We all know the iconic images of the caped crusader, the man of steel and the boy wonder.
But for ever great character developed in the comic book world there were a few that didn't live up to their star billing. Here are a few of my favourite totally lame but real, actual comic book superheroes.
5. The Red Bee
When it comes to being a superhero it's handy if you have been given some superhuman powers such as the ablility to fly, incredible strength, speed, or amazing agility. Unfortunately for a select few this isn't always possible, sometimes there just aren't enough radioactive spiders or gamma rays available, and it's a case of a normal human taking personal responsibility, turning vigilante and fighting the wave of crime.
It is possible to carry this off with style and panache, just look at Bruce Wayne as Batman. Although it did help that those Wayne billions were left by his parents to help him in the funding department for all those fancy toys. However if you don't have a trust fund then where do you start?
Well whatever you do don't follow what The Red Bee did. Firstly, he got dressed in his aunties chemise blouse complete with fluffy, puffy sleeves and then he put on a skin-tight pair of striped leggings.
Now I know you're thinking that he may get away with this but, as a normal human with no special powers, he needed a gimic, a catch, something that will strike fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere. His answer? A trained bumble bee that lived in his utility belt. I'm not joking. A trained Bee called Michael.
The Red Bee a.k.a. Rick Raleigh, assistant district attorney in Superior City, went on to star in 24 comics in the Hit Comics series in the 1940's before eventually retiring, presumably to tend to his trained bees and leave crime fighting to other superheroes.
4. Arm Fall Off Boy
It sounds like a sketch from Saturday Night Live but there was actually a character called Arm Fall Off Boy and his superhero power was, yes, that he could detach his arm and club people over the head with it. The irony of this character is that many comic book readers gnawed off their own limbs and started beating themselves rather that read this nonsense.
Fortunately for comic book fans everywhere, he only make one appearance ever in Secret Origins #46 in 1989 when he attempted and failed to enter the Legion of Superheroes. One can only imagine how he felt, but when it came down to the try-outs, well this superhero just fell apart.
3. The Legion of Super Pets
They are lame superhero and then there are 'The Legion of Super Pets'. In the late 1950's D.C. comics must have been low on ideas as they decided the best they could come up with were a bunch of animals that had the same powers as Superman, they even wore red capes.
The list of characters included Krypto the Superdog and Beppo the supermonkey. Both were sent to earth by Superman's father Jor-El. Jor-el fired the canine and simian to Earth in a test rockets before he sent Superman to make sure his offspring would survive the journey. Of course it was an exact replica of the experiments carried out by the US and Russia during the space race, so there was some small, with an emphasis on small, credibility in this back story.
Next up we had Streaky the Supercat. Streaky wasn’t sent from Krypton in a test rocket but gained his superpowers through being exposed to X-Kryptonite, yeah I have no idea either.
Finally we have the horse or to give his proper name Comet the Superhorse. Now try to follow me here because this gets tricky, Comet was an alien horse that was really a centaur. Now Comet had a curse put on him by a scorned alien goddess that turned Comet into human form once a year. During his annual day of being human he would pursue Supergirl and try to romance her.
Yes it was nuts.
2. Squirrel Girl
In the Winter of 1991 Marvel Comics introduced a new superhero called Squirrel girl, real name Doreen Green.
Her ability, not unsurprisingly, was the power to control squirrels. Now you would imagine that this lame power would make her want to shun the crime fighting world and get a proper job but alas no, Miss Green decides that a squirrel army was just what the forces of good needed.
As stupid a power as this is, she did manage to beat surprisingly more powerful opponents and major super villains. In her first appearance she encounters Iron man in the forest and asks him if she can join him as a crime fighting team. After she is refused for being too young at only 14, I think Iron man was being polite here and using age as an excuse, Iron man is captured by Doctor Doom in a large aircraft.
Seeing this, Squirrel girl springs into action and uses her squirrel power to call her rodent friends and saves the day by defeating Doctor Doom. At one points Doom cries out,
""Confound these wretched rodents! For every one I fling away, a dozen more vex me!"
What vexed the comic book community was the longevity of Squirrel girl. She went on to be a member of the Great Lakes Avengers, and then later was hired for her child caring skills as a nanny for the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones of the New Avengers, Danielle.
As Zoologists worldwide condemned the decline of the urban squirrel, apparently due to decreasing habitat and food supplies, little did they know the real cause. It was probably down to Squirrel girl sending wave after wave of those defenseless creatures at her enemies as cannon fodder in her fight against evil. Shame on you Squirrel Girl, you should stick to your babysitting!
Sometimes a superhero is so camp, so terribly bad that you actually get embarrassed for the character. Sadly this is the case with Billy Moon a.k.a. Skateman.
Moon was a martial arts expert and former veteran in Vietnam who returned to the United States and began his career in roller derby. It's a natural progression that many veterans took.
Unfortunately for Moon Vietnam was not the last experience he had with tragic death as his best friend is killed by a street gang. After these traumatic events Moon is left a shattered man and sinks into despair. However in his depression he meets up with a mexican kid and is enthralled by his comic book collection. Taking inspiration from the characters in the comics Moon decides that he too will become a superhero and fight crime so that his friend did not die in vain. It was unclear at this point if Moon decided to finally come out the closet because he choose a mask, cape and skates as his costume.
Sadly for Moon his first appearance was also his last and his crime fighting days finished where they started, in Skateman issue one.
So that's my 5 worst superheroes of all time. If you enjoyed this article you can check out my list of worst Supervillains: