When you think about it, most superheroes are actually quite strange. If you’d never heard of Spiderman before, and I told you I had an idea for a superhero who climbs on buildings, and shoots “webs” all over people, you might think, “Wow, pervert. I’m not giving you any of my money.” We’re so used to Spiderman that we don’t really question him.
Today we’re looking at some of the more obscure superheroes that have been creative over the years. Some of them are based on animals that nobody would consider badass. Others have powers that so specific they become useless. Some of them just make no damn sense. But all of them are wonderfully weird and deserve their moment in the sun.
1. The Dog Welder
If you’re a writer, and you’re coming up with a hero for your story, a good thing to do is give them that will make people root for them. On the other hand, you could be like the guy who created The Dog Welder and go, “Nah, I’ll have my guy weld dead dogs to bad guys’ faces.”
I mean, sure, if you’re a criminal, having a dead dog welded to your face would probably make you think twice about committing more crimes, but there’s gotta be an easier way, right? Or at least a way that doesn’t involve killing lots and lots of dogs.
2. Matter Eater Lad
Matter Eater Lad is an alien from the planet Bismoll, where native inhabitants had to develop the ability to eat inedible objects because their food supply became poisonous. On Earth, this gives him the super ability to eat any object imaginable.
Which sounds handy! Imagine you and your super hero team are imprisoned in a metal cage. Sure, Superman could instantly blast the bars with his heat vision, but Matter Eater Lad can take many hours to chomp through them, all while you make awkward eye contact with him as he chews.
Also, I REALLY hope his home planet “Bismoll” is a play on “Pepto-Bismol,” because he’d probably need a lot of it.
3. Arm Fall Off Boy
Yep, his name is exactly what it sounds like. He can pop off his limbs and use them as blunt objects. Which would be cool, if the world weren’t already littered with blunt objects you can hit people with.
DC’s Legionnaire’s Volume 4 #12 gives Arm Fall Off Boy’s origin story, when Matter Eater Lad tells the other superheroes that AFOB got his powers when he was too careless while holding anti-gravity metal. That’s some superhero shade, which is ironic, because Matter Eater Lad should not be throwing shade on anyone.
To me, his real superpower is distracting the bad guys with his gross arm socket so the real superheroes can beat them up.
4. Brother Power The Geek
Buckle up for this one.
Brother Power The Geek started his superhero career as a mannequin in an abandoned tailor’s shop. A couple hippies had angered some pro-war goons (this comic book was written in the 60’s, if you couldn’t tell) and broke into the shop to hide. One of the hippies’ “cool threads” had gotten bloodied in a fight, so he put his clothes on the mannequin and everyone forgot about it. A few months later, the mannequin was struck by lightning, and Brother Power The Geek was born. He ended up with lots of super powers including super speed, strength, and intelligence.
5. The Dazzler
Did you know there’s a disco-themed superhero? There is!
The Dazzler’s secret identity is Alison Blaire, a disco singer/roller skater whose main super power is turning sound waves into energy beams. She’s also great at singing and dancing to disco music, naturally. Despite being so closely identified with a 70’s musical genre, she’s stuck around, evolving with the times to embody newer styles like rock.
6. Tar Baby
I feel bad for Marvel’s Tar Baby. Besides having an offensive name, he’s homeless and has a useless-sounding super power: the ability to secrete a tar-like substance that lets him stick to anything. Like, how does that even work? “Guys, you distract Magneto so I can sneak up and trap him in a hug! He’ll be so annoyed!”
7. Super Dupont
Super Dupont might seem like an anti-France caricature created some time in 2002, but he’s actually a satirical character created in 1972 by a French artist to ridicule French customs. Think of him like a parody of Superman, but French. His powers include flight, boxe française (aka “French boxing”), and super snobbery.
8. Super Dupont
Marvel’s Multiple Man, aka Jamie Madrox, has one superpower: the ability to create duplicates of himself. Which, sure? I guess you could win some battles if you can make a whole army of yourself?
His story is where it gets really fun. His power was discovered the moment he was born, when the doctor slapped him and a duplicate baby was created. (I’m sure the hospital tried to charge his parents for this.) His father had been working at the Los Alamos nuclear test sight, which miiiiight have something to do with little Jamie’s condition. Jamie’s parents took him to see Dr. Xavier, who gave Jamie a suit that neutralized his powers. Then his parents died, without explaining his condition to him.
I have one question: did he only get the one suit? Because that would get pretty stinky.
9. The Jack Of Hearts
The weird thing about the Jack of Hearts is that he isn’t a playing card-themed superhero. He’s just a guy who got doused with a mysterious element that gave him the ability to manipulate energy. Why the name? Maybe he’s a compulsive gambler.
10. Dead Girl
You might look at Marvel’s Dead Girl and think, “Wait, isn’t that just a zombie? How does that make her a superhero?” But it turns out zombies are quite useful in the fight against supervillains!
As a dead body who somehow came back to semi-life, Dead Girl can’t really be killed. That means the other superheroes use her to absorb all sorts of deadly things that would kill them but have no effect on her.
She also has the ability to communicate with corpses and learn things from them. Like, “Auto-erotic asphyxiation is really dangerous.”