As we are all popping NoDoz and drinking Red Bull like it’s filtered water preparing for DC FanDome, it may be a good thing to brush up on DC Comics. These are quick hits, fun facts about one of the most dynamic storytelling resources on the planet.
The global brand of entertainment (because they are much more than comics these days) began back in 1934, founded by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson.
Back then, it was National Allied Publications, but the artists and publisher found a sweet spot with the 1930s Americana in detectives, which is where “Detective Comics” came to be.
[Technically, that makes their name “Detective Comics Comics” but no one at DC Comics wants to talk about that snafu. Moving on…]
When that flip was made, we first met Bruce Wayne, master detective. (Thank you, Matt Reeves for bringing that part of DC Comics nostalgia back.)
Of course, his detective persona took root in the imaginations of kids everywhere and Batman was born, thanks to Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
Another arm of National Allied Publications involved two New York friends, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They were toying around with a character called Doctor Richard Occult, Ghost Detective, in 1935, but they had this “super” idea three years later that would gain some traction.
In ‘Action Comics, No. 1‘, a new anthology publication from National Allied, we met the Son of Krypton. The rest, as we know, is glorious DC history. Some of the bravest heroes, boldest villains, and addicting storylines have been found inside DC Comics, but there are probably some facts that slipped through the pages you have may not know.
Let’s discover these 20 fun facts about DC Comics together…
20. Blame DC for Comic Sans
It’s true: The font used by teachers everywhere and arguably the killers of cute puppies and a few kittens is Comic Sans. Just about everyone who writes or designs abhors this font. That is, until some of those dorks discovered we wouldn’t have it if not for Batman and Watchmen. It was lettering first penned freehand for Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. So, now we have a hated font without comics…or, as the French say it: “sans.”
19. Penguin the Politician
If you are a fan of the Tim Burton films, in Batman Returns, we see Penguin (Danny DeVito) run for mayor. In a seemingly WTF moment, this is actually not his first foray into politics. Back in 1966, Burgess Meredith (who would later play Rocky’s trainer, Mickey) ran for…Mayor of Gotham. Fast forward, we even see Oswald Cobblepot earn the office in FOX’s Gotham. They just can’t get enough of a bad thing at DC Comics sometimes.
18. Able to (Only) Leap Tall Buildings
Imagine a world where Superman could not fly. It’s almost sacrilege to consider, but it is true nonetheless. When Jerry Shuster and Jerry Siegel made the Son of Krypton, he could only “leap over tall buildings in a single bound.” (That’s why it’s in the script.) So, basically, he and Hulk could have the galaxy’s best jump rope contest. It wasn’t until 1940 that the Man of Steel could actually fly.
17. Green Arrow And the Universe’s Spiciest Chili
Yeah, apparently expert marksmanship with a compound bow and trick arrows aren’t enough to defeat the ills of the universe. You need magma-intense chili. That’s right, chili! Evidently, this surface of the sun hot plate is one of Oliver’s nastiest weapons to thwart evil. This is not a joke. It’s directly from “Green Arrow Secret Files & Origins #1″. See?
16. Tim Burton’s Love/Hate Relationship with Prince
Most of us know one of the most interesting choices for a soundtrack was making Tim Burton’s seminal classic Batman with the tunes of the late, great Prince. Tim Burton listened to nothing but Prince while shooting the Michael Keaton film, because they inspired Jack Nicholson’s Joker. However, when Prince wrote the songs for Batman, Burton hated them. Because of contracts, he used them anyway.
15. Who Cares About Joker and Harley Quinn
At one time, Batman’s ultimate adversary, The Joker, was considered a one-and-done character. Bob Kane wasn’t a big fan of the Joker, thinking it was “too clownish.” His editor Whitney Ellsworth saw what could be for The Joker and he stayed. Harley Quinn almost suffered the same fate as a one-and-done character in Batman: The Animated Series. Co-creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm thought there was potential. The rest is diabolical destiny.
14. Even Batman Wants to Be Like Mike
In the halcyon days of the NBA, everyone wanted to “Be Like Mike“. Jordan is the GOAT and his shoes are the undisputed champions of marketing genius for athletic footwear. Yet, they have also been used for crime fighting. Michael Keaton didn’t wear boots in Batman Returns. He wore a pair of Air Jordan 6s. His Batsuit’s armor went all the way to his ankles. And went to his local Dick’s Sporting Goods for a pair of Nikes. When they were for sale on eBay, here’s the snapshot:
13. Joker’s Cell Block is Funny
In more of an #ICYMI Easter Egg fashion, in many of DC Comics that features Joker as a resident of Arkham Asylum, his cell block number is 0801. As with most things in comic book lore, there’s a reason. Text 8-1 to someone and you’ll see it alphanumerically spells, “HA“. Funny, right?
12. Wonder Woman: Amazon “Suprema”?
If we grew knowing Wonder Woman as another name, it would have been normal, but thank God it wasn’t “Suprema.” Fortunately, William Marston, Ph.D., who was once a psychologist and created the DISC personality test, was asked to create a female character like Superman because of his landmark studies on female dominance, so he established “Suprema, The Wonder Woman.” Since the first was too close to Kal-El’s name, DC Comics went with the latter.
11. DC Comics Invented a Word
Many believe Lex Luthor is Superman’s primary nemesis. While that may be true, Brainiac has been giving him fits since 1958 when he first appeared in “Action Comics No. 242.” So, how did DC Comics come up with that name? A “portmanteau” is a linguistic blend of words creating one new word. The cracked team at DC Comics used “brain” and a brand name “ENIAC“, which was the first general-purpose computer in 1943. Together, Merriam-Webster was so impressed, it’s a real word now.
10. They Also Created a Famous Hyphen
By the time our friendly neighborhood webhead came to comic book shelves, Superman had already been out for 15 years. He had a brand and owned the formation of that word. See, most people don’t read, they scan. That’s why you keep a word’s first letter and last letter, but if you mix up the rest, folk can read it. Look at the word. Remind you of anything? According to Stan Lee and co-creator Steve Ditko, they thought it would be confusing, so… Spider-Man. Trademarks are a powerful thing.
9. Sniffing Out the Good Guys
Anyone seen Narcos on Netflix? That Pablo Escobar was a bad dude. Imagine if he was imbued with superpowers. Apparently, DC Comics had that very idea when they created “Snowflame.” Yes, really. His power intensified the more nose candy he inhaled.
I am Snowflame! Every cell of my being burns with white-hot ecstasy. Cocaine is my God — and I am the human instrument of its will!Snowflame, DC’s New Earth
Yeah. We really don’t need to say much more. Not one of DC Comics’ brightest moments of creativity.
8. Breakin’ 2: Electric Hero doo-doo
You can’t say DC Comics isn’t diverse. They put the foot on the pedal and crush. Meet Vibe: The first real Caribbean American Superhero. Well, actually, he’s second. Miles Morales was first by two years. As to Miles transporting us all into the Spider-Verse because he’s awesome, Vibe needs to break his ankle and go ice up. He, uh, “dances for justice” with the Justice League of America. Well, he did. Following his debut in 1984, Darkseid sent androids to Vibe and was the first JL member killed in the line. Dance over.
7. Holy Sucks Out Loud, Batman!
Yeah, Batman. The TV series that brought “Thwap!”, “Kapow!”, “Crracck!”, and “Vronk!” to homes everywhere wasn’t supposed to do well. Like, at all. In fact, ABC believed Adam West and Burt Ward jumping around in tights all day would be an abomination to afternoon TV. Before getting a green light for TV, Batman had two test screenings in 1965 — one with a laugh track and one with narration. Both received the lowest test score ratings in ABC Network history. The TV series ended up doing so well that it actually saved Bob Kane’s comic from dying altogether.
6. DC and LL
Have you ever noticed a peculiar naming convention in Metropolis? There are a smattering of people with the initials “L.L.” Think about it: Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Lana Lang. Well, Lois was made along with Kal-L (get it). They’re like the Adam and Eve of the comic. Luthor’s name is actually Alexei, but they shortened his name for funsies. As the years went on, it’s more of a running gag inside Metropolis and Smallville. There are others: Lena, Lionel, and Letitia Luthor; Superboy’s friend Lightning Lad; Superboy had a love interest named Lyla Lerrol. Oh, and Lyrica Lloyd. Well, you get it.
5. Plastic Man = #MeToo
Even though Plastic Man isn’t widely seen as a member of DC Comics, he’s actually one of the ones who have been around the longest. He first showed up in “Police Comics #1 in 1941 and lasted until “Plastic Man #52” in 1955. Patrick “Eel” O’Brian is a gangster by trade. Then, he trips, falls into chemicals, and now, dude is laffy taffy. But this Mook has an issue–he’s a pervert. He’s not allowed to fight crime with Wonder Woman. In an issue of JLA, Wonder Woman is at home, changing her clothes, and suddenly turns and addresses the red and yellow light fixture on the wall: “If my body were the last thing you ever saw, would it be worth it?” Guess what the pull switch was… Yes, they put that ish in print.
4. Hawkeye Goes Both Ways
Did you know Hawkeye is the only superhero that is a member of the Avengers and the Justice League? Of course, you saw him dominate throughout the Infinity Saga, so this may come as s shock, but yeah… Justice League could have had him there too. From September 2003 to March 2004, there was a crossover appeal — “Justice League of America/Avengers”. See, dude had a thing for Black Canary, so he stepped over to the dark side for just a brief time. And yes, Green Arrow was jealous. True story.
3. Superman is a GLAAD Man
So here is the man’s man, Superman. He has every power in the world. Except that Kryptonite. It kills. Then, there is that rare pink Kryptonite. Yeah, it sounds like something a troll does to a DC Comics fan or bookstore, but this is really a thing. Well, it was once. In Supergirl #79, Clark Kent had a brush up with pink Kryptonite. Maybe it was in Supergirl’s lip gloss. Who knows. The point it made Superman really a “man’s man.” Read it for yourself.
2. Andy Warhol First Made Batman
While we are all debating Batfleck vs. Balefleck vs. Keaton vs. West (and for some, Conroy) as the best Batman, let’s not forget who made the first Batman. If you said beatnik artist of Campbell Soup cans Andy Warhol, you’d be correct. Two years before Adam West came to the TV, Andy Warhol made Batman Dracula. If you used to watch Pink Floyd’s: “Dark Side of the Moon” with hippie lettuce, let’s just say this is more your speed. Damn!
1. DC Comics Hates Christmas…And Kids
Now this one is painful, as someone who has been a DC Comics stan forever, but facts are facts. DC Comics hates Christmas. Santa Claus has actually been in the DC Universe. He was actually given a place of permanence–he was almost immortal. Like 1800 years old. Then, he met John Constantine. Well, he met John after he finally died in 343 AD. Some 1600 years later, Constantine located the skeleton of Agios Nikolaus (St. Nicholas/Santa Claus).
And the rest is too disheartening to type, so I’ll take this verbatim from the DC wiki about Santa:
Constantine had them ground into powder and convinced the customs agent that it was gardening fertilizer. He used some of the powder for his ritual, then snorted the rest as if it were cocaine, musing about how it was going to be a “White Christmas”.DC Wiki FANDOM
What in the actual red and green eff is going on at DC Comics?! No wonder people complain they are so dark. Who’s running Jim Lee’s body? Satan?! Dayum!