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There's something to be said about the sacred nature of a superhero's origin story. Of all the things Hollywood has vowed to screw up through never-ending reboots and sequels and remakes, you can bet your lunch money that the hero's origin story is going to stay the same. Batman's always a rich kid who watched his parents die, Superman's an alien from Krypton and Wolverine's ... angry. In a world plagued with continuity problems, it's nice to have that kind of constant.

Except, when you dig into the comics, you often find downright terrifying stories from the hero's past that actually explain a lot, yet will never get included in a Hollywood blockbuster. For instance ...

5Spider-Man Was Molested as a Kid

The Origin Story We Know:

As a teenager, Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained incredible superpowers (instead of a nasty scab on his hand and/or cancer). After his Uncle Ben is murdered by a thug, Pete starts using his abilities to punch other thugs for the betterment of society.

Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)
Not bad for a middle-aged accountant.

But There Is Another Story ...

As perfectly logical as the above explanation sounds, there is a lesser known but arguably more important origin for Spider-Man. Basically, it boils down to "a guy touched his penis."

In a 1984 "very special" issue, Spider-Man comforts a young boy who was abused by his babysitter by telling him the story of another kid who was once in a similar situation. It all started when the kid in Spider-Man's story became friends with a creepy older boy named Skip.

Spider-Man and Power Pack #1 (1984)
"Wanna go out to eat? I get a discount at Sizzler."

After going over his vintage porno collection together, Skip starts getting fresh with the other boy ... who happens to look remarkably like a young Peter Parker.

Spider-Man and Power Pack #1 (1984)

The boy, an orphan, eventually confessed what happened to the relatives he lived with (let's call them "Aunt Nay" and "Uncle Den"). However, the comic is vague about whether the kid in the story was Peter or not, because just flat-out confirming that Spidey was molested would be insa --

Spider-Man and Power Pack #1 (1984)
"Also, if you tell anyone my identity, I'll have to kill you."

Oh. But wait, what if Spider-Man was just making the story up to make the kid feel better about himself? That seems like something he'd do. Except that at the end of the comic, we see Spidey talking to himself and admitting that this was a huge deal for him.

Spider-Man and Power Pack #1 (1984)
"It's also important to --" *crashes into building*

So wait, Peter was molested as a kid, and up until this story he had never dealt with the trauma? Except, of course, by dressing up in a crazy costume and punching bad men -- which actually makes for a more feasible origin than "He was a nerd who got superpowers." Every time Spider-Man was punching Doctor Octopus in the face, it's quite possible that he was actually thinking of his friend Skip.

Amazing Spider-Man #71 (1969)
It also explains why he never liked Quicksilver from the Avengers.

There's even a song by the Black Lips about this issue, and if you think this was an alternate reality deal or something like that, Skip was referenced again in a later comic from 1987 where Spider-Man starts monologuing about child abuse in the middle of a fight across New York with a possibly very awkward villain.

National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse #1 (1987)
"I'm pretty flippant about it now, though!"

4Superman Has Some Serious Mommy Issues

The Origin Story We Know:

Superman is the last survivor of planet Krypton and given special abilities by the Earth's atmosphere. Upon reaching adulthood, he settles in the city of Metropolis, adopts the secret identity of a mild-mannered reporter at the Daily Planet and stops local maniac Lex Luthor from destroying the world, like, every other week.

Action Comics #1 (1938)
Seriously, Superman, you could have circumnavigated the globe three times in the time it took to say that sentence.

But There Is Another Story ...

It's generally accepted that Superman does all these things because he's just that good a dude. However, it turns out that every important decision in Superman's life and career can be traced back to the same thing, and that thing is the fact that (we'll try to put this delicately) he wants to bone his mom. Hear us out.

Superman's mother back on Krypton was called Lara Lor-Van. His childhood girlfriend in Smallville was Lana Lang, his college sweetheart was Lori Lemaris and his constant foil/fiance/wife is Lois Lane -- notice a pattern there? It's like he's gone out of his way to only date women who share the same initials as his mother. There are plenty more examples of that:

Superman #157 (1962)
Not pictured: Lindsay Lohan, LL Cool J.

At one point, Superman even pulls a Marty McFly and travels back in time to when his parents were his age, joining their social circle and becoming engaged to one of his mother's friends -- a woman named Lyla Lerrol. The name "Lyla Lerrol," coincidentally, is only four letters away from being an anagram of "Lara Lor-Van," and the two seem to have a lot in common.

Superman #141 (1960)
"Krypton is a polygamous planet, I trust that won't make the ensuing evening terribly awkward."

But perhaps the strongest piece of evidence comes from that time Lois Lane also traveled back in time and seduced Superman's dad (nothing creepy about that). Look at Lois and Lara side by side:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #59 (1965)
Let's just agree to ignore the fact that Superman's dad is clearly getting a boner.

It's not just this one issue -- they are consistently drawn alike. Now consider the fact that Lois Lane was already a famous reporter when Superman moved to Metropolis. It's possible that he only went there and started working at the Daily Planet to be near Lois, following his "LL" obsession. Otherwise, who knows, he might have stayed in Smallville saving cows and working as a dairy farmer.

Oh, and it turns out that Superman befriending a kid named LL when he was Superboy inadvertently created the world's worst criminal, too ...

3Lex Luthor Is Just Pissed That He's Bald

The Origin Story We Know:

We're all familiar with Lex Luthor, the archiest of Superman's archenemies and one of the richest guys on the planet, with aspirations to be even richer and rule all the world while he's at it. Now, admittedly, that's kind of hard to do when there's a guy around who can accidentally destroy the Earth with a sneeze, so of course Lex has devoted his life to destroying Superman at all costs. It's an ambitious dream, but as far as supervillain reasoning goes, it's pretty solid.

Superman #10 (1941)
"Not the super-swirly! Noooooo!"

But There Is Another Story ...

Except that Lex Luthor's actually just evil because he's pissed at Superman for making him bald.

What you probably don't know is that before ever butting heads in Metropolis as grown men, Lex and Supes actually lived in the same small town as kids and were even sort of friends for a bit.

Adventure Comics #271 (1960)
"This definitely won't come back to bite me in the ass as an adult!"

Well, as much as one can be friends with a creepy stalker-fan who worships you and keeps a house full of things you've touched on display.

Adventure Comics #271 (1960)
"And over here is the super-shit you took last week. Looks like you had some corn."

That's right, young Lex with a full head of hair originally used his supergenius for good and thought Superboy was just swell. In fact, more than anything in the world he just wanted to be his friend, and maybe hug him just a bit longer than appropriate, and then smell him a little.

Of course, Superboy, being the nice guy he is, builds Lex a lab to do all his sciencing in, probably just so he'll know where exactly this guy is at all times and can then be somewhere else. In return, Lex was working on a cure for Superboy's weakness to Kryptonite, which would have been pretty sweet if Luthor hadn't accidentally blown up his lab in the process, forcing Superboy to come save his life.

Adventure Comics #271 (1960)
Despite being a supergenius, Lex Luthor can't figure out how to crawl out an open window at ground level.

But, while putting out the flames, as Lex begged him to do, Superboy accidentally blows around some chemicals that make Lex bald in the process of saving his life. And that's it. That's the first, last and only straw that breaks Lex and makes him the cruelest, most complex supervillain the DC universe has ever known. In one day, he goes from being so Superboy-obsessed that he'd give both his kidneys and his right nut to be his friend to being the guy below, whose anger has instantly aged him 30 years:

Adventure Comics #271 (1960)
"So, did you, like, draw on those eyebrows? How are they still sticking around?"

Adventure Comics #271 (1960)
"Wait, you're also angry that I destroyed the antidote to the thing that only hurts me? Am I getting this right?"

So it turns out all the pain and suffering that Luthor has inflicted on the world over the years, and his multiple attempts to completely destroy it, is all because Luthor's too proud to buy a wig and not genius enough to invent super-Rogaine. Instead, he takes out his bald aggression on Superman and his stupid, luscious blue Jheri curls.

Adventure Comics #271 (1960)
That's presumably his science hatchet.

This isn't just one oddball flashback from an obscure issue of the comic, either -- years later, the unintentionally amazing '80s live-action TV show Superboy ended up using the exact same origin to explain Luthor's hatred of his archenemy, except depicted it so dramatically that even Dawson's Creek asked if they could tone it back a bit.

adherents
Actual show dialogue. Seriously.

2The Hulk Has Rage Issues Due to Child Abuse

Marvel Super-Heroes #59 (1976)

The Origin We Know:

A gamma bomb, or some other source of gamma radiation, explodes in Dr. Bruce Banner's face and he turns into a green giant who punches things. The end.

But There Is Another Story ...

This being comics, nothing can ever be that simple. In an issue of The Incredible Hulk from 1985, it's revealed that Bruce Banner was a victim of child abuse. His dad was an angry alcoholic who beat young Bruce and accidentally killed his mother. You may remember this plot line from the Ang Lee Hulk movie, but probably not, because no one saw that shit.

Incredible Hulk #312 (1985)
"FWAK!" The tragic sound effect of child abuse.

It turns out that Bruce's dad was scared of him, even as a baby, because he was too smart. In this issue, the dad comes across his son building stuff with a play set on Christmas morning and flips the hell out:

Incredible Hulk #312 (1985)

This is where it gets different from the movie, though. Years later, a college-age Bruce confronts his dad at his mom's grave after he's released from prison for killing her. When Bruce's dad attacks him, Bruce angrily fights back, killing him ...

Incredible Hulk #1 (1997)
Death by groin kick.

... then immediately forgets about it, going back to being a quiet little nerd. He just had his first Hulk spell, years before being exposed to radiation and gaining the ability to turn into a giant monster. The implication here is that puny Bruce Banner was always destined to one day go out into the street in tattered shorts and attempt to smash tanks into buildings: The accident simply made him more efficient at it.

Incredible Hulk #312 (1985)
"This will save me a fortune in gym fees and green skin dye!"

In fact, we've already gone over the time the Hulk became a perfectly well behaved giant green dude after getting psychiatric treatment. If all superheroes did the same thing, though, there would be no more comics.

1Professor X Loves His Students a Bit Too Much (And Kills Billions as a Result)

The Origin Story We Know:

As the leader of the supposedly peaceful (and yet always fighting someone) X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier's goals in life are simple: to protect mutants, to peacefully promote mutant rights and to help mutants and humans live together. He even founded Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters to teach mutants to explore and control their powers, and definitely not to build his own personal mutant army. He's basically just an all-around awesome father-figure type to these kids, whom he loves.

But There Is Another Story ...

It turns out he kind of loves them a bit more than he should, at least in the case of Jean Grey.

The X-Men #3 (1964)
Yes, Professor, the only problem is the wheelchair.

Uh, yeah, so that's Professor X, easily in his 30s or 40s at the time, mentally admitting his complete and total love for his 15-year-old student Jean Grey way back in the third issue of X-Men. Not only is it super disturbing that this guy who leads and teaches kids on a daily basis was in love with his 15-year-old student, but it also means he's been in love with Jean basically every single moment of the X-Men's history.

So during every mission, briefing and training session the team's ever had, he's been making leadership decisions while secretly in love with one of his students and trying not to let it affect his judgment. And this has been going on for over 50 years, which is a terrifying amount of sexual repression, and he hasn't told a soul, except for Moira MacTaggert, the other woman he loves and can never be with.

Uncanny X-Men #101 (1976)
So, got a thing for redheads, Professor?

Now, we're not saying Xavier doesn't still love his students in a non-creepy way, but it sure puts a new spin on basically every interaction the guy has ever had with the team when you know that he's been desperately in love with Jean since she was a teenager, and if one recent alternate reality version of Xavier is to be believed, is still in love with her today.

Ultimate X-Men #77 (2006)
"This is my emotion face. Look. Look at it."

What's even more interesting about this is that when Jean originally joined the X-Men her only powers were telekinesis and hotness. It was Professor X who later insisted that they have secret meetings together where he granted her telepathic powers as well to prepare her for that time he faked his own death, making her twice as powerful as she had been before.

X-Men #43 (1968)

He could have given those mind-reading powers to anyone, like maybe Beast, who is super intelligent but a little useless in a robot fight, but he chose to spend all that time with and grant additional powers to the girl he had a secret crush on who could already defend herself just fine. Years later, this bites all of civilization in the ass, as Jean not only developed Xavier's tendency to die all the time, but also her powers evolved to godlike levels, to the point where she went crazy, started calling herself the Phoenix and destroyed a couple solar systems on a whim.

Uncanny X-Men #136 (1980)
"Haha, man, talk about dodging a bullet, huh? Shit is crazy."

But other than her eventually killing 5 billion people and then committing suicide, the whole thing worked out just fine.

Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile, and you can bother him on Twitter. D. McCallum has more nerd comedy here, or you can follow her on Twitter.

For more origins you're not likely to see in movies, check out 6 Famous Characters You Didn't Know Were Shameless Rip-Offs and 7 Shockingly Dark Origins of Lovable Children's Characters.

And stop by LinkSTORM to see which columnist secretly wishes they were the Hulk.

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