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David Letterman’s Scandalous Comic Book Moment

Perhaps you’ve been following the David Letterman extortion/sex scandal. Perhaps you caught his on-air mea culpa, where the late night host apologized to his wife, his staff, and even Sarah Palin.

But there’s one more person to whom David Letterman owes an apology: A poor, hapless supervillain whom he publicly shamed on his NBC “Late Night” show way back in 1984.

You see, David Letterman once hit the Mechano-Marauder with a giant doorknob.

Find out the sordid details after the jump.

The tragic event took place in January of ’84, in the pages of “Avengers” #239. Letterman was riding high as the late night viewing choice for discerning college students and overnight security guards trying to stay awake on the job. And he was scoring all the hot guests, from Andy Kaufman to the Avengers’ resident thespian Simon Williams (aka Wonder Man). Wondy had a killer agent (and killer shades) in those days, who booked him (along with some reserve Avengers) on “Late Night.” Paul Shaffer even wore a Captain America jersey for the occasion, despite the fact that Cap was always more of a Carson guy.

Yes, Beast is wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Cause he’s “wacky.” Anyway, all was going well until midway through the program when the Avengers were attacked by a laser-beam firing camera, heat-seeking missiles, and other assorted villainy. Unbeknownst to our heroes, one Mr. Fabian Stankowicz (who went by the villainous monikers Mecho-Marauder and Mechano-Marauder) had planted death-traps as revenge for past humiliations he suffered at the hands of the Avengers.

Unfortunately, Stankowicz, a one-time lottery winner who turned to a life of crime, just couldn’t help from gloating and revealing his identity to Dave and the audience.

(Also unfortunate is the fact that the phrase “twisto” failed to sweep the nation.) Seeing a chance to both assist the Avengers and entertain the folks at home with some prop comedy, Letterman sprung into action, bashing Stankowicz with a giant door knob that oddly resembled a stool for some reason.

Ironically, three years later, Dave would ban Crispin Glover from the program for nearly kicking him in the face. “Atta boy, Dave,” indeed.

(The real-life Fabian Stankowicz?)

Thankfully, Stankowicz recovered, and went on to become a friend and ally of the Avengers. (He was even present at Cap’s 50th birthday party.) But, unfortunately, the Avengers’ disappearance during “Onslaught” proved to be too much for the gentle soul, driving him to become a blathering street-person.

Did Dave’s violent assault set Stankowicz on his path from harmless minor supervillain to crazed Alan Moore look-alike? Or was it all just part of some elaborate prank, created during the month where Marvel assistant editors were allowed to spread wacky chaos throughout the Marvel Universe? Perhaps we’ll never know the answer. For now, we hope that Fabian Stankowicz’s story will put an end to all prop comedy-related violence.

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