In 2005 I wrote an article about ten of the lamest superheroes of all time featuring characters such as Vibe, Arm Fall Off Boy, Dogwelder, Brother Power the Geek, the Red Bee and Aqualad. Little did I know when I wrote it that in the years to come this article would bring thousands of readers to our web-site. That’s right! The Top Ten Lamest Superhero of All Time is, without a doubt, the most successful article we ever ran at Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict, and has been linked at dozens of web-sites and was even reprinted in the National Post. However, like all successful movies, there are always more of the story to tell, and an inferior sequel is written. Thus, I dipped my fingers into the cesspool of the “not so greatest” superheroes of all time to bring you that inferior sequel. Brace yourself friends and readers, for another helping of characters that wont be getting their own feature film anytime soon as:
CONFESSIONS OF A POP CULTURE ADDICT PRESENTS
THE TOP TEN LAMEST SUPERHEROES OF ALL TIME II:
THE NEXT TEN
But first, what defines a lame superhero? If they are lame, does that make them the worst? Not at all. In fact, possibly it does the opposite. In many ways it is their lameness that makes them fan favorites and cherished by comic readers throughout the world. Every character has a fan no matter how obscure or stupid their concept. In fact, there are some comic fans who do nothing but collect and record the adventures of these odd ball characters. I’m guilty myself of collecting anything that has a Brother Power or Red Bee appearance. There is a part of me that loves each and ever character that appears in these articles. No, what hinders a superhero from being “cool” could be the result of a number of different factors. Often it is because the character concept is so outlandish and strange that we can’t even understand where the creator was coming from. Many times it’s because the character was created with certain social trends in mind, but becomes dated due to the passage of time. Other times it’s because a characters creation had good intentions that, due to many factors, just went horribly wrong. Sometimes it’s even because the character was intended to be lame from the very beginning. Yet, whatever the reason, these lame characters become interesting character oddities that stick with collectors and comic fans for years to come, despite their lameness, and this couldn’t be truer for our first lame superhero…
Some superheroes begin their crime fighting careers when they are bit by radioactive spiders and others when they witness their parents gunned down in a back alley by a common crook. But for Alison Blaire, well she started fighting crime because she just wanted to sing! When Allison’s father discouraged her from a singing career and tries to force her into being a lawyer, Allison leaves home to follow her dream…TO BECOME A DISCO DIVA! However, Allison has a secret. In reality she is no ordinary dancing queen. No sir. Allison is actually a mutant with the ability to generate sound into light which intensifies when she sings! Donning a silvery blue pant suite stolen from Joey Hetherington’s Vegas act, a pair of jeweled roller skates, and blue KISS make up, Allison Blaire, under the new moniker Dazzler, hit the disco scene, burning up the night like a disco inferno, and using her powers to create light and laser shows for the ultimate dance party. However, faster then she could shake her booty, Allison found herself fighting the Hellfire Club alongside the X-Men in her first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #130. Luckily for Dazzler, this particular issue was one of the books connected to the fabled Phoenix Saga, which would be reprinted far longer then disco would be popular, Marvel comic fans would never be able to forget such a dated character concept. Anyhow, armed with a jeweled disco ball around her neck which she could fire paralyzing light beams through, Dazzler eventually found her way into her own comic book where she would be a star in New York and a star in LA, and fighting super menaces like the Enchantress, Doctor Doom and even Galactus! I’m serious. Frikkin’ Galactus! I’d love to see Donna Summer try to put a smack down on Galactus. Anyhow, Dazzler began her disco, and crime fighting career, in 1980 when disco was pretty much already dead. Sure, Dazzler has changed her look and her musical style over the years (most recently seen as a techno/trance performer), but for millions of merry Marvel mutant lovers, Dazzler will always remain in their hearts as our favorite disco dancing mutant. I mean, you might be able to take the mutant out of disco, but you’ll never be able to take the disco out of the mutant.
2. Madam Fatal
Criminals were looking over their shoulders in terror in 1940s New York City because there was one scarlet clad figure they didn’t want to see. It wasn’t the Flash or Starman or even the Red Bee. Nope. It was a little old lady in a red hat, red overcoat and red high heeled pumps who was aided by a pet parrot named Hamlet. That’s right! Evil doers beware the wrath of Madam Fatal, who could pumble a crook with the strength and speed of a fairly athletic man. In fact, Madam Fatal actually WAS a fairly athletic man! When retired actor Richard Stanton’s daughter was kidnapped, Stanton donned the clothes of a woman in order to disguise himself and have his foes underestimate his speed and strength. However, once his daughter was saved, Stanton must have either enjoyed the thrill of crime fighting, or at least the feel of shaving his legs and a nice pair of silk stockings, because through Crack Comics #1-22 Madam Fatal was the cross dressing dare devil of the four color comic set. In recent years, comic book fans and scholars have argued that Madam Fatal was the world’s first gay superhero, although the fact that no gay subtext other then cross dressing appeared in any of the comics, as well as the fact that Madam Fatal had a daughter, leads me to believe he probably was nothing more then a cross dresser. I mean, Madam Fatal didn’t have a boy sidekick called Fatal Boy (or would have that been Fatal Girl?). Anyhow, we all have our little fetishes, but this was the first, and the last, time that comic books had a transsexual superhero to my knowledge.
And speaking of gay characters, you just couldn’t get any gayer then The New Guardian’s resident magician Extraño. In fact, Extraño was nothing more then a giant walking, talking gay stereotype. Created in 1988 as part of their Millennium cross over, Steve Englehart and Joe Staton dared to push the boundaries by creating Extraño, a gay Hispanic magician, who would go down as being DC comic’s first bonifide gay superhero. However, instead of helping ease prejudice against homosexuality, Englehart and Staton actually dumped nearly every single gay stereotype that you could heave on to the character from the little thin mustache to a flamboyant costume and personality and even making him the sensitive member of the New Guardians who had his teammates call him “Auntie” when he dished out heart to heart advice. However, when he and his teammates were attacked by a vampire with AIDS (sigh…don’t even ask), Extraño revealed that he actually already was HIV positive before he started his superhero career, because we all know that all gay characters HAVE to be HIV positive. We can’t let the straight ones be. By the way, for those keeping track Extraño is actually Spanish for “strange” or “odd” or “queer.” Good going on that one guys! Even the characters name was in bad taste. Anyhow, Extraño eventually came into the power of a crystal skull that helped enhance his magical powers, or something, but eventually the New Guardians book was cancelled and Extraño disappeared into the abyss of comic book limbo. Reports say that Extraño was last seen in a bath house in Thailand with Gary Glitter, but that’s another story.
4. The Black Racer
Some people believe that death comes to you as a skeletal figure in a black robe and armed with a sickle. Others, like Neil Gaimen, will tell you that death comes in the form of a perky Goth girl with an ankh around her neck. However, if your comic book superstar Jack Kirby, you believe that death comes in the form of an angry looking black man who is all dressed up as if he’s on his way for a ski vacation in Aspen. That’s right! Death comes in the guise of The Black Racer! When paralyzed Viet Nam war veteran Sgt. Willie Walker is contacted by a mysterious force only known as “The Source”, Willie Walker crawls out of his bed and is ready to hit the intergalactic slopes as the Black Racer! Donning a snow suite, a medieval knight helmet, a yellow cape and a pair of skis (complete with poles) the Black Racer goes skiing through the cosmos looking for the souls of fallen New Gods (the residents of the planets Apokolips and New Genesis) and guides them to their final resting place in the demission of Hadis. Yeah. The harbinger of doom is a guy on skis. What’s next Jack? A guy on a surfboard? Oh wait. You already came up with that one too! Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself, what the hell kind of drugs was Jack Kirby smoking?
5. Captain Planet
Not all environmentalists are tree hugging hippies. No, they come in all shapes and sizes and if you are the politically correct hero Captain Planet, then that means you have blue crystal skin and a green mullet so big that he could eat a rain forest. Created by Ted Turner in 1990 for TV, Captain Planet was an environmentally minded god like entity that was created when five multi-cultured kids from around the world, known as the Planeteers, combine their five magical rings. Anyhow, Captain Planet fought villains like Sly Sludge and Duke Nukem and anybody else that endangered the environment. I mean, you don’t even want to KNOW what he did to the captain of the EXXON Valdez. Anyhow, Captain Planet costumed himself in tight short red shorts, a torso baring short tight t-shirt and red knee high boots, making us wonder if he was rummaging around Extraño’s closet. However, when it came to powers, well Captain Planet could do most anything. The guy had super strength, super speed and stamina, flight, invulnerability, super breath, super hearing, telepathy, psychokinkisis, shape shifting abilities, matter transmition and he could even control earth elements. I mean, damn, he was a one man X-Men team! Watch out Magneto! However, while he was pretty much the most powerful hero ever, a bit of smog or acid rain could pretty much cripple the poor bastard. I mean, even the Red Bee was immune to a bit of smog. Anyhow, Captain Planet was a bad attempt to make a politically correct, environmentally friendly cartoon, and should have been forgotten in cartoon obscurity. I mean, who wants to see the adventures of a character created by Ted Turner anyways? What business does he have creating superheroes? Leave that job up to Stan Lee, Ted. However, a recent episode of Robot Chicken resurrected memories of the character. As a result, Captain Planet has become a popular costume at comic book conventions world wide, but thankfully, nowhere else. Frankly, I’d rather seek out hot girls dressed up as the Baroness from GI Joe then get my picture taken next to some fanboy dressed up as Captain Planet.
Now while Jerry Lewis’ kid was giving it a go at being a rock star with his own band “the Playboys”, Bob Hope’s nephew had his own super rock n’ roll hi-jinks, but at a higher price. You see, poor Tadwallader Juteface was the goofiest and dweebiest kid at Benedict Arnold High. This kid was so lame that he made young Peter Parker look like a stud. I mean, when the only pick up line that Tad had was “hey, my uncle is Bob Hope,” Tad was pretty much alone every Friday night. However, don’t get Tad angry. You wouldn’t like Tad when he is angry. Because when Tad is angry he turned into the super powered Canterbury Mod Super-Hip! Dressed in a velvet jacket, ruffled shirt and Chelsea boots with little wings on his ankles, Super-Hip had the power of flight, super strength and shape changing abilities. He possibly may have had even more powers then that but his true superhero potential was untapped. But when Super-Hip calmed down and turned into Tad again, well, Tad couldn’t remember a thing. He had no knowledge of Super-Hip at all and was nothing but a blundering doofus again. Super-Hip first appeared in DC comics long running humor series The Adventures of Bob Hope in 1965 and appeared fairly regularly in the book through to its final issue in 1969. However, Super-Hip didn’t spend as much time fighting crime as he did annoying the hell out of Bob Hope with his loud guitar playing and his absolutely stupid battle cry “Blech to Lawrence Welk” However, Super-Hip did make the cross over to the regular DC universe when he appeared amongst the guests at Elasti-Girl and Mento’s wedding in Doom Patrol #104, standing right next to Superman nonetheless! Anyhow, after the cancellation of Bob Hope’s comic Super-Hip was never seen again, despite the fact that he is loved by many fans of quirky and unusual comic book creations.
7. The Greatest American Hero
Ralph Hinkley was a teacher for “special students,” but one night coming home from a field trip the short bus breaks down in the middle of the desert. Forced to trudge into the night in search for help, Hinkley comes across not only drunken FBI agent Bill Maxwell, but also a UFO which tells the two men that they need to work together to save mankind and bestows upon Hinkley a leather case containing a red spandex costume which, upon wearing it, would give him the powers of flight, super strength, invisibility, precognition, telekinesis, x-ray vision, super speed, mind control and even psychic abilities! Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. That sounds pretty sweet! So what makes Ralph Hinkley so lame? Well, believe it or not, the dumb ass loses the users manual for the suit that the aliens entrusted him with and doesn’t actually know how to use any of these powers correctly. So, for much of Hinkley’s career, the buffoon flew around the city, screaming like a little girl, flailing his arms and legs like he had epilepsy and could only stop by crashing into large objects. Anyhow, from 1981 to 1983 Ralph Hinkley fought crime, somehow, on the television program The Greatest American Hero. Still a cult favorite to this day, the theme song “Believe it or Not” is far better remembered then the actual character.
8. Stone Boy
Now as we all know, the Legion of Superheroes has let some pretty kooky characters into their ranks. I mean, any team that’ll let guys like Bouncing Boy and Matter Eater Lad on the team has to be pretty lenient on what characters get in. However, some superheroes that try out for the team just don’t make the cut. Thus was the case for Dag Wintem, better known as Stone Boy. You see, Dag was from the planet Zwen which had six months of darkness in their year. Thus, the people of Zwen had the power to turn into stone statues in order to hibernate through the dark months. Well Dag had this idea. Perhaps his ability to turn to stone might do some greater good in the universe. Thus he contacted the Legion of Superheroes to see if they could use him. So what else could Dag do? Was he super strong? Nope. Did he control rock in any way? Uh-huh. All he could do was turn to stone. Once in stone form Dag couldn’t move or talk. All he did was just turn into an unmovable hunk of stone. Anyhow, the Legion didn’t feel they had any use for Dag, but then the Legion lacked imagination. Dag joined the ranks of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, a group of Legion rejecties who formed their own superhero group to fight evil when the Legion was otherwise tied up on another mission. Led by Polar Boy and Night Girl, the Subs found lots of good uses for Stone Boy. For instance, hoisting Stone Boy above their enemies heads and dropping him was about as effective as dropping a piano on a bad guy. Also, they could often use Stone Boy as a hard object to throw villains into. Stone Boy made a great battling ram as well. I mean, with a bit of determination, imagination and know how, Stone Boy had his uses. However, that doesn’t stop him from being kinda lame.
9. Infectious Lass
Making her first appearance in 1974 in Superboy #201, Infectious Lass was another of the Legion of Superhero rejects that would go on to join the Substitute Heroes. Coming from the planet Somahtur, Infectious Lass had the powers to temporarily give you a disease or an illness. I mean, super villains can’t really commit crimes or take over the world effectively if they have a head cold or are vomiting. So, come to think of it, Infectious Lass could come in pretty handy in a fight. I mean, if she was up against the Secret Society of Super Villains she could give the Joker smallpox, Lex Luthor leprosy, Ras Al Ghul a bad rash and Sinestro SARS. But then there was that time that she gave that vampire AIDS and that didn’t end up well (sigh…don’t even ask). Unfortunately for Infectious Lass though, her love life wasn’t all that great because she kept giving her boyfriends mono and her weaknesses included chicken soup, two Tylenol and lots of sleep. Anyhow, Infectious Lass was an occasional presence in the Legion of Superhero books until about 1987 when she slipped into obscurity. However, just recently, she was lovingly resurrected by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang as part of Doctor Thirteen’s “Team 13″ in her own search for a place in the new DC Universe, and has once again found her way into being a fan favorite.
10. Captain Caveman
In 1977 animators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, inspired by the sexy antics of the popular TV program Charlies Angels developed a new cartoon series titled The Teen Angels. Featuring the misadventures of three sexy teen sleuths; Brenda, Taffy and Dee Dee, Ruby and Spears brought the show to the two men who knew exactly how to develop mystery based cartoon series – William Hannah and Joe Barbara. Hannah and Barbera loved the idea, however they wanted to make one change. They felt that watching three animated sex bombs wouldn’t appeal to kids (obviously they didn’t have their finger on the pulse of what I wanted) and thought what if….I mean WHAT IF….the Teen Angels paired up with an ugly, hairy super powered Neanderthal that they thawed out of a block of ice! Yeah! That’s golden! Thus was born Captain Caveman. Now I know what you’re thinking. You love Captain Caveman! He’s not lame! Well friends, don’t let your lust for nostalgia fool you. Captain Caveman was possibly one of the lamest superheroes of all time. Despite the fact that he had super strength and could fly, his powers always failed him at the worst possible times in order for hilarity to ensue. Now can you imagine if that happened to Superman when he was fighting Doomsday? All of a sudden HIS super powers conked out? That wouldn’t have been so funny, would it have? Furthermore, Captain Caveman also had the ability to pull out ridiculous objects out of his long dirty hair, sort of like Batman’s utility belt, but a bit more like Mary Poppins’ handbag. You need an anvil? Captain Caveman would get one out of his hair. You need a tailpipe for a 67′ El Dorado? Captain Caveman probably had one in there. However, what is possibly the most annoying thing about Captain Caveman was his dreadful battle cry. While the Thing had “It’s Clobberin’ Time” and the Green Lantern uttered “no evil shall escape Green Lantern’s light” Captain Caveman was reduced to screaming his own name: “Captain CAAAAAAAVEMAAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!” Yeah. That’s original, not to mention subtle. Yet what many people don’t remember was that years after the Teen Angels got sick of traveling around with this hairy moron, and, incidentally, Jack Ruby and Ken Spears started their own animation company so that this kind of atrocity wouldn’t happen to their creations again, Captain Caveman appeared in Saturday Morning’s The Flintstones Comedy Hour in 1980 where his superhero life before he was frozen in ice was revealed. When Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble went out to get jobs at the Daily Granite newspaper, they worked with bespectacled Chester who, in reality, was Captain Caveman. However, what got me was while all the Flintstone characters spoke in full sentences, Captain Caveman spoke in broken English and muttered jumbled phrases with his most favorite phrase being “unga bunga. This makes me wonder if Captain Caveman might have been retarded as well. It sort of sounded like this:
Wilma: Chester! Vandal Savage is feeding Betty to a T-Rex! You gotta help her.
Captain Caveman: Me help Betty! “Captain CAAAAAAAVEMAAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!
Wilma: Oh no! He heard you coming with your totally unsubtle battle cry which destroyed the element of surprise. You better hurry!
Captain Caveman: Me on my way! Unga bunga! Me save you Betty,
Wilma: Oh no. Your flying powers just conked out. You’re to late. Betty is now T-Rex food. You suck Captain Caveman. Oh no Cavey. Look out for that frozen lake!!!!
Captain Caveman: Shit. Unga bunga.
See what I mean? Lame…