Top 10 Worst What??? Comics, Dalton’s Take
So…the “what???” category is actually going to make things a little difficult, even for a comic fanatic such as myself. But, no matter, I am going to instill a little ambiguity to make this work. I was originally going to do characters that only star in their own comics. But, after thinking of a few stinkers that just really needed to be mentioned, I had to extend the list to heroes and/or villains that made appearances, however brief. Having said that, I still included mostly characters with their own comics or regular appearances, but there were a couple of charcoals amidst the diamonds that were just too bad to ignore. And, as it has been mentioned before, the list goes from least-worst to worst-worst, so there is no confusion.
10. Aquaman (Standalone comic since 1962) – The scaly-man-fish known as Aquaman is a prime example of DC’s poor character design as it pertains to transcending generations. Aquaman, by most accounts aside from hardcore DC fans, is a laughingstock of the comic book world, and with good reason. The guy is practically useless outside of water, losing his H20-enhanced strength, durability, and speed when out on land for too long. He may also find his ability to telepathically manipulate marine life quite useless when he is trying to stop a bank robber in downtown Metropolis with no fish tank-housing pet store in sight. But Aquaman doesn’t care about such fickle things as land-people, which pretty much disconnects him from any person not named Michael Phelps. I think Family Guy did it best (the rapey part aside…):
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9. Agents of Atlas (Standalone comic in tandem in 2006) – The AoA team is composed of heroes from various publications from the 1950s. And that is exactly where these heroes should have stayed. First brought together in 1978, the AoA had their own brief run in 2006, and it was an obvious sign of desperation from Marvel to come up with some decent side-characters. The team comprised of a talking gorilla, a bending unit, an alien boy living inside a fish bowl, the girl-version of Namor, a lady with the power of singing, and a Chinese Nick Fury wannabe. If that sounds interesting to you, then we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. I will say that many of the covers and the art inside were pretty good. I’ll give them that.
8. Trencher (Standalone comic in 1993) – I came across this little gem after finding a copy of a Shadowhawk comic at a flea market. Shadowhawk is essentially a knock-off of Wolverine and Batman…or Predator and Moon Knight…either way he looked like a combination of been-there/done-that. In this comic he is fighting an amalgamation of zombie garbage known as the Trencher. Trencher was written and drawn (in a very chaotic style) by Keith Giffen. While the character itself was somewhat original, it only made it to four issues. Perhaps because the Trencher is a bit too crazy. Well, he made some random appearances in other low-level hero comics before fading into obscurity and is now seen as a never-was with potential from the 90s. I actually remember enjoying the Trencher in the one comic I had in which he appeared, but obviously this walking pile of scribbles didn’t have any staying power.
7. Stilt-man (Regular appearances since 1965) – As far as supervillains go, Stilt-Man is one of the most ridiculous. A robber with metal plating and telescoping legs…is this supposed to strike fear in the hearts of superheroes everywhere? What is perhaps the most embarrassing thing about Stilt-Man, is not merely the creation of such a stupid concept, but that he has endured for decades (since 1965) as a regular foe of Daredevil and other superheroes, including Iron Man and Thor. Now, I can understand Daredevil having a slightly difficult time with Stilt-Man just because of the height advantage and metal plating. But what is this guy going to do, even in a comic book universe, that makes any sense for him to be a challenge for Thor or Iron Man? I mean, even Daredevil shouldn’t consider him any more than pesky. I am disappointed that Marvel even created this character, but sometimes I am embarrassed to call myself a Marvel fan knowing that somebody continues to sign off on this guy’s appearances.
6. The Whizzer (Standalone comic since early 1940s) – When it comes to the Marvel vs. DC war, my argument is always this: DC did it first, but Marvel did it better. This is the case with most of the original characters on both sides. That is my opinion, but I think it holds up well. Except in the case of the Whizzer, Marvel’s answer to the Flash. They attempted to make him a standalone hero like the Flash. Perhaps that was the point, to insult the concept of making a superhero out of somebody who “runs fast”, and he was merely a satire of sorts. And while that may be true, his origin of being bitten by a snake and then injected with mongoose blood is just beyond words…I have to go take a piss.
5. The Heap (Standalone comic in the 1950s) – One of many failed attempts at the Swamp Thing concept, the Heap was a WWI German pilot who melded with the swamp environment around him after he crashed in Poland. He eventually emerged to fight the Nazis in WWII. He then wandered aimlessly across the globe, fighting random people. Until Image picked him up and turned him into a walking pile of garbage that would fight Spawn between bouts with the Violator. You know, the Violator…an actual villain.
4. Codpiece (Minor appearances in 1993) – I thought for sure South Park would have had this guy on their show by now. This supervillain brings a whole-new meaning to the terms “inferiority complex” and “overcompensating”. Apparently having had enough with the constant humiliations directed at his manhood, this villain built a suit with a cannon in the crotch. Yes, I’m sure this was not in any way serious even in the comic, but there is a limit to the number of crotch jokes that are acceptable, even in comics. Codpiece crossed the line in the conceptual stage.
3. Arm Fall Off Boy (Minor appearances in 1989) – DC Comics has never been the hotspot for awesome character design, according to this humble writer. But this guy here takes the cake for worst character creation in DC’s history. So, a superhero that has detachable arms that he uses as clubs. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Well, somebody took that as a challenge and decided to name him Arm Fall Off Boy. Yes…this is a superhero…that was written into a couple of comics…that was drawn by an artist…Even as a joke, this character is at about a 5-year old’s comprehension level. If anybody made a cent on this character’s creation, I should be embarrassed I don’t have a job in comics.
2. Howard the Duck (Standalone comic since 1976) – Howard will forever be the king of sucky characters that should have never been made. The fact that this Donald Duck rip-off was even realized is a crime against comic book heroes everywhere. The comedic relief was nothing short of annoying frame to frame and it is a nostalgic moment of anger any time he is seen in the background of a panning shot of Marvel characters. The fact that he received a movie before Iron Man, Thor, and countless other heroes deemed far more worthy is just inexcusable. The only thing worse than Howard the Duck is…
1. Destroyer Duck (Standalone comic in 1982) – So what is worse than Howard the Duck ripping off Donald Duck? How about Destroyer Duck ripping off the worst Marvel character ever, Howard the Duck? It’s an embarrassing mark on comic history that this comic exists. Destroyer Duck was created to fuel the lawsuit creator Steve Gerber had against Marvel over the rights of none other than Howard the Duck. There are two major problems with this. Firstly, who fights for rights over Howard the Duck? Secondly, who fights to retain the rights to Howard the Duck? The fact this lawsuit even happened is a disgrace to Marvel. They should’ve just let the duck go. For duck’s sake…I had to say it…
Overlap: No overlap this week, as Kyle took it the indie-angle and I was more mainstream with my selections. The closest we got was his Marvel Zombies reference, and frankly that wasn’t that close. I love the Watchmen, but I respect his perspective on it and can understand where he is coming from. Everything else on his list gave me hope I could get a comic published someday.