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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Big Shot

Power Man and Iron Fist #112 (Feb. 1985) introduced a physically unassuming character named Gordy, head of Special Mission Intelligence—Law Eenforcement Division (S.M.I.L.E. for short).

Although Gordy typically appeared with red hair, the cover of #114 depicted him with black hair and a striking resemblance to a young Billy Joel. But why?

Seeing how the cover caption described Gordy as very, very dangerous, my best guess is that using Billy Joel's likeness for the leader of the ironically titled S.M.I.L.E. was a subtle nod to these lyrics from his song "Only the Good Die Young" (1977).

You might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd
We ain't too pretty, we ain't too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud
But that never hurt no one

Outside of that cover, there's little evidence that Gordy was created as an homage to the popular singer/songwriter; #114 revealed that Gordy's ex-wife was named Elaine, and lyrics from Billy Joel's song "Big Shot" (1978) made reference to a restaurant by that name. But in the overall scheme of things, I'd chalk that up as a coincidence.

They were all impressed with your Halston dress
And the people that you knew at Elaine's

And the story of your latest success
Kept 'em so entertained

In fact, Billy Joel's first wife was named Elizabeth, and #114 went on sale shortly before his marriage to second-wife Christie Brinkley

"Big Shot" was the first recording on the album 52nd Street (1978). "Only the Good Die Young" was from The Stranger (1977). Graham Geiger illustrated Power Man and Iron Fist #114.

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