by Bill Alvarez
Since comic book super heroes emerged in the 1930s, hundreds of them have been created. Many of them, however, haven't been worth the cheap paper they've been printed on. Crappy powers, bad characterization, stupid costumes: these and other things have made certain heroes laughingstocks rather than objects of inspiration. Here's seven of the heroes I've found to be the worst, in no particular order.
1st Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (1941)
Of course the first entry on this list is freaking Aquaman, a superhero so full of suckness that it's hard to find someone who won't make fun of him. While Aquaman wasn't the first water-borne hero (that "honor" goes to Namor The Submariner), he is by far the best-known one. His longevity and name recognition have long baffled me, as his crappiness is so apparent. Everything about him sucks: his crappy powers (such as talking to fish, generic super strength...and uh...well...umm...), his stupid orange shirt, his cardboard-box personality and his uninspiring, nobody villains. Of all the superheroes that have faded into obscurity since 1941, could Aquaman seriously not have been one of them? WHY?
2. Doctor Druid
1st Appearance: Amazing Adventures #1 (1961)
Doctor Druid was first known as Doctor Droom (I know...Droom? Whatever).He has the distinction of being Marvel Comics' first "Silver Age"(meaning, 1960s) super-hero, predating the first appearance of the Fantastic Four by several months. He also happened to suck major ass. At first he was a sort of monster hunter, then disappeared until the mid-70s, which is when he was renamed. He was then given mystical/mental powers and was eventually made a member of the Avengers, where he filled the role of the team's resident old, balding fat-ass. Despite all his powers, Doctor Druid lacked one major ability: the power to make comic-book readers give a crap about him.
1st Appearance: Sensation Comics #1 (1942)
Wildcat is boxer Ted Grant. When his mentor got killed by some crooks using a poisoned boxing glove, he decided to wear a cat costume and fight crime. He didn't have a any powers. But, you know, he was pretty strong. I mean, Batman didn't have any powers, right? Yep. Strong guy in a cat suit. Sort of like a male Catwoman. Except much less interesting. Certainly not as hot. I wonder if he poops in a sandbox.
1st Appearance: Jigsaw #1 (1966)
I actually used to own a copy of Jigsaw #1, which was published by Harvey Comics, a company better known for Richie Rich and Casper. I wish I still had that comic, if only so I could again bask in its title character's unabashed crappiness. Jigsaw was an astronaut, Gary Jason, whose ship got all f'd up. Some aliens rescued him and repaired his badly injured body. Apparently, the alien's idea of "repair" involved making him look like a human jigsaw puzzle (or more like a human puddle of vomit). Old Gary could now stretch and had super-strength. So he was basically a poor man's version of Plastic-Man. PLASTIC-MAN. Think about that for a bit. Jigsaw's comic lasted for a whopping two issues. Two issues too long.
5. Squirrel Girl
1st Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes Vol. 2, #8 (1992)
As a teenager, I remember reading Squirrel Girl's first appearance, in which she defeated no other than Doctor Doom, and thinking of three letters: W, T and F. Squirrel Girl's main power is to talk to squirrels and get them to do things (she also has squirrel-like abilities). Despite her extremely underwhelming powers, she's defeated not just the mighty Doom, but also Thanos, Deadpool and The Mandarin. Maybe this was Marvel Comics' idea of a cute joke or something. Well, Marvel Comics, may I kindly invite you to go to hell? Thanks.
6. NFL Superpro
1st Appearance: NFL Superpro Special Edition #1 (1991)
Oh, sweet Jesus. Okay, let's see if I can get through this one without blowing my brains out. NFL Superpro is Phil Grayfield, a former NFL player who survives some weird accident involving chemicals (well, it was either that or radiation) and becomes some sort of super-powered football player. He had his own comic book series for a few months, but the stories were so horrifically bad --and the character so poorly conceived-- that it didn't last long. The writer who came up with this monstrosity ended up admitting that he only worked on NFL Superpro so that he could get free NFL game tickets. The whole idea was nothing more than a marketing ploy for the NFL. Shame on Marvel Comics for sinking this low. After this, even prostitution seems like an honorable profession in comparison with such selling out.
7. Doll Man
1st Appearance: Feature Comics #27 (1939)
Doll Man is a scientist who invents a formula that makes him tiny, but leaves him with the strength of a full-sized man, much like The Atom -- although Doll Man came first. He also came first at being a complete waste of time. Let's face it, any hero whose main power is to be tiny is never going to be taken seriously. At least The Atom could shrink to sub-atomic size, but Doll Man could only shrink to the size of an action figure, making him pretty useless. Sadly enough, Doll Man was created by the legendary Will Eisner, making this his worst, most embarrassing creation. Luckily for Eisner, hardly anyone remembers or gives a crap about this tiny failure.