Movies & TV / Columns

The Silliest Characters in Comic Books

August 11, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Doom Patrol

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last time we discussed our Top 10 Friendships in Comics. Here’s what some of you had to say:
redhotrash: “Cable and Domino. She’s an awesome 2nd in command and probably the only person Cable trusts. The will they/won’t they tension is downplayed and it’s more of a story of war buddies.”

Blake Jarvis: “cap and bucky not in the top 10 that ridiculous plus cage and iron fist should be number 1 because there friendships exist even with fact of there differences in background, race, or social standings”

JackOfClubs: “Rocket & Groot, Donatello & Professor Honeycutt/Fugitoid come to mind…Who can forget Archie & Jughead?! Bruce Banner & Rick Jones, Tony Stark & Wyatt Wingfoot to name some more. Even Danny Ketch & Johnny Blaze were fun.”

Earl Chatterton: “Kitty Pryde and Illyana Rasputin has always been one of my favorites. It’s been complicated, with Illyana getting aged up, then down, then killed, then back up again…but it their close friendship always comes back together. Illyana is always borderline psycho thanks to her Darkchylde side, but Kitty’s down to Earth stability and warmth is one of the main reasons she’s still on the right side.

Kate Bishop and America Chavez have become two of my favorite “newer” Marvel characters, and their relationship is perfect. A lot of fans want to see their relationship go in the direction of romantic, and that would be fine, but I love what they have right now. They rib each other, and they couldn’t be more different in so many ways, but they never stop being there for each other when needed.”

Ken Wood: “Some other great friendships in comicbookdom:

Batman and Robin / Nightwing / Red Hood
Batman and Catwoman
Cyclops and Wolverine
Wolverine and Jean Grey
Wolverine and Jubilee
Sunspot and Cannonball”

Noodle: “Your top two are spot on. When I think of “comic book buddies” in Marvel and DC, those are the tops for each promotion in my mind.

I’d also throw in Superboy and Robin. Supersons is such a fantastic concept and book.”

Some awesome comments last week! Thanks for the input and keep it coming!

This week we discuss…

The Silliest Characters in Comic Books
Did you catchThe Suicide Squad? Pretty good, right? It proves you don’t need Batman or Superman in the mix to tell a fun and entertaining story. You just need some obscure, odd, and silly characters that people sorta care about. 

Silly characters. Make that silly heroes because my list got too bloated as I started assembling everyone so no Swarm or The Asbestos Lady. I’ll save that for another column.

My selections are a mix of silly powers, origins, and appearance. Let’s get Groot. Rocket, and Howard the Duck out of the way. While Howard and Rocket stand out among their anthropomorphic group, Groot is a talking tree. Compared to some other characters on this list, these three could be considered downright normal.

Like Hellcow. Dracula drinks a cows blood, killing her. Cow is buried and then arises with the urge to kill Dracula. Yeah. How about Lockjaw? The power to teleport is one of the strongest around and makes him a valuable member of the Inhumans. I can’t remember if he’s a giant bulldog or a person who mutated into a canine. At one time he was either of those. 

Moving along, silly and strange superheroes take many forms.

Take Brother Power the Geek. A superhero mannequin. Created by DC in the late 1960s, the concept behind Brother Power was derived heavily from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. At the same time, creator Joe Simon was also attempting to capture the sort of “wandering outcast philosopher” characterization that made Marvel Comics’ Silver Surfer a cult hit among the college student crowd of the period. Quick note: Does anyone find a naked silver man riding a surfboard in space a little silly?

Back to Brother Power. In order to ride the hippie counter culture buzz, Brother Power was created. Originally a mannequin abandoned in an empty tailor’s shop, the store was taken over by hippies Nick Cranston and Paul Cymbalist, who dressed up the dummy in Paul’s wet and bloodied “hip threads” to keep them from shrinking. The mannequin gets struck by lightning and Brother Power was brought to life and endowed with super power and speed. Today, Brother Power is seen more as a punchline, having been used sporadically over the years. I have no doubt he’ll get his own relaunch someday and find some sort of fame on TV.

I went back and forth on listing The Doom Patrol. The original bunch was labeled “odd” and “strange” but no stranger than any other group of characters. To me, the Doom Patrol really got odd when Grant Morrison came aboard. That’s when we got characters like Crazy Jane (sixty-four multiple personalities, each with its own set of superpowers.), Danny the Street (a living, sentient “place” that can teleport itself to any location.), The Quiz (every power you’ve never thought of), Mr. Nobody (slowly drains the sanity of everyone around him), and many more. While Ambush Bug was on the team, he was weird long before. And one of my favorites.

Seriously, seek out Ambush Bug’s first mini-series. It’s…hard to explain but highly enjoyable.

Arm-Fall-Off Boy will seem familiar thanks to The Suicide Squad but this DC character’s power makes you scratch your head. Hailing from the planet Lallor, Arm-Fall-Off Boy is exactly what his name says. He has the ability to detach his limbs with a quick pop and uses the limb to fight crime. He tried out for the Legion of Superheroes but, oddly enough, they passed. The Legion has been a constant source of heroes that are a little strange. Bouncing Boy (he can bounce), Matter-Eater Lad (can eat almost any amount of matter in virtually any form), Infectious Lass (infect others with various diseases while they themselves remain immune to its effects), Color Kid (change to the color of anything he wants), Rainbow Girl (can wield the mysterious power of the Emotional Spectrum, meaning that she has the ability to give herself unpredictable mood swings) and a host of others from the future had silly powers and gave off a weird vibe.

The Legion isn’t the only team with silly members. The X-Men have had more than their share. Take Cypher. While he seems to have finally found his purpose in current X-books, his power is the ability to understand, translate, and read all languages. Great if you’re traveling the world or talking to islands but not so cool when you’re battling a supervillain. Then you have Tag. His power? He can force people to uncontrollably run away from whatever object or person he chooses. When Tag uses his power, he feels the need to say, “You’re it.” Nice. Speaking of nice, Maggott is one odd mutant. He has a hollow digestive cavity that contains a pair of semi-sentient slugs. When they come out, they use an enzyme to digest any solid object and turn that into energy for Maggott. A few other X-folk who also stand out are Zeitgeist ( spews acidic vomit from his mouth), Anarchist (secrete acidic sweat that allows him to project acidic blasts of energy), and Dead Girl (can’t be killed).

When it comes to being silly, planets have to make an appearance. DC’s Mogo leads the way. As a member of the Green Lantern corps, Mogo makes an impression when it comes time to do a group photo. Seriously, a sentient planet has a Green Lantern ring around it and fights bad guys.

Should Squirrel Girl make the list? The ability to communicate with squirrels says, “Yes.” She’s beaten some heavy hitters in the Marvel universe but that doesn’t take away from her oddness. In fact, she may be my favorite character of them all. Alongside The Dogwelder.

You’ve never heard of The Dogwelder? He’s the superhero who welds dogs to criminals’ faces. Now he takes the cake.

Ut! I can’t forget Flaming Carrot, whose creator Bob Burden refers to the character as “the World’s first surrealist superhero!” I can’t go too deep in the Independent pool because we’d be here all day. But I have to end with The Tick…because he’s awesome. 

Suffice to say I’ve named more of the big names and leave the rest up to you. Who did I forget about?

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!