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Marvel Characters Whose Comic Book Origin Stories Are Way More Upsetting Than The Movies Portrayed

Updated February 8, 2021 5k votes 930 voters 139.2k views17 items

List RulesVote up the characters whose comic book backstories are more disturbing than their films.

The blockbuster films of Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman have cemented these characters' origins in the minds of audiences around the globe. At this point, multiple radioactive spiders have already bitten multiple cinematic Peter Parkers. Many more Marvel heroes have had their stories adapted to the silver screen, but one can always count on comic book continuity to be more complicated than that of a mainstream movie franchise. This has led to several Marvel origins being watered down before hitting the big screen - with some being downright sanitized. 

Though some of the Marvel heroes' origins portrayed in the movies have been pretty horrifying, they pale in comparison to what their comic book counterparts had to go through to obtain their superpowers. Casual fans may be surprised to learn that their favorite cinematic protagonists have suffered some of the most harrowing experiences to ever hit the four-color page - adding a whole new perspective to "Whatever It Takes."

  • What Happens In The Comic: Rocket has one of the most existentially disturbing origins in all of comics. He starts life out as a therapy animal on a planet-sized insane asylum run by robots, and it only gets stranger from there. When the robot wards gain sentience, they abandon their patients and leave them in the care of Rocket and his fellow pets - but not before subjecting the animals to horrible genetic experiments to equip them for the task. After a fight or two, Rocket escapes Halfworld for a life among the stars.

    What You See In The Movie: The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t delve too deeply into Rocket’s backstory, other than suggesting he’s the result of some sort of cybernetic experimentation and “didn’t ask to be made!” There’s no talk of sentient robots or asylum patients, and perhaps that’s for the best. 

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  • What Happens In The Comic: Scott Lang’s origin as the second Ant-Man is very similar to his adventures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - albeit with an extra degree of tragedy. In the comics, Lang takes up a nefarious lifestyle in order to earn enough cash for his daughter to receive a necessary heart surgery. He then takes the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym when Cassie’s doctor is abducted by a supervillain. Touched by Lang’s fatherly love, Pym eventually allows him to take over the mantle.

    What You See In The Movie: The MCU version of Lang sort of falls *ss-backward into the role of Ant-Man. He’s personally selected by Pym for the job and tricked into taking the suit from Pym’s mansion. Fortunately, there’s no sign of his daughter having a congenital heart condition in film continuity - which might be a bit much for audiences to handle, given Cassie’s undeniable cuteness. 

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  • What Happens In The Comic: Victor von Doom does not have a happy childhood. Born as a Romani peasant in Latveria, Doom is the son of a witch who makes a deal with Mephisto, the devil of the Marvel universe. When the deal goes wrong and Doom's mother ends up trapped in Hell, the young man dedicates his life to learning everything he can of both magic and science in order to rescue her. Becoming the dictator of Latveria along the way is just a small part of his overall plan. When an accident scars his face and forces him to don his metal mask, the true Doctor Doom is born.

    What You See In The Movie: The origin of Doctor Doom has been retold in cinematic format each time the Fantastic Four have been rebooted, and each time it has been misconstrued. Both mainstream Hollywood adaptations of the story simply place Victor von Doom as the fifth member of the FF’s ill-fated voyage into cosmic energies and link his powers to those of his rivals.

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  • What Happens In The Comic: Sam Wilson grows up on the tough streets of Harlem, where violence first claims the lives of his parents and then forces him onto a dark path. He eventually finds himself on the island of Exile, where he encounters the Red Skull and is subjected to genetic experimentation and memory manipulation. The experiments leave him with the ability to communicate with birds. When Captain America also winds up on the island, he and Wilson become fast friends. They team up to take down the Red Skull and find a way home.

    What You See In The Movie: Sam Wilson’s Marvel Cinematic Universe origin is about as mundane as a superhero’s backstory can get. Wilson is a retired Air Force pilot who once took part in a high-tech program involving personal wingsuits. When he gets roped into dusting off his wings and helping out the fugitive Steve Rogers, the Falcon is born. 

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