Real Name: David Michael Letterman
Identity/Class: Human, citizen of the United States
Occupation: Talkshow host, comedian
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Roseanne Barr, Beast (Hank McCoy), Black Panther (T'Challa), Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Johnny Carson, George Cooper, Googam, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse-Barton), Paul Shaffer, Wonder Man (Simon Williams)
Enemies: Abomination (Emil Blonksy), Fabian Stankowicz
Known Relatives: Regina Lasko (wife), Gretchen Letterman (sister), Harry Letterman (son), Harry Joseph Letterman (father, deceased), Jan Letterman (sister), Dorothy Marie Mengering (mother)
Base of Operations: New York City, New York
First Appearance: Avengers I#239 (January, 1984)
Powers/Abilities: David Letterman possesses no
known superhuman powers. A talented comedian, he has hosted a successful
late night talkshow for over 30 years. Known for his irascible wit, off
the wall comedy pieces and zany antics, Letterman's often prickly
personality has his guests on edge, which usually leads to interesting
encounters. Letterman has a history of cardiac problems.
(Avengers I#239 - BTS) - Simon Williams' agent arranged an
appearance for his client on Late
Night With David Letterman. However, the producers only wanted
to book him if he was able to bring on his fellow Avengers. When the
current lineup proved unavailable, Avengers chairman Vision helped
Wonder Man out by contacting reservists Black Panther, Black Widow and
Beast. They agreed to appear, as did Hawkeye, who had just arrived at
the mansion with his new bride Mockingbird.
(Avengers I#239) - NBC heavily publicized the Avengers
episode. Fabian Stankowicz happened to watch one of David Letterman's Late Night promos and figured this
would be the ideal opportunity to have his revenge on the team. He
rapidly started work on a series of devices designed to fight the
Avengers that he managed to hide at Letterman's NBC studio at 30
Rockefeller Plaza, posing as a mechanic performing "repairs".
(Avengers I#329 - BTS) - Hoping to cover for his recent, severe hearing loss, Hawkeye asked Letterman's producers for the questions Dave planned to ask. He memorized them so he had the answers ready even if he could not actually understand what the host was asking. Meanwhile, a disguised Fabian Stankowicz managed to get a seat in the audience, ready to watch the carnage.
(Avengers I#239) - David Letterman started his show, bantering with band leader Paul Shaffer who was so excited about the Avengers being there he was wearing a Captain America shirt. Letterman then brought out the Avengers, with Stankowicz growing annoyed the current team wasn't there. Letterman's first question was derailed when the Beast revealed he was planning to soon quit the team in favor of the Defenders. Letterman asked for Hawkeye's response, but the deaf archer incorrectly assumed the host had just fired off the first of the prepared questions and lauched into an answer about the Avengers' security clearances. Letterman rolled with the confusion, handily working it into the act until Stankowicz got fed up and launched his attack. Black Widow saved Letterman from an unused camera that Stankowicz had converted into a laser cannon. Dave hid under his desk while the team sprang into action and Paul Shaffer and the world's most dangerous band played some music in an attempt to make the audience believe it was all part of the show. While the team was fighting for their lives against his mechanical menaces, Fabian came up on stage and revealed himself to Letterman. He erected a forcefield around Dave's desk that would keep them safe, while he chatted with the host about his motivations for attacking the team: making a big name for himself as a villain. Letterman jokingly observed that "Stankowicz" already was a pretty big name, then he kept him talking until Fabian was so comfortable that Dave was able to knock him over the head with a giant door knob he kept under his desk to be used during sketches. Without Stankowicz to actively control them, the Avengers were able to destroy the devices without too much trouble. Mockingbird was on hand to stop Fabian from escaping, while Letterman continued the show as if nothing really major had happened, going to commercial and cautioning the viewers to not try this at home.
(Avengers I#239 - BTS) - The Avengers episode of Late Night With David Letterman was pre-empted on the East Coast moments after it had started when breaking news came in about a chemical barge that had caught on fire on New York's East River. However, the show did eventually air three hours later on the West Coast.
(US1#8) - Al the Alien and his people watched the David Letterman show.
(West Coast Avengers I#3 - BTS) - Wonder Man's appearance
on Late Night With David Letterman
was broadcast on the west coast. The episode was seen by an agent who
was so thoroughly impressed by Simon Williams that he arranged for him
to come to Hollywood and work as a stuntman.
(Dakota North#2 - BTS) - Private Investigator Dakota North was hired to keep noted author George Cooper safe from the assassin Timas who chased North and her client through New York City. Dakota and company drove a convertible, Dimas had commandeered a monster truck. Eventually, Dakota managed to outmanoeuver Dimas, who crashed and had to be hospitalized.
(Dakota North#2) - David Letterman welcomed George Cooper later that day as his third and final guest of the show. Cooper followed the popular "Stupid Pet Tricks" animal act and proved to be very entertaining himself.
(West Coast Avengers II#25) - During a confrontation
between Wonder Man and the Abomination (Emil Blonksy) at the NBC Studios
in Burbank, California the taping of Late
Night With David Letterman was interrupted when the two
combatants slammed each other through the various studios. Even as
Wonder Man was thrown clear onto Letterman's set, he still had
sufficient energy to say hi to Letterman, adding "I heard you were
working L.A. this week!" before the Abomination caught up with him.
Letterman ran, claiming that nobody told him they were doing "Stupid Pet
(Amazing Spider-Man I#303 - BTS) - Spider-Man returned from his nightly patrol to find his wife Mary Jane Watson-Parker asleep on the couch with the TV on. By the time Peter arrived, David Letterman was in the middle of his Late Night monologue, commenting on the news that Ronald Reagan had been seen as a snake man (see comments).
(Iron Man I#243 - BTS) - NBC Today
Show anchor Bryant Gumbell wanted to open the day's broadcast
with a report on David Letterman's altercation with the Connecticut
police when all of a sudden there was breaking news about the condition
of the severly wounded Anthony Stark.
(Wolverine II#90 - BTS) - David Letterman had comedian Roseanne Barr on. Dave dared her to show where she had the tattoo of her ex-husband Tom Arnold's name removed. Barr refused, asking Letterman to show where the NBC logo he had put on used to be. Their back and forth was watched by millions, including Sabretooth (Victor Creed) who was planning his escape from the X-Men's sub-basement prison.
(Iron Man III#41 - BTS) - Shortly after Iron Man (actually the suit's Ultron influenced artificial intelligence) brutally slaughtered his longtime enemy Whiplash (Mark Scarlotti), the media had a feeding frenzy about Tony Stark's bodyguard being a stone cold killer. The media had a field day with this, David Letterman's Late Show even used it as the topic of one of Dave's top 10 lists, counting down the reasons why Iron Man works for Tony Stark, the number one being "the mafia won't hire him because he's too brutal!". A thoroughly demoralized Stark watched Dave's show from a New York bar and didn't find it particularly funny.
(Amazing Spider-Man II#474 - BTS) - During a prolonged
fight against the mysterious and powerful Morlun, Spider-Man briefly
retreated to a rooftop where he happened to overhear part of David
Letterman's monologue which made him realize his struggle against Morlun
had been going on for over 3 hours.
(Captain America & the Falcon I#8) - Late
Show with David Letterman was on in Germany when an unidentified
HYDRA operative tuned in to the show, hearing Dave talking to Paul
Shaffer about his meeting with CBS president Leslie Moonves, subtly
hinting things didn't go smoothly by quoting his signature line "I
wouldn't give my problems to a monkey on a rock". Moments later, the
HYDRA operative became aware of M.O.D.O.K.'s presence. The Mental
Organism Designed Only for Killing proved true to form by brutally
murdering the man (see comments).
(Marvel Monsters: Fin Fang Four#1) - After the "Fin Fang Four" made headlines as heroes for defeating Tim Boo Ba, a heavily-bandaged Googam went on the David Letterman Show.
Comments: Created by Roger Stern (writer), Al
Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks).
You gotta love Marvel's Assistant Editor's Month, nothing
wrong with stories that are a clear and joyous attempt to break with
tradition. Especially in the early 80s, David Letterman was a sensation
on the late night landscape. He created a new type of talkshow by
lovingly destroying all the established tropes of the genre.
He became a cult hit with the college crowd, who stayed up
to see what Dave was up to now... From interrupting the Today Show by
yelling profanities through a giant megaphone to throwing the weirdest
things out the window just to see it splatter, Late
Night with David Letterman was unpredictable and edgy. One
night, Dave could be egging on Julia Child to cook beef tartare with a blowtorch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHX0pv8_JOE), the next night Letterman might be in a
prickly mood and openly quibble with his guest well past the point of
awkwardness. Oprah Winfrey refused to appear on Letterman for decades
following a particularly unpleasant appearance, Cher called him an
asshole on air. Oh, and Dave's flirtatious dust ups with actress Teri
Garr were must
But hey, 30+ years on, this particular tale does lead us to the curious case of David Letterman and the sliding timescale. Following Marvel's current guidelines, the "modern era" started in the early 2000s. In other words, the events of Fantastic Four I#1 occurred well after 9/11. So, how can one combine the fact that the Avengers were formed in the new millennium to their appearance on Late Night With David Letterman, a show that started in 1982 and ran until June, 1993 before it became the Late Show with the aforementioned host?
It's nitpicking to the Nth degree, but Germany doesn't
subtitle shows, preferring instead to dub pretty much all foreign movies
and TV programs. I'm also not too sure the translation of "I wouldn't
give my problems to a monkey on a rock" should be "Ich würde einem Affen, der auf einem stein setzt, meine
probleme nicht geben!". Still, it's better than what Google Translate
The "Ronald Reagan is an asp" crack (tee-hee... asp crack) from Amazing Spider-Man I#303 is a nice continuity nod to the Mark Guenwald penned Captain America I#344, which actually did feature the U.S. president subjected to a concoction that turned him into a snakeman. Steve Rogers was on hand to stop him, but not by much. Also, let us kindly ignore the fact Reagan's presidency by now took place during the "pre-modern era" as well (hey, I was alive during those days!).
Profile by Norvo.
David Letterman should not be confused with
images: (without ads)
Avengers I#239, p14, pan3 (main image)
Avengers I#239, p12, pan4 (interviews Fabian Stankowicz)
West Coast Avengers II#25, p18, pans1&2 (visits LA and meets Abomination)
Iron Man III#41, p10, pan2 (makes Stark part of his top 10 list)
Captain America & The Falcon I#8, p2, pan1 (in Germany)
Avengers I#239 (January, 1984) - Roger Stern (writer), Allen Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Michael Carlin (editor), Larry "Bud" Melman (inspiration)
U.S. 1#8 (February, 1984) - Al Milgrom (writer), Frank Springer (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Ralph Macchio & Jim Shooter (editors)
West Coast Avengers I#3 (November, 1984) - Roger Stern (writer), Bob Hall (pencils), Brett Breeding (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Dakotha North#2 (August, 1985) - Martha Thomases (writer), Tony Salmons (pencils & inks), Larry Hama (pencils)
West Coast Avengers II#25 (October, 1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Mike Machlan (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#303 (August, 1988) - David Michelinie (writer), Todd McFarlane (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Iron Man I#243 (June, 1989) - David Michelinie (writer), Bob Layton (pencils), Barry Windsor-Smith (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)
Wolverine II#90 (February, 1995) - Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (pencils), Mark Farmer & Dan Green (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
Iron Man III#41 (June, 2001) - Frank Tieri (writer), Keron Grant (pencils), Rob Stull (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#474 (September, 2001) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Captain America and the Falcon I#8 (December, 2004) - Christopher Priest (writer), Andrea Divito (pencils), Scott Koblish (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Monsters: Fin Fang Four#1 (December, 2005) - Scott Gray (writer), Roger Langridge (artist), John Barber (editor)
Last updated: 09/22/13
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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