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Five Little Known Comic Book Facts

Comics are, much like that strange man who lives down the street all by himself, over a half century old and mysteriously complex to a degree that's off-putting. But as fans, we've carved out our knowledge foothold, a tentative grasp on the history of the fictional universe. Sure, we may not know every ridiculous object-themed villain from the Silver Age, but we get the universe, we get what it's saying. However, things get lost to time, their meaning diluting over the course of decades much like repeating rituals without ever knowing why. So for prosperity's sake, I bring you FIVE little known facts from some of your favorite comics: [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="449"]Batman is Bruce Wayne Spoiler Alert[/caption]

5. The X-Men exist because of Mile-Tall Space Gods and Nuclear Weapons Testing

Most X-Men lore simply passes off mutants as 'the next step in human evolution' even though suddenly getting bone claws and the ability to control the weather is about the most inaccurate representation of evolution this side of the Creationist Museum. The reason for this however, is that it's kind of right within the universe, but fails to shed light on the whole convoluted comic book-y  origin story. It starts with these guys: url They're called Celestials. They're billions of years old, immensely powerful, and something of gardeners. They spread life around the universe and tamper with it, coming back every few thousand years to judge their experiments. They've tampered with Earth many times, giving us both Eternals and Deviants, as well as placing the X-Gene, the genetic trigger that basically spawns superpowers, in primitive human DNA. For thousands and thousands of years, the gene would only activate a handful of times. It wasn't until the Atomic Age started that it began popping up more and more. Much like the rest of Marvel, nuclear energy, by which we mean a loose understanding of nuclear energy that made it basically magic, acted as the superpower catalyst and caused many X-Genes to go active. The rest, as they say, is as you know it. I think they say that. Sounds right to me.

4. Batman's Iconic Giant Penny is From a Less Than Iconic Villain

The giant penny and robotic T-Rex. Two iconic items collected in the Batcave. Don't believe me? Google images of the Batcave, seriously, they'll be in 90% of them. Arguably, the most iconic of the two would be the giant penny. A strange trophy for Batman to keep, but then again he's a man who vowed to put an end to crime with his fists so maybe we shouldn't question is decision making process. But where did this titanic tender come from? Some epic battle with one of the greats of the Rouges Gallery? Not really. It comes from a single issue involving the first appearance of a penny-themed villain, the Penny Plunderer. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350"] He's thinking that, but opening his mouth to shout?[/caption] He was basically a guy who sold newspapers who was then later arrested for stealing pennies. So then he decide to create elaborate heists -- in true Gotham fashion -- with the theme of "pennies". The origin of The Penny has been retconned before, often times involving Two-Face, but regardless it got its start in a silly obscure one off Silver Age book. We'll know it's true origin, you and me, and that's what's important.

3. Spider-Man: Tragic Sexual Abuse Victim

Hey, you know what's not funny? Child sexual abuse. So there'll be no jokes about that here. So in the issue, Spider-Man saves a kid from from his sexually abusive babysitter, and to get him to talk about what happened, tells him the story of being abused by his babysitter Skip Westcott. I guess Spider-Man could have straight lied to the kid's face but the comic doesn't so much as elude to that. No, the weirdest thing is how left field it is. Well, that's not really true, it was in Spider-Man/Power Pack #1, a comic co-published by Marvel Comics and the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse. It was basically made to teach kids about the gritty reality of sexual abuse. What I mean is, it seems like such a weird thing to add into the character's history. It seems like it would be such a big part of Peter's life, but it's virtually ignored. In the Power Pack story, it's one of the character's friends that has the abuse issue, which honestly makes more sense. And this isn't non-cannon. It's brought up again in a Spider-Man comic with the most unnatural dialog.

2. Nixon Shot Himself in front of Captain America

So in 1975 Marvel was running a storyline that followed Captain America and Falcon hot on the trail of a corrupt politician planning to overthrow the US of A. In the arc's climax, a month before Richard Nixon resigned as President, Captain America corners the bad guy in the White House (I think you're seeing the dots connect)  where he unmasks him to great shock. Seeing defeat, the bad guy -- who holds "high political office" -- shoots himself right in the noggin.

They never show the Masked Man's face, but it's pretty obvious that it's the President we're talking about. If you still don't believe me, the arc's writer Steve Englehart writes, "I was writing a man who believed in America's highest ideals at a time when America's President was a crook. I could not ignore that. And so, in the Marvel Universe, which so closely resembled our own, Cap followed a criminal conspiracy into the White House and saw the President commit suicide." So in the Marvel Universe, instead of Nixon resigning from the Presidency, he splatters his brains all over the white house. I mean. That's got to be a big deal in that universe, right? There are cameras there, it had to be news -- THE BIGGEST NEWS, but no one has talked about it since. You'd think Captain America would be bringing up the memory of seeing an America President self terminate just feet away all the time. That can't be something you easily get past. Also, Marvel is supposed to be very close to our world. Other Presidents have appeared in Marvel comics. Obama has appeared in Spider-Man comics.  That means that's in the history of the Presidency. It's probably a part of White House tours, "and that's the stain from when Richard Nixon shot himself in front of Captain America after his failed coup." There must be movies about it, dramatic oscar-winning movies about the downfall of Nixon, doomed to die disgraced before a disapproving anthropomorphic American flag.

1. The Word Sex is Hidden at Least 18 Times in X-Men #118

There's a chance you've heard of this already. Artist Ethan Van Sciver, annoyed at Marvel, thought it would be fun to scatter hidden instances of the word 'sex' in the issue. Reports are unclear, but he probably giggled childishly through the whole book.

The exact number of instances is unknown, but it is at least 18, about one per page. They're often small, expertly hidden, appearing in everything from hedges, to hair, to whiskey.

It's a strange, awesome Easter egg that people have spent more time than they should have to seek out the three letter word. And who said comics where immature?  


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