National Comic Book Day

Over the past couple of decades, hit movie franchises like Iron Man and Batman have breathed new life into the comic book industry, a combined literary and art genre that burst onto the American scene at the height of the Great Depression. The term comic book was used because the first one sold consisted of a collection of individual comic strips. Despite their name, comic books were not always funny; a common parallel theme centers on superheroes saving the world.

September 25 is National Comic Book Day and we thought it would be fun to lay down some fun—and weird—facts about this interesting phenomenon, including how comic books led one young actor to change his name.

Did you know:

  • American comic books really began to gain traction after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which included the first appearance of the Superman character. Hovering on the brink of World War, the country was ready to look to the skies for a larger-than-life hero.
  • The superhero boom lasted until the end of the war, when comic book themes branched out into westerns, romances, and even funny animals.
  • Since the comic book format was introduced in 1933, the United States has produced the most titles, along with British comics and Japanese manga, in terms of quantity of titles.
  • The world’s largest comic book collection belongs to the U.S. Library of Congress, which holds more than 100,000 individual issues.
  • Wayne Enterprises, which is controlled by Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, owns The Daily Planet, the newspaper that employs Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego,
  • The Hulk was originally gray, but Marvel changed him to green after problems with ink in their presses.
  • Nicolas Coppola took his stage name, Nic Cage, from the Marvel character Luke Cage.

Comic books are a huge market in the U.S. According to Comicsbeat.com’s market research figures, the Facebook universe of self-identified comic fans grew to a new high of over 24 million fans in the United States earlier this year. Nearly 47% of those are women. And rather than steal market share, movies based on comic book characters appear to be stoking further interest.

With the release of the Ant-Man movie on July 17, Hollywood continues to cash in on the comic book character craze.  In the first five days after his debut in theaters, Ant-man’s opening weekend at the box office pulled in just over $57 million. The world wide gross was more than $125 million—so far. Not bad for a film with a $185 million budget. Next up: a movie revival of Super Girl. Oh, and Nic Cage? He loves comic book characters so much that he named one of his sons Kal-El, a reference to Superman’s birth name. Whether you prefer superheroes or sci-fi, celebrate with your favorite comic book character on September 25. Check out the Iconic Orange marketing love story of our very own comic characters.