Every week, Brian Cronin explores the veracity of comic book legends on his website Comic Book Legends Revealed, so it makes sense that he known a substantial amount about comic book history.  It's no surprise that his 2012 book Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! is a collection of interesting, unusual, and often obscure tidbits from the world of comic books.

Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? is divided into six sections about comic books -- characters, writers and artists, storylines, beyond the panels, comics and culture, and movies and television -- and each section has numerous multiple-item areas.  Readers will learn about Nine Great Superhero Pets, Four Artists with Bizarrely Unique Styles, Five "WTF?" Moments in Comic Book History, Six Notably Recalled Comic Books, Seven Bands that Got Their Names from Comic Books, and Five Most Awkward Sex Scenes in Comic Book Movies.  Most of the entries have descriptions (though some are just lists, especially the surveys), many have artwork accompanying them, and some are guest-written by artists, writers, and other comic book professionals.  (My favorite: Peter David's "Top Six Characters Known for Sitting Around.")

Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? is ultimately a collection of trivia -- heck, the word "trivia" is in the subtitle -- but it's a well done collection of trivia.  While the simple lists (usually from surveys) are very basic, Cronin usually provides some explanation and/or context for the entries, giving the reader the reasons why something is included instead of sending them out to look up why something is so unusual.  This book is a pretty good visit to the world of comic book trivia.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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