Popular Culture

10 Superheroes Named While Their Creators Were High


Superheroes are an integral part of our pop culture. They have inspired countless young kids to don a cape and run around the front lawn pretending they had the superpowers of their heroes, and have generated millions of dollars in comic book sales, movie tie-ins and merchandise. But many, many of these characters are just a little odd – so much so that one might wonder whether they had been created under somewhat dubious, altered states of mind.

10. Superman: Jerry Siegel

OK, first of all let’s be clear that the intention here is not to besmirch Superman’s legacy or prowess as the granddaddy of superheroes. He’s cool, calm, collected, iconic and legendary; he gets the girl and he beats the bad guys. But the name?! How many bowls had Jerry Siegel had before he decided to slouch at his desk and call the first ever great superhero the simultaneously under and overstated ‘Super Man’. His lazy decision began a trend – to say the least – of putting random adjectives in front of the word ‘man’. Or woman, or boy, or lad, or girl…

9. Bananaman: Steve Bright

Ravenous potheads, we’re told, like to eat almost anything unhealthy, and in great quantities. British comic writer Steve Bright, on the other hand, clearly hankers for fruit when he’s three bongs to the wind. What better homage to his favorite munchie snack, then, than naming his freshly conceived superhero after it.

8. Robin: Bob Kane

Picture the scene. Bob Kane is sat at home having just finished the design and concept for Batman’s brand new sidekick. He leans back in his chair and begins to think of a name, a really catchy, cool, supername. He lights a sly doobie, sat in his ashtray. Suddenly, just like every stoner in history, a weed induced stroke of ‘genius’ hits him. “Keep it simple,” he thinks. “The wimpy red outfit is his thing,” he thinks. “It’s gotta be an animal,” he thinks. He comes up with Robin. Fail.

7. Matter Eater Lad: Jerry Siegel

This time Jerry Siegel’s been up until 4 o’clock in the morning smoking through his stash and watching re-runs of Judge Judy (we can only imagine). Suddenly he feels inexplicably hungry. “What’s in the fridge?” he wonders, as he lies there on the couch. His curiosity and desire for complex carbohydrates gets the better of him and he arises from his state of hibernation and walks into the kitchen. He finds an old box of cookies, squirty cream, a can of Chicken Luncheon Loaf and half a stale pizza that’s so old it’s gone hard. He devours the whole lot, then the next day bases a superhero on the experience.

6. Green Lantern: Martin Nodell

The Green Lantern was born a stoner. The image of the Golden Age original was intended to combine Aladdin with the sight of a subway worker waving an all clear green lantern. His greatest weakness: wood. Things got even stranger with the Silver Age incarnation, Hal Jordan. Hal’s entire persona is based around the color green and his powers include the ability to fly and instantaneously travel to other galaxies (greatest weakness: the color yellow – cue crippling paranoia). And consider this: Green Lantern. Sounds like he’s named after an Amsterdam coffee shop. I rest my case.

5. The Thing: Stan Lee

OK, so calling your hero Superman might be a little lazy, but at least it describes – however vaguely – his natural talents. You basically can’t get any lazier than naming him The Thing. When Lee created the chunky member of the Fantastic Four, he achieved the second most slothful name humanly possible behind actually going the whole hog and calling him ‘Man’ (we won’t even talk about his later creation ‘Man-Thing’ on absolutely any level). Clearly ol’ Stan has a very content in-house dealer.

4. Professor X: Stan Lee

With some of the most awesome names in superhero history coming from the genius that is the X-Men series, one has to wonder whether it was the tail end of a night spent listening to irritating amounts of numbing reggae in a jolly haze that led to Stan Lee’s last minute naming of chrome-domed paraplegic Professor X. Iceman, Cyclops, Beast…Professor X? No wonder they say stoners have zero ambition.

3. Princess Projectra: Jim Shooter

Princess Projectra was a hot girl with the ability to cast cool magical-trippy-fun illusions at will. That’s like having a living, breathing copy of The Labyrinth, a magic eye book and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters all wrapped up in one, with tits, walking around your living room blowing your mind and emptying the bong water. Clearly wishful thinking from creator Jim Shooter.

2. Brother Power the Geek: Joe Simon

The weed-y undertones to this character are so obvious it feels like a cop out to even place him on this list. Brother Power was an old mannequin found in an abandoned shop and dressed in ‘hip threads’ by two groovy dudes. They move in and he then comes to life after being hit by a lightning strike. Shortly afterward he’s kidnapped by the Psychedelic Circus, subsequently escapes and spends his time encouraging hippies to find work. He may as well have been equipped with the superpowers of infinite laughter and uncontrollable sleepiness.

1. Arm Fall Off Boy: Curt Swan

Possibly the worst superhero ever imagined, Arm Fall Off Boy had one unique power. No prizes for guessing what it was. Clue: he used his left arm as a club. When you and your friends have overdone the green and start reeling off ideas this awful it’s really time to go cold turkey and consider a nice drinking habit to ensure you aren’t carted off to the funny farm.

Film Reviewer Gene Shalit Leaving “TODAY”

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