Jay Leno Vs. Conan O'Brien: The Battle Of Comic Book Cameos!

Jay Leno - Spider-ManThe "Tonight Show" feud between Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno playing out on NBC over the last month has led to so much drama, comedy and bad feeling that it almost feels like the plot of a movie or television series... or even, dare we say, a comic book?

Yes, with both Leno and O'Brien each with a comics cameo on their resume, it seems logical to compare the two entertainers' brief stints in the Marvel and DC worlds, respectively.

With O'Brien's last "Tonight Show" airing, well... tonight... here's a look back at the interesting adventures these late-night hosts have had in the comic book world.


In 1993, DC Comics kicked off a "New Blood" event involving the creation of several new superheroes due to alien interference in the DC Universe. Courtney Mason became one of those new heroes after she was linked to the "Animus," an abstract creature that embodied humanity's rage and gave Courtney great power. Calling herself Anima, Courtney embarked on a new strange life, fighting menaces that threatened mankind.

Anima later got her own comic book series that focused on her fighting other abstract entities that symbolized different aspects of humanity, such as the evil "father" of the animus spirit, an entity known as "The Nameless One." Since the book explored Jungian archetypes and ideas, such as the collective unconscious, the series was filled with pop culture references. And in "Anima" #11, our girl wound up encountering Conan O'Brien and his good buddy, Andy Richter.

During a night at the Oscars, the Nameless One attacked and Conan (being the cool guy that he is) took up arms and joined Anima in her fight against the cosmic evil being. To promote this cool team-up, the cover of the comic was done as a movie poster for "Anima: The Motion Picture" and featured Conan with a top billing starring credit and a pretty cool gun. How cool is that?

Conan O'Brien


To help promote the new Spider-Man film in 2002, Marvel had the strange idea to team the famous webslinger with Jay Leno. In a series of back-up stories entitled "One Night Only," Jay Leno comes to New York in order to shoot a General Motors commercial with Spider-Man. Spidey and Leno trade a few quips and then get ready to shoot the commercial, when suddenly... ninjas attack!

Weirdly, Spider-Man seemed rather ineffective in this tale as Leno did most of the fighting. After a chase scene on Jay's motorcycle in which Spidey repeatedly asked to appear as a guest on "The Tonight Show," it's revealed that the ninjas were just actors (hence, Leno's ability to beat them) and that their attack was part of a ploy for a new reality show that would operate on the premise of celebrities teaming up with superheroes to fight evil.

Yeah, I know — it's weird. And frankly, I'm surprised Conan and Spider-Man haven't met up yet, considering they have so much in common as hilarious geeks who never seem to get the respect they deserve.

Jay Leno

An honorable mention should go to David Letterman, who had Earth's mightiest heroes, the Avengers, as guests on his show in "Avengers" #239.

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