For a while now, comic book companies have been desperately trying to shock readers into spending more money by turning every classic character into a gritty, foul-mouthed, murderous bastard, which is why every current issue of Superman ends with him telling Lex Luthor to "eat a dick."
Well, old-time comics may be less violent and explicit than current ones, but that doesn't mean the heroes weren't sometimes colossal dicks while they saved the universe. If you don't believe us, let us tell you about the time ...
7Green Lantern Was Racist Toward His Sidekick
Hal "Green Lantern" Jordan is part of an intergalactic peacekeeping organization where each member is armed with the single most powerful weapon in the universe. In his early comics, his only weakness was the color yellow ... which, incidentally (and offensively), was also the color of the skin of his Asian sidekick, whom he seriously called "Pieface." This is like giving Superman a sidekick made of kryptonite.
Green Lantern #4 (1961)
Out of necessity, Pieface was the first Asian in comics who could pronounce the letter L.
Pieface was actually an Eskimo, a fact later writers clumsily tried to use to explain away his horribly racist nickname. This, of course, only made things worse:
Secret Origins #36 (1989)
"White, huh? The only white people I've met have been insensitive and hurtful. I'll call you ... 'Sir,' I guess. This sucks."
The only thing the "Eskimo pie" explanation accomplished was establishing that Hal was definitely the one who came up with the nickname, and also that he was a shithead.
Anyway, Pieface was Hal's mechanic in his secret identity as a test pilot. After Pieface finds out his boss is also Green Lantern, Hal asks him to become his sidekick ... despite Pie being a teenager with no superpowers and no combat training. The poor kid was probably too scared to lose his job if he said no -- the same issue establishes that he's responsible for supporting his entire village in Alaska.
Green Lantern #2 (1960)
Alaska: Primary exports include fishhooks, pies and whimsy.
This exposed Pieface to a host of dangerous situations he was clearly not prepared to deal with, like that time someone turned him into a chimp dressed in a Green Lantern costume:
Green Lantern #5 (1961)
You can tell it's him because he referenced fishhooks, you see.
Or the time Green Lantern turned him into a seagull in his sleep because Hal was having a bizarre dream where Pieface wanted to be a bird:
This panel alone held back civil rights for at least five extra years.
"And then -- Oh, I am a bird? Well, sure, my life wasn't already horrible. Sure."
6Superman Drops His Cousin in an Orphanage, Makes Out With Her
Supergirl is Superman's teenage cousin who, by a staggering coincidence, also survived Krypton's explosion and arrived on Earth, because comics. When Supergirl first appeared in 1959, Superman decided she wasn't allowed to make her presence known to anyone until she had been properly trained in using her powers.
So where did she live in the meantime? Clark Kent's cozy apartment? Superman's giant, mostly empty Fortress of Solitude? Nope:
Action Comics #252 (1959)
"I was raised by a set of loving parents, but I hear these are fun, too."
So wait, this young girl had just gone through a horribly traumatic experience (having watched everyone she knew slowly die from Kryptonite poisoning), and Superman's way of helping her deal with that is to ... abandon her in an orphanage and forbid her from making human contact? And this wasn't just for one story -- she stayed there for years. She only once disobeyed and revealed herself to, um, Superman's flying dog, and Superman punished her by exiling her to a remote asteroid.
Action Comics #258 (1959)
"Of course I get off on this, Krypto. Why else would Superman do such terrible things?"
This, of course, turned out to be part of some dumbass scheme that Superman could have easily carried out without necessarily stranding Supergirl in outer space. This sort of thing happened a lot: Another time, Superman forced her to pretend to be his wife from another dimension, "Mighty Maid" ...
Action Comics #260 (1960)
The crossing she refers to is dangerous because it usually results in deformed babies.
... and, yes, this plan involved making out with his underage cousin:
Action Comics #260 (1960)
Lois was way too old for him anyway.
After becoming engaged to "Mighty Maid," Superman announces that he will be leaving our dimension forever to live in hers. Eventually we find out that Superman had made Supergirl pretend to be his wife to fool some aliens into thinking that Superman was leaving our dimension. We have, like, six different ways to accomplish this goal off the top of our heads, and not one of our schemes would force our underage cousins into making out with us. None of our schemes have that. (It's why we'll never be Superman.)
When the aliens are no longer a problem, Superman explains away the situation to Lois by admitting to be an accidental pedophile, and everything is back to normal.
Action Comics #260 (1960)
"Now let's go to the movies," Lois said, as she casually fell off another building.