Superheroes That Comic Book Creators Wish You Would Forget

It's amazing how far superheroes have come. Characters that once were only known by a handful of people have blown up into major box-office sensations. Sure, the success of heroes like Spider-Man and Wonder Woman is one thing, but we now live in a world where even cult favorites like Ant-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy have become pop culture legends.

However, not every superhero or supervillain out there has what it takes to hit the big leagues. You'll probably never see a movie about any of these guys. When you dive deep enough into comics history, you'll find characters that are so ridiculous, so dated, and/or so offensive that it's hard to believe anyone ever approved of them. Here are a number of weird, disturbing, and/or hilarious superheroes that comic book creators would rather just sweep under the carpet, usually for good reasons.

(Editor's note: The idea for this list was inspired by DK's Ultimate Marvel, a copy of which was provided to our editor.)

The Asbestos Lady

Here's one supervillain whose entire gig ended up being a big mistake. See, back in the 1940s, Marvel Comics was still brand new. The company was actually named Timely Comics back then, and one of their most popular heroes was the Human Torch. No, not Johnny Storm: the original Human Torch was actually a heroic android, and Johnny stole his identity two decades later. Anyhow, the Human Torch was one of the most powerful superheroes out there, seeing as he could lob balls of fire at anyone who got in his way, so it makes sense that Timely Comics wanted to give him a bad guy who was resistant to fire. Enter his "natural foe": Victoria Murdock, the Asbestos Lady! 

Oops. Maybe that wasn't the best idea? As you might imagine, the Asbestos Lady is a super-criminal who sets fire to banks and then robs them, with her body protected from the flames by a special asbestos-lined costume, according to Asbestos.com. She also wields an asbestos-lined net and shoots asbestos bullets. 

So yeah, she got covered in the stuff. Which is a big problem, considering we now know that asbestos is insanely carcinogenic. Asbestos contact causes the highly aggressive cancer known as mesothelioma, as well as being linked to lung cancer. Can you imagine wearing an entire suit lined with it? The chances are that even if Victoria Murdock hadn't run afoul of the Torch, all that asbestos exposure would have caught up with her before long.

Egg Fu

This one is a shame, because the idea of a supervillain whose body is actually just a giant egg is a hilarious bit of Silver Age craziness that one would hope to look back on fondly. Seriously, if Egg Fu's villainous antics could have been paired with a bunch of egg puns — "Watch out heroes, or you're going to get scrambled!" — then yeah, this guy probably could have been a dorky meme by now. Except, well...

As described by Comic Book Resources, the problem is that Egg Fu's entire personality and appearance is a viciously offensive racist caricature. Egg Fu is a messy omelet of every Asian stereotype ever created. His facial features are on the same exaggerated level as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's. His introductory paragraph describes him as being "steeped in Oriental cunning," and every time he talks, he replaces the R sounds with L sounds. It's painful to read. Despite his entire body being a gargantuan egg, Egg Fu also managed to grow out a Fu Manchu mustache, the extensions of which he wields as tentacles.

Predictably enough, Egg Fu meets his end when he gets cracked open, the fate which befalls all of Humpty Dumpty's cousins. He did come back a few times, then presumably disappeared into someone's salad. In recent years, DC Comics has created a few new versions of Egg Fu. They maintain the breakfast food theme but thankfully eighty-six the side dish of awful racism.

The Whizzer

The category of "superheroes who run really fast" is a big one, but the most popular one is certainly DC Comic's scarlet speedster, the Flash. Today, Marvel's closest equivalent to the Flash is Quicksilver, that hot-headed mutant who has managed to snag key roles in both the X-Men and the Avengers movies. However, way back in the early years of comic history, Marvel's first attempt at creating a speedster superhero was far wackier.

Meet the Whizzer, the unfortunate superhero who, for god knows what reason, decided to christen himself with a name that makes it sound as if he has overactive bladder disorder. Maybe that's why he's always running so fast? That moniker would be enough to earn him a spot here, but then the Whizzer had to complement it with a urine-colored jumpsuit, which would certainly earn the scorn of yellow spandex-hating superheroes like Cyclops. Also, what's with the wings on his head? Do they bobble around when he runs?

The true icing on the urinal cake is Robert Frank's origin story, which can be found on Marvel.com and Don Markstein's Toonopedia. To briefly summarize, in the days before Robert starts whizzing around, he accompanies his scientist father on a getaway somewhere in Africa. While there, the young man is bitten by a venomous cobra. Robert's father rushes to save his son's life, by injecting the younger Frank with a transfusion of ... um, mongoose blood. Really. This mongoose blood injection somehow gives Robert super-speed, and he becomes the Whizzer.

Shamrock

Let's return to the publishing history of blatant stereotypes. This character calls herself Shamrock, just to make sure you know that she's Irish. She was probably created after some editors spent their St. Patrick's Day chugging down a few too many green beers — which is actually an American tradition, not an Irish one — at which point they decided to put together every single Irish stereotype they could think of, and see if it worked as a character.

Don't believe us? Well, as if Molly Fitzgerald's codename isn't a big enough giveaway about her Irish background, she also has pale skin with bright red hair, she wears a green costume with a big clover leaf on her chest, she has a brother named Paddy, and her special ability is a "good luck power" that causes random events to fall in her favor. As described by Marvel.com, these powers were the result of her fanatical, evil Irish nationalist father bringing his two kids to a mountain and praying for his son to be blessed. The heavens decided to give these powers to Molly instead.

Now, one aspect of Shamrock's origins that is potentially interesting is that her body has supposedly become a vessel for the many souls of innocent lives lost during war, a concept that could be fleshed out. However, the stereotypical nature of everything else about Shamrock is really hard to overlook, so it's not surprising that the character has sunken into deep obscurity.

Codpiece

This DC Comics villain is like the ultimate comic book adaptation of every insecure, misogynistic, self-conscious internet troll you've ever met. Nothing says "toxic masculinity" quite like a dude so worried about his status in the world that he lashes out at everybody with a giant missile launcher lashed to his loins.

Codpiece, who according to DC Database first premiered in an issue of Doom Patrol, is exactly the sort of obnoxious tool you'd expect him to be. He makes a big show of shooting things from his massive codpiece, but he's super sensitive if you insult him, much less make any comments about the size of his gun. His codpiece is so multifunctional that not only can it launch explosive rockets across a room, it can also emit a sonic attack, punch people in the face with a spring-loaded boxing glove, can be used as a drill, and even extends outward into a giant pair of scissors, just in case he needs to wrap Christmas presents while out on the job.

Codpiece was defeated the superheroine Coagula when she used her powers to make his big gun melt into nothingness. For this angry supervillain, having his masculinity dissolved before his eyes was probably the most traumatic event in his entire life. Seeing as he's never come back, we can only assume that he never recovered from watching it happen.

Extraño

As we continue moving through this saga of forgotten characters, it's worth noting that comic books have done a lot of good in the world: comics have helped bust down barriers, break stereotypes, and they've shined a light on important social issues such as systemic prejudice, police brutality, and drug addiction. There's a reason most of the stereotypical characters described in this article have been left on the sidelines of history because comics are always progressing with the times. Going back to the '80s, however, another character composed of painful stereotypes is Extraño, DC's first gay superhero.

How offensive of a caricature is Extraño? Uh ... where to begin? As recounted by The FW, Extraño constantly made double entendres, spoke with a lisp, obsessed over his gelled-up hair, and clad himself in flamboyant costumes complemented by equally flamboyant jewelry. He also had a weird habit of referring to himself as "Auntie" and spitting out quotes like "Listen, honey, your old Auntie's here to tell you, sex can be highly overrated!" To top it off, Extraño then became infected with HIV when he was attacked by a so-called "AIDS Vampire" who used the codename Hemo-Goblin.

Surprisingly, Extraño has been revived in recent years. According to HIV Plus Magazine, DC brought back Extraño in 2016, and Comic Book Resources describes how his new appearances have tried to drop the offensive gay stereotypes that once defined "DC's most embarrassing character," recreating him as a calmer, less ridiculous, less outlandish antihero.

Skateman

Marvel and DC might be the power players in the comic book scene, but even the smaller comic companies out there can knock out a terrible character or two when they feel like it. Case in point: Skateman, the unknown hero of roller derby fans across the world.

According to Toonopedia, this wacky hero skated into the world in 1983, courtesy of Pacific Comics. Silly gimmick aside, Skateman's origin is a weird conglomeration of ideas that don't fit together. His alter ego is Billy Moon, a Vietnam veteran who comes home to unemployment. Billy likes martial arts, but his true love is skating, which leads to his success as a roller derby star. Then one day, his friend Jack gets murdered, and then his girlfriend gets murdered, too. Billy broods about this until he glances at some comic books, jumps back on his skates, and takes down the bad guys who killed his loved ones.

Author Jon Morris featured Skateman in his book, The League Of Regrettable Superheroes. Even though others (like the A.V. Club) consider Skateman "irredeemable," Morris holds hope for the character: "Mark my words: somewhere there is the creator who can make Skateman work, and someday they will, and I hope I live to see it." Maybe if a skilled writer someday finds the right spin, Skateman may yet be the linchpin of a blockbuster movie franchise.

U.S.A., the heroic trucker

Captain America might wear a star-spangled costume, but even Cap's patriotism has nothing on this guy. Ulysses Solomon Archer loves his country so much that his initials are U.S.A., which is hard to beat. According to Blog Into Mystery, this trucker vigilante was born as a result of Tyco approaching Marvel about working together to sell some toy trucks. Marvel went along with it, releasing 12 issues of a comic titled U.S. 1.

In the comic, young U.S. grows up in a family of truck drivers and dreams of someday driving his own truck. Then one day, the adult U.S. is flying down the open road when, out of nowhere, his truck gets taken down by the evil Highwayman, a supervillain Marvel.com calls the "scourge of truckers everywhere."

The crash cracks open U.S.'s skull, so he's rushed to the emergency room. The surgeons there replace the entire top half of his skull with an experimental metal alloy (!) which gives him a weird form of telepathy where he can pick up CB broadcasts in his mind. One would think that such a crazy procedure would leave U.S. with crippling debt, but instead, he somehow has the funds to remake his rig with all kinds of neat gadgets as he begins his journey to take down the Highwayman. At the time, there was hope that this comic might spin off into a TV cartoon, which probably would have been an '80s classic.

Tyroc

Yes, unfortunately enough, here's another blatantly racist character, and this one might be the worst of all. Tyroc is the result of editorial decree being forced upon the Legion of Superheroes comic book, after artist Mike Grell noticed that the future that the comic depicted was rather pasty-white. According to Comic Book Resources, Grell tried to insert a black character into the book, only for his editor Murray Boltinoff to shut him down, stating that he already had a plan to explain why the comic book was so white. This plan came to fruition with the mandated introduction of Tyroc, whom Grell referred to as "the most racist concept I've ever heard in my life."

Grell was right. Tyroc's insanely racist backstory was that in the future, all of Earth's black population had decided to leave the rest of society behind many years ago, self-exiling to a magically disappearing island off the coast of Africa. Tyroc was the outspoken defender of this island.

Former Legion writer Jim Shooter, who had been trying to introduce a black character to the Legion for years, referred to Tyroc as "pathetic and appalling," according to Glen Cadigan's The Legion Companion. Mike Grell was horrified by it, too, and to protest against the racial separatism concept that Boltinoff had shoved down everyone's throat, Grell purposely drew Tyroc wearing the dumbest costume he could come up with, complete with a disco belt, huge collar, and little white slippers.

Detective Eye

This ridiculous character isn't offensive at all; it simply proved to be too weird to write a normal comic book around. Meet Detective Eye, originally just "the Eye," a hovering, disembodied eyeball that appears in a gust of smoke or a whirl of flames, depending on how angry he is. When something sinister happens on Earth, Detective Eye gazes down upon the evildoers of our little planet and metes out justice.

As described by Jon Morris at Slate, Detective Eye possesses infinite supernatural abilities beyond those of any man, to the point where it seems like he's more a deity than a superhero. However, the Eye does prefer to have humans help him foil crimes and stop bad guys, which seems to be his only weakness and is necessary so that actual stories can occur rather than instant Eye-blasting justice. The Eye does speak English, albeit in a rather grandiose fashion.

Detective Eye was probably too bizarre for comic books at the time, but admittedly, this concept of the world's most visionary detective holds a lot of weird potential. Not as a regular superhero book, for sure, but can't you envision a weird, satirical take on Detective Eye's adventures, complete with meta-overtones? Maybe a freaky animated series on Netflix or a creepy movie by Guillermo Del Toro? We can only hope that one day, if we're lucky, the Eye will gaze upon us once again.