A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Thursday, October 20, 2005


In a change of pace, what follows is not a criticism of the comic publishers. Rather, it's something they pretty much always get right, but the fans frequently get wrong.

So here's my top 5 list of comic terms that fans can't seem to help but misspell:

5. Cerebus
- This was apparently originally a misspelling on Dave Sim's part, but it stuck. So it's not 'Cerberus' like the mythological dog, and it's not 'Cerebrus' either.

4. Blue Beetle
- He's named after a bug. Thus, the proper spelling is Beetle, not Beatle. The former is a particular type of insect; the latter is a particular type of British musician.

3. Bizarro
- The adjective is 'bizarre,' so you don't need to add extra Z's and make it 'Bizzaro' or 'Bizzarro.'

2. Villain
- Not Villian, and not Villan. I can always remember this courtesy of a character from an Ambush Bug comic. His name was 'Villian the Villain,' and he chose his moniker specifically to remind people how to properly spell the word.

1. Brainiac
- It's not 'Braniac.' He's a smart villain, not a fiber-conscious one. Everyone knows how to spell 'brain' correctly, so this shouldn't be a problem. And yet this word seems to get misspelled more often in fandom than any other.

Even more official usages can't remember the 'i.' The Superman ride at Six Flags Over Georgia has display boards along its walkway that profile various Superman characters. The one for Brainiac uses this misspelling every single time in the green guy's bio. There's also a British show that G4 airs called "Brainiac." And sometimes during episodes, they'll run a banner on the screen that utilizes this same misspelling.