Since its earliest days, Hollywood has known that comic books are a fertile source to steal ideas from, since everyone knows the characters but nobody actually reads the stories (right?).
But Hollywood hasn't always treated the source material with the same respect and reverence that it gave characters like Iron Man, Scott Pilgrim or even Howard the Duck. For example ...
7Legends of the Superheroes, or the Live-Action SuperFriends Turn Racist
Yes. Yes, you can go wrong with a bunch of well-known superheroes. Horribly, horribly wrong.
Legends of the Superheroes was the name of two one-hour specials inspired by The SuperFriends, the cartoon loosely based on the Justice League comics. And it was a variety show. With a laugh track.
The cast included Batman, Robin, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern (the better-known one this time), Hawkman and The Flash. The only reason Superman and Wonder Woman didn't show up is that they had a movie and a series in production. Adam West and Burt Ward reprised their roles as Batman and Robin -- except that this was in 1979, more than 10 years after their show went off the air, which means that Batman is now over 50 and the "Boy Wonder" is in his mid-30s. The unintentional result was a Dynamic Duo that looked like it had fallen on some hard times.
"One more crack about the new Batmobile and you're walking home."
The first episode features the heroes trying to discover the location of a doomsday device, but then the second one was, inexplicably, a celebrity roast of the superheroes hosted by Ed McMahon.
But it gets worse: At one point, McMahon tells the audience that there are other less well-known superheroes, "especially in the minority area." From that point the show spirals into a politically incorrect nightmare:
That's right, the only black superhero in the entire show had to be called Ghetto Man and come from the projects. After he's done performing his sassy stand-up act ("I'm sorry, but we don't feel the Green Lantern qualifies as 'colored people' "), he flies away by opening his arms and legs and shouting "KAREEEEEEEEM!"
We'd say that 1979 was a different time, but we're pretty sure that episode qualified as a hate crime even then.