Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, which means participating comic book shops around the world will be giving away millions of comic books. With three days to go until this action-packed annual giveaway, let’s celebrate with a few little known facts about your favourite superheroes.
Marvel and DC claim the trademark for the word ‘superhero’ and any of its variations, having registered it in the 1960’s. Their lawyers have sent ‘cease and desist’ letters to smaller comic book publishers for using the term to describe characters.
In 1997, Marvel released an alternative story where Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, is bitten by a radioactive sheep. He becomes Sheep-Boy, fighting his nemesis The Wolf.
Superman’s first incarnation in the 1930’s was a bald telepathic scientist bent on world domination. Yep, Superman was originally meant to be a villain. Luckily, by the time the creators found a publisher (6 years later), the character had gone through some considerable changes and was the son of Krypton we recognize today.
The Wolverine was almost The Badger… Is anyone else finding it difficult to imagine Hugh Jackman playing that role? Marvel wanted a new character to boost the sales of their comics in Canada, so they asked comic book writer Len Wein to create one. He decided to base the hero on a native animal, narrowing it down to either the wolverine or the badger. What do you think, did he make the right choice?
Batman creator Bob Kane originally planned to kill the Joker in his very first appearance, intending to follow the same plot as many of Batman’s early villains and having him die in a fatal accident. Luckily, Batman’s editor Whitney Ellsworth saw potential in the character, and forced Kane to include a panel showing the Joker coming back to life.
Thor once spent several issues of The Mighty Thor as a frog. The story arc was written by Thor writer Walter Simonson in 1986, and saw Thor end up in Central Park leading a clan of frogs into battle against a horde of rats. He eventually returned to Asgard to regain his god-like form, but left a shard of Mjolnir with one of his frog friends, the warrior Throg. Could this be the plot for the next Thor movie?
Spider-Man was nearly cancelled just after he was first published! Now Spider-Man is considered one of Marvel’s most popular characters, but Martin Goodman, head of Marvel at the time, believed that the character would scare fans, simply because people were scared of spiders. Lucky for us Spidey made it through that hurdle and quickly became well loved by many fans.
Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, has a mother but no father. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, molded the form of a baby girl from clay, and six members of the Greek Pantheon gave it life. The gods bonded a soul to the clay and each granted Diana a great gift.
*In a relaunch of Wonder Woman by DC in 2011, her origin was changed and she became a demigoddess and the natural born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus.
Everyone knows Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, is surrounded by a ‘worthiness’ enchantment, preventing it from being wielded by anyone except those it finds worthy. But did you know just how many people have managed to lift Mjolnir? In over 50 years of publication, only five people have ever held the hammer; Thor (duh), Odin, the Red Norvell, Beta Ray Bill, and Captain America.
If you knew all of this already, or know some other interesting superhero fact, then feel free to share it in the comments!