

And then you have the eighties band called The The.

Batman seems to have quite a few characters that can be referred to in the third person with the definite article, but drop it (naturally) when addressed directly.

There's Batman himself, of course, but also the Penguin, the Riddler, the Joker, the Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 7:26pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Burt Reynolds made a movie that’s a favorite of mine. It’s called THE END, and for years I was frustrated searching video catalogs, looking for it.

Then one day I had a crazy idea, and looked on a different page. Sure enough, there it was, listed as END, THE.

sigh

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