Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 June 1972
First up is a character beloved by few. Luke Cage was created by Marvel back in 1972 because they were pressured by certain groups for not having a very racially balanced superhero line up. Luke’s origin is basically a half assed rip-off of the Captain America Super Soldier serum, but replace SS Serum with untested viral immunity drug. From it, he gained steel hard skin, super strength, and the catch phrase "Sweet Christmas" just to complete the package. So here’s to you, affirmative action hiring.
The Wrecking Crew
Defenders vol.1, #17 November 1974
While this group is not very heroic, their origin is pretty stupid all the same. A prisoner named Dirk Garthwaite gets a hold of an enchanted crowbar, and while he and some of his fellow inmates are holding it, the crowbar is struck by lightning, giving them super powers. Then they all escape from prison, dress up in spandex, and go pick on Thor and half of the Marvel Universe. This seems like an idea someone got while driving by a construction site, and no one told him to think it over and try again.
More Fun Comics #73 1941
So, mild mannered billionaire Oliver Queen decides to dress up and fight crime. Since he has no powers, does he spend years on ninja training like Batman or amass a giant collections of guns and mental issues like The Punisher? No. Instead, he dresses up like Robin Hood and creates a whole bunch of novelty arrows. He also has great faith that everyone is too stupid to realize that his golden beard is a dead giveaway as to his secret identity, and so far no one has made the connection. Screw that.
All Star Comics #58 January 1976
The origin of Power Girl really doesn't matter, and no one cares, because the only reason she was invented in the first place is because some comic artist had a giant breast fetish that he felt needed to be shared with the world. For all you know, her powers are to make your pants feel really tight when you look at her.
Whiz Comics #2 February 1940
There are those heroes that questionably have young boy assistants, but only one hero actually IS a young boy. Captain Marvel is in fact the prepubescent Billy Baston, who was given the power by some unwise wizard to transform when he shouts the word SHAZAM! Then, a lightning bolt hits the kid and changes him into his full grown counterpart. If you were eight and you got super powers along with an adult body, would you really spend your time saving the city, or would you go off and see what legal beer tastes like as you fly by woman's bathroom windows?
The Incredible Hulk #181 November 1974
First his name was Logan and he was a Canadian government agent with retractable claws attached to his gloves. Then the claws were really his and attached to his adamantium skeleton. Then his father was Sabertooth, and theyâd both been alive for 80+ years. Then Sabertooth wasnât his father anymore. Then his real name was James Howlett and his claws were originally bone. Most recently, he is no longer a mutant at all, but really an actual super evolved wolverine. Thereâs only one thing worse than having one lame origin story, and thatâs having too damned many.
All Star Comics #8 December 1941
The lame thing about Wonder Woman is actually not how Princess Diana became Wonder Woman, but why the character was created in the first place. She was invented by psychologist William Moulton Morrison, who also invented the polygraph test, because there were no positive female role models in comics at the time. Specifically, he wanted a character who would teach girls how to have adventures while still being tender, submissive, and peace-loving. This comes across quite clearly in the sexist comments peppered throughout the early issues.
Thor #337 November 1983
The writers of Thor got bored one day and decided they wanted to go in a very weird direction. Thor gets in a fight with an alien colony refugee ship and battles with one of their dead horse-faced warriors. Thor get knocked out, the alien grabs his hammer, and gains his powers. Odin makes them fight over ownership, but in the end, it's a draw and a "new" hero is born. Come on guys, you couldn't even come up with some original powers for a new character?
Detective Comics #27 May 1939
Before all the cool ninja training and Frank Miller's badass recreation, Batman was kind of a p***y. Literally, the only reason he dressed up as a bat was because one flew into his window as he was thinking, so he could have just as easily ended up dressing like a moth or Jehovah's Witness. The new versions of his back story do a very good job with motivation, but his original story was pretty much, "well, my parents are dead, maybe I'll just dress in a costume and see how it goes. Oh, and I'll need a young boy who will follow me around and won't complain about being put in dangerous situations." Apparently, Child Services was too busy taking bribes to notice.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 May 1984
Probably one of the weirdest what-the-f**k origins ever in comic history is that of the Ninja Turtles. It goes something along the lines of a disgraced samurai going to live in the sewers, befriending some rats and tiny turtles, getting doused in green radioactive slime, and both the turtles and the samurai become anthropomorphic martial artists. All that can be said is that the creators were smoking some very good s**t.
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