And With This List I Stake My Claim as the Biggest Comic Nerd in the Land

52 U.S. States and Territories, 13 Canadian Provinces and Territories, and 30 Countries* Cited as Places of Birth** in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition***

U.S. States and Territories
1. Alabama (2)

2. Alaska (1)

3. Arizona (4)

4. Arkansas (1)
The Handbook doesn’t include anyone with Arkansas listed as their place of birth, but that’s just not right. Everyone knows that Marvel’s greatest costumed mutant space trucker, Razorback, was born and bred in Texarkana. And somehow the guy with a pig’s-head helmet and CB lingo doesn’t make the Handbook cut! For shame, editors. For. Shame.

5. California (27)

6. Colorado (9)
This is a tough one, as seven as those listed as born in Colorado are members of Salem’s Seven, magical super-villains that tussled with the Fantastic Four a couple of times. Their birthplace is New Salem, a town full of magicians that used magic to hide themselves from normal humans, so it’s fair to say they don’t show up in Colorado’s voter records. Eh, I say include them here anyway.  

7. Connecticut (3)

8. Delaware (1)
You’re just dying to know which superhuman menace arose out of Delaware, aren’t you? Besides Joe Biden, that is.

9. Florida (5)

10. Georgia (1)

11. Hawaii (2)

12. Idaho (1)

13. Illinois (9)

14. Indiana (3)

15. Iowa (1)
Fun fact #1: The Avenger known as Hawkeye hails from Waverly, Iowa. Fun fact #2: Iowa is known as the “Hawkeye State.” You can rest assured the state nickname came before the comic character.

16. Kansas (0)
That’s what you get for being all pissy about evolution, Kansas.

17. Kentucky (1)

18. Louisiana (1)

19. Maine (2)
Maine only gets two mentions, but that’s okay, and do you know why? MODOK!!! That’s right, people — everyone’s favorite Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing was born in Bangor!

20. Maryland (2)

21. Massachusetts (9)

22. Michigan (2)

23. Minnesota (0)
Can’t imagine why Minnesota doesn’t represent here. Who wouldn’t want to wear tights and leap across Minneapolis rooftops in the dead of winter?  

24. Mississippi (1)

25. Missouri (4)
Famous sons of Missouri include the Whizzer, the Golden Age super-speedster who got his powers from a mongoose blood transfusion and decided a light-yellow costume was perfectly fine for a hero named “the Whizzer.” No, I can’t really see the state putting up a “Proud home of…” sign in his honor, either.

26. Montana (2)

27. Nebraska (1)

28. Nevada (5)

29. New Hampshire (0)
No love for the “Live Free or Die” state, people?

30. New Jersey (10)

31. New Mexico (7)

32. New York (70)
No surprise, New York is by far the nation’s largest supplier of superpowered beings, with Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island all making decent showings in the ranks (sorry, Buffalo and Rochester). Kind of explains why insurance rates are so high in Manhattan, doesn’t it?  

33. North Carolina (0)

34. North Dakota (1)

35. Ohio (5)

36. Oklahoma (3)

37. Oregon (0)
It seems unfair that Vermont and Oregon, the two hippie-dippiest states in the union, don’t get at least one Marvel character between them. To add insult to injury, during the whole Avengers Initiative storyline, Oregon got four former super-villain losers to act as their superhero team while Vermont gets winners like Man-Eater, a human/tiger hybrid who thought “Man-Eater” was the kind of moniker that would totally engender respect and trust from the non-superhero populace.

38. Pennsylvania (10)

39. Rhode Island (0)

40. South Carolina (1)

41. South Dakota (1)

42. Tennessee (1)

43. Texas (7)
Everything’s bigger in Texas… except the number of folks willing to put on costumes and fight varmints. Shocker: Both “Shooting Star” and “the Texas Twister” hail from Texas and ran with a team called the Rangers. Marvel Comics: Proudly Maintaining State Stereotypes Since 1961.  

44. Utah (0)

45. Vermont (0)

46. Virginia (9)

47. Washington (0)

48. West Virginia (0)

49. Wisconsin (7)
Not really sure why Wisconsin has such a disproportionate bevy of costumed characters while nearby states like Minnesota and Michigan rank so poorly. You don’t suppose it has anything to do with Handbook editor — and Marvel trivia nerd supreme — Mark Gruenwald being born in Oshkosh, do you? No, it couldn’t be that.

50. Wyoming (1)

51. Washington, D.C. (2)

52. Puerto Rico (1)

Canadian Provinces and Territories
1. Alberta (6)
Interestingly, Alberta comes out the winner in the Canadian version of “Let’s Give Birth to Some Superpowered People,” and this number represents a time before it was established that Wolverine was born in the late 1800s in the territory that would become Alberta in 1905. I’m not sure how the province ended up producing the lion’s share of Canada’s superhumans, but let’s not give “Canada’s Texas” any more reasons to gloat and tell them, okay?

2. British Columbia (1)

3. Manitoba (1)

4. New Brunswick (0)

5. Newfoundland (1)
Technically, Alpha Flight’s Marrina was not born on the island; as a member of an alien species who was sent to Earth as part of an invasion plan, her “egg” landed in the waters near Newfoundland and she was found by a local fisherman, whose family took her in despite her inhuman appearance. So it’s more correct to say she was hatched, not born… but hey, my people will take whatever we can get. 

6. Northwest Territories (2)

7. Nova Scotia (0)

8. Nunavut (0)

9. Ontario (2)

10. Prince Edward Island (0)

11. Quebec (2)

12. Saskatchewan (2)

13. Yukon Territory (0)

 

Other Countries

1. Australia (3)
I’m guessing our friends Down Under don’t advertise the fact the Kangaroo hails from their part of the world… even though it’s kind of a no-brainer where he’s from. I wonder how many Australians, inspired by his example, went to live with the kangaroos in order to learn the secrets of superhuman leaping…

2. Austria (2)

3. Brazil (2)

4. China (6)
Really? Just six? I guess back in those days the Soviet Union was seen as a more immediate threat to the American Way, or at least a more believable source of super-soldiers for the Avengers to rumble with.

5. Czechoslovakia (1)

6. Egypt (3)

7. England (19)

8. France (3)

9. Germany (1)

10. Greece (5)

11. Haiti (1)
Three guesses what kind of super powers the one character with a Haitian birthplace was given…

12. Hungary (2)

13. India (1)

14. Ireland (3)

15. Israel (2)

16. Italy (7)

17. Japan (1)
Now, this is totally bogus. We’re supposed to believe the land that birthed Godzilla, Mothra and who knows how many other mutated monsters can only lay claim to one indigenous superhero in the Marvel universe? I smell a recount.

18. Mexico (1)

19. Morocco (1)

20. Netherlands (2)

21. Romania (4)
Includes those listed with a Transylvanian place of birth. Yeah, him, too.

22. Saudi Arabia (1)

23. Scotland (1)

24. Spain (4)

25. Sweden (1)

26. Switzerland (2)

27. United Soviet Socialist Republic (14)
This is entirely unsurprising, given the Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the USSR that made it so easy for American comic writers to come up with easy-to-jeer-at villains. Personal fave: Ursa Major, the guy whose sole super-power was turning into a big bear. Not a super-powered bear, just a bear.

28. Vietnam (2)

29. Yugoslavia (3)

30. Zaire (1)
Yep, just one. And it’s Shanna the She-Devil, the redheaded white gal who thought it would be nifty keen to run through the jungle in a leopard-print bikini and save animals from poachers. Sigh.  

* Only countries that exist in the real world — or used to exist, in the USSR’s case — are included in this list, so no mentions of Atlantis, Latveria, the Savage Land, etc. In addition, those characters who were born off-planet — your Silver Surfers, your Galactuses, your zillion members of alien species, etc. — were also left out of the count.

** Just to clarify, “places of birth” can also include places of creation for androids and other manufactured beings.

***Why OHTMU? Because even I am not a big enough comic nerd to browse all of Wikipedia or Marvel.com just to confirm the birthplaces of hundreds, if not thousands, of fictional characters. And the Handbook, being the first major attempt to catalogue Marvel’s characters and determine their vital stats, seemed like a good place to do a quick survey of this type.

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