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Comic Trivia

He knows Batman is Bruce Wayne, but he doesn’t care.

While not explicitly stated in the comic books or any other source material, it has been hinted at for years that The Joker actually knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne. For example, The Joker has a habit of targeting anyone close to Batman as well as anyone close to Bruce. He’s even cut off Alfred’s (Bruce Wayne’s butler) hand once! Many fans speculate that The Joker sees Bruce Wayne as a mask for Batman (as opposed to the other way around), and would simply be bored to death if either persona were ever harmed.

Bane Broke Batman Back

After deducing Batman's secret identity and invading the sanctity of Wayne Manor and the Batcave, Bane not only defeated Batman, but broke his back, leaving him crippled and wheelchair-bound. Helpless, Bruce Wayne left his costume and crime-fighting duties to Jean Paul Valley and set out on an arduous quest to regain his strength and will to fight. Eventually, after much rehabilitation and training with the beautiful but deadly Lady Shiva, Wayne returned to Gotham to reclaim the mantle of the Dark Knight.

Cash for Conan

Back in 1970, Marvel paid $200 an issue to Conan Properties to license Conan for comic books. Part of the reason Barry Smith drew the early issues was that he was a new artist and worked cheaper than Marvel stalwarts John Buscema and Gil Kane. Marvel used his cheaper rate to “recoup” the whopping $200 licensing fee. $200 may not seem like much, but with inflation that comes out to $1,284.86 in 2017.

Comics are for everyone

Brian Peets, the owner of A-1 Comics in Sacramento, Ca. also played in the NFL! He was a tight end for the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers from 1978-81.

Comics-4 earth!

The logo for the Earth-2 comic stores in Los Angeles was designed by artist and writer Jeff Parker. Bonus fact - for a time, Geoff Johns co-owned one of the stores.

Coloring backwards!

Marvel’s Origin series was colored direct from the pencils. Penciler Andy Kubert is right-handed, but colorist Richard Isanove is a lefty. Isanove had to scan and flip the pages to color them left-handed. Even though he was using a stylus, he had to match the “brushstroke” of the art. He effectively colored the book backward!

Teamwork makes the dream work

Wally Wood was a talented but problematic artist. Joe Orlando was a kind-hearted DC editor and artist. When other DC editors refused to work with Wood, Orlando would invite him to the office late at night and they would draw entire short stories for DC anthologies overnight on a flat desk. Orlando would pencil, and Wood would sit across from him and ink the page upside-down, literally chasing him down the page!

Wally Woods on duty

When comic writer Denny O'Neil and his first wife, Ann, had their first night out after the birth of their first child, their babysitter was… Wally Wood.

Being on time

Stan Lee was the arguably the most efficient editor in comic books. In 1968, artist Dick Ayers drove his family to Canada for vacation for a few days, telling Stan what date and time he’d be back. As Ayers pulled up in his driveway, he heard the phone ringing. It was Stan, and he had a cover he wanted Ayers to ink.

Don't mess with Stan Lee!

Stan Lee was a judo instructor in the U.S. Army in World War II.

Out smarting the colorblind

Dick Ayers was colorblind - but he colored! He kept all his paints in jars where he could read the labels. Artists John Severin, Tim Sale, John Byrne, and Howard Chaykin are also colorblind.

Flick!

In 1940, DC Comics developed its first set of standards and practices. Among the rules, the word “FLICK” was banned, due to fear the lettering could run together and result in an altogether new word.

Supermoney

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s famous contract with DC sold Superman for $130, plus a 10-year contract to do the book, plus 32.5% to 40% of net proceeds derived from the newspaper strip, plus 5% of all other licensing. In 1942 alone, they made $63,776.46 in Superman income, the equivalent of $986,459.35 in 2017 dollars.

Ghost artist money

Batman co-creator Bob Kane used legions of ghost artists to crank out his material, but sometimes paid them very handsomely. Kane was paying his artists up to $200 a page for pencils in the 1950s. That’s more than many pencilers make today, and the equivalent of $2,066.71 a page in 2016.

Making space

Former Batman artist Jerry Robinson owned Superman co-creator Joe Shuster’s original drawing board! Shuster gave it to him before he moved to California in the late 1970s, simply because he wanted to get rid of things that he’d otherwise have to move.

One mans trash is another mans treasure

Jerry Robinson also owned the original art to Fred Ray’s Superman #14 cover! Ray called Robinson one day, and said he admired Robinson’s Detective Comics covers, and asked if he could have one. Robinson agreed, and Ray offered to send him a Superman in return. Robinson asked for #14, and Ray agreed, noting that Robinson should call the engraver quickly, as it had already been printed and was probably set to be destroyed. Robinson called, and literally had the engraver pluck it out of the trash just before the garbage man arrived!

The ole swithcheroo

After the near-miss Fred Ray cover incident, Jerry Robinson started swapping covers with other artists he liked. He collected 1940s-era covers by Joe Shuster, Jack Kirby, and Mort Meskin.

Audio over everything

Joe Shuster was quite an audiophile, and was obsessed with always having the best sound equipment. When he died in 1992, he donated his stereo speakers to Los Angeles Valley College.

the Death of...

Superman #75, the “Death Of” issue, had a black-bagged version that contained a large poster that showed a number of DC heroes carrying Superman's casket. Artist Dan Jurgens drew the oversized art, then, in his words, “I had to cut up all sorts of large cardboard for shipping to DC, as it was much bigger than even a double-page spread. I had packed it up and had just put down that last piece of tape to secure the box when I got a call from Mike Carlin at DC telling me that Joe Shuster had died. Bizarre.”

Joe Casey rocks!

Joe Casey has sang and played guitar in bands such as the Sellouts and Best of Seven, who have played legendary Los Angeles clubs such as the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and the Viper Room.

Work and hobby combined

Artist Andy Kuhn played bass in a band called the Fuglees and also did cover art, natch, for the band’s CDs.

Back in the day

Artist Gene Colan modeled his Dracula in Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula after actor Jack Palance. In the days before Google and DVRs, Colan would actually sit in front of the TV with a Polaroid camera when Palance was on and shoot photo reference right from the screen!

Food brings people together

Longtime collaborators Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada met… while standing in line for hamburgers at the Comic-Con International: San Diego. They were introduced by a mutual friend who was also there. They got along and decided it might be fun to work together.

1 year at a time

Despite the success of Marvel Knights, Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada’s “research and development” wing of Marvel, Palmiotti and Quesada were offered only 1-year contracts from 1998 until 2003.

Always have a backup plan

Artist Adam Hughes worked at the Heroes World Comics store in Burlington, N.J. When he started drawing The Maze Agency for Comico in 1988, he cut down to two days a week at the store. When he started Justice League of America in 1989, he cut down to one day, but kept the job, always fearful that his art career might disappear at any moment. “When my first issue of JLA came out, I unboxed it, put it on the shelves, and then sold it at the register,” he says. “One customer asked ‘Is that the new guy’s first issue?’ I said yes, and asked him what he thought. We thumbed through the issue together and he gave an honest appraisal, never knowing I was the artist.”

The mirage

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creators Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman’s Mirage Studio was so named because the “studio” was Laird’s living room. The duo wanted to seem larger than they actually were, and the entire studio was a mirage.

Started from the bottom

To get the money to print Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, Kevin Eastman applied $500 he got from an income tax return, and a $1000 loan from his uncle Quentin. Peter Laird took $200 out of his bank account. After scrimping and saving, the pair had scraped together enough money to print 3000 copies, and take out one ad in Comic Buyers Guide to launch the book.

Relevant memories

Michael Uslan, producer of the Batman movies, took a tour of DC Comics when he was in the 7th grade. He got autographs from whoever happened to be in the office that day. As an adult, he looked back at his autograph book, and saw that one of the autographs was from…Batman co-creator Bill Finger. Yes, Uslan and others on the tour also received a panel of original art - chopped from a full page - on the tour.

Old school art

In April 2004, Marvel Comics returned a four-foot stack of original art to artist Stan Goldberg, with material dating back to the 1950s.

Package art

On May 25, 2005, Marc Silvestri got a FedEx package from Marvel. It contained one page of art returns from Web of Spider-Man #20… from 1986.

Art collector

Longtime Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J Ackerman collected pulp art and comic art from its earliest days. He had Frank R. Paul originals on the walls of his house, and two Virgil Findlay originals in the bathroom!

3 months flat out

DC’s Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke had a number of guest-artist pinups in the back. They were budgeted at $550 each. Artist Jim Steranko demanded $1000 for his… and a year to do it! Editor Mark Chiarello got him $750, and told him he’d have three months like everyone else. Darwyn Cooke paid the difference out of his own pocket to make up the additional $250.

Tokyo bound

Famed ’60s-era DC writer John Broome left comics in 1970 after a 25-year career. He became a world traveler, living in France and Israel before finally settling in Japan, taking a English professorship at Tokyo University.

Invaders form beyond the stars!

Batman co-creator Bill Finger co-wrote the cult classic sci-fi film The Green Slime.

Stand up work

Stan Lee wrote a large part of his Marvel Universe stories while standing. He did this on the balcony his apartment in Manhattan, using the New York skyline as inspiration. He also did it at his home in suburban Hewlett, New York. Continue on to Part 2 and Part 3 of Newsarama's Little-Known Facts about Comic Books.

Twist and turn to the right direction

Artist and one-time Valiant Comics Vice President Bob Layton used to refer to the young artists in the Valiant bullpen as “The Knobs” because he would turn them whichever way he needed to teach them. He also used to ink at the Valiant office while wearing a three-piece suit!

Production before consumption

Other Valiant artists would swing by the Valiant bullpen, including veteran Steve Ditko. Maria Lapham, wife of artist David Lapham, would play the “proper little lady” when Ditko would show, as Ditko was from an earlier era, and she got a kick outta doing it. Once, Ditko showed up, and she cheerily greeted him, “Hello, Mr. Ditko! Can I get you a cup of coffee?” He stared back at her and said quietly, “No. Production before consumption.” Ditko sat down, and wordlessly started drawing. After several hours, not uttering a peep, he finished a page. He got up, handed it off to production, and looked toward Maria. “I’ll take that cup of coffee now,” he said.

Bikers are bad

Steve Ditko was slated to draw a “Batman: Black and White” back-up story in Batman: Gotham Knights #7 written by John Arcudi. But when he got the script, which featured Batman fighting a motorcycle gang, he refused, stating only, “Bikers are a negative element in society.” John Buscema eventually drew the story.

The worst of all time

2009’s El Diablo #6 is said to be the worst-selling DC Universe comic of all time at 3997 copies. 1984’s Jemm, Son of Saturn #10 was sold returnable and is reputed to have had a 90% return rate, but its initial print run was well above 40,000 copies. There have been Wildstorm and Vertigo comic books that have sold less at DC, but El Diablo #6 remains the worst selling DCU comic of all time.

From president to CEO

Former Marvel President Terry Stewart went on to become the CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Comic characters for names

Former Superman artist Jon Bogdanove named his son Kal-El, Superman’s Kryptonian name. Kevin Smith named his daughter Harley Quinn Smith, after the DC Comics character.




FEATURED HERO & VILLAIN

Captain America

Most recently, Steve Rogers gave up the Captain Amerca mantel to Bucky Barnes and headed out to travel the United States in search of himself and the real America he loves so much.

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Venom

After separating himself from the symbiote, Brock decides to help the FBI against the new villainous Venom. With the FBI and Spider-Man, Brock is able to separate the symbiote from its new host, Lee Price. In the process, Spider-Man's actions cause the symbiote to rekindle its previous hatred for him. Brock then breaks the symbiote out of custody and bonds with it again.

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