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Notebook Liberation

I carry with me a notebook in which I scrawl ideas for future mental_floss entries, always in the form of a question ("What's the true ethnicity of Swedish Fish?" or "Whose mouth is cleaner: mine or my dog's?") I also use said notebook to practice signing my name. And for grocery lists.

There are some topics that seem destined to stay confined to my notes. In certain cases, an idea just isn't very good. Other potential posts, however, hit roadblocks in research.

I have a lot of faith in and respect for the mental_floss community. So rather than keep prospective entries trapped in purgatory, I'll toss them out here and beg for help. Let's try this.

"Did that Soul Asylum video actually help find any runaways?"

I was in 8th grade when "Runaway Train" was everywhere. At one point, MTV was playing it an average of 30 times a day. Here's what I've learned, courtesy of Carl Kozlowski:

"[The 'Runaway Train'] video had the biggest impact. Rather than focusing on the band performing the song, it was filled with stark, milk carton-style images of actual runaways above their names and the dates in which they were reported missing. The results seemed positive, as the band received an invitation to meet President Clinton at the White House after several of the video's youths were reunited with their families. But Murphy recalls even the best of intentions can go awry.

"Some weren't the best scenarios. I met a fireman on the East Coast whose daughter was in the end of the video, and he'd been in a bitter custody battle with his wife over her," Murphy said. "It turned out the girl hadn't run away, but was killed and buried in her backyard by her mother. Then on tour, another girl told us laughingly, 'You ruined my life,' because she saw herself on the video at her boyfriend's house and it led to her being forced back into a bad home situation."

According to Wikipedia "“ but without citation "“ "Several of the people shown in the Australian version of 'Runaway Train' were murdered by serial killer Ivan Milat. Maybe one of your friends was featured in the video. Or you were. What do you know?

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The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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