Chris Peruzzi is a comic book superhero historian who is passionate about how today's comic book heroes are the new mythology for America.
A few weeks ago, I had read an article regarding lame superheroes or supervillains. The author had mentioned Namor and Robin. And I thought, "Really? I didn't think those guys were lame." While I thought of it, I began to tick off reasons in my head on why either character wasn't lame.
I think the reason it got under my skin was that through the countless stories I'd read, I'd come across some REALLY lame characters. These were characters that when I saw them I had to wonder what natural herbal supplements the writers were smoking when they came up with them.
Now I understand. You see a lot of comic book readers came into the medium after the late '80s and were never really exposed to true lameness. It's not their fault. They're spoiled. They started reading DC Comics after Crisis On Infinite Earths and never had to go through nauseatingly saccharine storylines that came about in the '70s and early '80s.
Don't believe me? If you can get your hands on Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons, you'll see what we had to put up with. Just know that you kids got off lucky.
I'll get to Marvel's share of really bad ideas in another article, but I'm going to go after the low hanging fruit on this one and hit DC Comics first with their "less than stellar" characters.
While I think Mr. Mxyzptlk is a great character for any Superman story (especially Emperor Joker), Bat-Mite, not so much. For those of you who have not been exposed to Bat-Mite, he's from the Fifth Dimensional planet of Zrfff, the same place Mr. Mxyzptlk is from and has those same powers.
The biggest difference between Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite is that Bat-Mite is working to make Batman's life easier. Mr. Mxyzptlk comes to Earth every 90 days to make Superman's life hell by playing pranks on him until Superman can trick him into saying his name backward. Bat-Mite comes to Earth to help his biggest hero, Batman, and when Batman gets angry with him (for causing more harm than good) he essentially sends Bat-Mite back to Zrfff as punishment like a parent sends a child to their room.
You see where the problem is with this? Batman is sending this "god-like" being to their room is somewhat laughable. What if he said, "No, I don't want to." What then?
Either way, most of the stories that Bat-Mite appeared in the early 1960s were part of those innocent made for kids under ten, stories. They were pretty ridiculous and pretty lame.
Bat-mite made an appearance in Grant Morrison's Batman R.I.P. as a psychotically made delusion after a gunshot wound. And that's probably where he should remain - as a figment of someone's imagination.
2. Brother Power, The Geek
After lightning strikes a mannequin wearing some groovy clothes combined with the San Francisco's boss vibe, Brother Power the Geek was born. Earth's only puppet elemental.
No, I'm not kidding.
His powers? He's really strong. He's really groovy, far out and boss. Oh and he can possess other dummies, puppets, and mannequins. He's on a mission to learn the truth... and he ran for Congress on a platform of "Love, Peace, and Flower Power."
Sadly, this psychedelic answer to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was the brainchild of Joe Simon - Yes, THE Joe Simon. The guy who made Captain America. This was an early attempt to make a wandering lonely philosopher character similar to Marvel's The Silver Surfer. Needless to say, it failed.
His latest appearance came from a Swamp Thing story written by Neil Gaiman. The premise being that Brother Power was a failed elemental similar to that of the Swamp Thing but elemental to... dolls. Gaiman gave him the power to possess statues and other likenesses. Nice try. Still a bad idea, though.
I'm getting a headache now. Let's move on.
3. G'nort: A Fake Green Lantern Doggie
Okay...this is going to hurt...a lot.
G'nort Esplanade is an alien who was chosen by a group of "fake" guardians and made a "fake" Green Lantern. The "fake" guardians were actually a race called the Poglachians, a race of clowns who wanted to humiliate the actual Guardians of the Universe. G'nort, a general incompetent (think Jar Jar Binks, and you'll be halfway there) was chosen because the Poglachians thought he'd use his ring in amusing ways. G'nort was given a ring that covers his entire paw so that he'll point the ring in the right direction and not hurt himself. Through an effort of true bravery, Guy Gardner (Green Lantern Sector 2416.3) recommends G'nort to the Guardians to become a REAL Green Lantern.
G'nort's job is to patrol a lifeless part of space so he can't cause any trouble.
Here's what I can't figure out. A power ring is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. It can cause great destruction in the wrong hands. And the Guardians give it to an idiot. These entities who apparently have billions of years of wisdom, decide, "Ehhh, What the hell."
G'nort was written to be annoying and in that the writers have exceeded their goal. It's like watching something your dad thought was funny forty years ago...over and over again.
It is only right that his character is the butt of so many jokes in I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League.
4. "Uncle" Marvel of the Marvel Family
It got so that Fawcett Comics tried to push the envelope with (fill in the blank) Marvel. There was obviously Captain Marvel (not the Marvel Comics version), Captain Marvel Jr. (the only character in comic book history that couldn't speak his own name), Mary Marvel (Captain Marvel's younger sister), Tall Marvel, Fat Marvel, and even a Hill Billy Marvel (three characters that all had the name Billy Batson - The Lieutenant Marvels).
Then we have Uncle Marvel.
Uncle Marvel is a con man who pretended to be Mary Batson's uncle after he'd found out her secret. Because the Marvels all have the "wisdom of Solomon" they saw through his con. But they allowed him to believe they'd been taken because he was such a "lovable old con". He pretends to have superpowers like the rest of the Marvel Family... and often complains about his "Shazambago" acting up - so the others help him fly.
What we call this in real life is criminal dementia. When you see an old man wear a superhero costume... and he doesn't have powers, strip and says the word, "Shazam!" - run, he's insane.
Uncle Marvel was written for a more innocent time when such things could be accepted and taken with a grain of salt. Sure, he's harmless. But one would seriously have to question the wisdom of Solomon for allowing such a game to be played.
5. Matter-Eating Lad
What if you had this real power that you could eat just about anything. Steel bars, coal, dirt, rocks...you name it.
Tenzil Kem of Bismoll possesses the ability to eat anything and his body will disintegrate it. The Legion of Superheroes in the 30th Century thought that was a pretty nifty power. My guess is that the bar was pretty low that year. I think it was between this guy and Captain Marvel (An honorable mention for a Captain Marvel spin-off that was pretty lame - a guy who could dismember himself at will by yelling "Split!")... Maybe they couldn't find the superhero who could make dish detergent with her eyes.
HOW DO YOU FIGHT CRIME?!!
The Legion suddenly needs a human mole and they need someone to dig a hole with their TEETH. Not for nothing, apparently, the 30th Century lost the science of making shovels.
Whoever thought of Matter-Eating Lad was most likely a person who for some reason couldn't stop eating and thought, "Let's make a hero with that talent."
A bad idea that survives to this day.
The above picture is one of Garth Ennis's "Six Pack". If you ever get a chance to read any of the adventures or misadventures of the super-powered hitman for hire, Tommy Monaghan, in the aptly titled "Hitman", jump at the chance. They are comic book gold.
Within his cast is a bunch of pathetic miscreants under the team name "Six Pack". These idiots are intentionally lame to the point where they're cringe-worthy. The difference between them and the five listed above is that the ones listed in this article a grown adult person seriously came up with and another editor said, "Good idea. Let's go with that."
I want you to see these characters. You need to see them. So that next time you say, "That character is really lame." You can compare it to REALLY LAME.
Let that be your yardstick. Let this be the lameness scale that you judge all things that are really lame to be really lame.
But let's look at this a little differently. Sometimes we need to see really bad characters in order to know what really good characters are. It's kind of like sex. You know really good sex because you've had really bad sex. And you can now tell the difference.
Don't think this leaves Marvel innocent. Stan Lee can make a page all by himself.
They are next.
© 2012 Christopher Peruzzi
Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on August 22, 2019:
@ Steve Rubino,
I finally got a chance to binge B&B. Paul Reubens was a great Bat-Mite. And the final episode with Mite-Fall was patently hilarious (especially the running gag with Ted McGinley with Henry Winkler as Ambush Bug).
WhatTheHub from Florida on October 11, 2012:
I would say "Bouncing Boy", definitively lame. lol
Steve Rubino from Milton, Vermont on August 20, 2012:
Great Hub. You're right, these guys are all excellent examples of lame DC characters, and are probably the cream of the crop for utter terribleness. You could fill a ton of articles just on DC's awful characters, let alone Marvel's. Bat-Mite, however, I look at a little better since his appearance on Brave and the Bold; that at least was pretty entertaining.
Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on March 27, 2012:
The Five Really Lame Marvel Characters hub is out now.
Bigpayno from Indianapolis, Indiana on March 26, 2012:
Good Hub man! I love DC comics as well as Marvel, but I haven't heard of most of these guys, and for good reason after reading this...lol.
Dominique L from Oregon on March 25, 2012:
Awesome Hub! You are so right, though I have to admit, I love Bat-Mite BECAUSE he's so stupid. But where's The Clock King? The 90's cartoon couldn't even save him. Poor, sad, anal retentive little man...
Angel Caleb Santos from Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 25, 2012:
I am a comic book fan and enjoyed your article. I can't wait to read your take on Marvel Comics!
Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on March 25, 2012:
Ha! I'm not a big comic book fan, but your title drew me in. Hilarious. I can't wait to read the next installment! Voted up and awesome.
Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on March 25, 2012:
I was trying not to think of them or The Inferior Five.
Keith Abt from The Garden State on March 25, 2012:
Sadly, I remember all of these characters. Haha. I could probably give you about a dozen others that are just as lame, but for now I'll just say...
How'bout CAPTAIN CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW??
Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on March 25, 2012:
Do yourself a favor and Google them. Bat-mite is just painful to remember.
Uncle Marvel can be found in Wikipedia. Back in the 70's his character was the basis for "Mentor" in the live action SHAZAM! Saturday Morning Show.
Steven Escareno on March 25, 2012:
Wow, I've never even heard of half these characters. I heard of Uncle Marvel before, and I think Bat-Mite had a cameo appearance on Cartoon Network's "Teen Titans" show once, where he showed up to annoy the hell out of Robin. lol. As for the rest of them, I never even heard of them until i read this hub. Wow, i guess current generation comic book fans should start to appreciate the characters we have now, as the ones you've mentioned sound really lame. thanks for the fun read. lol. :)
MrAungst from Penna on March 25, 2012:
Great hub. I love comics and graphic novels. I've never heard of Bat-Mite or Uncle Marvel, but the others I have. All ridiculous in their own rights. Thanks for the interesting, fun read!