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Superheroes You Didn't Realize Had Interconnected Origins

Updated June 14, 2019 10.3k votes 1.9k voters 162.5k views14 items

List RulesVote up the superhero origins with the most surprising cameos.

Readers of both DC and Marvel Comics are used to complicated character continuities that tie multiple storylines into one coherent universe - and this trend of interconnectivity extends so far that there’s a few cases of superhero origin overlap. Most comic characters have a distinct backstory, but there are a handful of superheroes with shared origins. In the most extreme examples, some superheroes have even played a direct hand in the creation of another superhero.

Some of the examples of superheroes with interconnected origins have had their histories intertwined with other characters from the absolute beginning. Others are the result of "retcons" - instances in which writers have retroactively changed the continuity of a character to permanently alter their personal backstory. Retcons are normally used for smaller changes, like justifying a villain's face-turn to heroism, but they can also turn the most mundane origin stories into meaningful ones. 
 

  • Jessica Jones made her Marvel Comics debut in 2001, but the writers portray her character as though she's existed for far longer. One such retcon is the revelation Jessica and Peter Parker reach while teammates on the New Avengers: they went to high school together. Not only did Jessica once harbor a serious crush on Peter, but she also happened to be there for the most important day of his life.

    Readers learn Jones was one of the various unnamed students that accompanied Peter on a field trip to a scientific demonstration - the same field trip in which a radioactive spider bit and transformed him into Spider-Man. She had no way of recognizing the significance of the event at the time and doesn't discover her superpowers until years afterward. 
     

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    The Radioactive Goop That Blinded Daredevil Also Created The Ninja Turtles

    There are plenty of comic book characters who share origin stories, but few of those cases involve characters that belong to different publishers. Daredevil and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are the exception nobody expected.

    When Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird first created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in comic book form, they intended the characters to be somewhat of a parody of the era's mainstream comic books, which included Frank Miller's epic Daredevil run. The first telling of the Turtles' origin story included heavy visual hints that the radioactive material that mutated them was the same goop that blinded young Matthew Murdock, giving him the powers of Daredevil. Of course, fearing legal action from Marvel Comics, Eastman and Laird couldn't make the connection any more explicit than that. 
     

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  • The origin story of Rocket is only vaguely hinted at in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with good reason - it’s bizarre, even by comic book standards. In short, Rocket is originally a therapy animal at a cosmic insane asylum run by robots. When the robots get bored of their job, they perform horrific genetic experiments on the therapy animals so that they can take care of the patients instead - and that’s how Thor's favorite rabbit was created.

    Oddly enough, Rocket's origins are first told in the pages of an Incredible Hulk comic. Through a series of strange circumstances, the Hulk ends up on Rocket's home planet of Halfworld, where he gets involved in an insurrection and learns all about the not-raccoon's backstory. He then helps Rocket blast off for the first time to begin his life as a cosmic critter. 
     

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  • Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four is the most famous superhero to go by the moniker "the Human Torch," but he's not the first. The original Human Torch was one of Marvel's earliest heroes - even predating the name "Marvel Comics" - and he wasn't a human at all. Known as Jim Hammond, the OG Torch was an android that fought alongside Captain America and the Invaders in WWII.

    By the time Storm and the FF came into existence, the old Human Torch was already phased out of print like the majority of Cap's WWII buddies. He popped back into continuity when his decommissioned body got taken by Ultron and used as the base upon which to create the Vision, everyone's favorite artificial Avenger. Since then, Vision's gone through a number of structural upgrades, and Jim Hammond is back to occupying his old android body.
     

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