For a while, super-pets were all the rage. Superman had Krypto the Super-Dog and Beppo the Super-Monkey (Beppo is a jerk and no one likes Beppo). Batman had Ace the Bat-Hound. Supergirl had a Super-Cat, Streaky, and a Super-Horse that went by the name of Comet.
Comet was originally a centaur from ancient Greece. He saved the life of the sorceress Circe, who tried to reward him by turning into a full human... but then she accidentally turned him into a full horse instead. When she was unable to reverse the spell, she gave him immortality and superpowers as a sort of consolation prize, because eternity as a horse is a good deal or something.
It was in this form that he joined Supergirl's crime-fighting super-team... but, as it transpired, if a comet passed through the solar system he was in, he turned human for the duration -- into swoony heart-throb "Bronco" Bill Starr, rodeo superstar -- and stealer of Supergirl's heart.
Which is kind of a jerk move, because he'd just show up, do kissy-faces with Kara, then disappear again, and she'd just be left waiting for the next comet to arrive. You'd think, given that there are at least 4,000 confirmed comets in the solar system, he'd just be Bronco full-time. But they didn't know that in the 1960s, so we'll give that one a pass.
At least Comet didn't get, like, really weird later on or anything.
So, remember that time that everyone was all mad that Thor was going to be a woman? Go grab the 1980s run of the Thor comic by Walt Simonson. Simonson had a spectacular run, but one of the best moments had to be the three issues in 1986, starting with Thor issue #364, in which Thor was running around as a frog, transformed by trickster Loki.
It gets better, though. During that time, Frog Thor makes friends with a frog named Puddlegulp. Puddlegulp, as it turns out, was once a human (named Simon Walterson) who had been transformed into a frog by a gypsy. When Thor departs, once more returned to his true form, Walterson finds a sliver of Mjolnir left behind and uses is to create Frogjolnir, and turn himself into Throg -- champion of the Central Park frogs.
It's probably safe to say that any moment from the 1960s comic "Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane" is going to be... not showing up on TV any time soon. The focus is on, of course, ace reporter Lois Lane, and the scrapes she gets into trying to get Superman to marry her. You'd think this would be relatively tame, but no. No.
The particular highlight we've chosen is from 1966's issue #69, "Beware of the Bug-Belle." Lois Lane has gotten hold of an item belonging to her rival for Superman's affections, Lana Lang -- the Bio-Ring that turns her into the Insect Queen, able to take the form of any arthropod, because comics.
Naturally, Lois ends up putting the ring on, but the cover is somewhat misleading -- she uses the ring to help save a child trapped in a burning building when Superman is unable to attend the scene.
This, because comics, leads to the mysterious Velvet O'Mara turning up to steal the ring to try to use it to kill Superman, and Lana and Lois teaming up to get it back. Definitely not the wackiest, plot-wise, but the time Lois turned herself into a black woman because she was curious about life in the ghetto? I don't want to touch that with a ten-foot pole.
William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman under the pen name Charles Moulton, was a fascinating chap. He helped develop the polygraph test and he and his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston had a lifelong polyamorous relationship with Olive Byrne, which should indicate that he was a pretty unconventional guy.
Wonder Woman was actually Elizabeth's idea, following the male-oriented comics that sprung up in the 1940s, but Marston created the actual character, purportedly basing her on both Elizabeth and Olive.
He wrote in 1943, "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."
The "submissive" part showed up in the comic in ways that, in retrospect, or to adult eyes, are a little on the pervy side: spankings, wrestling and a whole boatload of being tied up.
Garth Ennis isn't really a huge superhero fan (although "Hitman" #34 seems to indicate a bit of a soft spot for ol' Supes), so if you give him a superhero, something ridiculous will probably happen.
In 2002, Ennis was working on "The Punisher" with Darick Robertson, and ol' Frankie teamed up with Wolverine to take down an army of mafia bad guys. Because Ennis doesn't really like Wolvie a great deal, he decided to have some fun -- by having the Punisher blow Wolvie's face off with a shotgun, shoot him in the man-parts, then park a steamroller on top of him.
Yep. Pretty sure Marvel's not going to want to put that on the screen.
Archie Comics' "Mighty Crusaders" ran from 1965 to 1966 for seven issues, then from 1983 to 1985 for 13 issues, then in 1992 for eight issues. The comic has, as you can tell, had a pretty rough go of it. It was supposed to be Archie Comics' attempt at superheroes, but it just didn't take off.
Let's be honest: if a villanous sorcerer from outer space named Phantasmon, written by Jerry Siegel and able to shoot lightning out of his nose, was unable to keep the book afloat, it probably had much bigger problems.
Chris Evans is pretty stacked, but if he looked like this, we'd run screaming from the cinema.
Any character from the "Legion of Super-Heroes" is probably cheating a little bit, because they're kind of meant to be ludicrously over-the-top, but they did get their very own cartoon series in 2006, and even Matter-Eater Lad -- who can eat anything -- got billing.
Arm-Fall-Off-Boy was probably a little too weird even for that, though. A superhero from the 30th century, his power is that his limbs just come off, and he can then use them to whack villains with, which would be a useful skill if you can't find, say, a lead pipe or a baseball bat. He's not a member of the Legion, because nerves during his tryout caused him to fall apart. Quite literally.
Over the years, your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has been transformed into an actual spider a few times, but possibly the most bizarre is the time Spider-Man was kissed by a new villain called The Queen, which infected him with genes or something to slowly transform him into a giant spider that she could mate with, because reasons. (If you want to look it up, it's 2004's "Spectacular Spider-Man" #17-20.)
And it totally worked. Over the course of four issues, Peter Parker transforms into a giant ugly spider... but not just any giant spider, a giant pregnant spider. Long story short, the spider dies and from its distended abdomen emerges Parker, with brand-new spider-powers, with which he is able to dispatch The Queen. Yep. The whole thing was a crazy set-up to give Spider-Man web-shooters that are part of his body rather than external gadgets and spider stings in his forearms.
Daredevil has seen quite a respectable reboot in his own TV show, but prior to then, the poor chap really went through the wringer.
One of those wringer-moments was the "Shadowland" mini-series in which he got possessed by an actual, real-life demon. Matt Murdock had defeated his enemies, the ninja clan known as the Hand, and rather than let a bunch of murdering ninjas run around doing ninja murders, he decided to rule them instead.
That's when Beast of the Hand, the demon the hand had been serving for centuries, decided Matt's body looked pretty comfy and took up residence.
A bunch of his mates try to stop him, but it takes a chi punch from the Immortal Iron Fist to literally punch the demon out of Murdock's soul. Which... OK, as silly as the whole premise is, that's kind of badass.
The Crimson Avenger, AKA Albert Elwood, made his debut in "World's Finest Comics" #131, a talented inventor who wanted to help Supes and Bats put away the evil, thieving Octopus Gang. Although talented, his inventions were a bit... odd, and the ensuing comedy of errors turned our heroes into helium balloons.
Elwood retired after this (mis)adventure, more's the pity. Superheroes suddenly bloating into weird shapes became a bit of a thing.
If you're going to get meta, you have to do it well. A little subtlety is never misplaced. The time the Fantastic Four had to travel to the afterlife in "Fantastic Four" #511 was more like being walloped with a dismembered arm.
Dr Doom had possessed The Thing, you see, and the only way to stop Doom was to kill Grimm. Which, deed done, Mr Fantastic, the Invisible Woman and the Human Torch decided to go to heaven and get their friend back... where, behind a closed door, they find "god."
Who turns out to be, well, you already know who. Look, we love Jack Kirby. Jack Kirby is incredible. It just sort of seems a bit, well, arrogant, for a comics writer to write a story that analogises creating comics with being a god.
The first issue of "The Avengers" ran in 1963, and saw our heroes assemble for the first time: Iron Man, Hulk and Thor. Due to an early misunderstanding, though, the Hulk is accused of causing a train to derail, so our green hero runs away and joins the circus. Which is to say he flees and hides out disguised as a robotic clown.
The "robot" part was cover for his super-Hulk-strength, to explain why he can simultaneously juggle a horse, a seal and an elephant, or lift a cage full of lions.
It's not that we don't want to see this happen in an Avengers film, but sadly... the likelihood is pretty low.