Way back only a group of the society designated as “nerds” enjoyed the fantastic stories colorfully-illustrated in the glossy pages of comic books. But in the modern era, comic book characters are a billion-dollar business, and if one is not entirely up to date on all things superhero, they are the nerds. The tables have turned, and beings with extraordinary abilities are now all the rage as their tales flood the screen of both television and cinema. From Marvel to DC and everything in between, the caped crusaders and menacing evildoers are the stuff fans of all ages simply cannot get enough of.
But what most people do not realize about some of their exquisitely drawn imaginary icons is that they have gone through many changes to get to the top of the fandom charts. While it seems natural to believe that everything is known about the games most popular characters from comic lore because of their regular appearances in the mainstream, even the savviest of fans would be surprised at things they are not aware of when it comes to their all-time favorites.
1 Venom Was Originally Going to Be a Woman
In Marvel comics, there is an alien life form called the Symbiote. This parasitic being covers the host like a suit and gives them superhuman abilities. Its first interaction on Earth is with that of Peter Parker who savvy comic fans know as Spider-Man. Once Parker had enough of the evil extraterrestrial outerwear, David Michelinie, who was the writer at the time, was not sure where to go with his menacing creation. He decided to give it to a woman with a very dark twist.
Michelini developed a story where Spider-Man inadvertently causes a woman to lose her baby via a miscarriage as well as the encounter resulting in the death of her husband. This morbid scenario was thought to be enough motivation for the female to don the alien suit and have an unhealthy desire for vengeance against Spidey. However, A Marvel boss didn’t think their readers would ever see a woman as a formidable opponent for the likes of Spider-Man. So the character of Eddie Brock was eventually created who is the most famous person to wear the suit and become the villain everyone cheers for when he appears, Venom.
2 Wonder Woman Was Created as an Ideal of Feminism
Some people argue that comic books rot children’s brains. Even back in the day during the early days of the industry, a child psychiatrist named Frederic Wertham argued that the colorful illustrations of heroes and villains were the cause of American kids being turned into perverse delinquents. Thankfully this was not how everyone viewed the tales of justice and morality. One hero stepped in and saved the day, preserving the existence of every nerd’s favorite pastime for the foreseeable future.
Dr. William Marston was a psychologist from America and a passionate advocate for the women’s liberation movement. But more importantly, Martson had the complete opposite view that Wertham had on the subject of comic books. He not only believed that they could have a positive effect on children but could expand the idea of feminism as well. The excellent doctor created Wonder Woman in an attempt to teach fans these concepts and the character just stuck. She has been one of, if not the most known female superhero in the entire world and has made her way into several TV shows as well as a game-changing 2017 film.
3 Captain America Was Forced to Change His Shield
Captain America has been a fixture of comic book lore and patriotism for many years. Notoriously known for his signature weapon, his shield, he is one of the most popular members of the mega Marvel mashup team The Avengers. Cap isn’t one for guns and can easily take on any foe with his fists, but the soldier that religiously rocks the red white and blue always enjoys throwing his protective disc at his enemies with it ricocheting several times until its returned to him similar to what a boomerang does. In the beginning, however, the design of his weapon of choice was much different.
The creators of the infamous hero of the USA had something other than a perfect circle for the shield. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon had their hearts set on a heraldic shaped version of the infamous Vibranium bullet blocker. Unfortunately, Marvel’s rival publisher MLJ already had a comic book character with a similar patriotic theme with a logo in that same heraldic shape across his chest. MLJ applied some severe legal pressure on Marvel causing the design to be changed and Captain America taking down evil with the concept that fans absolutely love.
4 The Incredible Hulk Was Meant to Be Grey Instead of Green
The first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about the Incredible Hulk, besides anger and smashing, is the fact that he is green. Not that he is a rookie or new at his job, but he is actually a beautiful shade of Jade that most people recognize as the color green. Its been the character’s signature look from his adventures in the comics to the many cartoons, movies and shows he has been a part of. But the man that was Bruce Banner was not always the same color as the grass or trees.
In the beginning, the massive superhero was supposed to be grey. This was the way the great Stan Lee had always envisioned the character, and when the maiden issue of the series, The Incredible Hulk, debuted in 1962, that is the color he was. Thankfully this did not last due to printing issues. A tone would inevitably have to be chosen to continue the characters run. Green was, at the time, one of the most consistent colors in the print game, which was a huge deciding factor for the Hulk’s infamous look.
5 Superman Was Originally a Bald Bad Guy
Superman has always been drawn to look like the perfect superhero. From his muscular physique to his perfect haircut, he has always been a crowd pleaser. The Last Son of Krypton has always been regarded as a handsome hero in the eyes of comic book fans and Lois Lane. But the Man of Steel has not always been on the side of good. When he was initially introduced to the world, he was a megalomaniac with no hair.
Most people know his arch nemesis Lex Luthor to be hairless, but in the beginning, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Suster had drawn the character bald. Besides being a cue ball, he was an evil telepathic scientist similar to Professor X but whose motivations were that of world domination. Fortunately for everyone, during the long six-year process to find a publisher for the Superman, the superhero had become the dashing superstar that feel much more appropriate.
6 The Joker Almost Was Killed Off in Batman No. 1
One of the most popular superheroes to have ever been created is Batman. And everyone knows that every hero is only as good as the villain he fights. The Joker is one of the vilest villains of all time and Gotham’s worst criminal. Its also safe to assume that over the many years of the two facing off against one another, The Joker is Batman’s greatest adversary. But the infamous Clown Prince of Crime almost didn’t have a chance to become the iconic evildoer that everyone knows and loves.
The Joker was initially supposed to be killed off in Batman No. 1. That’s right, the most menacing individual of all of Batman’s Rogue Gallery almost was snuffed out in the very first issue. The evil jester was saved thanks to editor Whitney Ellsworth. Ellsworth saw a lot of potential in character and forced Bob Kane to draw up a panel of the Joker coming back to life, thus enabling the epic rivalry between the two comic book icons to flourish beautifully over time.
7 Wolverine Was Almost Called the Badger
Wolverine is by far the coolest member of the X-Men and a pretty badass character all on his own. The guy was created by Len Wein to provide the Hulk with a worthy adversary. So the clawed hero was designed to capture the big green hero. But what most people don’t realize is when Wein was bringing this character to life, it came down to two names, The Wolverine or The Badger.
Thes choices stemmed from the fact that the mutant would be a Canadian Special agent sent to bring in Hulk and Wein wanted his new guy to be famous north of the border. With animal names faring so well for supers in the USA, he looked at animals from Canada for the answer, hence the Badger and the Wolverine. Wein’s editor weighed in on the situation suggesting Wolverine was the better way to go and fans everywhere to this day could not be more thankful for having been spared The Badger.
8 Marvel Thought Spider-Man Would Scare People
It’s hard to find anyone in the known universe who hasn’t heard of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The red and blue Arachnid themed freedom fighter has been a significant figure in the comics for decades. He has been the subject of multiple big-budgeted franchise attempts from several big-name studios. Spidey is arguably one of Marvel’s most famous heroes, and he has been someone for young children to look up too. But the powers that be didn’t foresee him being such a fan favorite from the beginning; in fact, it was all quite the opposite.
It turns out that Marvel was very afraid that Spider-Man would scare people and not resonate well with their readers. Martin Goodman, who was head of Marvel at the time Stan Lee created Spidey, claimed he thought the idea of a superhero based off of creepy eight-legged wall-crawlers that scare people always was a bad idea. But in the end, Spider-Man was published and quickly became a big hit with comic fans of all ages.
9 Stan Lee Thought Daredevil Might Be Offensive
Daredevil is a very intriguing character and definitely has a strong following among comic book fans. Marvel’s blind superhero can see the world much differently, and thanks to Matt Murdock’s abilities, he can provide justice for the people of Hell’s Kitchen. When he’s not fighting crime, Murdock is a decent attorney. But even though The Man Without Fear has all this going for him, some essential individuals didn’t think he would work, one of which was Stan Lee.
Lee thought that a blind superhero might offend blind people, and that’s the last thing he wanted to do. So Mr. Excelsior made it very clear that if there was any indication whatsoever of any blind people or blind organizations, that the series would be pulled from the shelves immediately. Thankfully that was not the case, and the character has resonated so well it has spawned film and television adaptations.
10 Iron Man Was Developed Because of a Dare
Iron Man was created in 1963 at the height of the Cold War. The Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist, who was a cocky, arrogant, narcissistic arms dealer with very little respect toward woman, was not the most likable hero of his time. It’s hard to imagine a war profiteer being a superhero. This is somewhat of a head-scratcher until it is revealed how the character was created. Stan Lee was challenged by his publisher Martin Goodman to create such a hero.
Stan Lee knew in his heart that despite his less than stellar qualities, that he would still resonate well with fans. And not only was Stan the Man correct, but Iron Man was a massive hit with readers of all ages. Stark, who is loosely based on Howard Hughes, has stood the test of time since his challenging creation and has become an influential figure in both the comics and movies. It is funny to think that all this success went down because of a simper dare.