Avid collectors of silver age comic books and golden age comic books probably knows scores of crazy trivia about their comic collections. We might not all be so knowledgeable, however, and many of us will get a kick out of these interesting, strange, and sometimes just downright weird comic book facts:
- The original Superman was bald (and evil). The beloved superhero went through an extreme makeover before becoming the Superman we all know and love. Siegel and Shuster originally imagined Superman as a bald guy bent on taking over the world (apparently Superman and Lex Luthor had more in common than we ever imagined). During the six years that it took to find a publisher, Superman evolved into the “tall, dark, and handsome” specimen known throughout the world.
- Marvel killed Nixon. In 1974, one month before Nixon resigned, Marvel published Captain America No. 175. Nixon appears in this issue, where Cap is hunting down a corrupt government official. The president commits suicide when Cap uncovers his secrets. Although his face never appears in the illustrations,Englehart stated that he intended to make it clear that the president in question was Nixon.
- The Hulk wasn’t always a green giant. In The Incredible Hulk No. 1, the Hulk looked a bit off color-gray, to be exact. Apparently Stan Lee intended for the Hulk to be gray, but printing technologies at the time didn’t want to cooperate. Green happened to be one of the most consistent colors in printing back in the 60s, so the Hulk can thank inadequate technology for his brighter appearance.
- Comic books were once bonfire fodder. In 1946, comic books outsold traditional books, and mass hysteria hit parents across America. Parents freaked out because innocent young minds were being corrupted by devilish nature of the comic book. A witch hunt that would have made a Puritan proud then ensued, and comic books were gathered and pitched into giant bonfires.
- Stamp of approval. By 2006, comic books had come a long way from being bonfire fodder, and the U.S. Postal Service released a commemorative stamp featuring legendary super heroes and recognizing comics as a true art form.
- The Joker should have laughed his last laugh right from the start. Everyone’s favorite super villain almost had a much shorter career. Bob Kane planned to have Joker dead by the end of Batman No. 1, but the editor felt so strongly about the character that they brought him back to life.
- Marvel almost went down with the Hindenburg. Martin Goodman, founder of Marvel comics, should have been on the Hindenburg during it’s famous last flight. Luckily for him (and for the Marvel fan base), he waited too long to purchase tickets and could not get seats side-by-side for himself and his wife.
- Wolverine could have been a badger. The fearsome Wolverine-hero of the Freddy Krueger-like claws and pointy ears-came very close to being a badger. Yes, a badger. Wolverine creator Len Wein wanted to create a Canadian hero based on an animal, due to their popularity with kids in the U.S. It ended up being a toss-up between two Canadian animals-the wolverine and the badger. An editor settled Wein’s indecisiveness by suggesting that the wolverine seemed better suited for a superhero. Good thing he did-otherwise, Wolverine would have been one bad-ass badger.
- Venom was originally a woman. Eddie Brock was considerably less manly during the creative stages-in fact, he was actually a pregnant woman. Writer David Michelinie originally intended for the Venom character to be a woman. The woman was intent on avenging the deaths of her husband and unborn child, which were caused by Spider-Man distracting her cab driver. Engaging as that concept was (yikes!), Michelinie’s boss scrapped the idea because it was not feasible for a woman to be a match for Spider-Man.
- Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman-worldwide heroes. Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman are the three most well-known superheroes around the entire globe (with Superman in the top spot). Although scores of comic book heroes are well-known in the United States, most are not known throughout the world. As a matter of fact, characters such a Snoopy would be more recognizable in other countries.
- Library of Congress-top comic collector. Comic book enthusiasts everywhere would gladly trade a limb for one look at the Library of Congress’s comic book collection. Over 100,000 issues are housed there, and the collection grows by about 200 issues per month.
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