Top Ten Comic Book Facts

I'm talking about the word usage here, not the character. Anyway, the use of onomatopoeia, that's words that are spelled like they sound, crack, plop, nnnnnngh, haven't always been in comics. It was the very talented cartoonist Roy Crane who first started using them to liven up the text. This soon evolved into the onomatopoeic words being graphically enhanced, so that pow! and ptwang! were further emphasised by brightly-coloured stars and other flashy outlines.

The largest comic book in terms of physical size is chapter one of the graphic novel CruZader - Agent of the Vatican by Omar Morales. The book is 60.96 cm by 94.46 cm (2 ft by 3 ft 1.19 in). It was only available in limited numbers, and soon sold out. There is a normal sized version for those who prefer their comics a regular size.

8) Best Selling Superhero
I doubt anyone will be surprised to learn the best selling superhero of all time is Superman, with most estimates agreeing to a figure of around 600 million issues sold about or containing our red-panted man of steel since the first issue. You'll believe a man can wear tights and still look cool.

7) Best Selling Issue
Surprisingly, the best selling single issue of a comic isn't about Superman, but Spider-Man. Issue 583 sold 530,500 copies, to be precise. This was something of a White Swan event, as sales of the issue were boosted by the celebrity endorsement of Barack Obama. The issue appeared a week before his inauguration, and so was snapped up by fans and non-fans alike.

6) Earliest Comic Book
It's widely accepted that the first comic book was Action Comics#1 containing the first appearance of Superman. Before this, comic strips, the forerunners of comic books, were becoming increasingly popular. The earliest comic strip pre-dates this by almost two thousand years. Rome's Trajan's Column, dedicated in 113 AD, shows what is the earliest surviving narrative told through the use of sequential illustrations.

5) Largest Collection
The largest collection of comic books owned by one person is a floor-creaking 8.5 tons of comics, currently standing at over 95,000 unique issues. The record breaker is a Mr Bob Bretall of Mission Viejo in California. He still buys dozens of comics a month, so the collection is still growing. The collection also includes a large number of figurines and other memorabilia.

4) Most Expensive
The most expensive comic book ever sold, to date, was a nearly mint copy of Marvel Comics Amazing Fantasy issue 15, which featured the swinging debut of Spider-Man. This rare copy sold at auction for a tight-ripping $454,100! The buyer, understandably, kept their anonymity. The seller, Walter Yakaboski, bought the comic in 1980 for $1200! He plans to use the money from this and other sales to save the family farm. Even to a fan like me, that seems a much better use of what is almost half a million smackers.

3) Strangest Superpower
Maggot was briefly an X-Men character, whose superpower was to keep two giant slugs in his digestive tract. The slugs, Eany and Meany, could burst from his stomach and digest anything in their path, before returning to Maggot's body and releasing a burst of energy. This energy increased Maggot's size, strength and stamina.

2) The Grey Hulk
That's right, when Stan Lee created the hulk, he was grey, not the vegetable green he is now. If you look at the cover picture of the very first issue of the Hulk released in 1962, you'll see him in all his grey, ripped shirt, mysteriously intact pants glory. The reason for this is blamed on the printing technology of the time not being up to the job of rendering grey in a consistent fashion, and so green was chosen instead. Maybe when Hollywood do the re-reboot of the Marvel universe, he'll go back to being grey.

1) The Burning of Comic Books
Burning comic books might be seen as extreme, and something that only happened in Nazi Germany. But that isn't the case. In 1948, Time magazine reported on the mass burnings of comics in Binghamton, New York. The local residents, inflamed by the wild accusations of Dr Frederic Wertham, went house to house gathering up the comics and publicly burned them in the street. Whether this improved the morals and standards of the youngsters affected is not documented, but I'm guessing no.