Top 5 WTF Comic Book Character Origins (Mania.com)
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Many comic book character origins truly cross the line of what is considered normal, even in the world of superheroes. In an attempt to create something completely new and appealing, writers often invent characters that are so off-the-wall, they require only two or three issues before they are promptly killed off, jettisoned into space, or fall off a cliff in some remote locale, never to be heard from again. Many are mysteriously brought back to life to serve as eye candy for readers of more prominent superheroes, but never really leave the realm of stupid. What often seals the fate of many of these unfortunate characters are origins that simply boggle the mind. For your enjoyment, below are five of the most WTF comic book character origins.
5. B'wana Beast (DC Comics)
B'wana Beast begins his journey as Mike Maxwell, helicopter-crash-victim-game-warden guy. Maxwell ends up trapped in a cave in the mountains of Africa, where he drinks some special water from a rock that makes him all big and strong. Just being big and strong would have made him too much like Tarzan, so why not throw in a gorilla named Djuba that gives him a helmet he has lying around, conveying upon Maxwell the power to not only read and control the minds of animals (not a great move on Djuba's part, and seriously Djuba, why not use the helmet yourself, stupid gorilla?), but also to fuse any two animals together into some giant, fighting animal-fused thing. The possibilities are endless, right? We could go snake-hippo, bird-piranha, elephant-dung beetle... you get the picture. In some of his later incarnations, B'wana Beast would become somewhat of a ladies' man and a complete smartass. Oh, he also seems to squat a lot, possibly some come-hither trick he learned in the jungle. B'wana Beast gets high marks, not only for having a completely stupid origin, but also for resembling the long-lost member of The Village People.
4. Brother Power the Geek (DC Comics)
Brother Power begins his life as a mannequin, until a rowdy bunch of long hairs come along and dress him in their crazy threads after a righteous hippie battle with some biker guys. Lightning strikes the mannequin and Brother Power the Geek comes to life. At times Brother Power looks like some scrawny guy freaking out on PCP, and at others like a really wasted Marcel Marceau. Indeed, it seems odd Brother Power would be a candidate for super strength (which he possesses) or a particular super skill of any kind, but he does know how to kick some ass, making him an instant hit with his stoner, hippie friends, except... he doesn't get high, listen to cool Hendrixesque music, or fight the establishment. He does, however, manage to get his new-found compadres honest work and make a run for public office, thus wiping out any chance for a successful comic-hippie career, and earning a reputation for totally giving in to The Man.
3. Bee-Man (Harvey Comics)
Barry E. Eames, neglected grunt for the space program, redirects a Mars probe to land in the desert so as to reap its scientific rewards, and show everyone who's boss. He finds the probe, which resembles a big rock, and is suddenly attacked and stung by wild, giant Mars bees. He proceeds to wander around the desert pissing and moaning about said bee stings, until coming to his senses and making a "beeline" for the nearest hospital. Eames now has a super-fast heart beat, as well as other strange physiological issues that would most likely come up when attacked by bees from another planet. Now Barry's really mad at these bees, so he hops into the meteorite-looking-probe thing and travels to some planet in the general vicinity of Mars. He is greeted by (come on, this is easy) bee creatures that decide to imprison him, because they are planning to attack earth, and they'd rather not advertise. Because the bee creatures hate Barry so much, they present him with a silly bee-like costume. He escapes back to Earth, and gets preachy with everyone about how bugs and insects are going to rule the world. Eames is technically a villain at this point, but government scientists manage to bring him back to his still crazy, but slightly less psychotic self to help save mankind with his silly bee powers. Got it? Great.
2. Bouncing Boy (DC Comics)
Chuck Taine is a fat, lazy fellow who is given a bottle of super-plastic fluid by his scientist mentor, who looks oddly like the futuristic version of Gilliam's Baron Munchausen (he mentions to Chuck that he doesn't have time to cork up the fluid, so be careful! Nice move.). He's instructed to courier the super-plastic fluid to the science council, but gets sidetracked and wanders off to watch the Robot Gladiator Fair. While enjoying the festivities, Chuck mixes up the bottle of “special” liquid with a soda he's drinking. Chuck even seems to notice what he's drinking is not soda, but thinking to himself, “No wonder! It isn't soda. I'm drinking the super-plastic fluid by mistake!!” “Gosh, I feel peculiar,” he thinks. Chuck, you are peculiar... and stupid. The result—Chuck gets really, really fat and turns into Bouncing Boy. Bouncing Boy's powers include the obvious: having the ability to inflate himself and imperviousness to electrical shock (not so obviously). Bouncing Boy has been referred to as “quick-thinking,” which seems like a stretch, when one considers his WTF origin.
1. The Whizzer (Marvel Comics)
While tooling around the wilds of Africa with his father, young Robert Frank is bitten by a cobra. To save his son from certain death, dad gives Robert a transfusion of mongoose blood, because, well, everyone knows nothing cures a cobra bite like a transfusion of mongoose blood! Not only does this innovative medical procedure save his life, but Frank is endowed with the power of super speed and the ability to run around in circles really fast. Unfortunately, The Whizzer was known to favor the bottle, and also suffered from depression, both likely caused from years of wearing canary yellow (with a splash of blue, to make the ensemble pop!), running in circles really fast, and having a mutant son named Nuklo, the unfortunate offspring of The Whizzer and Miss America. The Whizzer suffered at least three heart attacks, with the third apparently ending his life, but certainly not his legacy in the WTF origin annals.