Superheroic origins don't always involve exploding planets, cosmic rings, or bites from radioactive fauna. No, sometimes heroes just happen to slug back bottles of experimental mutagens because they're total dumbasses. Here are some of our favorite sadsack beginnings.
Gained His Powers By: Learning to spin around extremely fast.
All of the Flash's Rogues are lovable chumps, but The Top takes the cake for his obsession with gyroscopic motion...which granted him super-intelligence. During the Silver Age of Comics, how many kids read The Flash, attempted to gain The Top's powers, and ended up vomiting all over their sofas?
The Rainbow Raider
Gained His Powers From: Colorblind-induced criminality and magic rainbow goggles
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Roy G. Bivolo (yes) wanted to grow up to be an artist but was sadly born colorblind. His optometrist father tried to build him vision-correcting eyewear, but instead unintentionally devised a pair of goggles that fired solid rainbow beams.
That's one dubious accident. Roy used his newfangled goggles to terrorize the art world, all the while dressing like Cyclops at a Mutant Pride Parade.
Gained His Powers From: Prisms that allowed him to control people's emotions
The Rainbow Raider could use different colors of light to control his victims' emotions — ditto goes for Doctor Spectro. Spectro was a creation of Charlton Comics. When the Charlton characters were absorbed into the DC Universe in the 1980s, Doctor Spectro and his sinister optics occupied the same universe as the Rainbow Raider.
Did the two of them ever team up with Crazy Quilt? I honestly don't remember, but at least when he wasn't dead, Doctor Spectro dressed like this. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
Gained His Powers From: A genetic mutation that allowed him to turn into ice cream
Speaking of the X-Men, they once fought a fellow whose sole power allowed him to turn into any flavor of ice cream. Despite being conceived as a joke character, it's the lack of gravity Marvel gave this character which peeves me.
Ice cream metamorphosis is not a terrible power when you think about it — imagine conquering your foes by turning into arsenic or scimitar-flavored frozen yogurt. If anything, we should laugh at Eye-Scream for his lack of creativity.
Gained His Powers By: Tossing himself off a cliff
If you thought The Top had it rough, check out Black Condor. After his entire family was slaughtered by bandits, the baby Black Condor was raised by birds — he learned to soar like his adopted feathered family by plummeting into a precipice half-naked — willpower! I'm assuming the threat of lawsuits from bereaved parents inhibited Black Condor from ever hitting it big.
Gained His Powers From: A magic crowbar
Before he was a Thor villain, Dirk Garthwaite was a maladjusted construction worker who had the good fortune to rob Loki's hotel room. Once there, he tried on Loki's hat because, well, wouldn't you? Once he donned Loki's horned chapeau, the sorceress Karnilla mistook Dirk for the Mischief God and imbued him with fantastic powers. Dirk later formed his own superteam, The Wrecking Crew. He did so by raising his crowbar during a lightning strike and mystically divvying his Asgardian strength between three construction-equipment enthusiasts: Piledriver, Bulldozer, and Thunderball. NOTE: This totally doesn't work in real life!
Gained His Powers From: A giant eyeball helmet
The Orb is the closest thing Ghost Rider can call an arch-enemy, which says a lot about Ghost Rider's rogues gallery. The Orb's alter ego was Drake Shannon, a disfigured motorcycle rider who used ocular headgear to fire lasers and hypnotize his foes. Unlike other sphere-headed villains (like the billiards-obsessed 8-Ball), it was never entirely explained why he wore a giant eyeball mask, other than the fact that (I'm assuming) he was a huge Residents fan.
Gained His Powers From: An ancient sword possessed by a dark wizard
Alpha Flight member Puck seems like an easy superhero origin, no? Short stature + superior gymnastic skills + Canadian pride = what more do you need? Well, it's never that simple.
See, Puck was an average-sized adventurer until an evil wizard trapped in "the Black Blade of Bagdad" transformed the hero into the tiny titan we know today. It's an overly complex origin — I always just assumed he was literally a hyper-evolved NHL puck.
Gained His Powers From: Drinking an experimental soda like a total putz
Chuck Taine was a courier for a 30th century scientist until he drank a formula that caused him to inflate like some disgusting organic air bladder. When's the last time you almost quaffed a cup of antifreeze thinking it was Mountain Dew? Never. Why? Because you're not Bouncing Boy.
He was later inducted into the Legion of Superheroes, presumably because they felt sorry for him. Read more from his incompetent origin here.