Wolverine Was Literally A Wolverine: 5 Stupid Superhero Origins Everybody Forgot
Creating a famous superhero is like 10% inspiration, 90% throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks. Every successful comic book character has years or even decades of stories where the writers are just trying out different ideas for powers, costumes, or even origins -- the good ones become core parts of the character, while the incredibly dumb ones are left behind and forgotten by everyone. Except us, of course. Here are some moments your favorite superheroes would prefer we didn't bring up again ...
Aquaman Wanted To Have Sex With A Dolphin
A good way to give a superhero some gravitas is to give them a tragic love interest they can't be together with for some reason: Spider-Man has Gwen Stacy (dead), Batman has Andrea Beaumont (villain), Daredevil has Elektra (sometimes dead, sometimes villain), and Aquaman has Nera (is a dolphin). Not, like, a woman with dolphin powers or anything like that -- a regular dolphin he met as Aquaboy and fell in lust with.
See, the Aquaman: Time and Tide miniseries reveals that Aquaman was raised by dolphins until he was well into puberty. At no point did he suspect he could be anything else; he grew up thinking he was simply deformed or something. The other dolphins all thought the boy was kind of a moron for not knowing how to swim, until a young female called Nera took him under her fin and taught him. They grew closer over the years and one day, young Aquaman announced he wanted to "court" her. It's only then that his adoptive mother (who went by the unfortunate, non-Googleable name of "Child-Lover Porm") stepped in and was like "ew, nope, that's illegal."
Porm told the young Aquaman the truth about his animal species, which is always a tough moment for adoptees. He left the group soon after, but he didn't forget Nera: for one thing, he ends up marrying a woman called Mera, presumably more due to her dolphin-esque name than the fact that she's a hot redhead.
Years later, Aquaman goes on a mission to rescue a dolphin being experimented on and it turns out to be "the first love ever knew." Aquaman is just as horny for Nera now as when he was a young nudist -- he marvels at the fact that her beauty is "unchanged" and comments that "she taught to swim and she taught to love." S ... somehow?
Unfortunately, the experiments damaged Nera's sonar, which not only makes it hard for her suitor to communicate with her, but also forces her to stay in a pool instead of going back to the ocean, where he lives. Which is probably for the best, because we doubt Jason Momoa would have taken the role if every Aquaman comic was just non-stop bestiality.
That Time Kevin Smith Made Batman Soil Himself
One of the coolest moments in Batman: Year One, and Batman comics in general, and all comics in general, is when a fresh Bats introduces himself to Gotham City's corrupt elite by crashing one of their fancy dinner parties with some smoke bombs and a little explosive, all of that just to deliver a speech about how the party's over for them.
It's a perfect moment, which is why the comic's animated adaptation was wise enough to leave it as it is. But then Kevin Smith got involved and apparently said "You know what this scene needs? More Batman pee." No, he didn't make it so Batman turned off that fire by whipping out his bat-pole and pissing on it, which actually would have been kind of badass. The pee remained within the Dark Knight's costume at all times, unfortunately.
In the Smith-written miniseries Batman: The Widening Gyre, Batman meets a new Gotham City vigilante called Baphomet and sort of starts showing him the ropes. While trying to reassure Baphomet that he'll get better at superheroing with time, Batman reveals that he misjudged the size of the explosion during that Year One scene and ... had a "bladder spasm." Because there's nothing DC won't let you add to the canon when you're a celebrity writer, apparently.
In general, the miniseries seems more concerned with Batman's bodily fluids than the average DC comic. Multiple pages are devoted to Bruce Wayne having sex with his returning girlfriend Silver St. Cloud and then talking about how good it was and how loud he made her yell, to the point that they seriously had to stop screwing on the beach because the dolphins alerted Aquaman. (While he was also screwing them, presumably.)
Wolverine Was Supposed To Be An Actual Wolverine
After Wolverine debuted in 1974, Marvel took 28 years to come out with an origin for the character, so think about that the next time you feel bad for procrastinating. In the meantime, various possible origins were tossed around by the writers, including one where the world's most popular mutant wasn't a mutant at all -- he was an actual wolverine who'd become slightly more articulate and slightly less hairy than the rest.
In one of Wolverine's early X-Men appearances in 1976, a scientist says he's getting weird readings from him and suggests he might not be the same species as his teammates.
There's also a moment a few issues later where a leprechaun who seems to know a lot about Wolverine (he was the first to call him "Logan" in a comic ever, fun fact) casually refers to him as a "talkin' wolverine." That's because that's literally what writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum intended the character to be: an animal mutated into human form by the High Evolutionary, the same being responsible for turning a regular cow into Scarlet Witch's nanny. He just did a better job making this one pass as a person.
According to Cockrum, this plot twist never happened because "Stan Lee found the concept disgusting," presumably because Stan assumed readers were already cranking it to Wolverine and he didn't want to turn them into accidental perverts. Still, the idea ended up making it into other versions of the character: in X-Men: The Animated Series, the High Evolutionary does the opposite and mutates Wolvie to bring out his animalistic traits, essentially turning him into a TMNT villain.
In the Earth X comics (a.k.a. "What If ... The Marvel Universe Was Extremely Depressing?"), it's revealed that Wolverine was basically a present-day caveman and had no mutant DNA in his body. The regular Marvel Universe also toyed with the idea that Wolverine and other characters were actually part of a separate (non-mutant) species called Lupines that evolved from dogs instead of apes, but this was dropped when fans collectively said "Well, that's dumb." So don't worry, Wolverine is back to being a mutant and was never an animal. Crank away, friends.
Superman Pretended Clark Kent Was His Stepbrother
As far as the people of Metropolis know, Superman's origin is that he arrived on a rocket from Krypton as a baby, somehow raised himself without the help of any kindly human couples or aquatic mammals, and then put on a circus costume and became a superhero. Naturally, it'd make sense for an inquisitive, Pulitzer-winning reporter like Lois Lane to question this story -- especially after she drops by Smallville unannounced and bumps into Superman casually shooting the shit with Clark Kent's childhood friend Lana Lang.
Pretty soon, Lois has finally put two and two together and straight up asks Superman if he's Clark. Before Superman can give Lois an amnesia kiss or fly off to reverse the rotation of the planet, Ma and Pa Kent show up and admit that, yes, they found Superman's rocket and raised him from childhood ... as Clark's brother. That is, Superman and the guy who looks just like him and who is never around at the same time as him are not total strangers no one would ever think to connect, but adoptive bros.
Lois is pretty upset -- not at the insultingly obvious lie, but at the fact that Clark has been getting Superman scoops via the "If you don't help me with my report I'll tell mom on you" method all these years. So the ruse works, but, uh ... why even bother with it at all? At this point, they've already told Lois most of the information: Superman is a Kent, Clark's articles were written with superhuman help, Ma Kent is great at costume design, etc. There's no reason not to tell her the truth. By now, messing with Lois Lane's head is more like a creative exercise than something done to protect Superman's loved ones.
Lois was angry at the "Kent bros" for a while, but then sort of forgot about this revelation (as did the writers). To be fair, when you live in the DC Universe it's probably hard to keep track of stuff like which co-worker is related to which famous alien and such.
The Corny Adventures Of The Original "Watchmen"
With its gritty realism and complex storytelling, Watchmen was one of the books that convinced the world that comics ain't just for kids no more -- you won't see these superheroes fighting little green men or wacky monsters! Well, unless you look at the original Watchmen: as in, the older DC Comics-owned characters Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons wanted to use when they first conceived this story, which they very, very thinly disguised into "new" ones when DC said they were off limits.
Dr. Manhattan, for example, is based on Captain Atom, a scientist who was disintegrated during an experiment but managed to pull his atoms back together, gaining superpowers and, more impressively, getting to keep much of his pants.
Then again, Atom's superhero costume was so garish that fighting crime naked or in a thong like Dr. Manhattan would actually be less embarrassing. We also don't remember Manhattan being easily subdued by tiny, rainbow-colored evildoers.
The Comedian was based on another patriotic hero called The Peacemaker, a man who "loves peace" with rare intensity and will kick your #@%$ing ass if you don't, whether you're American, a commie, or a sea mutant offering free refreshments. Also, he wore a toilet seat for a helmet.
Meanwhile, Nite Owl is based on Blue Beetle, who regularly faced off against things like mummies, robots, mole people, insect-themed villains, and magical floating eyes. The original 1939 version of the character, policeman Dan Garret, was so unremarkable that no one bothered to renew the copyright, which is why there's a 2012 low budget movie about the character with a strong "porno parody" energy:
As for Rorschach, he was based on The Question, who was probably the closest to his Watchmen incarnation in that he refused to compromise for any reason and didn't mind letting his enemies die. The biggest difference is that he looks like he bathes more often.
Silk Specter loosely filled the same role as Captain Atom's partner Nightshade, and Ozymandias was straight up Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, a man who has achieved "the highest degree of mental and physical perfection." Behold, the ideal male body:
These characters are considered iconic despite the fact that none of their original Charlton Comics series lasted more than a dozen issues. By the '80s, Charlton had gone bankrupt, allowing DC to scoop up these guys for a pittance. They only had successful runs after Watchmen came out and generated more interest in them ... although The Question himself didn't seem too appreciative that time he read the comic.
Top Image: DC Comics