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Comic books are almost a hundred years old, do you realize that dear readers? That's a lot of story telling, a lot of world building. With a history like that it's understandable that there'd be a few... misses. While I love all comics, Marvel will forever hold a special place in my heart. For this reason, I've assembled some notable highlights from their Misses Pile. Indeed, one could fill a library with the silliness that poured out of the Silver Age, so as a rule, the only villains included will be those that Marvel really tried to make a go of.
Strap yourselves in, True Believers, and lets look at the miscalculations that haunt Stan Lee's darkest dreams.
Daredevil #8 arrives in June 1965 giving rise to a new, ridiculous villain. Wilbur Day, donning a "battle suit" with telescoping legs, sets out to rob highrises as the STILT-MAN. How would he rob highrises? Probably by just trying windows until he found an open one then taking whatever was near the windowsill, cooling pies probably, look-- the point is, he's a dude in a stilt suit that can make him super tall.
First off, why? He obviously took the same THING + MAN = GIMMICK formula Kite-Man used for villainy, but at least Kite-Man could fly (glide gently on a breeze?). Stilt-Man possesses no practical purpose. He's no good in a fight, unless restricted mobility and a high center of gravity have suddenly become a tactical advantage. He'll need to fight too, because it's not like the 30 foot tall gleaming silver man walking through poverty stricken Hell's Kitchen can hide. Which, come to think of it, is probably why he finds himself fighting Daredevil and Spider-Man, like, all the time.
They're falling over each other trying to beat the crap out of him.
Every time an attempt is made to try and badass him up, an issue comes along to remind us just how ridiculous Stilty can really be.
A running joke throughout Marvel Comics, Stilt-Man was given a shot at redemption in the Civil War arc. Siding with Iron Man, he was granted the authority to police Manhattan instead of "terrorizing" it, which eventually put him at odds with The Punisher. And while Spider-Man and Daredevil are some tough opponents, Punisher is much more lax on the whole 'make sure they're alive after the fight' contingency.
PASTE POT PETE
This feels just a teensy bit sexual.
Peter Petruski, the villain who would eventually, for obvious reasons, change his name to the marginally better Trapster debuted in Strange Tales #104 wherein he did battle with the Human Torch over something something Soviets. The Human Torch, by the way, is the worst person for him to do battle with, because when your gimmick is shooting your homemade Elmer's at people the last person you want to fight is the flying man who can throw fire balls.
WHAT DID I TELL YOU
Taken on concept, Triple P has the makings of a menacing villain. Being glued to something, completely at the mercy of a madman is a chilling idea. Hell, if someone told you a man with a crock pot of his homemade sticky fluid was going around shooting it at people, you'd think twice about going outside, now wouldn't you? However, they went at it all wrong!
First, the name. Look, as a fan of alliteration, I understand, but no one fears someone named Paste Pot Pete. No one. Paste Pot Pete is the name of a brand mascot or a nickname given to a highschooler after some embarrassing incident at a friend's house. The costume isn't any better. The baggy green clown onesie, the presumably stolen Green Goblin cap, the sensible loafers, it's all antithetical to menace.
Eventually Marvel wised up and changed P Cubed to The Trapster, which is technically an improvement. In fact, Marvel has changed his look a bunch of times, always toying with the concept of a guy who traps things. A gooey Spider-Man, if you will. It's because of this constant reinvention that Trapster has survived to this day, always somewhere in the background, always having something to do. But deep down, he'll always be Paste Pot Pete to us.
The X-Men comics are not above going to some weird places, concept wise. However, much like the smug scientists in Jurassic Park, the writers spent so much time worrying about if they could, they didn't take time to consider if they should. Sugar Man appeared in The Age of Apocalypse title Generation Next #2 where he ran a slave camp and tortured those within. Pretty terrifying, in a completely unsubtle way.
It's just... nothing makes sense about Sugar Man. He's a squat face with four arms and an "indefinitely" long tongue. Oh, and he's a genius geneticist. Why? Well his brain is probably the size of a V8 engine, but really, it's hard to take something seriously when he's equivalent of a 13-year-old naming off things he thinks are "dark" and "badass". It's like he's a grab bag of traits, none of which even attempt to fit together.
For instance, why is his name Sugar Man? Is it because he has a confessed love for cakes and French pastries? Is it because he's what happens to you when you find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? BLAH! Also, early in his run he fought mostly teenagers with his long slobbery tongue. I'm not saying someone should be a watch list, but I wouldn't be against it.
I think I need an adult
Sugar Man is still going semi-strong today, popping up every couple of decades to mess with X-Men and mutant teens who maybe just want to go hang out in his sweet van.
Appearing in Marvel Team Up #15, Spider-Man must team up with the one person who should never team up with anyone ever, Ghost Rider, in order to stop Drake Shannon, an ex motorcycle stuntman with a helmet that looks like a Big Ol' Eye. Really. Because of his disfigured face (due to an accident caused by Johnny Blaze's mentor Crash Simpson), Drake receives an eye helmet that allows him to hypnotize people and shoot lasers out the pupil. He promptly calls himself Orb instead of anything eye related, because I guess Drake thought that would be too over the top.
Orb has been portrayed over and over as one of the baddest guys ever to grace a motorcycle. He's continually played among one of Ghost Rider's premiere villains. That's right, Baby Blue Eye up there is placed high in a rogues gallery filled with demons, a lord of hell, the son of a lord of hell, a super vampire, and even the goddamn Punisher.
Can't argue with that, I suppose
Orb has been quiet as of late. He appears mostly in Ghost Rider comics and since Ghost Rider hasn't been the mostly popular character lately, well, you can see his predicament.
BATROC ZE LEAPER
Batroc isn't on the list because he's the most ridiculous, but because he's ridiculous and still taken totally seriously. Debuting in Tales of Suspense #75, Batroc was a masked French mercenary who was an expert in the French kickboxing martial art savate, which the writers just took as really good at fighting. Largely considered a Captain America villain, Batroc has battled everyone from Iron Fist to the goddamn Punisher who should have just shot him in the face and walked away.
This is a part of kickboxing, right?
This French stereotype in a mask whose power consists of "can jump real good" is a semi-obscure yet always formidable foe. Why? He has some kind of writer-shield on him that allows him to be magically better than people that are just logically superior. Cap is the apex of human potential, he is the perfect human body. A kickboxer with an Evil Guy Mustache should not be able to give him much trouble. It's one thing if he was a joke character. If he was just a goof that beat around people for a bit, but was ultimately just a goof, it'd be fine. But he constantly gets the drop on better characters.
It's not like Batroc should be incapable of kicking ass. Besides the brightly colored suit, the goofy French portrayal, and that mustache, he has the makings of a Deathstroke analogue. Deathstroke, by the way, also lived down his dumb byline 'Deathstroke the Terminator' so it's possible to leave The Leaper out of Batroc The Leaper.
If you're still skeptical about the pervasiveness of Batroc, he's going to be in the next Captain America movie. Yeah. The French jump-fighter. Maybe they'll change his look and attitude to something more fitting, who knows? Maybe, hopefully, he'll just be a gag fight at the beginning.
In any case, we can all agree on one thing: Batroc is tons cooler than that douche Big Wheel.