The comic book periodic table of elements

University of Kentucky chemistry professors John P. Selegue and F. James Holler are collecting comic book references to chemical elements. On their Periodic Table of Comic Books site, you can click through the standard periodic table to see pages from comic books that mention specific elements. The samples seem to be weighted pretty heavily to classic, Golden and Silver Age stuff — there's a lot of 1940s Wonder Woman and miscellaneous anthology series from the 1960s.

They don't have all the elements accounted for yet. In particular, the lanthanides and actinides — aka, those two rows at the bottom where everything ends in "ium" — are lacking comic book shout-outs. Maybe you can help!

Visit the Periodic Table of Comic Books

Thanks to Jennifer Ouellette!


  1. I had an interest in chemistry before there was an internet, so for researching odd things that piqued my interest I mainly relied on my parents’ World Book encyclopedias. I’ve never forgotten that it had a relatively short entry on Yttrium, stating that the element had no known commercial uses. That was partly why, when we had to pick an element and write about it for high school chemistry class I picked Yttrium. I wanted to see how much I could write about an element that had so little said about it.

    So I’m not entirely surprised that the Yttrium reference comes from a 2001 Star Trek comic. But I also haven’t picked up a comic book since I was taking high school chemistry, so I doubt I’ll be much help.

    1. They’ve even got the Metamorpho appearance of one of my favourite elements, Tantalum, which in my opinion was its finest role.

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