This week, the shining spotlight of Epic Fail Thursday comes gleaming into the pages of the comic books most of us have held dearly to our hearts since our childhood. In other words, here is TheFeed's list of Epic Fail Superheroes, and may God have mercy on your soul.
This week's Fail is a gift from all of TheFeed's contributors clamoring to tell you who are the worst of the worst when it comes to superheroing. Some of the answers might surprise you.
Spitfire and the Troubleshooters - As a kid, I tried to get into comic books. People seemed to like them, and I figured I should get in on the action. So, in the Fall of 1986, with allowance secured inside my trusty Velcro wallet, I ventured down to the corner book shop and picked up issue # 1 of Spitfire and the Troubleshooters. A super hero decked out in a badass hi-tech exoskeleton that looked like a roided-out Master Chief seemed like it would be pretty cool. It wasn’t. Perhaps it was the ragtag juvenile sidekicks dubbed “The Troubleshooters,” who sounded like people you’d call if your VCR was on the fritz and who set the tone for similar teams to follow like the one in “Captain Planet” (hey, has anyone mentioned the Captain in this piece?). Long story short: I never did get into comic books.
Aquaman - classic epic fail at life. Supposedly his father discovered the lost city of Atlantis and created a water tight home where he studied their culture and discovered a way to teach his son how to breath underwater and talk to the fish. That's it. Aquaman can breath under water and talk to sea life, so if he's on dry land this dude is totally useless. Unless he's fighting a villain with crabs, which hasn't happened since sometime in the late 80s.
He was also the inspiration for one of the worst video games in history, which in turn inspired the Golden Mullet award at X-Play, given to only the very worst in gaming.
NFL Superpro — Phil Grayfield was just a mild-mannered professional football player until he blew out his knee saving a little girl. Becoming a reporter, he was interviewing an NFL “superfan” that was also a brilliant scientist that had created a indestructible NFL uniform. Stay with us. During the interview, thieves attack and steal memorabilia and knock chemicals over, which transforms Phil into the NFL Superpro when he puts on the uniform. The author of the comic has since stated that he wrote the comic to get free NFL tickets.
Batman - He doesn't actually have any super powers. He's just a rich dude with a really good engineer and lots of time to kill.
Matter Eater Lad - As you might expect from his name, Matter Eater Lad can eat anything. Even a pumpkin, or a lamp! MEL (as hipsters call him) first appeared in DC’s Adventure Comics #303, and later joined The Legion of Super Heroes, where he challenged criminals, submarine sandwiches and the imaginations of comic book writers—go ahead, try and come up with a situation in which eating a lot helps a guy fight crime. I’ll wait.
Judging from the Discovery Channel’s poignant specials about the super-obese, real-life gluttons are notoriously poor crime fighters, preferring instead to lay on the couch and gurgle when they talk, but Matter Eater Lad never gains weight even if he eats enough dirt to fill a tunnel. What kind of message is that to send to our nation’s fatties, flabbos, whales and two-ton Sallies? In summary, Matter Eater Lad is the most epic failure of a super hero ever, unless a doughnut rapes someone.
Infectious Lass - This sultry super heroine had the amazing gift of delivering illnesses to villains threatening humanity. That's some pretty sick sh*t, right there. I mean, it'd be hard to press that button that will launch missiles to sever California from the rest of the continent when you've got a runny nose. Am I right?
The Gay Ghost - The frolicking fellow made his debut in 1942 as a 17th Century ghost, possessing the dead body of his girlfriend's great-great-great-a-few-other-greats-granddaughter in WWII America. The character was shelved in the mid 40s and has since only seen two single issue appearances. His powers? To possess dead bodies and hold a sword. That's right, he's even lamer than Batman.
Arm Fall Off Boy - This may be the greatest of the failed super heroes. He was seen in only a single issue, as he auditioned for the Legion of Superheroes. Sadly, he was not approved. It's hard to believe that the same Legion who would accept Matter Eater Lad into their ranks would fail to recognize the heroic genius of a man who can remove his left arm and beat you over the head with it.
Extrano - In odd juxtaposition to Doctor Strange was DC's Extrano, a gay Spanish magician. As a member of The New Guardians, he would often offer advice for matters of the heart to other members of the team, whom would address him as "Auntie". Later on, we would learn that he was in fact HIV positive. C'mon guys, can we get more progressive than that?
The Black Racer - In a possible foreshadowing of the Silver Surfer, Jack Kirby used the DC Universe to introduce us to Sgt. Willie Walker, aka The Black Racer. This unique super hero would adorn himself with a snow suit, the helmet of a knight, and a yellow cape, as he would ski through the celestial sea in search of fallen Gods needing guidance to their final resting place. You got it right, folks! Death is a slalom kind of guy.
Sleepwalker – Sleepwalker is a hero from the Marvel Universe who hails from the Mindscape a dimension where dreams are essentially created. His kind defends people from bad dreams (lame already), but he somehow became attached to the mind of New York college student Rick Sheridan. When Sheridan is awake, ol’ Sleepy stays inside his head. But when Sheridan takes a nap, Sleepwalker is able to walk the streets of New York and fight crime. This all sounds great and all, but what if the Sleepwalker is saving an old lady from 8-ball, Bookworm, or the Chain Gang and Rick’s alarm goes off!? Sleepwalker, you are lame, and you get extra lame points for sucking TheFeed into your crappy comic book series at the impressionable age of 10 and then getting canceled after 33 issues.
Too Much Coffee Man - Now, as a commentary on the ills of modern society, the character and book are great, but TMCman isn’t much of a hero. He’s just a fat guy in an ill fitting, red spandex costume (complete with a giant cup of coffee on his head) that drinks the sweet mocha and rants a lot. We can do that (and have on several Halloweens). If TheFeed is capable of bothering you, then you have got to be the lamest super hero ever.
U.S. 1 - Recently, I was introduced to a tremendously awful superhero by the name of Ulysses Solomon Archer, also known as U.S. 1, a super trucker with a metal plate in his head that allows him to receive citizen's band radio transmissions. He has trucking competitions with aliens and a nemesis named Baron Von Blimp, who has flying Nazis at his beck and call. There are two women fighting for his affection in each and every issue, and they're both, at one point or another, revealed to be an enemy of his. Also, there's a trucking maze that features a waterfall, a volcano, and a glacier. All of which are revealed to be about twice the size of the 18-wheeler he drives. It's seriously amazing. In its badness.
Steel - Oh Steel, how I loathe thee? Let me count how much I wasted at the multiplex that rainy summer day...oh, about 8 bucks.
Steel was one of the third tier DC characters that some exec said "We need our own Batman!" while watching SportsCenter one day. At the time, Shaq was a superstar, so why not transition into a superhero? His role as the "brilliant" John Henry Irons, a scientist (!) who creates an armored alter ego to clean up the streets he helped populate with his weapons, was enough to earn the novice thespian a Razzie award. Sure, it's no Kazaam!, but Shaq (who is a professed Superman fan) is about as convincing a Weapons Expert/Urban Superhero as Tara Reid is as an anthropologist in Uwe Boll's masterwork, Alone In The Dark. Every time we see the Big Baller in the Steel suit he supposedly created out of duct tape, cardboard tubes and some Tic- Tacs, his pained expression and winking dialogue ("I could never make free throws"...oof) the guy seems ready to walk off the set and into his trailer, ready to get the fudge out and fire his agents. I don't blame him...I was ready to bolt by the second reel as well.
It's a shame that V creator Kenneth Johnson was roped into writing and directing this putrid Iron Man-for-the-urban-set vehicle for O Neal, where his efforts could have been better utilized keeping those "Save Alien Nation" petitions up.
In terms of superhero movies, I wasn't looking for a Spiderman or Batman, hell I wasn't even looking for The Shadow or Blankman; I just wanted a little mindless comic-book fun with a gargantuan basketball player turned "Tony Stark", is that so much to ask? With the sting of Batman & Robin still fresh in the skull, I entered the 2nd Avenue Theater in NYC hoping we'd get a neat little neo-Blaxploitation/ Superhero hybrid that would be a guilty pleasure, and all i was left with was the painful realization that some people should just stick to what they know...and also, not rap.