Our friends in the Marvel and DC universes come from a history spanning several decades, but what little known facts about them could help you win a competition? Find out which one of your heroes was a frog, and which of your favourite villains almost never made it past his first appearance!
1. Marvel cancelled The Hulk after just 6 issues.
The Incredible Hulk has been associated with strength and rage for over 50 years now, and we can all picture a giant green guy a la Lou Ferrigno smashing his way through walls. But the Hulk was originally discontinued. Following a lack of interest and enthusiasm from Marvel fans, they were forced to cancel The Incredible Hulk six issues after his debut in 1963.
Many bloggers have posited that his early cancellation is due to character inconsistency. In a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fashion, Hulk was as intelligent and kindhearted as he was deceptive and merciless. Others have attributed his lack of popularity to the fact that Bruce Banner originally transformed into the Hulk by deliberately exposing himself to Gamma rays, and not transforming automatically out of anger, or only being able to turn into Hulk at night.
Following his cancellation, Hulk began his career in other heroes stories as a villain, and eventually guest starred in the Avengers.
2. Superman wasn’t always able to fly.
That’s right, our man from Krypton could only jump one eighth of a mile. This explains why, in the 1940’s cartoons, he was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Superman’s ability to jump long distances was borne from his origins on Krypton, where the gravity was much greater. Earth’s relatively weaker gravitational pull allowed our friend to jump a much greater distance. A lot like those guys did on the moon, later on in the 60’s. Am I right?
The problem with Superman’s power though, was that it was difficult for Max Fleischer Studios – who produced the cartoon – to animate. They therefore requested that DC change his ability to allow him the powers of flight. This change worked out remarkably well for live-action adaptations as well, because it was much easier to show using a green-screen, than requiring frequent background changes that would accompany a viable jumping sequence.
3. Thor and Loki aren’t brothers.
It’s a well known fact that, despite being raised by the same parents, Thor and Loki aren’t brothers in the Marvel universe. However, in Norse mythology, Thor and Loki weren’t even raised in the same house. In fact, Loki is a constant source of frustration for Thor.
In the mythology Loki is the son of Farbuti and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Byleistr. His relationship with the gods is varied depending on the source; he sometimes helps them and sometimes causes their problems. His relationship with the gods effectively ends when he is instrumental in the death of Baldr, and he is bound with the intestines of one of his sons.
Thor and Loki are often at odds, but also work together. When Mjolnir is stolen by Thrym, the giant, Thor disguises himself as Freyja, and agrees to marry Thrym. Loki joins him as the bridesmaid and the two work together to retrieve the hammer.
4. The Hulk was originally grey.
I mean, when we all hear that name, we see green. That’s one of his defining qualities. But when he first appeared, he was supposed to be grey! Hulk would constantly change colour from a light grey to a black between different panels and pages, and it was due to this printing inconsistency that Stan Lee changed Hulk to the green guy that we all know him as today.
However, when Joe Fixit was introduced in the eighties, the grey hulk returned. Joe Fixit was different in other ways, unlike green Hulk, he could talk, he retained his intelligence and often used weapons.
5. The Joker was going to die in Batman #1.
It’s a general, worldwide agreement that the Joker has become one of the best super villians, in recent years. Likely due in part to Heath Ledger’s stellar performance in that movie. So, it comes as a surprise that Bob Kane had planned to throw him away in the first issue of Batman, much like Batman’s other early nemeses he was to succumb to a fatal accident.
It was the editor, Whitney Ellsworth, who noted the Joker’s potential to be a great ongoing enemy for Batman and, therefore, made Kane include a panel that showed the Joker awakening.
6. Pink kryptonite appears to give Superman gay tendencies.
In the DC universe, there are 20 types of kryptonite. Ironically none of them increase his power, but all of them have an input into altering Superman’s behaviour, like the gold kryptonite, which permanently removes Kryptonians powers. But it is the pink kryptonite that gives him gay tendencies.
Originally, kryptonite was a red crystal but changed over the years, and has been green for some time. The pink kryptonite came from an alternate timeline, and does not weaken Superman, but resulted in the quote “Did I ever tell you how smashing you look in bow ties, Jimmy?” when complimenting Jimmy Olsen on his clothing choice.
It was later on that Brainiac supplied Superman with periwinkle kryptonite. Periwinkle kryptonite was hilariously shown to make Superman hallucinate a psychedelic disco where he danced fabulously with Lois Lane.
7. Wonder Woman was created as a nod to feminism.
During the politics of the 30’s-60’s, and the Golden and Silver ages of Comics, Fredric Wertham, a critic of youth culture and child psychiatrist, spoke about how comic books were corrupting youth and turning them into juvenile delinquents. However, it was Dr. William Moulton Marston, an American psychologist and advocate for feminism, who challenged Wertham and pushed forth the idea that comics had a potential to positively influence the beliefs of youth.
It was Marston who created Wonder Woman, attempting to emphasise the importance of feminist beliefs. However, Wertham, comic book hater and misogynist, publicly criticised the new character and disparaged the ‘lesbian overtones’ of the book.
8. Thor was a Frog.
That’s right, Thor spent several issues of his own comic as a frog. After becoming the victim of one of Loki’s insane ideas, Thor led a group of frogs into a battle against a mischief of rats – yep, that’s what a group of them are called.
The story, written by Walter Simonson in the eighties, lasted a total of four issues. At the end, Thor returned to Asgard, but not before gifting a shard of his beloved Mjolnir to Puddlegulp – one of his new amphibian friends. Puddlegulp later became the hero Throg, and carries a small version of Mjolnir in Marvel’s ‘Pet Avengers’.
We’d like to thank all of those people who maintain blogs that make stuff like this available for us to borrow. It’s not easy to find all of this information and it’s made much more pleasant when people take the time to aggregate these little known facts.
So, how can you win prizes at our Halloween event? Maybe it’s useful to know some, or all of these facts and keep watching us for more hints.