So, why does Batman carry shark repellent?
Read Brian Cronin’s fun book of comic book trivia, and you’ll find out.
“Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent?” from Plume books is full of lists and all sorts of interesting factoids. I did go through the book, but I’ve got to admit, two bits in the press release really piqued my interest:
“Watchmen” author Alan Moore once wrote for a comic based on the “B.J. and the Bear” TV series. Seriously? “B.J. and the Bear”? That can’t have gone well. The book says one of the two features he wrote for the 1982 Annual was a guide to CB slang. By Alan Moore. Wow.
The band Devo took its name in part from an issue of “Wonder Woman.” According to the book, Devo is short for “de-evolution,” and a story from 1944 (and reprinted later) featured a de-evolution machine. Another band (there are seven on the list, but I won’t spoil them all) inspired by comics was the Thompson Twins (“The Adventures of Tintin”).
The table of contents conveniently names all the lists, which makes it easy to quickly find the ones you’d be most interested in. I can’t say I’ve read every one in this book, but here are a few favorites, some contributed by noted comic creators:
Top Six Characters Known for Sitting Around (by Peter David): for its quirkiness
Top 25 DC and Marvel Comics Characters (based on a Comic Book Resources poll): for its arguability (Batman over Superman? Aquaman all the way down at 21?)
Four Comic Book Creators Who Have Received Death Threats Over Their Works: for its historical significance (death threats for showing Captain America punching Hitler)
Four Strange Comic Book Ads From …: for nostalgia (yay, Hostess pies!)
Four Strangest Superhero Products for Kids: for the Batman squirt gun (so wrong)
Cronin writes and produces the “Comics Should Be Good” for Comic Book Resources and writes the “Comic Book Legends Revealed” column, which was probably fodder for many items in this book.
There’s a list for almost every fan (what, no Five Strangest Powers of a Legion of Super-Heroes Applicant?), so I definitely recommend picking up a copy.
Just don’t get into a fist fight over the top 25 characters.