Pop culture is under constant pressure to keep up to date with what those damn kids are into -- the only problem being that pop culture is generally managed by rich, out-of-touch old dudes. That's why, when it's time to "update" a property, we wind up with some seriously cringe-worthy attempts. Like ...
5Marvel Tries To Appeal To Minorities; All They Can Come Up With Is Skateboards
Back in the 1980s, Marvel Comics was being pressured to introduce at least a few characters who didn't need SPF 100 just to step outside. And so they complied, introducing new African-American superheroes like Rocket Racer and Night Thrasher. What did they have in common, besides skin color? Their superpowers revolved in some way around skateboards.
Powers such as "Fly" and "Da Bomb."
In 2003, Marvel introduced a Hispanic mutant named El Guapo to the X-Men; his power was to telekinetically control his skateboard.
One time, the skateboard beat him up for cheating on his girlfriend, Consuela.
We are not making this up.
That was only a couple of years after the X-Men met Spyke, a superhero in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon series. The whole idea of Spyke, according to the executive producer, was to create an African-American hero that reflected the racial diversity of America. And their crazy ethnic love of skateboarding.
Clearly, this is the coolest mutant power ever.
Spyke is introduced as Storm's nephew, because there are so few black people in Marvel's America that they must all be part of the same family, and his only real character traits are that he's disrespectful of authority and likes skateboards. You know, a black guy.
And it's not like Marvel doesn't know it's ridiculous. Here's an internal memo sent by one of their frustrated African-American editors ... from 1989:
4Teen Titans Tries To Appeal To The Hippie Generation With Incomprehensible Dialogue
Fearing that their roster of adult superheroes was just too damn old to rope in a teenage audience, DC Comics, under the helm of writer Bob Haney, created a new team out of their existing teenage sidekicks. But the dialogue was like something out of your stuffy conservative uncle's nightmares.
For this panel, they transcribed a pitch meeting, verbatim.
Teen Titans focused on all the key teenage issues of the '60s, like hula-hoops, vinyl records, and struggling with reefer addiction. And they handled these complicated problems by mashing together words they'd heard kids say on TV into bizarre language soup, much like your "cool" junior high counselor trying to get you to narc on who brought those fireworks to school.
"Wild, wooly, and full of gumdrops is no way to go through life, chum."
The infamous "Hippieville USA" story arc revolves around the Titans going undercover as hippies while looking for a runaway teenager, and it was clearly written by the starchiest old white men this side of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
But it was way ahead of its time, by making hippies look ridiculous.
Somehow the series became popular among modern cats and chicks, despite the fact that it might as well have been written in mad-groovin' hieroglyphics, daddy-o. Apparently the kids knew the score, you dig? Cowabunga!