6 Least Inspiring Superhero Origin Stories
Some people become a superhero after getting bitten by a radioactive spider or falling down a well of bats before inheriting a multinational business concern. And some people may decide to become a superhero after getting bitten by a random duck or falling down a flight of stairs and making a career choice while suffering a concussion. The point is not every superhero has an inspiring origin story as the following tales prove…
Origin Story: Bitten by a cobra while traveling through Africa, Robert Frank is saved by his father thanks to a blood transfusion from a mongoose, much like if you were bitten by a baby seal you would need the blood of a killer whale to survive. Of course, Robert develops super speed, because if there’s something we know about the mongoose it’s, uh, they’re kinda hairy and like to keep to itself.
Why It’s Not Inspiring: Let’s get past the fact that Robert should have named himself “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” instead and focus on the fact that animal and human blood are not compatible. Hell, human blood is often incompatible with other humans. That’s why there are different blood types and doctors just don’t hook patients up to the first hobo they find. In short, not only would Robert’s body not have been able to take the blood, it could have led to massive infection and/or death, with the main character’s last act looking at his dad and realizing he should have gotten a second opinion.
Origin Story: Tasked with delivering a secret formula, Chuck Taine decides “What the hell” and drinks it. This somehow results in a comic that doesn’t end with Chuck vomiting blood before becoming blind, hairless, and dead but rather acquiring the ability to inflate and bounce.
Why It’s Not Inspiring: Few superhero origin stories try to impart the message “Never say no to a mysterious substance.” That’s why there has yet to be the exciting exploits of “Meth Head” with readers picking up each issue to see if the title character’s nose has collapsed yet. But then again, since the only power Chuck gets is transforming into a human Spalding, perhaps this is a cautionary take after all.
Origin Story: Another billionaire decides to fight crime, this time by making special arrows and purchasing a Robin Hood costume form Party City, all the while proving that in the DC Comics universe giant corporations can run for weeks without the CEO even bothering to make a single Skype call.
Why It’s Not Inspiring: Until they decided to make him flat broke and fight for the underclass, Green Arrow was thought of as “Batman but without the years of training it took Bruce Wayne to become Batman and with a bright blonde goatee and unchanged last name that could not give his away actual identity faster if he wore a nametag that read ‘Hello, My Name Is Oliver Green!’” The result was a superhero so lifeless that when like Batman he got a teenage sidekick named “Speedy” at least readers could laugh at the hero instead of simply shake their heads in disgust.
Origin Story: Having obviously overdrawn on his spank bank, a comic artist created an alternate version of Supergirl that prominently revealed his “massive breasts” fetish, much to the chagrin of his therapist.
Why It’s Not Inspiring: Few truly classic superhero stories are born from having your character throw out her own back by simply standing up straight.
Origin Story: A wizard gives ten-year-old Billy Batson the power to suddenly turn into a grown man by shouting “Shazam!,” no doubt creating such a surge of hormones that it’s amazing the entire comic book’s run wasn’t simply Captain Marvel flying around the globe desperately looking for Power Girl.
Why It’s Not Inspiring: When Fawcett Comics decided to make their hero’s alter-ego a fifth grader it was because they hoped to attract kids who wanted to skip right past childhood into adulthood so they could start kicking ass and paying taxes, resulting in a literal man-child running around unsupervised in red tights. But the real problem was the comic book itself, which was Fawcett’s answer to DC Comics’ Superman. And by “answer” I mean they simply placed a sheet of vellum over an issue of “Action Comics” and traced Superman’s figure. DC Comics eventually took notice and sued Captain Marvel right out of existence for several decades.
Origin Story: Gains superhuman strength and the ability to fly thanks to radiation exposure from being swallowed by a space whale, thereby missing the chance to grow a cool sword right in the middle of his head from being swallowed by a space narwhal.
Why It’s Not Inspiring: When your pitch is “Superboy meets Jonah and the Whale meets I’ve Started Huffing,” the fact that your comic book editor doesn’t just shut down the presses and say, “Torch the offices for the insurance money” is about as inspiring as you can get.
Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!