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Today in Nerd History | April 12

Buckle up, space travelers and baseball aficionados, because today we’re zooming through the galaxy and sliding into home plate with a duo of pop culture milestones that have left an indelible mark on their respective universes. On April 12, we’re celebrating the collision of science fiction and sports history with the launch of the “Star Wars” comics and the theatrical release of “42,” a film that honors an iconic hero both on and off the baseball field. Let’s dive into the “Nerdy Facts” that make the “Star Wars” comics and “42” home runs in the annals of nerd history.

1977: Star Wars Comics (Star Wars #1)

Before “A New Hope” even hit theaters, fans were given their first taste of a galaxy far, far away with “Star Wars #1,” published by Marvel Comics. This comic book series would become a cornerstone of the “Star Wars” extended universe, expanding the lore and adventures of beloved characters beyond the silver screen.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • A Galactic Preview: The first issue of the “Star Wars” comic was released in April 1977, two months before the film premiered, offering fans an early glimpse into George Lucas’s epic space saga.
  • Sales Stratosphere: “Star Wars #1” became an instant hit, selling over 1 million copies. Its success helped to buoy Marvel Comics at a time when the comic book industry was struggling.
  • Expanding the Universe: While the initial issues adapted the events of “A New Hope,” the series quickly moved beyond the films, exploring new stories and adding depth to the “Star Wars” universe, much to the delight of fans craving more space-faring adventures.
2013: 42 (Theaters)

“42” swung into theaters, telling the inspiring story of Jackie Robinson, the legendary baseball player who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier. Starring Chadwick Boseman in a career-defining role, “42” pays tribute to Robinson’s courage, talent, and determination in the face of adversity.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • A Number Retired Forever: The film’s title, “42,” refers to Jackie Robinson’s jersey number, which was retired across all Major League Baseball teams in 1997—the first time in the sport’s history that a number was retired league-wide.
  • A Role of a Lifetime: Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of Jackie Robinson was met with critical acclaim, showcasing his talent in a role that required him to embody the strength and dignity of a true American hero.
  • Legacy on and off the Field: “42” delves into the challenges Jackie Robinson faced, not only as a player but also in his personal life, highlighting his impact as a trailblazer for civil rights and equality in America.

April 12 is a day to celebrate the power of storytelling, whether it’s through the cosmic escapades of “Star Wars” or the earthbound, yet no less extraordinary, journey of Jackie Robinson in “42.” These stories inspire us to dream big, fight against injustice, and believe in the power of courage and conviction. So here’s to the rebels, the pioneers, and the heroes—in galaxies both near and far, and on fields both green and digital. Happy Nerd History Day, everyone! May the Force be with you, and may you always play ball with integrity and heart.

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Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

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